2023 Annual Conference Speaker Bios
Paul Benvenuti has been with Reynolds Consumer Products for almost four years and is currently the Sales Director for the Hefty® ReNew Program. He is responsible for the nationwide expansion of this program which is a collaboration between Reynolds Consumer Products and Dow to provide innovative collection and diversion of hard to recycle plastics. To date, the program has diverted over 2400 tons of post-consumer plastics from landfills. Prior to joining Reynolds, Paul spent over 20 years in a sales role with a family-owned recycling company specializing in post commercial and post-industrial plastics. He served as the lead for NPE Recycles in 2015 and 2018 where he helped achieve record recycling rates for the largest plastics show in North America. Additionally, he has lectured at the University of Tampa’s International MBA program, the Resource Recycling Conference and been a panelist for Recycle Florida Today as well as the Florida Recycling Partnership. Originally from New Jersey, Paul earned a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of South Florida in Tampa. He then made Tampa his permanent home and resides there with his wife and daughter.
Lena Chambless is the Program Manager of Recovered Materials and Abatement Program at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. The RMA Program houses the Recovered Materials Unit, Georgia’s Lead & Asbestos Programs, and the Tire Management Unit. This includes regulatory oversight of scrap tire operations, lead-based paint and asbestos abatement contractors, composting operations, material recovery facilities and other beneficial waste processing operations in Georgia. The RMA Program also administers Georgia’s Solid Waste Trust Fund and the Solid Waste Trust Fund Grant Program. Lena is a graduate of the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and has worked in environmental protection with several agencies in Georgia and Florida.
Kim Charick works for EPA Region 4, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Region 4 includes 8 Southeastern States (GA,FL, NC, SC. TN, MS, AL and FL). Since 2011, Kim has focused on Sustainable Materials Management and strengthening the recycling infrastructure including Sustainable Management of Food issues to recover, prevent and reduce food waste working with State Recycling Organizations, local governments, businesses, non-profits, and academia. Kim continues to stay active and believes that healthy living starts with exercise and fresh produce grown in nutrient-rich compost.
Scott Chase, Sales Director for the East region for AMP Robotics, is responsible for growth and expansion through strategic partnerships and opportunities. He has more than 25 years of business development and account management experience. Chase spent nearly 11 years at Casella Waste Systems, in addition to roles at Waste Industries and Waste Management, over the course of his career.
Natasha Dyer is Executive Director of SWEEP Standard. After spending over a decade in the garment manufacturing industry as a production fashion designer, in 2012 Natasha Dyer learned that landfilling organic waste was the 3rd cause of manmade greenhouse gas emissions that was warming the planet. It wasn’t long after that she was pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Urban Sustainability from Antioch University-Los Angeles where all fieldwork and capstone was based on the theory that municipalities should be accelerating the diversion of organics from landfill as a means to mitigate climate change. Within the next decade, she went on to work for a solid waste environmental consultancy (SCS Engineers), a waste hauler (Waste Resources of Gardena) and a City Mayor’s Office (Atlanta), with all work focused on organics waste diversion as part of state and municipal level climate action plans. Now as a lifelong zero waster, she’s excited to join the SWEEP team, where she can expand her focus to helping municipalities nationwide create circular solutions for their entire waste streams.
Keefe Harrison, founder and the CEO of The Recycling Partnership, a national nonprofit dedicated to protecting the planet by fixing recycling and activating a circular economy in the U.S, is an international speaker, media pundit, and environmental author, Keefe is a 22-year veteran of the space, dedicated to engaging companies in making measurable, lasting change. Under her leadership, The Partnership has grown significantly since its founding in 2014 and has transformed $95 million of investment from over 80 funding partners into $241 million in value creation, reaching over one million households and diverting over 770 million incremental pounds of recyclables from landfills. Before recycling, Keefe worked on a logging crew in North Carolina, researched sea turtles in Costa Rica, and studied reindeer husbandry in Finland.
Jon Michael Huls-Garcia (Jon) is a business leader, academician, and eco-advocate whose career spans 53 years and began on Earth Day 1970. Jon is an advisor to the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) and to the Upcyclers Network. He is a director of the national Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Performance Standard, a co-founder of the National Recycling Coalition (1976), and a co-founder of the California Resource Recovery Association (1974). He has provided technical consulting services to many clients, including but not limited to: the United Nations, World Bank, Chemical Manufacturers Assn, and US EPA; Fortune 500 corporations such as Sodexo and Verizon; and over 100 municipalities in the US such as the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, the County of San Bernardino, and the City of Dubuque, in Iowa. He is the founding CEO of Sustainable Environmental Management Co, a 25-year old MBE consultancy. He created a line of edutainment products starting with RecycleUSA. Jon is Professor Emeritus in Sustainable Materials Management at Santa Monica College. And to top it off, he is an ordained minister hencethe nickname “Enviro-Minister.”
Sarah Knapp is a seasoned regulatory and material recovery professional with experience working on a range of local, state, and federal government environmental protection and waste reduction projects. She is the manager of the Recovered Materials Unit for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, where she manages the $3.5 million Solid Waste Trust Fund Grant Program, contracts for state-wide scrap tire abatement and abandoned landfill mitigation, and permitting of material recovery facilities. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and minor in Public Administration, and is a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP BD+C) and an Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP). Sarah is passionate about saving the environment, reducing waste, and educating and inspiring others.
Chris Mahin is Vice President, Sustainability/HSE for Knauf Insulation North America. Chris earned his BS in Environmental Health from Purdue University (Boiler Up). With 25 years of experience within Knauf Insulation, he has managed environmental compliance at the Shelbyville, Indiana manufacturing facility before moving into a regional HSE role supporting compliance and improvement programs for five locations within the US. Chris has been leading the Sustainability/HSE team for two years and looks forward to the challenges ahead for individuals and organizations. As we embark on the challenges around sustainability, Chris leads with a passion to understand all the impacts associated with activities in order for us to reduce those impacts to the fullest extent possible.
Rachel Musetti, Recycling and Waste Diversion Analyst at Cox Enterprises, supports the company’s ambitious sustainability goal to achieve Zero Waste to Landfill by 2024 across three business units and over 300 locations. Rachel also manages the community partnership programs with several nonprofits to invest in and expand recycling infrastructure across the United States as part of Cox’s mission to drive positive environmental change both within its four walls and the communities it serves. Rachel is a certified TRUE Advisor and a SWANA Certified Practitioner in Zero Waste Principles and Practices with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Sustainability Sciences from Emory University.
Abbey Mullaney Patterson is a Senior Consultant with Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) and owner of AMP Consulting Services, LLC. Abbey combines her understanding of the solid waste and recycling permitting process and collection service with her understanding of local politics. For over a decade Abbey managed municipal contracts as Market Development Manager for one of the top two largest waste and recycling companies. In that position she became the intermediary between locally elected officials and the waste company, allowing her to better understand the political and economic drivers associated with waste and recycling collection services. Abbey has also been involved in recycling and sustainable practices for sporting arenas and events. She designed and implemented recycling and waste management infrastructures for three Olympic Organizing Committees – Atlanta in 1996, Sydney, Australia in 2000 and Salt Lake City in 2002. Abbey draws from her 25 years of experience in the industry to provide zero waste solutions for both the public and private sectors. She serves in the Program Committee for the Georgia Recycling Coalition and is presently on the Board of Live-Thrive Atlanta, home of CHaRM-Atlanta.
Leonard Robinson, a proud father and grandfather, serves as the Sustainability Coordinator for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta. He is entrusted with creating a Sustainability vision; mission and program for 1.3 million Catholics; 103 parishes, 18 Catholic schools in northern Georgia. He is also a Partner and Chief Sustainability Officer with the consulting firm SEMCO. He has traveled along a distinctive career path navigating the unusual path of wastewater plants to superfund sites to steel mills to radio studios to working for Governors giving him a unique, solutions-oriented perspective into the sustainability field. Currently residing in Atlanta Georgia, he has a successful track record in the public: private; non-profit and faith-based sectors with over 45 years of experience in sustainability. During his journey, he has served as an appointee for four California Governors on both sides of the aisle. He often remarks, “I didn’t find my career…my career found me”. Leonard is inspired by his love of God; humanity; and the environment.
Candace Rutherford manages Brightmark’s feedstock consultant team and oversees supply relationships, sourcing efforts, and strategic planning. She is a 25-year veteran of the post-consumer and post-industrial recycling space. She received her B.A. in Public Relations from Western Kentucky University and resides in Montgomery, Alabama.
Christy Sapp, Strategic Feedstock Sourcing Director at Nexus, brings 15 years of sales, marketing, and business development experience in the specialty chemical industry. Christy is developing and executing multi-dimensional national feedstock sourcing strategies to secure used plastic scrap from resin producers, plastic converters and the hygiene / healthcare segment, diverting hard-to-recycle materials from landfill to Nexus Circular’s advanced recycling solution. Christy holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology, lives on St Simons Island, and has spent her entire career in the sustainability and recycling sectors. She began working at Pinova in Brunswick as a technical service chemist for bio-derived resins, progressing to global account management and business development roles and collaborating directly with a number of Fortune 500 companies, as Pinova was acquired by DRT and then Firmenich. Prior to joining Nexus, Christy also directed Global Business Development for GreenMantra Technologies, a Canadian advanced recycler, creating new markets and applications for their specialty waxes derived from recycled plastics.
Mark Steadman is a recent addition to the Call2Recycle Team and is an anomaly in the environmental industry. His undergraduate & graduate work was adolescent psychology in clinical treatment. Mark has been in the environmental industry for over 24 years and has a wealth of experience in solid waste, recycling and hazardous waste, through his previous roles at SMI (Strategic Materials, Inc.), SONOCO, WM (Waste Management, Inc.), US Ecology, and most recently, Cirba Solutions. His expertise in battery management, services and solutions, will help him focus to augment national battery collection efforts.
Matt Todd is a senior consultant for RRS. His 25 years of waste and recycling experience derive from direct public sector service and private sector business and consulting. His expertise in solid waste and recycling programs, end markets, grant programs, and the circular economy has placed him in front of various organizations, including corporations, municipalities, NGOs, private recycling companies, and universities. Matt has guided organizations toward sustainability, identified opportunities for community recycling improvements, and assisted trade organizations to execute material recovery strategies Matt lives in Durham, NC and has a BS in Environmental Science from Virginia Tech.
Mason Towe is the Waste Reduction Manager in the University of Georgia Office of Sustainability. His team provides campus solid waste, recycling, and compost collection services , as well as strategic planning for campus-wide Waste Reduction goals, policies, infrastructure, and education. Prior to UGA, Mason worked for the Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division as an expert in recycling, compost, and other waste reduction education and outreach. UGA Office of Sustainability is currently diving into the concept of “Campus As A Living Laboratory,” starting with waste reduction as an operational function that can serve as a learning model for students, faculty, and staff, as well as a research and education opportunity to enhance on-campus facilities and services. Mason also currently serves on the board of the Georgia Recycling Coalition. Mason graduated from UGA in 2016 with degrees in Economics and Sociology, minor in Environmental Law, and certificates in sustainability and environmental ethics.
Ryan Walden is the CTO and co-founder of ECGO. Ryan graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelors in Computer Science and has a background in Artificial Intelligence Research and Development. He’s spent the past two and a half years transforming companies through work in big data and machine learning. He has always been passionate about technology that makes our world a better place.
Malte Weiland, Senior Sustainability Project Manager for the Georgia Institute of Technology, oversees strategic projects related to the sustainable operations of the campus. These include the efficient management of energy, water, and waste through their utilization in the built environment. He is also very active in supporting sustainability initiatives with partners on and off campus, with a particular focus on food access. In addition, he strives to incorporate Living-Learning-Lab principles in his work, frequently engaging students and student organization in collaborative projects. His previous work was also focused on sustainability in both the public and private sectors, working first for the University of South Carolina and later at AGCO Corp.