Ratio Institute partners with innovators, thought leaders, and industry experts to extend our reach and ensure that our work is grounded in the best thinking in support of food retail sustainability.
With a broad set of challenges and opportunities ranging from energy and climate to food waste and plastics, retailers need access to tools, best practices, and unbiased information to pursue sustainable solutions in support of business success.
Dustin Herner, CEM, is Energy & Sustainability Manager for Weis Markets, Inc, a mid-Atlantic retail grocery chain of 197 stores. After graduating from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in Energy, Business, and Finance Dustin began his career at Weis Markets in 2013 as an Energy Analyst focused on demand side energy management. After being promoted to Energy Manager and absorbing the Sustainability Manager role, Dustin now leads a team of specialists who collectively focus on energy management, recycling and food waste diversion, as well as community and employee outreach. You will often find Dustin elbow deep in a waste audit at the landfill or exploring a supermarket rooftop looking for the next savings opportunity.
Kate Whitbeck is the director of sustainability for Harmons Grocery, a family-owned, locally operated, 20-store grocery business based in Utah. As the first individual to hold this position in the company, she has been responsible for conducting a baseline assessment of key environmental indicators related to store operations, as well as establishing goals, and evaluating progress on metrics related to emissions, waste, water, energy, sustainable sourcing, and packaging. Prior to Harmons, Kate spent ten years focused on sustainable materials management as a founder and managing partner of Momentum Recycling, a zero-waste company providing recycling collection services, waste consulting and glass processing services. Her subsequent position at the University of Utah’s Sustainability Office allowed her to broaden her experience and knowledge in areas outside of waste. Before moving to Utah, Kate spent ten years working overseas in the field of civil society development. She holds a master’s degree in International Sustainable Development from the School for International Training.
Kathy Loftus is the Vice President of Strategic Construction Projects, Energy and Facility Services at Retail Business Services which is the services company of Ahold Delhaize USA. In this role, Kathy leads several teams all engaged to optimize productivity and operationalize our business’ Race to Zero commitment. In addition to various roles in Food Retail and Energy and Engineering, she spent 14 years in Sustainability Leadership for Whole Foods Market, leading strategic ESG programs and innovations in many areas within the built environment, waste & packaging, responsible sourcing, education, marketing & communication. She was a founding Steering Committee member for U.S. DOE’s Better Buildings Alliance and was a founding member of EPA’s Green Chill Program. She is immediate past Chair and Board Member of Green Building Initiative, sits on the board of The Future of American Energy, former Chair of the Board of Clean Air-Cool Planet, and Board Member of Waste Cap of MA. She is a member of WPI’s’ Center for Sustainability in Business and Mechanical Engineering External Advisory Boards, Mass Maritime Academy’s Energy Advisory Council, and Cradle to Cradle’s Renewable Energy and Carbon Management Advisory Group. Her education includes a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
A leading visionary in California’s fight against the homeless crisis, Katina Holliday’s respectful and loving approach to reducing homelessness has helped hundreds of families and individuals find traction in getting off the streets through Holliday’s Helping Hands. Katina brings over 25 years of experience in the medical field to her multi-faceted community work. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) and her Masters in Science Nursing degree from Azusa Pacific University and is also a Family Nurse Practitioner. Katina has made a major impact on her hometown of Aberdeen, Mississippi by building a 30,000-foot shopping center, The Pointe, which includes an urgent care facility (Urgent Care at the Pointe), and a 20,000 square foot grocery store, Freshly’s Market. Katina is also the founder of HHH Real Estate Investments, which, among other endeavors, provides temporary housing to those displaced by natural disasters.
Laura McCord has over 20 years of food retail involvement with experience as a grocer, and account manager, with the majority of her time spent in category management. After obtaining her Master’s degree in Sustainable Management, she transitioned to a newly created position at KeHE, Sustainability, and Corporate Responsibility, which focuses on environmental stewardship, KeHE’s B Corp certification. Laura is also the co-founder of CAREtrade, which focuses on suppliers that share KeHE’s mission to serve to make lives better, DIVERSEtrade, KeHE’s supplier diversity program and ECOtrade which supports suppliers that have made a significant climate action commitment.
Maggie D’Amour is the Senior Manager of ESG for Big Y Foods, a grocery chain with over 70 retail locations and 13 Fuel/ convenient stores located in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Prior to her current role, Maggie held various other positions at Big Y including Employee Services Representative, and most recently, Store Director. As a member of the third generation of family members involved in the family business, Maggie is passionate about securing the longevity of Big Y while also preserving our planet. Her responsibilities in this new role at Big Y include assessing the company’s current sustainability practices, identifying opportunities, and developing goals and strategies to improve the company’s carbon footprint. Maggie holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Providence College.
Marina Heppenstall is the Sustainability Director for Town & Country Markets, a family-owned grocery business operating six markets in the Seattle area. She joined the company in 2022 to help advance sustainability initiatives including greenhouse gas reduction, waste management, packaging, and responsible food sourcing. Prior to joining T&C, she led client solutions at Sustainable Brands, a global learning platform for corporate sustainability. Her career in the environmental field has covered a breadth of topics including event sustainability, carbon footprinting of agricultural soils, and renewable fuels. She holds a master’s degree in environmental science with a focus in sustainable agriculture from Washington State University.
Steve Goh, energy management director for thirty-three Vallarta supermarkets, is responsible for all sustainability efforts for the regional grocery chain based in Southern California. He has leveraged innovative financing strategies, utility incentives and rebates, and utility suppliers sourcing to create low- or no-cost implementation of energy- and water-reduction programs and a zero-waste program. Steve’s efforts have resulted in more than 20% reduction in per store energy usage by implementing measures that include but are not limited to the following: energy-efficiency technologies such as LED lighting, refrigeration upgrades and IOT technologies, store retro-commissioning, and standardized maintenance for HVAC and refrigeration. The zero-waste program has diverted more than 33% of solid waste to recycling and composting. These efforts garnered Steve a regional Southern California Edison energy-efficiency award and Vallarta’s recognition as a finalist for the Los Angeles Better Business Challenge. Steve holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Subject Matter Experts
Ian started Latent Engineering in 2018. He provides technical consulting for C&I building solutions including HVAC&R, envelope systems, distributed generation, thermal storage, and battery storage. He has worked with NREL, Turntide, and AES Distributed Energy. Previously, he led the R&D efforts at Transformative Wave (TW) for three years, lab testing and field demonstrating ways to augment TW’s product stack with building-to-grid services (load shedding/shifting), data analytics, and model-predictive controls. Prior to TW, Ian worked at NREL for eight years, conducting laboratory testing and field demonstration and modeling of advanced HVAC&R systems, battery storage, and envelope technologies. Prior to NREL, Ian worked at Arup for three years, designing mechanical and façade systems for hospitals, laboratories, museums, offices, and colleges. He has an MS from Virginia Tech and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University.
Laura Thompson is the Director of the RMS Program at GreenBlue and led the development and implementation of the Recycled Material Standard. Laura also serves as a technical expert for the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and has been focused on plastics recycling. Laura also operates an independent sustainability consultancy, 4Minutes LLC, and has worked for non-profits including The Recycling Partnership, The Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Sustainable Biomass Program. She also advises corporate clients on sustainability policy and strategy. Prior to establishing 4Minutes, Laura served as the Director of Sustainable Development for Sappi, a multinational paper company. Laura has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire as well as an MS and PhD in Paper Science from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Lydia Covert is the Corporate Sustainability Manager at Unum Group, where she drives strategies for long-term environmental, social, and governance issues. Her passion lies in helping companies understand that sustainability and profitability go hand-in-hand. In her time with Unum, she has led cross-disciplinary teams in completing the first materiality assessment for the company, increasing sustainability disclosures through the 2019 ESG report, and developing strategic sustainability frameworks. Prior to Unum, Lydia worked on sustainability topics within the food retail sector, including seafood supply chains, internal reporting processes, target-setting and database management, internal and external stakeholder engagement, and issuance of a €600 million sustainability bond.
Mike is a retired cooperative wholesale president and chief executive officer and a well-known food industry leader with over forty-five years of hands-on experience in retail, wholesale, and independent business ownership. He has served as a board director for many years on seven national and regional industry organizations and was inducted into the 2010 Griffin Report Industry Hall of Fame. He received the Massachusetts Food Association’s 2016 Person of the Year, Milton W. Segal Distinguished Service Award. Mike currently serves as the managing partner of BHR&T Consulting and Sustainable Solutions, LLC.
Oren’s professional career includes over 20 years’ experience in corporate social responsibility, supply chain compliance, carbon accounting, sustainability consulting, sales, and strategic partnership development. Oren supports companies to establish their GHG emissions baseline via corporate or product level carbon footprints, lifecycle assessments, EPDs, build responsible supply chains, implement social compliance programs, understand legal/regulatory compliance issues, supply chain security programs, and supplier risk assessments. Oren has worked with third party certification and standards organizations, management consulting, technology/cloud/SaaS solutions, and employee wellness organizations. Previous career highlights include working in professional sports, producing live music events, and founding an outdoor aerial advertising agency. Oren lives in the Bay Area with his wife, two children, and dog.
Paul Delaney has been an energy and energy-efficiency professional for forty-two years, most recently serving as a technology lead supporting the food industry at Southern California Edison. Paul is also a former vice president for the American Utility Network and national account manager for Edison Source.
A strategy consultant since 1993, Scot Case helps for-profit, not-for-profit, and government organizations develop winning strategies and successful solutions for complex global challenges. He makes it possible for individuals and organizations to thrive in a rapidly changing future. Throughout Scot’s career as a strategist, consultant, and sustainability expert, he has worked with organizations such as the White House; World Bank; Walmart; Johnson & Johnson; Disney; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and federal, state, and local governments around the world. He currently leads the National Retail Federation’s sustainability initiatives. NRF is the world’s largest trade association for retailers.
Tristam Coffin is the Co-Founder and COO at Effecterra. He has worked in the sustainability field for over 14 years across multiple disciplines including transportation, corporate sustainability, packaging and supply chain, and green building. Prior to entering the consulting world, Tristam spent the majority of his career leading sustainability initiatives for Whole Foods Market. Most recently, he was a Director of Sustainability & Facilities where he led a team that oversaw the implementation of environmentally responsible programs, sustainable engineering initiatives, and facility management. Tristam is a LEED AP, sustainability leader and holds a broad array of environmental expertise in areas including high performance buildings, refrigeration systems, renewable energy, and waste diversion.
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