External Advisory Board
The External Advisory Board (formerly the Visiting Committee) serves to advance the mission of the School for Environment and Sustainability of the University of Michigan and promote academic excellence among its faculty, staff, and students. Its 10 members represent the Leaders and Best in the field of environment and sustainability, bringing a wide range of business, academic, government, and nonprofit backgrounds. The committee visits the Dana Building twice per year and advises the dean on all matters related to the school.
Amanda Marie Edmonds (SNRE MS ’05)
AM Edmonds LLC, Artist & Owner of AMEPIX, and former Mayor of the City of Ypsilanti, Michigan (2014-18)
Amanda Marie Edmonds is a consultant, AM Edmonds LLC, Artist & Owner of AMEPIX, and former Mayor of the City of Ypsilanti, Michigan (2014-18).
A consultant, strategist, and educator in food systems, sustainability, social enterprise, and nonprofits, Edmonds has more than 20 years of experience as a positive change maker. She retired in 2017 as the founding executive director of Growing Hope, a 15-year -old nonprofit dedicated to helping people grow and access healthy food, whose work included farmers markets, urban agriculture, youth development, and good food policy. In that role she became a leader in sustainable and local food policy, including as a founding member and vice chair of the Washtenaw Food Policy Council, a gubernatorial appointee to the MI Food Policy Council, and having successfully supported the development and passage of food related policies from local to state levels. She brings these decades of experience to her work as a consultant with nonprofit, foundation, and university clients. She travels nationally as a speaker and a trainer.
Between 2014-2018, Edmonds served in elected office as the Mayor of the City of Ypsilanti, Michigan, a diverse and historic urban community of 20,000 residents in southeast Michigan, where she was driven by how to create sustainable and equitable communities. Additionally, during nearly eight years serving Ypsilanti’s Downtown Development Authority, she helped this body develop vision and strategy to most effectively support our invigorated commercial districts.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Edmonds co-founded a nonprofit called Snail while in high school, and served on her school board at age 16. She has lived in Michigan since the mid 1990s, and is a twice alum from the University of Michigan’s School of Environment and Sustainability. Edmonds has served on many boards from local to national levels, including as chair of the Washtenaw County MSU-Extension Advisory Council, many years of service on the Ypsilanti Parks & Recreation Commission, on the leadership team of the Ypsilanti Health Coalition, and six years on the bi-national board of the American Community Gardening Association, among others. Honors include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women Business Owners of Southeast Michigan. Twilight Foundation Award, Brown Chapel AME Brotherhood Award, and ATHENA Award for Young Emerging Leaders. She was featured in the book “Practical Idealists: Changing the World and Getting Paid” and has been highlighted in Organic Gardening magazine. In 2016 she became a Marshall Memorial Fellow, and traveled in Spring 2017 on a month long diplomatic trip around Europe engaging in transatlantic relations with leaders from the US and Europe.
Edmonds is also an avid gardener (and newbie beekeeper), photographer, and runs a creative business— AMEPIX— selling jewelry and other items she designs and creates, many inspired by her deep love for plants and insects.
Andrea (AJ) Grant
President, Environmental Communication Associates, Inc. (ECA)
Andrea Grant is President of Environmental Communication Associates, Inc. (ECA). She has been a pioneering force in communicating complex issues to the public and cause-related marketing for over 30 years. Grant and ECA are well known for providing leading edge public campaigns, strategic marketing, branding, public outreach, media and risk communications to business, government and nonprofits. The Boulder Business & Professional Women Association named Grant the 2014 “Woman of the Year in Business.” Grant’s clients include: Honda North America, Rocky Flats, Alfalfa’s Market, Sun Oil, Roche, Alpha Owens Corning, BHP Billiton, Lockheed Martin, British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Rocky Mountain National Park, US Green Building Council (launched the LEED certification), Hearst, Good Housekeeping, Humane Society of the United States, FEMA, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and the Vatican.
Present and Recent Boards include: Western Resource Advocates (Boulder, Colorado), National Parks Conservation Association (SW Region), National Outdoor Leadership School, Lander, Wyoming, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, (Denver, Colorado), and the Alaska Conservation Foundation.
Grant has also written highly acclaimed curricula on environmentally related topics for high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. She co-founded the Big Green Rabbit, a multimedia children’s company that packages environmental and health topics using multimedia and digital platforms to reach millions of families and kids around the world. Big Green Rabbit won 4 Emmys, 2 Webby Awards, Parents Choice Awards, and has received over 85 million hits on YouTube. Big Green Rabbit performs annually at the White House Easter Egg Roll.
Grant has studied at Hobart and William Smith, University of Colorado – Environmental Science / Geology, the Rocky Mountain College of Art, and the National Outdoor Leadership School.
Chad Spitler (SNRE B.S. ‘92)
Partner – Head of Sustainability Advisory Practice, CamberView
Chad Spitler is a Partner at CamberView, a boutique advisory firm that provides public companies with the advice and expertise they need to succeed with their institutional investors. Chad also heads the firm’s advisory services on sustainable business practices. Prior to joining CamberView, Spitler spent 15 years at BlackRock, most recently as Managing Director and COO for the Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment team.
In his role as Partner, Spitler advises CamberView’s boards, C-Suite, and management teams on shareholder engagement; environmental, social, and governance (ESG) integration; proxy voting operations; and sustainable business practices.
“Chad has been a leader in developing the approach among mainstream investors towards the environmental, social, and sustainability efforts of their portfolio companies,” said Abe Friedman, CamberView’s CEO. “Our clients are increasingly receiving inquiry from their investors about the sustainability of their business and business practices… With the team Chad is building at CamberView, public companies will now have an unparalleled resource for getting ahead of investor demands on sustainability.”
Spitler earned his Bachelor of Science degree at SNRE, as well as an MA from the University of Colorado. He is a member of the Broadridge Steering Committee, the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), and the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).
Jessica Hellmann (SNRE B.S. ‘96)
Director, Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota
Jessica Hellmann is the director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. As director, she provides overall strategic leadership for the Institute, an internationally recognized organization working to solve grand environmental challenges, while promoting interdisciplinary research, teaching and leadership across the university and engaging external partners and stakeholders. She is also the Russell M. and Elizabeth M. Bennett Chair in Excellence in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior in the College of Biological Sciences.
Hellmann’s research focuses on global change ecology and climate adaptation. She led an important paradigm shift in ecology and natural resource management by showing that adaptation — living with climate change — is just as crucial to the future of humanity and Earth’s ecosystems as slowing and stopping greenhouse gas emissions. Hellmann regularly counsels state and national governments on habitat management, restoration and endangered species conservation, and has extended her work on climate change adaptation to human systems, including health, infrastructure, food and water. She has co-authored several climate assessment and adaptation planning efforts, including the biodiversity and ecosystem portions of the Chicago Climate Action Plan and the 2014 National Climate Assessment. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Great Plains Institute, and the Science Advisory Council of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.
Hellmann holds a BS in Ecology and Natural Resource Management from the University of Michigan. She earned her Ph.D. in biology from Stanford University and served as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Biodiversity Research. She is an alumna of Stanford’s Leopold Leadership Program and a recipient of a career enhancement fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
Kate Elliott (M.B.A. ’08)
Tesla, Southeast Region Manager for Charging infrastructure
Kate currently serves as Tesla’s Southeast Region Manager for Charging infrastructure, responsible for scouting, designing and building public stations for electric vehicle charging. Before joining Tesla, Kate served for 6 years as Director of Global Food Sourcing with Walmart’s Southeast team.
Kate is an expert in strategic planning and execution of global corporate sustainability programs.
Before serving on staff at large, publicly traded corporations, Kate worked as a management consultant, leading strategic management initiatives for global transportation, bioinnovation, manufacturing, ICT, food/beverage and energy companies. She has analyzed carbon offsets for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, and conducted a GHG emissions analysis of energy infrastructure expansion plans for the federal government of Eritrea. Kate designed a joint industry-government project to certify globally traded sustainable biofuels in Africa, Brazil and the U.S., working with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels and the UN Foundation. She has also worked on supply chain management protocols for one of the worlds leading companies in ICT, designed strategic GHG emissions management programs for key members of the oil and gas industry, and assisted global shipping and fleet management companies in the verification, analysis and strategic management of their GHG emissions.
Prior to obtaining her MBA, Kate was a Project Manager with the U.S Department of the Interior, leading stakeholder engagement for Florida Everglades eco-restoration policies. Kate has also served as a Corporate Responsibility Associate with the Coca Cola Company, as well as a Policy Specialist for the National Environmental Trust, where she conducted outreach to key industry representatives to determine tax incentives and policies to support energy efficient appliances for the state of Michigan. Kate is a co-author of “Rainforest Expeditions: Planning for the Future”, and “Michigan at a Climate Crossroads: Strategies for Guiding the State in a Carbon Constrained World”. She holds both an MBA and MS from University of Michigan; BS from University of Vermont.
Kerry C. Duggan (SNRE MS ’06)
Partner in the Sustainability Practice of RIDGE-LANE LP
Ms. Duggan served as Deputy Director for Policy in the Office of Vice President Joe Biden, providing direct advice to the Vice President on policy issues, including energy, the environment, climate, national security, infrastructure, clean technology, water, resilient cities, and urban revitalization, finance and R&D. She simultaneously served as Deputy Director of the White House’s Detroit task force.
Prior to, Duggan served as the Secretary of Energy’s Liaison to the City of Detroit where her key areas of focus were the street lighting conversion to LEDs, manufacturing, renewable power generation, energy efficiency and sustainable transportation. Her previous roles at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) include Director of Stakeholder Engagement, Director of Legislative, Regulatory & Urban Affairs, and Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.
She also led the federal political and campaigns activities for the non-partisan national League of Conservation Voters, where she worked directly with hundreds of candidates and campaigns in support of a clean energy future at the local, state, and federal level, including direct interviews of major candidates for U.S. House, Senate, and Presidential races.
Duggan earned her B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont and her M.S. in Natural Resource Policy & Behavior from the University of Michigan, where she helped frame the national Coping with Climate Change Summit, and co-authored “Downtown Detroit in Focus: A Profile of Market Opportunity” with The Brookings Institution.
She is also co-founder of the national Smart Cities Lab, which helps cities accelerate the process of solving urban mobility, climate and equity-related challenges. Duggan serves on the External Advisory Boards of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise and School for Environment & Sustainability at the University of Michigan. She is also a Board Member of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.
Laura Rubin (SNRE M.S. ’95, M.B.A, ‘95)
Executive Director, Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC)
Laura Rubin has spent more than 25 years working on environmental protection, policy, and conservation issues. She has worked since 1998 as executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC), where she oversees a staff of 15 professionals and more than 500 volunteers dedicated to protecting and restoring the river for healthy and vibrant communities.
Rubin has served as a board member or advisor to local, state, and national organizations including the Michigan Environmental Council, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Great Lakes Integrated Science and Assessment Center, the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources Alumnae Committee, the City of Ann Arbor’s Greenbelt Commission, and others. For her national leadership in river protection, she received the River Network’s 2013 River Hero Award.
Prior to leading HRWC, Rubin worked with small and medium sized manufacturers on pollution prevention efforts, consulted on economic development strategy with the Navajo Nation, and served as a Program Director at Greenpeace, where she cut her teeth on policy development, community organizing, and environmental advocacy.
Originally from the Chicago area, Rubin grew up a block from Lake Michigan and learned to love and appreciate the beautiful waters, recreational opportunities, and rich ecology of the Great Lakes.
Rubin earned Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Natural Resource Policy at the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute, and a Bachelor of Arts in business economics from Colorado College.
Mark Retzloff (SNR B.S. ’70)
Chairman, Natural Habitats Group
Mark Retzloff is a pioneer in the organic and natural foods industry with a 48-year career starting and managing successful companies. Currently the Chairman of Natural Habitat Group’s Board, Retzloff co-founded Alfalfa’s, a Boulder-based natural foods store, and Aurora Organic Dairy, whose board he currently serves on.
Retzloff started his career in natural foods retail as co-founder of Eden Foods, Rainbow Grocery, and the original Alfalfa’s Market, which merged with Wild Oats Markets in 1996. Retzloff went on to become one of the co-founders of Horizon Organic Dairy. There he served as Chairman, CEO and President International. He then became Chairman of Rudi’s Organic Bakery where he helped execute a successful turn-around.
He lends his knowledge as a board member and advisor to emerging companies which have included Blue Horizon Organic Seafood, Tempt Hemp Milk, Sambazon Acai, Evol Burritos, Boulder Ice Cream, BlueSun BioDiesel, Traditional Medicinals and Crocs Footwear. Retzloff is a founding partner at Greenmont Capital Partners, and serves as Chairman Emeritus of The Organic Center and he is a board member of RSF Social Finance. Retzloff sits on the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability, Dean’s External Advisory Board and the Advisory Board for the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems. He also serves on the Board of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship and the Center for Education and Social Responsibility at University of Colorado’s LEEDS School of Business. He is also a member of CSU’s CASE, Center for Advancement of Sustainable Enterprise.
Retzloff received his BS in Environmental Studies from the University of Michigan and has received several awards, including the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Leadership award, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Entrepreneur of the Year award, Naturally Boulder’s Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame.
Martin D. Cargas (SNR B.S. ’81)
Senior Advisor, McLarty Associates
Martin (Marty) D. Cargas is a Senior Advisor with in the food and agriculture practice at McLarty Associates, an international government relations and strategic business consulting firm located in Washington, DC. McLarty represents multinational companies and organizations that have issues outside of the United States with a particular emphasis on Latin America and developing markets.
Cargas was formerly Vice President – Government & Environmental Affairs for Anheuser-Busch International, Inc., the international beer subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch Companies. In his role with A-B, Cargas was responsible for managing the company’s relations with governments outside of the United States as well as managing the company’s international environmental and sustainability programs. Prior to his career in international relations, Cargas practiced environmental and corporate law in St. Louis.
Cargas is a board member of the U.S.-China Education Trust and is a frequent lecturer at local universities. He is an Ann Arbor native, and holds a law degree from Hofstra University, as well as a master’s degree in International Business Studies from St. Louis University.
Paul Freedman (MS Eng ’73)
Co-Founder and CEO of LimnoTech
Paul Freedman is Co-Founder and CEO of LimnoTech, a science and engineering consultancy recognized for its expertise and pioneering innovations on water issues since 1975. He personally and through his company has overseen thousands of studies and projects in every US state and on 6 continents on behalf of local, state, federal and international agencies, water and energy utilities, large corporations, institutes and nonprofits. Mr. Freedman’s research and consulting have focused on water quality, water resource and watershed management, remediation/restoration and water sustainability, with a particular specialty on use of data and computer modeling for decision support. He has over 250 publications and presentations on technical, regulatory, policy and scientific issues. He has chaired 5 national and international conferences, chaired or participated in scores of workshops and panels, and has been a member of three National Academy of Sciences, expert panels on water quality and watershed management issues.
Freedman is a Past President of the Water Environment Federation, a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 35,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. He is an American Academy of Environmental Engineers Board Certified Professional Engineer and a Fellow of American Society of Civil Engineers and the Water Environment Federation. He is the recipient of numerous national and regional awards recognizing his contributions to the field. He has a Bachelors of Science Engineering and a Masters Civil-Water Resource Engineering both from the University of Michigan. He has been on advisory councils for both the University of Michigan Water Center and the Civil-Environmental Engineering Department.
Peter C. Mertz (SNR B.S.F. ’74; M.B.A. ’81)
Chairman and CEO, Global Forest Partners LP
Peter C. Mertz is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Global Forest Partners LP. Mertz’s responsibilities include setting the strategic direction of the firm and the development and implementation of investment strategies. In addition to his responsibilities as CEO, Mertz is Chief Investment Officer; is the chairperson of the Investment and Compensation Committees; and serves on the Boards of eight private equity timberfunds.
Prior to co-founding GFP, Mertz served as Managing Director of UBS Timber Investors where, since 1997, he directed the firm’s timberland investment capabilities.
Mertz is a certified forester and member of the Society of American Foresters. He serves as a Trustee and a member of the Investment Committee for the Montshire Museum of Science; serves on the External Advisory Board for the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan; and is a member of the National Advisory Board for the Michigan Congenital Heart Center.
Mertz holds a BS in Natural Resources (Forestry) and an MBA from the University of Michigan.
Roger G. Anderson (SNR B.S. ’71)
Principal Advisor, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Retired)
Roger Anderson recently retired as a Principal Advisor with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Seattle, Washington, which is managed by Battelle Memorial Institute. His early technical assignments in natural resources planning and assessment provided the basis for later management roles in in environment, energy, national security and public health. He focused his career in research and development, and his experience is primarily international in scope, having completed projects in Venezuela, Guyana, Ukraine, Australia, the Republic of Georgia, and a five-year resident assignment as Director of Strategic Business Development for the National Nuclear Laboratory in the UK.
Anderson’s emphasis over the past two decades was placed on international science and technology capacity building, and the sustainment of new and existing S&T institutions. Anderson was successful with a variety of business and institutional models, cultures, and economic and technical challenges, including extensive negotiations and management interactions with host country partners and other officials.
He holds a BS in Natural Resources (Forestry) from the University of Michigan and an MS in Forest Ecology / Remote Sensing from the University of Illinois.
Stephen Simmons (SNR B.S. ’67, B.S.F. ’69)
Manager-Owner, Kiawah Consulting Group
Steve Simmons spent much of his career working in the field of environmental consulting for large engineering companies involving environmental studies of energy and natural resources development projects for hydroelectric power and nuclear energy, as well as water supply and water management projects domestically and internationally. In addition, as work evolved to clean up the nation’s vast number of hazardous waste contaminated sites, he has managed contaminated site restoration projects under federal and state programs including the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program. He later worked with site owners involved in contaminated site restoration to negotiate clean-up strategies with the US EPA and the US Department of Justice, saving site owner’s substantial investments to arrive at fair and equitable allocation of liability and balanced restoration plans that led to implemented site restoration and the delisting of Superfund sites following clean up.
Simmons built consulting staffs during his career managing a large engineering company’s western environmental consulting business in significant disciplines including those that have studied marine mammals in the Bering Sea, North Pacific and Arctic environments. His responsibilities involved managing business units that worked to establish second generation high-level nuclear waste disposal site analyses and nuclear waste cleanup solutions at USDOE complexes. He led work in the commercialization of landfill gas-to-energy projects and worked to coalesce investment in these projects amongst multiple parties under federal programs that created investment incentives.
In his latest engagements, where he works as a consultant in his own business, Simmons provides individualized consulting services developing and implementing turnaround strategies and business betterment roadmaps for engineering and technical firms that have lost their competitive edge. In this role he has converted firms that had lost focus into profitable businesses, prepared them for sale, and worked through the sale process to meet owners’ objectives. He currently provides strategic and operational advice to a business in the construction quality assurance market, a marine services business, and a mid-sized engineering and environmental services company where he works on mergers and acquisition strategy. Simmons also provides litigation consulting services to establish strategies in concert with attorneys in the management of complex environmental litigation involving insurance matters.
Simmons graduated from the University of Michigan with BS and BSF degrees.
Telva M. McGruder
Director of Global Facilities Engineering and Manufacturing Operations for General Motors
Telva McGruder is the Director of Global Facilities Engineering and Manufacturing Operations for General Motors. Named to this position in August of 2016, Telva leads facility engineering for the GM global footprint as well as facility management strategy for North American manufacturing facilities. Responsibilities include the procurement of energy, energy efficiency initiatives, coordination of contractual agreements and material handling strategy for facility services in North America.
Previously, Telva was Die Program Manager for Global Body Manufacturing Engineering. In this role, she led the team responsible for tool and die strategy, planning, quality and launch for global vehicle programs. Prior to this role, she held positions of increasing responsibility and influence within manufacturing engineering and at several manufacturing locations where she motivated teams to rethink the possible in project execution, maintenance, quality, operations and labor negotiations. Telva earned her BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.
Along with her professional accomplishments, Telva is dedicated to teaching and leading others inside and outside of General Motors. She enjoys mentoring professionals as well as motivating students. Telva serves as a mentor for FIRST FRC high school robotics teams and is a volunteer for A World in Motion, an SAE program. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan where she supports the Council in developing young ladies of courage, confidence and character.
William H. Banzhaf (SNR B.S.F. ’67)
President, Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (Retired)
William Banzhaf retired in 2007 from his position as President of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc., independent 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. A 15-member multi-stakeholder board of directors and a seven person staff oversee and implement the Sustainable Forestry Initiative ® Standard, the most widely used forest certification standard in North America (over 200,000,000 acres third party certified). Prior to his work with the SFI, he served as the Executive Vice President for the Society of American Foresters (SAF) from 1988 to 2002. In addition, Banzhaf served as President of George Banzhaf & Company, a consulting firm with a national practice specializing in forest land valuation and present and future projections of sustainable wood supply for the forest products industry, from 1967 to 1988.
Banzhaf has held or holds positions on the boards of a numerous professional organizations including the Sustainable Forestry Board, Roundtable on Sustainable Forests, Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives, Pinchot Institute of Conservation, Seventh American Forest Congress, Natural Resource Council of America, USDA, National Commission on Wildfire and National Council on Private Forests, the Michigan Nature Conservancy, and the Association of Consulting Foresters. He currently lectures at Northern Michigan University on Leadership.
He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1967 with a BS in Forestry (one year graduate degree) and from the University of Colorado in 1964 with a BA in History/Political Science.