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2018 AMERIPEN Annual Meeting – Speakers
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AMERIPEN Annual Meeting


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Andrew Aulissi, PepsiCo

Anne Bedarf, Colgate-Palmolive

Brent Bell, President – Recycling, Waste Management

Kay Cooksey, Clemson University

Dr. Kay Cooksey is a Professor and is the Cryovac Endowed Chair in the Packaging Science Program at Clemson University. She joined the faculty at Clemson University in October 1998 after working at University of Wisconsin-Stout for 5 ½ years. Dr. Cooksey was a faculty intern at Dupont Packaging and Industrial Polymers Division and had the honor of receiving the Reister-Davis Lifetime Achievement Award from the Food Packaging Division of the Institute of Food Technologists in 2010. Her research focuses on food and packaging interactions and includes active packaging (specifically antimicrobial), biopolymer packaging and shelf life studies and sustainable packaging.

Paul Earl-Torniainen, General Mills

Paul Earl-Torniainen is an Associate Principal Scientist at General Mills.  In his current role, he determines the shelf life for cereal and soup products.  He draws upon his 16yrs of experience in Packaging Development and 3yrs in Sustainability to find solutions that balance product quality, packaging usage, environmental impact.  Paul has served on the Executive Committee of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, where he assisted in the growth of the How2Recycle label program.  He also participates on the advisory board for the Sustainability in Packaging conferences and volunteers with Partners in Food Solutions which assists SME food companies in Africa.  He holds a BS and MS in Chemical Engineering and lives in St Paul MN.

Andy Hackman, AMERIPEN

Andy Hackman works to achieve success for clients at the legislative, executive, and regulatory levels across the country on a diverse set of issues. He is involved in analyzing the political landscape facing client companies, creating comprehensive 360° strategies, meeting with appropriate legislators and regulators, analyzing trends, and making sure that client objectives are achieved.

Mr. Hackman is a registered federal lobbyist who has testified before the U.S. Senate and lobbied in over 25 state capitols. Prior to joining Serlin Haley, he served as vice president of government affairs for the Toy Industry Association, where he oversaw TIA’s advocacy programs at both the state and federal levels. Andy has also directed the national government affairs program of the Consumer Specialty Products Association.

Mr. Hackman received a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington, Indiana and a Masters of Business Administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Ben Harvey, E.L. Harvey and Sons, Inc.

Ben Harvey is the President and one of the owners of E. L. Harvey & Sons Inc., a full service waste and recycling firm that provides services for commercial and industrial corporations and municipalities throughout eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine.

After graduating from Delaware Valley College with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1971, Ben moved into a leadership role at E. L. Harvey & Sons. His duties within the company include negotiating the sales of recyclables to mills and end users worldwide. He contracts with disposal sites throughout the Northeast for the safe and efficient transfer of waste materials.  Ben is a superior administrator, providing leadership and motivation to the company’s management team.

Ben is a well-respected and nationally recognized business leader and an authority in his industry. He has used his years of experience and wealth of knowledge in the industry to educate thousands of business and association leaders through presentations at local, regional and national forums on numerous occasions. He continues to be a sought after speaker on many business related topics. He is also well respected by the regulatory agencies that continue to seek his unbiased opinion. Ben has also been interviewed for industry related articles for many trade magazines including Waste Age, Scrap, Recycling Today and C & D World.

Ben takes active leadership roles in many trade and professional organizations. He has served as the president of the Eastern Paper Mills Suppliers Association, the Waste Recyclers Council of NSWMA, the Paper Stock Industries chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and the Detachable Container Association. He has served on the Board of Directors of Waste Cap of Massachusetts and the Detachable Container Association. He is currently on the Board of the Massachusetts Recycling Association, the Detachable Container Association the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and the Recycling Industry Operating Standards.  Ben is the current president of the National Solid Wastes Management Association and is the chair of the Environmental Business Councils Construction and Demolition Forum.  Ben serves on many task forces and committees for all the associations he is affiliated with.

Brent Heist, P&G

Virginia Janssens, EUROPEN

Virginia Janssens serves as the Managing Director for the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN) since July 2012. EUROPEN is a unique cross-sectorial EU industry association in Brussels, presenting the opinion of the packaging supply chain in Europe, without favoring any specific material or system. EUROPEN members are comprised of multinational corporate companies spanning the packaging value chain (raw material producers, converters and brand owners) plus six national packaging organizations all committed to continuously improving the environmental performances of packaged products, in collaboration with their suppliers and customers.

Prior to joining EUROPEN in January 2010 as EU Affairs Manager, Ms. Janssens acquired considerable experience in the Brussels arena working both as a public affairs and public relations consultant for various clients coming from the environment, food, chemical and energy sectors. Ms. Janssens obtained a master’s degree in Political & Social Sciences at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium and a second master’s degree in Intercultural Management at the ICHEC Business School in Brussels.

Billy Johnson, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)

William “Billy” Johnson is the Director of Political and Public Affairs at the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) in Washington, D.C.  Billy works closely with ISRI members to formulate and advance the scrap recycling industry’s policy priorities and promote the industry as America’s Original Recycler©.

Billy leads ISRI’s efforts in Washington, D.C. towards the establishment of a bi-partisan Congressional Recycling Caucus with the goal of creating a permanent approach to educating policymakers, promoting the recycling industry, and advancing recycling issues on Capitol Hill.

Accordingly, Billy actively leads ISRI’s political action activities and activates ISRI’s members through a constituent-based grassroots advocacy program using Membership Fly-In Days and Congressional facility tours to communicate and advance the recycling industry’s priorities.

Billy has a B.A. in Political Science from North Carolina State University and a Masters in Public Administration.

Alli Kingfisher, Washington State Department of Ecology

Alli Kingfisher is Washington State Department of Ecology’s Materials Management and Recycling policy lead. With nearly 20 years of experience, she primarily works on sustainability issues related to our waste stream and working “upstream” to reduce contamination within the system. Projects have ranged from addressing the health effects of burning trash in burn barrels to advancing waste reduction practices in construction. Currently Alli is focused on addressing the impacts of China’s National Sword/Blue Sky initiative on the recycling industry on Washington.

She holds an MSc in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability from the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden, is a current board member of the Washington state Recycling Association and was the first woman president of the Building Material Reuse Association. Alli lives in Spokane, Washington with her wife, six chickens and cat. Outside of work, she spends her time growing and canning food on their urban lot and planning backpacking trips to remote corners of the world including Wyoming’s Wind River Range, Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan and the Caucasus mountains of Georgia and Armenia.

Commissioner Robert Klee, State of Connecticut

Robert Klee is the Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). DEEP is the state agency charged with conserving, improving and protecting the state’s natural resources and environment, providing first-rate outdoor recreation opportunities, and bringing cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy to Connecticut’s residents and businesses.  DEEP is focused on integrating energy and environmental policies and helping Connecticut to build a sustainable and prosperous 21st-century economy.

Commissioner Klee joined DEEP in April 2011 as Chief of Staff. In that role he oversaw the work of the agency, supported the efforts of the Commissioner, and advised the Commissioner and senior staff on a wide range of environmental and energy policy issues. Prior to joining state service, Commissioner Klee was an attorney with Wiggin and Dana LLP, in New Haven, where he specialized in appellate work and energy and environmental law. From 2004 to 2005 Commissioner Klee worked as a Law Clerk for the U.S. District Court in Connecticut and from 2005 to 2006 as a Law Clerk for the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  He served as a Research Affiliate in the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies from 2006 to 2008. Commissioner Klee holds a Ph.D. from Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in industrial ecology, a law degree from Yale, and an undergraduate degree from Princeton in geology and environmental science.

Jennifer McCracken, HAVI

Jennifer McCracken is the Director of Global Innovations and Sustainability at HAVI. In her role, she is responsible for global and US leadership for HAVI Sustainability; including global Sustainability strategy and alignment, and HAVI environmental and social accountability services.

In her nine year tenure at HAVI, Jennifer initiated a sustainable raw material sourcing program, led the implementation of grease barrier coatings with an improved material health profile, and spearheaded HAVI’s regulatory compliance management. She also developed 'design for environment' tools and managed the sustainability metrics reporting.

Jennifer also participates on working groups focused on sustainability issues such as the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), where she served as an Executive Committee member (2005-2011), the GreenBlue Forest Products Working Group, the Foodservice Packaging Institute’s Paperboard Recovery Alliance (FPI PRA) and AMERIPEN (board member 2012-present).

Before joining HAVI, Jennifer consulted for major multinationals, assisting them on complying with environmental packaging and product regulations, at Environmental Packaging International. Pre-professional experience included an internship on Capitol Hill, informing policy makers on market-based solutions to pollution prevention, and volunteering with the Peace Corps in Mauritania.

Jennifer holds a M.Sc. in Applied Environmental Economics from the University of London, a B.A. in Environmental Biology from the University of Colorado, and earned a professional certificate in Sustainable Business from the University of Vermont. She also has three language competencies: French, Spanish and Arabic.

Hillary Miller, Maryland Department of the Environment

Scott Mouw, Recycling Partnership

Pete Pearson, World Wildlife Fund

Pete Pearson works on food waste prevention and food recovery, helping businesses understand the intersection of agriculture and wildlife conservation. For almost a decade, Pete has worked as a change agent within various businesses and non-profits on regenerative agriculture, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Pete has led local and national sustainability programs within the retail grocery sector across 2,000 grocery stores in 37 states. He also has over 10 years of technology experience with companies including Hewlett-Packard, Accenture and Albertsons. He has worked with public schools and hospitals as an independent sustainability consultant, co-founded a non-profit focused on sustainable agriculture, and has also co-produced a documentary film on local food production. Pete currently lives in Washington DC and enjoys fly fishing, boating, and exploring the outdoors with his family.

Ginger Spencer, Public Works Director, City of Phoenix, Arizona

Ginger Spencer has 18 years of local government experience and currently serves as Public Works Director for the City of Phoenix.  As Director, Ginger is responsible for managing the Solid Waste Services program, which includes nearly 600 employees, collection of 400,000 residences for garbage and recycling, management of five closed and one open landfill, two transfer stations, two municipal recycling facilities, and a $121 million dollar budget.  Ginger also managed the Public Works Department's Administrative Services Division as deputy director for six years where she was responsible for internal controls and internal support to all major programs and operations, including facilities maintenance, energy, fleet maintenance and solid waste. She has held various leadership positions in the City, including having served as the second Director of the City’s nationally recognized Family Advocacy Center, Arts and Culture Administrator and Special Assistant to the City Manager.

A native of Phoenix, Ginger holds a Master of Science degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from Arizona State University.  She is a member of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), Arizona City/County Management Association (ACMA), and the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Solid Waste Advisory Committee.  She is also a graduate of the NFBPA Executive Leadership Institute (2003-04), ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy Community Fellows Program (2004-05), and the City of Phoenix Management Academy Class XV (2006).  In 2013, she was named by The Phoenix Business Journal as one of the top “40 Under 40” business leaders in Phoenix.

Meghan Stasz, Grocery Manufacturers Association

Meghan Stasz is the Senior Director, Sustainability for the Grocery Manufacturers Association in Washington, D.C.  In this role, she works on issues such as waste, water, sourcing, energy, and other topics as they pertain to the food, beverage, and consumer products industry. Among other initiatives, Meghan is currently leading the Food Waste Reduction Alliance initiative- a three-year, collaborative, cross-industry initiative to reduce food waste sent to landfill and increase food donation to food banks in the U.S. She also is working extensively on packaging and recycling efforts.

Meghan has over ten years of experience in the environmental sustainability field. Prior to GMA, she spent several years with the Environmental Defense Fund where she was the Project Manager of the organization’s Farm and Food Policy Reform campaign. Meghan received her B.A. from Hamilton College and her M.B.A. from Boston College.

Tim Townsend, University of Florida

Timothy Townsend is a professor of Environmental Engineering Sciences in the Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment at the University of Florida. His area of expertise is solid and hazardous waste management. Research interests include landfill design, construction and operation; managing construction and demolition debris; beneficial use and recycling of wastes; and handling of special wastes such as electronic scrap. Dr. Townsend teaches courses on waste management fundamentals, landfill design, and waste management in developing countries.

Josephine Valencia, City of San Antonio, Texas

Josephine Valencia joined the City of San Antonio in December 2010 as the Assistant Solid Waste Management Director. She is responsible for all solid waste collection activities in the Northwest and South central districts. In addition, she also manages the household hazardous waste program, the brush recycling facilities, and regulatory compliance for the City’s closed landfills.

Ms. Valencia has over 12 years of experience in the solid waste industry. She is the former Waste Disposal Manager for the City of Durham, NC. Under her leadership, Durham permitted and built the first yard waste facility in the state that complied with stringent water quality regulations. She was also involved in the closure work for a land clearing and inert debris landfill and permit renewals for the household hazardous waste facility and the solid waste transfer station.

Jason Wadsworth

Jason Wadsworth, Manager of Sustainability, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is a 96-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 21 consecutive years, ranking #2 in 2018.

Jason has been with Wegmans for 29 years in various roles and is responsible for sustainability programs focused on reducing emissions, reducing waste to landfill and offering sustainable product and packaging choices for customers and employees..

Jason is also a founding member of the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) Sustainability Executive Committee and the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA).

Annie White

Annie White has advised the District on materials management issues including the development and launch of the Office of Contracting and Procurement’s sustainable purchasing program and the DOEE’s electronic waste and paint product stewardship programs. Prior to working for the District, Ms. White launched and led GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition and Global Green’s Coalition for Resource Recovery.

Ms. White earned an MBA from the Ross School of Business and an MS in Sustainable Systems from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. She also holds a dual BS in Biology and Environmental Science from the College of William and Mary.

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