Zero Waste east

September 24-25, 2019

NJII Agile Center at N.J.I.T. Campus
323 Doctor Martin Luther King Junior Blvd
Newark, New Jersey 07102

Email: sdonachie@companiesforzerowaste.com

Phone: 201-563-8529

Scott Donachie

President & Founder

Scott Donachie is the CEO and Founder of Zero Waste Events. Scott has a background in sales, marketing, trading and capital raising spanning 25 years.

He made hundreds of research calls before launching Zero Waste Events into leading experts on the circular economy. Scott came quickly to the conclusion that the “experts” all had a different definition of Zero Waste and a strong emotional personal bias towards other organizations.

Scott launched Zero Waste Events seeing the need for a platform where policymakers, corporations, municipalities, investors and non-profits could collaborate on the movement towards a circular economy and Zero Waste. The ultimate catalyst for launching Zero Waste Events was discovering that New Jersey has over four hundred dormant landfills due to overcapacity. Scott kept asking himself where is this trash going? Listening to Tom Szaky and Elon Musk about the state of the current environment drove Scott to take action.

Zero Waste Events is a place of INTERACTION. Stories of experimentation, prototyping, failure, success but most important action and not WORDS. Themes include design, corporate culture change, science, technology and cognitive behavioral recognition. We share opinions, processes, tools and resources. We ponder failures and celebrate success but most important we keep MOVING.

Dave Gajadhar


Dave is an advisor across Regulated Industries, Government, Tourism, Manufacturing, Human and Health Services. Dave develops and implement business strategies, policy changes, sustainability practises and generative growth with enabling technologies, efficiency, transparency, and accountability.

Dave supports business modernization with emerging technologies to enable sustainability, socioeconomic outcomes and generative growth., and is known for delivering talks that combine culture, human behaviours, socio-economics, psychology, and technology with current events, personal anecdote, and historical precedent—effortlessly transliterating the complex issues of technology out of the abstract and into operations.

Our Board

Robert F. Lurie
Former EVP New York Power Authority

Robert F. Lurie is the co-founder and partner of White Dog Strategies, a clean energy and marketing consulting firm based in Hopewell, New Jersey.   He is an innovative leader with a unique breadth of experience leading change and growth in the energy industry, government and other industries, and as an expert in business strategy, public policy, financial strategy and public-private partnerships.

From 2012 until May of 2019, Bob was executive vice president, chief financial officer, and chief strategy officer of the New York Power Authority, a $3 billion state-owned hydropower and clean energy services company. While at NYPA, Bob led the development of three landmark clean energy strategic plans, including one focused on deep decarbonization across the economy and another focused on digital transformation across the enterprise. He led the development of NYPA’s major investment plans in EV charging infrastructure, energy storage, offshore wind, and digital products and services.

Bob is a member emeritus of the board of the Building Energy Exchange in New York City, and a member of the Transformation Advisory Council formed by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to advise them on modernizing the grid in Puerto Rico.

Prior to joining NYPA, Bob was vice president of North America business development for Ocean Power Technologies, an ocean wave energy company in New Jersey. Prior to that role, he directed the mergers and acquisitions function for Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. in Pennsylvania.

Bob served as the Chief of Strategic Planning at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from 2003-2007, and was treasurer and vice president of corporate development for a utility company in New Jersey. Bob’s early career was as director of public finance for the State of New Jersey, managing over $8 billion in infrastructure funding, and as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers.

Bob holds a Masters in Business Administration in finance from the State University of New York at Albany, and a Bachelors in Economics from Union College in Schenectady, New York.

    Denise Coogan
    Environmental Partnership Manager at Subaru of America

    Denise Coogan (MA in Sustainable Development/Policy) is Environmental Partnership Manager at Subaru of America and is recognized as a leading zero landfill expert. She leads the company’s external environmental and sustainability programs, which include Subaru’s initiative to bring zero landfill to the national parks.

     During her tenure at Subaru Indiana Automotive as Safety and Environmental Compliance Manager, Denise headed the plant’s zero landfill effort, which was achieved with the last waste shipment going to the landfill in May 2004. Because of her efforts, SIA is one of the most environmentally friendly auto manufacturing facilities in the world. Throughout her time at SIA, Denise advised more than 800 corporations on how to implement zero landfill best practices in their respective facilities.

     Denise holds professional certifications as a Registered Environmental Manager (REM) and a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM). Her master’s thesis laid out the path a company needs to take to achieve zero landfill.

      Elena Christopoulos
      Commissioner of Santa Monica, CA

      Elena Christopoulos is a scientist and sustainability expert with over 20 years of expertise as an Energy and Political Consultant who “walks the talk of sustainability.” Her depth of technical expertise is only surpassed by her ability to build relationships between people and motivate groups to achieve project goals.

      She is the Principal of ECMC and in early 2000 she implemented the first urban wind turbine in North America. Located in downtown Toronto, it took more than 250 homes off the power grid. She also created the first feed-in-tariff program to support this effort. Last year, Elena was named Toronto’s Woman of the Year for her work designing and implementing wind turbines and solar arrays in Canada, Greece, Germany, England, and the US. She travels between the US, Canada, and Europe working on, implementing and speaking about diverse alternative energy, clean tech, water conservation, and climate action projects and programs.

      As a Certified Sustainability Professional (CSR-P) with over 20 years of program and project management experience as a management consultant, Ms. Christopoulos, has successfully worked with various stakeholders from the public, private and non-profit sectors. She is a proven global leader for large-scale and high-profile projects with extensive experience designing and implementing CSR strategies and reports (based on GRI guidelines), life cycle assessment & carbon footprint, sustainability verification & assurance, economic development, educational campaigns, public affairs, marketing and communications and brand strategy.

      She has managed over 40 successful political campaigns throughout the world and it is her goal to get more women into politics.

      Elena is a strong advocate for women as a mentor, peer, colleague and friend. As a woman with a career in #STEM It is her goal to increase the number of female environmental scientists from 28% to 50% over her lifetime and to continue to develop #STEM programs. She is a Board Member of the YMCA in Santa Monica, past President of the UNA-USA Pasadena Chapter, Commissioner on the Status of Women with the City of Santa Monica and the Founder and President of the Santa Monica Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA).

        Hugh Welsh
        President & General Counsel, DSM North America

        Mr. Hugh C. Welsh is the President & General Counsel of DSM North America a global leader in Life Sciences & Material Sciences. Traded on the Amsterdam stock exchange with 21,000 employees world wide and $12 billion in annual sales, DSM develops, manufactures and sells nutritional and food ingredients, biomedical materials, specialty plastics and resins, fibers and renewable energy. Mr. Welsh currently serves on several DSM global and regional management teams and has direct responsibilities in DSM’s nutrition and food specialties operations as well as responsibility for legal, government affairs, corporate communications, other shared services, corporate partnerships and DSM’s sustainability, inclusion and diversity initiatives in the region North America. Hugh currently serves on the Board of Directors of, Partners in Food Solutions, Chairman of the Board of the US Chamber of Commerce Citizens Center, Chairman of the Board of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, Tri-State Diversity Council, Board of Governors of Union County College, and BIO. He previously served on the board of Patheon and the American Chemistry Council. Prior to joining DSM Hugh served as Assistant General Counsel at American Standard Companies.

          Dr. Serpil Guran
          Director of Rutgers EcoComplex

          Dr. Guran also manages the new RutgersX “EcoIgnite: Clean Energy Proof of Concept Center and Accelerator” program. She is trained on thermochemical conversion (pyrolysis and gasification) of biomass and waste materials for production of fuels and chemicals and she specializes in research, development and assessment of sustainable biofuel and recycling technologies, and life cycle analysis of clean energy systems alternative fuel production systems. Currently, her research is focused on integrating waste in to Circular Carbon Systems for Sustainable Development and Climate Change Mitigation.

            Ronald L. Mersky, Ph.D., P.E.
            Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at Widener University

            Ronald L. Mersky is Editor of The Journal of Solid Waste Technology and Management, has published numerous papers on that subject and has developed and taught professional education courses for organizations ranging from the American Society of Civil Engineers to the Pan American Health Organization. He has served as a consultant on waste management projects extending from Philadelphia International Airport to the Cayman Islands. Dr. Mersky has advised several governments, in the United States and elsewhere, on waste management issues.

              Dr. Karen L. Weber
              President, Foundation for a Green Future

              Dr. Karen L. Weber is LEED AP and her company, Earth Our Only Home, Inc. is certified as WBE – a woman-owned business in the state of Massachusetts.  She has been working since 2006 to bring green infrastructure to the Greater Boston area as a means for conserving energy and water.  

               Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Foundation for a Green Future, Inc. and Founder of the Massachusetts Water Forum, Dr. Weber works with government, educational and nonprofit agents to raise environmental awareness.  Boston GreenFest is one of the Foundation’s paths to bringing the community together to make transformative change.  Dr. Weber is the founder and executive director of this multicultural multidisciplinary effort which draws people from across the globe, launches small entrepreneurs and innovators, and provides a base for sharing knowledge in the fields of energy, water, transportation, design and health.

              Dr. Weber has served on the planning committees of NESEA (Northeast Sustainable Energy Association), GreenBuild, and altWheels, and has been recognized for her work with awards from NEWIEE (New England Women in Energy and Environment), the City of Boston, and Green Schools.  She was also a guest at the White House for an EPA program in May 2012.  Due to her initiatives, the Foundation was the recipient of the Lewis Mumford Award for the Environment given by the Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility.

               Dr. Weber consulted for and assisted with two world green roof conferences, one in Shanghai, China in May 2010, and one in Indore City, India in November 2011.  She also served as a consultant for State Street and inspired the installation of a green roof on their office building in Huangzhou. 

                Maurie J. Cohen
                Professor of Sustainability Studies and Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the New Jersey Institute of Technology

                Professor Cohen is also Associate Faculty Member with the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University, Associate Faculty Member with the Rutgers/NJIT Urban Systems Program, and Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute. Cohen is additionally Editor of Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy (SSPP), Associate Editor of Environmental Innovation and Sustainability Transitions, and co-founder and Executive Board Member of the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI). His books include The Future of Consumer Society: Prospects for Sustainability in the New EconomySocial Change and the Coming of Post-consumer Society (with Halina Szejnwald Brown and Philip Vergragt), Putting Sustainability into Practice: Applications and Advances in Research on Sustainable Consumption (with Emily Huddart Kennedy and Naomi Krogman), Innovations in Sustainable Consumption: New Economics, Socio-technical Transitions and Social Practices (with Halina Szejnwald Brown and Philip Vergragt) and Exploring Sustainable Consumption: Environmental Policy and the Social Sciences (with Joseph Murphy). Cohen received his PhD. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993.

                  DIBYENDU “DIBS” SARKAR, PhD, PG
                  Professor of environmental engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology.

                  He founded and currently directs the MS program in Sustainability Management at Stevens. Prior to joining Stevens, Dibs served as a professor of environmental science and the founding director of the PhD program in Environmental Management at Montclair State University. An environmental geochemist by training, Dibs works primarily in the area of environmental quality and remediation and green technology development. Much of his research in recent years has focused on recycling and reutilization of solid waste, primarily drinking water treatment sludge and wastewater sludge. He is a Fellow of Geological Society of America and serves as a member of Advisory Board of the Association of Environmental Health and Sciences. Dibs is the founding editor-in-chief of Current Pollution Reports, and the founding section editor-in-chief of the Environmental and Sustainable Science and Technology section of Applied Sciences. Dibs got his PhD in geochemistry from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1997, and is a professional geologist registered in Texas.

                    Angela Fisher
                    Co-founder and Chief Sustainability Strategist
                    LCA CP | ISSP-SA | LEED Green Associate
                    Aspire Sustainability

                    Angela is a fun-loving, motivated sustainability professional who delivers a refreshing blend of big-picture thinking, technical expertise, and pure passion for sustainability. She is the co-founder of Aspire Sustainability, a purpose-driven, strategic sustainability and Life Cycle Assessment consultancy. Prior to Aspire, she spent 13 years with General Electric deciphering sustainability challenges and integrating imaginative solutions across diverse, global industries.   Angela is a certified life cycle assessment professional (LCA CP), an International Society of Sustainability Professionals Sustainability Associate (ISSP-SA), and a LEED Green Associate.  She received her graduate degree in Environmental Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University with a concentration in Sustainability & Technology and her Bachelor’s in Environmental Resource Management. Angela is lives in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado and spends her time actively enjoying the outdoors with her family and friends.

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