Kate M. Nelson, Chief Sustainability Officer
In 2008 the Office of Sustainability at UW-Milwaukee was established as one of the first in the UW System, and has been under Kate’s direction since. She is responsible for planning & managing a variety of sustainability initiatives, including, but not limited to; energy conservation strategies, stormwater management, expansive recycling programs, sustainable purchasing, alternative transportation options, urban gardening as well as engaging the campus students, faculty, and staff through multiple sustainability outreach and educational programs. Previously, Kate was a GIS specialist and project assistant for The Conservation Fund, and worked to preserve and restore critical land areas for MMSD’s Greenseams program that addressed flood management. Her previous research in the sustainable development of Costa Rica, Romania, and Cuba has influenced and aligned her strategies for environmental policy and planning here at home in Wisconsin. Kate holds an MS in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies of UW Madison, as well as a BA in Conservation and Environmental Science from UW-Milwaukee and a previous BA in Theatre and Writing from Cardinal Stritch University.
John Gardner, Program & Policy Analyst
John Gardner is the Office of Sustainability’s Program and Policy Analyst. John worked on UW-Milwaukee’s 2013 STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) submission. As part of the STARS process and all things data, John digitized and analyzed 5+ years of utilities data (electric, gas, water) for over 80 accounts at UWM, and developed UW-Milwaukee’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory for Scope 1-3 sources. In addition, John drafts energy and emissions reports, assembles all UWM waste and recycling data for the national Recyclemania competition, collaboratively designs Sustainability Office public presentation and booklet materials, and helps out in the gardens. John also works with the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium. John graduated with a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and a Master’s in Urban Planning from UW-Milwaukee.
Bonnie Halvorsen, Campus Farm Partnerships Manager
Bonnie officially joined the Office of Sustainability as the Campus Farm Partnership Manager in 2016, although she has collaborated with the Office on sustainable food systems projects for years prior. Currently she is directing a complex partnership between UWM, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Cream City Conservation Corps, Institute of Urban Agriculture & Nutrition, Boys & Girls Clubs of Milwaukee, Groundwork Milwaukee, Milwaukee County Parks Department, and American Red Cross. This project illustrates why Bonnie’s unofficial title is Chief Complicator. The project provides paid summer jobs to 20 high school students and 5 college students who grow organic local food for UWM’s Restaurant Operations to purchase. Bonnie is a card-carrying foodie and gardener. She believes not only in the therapeutic aspects of eating good food, but also in growing and sharing good food. The Campus Farm Partnership is the fourth start-up project she has managed at UW-Milwaukee. Other start-ups include the Institute for Urban Agriculture & Nutrition, the School of Freshwater Science and the Zilber School of Public Health, for which she was recognized with a 2009 Women of Influence Award. She holds an MA in Health Communication and a Bachelor of Fine Art from UW-Milwaukee.
Andrew Avery-Johnson, Surplus Manager
Andrew joined the Office of Sustainability in November of 2016 as manager of the Surplus program. The Surplus program handles the redistribution, sale, and disposal of equipment, furniture, office supplies, electronics, and other miscellaneous items generated by UWM. As a lifelong devotee to the upcycling, repurposing, and salvaging of goods, Andrew hopes to promote awareness of Surplus, not only within the UWM community, but also the Milwaukee community as a whole. It is his hope that through diligent and passionate effort, more items can be diverted from the dumpster and find homes where they can continue to be of use. Prior to working with UWM, Andrew worked for Hosteling International’s Madison Hostel, and St. Vincent de Paul of Dane County. He holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from UW-Madison, and is an avid cyclist, boater, tinkerer, and board game player.
Laura Stevens, Solid Waste & Recycling Coordinator
Laura Stevens works in the Office of Sustainability as University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Solid Waste and Recycling Specialist. Her passion for recycling drew her away from compliance work in the tea industry and back to UWM to pursue a career in resource recovery. Currently her role focuses on launching the campus’ resource management plan, streamlining hauling services and operations, and increasing recycling in its many forms. Through consistent communication and education, Laura hopes to shed light on the campus’ present waste culture and foster a new one that aligns with UWM’s sustainability goals. Laura graduated UWM with a BA in Anthropology and led multiple recycling and composting initiatives as a student.
Stuart Fiets, Recycling Hauler
Stuart Fiets joined the UWM Office of Sustainability in December 2019 as a Motor Vehicle Operator for recycling. He has multiple years of logistics experience to implement into the role. He holds a BA in Business Management from Columbia College Chicago and enjoys cycling, reading and golfing.
Nina Hartwig, Campus Garden and Composting Operation Assistant
Nina is a UWM student currently studying Conservation and Environmental Science. She started off volunteering for the Hoop House back in the fall of 2018 and started working for the Office of Sustainability in the spring of 2019. She works with the gardens and composting operations on campus. Her love for the environment began as a kid and has sparked a passion for low waste and sustainable living as well as fighting climate change. She hopes to be able to combine her passion for sustainable practices with her new position to help create a greener UWM campus.
Alex Theil– Surplus Assistant
Alex joined UWM Office of Sustainability in the summer of 2019. This fall, Alex will be a 4th year student with the intention to major in Conservation and Environmental Science. Alex initially pursued a major in Architecture but switched to CES due to his passion for the environment, outdoors, wildlife, and everything in between. Alex lives by the ideas regarding reduce, reuse, and recycle and strives to promote these concepts as best as he can. Alex hopes to use his passion and education to spread awareness for a sustainable and clean environment.
Elizabeth Charney– Media Coordinator
Elizabeth is currently a student at UWM studying J.A.M.S. with an emphasis in Journalism, Digital Arts and Culture, and Women and Gender Studies. She started working for the UWM Office of sustainability in fall 2020 where she handles all things related to social media. Her engagement in this work field started when she was young volunteering in the state parks and environmental-related groups within her hometown. Since then, she hopes to continue pursuing her work in journalism as an environmental journalist.
Adrian Robar – Truck Operator
Adrian joined the Office of Sustainability in 2019 as a truck operator after working previously in manufacturing for 20 years as a heavy equipment and forklift operator. He started working at the office because of how dangerous his job in manufacturing was and because he wanted to work for a company that not only was better for him, but also helped the people around him. His job as the OOS includes collecting recycling, putting it into the right receptacles, having it taken away, and more. Adrian hopes that people will see recycling more as a norm in the future as it has made a big impact on him since joining the office.