2019 | Real World Applications in Sustainability

Screen Shot 2019-02-26 at 3.24.37 AM (1).pngFRIDAY MARCH 29th, 2019 | 1PM – 6PM | LOW LIBRARY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY


1:00 – 1:20 PM | Registration and Check-in

1:20 – 1:30 PM | Opening Remarks – Steve Cohen, Director, M.S. Sustainability Management, former Executive Director of the Earth Institute

1:30 – 2:10 PM | Hospitality as a Platform for Change Fireside chat with Hans Schaepman, General Manager, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge – Moderator: Cynthia Leung

  • 1:30 – 2:00 PM | Conversation with moderator
  • 2:00 – 2:10 PM | Q&A

2:10 – 3:30 PM | Implementing Sustainability Strategies Flash presentations of 5 industries and how they implement sustainability and Q&A – Moderator: Alex Lee

  • 2:10 – 2:20 PM | Industry #1: Derek Noah, Account Manager, Terracycle
  • 2:20 – 2:30 PM | Industry #2: Melisa Simic, V.P. Sustainable Finance, ING Capital LLC
  • 2:30 – 2:40 PM | Industry #3: Ross Bergman, Sustainability Engineer, Humanscale
  • 2:40 – 2:50 PM | Industry #4: Faith LeGendre, Sr. Circular Economy Strategist, Cisco
  • 2:50 – 3:00 PM | Industry #5: Alex Rudnicki, Senior Project Manager, AeroFarms
  • 3:00 – 3:30 PM | Q&A

3:30 – 3:45 PM | Coffee Break

3:45 – 4:25 PM | Breaking into Sustainability – Career Development Fireside chat with Ed Skowronek III, VP, Sloane & Company – Moderator: Sara Miltenberger

  • 3:45 – 4:05 PM | Conversation with moderator
  • 4:05 – 4:25 PM | Q&A

4:25 – 5:00 PM | Keynote Speaker: Bruce Usher, Co-Director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, Columbia Business School

5:00 – 6:00 PM | Reception


Edmund John Skowronek III – Vice President, Sloane & Company

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Edmund Skowronek is a communications professional based in New York City. Edmund specializes in energy, technology/media/telecom, education and public speaking training. Prior to Sloane & Company, Edmund served as a crisis communications specialist for the public relations firm Sunshine Sachs, Director of Communications for the influential Congressman John B. Larson (D-CT1) and as an associate at Capital Strategies Group, a leading Connecticut-based lobbying firm. Over the course of his career, Edmund has helped energy companies, trade groups and executives craft communications initiatives and public affairs campaigns while providing strategic consul on media relations, messaging and more. During his time working for Congress, Edmund advised on communications related to natural gas/The Pickens Plan, fuel cell technology and other local and national energy policy.

Edmund earned his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Southern Connecticut State University. He an active student mentor, frequently speaks to graduating senior classrooms and serves as a contributing Developmental Editor for the education focused Brookes Publishing.

Hans Schaepman – General Manager, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge


A veteran in the hospitality industry, Schaepman’s impressive career spans more than 25 years in the global luxury hotel market in the United States, Australia, Egypt, China and the United Kingdom. He joined the 1 Hotels team (part of SH Hotels & Resorts) four years ago when he assisted with the opening of the 1 Hotel South Beach in Miami. During his career, Hans developed a proven track record of implementing innovative and effective business development strategies including many new quality assurance initiatives which helped move up both employee as well as guest satisfaction scores at the hotels he was responsible for. He is a strong believer in making his colleagues around him stronger by leading by example, sharing his knowledge and experience and by challenging those around him to become top performers.

Schaepman has a passion for giving back to the hotel community. He has taught courses at hospitality schools in both Sydney and Boston and regularly hosts tours at his hotels for students at local hospitality schools. Hans has a strong passion for travel, spending time with family and the hotel team and involves himself with local charities and giving back to the community.

Steve Cohen Director, M.S Sustainability Management, Former Executive Director of the Earth Institute – Columbia University.

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Dr. Cohen is the Executive Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and a Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He is also Director of the Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Director of the Masters of Science in Sustainability Management at Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education, and the Director of the Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management. Cohen received his B.A. in Political Science from Franklin College of Indiana, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the State University of New York in Buffalo. In 1976-77, Cohen was a Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Environmental Policy; in 1978-79, he was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in Public and Environmental Policy and Implementation. Dr. Cohen is a former policy analyst and consultant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He has served on numerous boards and committees; he currently serves on the Board of Directors of Homes for the Homeless, Board of Directors of the Willdan Group, Inc., Advisory Board of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, and Steering Committee for the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University. Dr. Cohen also sits on the Judging Committee for the Yidan Prize Foundation. Dr. Steve  Cohen is the author of several books and articles on public management, sustainability management, and environmental policy. His latest book, The Sustainable City, was published in 2017. Dr. Cohen also is a weekly contributor to The Huffington Post.

Melisa Simic – V.P. Sustainable Finance, ING Capital LLC


Melisa is an Environmental and Social Specialist in the recently created Sustainable Finance team. Melisa covers transaction assessments at the origination phase providing social and environmental expertise in order to comply with ING internal policies as well as Equator Principles and IFC standards when applicable. Melisa also provides support for structuring sustainable finance transactions in USA and Latin America and she also covers market research and analysis for green products and projects. Melisa is a Sustainable Finance champion for the Americas since last year and is also currently involved in the preparation of internal and external sustainability events. Melisa has a broad experience in social and environmental consulting assisting financial institutions in project finance transactions in Canada and Latin America. Before joining ING in May 2018, Melisa was primarily focused on infrastructure, energy, and mining projects, including toll roads, airports, hydro, and transmission lines while working for Ramboll and ERM. While at ERM, Melisa was part of the Sustainable Finance team. Melisa started her career as a civil/tunnel engineer for Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Melisa holds a M.S. in Sustainability Management from Columbia University and speaks Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Serbian.

Derek Noah – Account Manager, TerraCycle

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Derek Noah is an Account Manager at TerraCycle within the Brand Partnerships team. TerraCycle is a Trenton-based sustainability and zero waste company. In his role, he oversees a portfolio of clients including Brita, Bloomberg, Solo Cup, and Tom’s of Maine who has partnered to offer free national recycling programs which allow consumers to recycle the ‘non-recyclables’. Previously, Derek has worked for environmental NGOs and a few sustainability consulting firms in NYC. He holds a BS in Environmental Economics and Environmental Policy from Rutgers University and a M.S. in Sustainability Management from Columbia University.

Faith LeGendre – Sr. Circular Economy Strategist, Cisco


Faith believes that we can bring the global circular economy to fruition together by strategically implementing people and technology at the right points in the interconnected loops. Her background spans strategy, implementing, innovation, and design thinking. Through the Aspen Institute First Movers Fellowship she created change by applying social entrepreneurial methodologies and frameworks and bringing global thought leaders together. Her 10 years at Cisco Systems, Inc. encompassed many roles serving over 155 clients worldwide. She also serves as an inclusion and collaboration ambassador at Cisco. In previous organizations she has held director and Vice President leadership positions. She was also awarded trainer of the year and serves as an SDG Awards judge.

Ross Bergman – Sustainability Engineer, Humanscale


Ross Bergman is a Sustainability Engineer at Humanscale, where he implements sustainable design solutions from concept through manufacturing. Ross was part of the team that created the first fully certified Living Products and is a certified TRUE Zero Waste Advisor. With over a decade of experience in Product Development, Ross uses his variety of expertise as a design, mechanical, manufacturing, and regulatory engineer to examine sustainability challenges. He believes it is the responsibility of designers and engineers to consider and reduce the footprint and long-term effects of the products they bring to life. Ross received a B.S. in Manufacturing and Design Engineering from Northwestern University.

Alex Rudnicki – Senior Project Manager, AeroFarms


“Rudnicki joined AeroFarms as one of its earliest employees in 2013. In the four years at the company, he helped the develop AeroFarms’ innovative technology that grows leafy greens without soil and without sunlight”. Rudnicki received his bachelor’s of science in civil engineering and engineering mechanics from Columbia University in 2010. He is currently back in graduate school, working on his MPA in Environmental & Science Policy at Columbia University”.

Bruce Usher – Co-Director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, Columbia Business School


Bruce Usher is a Professor of Practice and the Elizabeth B. Strickler ’86 and Mark T. Gallogly ’86 Faculty Director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School. Professor Usher teaches on the intersection of finance, social and environmental issues, and is a recipient of the Singhvi Prize for Scholarship in the Classroom and the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Prior to his work at Columbia, Professor Usher was CEO of EcoSecurities Group plc, which developed greenhouse gas emission reduction projects in developing countries. EcoSecurities was acquired by JP Morgan in 2009. Professor Usher was previously the co-founder and CEO of TreasuryConnect LLC, which provided electronic trading solutions to banks and was acquired in 2001. Prior to that, he worked in financial services for twelve years in New York and Tokyo. Professor Usher is an active investor and advisor to entrepreneurial ventures focused on climate change and clean energy (UsherWorks.com). He is a board member of Community Energy Inc., OptiRTC Inc, the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships, and is Chair of the Tamer Fund for Social Ventures. Usher earned an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.




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