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NU graduates paving the way to a sustainable future

August 2013 | by sustainNU

From leading global efforts in addressing climate change to working with our National Parks, NU graduates are taking leadership roles in organizations with a sustainable focus.

Scott DeMuth, Vice President of Business Development, g2 revolution, LLC

Judy Dorsey, President and Principal Engineer, Brendle Group

Ellie Farahani, Head of Operations, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Dylan Hoffman, Director of Sustainability, Xanterra Parks and Resorts at Yellowstone National Park

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Scott DeMuth

Name:
Scott DeMuth

Major(s) and minor(s) at NU:
Environmental Engineering major (1991)

Company/organization you work for:
g2 revolution, LLC

Position:
Vice President of Business Development

How your position relates to sustainability:
We are an innovative specialty recycling firm, therefore our daily business revolves around developing practical sustainable solutions to reducing waste streams.  

Main duties:
I am responsible for identifying key business growth opportunities and securing new customers. In addition, I help our operations team identify compliant regulatory pathways to facilitate recycling methods.

What was your favorite sustainability-related course or project at NU and why?:
When I went to NU, sustainability was beginning to get cultural notice (in a broad sense). However, even then, environmental engineering courses did cover certain aspects of the subject. I remember Professor Barbara-Ann Lewis taught a course that introduced the carbon cycle, uptake and carbon sinks, etc., which at the time were concepts that were gaining media attention.

When you were going to NU, did you know you wanted to work in the "environmental" field?:
Yes - I knew in grade school.

Personal goal:
I hope to convert 20 clients in the next two years from handling certain materials as hazardous waste, such as leftover aerosol cans, to managing them as recyclable materials.

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Judy Dorsey

Name:
Judy Dorsey

Major(s) and minor(s) at NU:
Mechanical Engineering major (1989)

Company/organization you work for:
Brendle Group

Position:
President and Principal Engineer

How your position relates to sustainability:
I serve as the founding president of an engineering consulting firm practicing at the intersection of engineering and sustainability. Our practice areas include energy, water, climate, sustainable design, sustainability planning and management, and sustainable economic development.

Main Duties:
In a leadership and management role, my main duties are strategy and execution around our company mission and vision. This includes forging new sustainability innovations with our collaborators, ensuring quality execution in our commitments to customers, walking the talk with our operational sustainability, and most importantly developing our Brendle Group team.

What was your favorite sustainability-related course or project at NU and why?:
When I was at NU, sustainability wasn’t part of the lexicon yet, so I didn’t really consider sustainability in course selection and there weren’t courses explicitly addressing sustainability.  But serendipity from a scheduling snafu found me in Dr. Barbara Lewis’ “Environmental Literacy” class (within civil engineering) my graduating quarter. It was a life changing experience that defined my career choices thereafter.
 
When you were going to NU, did you know you wanted to work in the "environmental" field?:
I didn’t know I wanted to work in the environmental field until my last quarter after taking the “Environmental Literacy” course.  It was an eye-opening experience where I came to better understand the contribution of engineers, both good and bad, to human and environmental conditions. Since graduating from NU, I have used this lens in shaping my career choices.
 
Personal goal:
My two main goals/projects right now are FortZED, an initiative to convert downtown Fort Collins, CO, including the main campus of Colorado State University, into a net zero energy district (approximately 80 MW footprint covering 5,000 residential and commercial accounts); and C3E-Colorado, an initiative of the United Nations Energy Secretarial (led by the Department of Energy in the U.S.) to advance women in clean energy.

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Ellie Farahani

Name:
Ellie Farahani
 
Graduate Degree:
Master of Business Administration (2008)
 
Company/organization you work for:
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III (WGIII) – Mitigation of Climate Change
 
Position:
Head of Operations
 
How your position relates to sustainability:
WGIII of the IPCC is in charge of assessing all relevant options for mitigating climate change through reducing the sources of greenhouse gas emissions or enhancing activities that remove them from the atmosphere as well as providing policy relevant information to governments, intergovernmental processes, and the public.
 
As it is noted in IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: “Responding to climate change involves an iterative risk management process that includes both mitigation and adaptation, taking into account actual and avoided climate change damages, co-benefits, sustainability, equity and attitudes to risk.” (IPCC 2007:64)

Therefore, WGIII is looking at climate change within the broader context of sustainable development and evaluating how climate change affects individuals as well as specific groups of people throughout the world and over long periods of time.
 
Main Duties:
In support of WGIII Co-Chairs, I steer operational processes in WGIII, including strategic, financial, IT, communication, administrative, and HR processes during the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) cycle. I oversee the technical production of WGIII AR5, a comprehensive global assessment on mitigation of climate change. In addition, I am a member of the writing team for Summary for Policy Makers and Technical Summary of WGIII AR5.

What was your favorite sustainability-related course or project at NU and why?:
My favorite class was the Advanced Negotiations course, it was not a specialized sustainability course, but it provided me with the required skill set to successfully handle complex negotiations in the arena of international climate change science afterwards.

When you were going to NU, did you know you wanted to work in the "environmental" field?
Yes, I have longstanding involvement in sustainability science and environmental studies. During my master and PhD programs in Atmospheric Physics (1999 – 2006) and after, I have obtained in-depth knowledge and multifaceted skills in climate change science, corporate sustainability, science management, and human factors engineering, working for the World Meteorological Organization and the Sustainability Office and Physics Department of the University of Toronto.

While completing my masters at NU and as a consultant, I managed projects in corporate sustainability. As a University of Toronto Joint Fellow, I led a multi-disciplinary research program focusing on integration of systems design, technology, and human behavior to mitigate the risk of climatic changes and changes in supplies of energy and natural resources.

Personal goal:
I believe there are reliable pathways to ensure well-being of the current human population while building a sustainable world for future generations in the era of global changes. My prime passion is to map out these pathways to lead global society towards a prosperous future. An essential prerequisite in implementing such pathways is to realize a common language between policy makers and scientists who work on global change issues. In my current role at IPCC, I am contributing to further communication between these two groups.

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Dylan Hoffman

Name:
Dylan Hoffman
 
Major(s) and minor(s) at NU:
Environmental Science major and Anthropology minor (2000)
 
Company/organization you work for:
Xanterra Parks and Resorts at Yellowstone National Park

Position:
Director of Sustainability
 
How your position relates to sustainability:
As the largest operator in one of the most-visited and most beloved national parks, we have a special responsibility to protect and preserve Yellowstone for the benefit and enjoyment of the people—not just today’s visitors, but future generations of park guests and employees. Our business is entirely dependent on the preservation of a pristine, intact ecosystem, and we strive to provide the best possible guest service with the smallest environmental footprint.
 
Main Duties:
I am responsible for leading park-wide sustainability efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of operations within Yellowstone. Our programs are built on the back of Ecologix, our ISO 14001 certified energy management system and focus on energy efficiency, waste minimization and diversion, sustainable cuisine and retail operations, transportation efficiency, employee and guest education, and compliance with all applicable environmental regulations. By encouraging our more than 3,000 employees and 3.5 million visitors to join in our efforts, we are working to not only maintain an environmental ethic within the park’s boundaries, but drive action well beyond Yellowstone’s borders.
 
What was your favorite sustainability-related course or project at NU and why?:
It wasn’t necessarily a sustainability course, but John Hudson taught a course called “North American Geography” while I was at NU, and I know I wasn’t the only one who loved that class. He taught us that we could have a good time while still managing to glean some solid topical information.
 
When you were going to NU, did you know you wanted to work in the "environmental" field?:
I suppose it was never a conscious decision, but as an outdoorsman, I think I was always predisposed to work in a job based around environmental protection. The time I spent at NU only served to solidify that commitment.
 
Personal goal:
I hope that our work in Yellowstone can inspire the next generation of environmental stewards to take up arms in the ongoing fight. I hope that my grandkids’ grandkids will have the opportunity to go to Yellowstone and experience the park as it is today—teeming with healthy plant and wildlife populations that make the park unique like grizzly bears, cutthroat trout, wolves, pikas, and whitebark pine—as opposed to finding our public lands ravaged by the impacts of a changing climate.

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