University of Vermont


TEDxUVM 2010: Sustainability

Institute for Global Sustainability The UVM Institute for Global Sustainability supported this TEDx gathering on July 19, 2010 to bring together business and sustainability leaders, students, and community members to hear talks by influential speakers focused on the theme "leading and managing for sustainability." Prominent leaders were invited, including Robert Egger, social entrepreneur and founder of the DC Central Kitchen; Jeffrey Hollender of Seventh Generation; Michael Shuman, an economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur; and many innovative Vermont sustainability leaders.

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  • Robert L.E. Egger Robert L.E. Egger
    Robert Egger is the Founder and President of the DC Central Kitchen, where unemployed men and women learn marketable culinary skills while donated food is converted into balanced meals. Since opening in 1989, the DCCK has distributed over 22 million meals and helped 800 men and women gain full-time employment. Robert served as the Co-Convener of the first Nonprofit Congress in 2006, and was the founding Chair of the Mayor's Commission on Nutrition, and Street Sense, Washington's "homeless" newspaper. Robert has been on the Non Profit Times "50 Most Powerful and Influential Nonprofit Leaders" list in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. He was the recipient of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's 2007 "Lifetime Achievement" award and the 2004 James Beard Foundation "Humanitarian of the Year" award. He has also been named an Oprah Angel, a Washingtonian of the Year, a Point of Light and one of the Ten Most Caring People in America, by the Caring Institute. He is also a 14-gallon blood donor to the American Red Cross. Robert's book on the non-profit sector, Begging for Change, received the 2005 McAdam Prize for "Best Nonprofit Management Book" by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. Robert currently leads the V3 Campaign, which educates politicians to the economic contributions of America's nonprofit sector. Robert speaks nationally and internationally on hunger and homelessness, social enterprise, and nonprofit unity. For a complete list if speaking engagements, or to access Robert's op-eds, podcasts, videos or blogs, please go to
  • Christopher Koliba Christopher J. Koliba
    Christopher J. Koliba is the Director of the Master of Public Administration Degree Program and an Associate Professor in the Community Development and Applied Economics Department and a secondary appointment with the Department of Education at the University of Vermont. He possesses a Ph.D. and a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. His research interests include organizational learning and development, governance systems and networks, cross sector collaborations, action research methods, civic education, and educational policy. His book, "Governance Networks: Public Administration and Policy in the Midst of Complexity" will be published by Taylor & Francis in the fall of 2010. His articles appears in journals: Administration & Society; the International Journal of Public Administration; Educational Policy; American Journal of Evaluation; American Behavioral Scientist; and Administrative Theory & Praxis.
  • Jeremiah Church Jeremiah Church
    Jeremiah Church is an entrepreneur and recent graduate from the University of Vermont with a Bachelors of Science in Community Development and Applied Economics. He now owns and operates WoodBelly Pizza (, a mobile pizza business bringing local and organic pizza to farmers markets and events in Northern Vermont. When not hauling the oven all over, he can be found tooling on bikes or pretending to farm.
  • Michael Shuman Michael Shuman
    Michael H. Shuman is Director for Research and Economic Development for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). An economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, Shuman is one of the nation's leading experts on community economics and the advantages of small-scale businesses in an era of globalization. He has authored, coauthored, or edited seven books, including The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006) and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in the Global Age (Free Press, 1998). The Small-Mart Revolution received a bronze medal for best business book by the Independent Publishers' Association.
  • Jane Emily Hill Jane Emily Hill
    Jane Emily Hill was born in Sydney, Australia. She was raised in the central western slopes and plains region of New South Wales and her high school years were spent in Grenfell, the birthplace of the famous Australian poet Henry Lawson. After completing two years of Chemical Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Jane moved to the US, whereupon she finished her BS in Chemical Engineering and an MS in Environmental Management and Policy atRensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After running a small bioremediation waste clean-up company in upstate New York for a few years, Jane returned to the university to learn more about the fascinating world of microorganisms. She completed her PhD at Yale University in 2006 with Menachem Elimelech and then worked with Jordan Peccia at Yale for a short but interesting post-doctoral experience. Jane now works in the School of Engineering at the University of Vermont, where she heads an environmental microbiology and biotechnology group.
  • Aleidria Lichau Aleidria Lichau
    Aleidria began her B.S. in Biology at Eastern Washington University, Cheney Washington. In 2000, Aleidria received an invitation to conduct coral reef research and mangrove swamp water quality analysis aboard the RV Heraclitus for the Planetary Coral Reef Foundation. After finishing her post Aleidria lived abroad in England and Italy and returned back to the US in 2003. Aleidria began teaching at a private middle school in Schenectady, New York while she completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Sciences with an emphasis in Ecological Education from Empire State College in 2005. During her last year as an undergraduate she founded and ran a non-profit organization, The Organization for Education and Science Integration (OEDSI), and carried out case studies and pilot programs in the US, Vanuatu and Ecuador. Aleidria's interests include providing education reform processes that build a bridge between the disparate values of the human and natural economies and developing strategic education processes for communities, educators and students to use to analyze local biological and cultural carrying capacities and disseminate this knowledge on a global scale.
  • Will Raap Will Raap
    Will Raap serves as chairman of Burlington, Vermont-based Gardener's Supply Company, which he founded in 1983. The 300-person, employee-owned firm, now among the world's largest online and catalog gardening retailers, has won national and regional awards for its products and services, as well as for its socially responsible business practices. Willworks to create and nurture local food, waste recycling and land restoration enterprises that support a more sustainable economy and future. His innovative efforts extend from the mountains of Vermont to the tropical forests of Costa Rica. In 1987 Will founded and was past chairman of the Intervale Center, a non-profit organization that develops farm- and land-based enterprises that generate economic and social opportunity while protecting natural resources. The Intervale family of businesses includes Intervale Compost Products, Intervale Conservation Nursery, Intervale Agricultural Consulting Services, and Intervale Food Hub, plus 14 small, private farms developed in the Center's nationally acclaimed farm incubator program. Expanding the Intervale Center's mission into Costa Rica, in 2000 Will co-founded El Centro Verde, a sustainable gardening, farming and agroforestry education and demonstration center, followed in 2005 by Restoring Our Watershed, a restoration initiative that aims to restore the Nandamojo River and its surrounding 25,000 acre watershed through community and business engagement. Last year, he co-founded Mi Tierra, a cooperative of organic farms, nurseries and food processors that produces and distributes local products in Guanacaste. He is a partner in two conservation developments, Tierra Pacifica and Pueblo Verde, both committed to sustainable design and practices that support watershed restoration. Will calls himself a "restorationist": He seeks to restore degraded and eroded lands, from gardens to watersheds, through employing the power of markets and enterprises, guided by environmental and social missions. His Green Business Incubator advances initiatives that strengthen local food systems, recycle wastes to resources and restore ecosystem health. These enterprises include Carbon Harvest Energy, The Earth Partners, Farm at South Village, and Sugarsnap. Will is a member of the New Economics Institute Board of Directors and has served on numerous non-profit and corporate boards including Vermont Natural Resources Council, Vermont Business Roundtable, Vermont Land Trust, Champlain Valley Greenbelt Alliance, Intervale Center, Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Council, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, University of Vermont School of Environment and Natural Resources, Champlain College, Living Technologies and Seventh Generation.
  • Robert Costanza Robert Costanza
    Dr. Robert Costanza is the Gund Professor of Ecological Economics and Director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont. Prior to moving to Vermont in August 2002, he was director of the University of Maryland Institute for Ecological Economics, and a professor in the Center for Environmental Science, at Solomons, and in the Biology Department at College Park. Dr. Costanza received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1979 in systems ecology, with a minor in economics. He also has a Master's degree in Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Florida. Dr. Costanza is co-founder and past-president of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) and was chief editor of the Society's journal: Ecological Economics from its inception until 9/02. He currently serves on the editorial board of eight other international academic journals. He is past president of the International Society for Ecosystem Health. In 1982 he was selected as a Kellogg National Fellow, in 1992 he was awarded the Society for Conservation Biology Distinguished Achievement Award and in 1993 he was selected as a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment. In 1998 he was awarded the Kenneth Boulding Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions in Ecological Economics. In 2000 he received an honorary doctorate in natural sciences from Stockholm University. He has served on the Scientific Steering Committee for the LOICZ and AIMES core project of the IGBP; the US EPA National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT); the National Research Council Board on Sustainable Development, Committee on Global Change Research; the National Research Council, Board on Global Change; the US National Committee for the Man and the Biosphere Program, and the National Marine Fisheries Service Committee on Ecosystem Principles. Dr. Costanza's research has focused on the interface between ecological and economic systems, particularly at larger temporal and spatial scales. This includes landscape level spatial simulation modeling; analysis of energy and material flows through economic and ecological systems; valuation of ecosystem services, biodiversity, and natural capital; and analysis of dysfunctional incentive systems and ways to correct them. He is the author or co-author of over 300 scientific papers. His work has been cited in more than 3,000 scientific articles since 1987 and more than 80 interviews and reports on his work have appeared in various media, including Newsweek, US News and World Report, The Economist, The New York Times, Science, Nature, National Geographic, and National Public Radio.
  • Patricia Prelock Patricia Prelock
    Patricia Prelock, Ph.D., is Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Vermont. Her primary academic appointment is Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders; she has a secondary appointment in Pediatrics in the College of Medicine. Dr. Prelock is a co-principal investigator for Vermont's Interdisciplinary Leadership Education for Health Professionals Autism Spectrum Disorders Program and principal investigator for Vermont's State Improvement Grant Speech-Language Pathologist Distance Education Initiative. Her primary research interests include collaborative, interdisciplinary practice, and the nature and treatment of autism including social perspective taking, peer play, emotion regulation and the neural pathways involved in social discourse. Dr. Prelock was the Co-Chair of Vermont's statewide Autism Task Force for four years and is a member of the Workgroup for the Autism Training Program through the Higher Education Collaborative. Dr. Prelock received the 1998 Friends Award through the Vermont Parent Information Center, UVM's Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award (2000), and the first annual Autism Society of Vermont Excellence in Service Award (2000). She was named a University Scholar in 2003. She will be awarded the Puppets Choice Award through Kids on the Block of Vermont in September, 2010, for her work in autism. Dr. Prelock earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Kent State University and her doctoral degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a board recognized Child Language Specialist.
  • Ted Castle Ted Castle
    Ted Castle is the founder, owner, and current president of Rhino Foods. He is the face of Rhino Foods and responsible for much of the business's success. He is a former All American hockey player at the University of Vermont from the 1970's. He coached in Vermont as well as Maine and played professionally in Italy and Sweden. He is also known for his activism with child abuse prevention, Shelburne Farms, The United Way, and Vermont Special Olympics. He is known locally for his involvement coaching local sports teams. The Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) plans to present Ted Castle with the 2009 Terry Ehrich Award for Socially Responsible Business Practices. He has been an advocate and leader in the business community to support the hiring and retention of refugees. Ted also developed a Wellness and Health Awareness Team with the United Way. The team is known as HELP (Helping Employees Live Productively). He adopted open book management in the early days of the company to provide financial information and share company priorities.
  • UVM Alernative Energy Racing Organization (AERO)
    The Alternative Energy Racing Organization is a student group of the University of Vermont IEEE that works for the advocacy, research, and development of alternative energy drive systems.

    Melinda Edgerly is a junior at the University of Vermont majoring in English and Electrical Engineering with a minor in Philosophy. She has been involved with UVM AERO since her freshman year and is currently the treasurer, safety officer and club manager. She is originally from Jackson NH and currently resides full time in Burlington.

    Michael Rogals is a senior in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. He is an Electrical Engineering major with a minor in Applied Mathematics. For the 2010-11 school year he is the electrical team lead for AERO as well as a member of the UVM varsity track team.
  • Rocki-Lee DeWitt Rocki-Lee DeWitt
    Rocki-Lee DeWitt is a Professor of Management in the School of Business at the University of Vermont. She earned her Ph.D. at Columbia University in strategic management, her M.S. at The Ohio State University in agricultural economics and her B.S. in marketing and management at New York University. From 2002 until 2009, Dr. DeWitt served as the Dean of the School of Business Administration at the University of Vermont. As Dean, she lead the reaffirmation of the school's accreditation by AACSB, hired 15 of the school's 27 tenure track faculty, increased the number of endowed faculty fellowships and professorships, and helped build a management development and executive education presence. Prior to her arrival, Dr. DeWitt was the Associate Dean for Professional Masters Programs at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. DeWitt has received numerous teaching awards and has discussed teaching innovations at multiple national conferences. Her research on downsizing and restructuring has been published in top tier journals. Dr. DeWitt's current research focuses on the evolution of land-based, value-added industries with a special consideration of the role of family businesses in that evolution. Dr. DeWitt has been a member of the Board of Governors of Beta Gamma Sigma. Currently, she is a member of the Board of Directors of Yankee Farm Credit (an ACA), and sits on various community boards including the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Burlington Industrial Council.
  • Deborah A. Neher Deborah A. Neher
    Deborah A. Neher is Professor and chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Science at University of Vermont. Dr. Neher brings 20 years of experience as a researcher, educator, and graduate student mentor. She is a soil ecologist and agroecologist with primary research interests in development of invertebrate bioindicators for environmental monitoring of terrestrial soils. Her approach is quantitative and ecosystem in perspective, linking communities with ecosystem functions of decomposition and nutrient cycling. Her focus is on soil nematodes, collembolans and mites for implementation on regional and national scales. During the past two years, she has initiated pilot studies on the biological communities in compost and their role in disease suppression. In 2009, she was awarded the UVM College of Agriculture and Life Science Hubert W. Vogelmann Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship. She earned herM.S. from University of Illinois-Urbana in plant biology, Ph.D. from the University of California-Davis in plant pathology, and then spent five years as a member of the Agricultural Lands group of the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP-AL). She served as a member of the Farmlands Work Group for the State of the Nation's Ecosystem 2002 Report and was a member of the Farmlands Contact Group for the 2008 Report. These reports are coordinated by the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment in Washington, D.C.
  • Saleem H. Ali Saleem H. Ali
    Saleem H. Ali is Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and on the adjunct faculty of Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies.For the 2007-2008 academic years, he also served as the Associate Dean for Graduate Education in Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. For the 2008-2009 academic year, Dr. Ali was on sabbatical working on a sole-authored book pertaining to mineral resources and the environment, based at the Brookings Institution's research center in Doha, Qatar. The book is titled Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of environmental conflicts and how ecological factors can promote peace. He is also on the visiting faculty for the United Nations mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica), where he teaches a course on Indigenous Environment and Development Conflicts. Much of his empirical research has focused on environmental conflicts in the mineral sector and he is the author of Mining, the Environment and Indigenous Development Conflicts(published the University of Arizona Press, 2004). His most recent edited volume (published in November 2008) is Earth Matters: Indigenous Peoples, The Extractive Industries and Corporate Social Resposibility (edited with Ciaran O'Fairchellaegh). He is also the editor of the widely acclaimed volume Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution (MIT Press, September, 2007), which has received cover endorsements from E.O. Wilson, George Schaller and Achim Steiner, and a foreword by Julia Marton-Lefevre.
  • Philip Baruth Philip Baruth (Moderator)
    Philip Baruth teaches Vermont literature and creative writing at the University of Vermont and is a candidate for the 2010 Vermont State Senate. For the better part of the last twenty years, Philip Baruth has been an exceptionally outspoken political commentator, analyst, and activist. His Vermont Public Radio commentaries have won just about every major award available, from Vermont Associated Press awards to an Edward R. Murrow prize in 2009. That same year Philip's take on Vermont's low birthrate statistics — "Birth Rate Blues" — won a first-place Public Radio News Directors Award as the single best piece of political commentary aired nationwide in 2009. Viewers of Vermont Public Television will remember Philip's work as a panelist on Vermont This Week, VPT's signature public-affairs program; VPR listeners will recall Camel's Hump Radio, a half-hour program he hosted from 2000-2003, bringing classic adventure stories to life for a family audience. Over the years, he has written about the state's most pressing problems in the state's most prominent formats: the Burlington Free Press, Vermont Life, Vermont Magazine, Seven Days, and on his own award-winning news-and-opinion website, TheVermont Daily Briefing. And if you've seen the short film Freedom and Unity on permanent display at the Statehouse Museum in Montpelier, then you've seen Philip's work — he was asked to write the screenplay for the Vermont Historical Society in 2003.
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