School of Natural Resources and Environment

SNRE Visiting Committee

Contributing expertise to Dean Marie Lynn Miranda and SNRE's leadership team, the SNRE Visiting Committee is expanding the school's reach and influence on campus, across the nation and around the world.

William H. Banzhaf

(SNR B.S.F. '67)

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.

Martin D. Cargas

(SNR B.S. '81)

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.

Peter C. Mertz

(SNRE B.S.F. '74; M.B.A. '81)

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 Visiting Committee for the School of Natural Resources and Environment 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.

Mark A. Retzloff

(SNR B.S. '70)

Mark Retzloff is a pioneer in the organic and natural foods industry with a 44-year career starting and managing successful companies. He is co-founder and Chairman of Alfalfa’s, a Boulder-based natural foods store. He also co-founded Aurora Organic Dairy in 2003, and currently serves on their board.

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 of Natural Resources and Environment, Dean’s Visiting Committee 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.

Thomas Schadt

(University of Washington B.S. '78, M.S. '85)

Tom Schadt has over 30 years of experience in environmental consulting, including nationwide expertise with sediment cleanup—a field that integrates several environmental disciplines and has cleanup costs at mega-sites ranging in the hundreds of millions of dollars. As a founder of Anchor QEA in 1997 and while serving as Managing Partner for the first 15 years, Schadt has led the firm’s growth to more than 300 employees nationwide with revenues exceeding $50 million. His major technical areas of focus are sediment cleanup projects, the investigation of water and sediment quality and biological effects, and strategy development for sediment remediation and habitat restoration. He is an active member of national sediment forums and frequently speaks at a variety of national symposia on contaminated sediment issues.

As a firm that focuses on shoreline-centric projects, Anchor QEA's hiring needs cover the spectrum of students enrolled in a well-rounded environmental program. He has hired students with expertise in toxicology, chemistry, water quality, sediment quality, environmental engineering, ecology, landscape architecture, wetland science, fisheries, and wildlife.

Schadt is a native of the Pacific Northwest. He holds BS and MS degrees from the University of Washington.

Stephen Simmons

(SNR B.S. '67, B.S.F. '69)

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.

Brian Swett

(SNRE M.S./RSB M.B.A. '08)

Brian Swett is Chief of Environment and Energy for the City of Boston. The Environmental and Energy Services Cabinet oversees the Inspectional Services Department, the Environment Department, the Parks and Recreational Department’s Open Space Planning, and Boston’s Recycling Program. Swett serves as the Mayor’s appointee to the boards of the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA), Boston Groundwater Trust, Boston Harbor Islands Alliance, and the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership. Swett also represents the City on the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, the State’s Global Warming Solutions Act’s Implementation Advisory Committee and the State’s Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee.

Over the last year, Chief Swett led a variety of major policy and program initiatives including developing and passing a rental inspection ordinance and a building energy disclosure ordinance, launching Greenovate Boston, a sustainability education and outreach initiative, and kicking off Climate Ready Boston, a set of climate preparedness initiatives focused on Boston’s built and natural environment. Chief Swett is now starting efforts to update the City’s Climate Action Plan, which will be completed in 2014.

Prior to his appointment with the City, Swett was employed at Boston Properties, where he advised and oversaw LEED and sustainability related initiatives throughout the Boston Region and across the company. He was involved in a variety of sustainable development projects including Atlantic Wharf, Boston’s first LEED-Platinum Certified skyscraper.  Before joining Boston Properties, Swett worked for an environmental justice nonprofit, two socially responsible investment firms, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, and several offices in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. During his time at EPA's Office of Environmental Policy Innovation, Swett created and led a program on learning from international best practices in environmental policy for domestic adaptation and application. Areas of focus included green building, integrated permitting, smart growth, and urban planning.

Swett is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the US Green Building Council (USGBC). He previously served on the Board of Directors of the USGBC Massachusetts Chapter, and as Co‐Chair of ULI Boston’s Sustainability Committee. He was also a member of the Massachusetts Net Zero Energy Building Task Force’s Commercial Sector Work Group, helped craft Boston’s 2010 Climate Action Leadership Committee Recommendations, and advised the work of Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission.

Swett received a BA in Public Policy and International Relations in 2001 from Brown University and MBA and MS in Sustainable Systems degrees in 2008 from the University of Michigan.

Geri Unger

(SNR M.S. '94)

Geri Unger is executive director of The Society for Conservation Biology, a global community of conservation professionals whose mission is to advance the science and practice of conserving the Earth’s biological diversity.  Previously she was vice-president for education and research at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, where she managed a high school urban farming work-study program, and initiated the ecosystems services on vacant urban property research program throughout the Great Lakes Basin.

Unger serves on the board of the Friends of Israel’s Environment, the external board for Israel Union for Environmental Defense.  She also cofounded TerrAqua Environmental Science and Policy LLC, and has done consulting work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pew Charitable Trusts, Heinz Endowments, George Gund Foundation, New Israel Fund, The New England Aquarium, Chicago Zoological Society, and other organizations.  Additionally, she has taught high school and university ecology and environmental science and was co-executive director of the Jerusalem Science Centre.

She received an MS in Biology in 1984 from Hebrew University and is ABD from Tufts University in the field of urban and environmental policy

Mark Van Putten

(LAW J.D. '82)

Mark Van Putten has 30 years of experience in environmental policymaking and nonprofit management at the international, national, regional and local level. Van Putten is President of ConservationStrategy® LLC, which he founded in 2003. ConservationStrategy is a philanthropic advisory firm specializing in environmental and natural resources issues with deep experience in founding and funding collaborations and coalitions. For example, ConservationStrategy played key roles in developing and executing funding strategies that launched the University of Michigan Water Center, the Healing Our Waters® - Great Lakes Coalition, the Choose Clean Water Coalition, and the America’s Great Waters Coalition. Van Putten currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, chairing its Membership and Development Committee.

Previously, Van Putten served for 21 years on the staff of National Wildlife Federation – America’s largest membership-based conservation organization – including nearly eight years as President and CEO. He founded and led for 14 years NWF’s Great Lakes office and the University of Michigan’s Environmental Law Clinic. Van Putten served on President Clinton’s Trade and Environment Policy Committee, the Energy Future Coalition advisory board, and numerous U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advisory committees. His advocacy and litigation career focused on water-related issues at all levels of decision making – international, national, regional and local. On the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, he was named one of 30 nationwide "Clean Water Heroes."

Van Putten is a graduate magna cum laude of and currently serves as a part-time Public Service/Public Interest Law Fellow at the University of Michigan Law School. He is also a part-time Visiting Scholar in the Energy and Climate Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and serves on the advisory boards for the UM Graham Sustainability Institute and the UM Water Center.