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.
Thank you for attending BOOST 2015
BOOST is a live, crowd-funded pitch fest in support of energy, ecosystem, and waste innovations in Chicago. Check out who won seed funding in our blog!
We explain how we use poplar trees to clean up contaminated soil.Read More >
We explain how we help communities plan for the closure and redevelopment of their coal plants.Read More >
We explain how we help extract value from vacant and blighted properties through deconstruction.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 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 project manager, Brian manages Delta projects around community engagement, coal community transition planning, and urban land revitalization through brownfield redevelopment, green infrastructure installation, and creative reuse. Prior to joining Delta Institute, he served nearly 5 years as the Director of Sustainability Programs for the Andersonville Development Corporation (ADC) in Chicago, developing and managing programs, such as compost collection, energy efficiency, bike infrastructure, and creative place-making initiatives. Prior to ADC, he worked in the sustainability and community development fields in Boston, Massachusetts. An Iowa native, he holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Environmental Studies and History from Iowa State University. Outside of the office, Brian can be found exploring new cities for great donut shops and street art, practicing his woodworking skills, or dreaming about being closer to the mountains and ocean.
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 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.
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.
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. 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.”
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 Shorofsky, EIT, LEED AP O+M
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.
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.
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.
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.