Albe Zakes is the 26 year-old Global VP, Media at TerraCycle, Inc., the world's leading "upcycling" company, which converts waste materials into eco-friendly, affordable products available at major retailers worldwide. Albe came to TerraCycle shortly after graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
In Colorado, Albe ran several grassroots student groups and worked as a Campaign Supervisor for CoPIRG (Colorado Public Interest Research Group.) With PIRG he helped to run the Environment Alert initiative for two years, hosting on-campus awareness events and running letter writing, petitioning and fundraising campaigns. He was also co-chair of the Colorado chapter of Hip Hop Congress a grassroots movement that spreads political and social awareness and activism through music and poetry.
Albe started at TerraCycle as an unpaid intern in the PR department, after being told he did not have enough experience for a full time position! After spending two months as an intern he was offered a full time position and never looked back. In the last four years, Albe has worked his way to the top of the PR department. With little PR experience he helped TerraCycle battle Scotts Miracle-Gro, by running the "Sued by Scotts" Campaign in 2007, which received national media attention from the New York Times, Businessweek, the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and many more.
Under Albe's management the PR department has secured over 7,000 unique media placements since 2007 and secured over 150 million dollars in ad value for TerraCycle's partners and products. He helped secure appearances for his CEO on Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show, 20/20, CNN and many more.
Today, TerraCycle conducts 100% of their PR in-house, despite managing expansion in 13 countries on 4 continents. In addition to managing the company's public relations activities, Albe organizes TerraCycle's yearly Graffiti Jam and helps run the summer Internship program which hosts over 100 college students every summer and several during the school year as well.
Albe's speaking platforms have included Harvard, Harvard Business School, Wharton School of Business, the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Environmental Protection, Denver University, the American Horticultural Society Annual Conference as well as countless 'green' and business conferences including the Association of National Advertisers, HBA Global Beauty Summit and Go Green Expos.
Relentless hype about the size and enthusiasm about the LOHAS market aside, companies selling green products face enormous obstacles from shoppers and retailers alike. How can you turn passion about the planet into profits?
TerraCycle has built a business around taking other companies' trash and turning it into treasure. It's a surprisingly tough sell sometimes, but here's how you make the case that it's not trash, it's wasted brand equity.