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 (B.S.F. '67)
William Banzhaf is president of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc., an independent 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. A 15-member multi-stakeholder board of directors and a seven-person staff oversees and implements the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard, the most widely used forest certification standard in North America (with more than 60,000,000 acres third-party certified). Prior to his work with the SFB, he served as the executive vice president for the Society of American Foresters (SAF) from 1988 to 2002. In addition, Bill 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.
Bill 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, National Council on Private Forests the Association of Consulting Foresters. He also is an Advisory Board member for EMI.
Billis a Certified Forester, 2002 through Society of American Foresters. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1967 with a B.S.F. in Forestry (one-year graduate degree) and from the University of Colorado in 1964 with a B.A. in history/political science.
Martin D. Cargas (B.S. '81)
Martin (Marty) D. Cargas is a Vice President with VSConsulting Inc. providing strategic business and government relations counseling. Both domestic and international clients benefit from his more than 20 years of legal and government affairs experience on a worldwide stage. Marty helps senior decision makers in foreign countries understand important differences in the way governments in the United States and their home countries function. He also advises all of his clients on U.S. political issues and on Washington's processes and culture. Prior to joining VSC, Marty was the top "diplomat" at Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. (which subsequently became Anheuser-Busch Inbev) for 10 years. As such, he was responsible for the company's relations with all governments outside of the United States.
A native of Ann Arbor, Marty received a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. He holds a law degree from Hofstra University and received a master's degree in International Business Studies from St. Louis University.
Peter C. Mertz (B.S.F. '74; M.B.A. '81)
Peter Mertz is chief executive officer of GFP. In addition, Peter is chief investment officer of the firm and is chairman of the Investment Committee. Peter's primary responsibilities include setting the strategic direction of the firm and overseeing development and implementation of investment strategies.
Peter has more than 30 years of forest management, and investment experience. Prior to co-founding GFP, he was the managing director of UBS Timber Investors, the predecessor business to GFP. He holds a B.S. in Forestry and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the Society of American Foresters, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and serves on the Advisory Board for the ERB Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. He lives in Hanover, N.H., with his wife and two daughters.
Mark A. Retzloff (B.S. '70)
Mark A. Retzloff is a 38 year veteran of the natural and organic industry. Mark currently serves as President, Chief Organic Officer of Aurora Organic Dairy. As co-founder of Horizon Organic Dairy in 1991, Mark served in several capacities within the company, including Chairman, President, and President of the company's international business until his retirement in August 2001. Mark co-founded Alfalfas and was CEO & Chairman of the Board until his resignation in 1990. In the Organic Trade Association, Mark acted as a Board member for nine years and President for three years. Mark also co-founded and acted as Chairman of the Board of the Organic Food Alliance, and was instrumental in the passage of the Organic Foods Production Act.
He has received numerous industry awards, including the Organic Trade Association's 2002 Organic Leadership Award for outstanding individual achievement, and Boulder Chamber of Commerce's Entrepreneur of the Year award. He currently serves on the boards of Greenmont Capital Partners, Under the Canopy, Traditional Medicinals, BlueSun Biodiesel and Crocs Footwear, as well as several nonprofit organizations. His 3 children are K-12 graduates of Shining Mountain Waldorf School and he has been active in the Waldorf movement for over 30 years.
Stephen O. Simmons (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 impact studies of energy and natural resources development projects for hydroelectric power, nuclear energy and 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 under federal and state programs, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program. He later worked with site owners involved in contaminated site restoration to negotiate clean-up strategies with USEPA and the U.S. Department of Justice, saving site owner's substantial investments to arrive at fair and equitable allocation of liability and balanced restoration plans.
He built consulting staffs in significant disciplines, including those that have studied marine mammals in the Bering Sea, North Pacific and Arctic environments. His staffs have developed second-generation high-level nuclear waste disposal site analyses and nuclear waste clean-up solutions at U.S. Department of Energy complexes. He lead 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 provides individualized consulting services, he has developed and implemented turnaround strategies and business betterment roadmaps involving engineering and technical firms that had lost their competitive edge. In this role, he has converted firms that had lost focus into profitable businesses and prepared them for sale where owners desired an exit strategy and worked through the sale process to meet owner's objectives. He currently provides strategic and operational advice to a business in the construction quality-assurance market. He has taken the firm to profitability and increased market share while elevating it to a leader in its field.
Brian Swett (M.S./M.B.A '08)
Brian Swett is a project manager for the Boston Region's Development Group for Boston Properties. His current development responsibilities include:
- Seventeen Cambridge Center, a 200,000-square-foot lab/office development in Cambridge, Mass.;
- Signature Park, a three building, 400,000-square-foot commercial development in Marlborough, Mass.;
- 30 Shattuck Road, a 110,00-square-foot commercial development in Andover, Mass.;
- and Atlantic Wharf, a 31-story, 880,000-square-foot mixed-use project on Boston's waterfront.
Brian also advises and oversees LEED and sustainability-related initiatives throughout the Boston Region and across the company. During his time at the University of Michigan, Brian played a leadership role in advancing and advising two major green building efforts: the $150 million Ross School of Business building and the $500 million Mott Children's Hospital Building. Prior to joining Boston Properties, he worked for an environmental justice nonprofit, two socially responsible investment firms, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and several offices in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
During his time at EPA's National Center for Environmental Innovation, he 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. Affiliations Brian is a member of the Urban Land Institute and the US Green Building Council. He is on the board of directors of the USGBC Massachusetts Chapter. He also currently serves as co-chair of ULI Boston's Sustainability Committee.
A LEED AP, Brian is active in educating graduate students about sustainable design issues and has presented to university groups and at Green Build 2007 and 2008. He was also a member of the Massachusetts Net Zero Energy Building Task Force's Commercial Sector Work Group. Brian received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and International Relations in 2001 from Brown University and a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Sustainable Systems in 2008 from University of Michigan.
Geri Eileen Unger (B.S. '77)
Geri Eileen Unger is executive director of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) in Washington, D.C. SCB, founded at the University of Michigan in 1985, is an international professional organization that promotes the scientific study of phenomena affecting the maintenance, loss, and restoration of biological diversity. Its 5,000-plus worldwide members include resource managers, educators, government and private conservation workers, and students. She previously served as director of education and research at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, initiating a research program of reinstating ecosystem services in urban areas, and building capacity in education to serve teens through urban farming, teacher training, and early childhood education.
Before joining the Botanical Garden, she was with the Chicago Zoological Society, New England Aquarium, TerrAqua Environmental Science and Policy, and the Funder’s Forum on Environment and Education, where she served in a variety of positions, including regional conservation initiatives, program development and evaluation, staff mentoring, ecological footprint assessment for institutions, exhibit design and interpretation, and development of healthy, high-performance school standards. She received a master’s of science in 1984 from Hebrew University and is ABD from Tufts University in the field of urban and environmental policy.
Mark Van Putten (J.D. '82)
Mark Van Putten has 25 years of experience in environmental policymaking and nonprofit management at the international, national, regional and local level. He is the founder and President of ConservationStrategy ® llc, an environmental strategy and organizational development consulting firm based in the Washington, DC, area. ConservationStrategy's clients have included the Wege Foundation and other foundations with significant environmental grantmaking programs, the Federal Highway Administration, National Wildlife Federation, National Parks Conservation Association, The Wilderness Society, Restore America's Estuaries, the Apollo Alliance, Republicans For Environmental Protection, Water Advocates, The Aspen Institute, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment, the International Bottled Water Association, and the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.
Prior to founding ConservationStrategy in 2003, Mark spent over 20 years on the staff of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) - America's largest membership-based conservation organization - including nearly eight years as President and CEO. Prior to serving as CEO, Mark founded NWF's Great Lakes regional office - building it into NWF's largest regional office - and founded the University of Michigan's Environmental Law Clinic. Mark served on President Clinton's Trade & Environment Policy Committee, the Energy Future Coalition advisory board, and numerous U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advisory committees. Mark currently serves on the board of directors of the Audubon Naturalist Society, chairing its Conservation Committee, and serves on the board of the Potomac Conservancy. He is a graduate magna cum laude of the University of Michigan Law School where he currently serves as a Public Service Law Fellow. On the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Mark was named one of 30 nationwide "Clean Water Heroes."
Jumana Vasi (M.S. '08)
Jumana Vasi is an associate program officer in the C. S. Mott Foundation's Environment Program. Her grantmaking responsibilities, which are focused primarily in the Great Lakes basin, aim to build the organizational capacity of nonprofits engaged in the conservation of freshwater resources, influence selected public policy issues, and promote site-based conservation activities. Prior to joining the Mott Foundation, Jumana served as the Director of Development at Enlace Chicago, a community-based Latino organization. Jumana's professional experience also includes working on environmental justice projects at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration. Jumana holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Business from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment. Jumana speaks several languages including French, Gujarati, Urdu, and Wolof.
Jeffrey Wyner (B.S. '74)
Jeffrey Wyner has more than 20 years of commercial real estate experience. Until recently, he oversaw a $500 million portfolio of commercial real estate debt investments for ACA Capital, an asset management firm with approximately $12 billion under management. Prior employment includes Lehman Brothers' global real estate group and a private company owning real estate where he was a corporate director and president. Currently, he is a board member of the Gowanus Canal Development Corporation in Brooklyn, N.Y. The organization is overseeing the redevelopment of an industrial brownfield area being rezoned for mixed uses. Plans call for the first "green" neighborhood in New York City where all new development will be encouraged to have LEED certification and employ sustainable building practices/operations. He also he holds a master's degree in landscape architecture from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.