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Northwestern University

Staff

Kathia Benitez

Kathia Benitez

Sustainability Director

Kathia Benitez joined sustainNU in June 2016 as the Sustainability Director. Kathia is responsible for providing leadership and management to ensure integration of sustainable practices throughout the University’s campuses. She will coordinate and administer sustainability and energy efficiency programs in collaboration with students, faculty and staff.

Prior to working for Northwestern, Kathia was the senior manager supporting the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Initiative. In her role, she provided direct oversight and strategic guidance for the Better Buildings Alliance and Better Building Challenge initiatives. She also served as a sector matter expert for healthcare organizations.

Previously, Kathia served as the Corporate Energy Program Manager for New York Presbyterian Hospital where she managed an annual $60 million utility budget across a 12-million square foot building portfolio. Under her leadership New York Presbyterian Hospital won several ENERGY STAR Awards for Sustained Excellence in Energy Management and Climate Communications. The hospital earned additional recognition from the American Society for Healthcare Engineering’s Energy to Care program, the Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge, and Practice Greenhealth.

For Kathia sustainability means embodying a benevolent leadership presence that serves as a catalyst to bring about action and transformation.

Julie Cahillane

Julie Cahillane

Sustainability Associate Director

Julie Cahillane has been with Northwestern University since 1994. Julie supports the development and implementation of Northwestern's Strategic Sustainability Plan (SSP) and serves as co-chair to the Resource Conservation Working Group. She began her career at Northwestern as the Recycling Coordinator and continued to expand environmental efforts across the institution before the creation of Northwestern's sustainNU program.

Previously, Julie worked as an education coordinator for CRInc, a recycling company. She designed solid waste education programs addressing waste reduction, recycling, and recycled product procurement. Julie also served as Recycling Coordinator for the State of Illinois. In the position, she was responsible for the statewide office recycling program. She was appointed to the State of Illinois Task Force on Developing Markets for Recyclable Materials. Julie began her career in media relations, working in the Press Office of both the Illinois Governor and Secretary of State.

Under Julie’s guidance, Northwestern's recycling efforts have been recognized with awards from the Illinois Recycling Association, the IL Governor’s Pollution Prevention Awards, and the American Forest and Paper Association. Her interest in sustainability stems from an inherent sense or respect for the natural world and a desire to maintain balance and respect for all living things.

When she is not focusing on sustainability, she volunteers her time working with a no-kill, dog rescue organization in Chicago.

Stephanie Folk

Stephanie Folk

Sustainability Communications Manager

Stephanie Folk joined the Office of Sustainability in October 2015. She is responsible for developing communications strategies and leading campaigns to engage students, faculty, and staff in efforts to make Northwestern a leader in sustainability.

Before coming to Northwestern, Stephanie served as the communications and marketing manager at Elevate Energy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting smarter energy use for all. In her role at Elevate, she was responsible for leading marketing campaigns aimed at enrolling households and building owners in energy efficiency programs. She also worked with Ameren Illinois and ComEd to introduce new hourly electricity pricing programs that allow households to reduce their bills by shifting electricity use to off-peak hours. Previously, Stephanie worked at Brookfield Zoo as the media and public relations representative for the Chicago Wilderness consortium, and at Shedd Aquarium as an educator. She has a master’s degree in life science communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree in theatre and performance studies from Northwestern’s School of Communications.

Audrey Steinbach

Audrey Steinbach

Sustainability Program Coordinator

Audrey Steinbach joined sustainNU in August 2016. She is responsible for providing support to each of sustainNU’s five program areas, with a focus on sustainable transportation. Prior to working at Northwestern, Audrey worked with the Sierra Club on various political campaigns in the City of Chicago. In this role, she worked to ensure environmental champions were elected into office. Audrey has a bachelor’s degree in political science, with a concentration in environmental action and leadership, from Loyola University Chicago.

Audrey’s love for sustainability comes from growing up surrounded by nature in northern California. Audrey works to be sustainable in her everyday life by cycling as much as possible, except in the winter months when she sticks to the L.

Andy Stein

Andy Stein

Sustainability Program Coordinator

Andy Stein joined sustainNU in June 2017. He primarily focuses on sustainNU’s Built Environment Program. Prior to Northwestern, Andy worked for Connexion, where he helped commercial buildings improve energy efficiency through adopting new technologies. Andy earned a master’s degree in sustainable solutions at Arizona State University while working as a sustainability project manager at ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability. While there, he worked with students, faculty, and staff to implement a variety of domestic and international initiatives.

Previously, Andy worked at Kohl's Department Store as a sustainability analyst. He was part of a team that helped Kohl’s become one of the top green retailers in the U.S. Andy managed several energy efficiency projects and assisted in the LEED certification process for more than 200 buildings. Andy received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors and volunteering with the U.S. Green Building Council.

William Bach

William Bach

Built Environment Project Coordinator

Bill joined sustainNU in January 2017. He is primarily responsible for managing projects supporting the Built Environment's program objectives, with a focus on renewable energy and efficiency. Bill is currently a senior Civil Engineering student at the Northwestern McCormick School of Engineering with certificates in Energy and Sustainability and Architectural Engineering and Design.

In addition to working at sustainNU, Bill is also the student project manager for House by Northwestern, Northwestern’s entry into the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017. In his free time, Bill likes to go sailing and rock climbing.

Julio Gomez

Julio Gomez

sustainNU Summer Intern

Julio Gomez recently joined sustainNU as an intern in the summer of 2017.  Throughout the summer, he will be working on and supporting a hand full of projects including Northwestern’s yearly move out program, waste and recycling inventory, and planning for more bike racks across campus. Julio is currently an Elgin Community College Student and is working on getting a degree in Engineering Science. He took the opportunity to be an Intern with SustainNU because understanding sustainability is crucial in engineering. Julio looks forward to learning new concepts in the field of sustainability and applying sustainable practices to help Northwestern University maintain its leadership in sustainability.

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