WE SERVE OUR CLIENTS AND PARTNERS BY:
Identifying strategic solutions.
Developing sustainable markets.
Convening diverse stakeholders.
Informing better policy.
Designing and implementing model programs.
A Just Transition: The Way Forward for Coal Communities
Delta Institute traveled to Germany for a week-long tour to learn how former coal regions have transformed themselves in preparation for life after coal. Watch the video to learn how coal communities can adapt to changing markets and reinvent themselves for a sustainable future.
Delta Institute, Farmland LP, and Earth Economics released a report that demonstrates $21.4 million in net ecosystem service value benefits using regenerative farm management practices at scale. The report shows double bottom line return of 7.3% annual ecosystem gain on top of 10.5% annualized net economic gain for investors and summarizes the social and environmental impacts of Farmland LP’s investment management practices. Farmland LP buys and converts conventionally farmed land to certified organic farmland using regenerative farm management methods, to generate competitive financial returns and achieve positive environmental and social impacts.Read More >
People and Profiles
Ryan provides technical and programmatic leadership across Delta’s strategic priority 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. Ryan recently designed and taught an ecological economics course at Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability. 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.
Senior Programs Associate
As a Senior Associate, Martin provides technical and programmatic support and GIS expertise for Delta’s waste and ecosystems 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 for the Chicago Dive Club at Northwestern University.
Kevin Dick, LEED AP O+M
Kevin oversees and implements Delta’s energy and buildings strategy, which includes managing Delta’s green building portfolio and residential and commercial behavioral energy 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. .
Caitlin supports programmatic work across Delta’s objective areas. Before joining Delta, she worked as a Lab Operations Associate at Accugen Laboratories, aiding in quality control for a diverse set of industries. Caitlin holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Loyola University Chicago with a minor in Communications. While at Loyola, she aided in research surrounding farming conservation and pollination practices as well as urban agriculture. When she’s not in the office, Caitlin enjoys writing poetry, crafting homemade cards, and exploring Lake Michigan's shoreline, even in Chicago’s winter.
Beau Garrett, PE, LEED AP O+M, WELL AP
Beau supports Delta’s Buildings & Built Environment portfolio of work as it relates to LEED, energy auditing, and deployment of innovative technologies. Previously, he was an Energy Engineer at Goby, a sustainability software consultancy. He grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio before moving to Chicago to complete a combined B.S./M.S. in Environmental Engineering at Northwestern University. Beau is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Illinois and holds LEED AP and WELL AP credentials. He is passionate about DJing, biking, golfing, photography, the sharing economy, and international travel.
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, 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.
Programs Ecosystems Lead
David is a Programs Ecosystems Lead 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 utilizes analytical approaches and data analysis and visualization to facilitate the development and implementation of projects in Delta's ecosystems portfolio. She leads projects that connect innovative solutions and measurable outcomes on the landscape, particularly in freshwater ecosystems. 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 B.S. 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.
Finance & Operations Assistant
As Finance & Operations Assistant, Mackenzie provides interdepartmental support to Delta staff, specializing in HR, accounting, operations, and executive assistance. Prior to joining Delta, Mackenzie worked for a financial management services company that specialized in real estate investment. She has a B.S. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences with a certification in Professional Event Management from Texas A&M University. In her free time, Mackenzie enjoys camping and tries to visit at least one national park a year. She also enjoys hanging out with her dog, Quincy, eating Mexican food, and traveling home to visit her family in Texas.
Eve leads Delta’s communities portfolio which seeks to empower communities to solve legacy environmental challenges while maximizing economic and community development opportunities. She has 15 years of urban planning experience and is a subject matter expert in waste, green infrastructure, and social enterprise. Prior to joining Delta Institute, she served as the Director of Environmental Initiatives at the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus. Eve has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Public Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and received a BA in liberal arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. She serves on the board of the Building Material Reuse Association, is a parent to 10 year-old twins, and practices Jiu Jitsu.
Katie supports Delta’s development activities by strengthening our relationships with individual donors. Before joining Delta, she worked in Northwestern University’s Alumni Relations and Development office, supporting the School of Communication major gift team. Previously, she worked in the Student Services office at North Park University. Hailing from the east coast, Katie holds a B.A. in Communication from Elon University and a Masters in Higher Education from North Park University. In her spare time, Katie enjoys traveling, running, and drinking wine to recover from running!
Margaret Renas, PE, LEED AP O+M
Community & Brownfield Revitalization Lead
Margaret is an environmental engineer responsible for project management, implementation and development of sustainability-related projects in the Resilient Communities initiative area. Her work focuses on community-based vacant property and brownfield redevelopment (from initial site acquisition and investigation through site cleanup, interim reuse, and permanent redevelopment), working with local communities to assess air quality, stakeholder relationship/partnership building, and community engagement. Margaret received a B.S. in Mathematics from Purdue University and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Margaret plays the violin, loves volunteering at By the Hand and has two adorable house rabbits.
As Program Specialist, Emily manages projects in the Communities portfolio and provides programmatic support for Delta’s work on community development and urban infrastructure. Prior to joining Delta, Emily worked as a Senior Project Manager at the New York City Economic Development Corporation where she oversaw planning projects focusing on goods movement and the industrial sector. Emily is a native Michigander and holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology from Kalamazoo College, and a Master of Urban Planning from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Policy. When Emily is not at Delta, she can be found exploring neighborhoods in her new hometown, tending to her houseplants, and hanging out with her cat, Taco.
Bill Schleizer is the CEO of Delta Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on thriving communities and landscapes. He drives strategy, development, and engagement while collaborating with communities across the Midwest to solve complex environmental challenges. He has over 18 years of experience in systems and policy analysis, environmental science, ecosystems and consulting and serves on the Advisory Board for Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology and Environmental Studies from Tulane University and his master’s degree in Environmental Analysis and Decision Making from Rice University. He hails from Stevens Point, Wisconsin and is a trivia champion who loves a challenge.
Finance & Operations Specialist
As Finance and Operations Senior Specialist for Delta, Katherine is responsible for administering the financial and operational aspects of the organization and assisting with grant management and I.T. 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 expertise and manages programs across all of Delta’s work, including the areas of environmental markets, green infrastructure, deconstruction, 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.
Programs Ecosystems Lead
As a Programs Ecosystems Lead, Ryan leads projects in Delta Institute’s ecosystems portfolio, including the areas of climate, agriculture, water, and forestry. He 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, 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.
Mike Stopka, AIA, LEED BD+C
Lead, Buildings and Built Environment
Mike facilitates projects and initiatives in Delta’s built environment portfolio, to support healthy, high-performance buildings, campuses and cities. In addition, Mike founded and runs MIST, a consultancy focused on sustainability education and strategy. Previously, as Director of Sustainability at the University of Chicago he empowered stakeholders to minimize the University’s environmental footprint through strategic planning, real-estate development, design, operations and academic efforts. Prior, he founded the Sustainability Department at the architecture firm SCB. A Chicagoland native, Mike holds a BS in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, a Master of Architecture from Clemson University and completed the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ Executive Leadership Program. He is a regular lecturer and advisor to the AIA, USGBC and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, among others. Most importantly, he is always looking to spend more time camping and fishing with his wife and 3 daughters.
As Programs Associate, Megan Walton works on projects related to waste reduction and resilient communities. Prior to joining the programmatic team, Megan worked on the Finance and HR team at Delta Institute. Megan holds a B.A. in Art History from Trinity University in San Antonio and an M.S. in Public Service Management with a graduate certificate in Metropolitan Planning and Development. Out of the office, Megan enjoys reading, riding her bike, and traveling, and particularly enjoys exploring the Great Lakes region.
Amy manages Delta’s online communications presence, marketing, and public relations. Before joining Delta, she was an Associate at Greentarget Global Group, a public relations firm focused exclusively on business-to-business organizations. Prior to Greentarget, she served as Community Manager and Marketing Associate at Coalition: Energy, an energy and cleantech community hub and coworking space. Amy holds a BS in Agricultural Communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a member of Chicago Foundation for Women’s Young Women’s Giving Council working to support young women and girls through philanthropic efforts. Amy enjoys exploring the city for the best tamales and ice cream in the summer, and visiting museums and Garfield Park Conservatory in the winter.