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...
Following 2015’s designation as the International Year of Soils by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, soil carbon sequestration is experiencing something of a renaissance among...Read More >
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.
BOOST 2016 applications are open!
BOOST is a live, crowd-funded pitch fest in support of energy, ecosystem, and waste innovations in Chicago. Visit the BOOST page and apply today!
This paper describes the process Delta Institute’s project team used to obtain and directly integrate a community’s goals and needs into an engineeringbased, brownfields prioritization rubric. A two-phased approach was used to prioritize sites. Phase I reduced the initial brownfields inventory from 62 to 20, relying upon a quantitative rubric to score the community’s inventoried brownfields by assessing both site-related data and community site redevelopment goals. This initial approach was only partially successful and as such was supplemented with an alternate qualitative, community-based comparison process. Phase II reduced the interim list of 20 sites to ten. This approach began with a re-scoring of sites to produce refined, site marketability scores and summaries that were then used to inform a more time intensive, flexible, and individualized community and stakeholder engagement process. Phase II resulted in significant community input on desired reuse of the sites to reduce the number of sites to ten. Delta Institute found that while the original engineering-based approach (scoring rubric) brought significant value to the project, the more qualitative, individualized community engagement approach in Phase II resulted in a site prioritization that more truly reflected the goals of the community in an impactful way.Read More >
Findings, recommendations, and hand-outs from a multi-stakeholder meeting that focused on supporting the installation and maintenance of green infrastructure solutions.Read More >
Developed with LVEJO, this comprehensive strategy will guide redevelopment in selected Little Village vacant properties.Read More >
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 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
Director of Strategic Priorities
Kevin manages Delta’s energy portfolio, which includes green building, residential behavioral, and emerging technology programs. Kevin’s passion is finding new, innovative connections, and 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. .
Director of Finance & Operations
As Director of Finance and Operations for Delta, Helen is responsible for all of the financial, administrative and operational aspects of the organization. She brings more than 15 years of experience in a leadership capacity in accounting and administration in the nonprofit, government, public and private sectors. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Helen holds a B.S. in Accounting from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and M.S. from Keller University in Accounting and Financial Management. In her spare time, she loves football (GO STEELERS!), traveling, and playing with her dog.
Nishaat Y. Killeen
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 B.S. in Chemistry and Science, Technology, and Society from Butler University, and is working on her Masters of Public Policy and Administration at Northwestern University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring Chicago for different cuisines, consuming public media, learning about science and nature, and playing Dungeons and Dragons.
Senior Specialist, Ecosystems
David is a Senior Specialist in the Ecosystems practice here at Delta where he manages a portfolio of projects that focuses on building a more regenerative economy. David holds a Ph.D. in Environment and Resources and an M.S. in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Michigan State University. Before his days as a Deltoid, David was the Managing Scientist of the Knowledge Systems for Sustainability Collaborative at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where he also led the Agricultural Innovation Prize. David was born and raised in the Mitten State and spent his childhood exploring the natural wonders of the Great Lakes. When David isn’t training to be the next Captain Planet, you can find him with his family in Madison, WI gardening, beekeeping, cooking, woodworking, and participating in any number of silent sports.
As ecosystems specialist, Olga leads projects in Delta’s ecosystems portfolio, including the areas of climate, agriculture, and water. She is instrumental in fostering new projects and partnerships, particularly around green infrastructure, agriculture, conservation finance, watershed prioritization and environmental markets. Prior to joining Delta Institute, she served as the Research Manager for Alliance for the Great Lakes, providing analytical and research support for policy work and managing the academic network for the organization. Before the position at the Alliance for the Great Lakes, she conducted photo-catalysis research at Northwestern University in the Environmental Engineering Department. Olga holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. Olga grew up in Russia, and has lived within two blocks of Lake Michigan shoreline since moving to Chicago in 2002.
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).
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. Hailing from Boston, Eve arrived to Chicago 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.”
As CEO of Delta Institute, Bill drives Delta’s strategy, fundraising, external relations, and administrative efforts. He also brings deep technical expertise in environmental markets, pollution prevention, policy analysis and project areas related to climate, agriculture, water and ecosystems. Bill is a trustee of the Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund, and he is a member of the Vital Lands Working Group dedicated to coordinating conservation efforts across Illinois. He also serves as a member of the Advisory Board for Loyola University Chicago Institute of Environmental Sustainability. Bill 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.
Finance & Operations Administrator
As Finance and Operations Administrator for Delta, Katherine assists the team with financial reporting, systems integration, and operational tasks. She has worked in non-profits for her entire career, including a family foundation, a university, and smaller programmatic organizations, totaling 15 years of experience in the field. Katherine grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and stayed in Chicago after receiving her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. She loves spending time with her husband and their dog, doing DIY projects, and catching up on TV and movies.
Ben Shorofsky, EIT, LEED AP O+M
Ben provides technical and programmatic support across all of Delta’s work, including the areas of deconstruction, environmental markets, green infrastructure, and community development, among others. He holds an M.S. and a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University. 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 woodworking, baking bread, or searching for the best green tea in town.
As project manager, Ryan leads projects in Delta’s ecosystems portfolio, including the areas of climate, agriculture, water, and forestry. Prior to joining Delta Institute, he served as the Operations Manager for Cardno, managing the environmental and ecological restoration division for the Illinois office. Prior to Cardno, he worked 12+ years for the Butler Soil and Water Conservation District in Hamilton, Ohio implementing conservation best management practices in the agriculture and urban arena. He is a Certified Conservation Planner and holds a Bachelors in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Wright State University. When he is not saving soil, Ryan enjoys spending his time exploring Chicago and is on the hunt for the best chicken wings in the City.
As Administrative Assistant, Megan provides interdepartmental support to Delta staff, specializing in accounting, communications, executive, operations and program assistance. Prior to Delta, she worked in an administrative capacity at Pritzker Group. Megan holds a B.A. in Art History from Trinity University in San Antonio and is working on her M.S. in Public Service Management from DePaul University. Out of the office, Megan enjoys volunteering with PAWS, discovering new favorite Chicago restaurants and beaches, and riding her bike.
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.
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.