Ian Rosenberger is the founder of WORK, First Mile and Day Owl. WORK places the poor into jobs in landfill communities. First Mile has redirected over 96 million plastic bottles from landfills and the ocean and transformed them into consumer goods for global brands trying to find value in authenticity, transparency and responsibility. Day Owl is a direct-to-consumer brand that has created a backpack out of First Mile materials the team hopes will help everybody feel ready to take on the world.
Ian works most in landfill community assessment, sourcing strategy, understanding how to translate impact into economic value for the poor and leveraging impact in storytelling. He has spoken about his work at SXSW, Harvard Business School and the United Nations. He is a 2016 Barclay’s Unreasonable Impact Fellow and sits on the Ocean Conservancy’s Technical Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Plastic Waste. He has directed nearly $10 million to need-based communities with too much plastic and not enough jobs so far.
In March 2020, Ian and his team shifted production to begin manufacturing face shields for front line healthcare workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have manufactured over 60,000 shields so far, but very much look forward to the day when they can stop and see family and friends safe and healthy again.
Ian holds his bachelor's degree from Penn State University in integrated social sciences, with a focus on race and ethnic relations. He is a new dad and believes that ending poverty and the plastic crisis are all but certain by the time he and his wife, Raashi, have grandchildren.