SNRE Visiting Committee
The SNRE Visiting Committee is expanding the school's reach and influence on campus, across the nation and around the world.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
Chad Spitler is Chief Operating Officer (COO) of CamberView, a boutique advisory firm that provides public companies with the advice and expertise they need to succeed with their institutional investors. Chad also heads the firm’s advisory services on sustainable business practices. Prior to joining CamberView, Chad spent 15 years at BlackRock, most recently as Managing Director and COO for the Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment team.
As CamberView's COO, Chad oversees business development, human capital management, administration, and infrastructure. In addition, he helps clients with their shareholder engagement around environmental and social issues, including shareholder proposals and proxy materials.
“Chad has been a leader in developing the approach among mainstream investors towards the environmental, social, and sustainability efforts of their portfolio companies,” said Abe Friedman, CamberView's Managing Partner. “Our clients are increasingly receiving inquiry from their investors about the sustainability of their business and business practices... With the team Chad is building at CamberView, public companies will now have an unparalleled resource for getting ahead of investor demands on sustainability.”
Chad earned his Bachelor of Science degree at SNRE, as well as an MA from the University of Colorado. He is a member of the Broadridge Steering Committee, the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), and the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).
(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