Tune in to Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) this Saturday to hear Tom Eggert, the executive director of the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, discuss business, sustainability, and the upcoming 2016 Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference.

Eggert was interviewed for “Newsmakers,” which is a weekly news talk show produced by WPR’s La Crose News Bureau. The segment will be re-broadcasted on La Crosse’s 88.9 WLSU on Saturday at 5 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Click here to listen and read the article.



mick-schwedlerMick has been involved in the development and support of HVAC systems for Trane since 1982. As manager of applications engineering his areas of expertise include system optimization (in which he holds patents) and chilled water system design. His primary activities include assisting designers in proper application of Trane products and systems in buildings, and writing system application manuals and newsletters. In addition, he has presented technical information to tens of thousands of engineers through Trane’s Engineers Newsletter Live series, and ASHRAE webcasts. Mick has given technical seminars throughout North America, as well as in the Far East and South America, and published a number of articles within the industry. Prior to his work with Trane, Mick received his MSME from the University of Wisconsin Solar Energy Laboratory and BSME from Northwestern University.

An ASHRAE Fellow and recipient of ASHRAE’s Exceptional Service, Distinguished Service, and Standards Achievement Awards, Mick presently serves on the Board of Directors and was Chair of SSPC 90.1 (responsible for 90.1-2010). From an environmental perspective, Mick has served on several USGBC technical and education groups and chairs the LEED Technical Committee. He also autbertram-tiehored portions of the ASHRAE Green Building Guide and has served on technical groups for the New Buildings Institute.


Randy joined the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) in 2006. He currently serves as the Director of Sustainability Services. In this role he serves as Program Manager for the Wisconsin Profitable Sustainability Initiative (PSI) and the Milwaukee E3 Initiative (ME3). Both programs have been highly effective at helping manufacturers realize improved business and environmental outcomes. Since 2010 WMEP, through the PSI and ME3 programs have assisted more than 200 Wisconsin Manufacturers increase revenue, lower cost, and significantly reduce their environmental footprint. He has more than 35 years manufacturing experience. He is a graduate of Moraine Park Technical College and Cardinal Stritch University.

Jim is an Eau Clairjim-vaudreuile native and is a 1980 graduate UW Eau Claire where he majored in Accounting and minored in Philosophy. He is President and CEO of Huebsch Services, a family owned, Eau Claire based, textile services company founded by his great-grandfather in 1891. Jim is been active with many non-profit, civic, and industry organizations and recently served as the chairman of the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley.

Inspired by The Natural Step, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating businesses and communities about green solutions, and coached by Gunnar Andréen of Malmö, Sweden, Huebsch Services set up the Index 100 measurement system to manage our improvement process. Index 100 is the starting point from which goals are set and progress is tracked. It starts with educating our employees about various green solutions and getting them to look for ways to improve. It also involves capturing accurate and useful data, and determining a common denominator (ex. tracking water consumption in gallons/pound of soiled product processed). Huebsch Services is constantly striving to find ways to improve our planet through green solutions that will make a difference.

Huebsch Services has achieved Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA) Clean Green Certification. This program recognizes industrial laundry companies that demonstrate responsible leadership in sustainability and conservation to protect the environment. The certification acknowledges the company’s continuing commitment to best environmental practices by improving efficiencies in water and energy conservation, and its adoption of best management practices for reusing, reclaiming and recycling resources.

This week several of our conference speakers were featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in an article discussing the leadership role businesses have taken in Wisconsin around sustainability.

Tom Eggert, the executive director of the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, spoke about why multinational businesses are pledging themselves to meeting science-based emissions reduction targets. He says, “They’re doing it because they can save money, they’re doing it to reduce risk, they’re doing it because customers are asking about what they’re doing to be green, and they’re doing it because investors are asking them and because their employees want to feel good about their business.”

Kathy Kuntz of Cool Choices also adds that “[a]n increasing number of companies are starting to see climate change as a risk to their operations, whether it’s about their supply chain, specific resource issues or whatever.” In addition to meeting market demand coming from employees and consumers, businesses must also adapt their business models for pure survival reasons.

Jack Wilson from Box Latch Products, who was also interviewed, spoke about sustainability in the export market. Compared to other countries, the United States is behind on implementing sustainable business practices. While this at first may be somewhat disconcerting, in reality, this creates room for significant innovation and creativity in the future.

For example, Box Latch Products has demonstrated the viability of sustainable business. By replacing tape with box latches, companies using these latches can reduce their cost while simultaneously maximizing environmental benefits by encouraging the reuse versus the recycle of boxes.

Click here to read the full article.

Hope to see you at the 2016 Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference!

Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference: A Solution for Everyone



Join us on December 8th to learn from and speak with these four women involved in sustainability across Wisconsin!

thurman_majo-196x300Majo Thurman

Ms. Majo Thurman is the Director Environmental, Health and Safety at Rockwell Automation based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  As Director, she is responsible for global EHS compliance and performance.  The headquarters team, currently 23 global professionals, provides strategy and drives implementation of common program. The HQ EHS team also conducts compliance audits globally.

Majo has a strong background in management systems, and she is the project lead for producing the Rockwell Automation Corporate Responsibility Report.

In addition, Majo holds a leadership role with the Professional Women’s Council, an internal employee resource group with a mission to assist Rockwell women achieve their own career goals.

Majo earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and a Masters of Science degree in environmental engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Kim Floodkimberly-r-flood_headshot_compressed-200x300

Kimberly has 15 years of experience consulting across corporate, government, and non-profit clients. She helps organizations increase their effectiveness, drive sustainability, and navigate transformational change. At UL Environment, Kimberly is currently providing clients guidance on self-declared environmental claims and client programs that recognize products with environmental improvement innovations. Previously, Kimberly led Accenture’s North American Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility program while also leading change management consulting projects. She received her BA in Psychology with an Environmental Studies Certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with Honors in the Liberal Arts.


untitled-21-200x300Leah Samson

Leah Samson has been passionate about sustainability since her formative years in Minnesota. Ms. Samson earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Science at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently Leah is Interim Executive Director at WasteCap Resource Solutions, a non-profit organization transforming waste into resources. She is a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design + Construction as well as Operations + Maintenance. Previously, she worked in process engineering and was owner and president of Madison Environmental Group, providing service-oriented consulting, greenhouse gas emission assessments, and sustainability planning to a variety of clients for six years. Volunteering is central to Leah’s passion and dedication. She has formed strong ties with the following organizations: International  Facility Management Association-Madison (IFMA-Madison; past president), U.S. Green Building Council-Wisconsin, and the Living Building Challenge. In her downtime, Leah enjoys spending time with her children, friends and family as well as exploring wild Wisconsin.


Mandy Goetschprofile-jan-2016-2-2-275x300

Amanda graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Master’s degree focused on sustainable business, systematic ecological conservation and social responsibility.  Soon after, she landed a unique opportunity working in the private sector as a sustainability leader, focusing on responsible business innovation and improvement.  Over the last almost four years under a collaborative attitude Inpro has become a true thought leader in their industry when it comes to creating a more resilient future for the business itself as well as its customers and surrounding community.


Barbara Nick joined Dairyland Power Cooperative in December 2014 as President and CEO and has over 35 years in the energy industry.

Under her leadership, Dairyland Power Cooperative has focused on resource diversification and sustainability. Dairyland’s recent solar investment will nearly double the solar generation in Wisconsin and the cooperative has also announced a 98 MW wind power project.

As an advocate of strong and principled leadership, Nick is the author and editor of Lenses of Leadership, A Call to Action.

An engaged community member, she has over 25 years of board service. In September 2015, Nick was appointed for a six-year term to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), which includes oversight of state funds valued at over $100 billion.

Nick and her husband live in La Crosse and are proud parents and grandparents.  They share a hobby of teaching children about literacy and science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) through their books and activities.

Nick earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Business from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and has completed Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

We are excited to announce that Kellen Frable, from Cool Choices, will be moderating the Employee Engagement breakout session featuring Maximilian Christman from UW Health, Chris Drees from Mercury Marine, and Jessy Ortiz from Outpost Foods. Read on to learn more about the speakers of this session, and join us on December 8th to hear more about the work that is being done in Wisconsin to further the conversation around business sustainability.



kellen-frable-headshotKellen Frable has been passionate about sustainability since her formative years in Illinois. Ms. Frable earned her B.S. in Environmental Science and African Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently she is the Engagement Coordinator at Cool Choices, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit that inspires individuals, businesses, and communities to actively participate in addressing climate change. Cool Choices partners with workplaces to engage employees around sustainability through a game-based online platform. In her free time, Ms. Frable enjoys volunteering with youth in the surrounding Madison suburbs and being active in the great Wisconsin outdoors.




While originally from Madison, Maximilian Christman left to study sustainability in Arizona and North Carolina before returning home to Wisconsin to work for UW Health. With a background in business sustainability and corporate social responsibility focusing on sustainable energy, Maximilian works on all aspects of sustainability for the UW Health system which includes 6 hospitals and over 80 clinics in south central Wisconsin and Rockford, Illinois. Sustainability at UW Health revolves around a long standing commitment to advancing health without compromise through social responsibility. Recent energy successes include retro-commissioning projects at University Hospital and 3 other large UW Health clinics which collectively save UW Health over $650,000 annually while never impacting patient care. One of Maximilian’s biggest goals is the promotion of positive, sustainable action within UW Health and the subsequent marketing of sustainability success to the greater community and UW Health’s stakeholders.


chris-drees-headshotChris Drees is Vice President of Global Operations for Mercury Marine. He has worked within various divisions of Mercury marine since 1998 with his previous 7 years as the President of Attwood Corporation. Over the last 6 years he sat on the Board of Directors for the National Marine Manufacturers Association in addition to the Accessories Manufacturers Division Board. Mercury currently operates 9 manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and the world and is committed to developing cleaner running engines in a sustainable way. Chris holds a BBA through the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and an MBA through Marquette University.


jessy-ortiz-headshotJessy Ortiz  is the Sustainability Manager for Outpost Natural Foods, the fourth largest consumer food cooperative in the US.  Leveraging a diverse background in design, education, business, project management, and permaculture, Jessy brings ecological and social awareness to the business arena, promoting a triple bottom line strategy.  Jessy is responsible for companywide sustainability programing; including metrics tracking, data analysis, goal setting and ongoing process improvements in the following areas: organics and land use practices, distribution and sourcing, energy use, climate change and air emissions, water use and quality, solid waste reduction, packaging and marketing materials, labor, animal care, sustainability education, and, governance and community engagement. She manages green teams at all Outpost locations and is responsible for both internal and external communication of sustainability at Outpost. She earned her MBA from Alverno College with a focus on sustainable business management, is a founding member of the Milwaukee chapter of Conscious Capitalism and a 2014 fellow in the New Leaders Council.






Tim Kabat was elected the 42nd Mayor of La Crosse in April 2013.

Mayor Kabat serves as the Chief Executive Officer for city operations, including oversight and management of the city’s 17 departments and 520 employee workforce. He develops and manages the $71 million annual operating budget, long-term borrowing, and debt service for the city.

Prior to becoming Mayor, Tim’s work experience included Executive Director of Downtown Main Street Inc., 2010 to 2013; Associate Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in Microeconomics & Public Policy, 2011 to 2012; City of La Crosse Planning and Development Administrator, 2003 to 2010; Agency Relations Director for The Nature Conservancy in Madison, 2002 to 2003; Senior Planner for the City of Madison, 2000 to 2002; Sauk County Planning and Zoning Administrator, 1995 to 2000.

Mayor Kabat is a graduate from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He attended graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating with a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning.

Cool Choices is a non-profit that is co-hosting the 2016 Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference with the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council. Kathy Kuntz, the executive director of Cool Choices will be speaking at the conference about employee engagement. Here’s a sneak peek of what is to come!

What is Cool Choices?

Cool Choices is a nonprofit that inspires individuals and businesses to adopt environmentally sustainable practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We accomplish these big goals by making sustainability fun, social and easy via our online game-based platform. Last year, Cool Choices worked with a dozen different organizations including private companies and local government to implement employee engagement programs that will save business more than $250,000 and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 1,100 metric tons annually.

How does Cool Choices practice sustainable business?

Our program prompts action and conversation. The action is important: that’s how we generate savings but the conversations are critical too.  Essentially we get people talking to each other about sustainability–sharing what they are doing, offering advice and encouragement, etc. Too often our sustainable practices are invisible to others; you don’t typically know which colleagues turn off the water when they brush their teeth. Our platform makes invisible practices visible and celebrated which helps to make sustainability the new normal across workplace communities.  And, at the same time, we create new momentum for corporate initiatives, often helping to spur new and deeper sustainability efforts.

What is your favorite part about the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference?

The best part of the WSBC Conference is hearing businesses share their sustainability stories. Word of mouth is powerful; just as Cool Choices participants can inspire behavior changes in their friends and colleagues, the businesses sharing lessons learned at WSBC often inspire other leaders to innovate too. Wisconsin businesses are doing amazing things to reduce their resource use and it’s a privilege to hear their stories.

Cool Choices will be offering conference attendees an amazing deal on 2017 engagement efforts-stay tuned for more details.

 We hope to see you in December!

Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference: A solution for everyone.


WI School of Business staff portraits

Tom has been at the forefront of business and sustainability for the last twenty years, both teaching classes in sustainability at the University of Wisconsin, and founding and serving as the Executive Director of the WI Sustainable Business Council. Tom taught the first classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sustainability and later was a co-developer of the graduate certificate in Business, Environment and Social Responsibility (BESR) at the WI School of Business. His classes (for which he’s won several teaching awards) cross traditional boundaries and attract students from business, environmental studies, engineering, design and other programs on campus. He has written and spoken extensively on the changing role of business in society, corporate social responsibility, socially responsible investing, climate change, and on how the private sector can lead in responding to a resource constrained world.

In addition to his responsibilities with the University, Tom founded and leads the WI Sustainable Business Council. The Council developed and implements the Green Masters Program, a sustainability recognition and benchmarking program for WI businesses, and coordinates the annual WI Sustainable Business Council Conference, now in its 9th year, and the Sustainable Business Awards, now in their fourth year.

Growing out of his interest in sustainability, Tom developed the non-profit “Wisconsin Microfinance” and serves as the President of the Board. The money raised by Wisconsin Microfinance is split between a development organization in Haiti and a cooperative in the Philippines. Both organizations ensure that loans are made to worthy recipients in small villages hit particularly hard by recent natural disasters.

Tom originally returned to Wisconsin for a job at the WI Department of Natural Resources, where he continues to work part time. He serves as the sector specialist for the Manufacturing Sector, supporting new (and expanding) businesses seeking to improve their environmental performance. He also has been involved with the state’s environmental leadership program (Green Tier) since its inception in 2004.

Tom has a Law Degree from George Washington University in Washington D.C., a Masters in Public Administration from the LaFollette Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an undergraduate degree in Environmental Problems and Policies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to returning to Wisconsin (where he grew up) in 1991, he served as a Special Assistant Attorney General in Montana, and, before that, as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines.

We hope to see you in December!

Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference: A solution for everyone.






Welcome to the 9th Annual WI Sustainability Business Conference blog,

Be sure to check out our site leading up to the conference for more details about speakers and overall event logistics.

This year the conference will be held December 8th at Empire Screen Printing in Onalaska:

About Empire Screen Printing

Empire is a leader in screen printing, flexography, digital printing, and doming creating a 3-D look to printing. What started out as a one-man operation in 1960 has grown into a large family-owned business.

Empire was the first screen printer in the world to use inks curable with UV-LED screen lights. This reduces the emissions of volatile organic compounds, and dramatically reduces energy use. Empire has won numerous accolades including the WI Family Business of the Year, and the WI Sustainable Business Council’s Earth Day Award. They continue to serve as one of the leaders of the sustainability conversation in Wisconsin.

Empire will be offering tours of the facility on the day of the conference. Click here to learn about Empire.

Come meet the team!

Four University of Wisconsin-Madison students have planning the day, coordinating breakout sessions, promoting the conference, and providing transportation and overnight accommodations for conference attendees. We have also been involved in marketing reaching out to radio stations, volunteers, and creating posters and brochures for the 2016 Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference.

The Team Behind the Conference


Alex Derr is a 5th year senior at the UW-Madison from Beaver Dam, WI, double majoring in political science & environmental studies. His interest in sustainability is rooted in his time spent hiking, camping and canoeing the Wisconsin Northwoods while growing up as a Boy Scout. He hopes to continue his education following graduation this fall, attending the La Follette Institute to get an MPA in Environmental and Energy Policy.





Brandon Kim is from Hartland, about 30 minutes west of Milwaukee. He is an evolutionary biology major with a certificate in entrepreneurship, and is currently in his last semester before graduation, woohoo! He is in the process of applying to medical school, and hopefully will start his physician journey next fall.

He was introduced to sustainability through his scientific studies. But as he delved deeper in his studies of entrepreneurship, he discovered how perfectly sustainability fits with business. At its essence, the concept of sustainability focuses on how we can do more with less; produce less waste, use less energy, and limit pollutants. If you’re reading this, you understand the incredible benefits and importance of sustainability as an integral part of your business. But how do we instill these values into the society as a whole? Brandon and the rest of the conference planning team are ready to tackle this question!




Hope Rohrbach is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison double majoring in environmental studies and sociology. She grew up in San Francisco, and went to high school in Massachusetts. She plans to graduate in May 2017, and hopes to move to New York City to work at a food company dedicated to issues of environmental and social justice. She has always been an avid eater, which is why sustainability is important to her. Food is something that we all love, and by preserving our food systems, we can work toward more equitable food production that allows laborers, eaters, and producers alike to unite together to share and enjoy food that makes consumption possible for future generations.




Jessica Hamilton is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication pursuing a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Strategic Communication. She is also working towards a certificate in Environmental Studies. When she’s not at school, Jessica resides in a suburb of Milwaukee, but also spent time living in California. She wants to work in public relations after college, and hopes to pair her communication skills with her passion for the environment. Sustainability is important to her because it means bettering the earth, and the goal brings together a variety of disciplines in an effort to create innovative change.

We hope to see you in December!

Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference: A solution for everyone.