Sustain Dane: The Ecosystem of Food Waste Solutions
Date & Time: Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 8-10am
Location: Zendesk 25 W Main St 7th floor Madison, WI 53703
The Ecosystem of Food Waste Solutions: Understanding biodigestion, food scraps pilots, composting and more.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more food waste reaches landfills than any other single material in our everyday trash. Join us for a deep dive into the important environmental topic of food waste and the ways in which we can gain value through new approaches. Learn about the experience of Zendesk’s San Francisco office with municipal composting and their overall corporate approach to sustainability from Todd Lienart and DeShawn Witter. Jessica Niekrasz at Clean Fuel Partners will discuss how biodigestion provides farmers the means to manage food production waste in an economical and environmentally friendly manner. Then hear about Findorff’s recent launch of composting from Ben Austin, Findorff’s Sustainability Lead. Finally Charlie Romines, Madison’s Streets Superintendent, will provide a status update about the City of Madison’s food scraps pilot program and a vision for future initiatives. Solutions for managing food waste can accelerate community wellbeing.
As a Director on the Zendesk Corporate Social Responsibility team, Todd is responsible for showcasing how the Zendesk brand lives it’s values through social responsibility commitments; such as using Zendesk technology for social good, defining Zendesk environmental commitments, and developing thought leadership to our global communities on how this helps build a better customer experiences for businesses. Todd has over 20 years of experience in technology companies.
DeShawn connects Zendesk’s office to impactful corporate social responsibility in the Greater Madison area. Specifically, DeShawn fosters meaningful relationships and impact funding to advance the mission of each organization where Zendesk invests resources. In 2017, he joined the Zendesk Social Impact Team, expanding Zendesk’s bandwidth and overall impact for a rapidly-growing Madison office. In this opportunity, DeShawn states that “volunteering was the best way to learn about Madison and Dane County” in order to better know, serve, and engage Zendesk partner orgs. Currently, DeShawn also has the exciting role of providing grant award and corporate sponsorship opportunities for Dane County non-profit organizations.
Jessica Niekrasz, Clean Fuel Partners’ Vice President, oversees day-to-day operations, develops and implements CFP’s strategic plan, and provides instructional leadership to the entire team. She ensures that CFP’s endeavors are rooted in the core principles of the company; Performance, Innovation and Advocacy. She is the driving force behind the Wisconsin Biomass Energy Coalition (WBEC), bringing stakeholders together and initiating conversation on nutrient management while advocating for policy change.
Ben Austin, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, Fitwel Amb.
Ben brings over 10 years of experience to his role as Findorff’s Sustainability Lead. His efforts range from the implementation of environmentally friendly building practices to spearheading Findorff Footprint, an in-house group of experts who drive all sustainability efforts on Findorff’s projects and throughout the company as a whole.
As Madison’s streets superintendent, Charlie oversees a staff of over 180 employees and the planning and management of Streets Division programs. Those operations include, snow and ice control, solid waste management (including the current Food Waste Collection Pilot Program) and street maintenance.
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