Carol Staniec
USEPA Region 5 (Moderator)

Carol Staniec has over 30 years of Federal and State experience in the CAA (air), CWA (water) and RCRA (land) programs at EPA. As the regions’ pretreatment program’s enforcement manager she oversaw, both, POTWs with approved pretreatment programs and industrial users in the states of Illinois and Indiana, for compliance with their NPDES effluent guidelines, storm water and permit requirements. She now works in the Material and Municipal Industrial Section, on waste to energy projects, and currently is one of seven team members on the national EPA’ core anaerobic digestion team, recently publishing, “Anaerobic Digestion and its Applications”. She also oversees the Subtitle D and Recycling programs for the states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Carol has been the federal government liaison to the Illinois Recycling Association since 2010.


Gary Cuneen
Founder & Executive Director, Seven Generations Ahead

Gary Cuneen is the Founder and Executive Director of Seven Generations Ahead (SGA), a non-profit organization serving the Chicago metro area, Illinois and Midwest since 2001 through its mission to promote ecologically sustainable and healthy communities. During the past 15 years, Gary has designed and managed SGA programs, directed sustainability planning and implementation initiatives, and has catalyzed the creation of statewide and regional networks, including the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition, Illinois Farm to School Network and Fox Valley Sustainability Network. Since 2004, Gary has served in a leadership capacity to advance farm to school and healthy eating initiatives across Illinois, and to promote community and school-based zero waste processes and education. Gary is the co-founder of Green Town: The Future of Community, a conference targeting leaders from the Chicago area and Midwest to learn about leading edge sustainable city initiatives and best practices.


John Edel
Founder of Plant Chicago & owner of Bubbly Dynamics

John Edel is both an eco and social entrepreneur. His most recent endeavor, The Plant, is a project combining adaptive industrial reuse and aquaponics to create the nation’s first vertical farm and food-business incubator. Located in a former meatpacking facility in Chicago’s historic Stockyards, The Plant will be powered entirely by the waste of neighboring businesses. John also is the owner and developer of the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center, a green business incubator in the Stockyards Industrial Corridor. As General Contractor, Edel took the facility from a burnt-out shell to 100% occupancy while using a mixture of waste-stream recycled materials and leading edge technology to make the building exceptionally energy efficient and pleasantly non-toxic. The renovation was assisted by a core group of volunteers and by bartering with suppliers, tenants and scrappers. The building’s green roof is a photo of Edel’s daughter Zoe rendered in 9,600 sedum plants, each of which is a pixel in her image. In previous careers, Edel taught computer graphics, designed sets for broadcast television, art directed video games and worked as a chef on private railroad cars. He has a lifelong dream of combining industrial preservation, agriculture and food production in a sustainable fashion.


Nick Menniga
General Manager, Downer Grove Sanitary District

Nick Menninga has spent his 32 year career in the wastewater industry, as a regulator, a consultant, and a utility manager.  He is active in professional associations, helping advocate to transform the wastewater industry into one of resource recovery and use.  He has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois, is a registered professional engineer in Illinois, holds a Class 1 wastewater operator’s certificate from Illinois EPA, and is a Diplomate with the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists.

Julie Schilf
Regions EPA, Sustainable Food Management

Julie currently works in the Municipal and Industrial Materials Section of the Materials Management Branch, Land and Chemicals Division, at the US EPA. She is the regional coordinator for EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, a component of the Sustainable Materials Management program which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of materials through their entire life cycle, including how they are extracted, manufactured, distributed, used, reused, recycled, and disposed. Julie is also the Region 5 coordinator EPA’s WasteWise program. WasteWise is a free, voluntary EPA program through which organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste and select industrial wastes, benefiting their bottom line and the environment. Prior to her position in LCD, She worked as an ORISE (Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education) intern in the Superfund Division (2005-2009) where she performed Institutional Control mapping and learned subsurface contamination migration modeling with EarthSoft software.


Jim S
Jim Slanina
Founder and President, EnviroPure

Jim Slanina, Founder and inventor of the EnviroPure technology has an engineering and product development background with over 30 years’ experience in manufacturing in senior executive roles. After owning a small contract manufacturing company for over 10 years Jim started EnviroPure in Chicago almost 7 years ago spending over 3 years on research and development of the technology. Several years ago the company was acquired by T&S Brass out of South Carolina. EnviroPure now has its engineering and manufacturing headquarters in Travelers Rest South Carolina.

Carol Scratch
Cathy Scratch
Founder and President, Feed Earth Now

While working as a Waste and Recycling Consultant for her own company, Green Planet Waste & Recycling Solutions, and during a routine waste audit, Cathy discovered that a local Michigan Ave. hotel was generating more than 7 tons of food scraps a week from just their food prep kitchens alone, the equivalent of sending 7 elephants (in volume) to the landfill each week! This prompted the Cathy to began researching options for large scale food scrap recycling. After consulting with many experts on alternate sciences and technologies, Feed Earth Now created a unique process that rapidly converts large volumes of organic matter into a high value liquid probiotic for soil. Feed Earth Now was the recipient of the 2014 FSCRAP Grant and received more than $200k in funding to build the first industrial scale food scrap fermentation plant of it’s kind.This new process is a truly sustainable method of food scrap recycling and 10 times faster than composting.


Rick Shipley
Chief Executive Officer at Organix Recycling, LLC

Rick Shipley has over 18 years of experience recycling commodities across a broad range of industries.  Mr. Shipley is an expert in developing large scale recycling programs that meet both operational and financial needs for clients.  He currently serves as Chief Executive Officer at Organix Recycling, LLC, a company he co-founded in 2010 to meet a growing and desperate need to divert food scraps from landfills and redirect them for re-purposing.  In 6 short years, Organix has become the largest collector and recycler of retail food scraps in the U.S., diverting more than 1,000,000 tons since inception.