Delta Institute is a nonprofit that thinks like a business to build both a resilient environment and economy through sustainable solutions.
At least, that's the easy way to put it...
Disrupt the Energy Status Quo
Catalyze Ecosystem Stewardship
Transform Waste from Liability to Asset
WE SERVE OUR CLIENTS AND PARTNERS BY:
Identifying strategic solutions.
Developing sustainable markets.
Convening diverse stakeholders.
Informing better policy.
Designing and implementing model programs.
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People and Profiles
Ryan implements technical and analytical functions across Delta’s strategic focus areas. He is instrumental in fostering new projects and partnerships, particularly around agriculture and payments for ecosystem services, and in applying a systems lens to Delta’s projects. Before joining Delta in 2007, Ryan conducted policy and economic research at World Relief and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He is a member of the Chicago Advocates for Urban Agriculture Steering Committee and holds a B.S. in Finance from North Park University and a M.A. in Ecological Economics from the University of Leeds. Ryan grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and when not deep in the weeds of a PDF, he can often be found looking after his hens, bees and raised beds.
As Grants Administrator, Helen assists the Delta team with grant preparation and financial reporting. A Baltimore ex-pat, she has a degree in English from the University of Chicago, and has administrative and accounting experience in the HIT and nonprofit sectors. Out of the office, Helen enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and chasing inbox zero.
As a Technical Associate, Martin provides technical and programmatic support for Delta’s waste and energy projects. Native to the Washington D.C. region, Martin holds a B.A in Environmental Studies with minors in Architectural Studies and Art from Ithaca College. In Martin’s free time, he can be found on the pool deck coaching diving for the Chicago Dive Club at Northwestern University.
Kevin Dick, LEED AP O+M
Building and Energy Strategist
Kevin manages and implements Delta’s green building portfolio, which includes more than 10 million square feet of LEED-certified projects, and his work has led to several publications focusing on best practices around building operations and commercial, industrial and residential energy. Kevin’s passion is finding new, innovative connections, and often technology-based solutions that make permanent market change and enable partners and clients to be leaders in sustainability innovation. Born in Atlanta and raised in Cincinnati, Kevin has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Cincinnati, and a M.A. in Geography & Environmental Studies from Northeastern Illinois University. In his spare time, Kevin plays four musical instruments, cooks, gardens, goes on nature excursions, designs software, takes photographs, writes short stories and occasionally keeps bees.
Kelly Farley, SHRM-CP
Director of Finance and Operations
Kelly keeps Delta in line with best practices by managing human resources, office administration, and financial operations. She brings to Delta Institute over 10 years of experience in nonprofit and small business administration. Kelly holds a B.A. in Nonprofit Leadership and Development from DePaul University. She is certified as a Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP), demonstrating expertise in people, organization, workplace & strategy operations as well as technical knowledge of HR practices and U.S. laws and regulations. Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, she is passionate about ensuring the continued vitality of the Great Lakes region. In her free time, Kelly enjoys sarcasm, craft beer and video games.
As Office Administrator, Anthena provides interdepartmental support to Delta staff, specializing in accounting, communications, executive, operations and program assistance. Prior to Delta, she worked as a market research assistant at Johnson & Associates Marketing, Inc., conducting organizational research for nonprofits in the arts and cultivating an enthusiasm for mission-based work. A North Lawndale native, Anthena holds a bachelor’s of science in communications with an economics minor from Bradley University. She enjoys writing, biking, cooking and doing community volunteer work.
Senior Technical Associate
Matt Harrison is responsible for project management and implementation of sustainability-related projects, including carbon and nutrient trading, energy efficiency, and incentives and strategies for emission reductions and waste diversion. Prior to Delta, Matt designed conservation incentives and engagement strategies for private landowners to conserve forestland and improve water quality. Matt holds a B.A. in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an M.S. in policy and conservation ecology from the University of Michigan. A native of Northern California, he enjoys hiking, camping, lively conversation over craft beers and exploring new neighborhoods and cuisines in Chicago and around the world.
Melissa provides project support for Delta’s energy efficiency and brownfield redevelopment work in Michigan. Before joining Delta Institute, Melissa worked with the Ingham County Land Bank as the Garden Program Coordinator, providing a connection between land and other resources while assisting residents in developing, managing and maintaining urban gardening projects. Melissa holds a B.S. in Anthropology from Central Michigan University and a M.S. in Natural Resources in the Department of Community Agriculture Recreation Resource Studies from Michigan State University. Born in Alma, Michigan, she enjoys spending time with her family, camping, riding bikes and growing vegetables.
Maggie Marquis is a Project Manager at Delta, leading several projects within the Ecosystems Stewardship priority area. Her work focuses on water quality, greenhouse gas reductions and improving environmental outcomes from agriculture. Prior to joining Delta she worked on issues related to international agricultural development and global food security with The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the FAO and the Global Forum for Agricultural Research. She has an M.A. from the University of Sussex and a B.A. from Vanderbilt University. Maggie was raised in northern Virginia; she loves giant dogs, traveling and people who speak with an accent.
As a Technical Associate, Colleen contributes to the design and implementation of Delta programs that help change people’s behavior to reduce environmental impact at home and at work, including day-to-day management of the Chicago Green Office Challenge. Colleen uses her dual background in research and design to help Delta transform data into visual stories. Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, she holds a B.A. in Architecture and Environmental Science from Miami University in Ohio and an M.S. in Sustainable Design from the University of Texas at Austin where her research focused on human-built systems that mimic natural ecosystems - or 'biomimicry'. When she’s not working or studying, Colleen enjoys traveling, biking and drinking lots of coffee.
Katie Yocum Musisi
Communications & Development Director
Katie manages Delta’s communications and marketing, as well as the organization’s development activities. She brings over seven years of experience in strategic communications and public policy in the nonprofit and government spheres from Washington, D.C., where she previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff at USDA Rural Development. A native of Peoria, Illinois, Katie holds a B.S. in Media Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a founding board member of FUEL Youth, a nonprofit that builds schools in Liberia, and in addition to traveling, Katie likes to garden, cook and drink wine (and repeat).
Todd manages projects in the areas of ecosystem services, energy efficiency and pollution prevention, while also overseeing operations at Delta’s Michigan office. A native of Ohio, Todd attended Michigan State University to study forestry. He trudged around the forests of Alaska, Mississippi and Michigan for several years before trading up to the white collar world. After a few years with the Michigan Senate, he attended the Vermont Law School, where he earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Law. Now in his seventh year at Delta, Todd is continually reminded of the value of his work whenever he looks into the eyes of his daughter. There is no nobler profession than one that strives to make the world a better place for the children of tomorrow.
As CEO of Delta Institute, Jean oversees Delta’s diverse and growing portfolio of programs and projects, directs strategic development, and manages the organization’s operational infrastructure. Known nationally as a leader in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, Jean brings a particular cross-sector expertise in building social impact organizations. Prior to Delta, Pogge spent 18 years at ShoreBank, where she served as Executive Vice President of the Community and Consumer Banking Group. She also has served as curriculum consultant and adjunct professor for the Certificate in Non-Profit Management through the Great Cities Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Jean has a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy from University of Illinois at Chicago and a B.A. in English Literature from Barat College. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Loyola University Institute of Environmental Sustainability, the Advisory Council for the Illinois Sustainability Technology Council, the Board of Directors for the West Cook YMCA, and the Advisory Board for Chicago-based startup, Clever.
Director of Strategic Priorities
Eve manages Delta’s programs focusing on sustainability, new markets and waste material. Before joining Delta, she served the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus in Chicago as the director of environmental initiatives and led the Clean Air Counts Program. Pytel has won numerous awards and published nearly a dozen papers, including several regarding the devastating effects of emerald ash borer. She earned a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Public Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and received a B.A. in liberal arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. Eve is a refugee from Boston and arrived in 1999 attracted by great culture, the lake and food. She truly believes it is cooler by the lake.
Margaret Renas, PE, LEED AP O+M
Margaret is responsible for project management and implementation of sustainability-related projects. As an environmental engineer, her areas of focus include energy efficiency, waste management including electronic waste, brownfields redevelopment, certifications and LEED consultation. Margaret received a B.S. in Mathematics from Purdue University and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Margaret studies the violin, sits on the board of the Oistrach Symphony Orchestra and shares one of her favorite music quotes from the great philosopher Plato: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
Vanessa manages many of Delta’s on-the-ground energy efficiency programming and workforce development training programs. She currently manages the Chicago Green Office Challenge, an initiative designed to help businesses across the city adopt and implement energy efficient measures in their offices. Before working at Delta, Vanessa worked as a freelance film and video editor, working on various small commercial projects in Los Angeles, California. Vanessa holds a B.A. in Media Arts from the University of Arizona. Vanessa is a twin who grew up on the Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Arizona, and is of the Near the Water Clan and born for the Bitter Water Clan. She is an avid biker and succulent grower who likes to volunteer with Rebuilding Together Chicago, Third Coast Audio Festival, Chicago Botanic Gardens and the American Indian Center of Chicago.
Bill serves as Managing Director, overseeing project management, finance, administrative and development of strategy across the organization. He leads several project areas, including those related to climate, agriculture, water and ecosystems and also provides expertise and technical assistance directly related to Delta’s strategic priority areas. He holds a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology and Environmental Studies from Tulane University and a M.S. in Environmental Analysis and Decision Making from Rice University. Bill hails from Stevens Point, Wisconsin (it’s in the middle), partakes in annual trivia contests and is continuously improving his usage of synergistic vernacular.
Ben provides technical and programmatic support across all of Delta’s work, including the areas of waste management, environmental markets, and urban wood, among others. He holds an MS and a BS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University, and before joining the Delta team, he completed a Fulbright Fellowship focused on piloting an innovative wetland treatment system for textile effluent in the Thar Desert Region of Rajasthan, India. When he’s not hopelessly rooting for Northwestern sports or his hometown Baltimore Ravens, you can find Ben traveling, baking bread, or searching for the best green tea in town.
Dan provides technical and programmatic support across all of Delta’s work, including the areas of green infrastructure, environmental markets, stakeholder engagement and geospatial technology, among others. He holds a BGS in Environmental Studies from the University of Kansas, and before joining the Delta team, he helped run the City of Chicago’s Sustainable Backyards green infrastructure incentive program and provided geospatial analysis for the Chicago Department of Environment. Dan is a native Illinoisan who can often be found exploring Chicago on two wheels, learning new open source software or hunting for the best falafel the Midwest has to offer.
Director of Strategic Priorities
Cindy helps drive organizational strategy and manages Delta’s programs focusing on sustainable development. Winland is an urban planner with almost thirty years of experience in the Great Lakes region, working with urban and rural municipalities, nonprofits, professional organizations, and the academic community. Before joining Delta, she owned a consulting firm based in Midland, MI, where she led efforts around brownfield redevelopment, alternative energy planning, and sustainable master planning. She earned a Master of Urban Planning and a BA in Economics at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. A native of Detroit, she wouldn't dream of living away from the water, is enjoying the sunrise side of Lake Michigan and finally living in a city with great bakeries and like-minded Wolverines.
Communications and Development Associate
Nishaat supports Delta’s communications, outreach and development activities. Before joining Delta, she was a Communications and Program Manager for Midwest Pesticide Action Center, a nonprofit focusing on reducing harmful effects of pesticides, and worked for the U.S. EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office as a Research Fellow. Hailing from Rockford, Illinois, she holds a dual BS in Chemistry, and Science, Technology, and Society from Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring Chicago for different cuisines, consuming public media, learning about science and nature, and playing Dungeons and Dragons.
A co-founder of Delta Institute, Donna currently serves as a Senior Advisor, lending her expertise to Delta’s current brownfield redevelopment projects. Prior to founding Delta, she served as the executive director of a local economic and employment development council, and she also served as Deputy Commissioner for Industrial Development with the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development, where she worked with the Department of Environment to create the city’s $50 million Brownfield Redevelopment Initiative. Donna holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from Carleton College and a M.S. in City Planning from MIT.
As an entrepreneur and business executive, John advises Delta Institute on its social ventures strategy. John is the founding partner and CFO of Hodo Soy, a leading producer of organic tofu for the grocery and food service markets. Prior to launching Hodo, John was the first employee at ViaFone, one of the earliest players in mobile phone application software, and managed business planning and distribution operations for Motorola in China. John earned his MBA from Kellogg School of Management and B.A. from Dartmouth College.