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Standards: Enabler of Sustainability


Sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Michigan State University, NSF International, and Northwestern University

This industry-academic workshop will explore the nature and potential of technical standards that support sustainable solutions to the challenges industry is facing and will examine various strategies and methods to stimulate attention to standards-in-teaching.

Sustainability is a significant and growing concern for US industry confronting increased materials and energy costs and heightened expectations from their customers, investors, and communities to address environmental and societal needs. Responding to a McKinsey survey, industry executives reported that “sustainability is becoming a more strategic and integral part of their businesses.”  In response, companies are seeking ways to measure, verify, benchmark, communicate and guide usage and impact across full product lifecycles, including complex production and distribution systems and supply chains.

Sustainability is being addressed in higher education through a variety of comprehensive and interdisciplinary programs and courses ranging from product and service design to environmental management, engineering and science. However, the fundamental and enabling role of technical standards is often absent.

This workshop has two interrelated components:

  • Day 1 centers on presentations by industry stakeholders, teaching and research faculty, and standards experts on the most pressing sustainability challenges.  Breakout sessions will engage participant discussion on topics such as sustainable manufacturing, environmental management, sustainable agriculture and domestic and international sustainable development.
  • Day 2 (half-day) targets workforce education and training, including curricula development, and suggested class approaches.  Using a life-like standards negotiation role-play exercise participants will understand first-hand the process and politics of a multi-stakeholder standards development environment and grapple with the challenges, tensions, and trade-offs inherent in standards negotiation.

Thanks to the support of the Workshop sponsors there is no fee to attend this event. Lunch, breaks, and parking are provided.

Dates and Times
Wednesday May 17, 8:30am-5:00pm
Thursday May 18, 8:00am-12 Noon

Workshop Location
The workshop will be held at the
Henry Center for Executive Development
3535 Forest Road, Lansing, MI 48910
Phone: (517) 353-4350
Fax: (517) 353-0796

Intended Audience

  • Teaching faculty and academic researchers focused on various aspects of Sustainability:  policy, strategic planning, economics, operations, marketing, engineering design, manufacturing, agriculture. 
  • Students working with participating faculty
  • Business leaders, managers, standards developers, and government policy makers at the operational and strategic levels


To reserve your place please register on the Workshop Registration site by Tuesday, May 9.

All participants must pre-register.  No walk-ins can be accommodated.  Thanks to the support of the Workshop sponsors there is no fee to attend this event. Lunch, breaks, and parking are provided.

Workshop Organizing Committee
Harold Chase, Legislative Director, NSF International
Jacob Courville, Director of Federal Affairs, Michigan State University
Jessica Evans, Director, Standards Development, NSF international
Doug Gage, Assistant Vice President, Michigan State University Office of Interdisciplinary Research
Patricia Harris, International Standards Specialist, Standards Coordination Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Erik Puskar, Senior International Standards Specialist, Standards Coordination Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Jessica Slomka, Manager, National Center for Sustainability Standards, NSF International
Jeffrey Strauss, Associate Director, Center for Technology and Innovation Management (CTIM), Buffet Center for International and Comparative Studies, Northwestern University



Standards: Enabler of Sustainability


Sponsored and organized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Michigan State University, NSF International, and Northwestern University

May 17 and 18, 2017 ** The Henry Center, 3535 Forest Road ** Lansing, MI 48910

Day 1 (8:00am – 5:00pm)
(Rooms B106-107) 

8:00   Doors open
Networking Coffee

9:00   Welcome  

Doug Gage, Assistant Vice President, Michigan State University, Office of Interdisciplinary Research and Internal Grants, Institutionally Limited Proposals, Bioeconomy Network

9:10       Laying out the challenges

Erik Puskar, Senior International Standards Specialist, Standards Coordination Office, National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)

9:25       Overview of the agenda

Jeffrey Strauss, Associate Director, Big Problems and Technical Standards Initiatives, Northwestern University Buffett Institute

9:35      Keynote Address:   Call to Action –  Our keynoter will speak to the meaning, importance and challenges of sustainability, why standards are a critical underpinning to meeting the Sustainability challenges, and need to consider standards in teaching

Wolfgang Bauer, Senior Consultant in the Office of the Executive Vice President for Administrative Services, (focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy); previously Distinguished Professor and Chair, Physics Department, Michigan State University   

10:00      BREAK  

10:15 Panel #1:  Industry and Government stakeholders

Government & Industry: A Public-Private Partnership

Government: What are the implications of changing the regulatory and policy environment; what are the implications for teaching?

  • The Value of Sustainability Standards: How They Are Used to Meet EPA Objectives

    Holly Elwood, Senior Advisor, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

  • Mary Saunders, Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy, American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

Industry:  What are the key sustainability challenges and related standards issues facing industry; how are companies addressing these challenges? What standards have been most impactful standards? What are the career implications? What are industry workforce needs? What do new employees need coming in to the workforce?

  • Douglas Mazeffa, Environmental Project Manager, Sherwin-Williams Company and Lecturer, Baldwin Wallace University
  • David Green, Manager Applied Sustainability, Admixture Systems, BASF
  • Denise Van Valkenburg, Eco-Inspired Design / Sustainability Manager, Corporate Safety and Sustainability, Herman Miller, Inc.


11:45   LUNCH 

12:45     Panel #2:  Education and Standards Professionals – Panel members respond to the Keynote and the Challenges presented by Panel #1 

Education community:  How standards are being incorporated into the higher education curricula

           Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

  • Lisa Greenwood, Civil Engineering Technology, Environmental Management & Safety Department, Rochester Institute of Technology – Remote presentation

          Michigan State University

  • Thomas Smith, Associate Director, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Institute of Agricultural Technology, MSU
  • Ryan Kimbirauskas, Center for Integrative Studies in General Science, MSU
  • Claudia Vergara, Research Specialist, MSU
  • Osvaldo Hernandez, Center for Integrative Studies in General Science, MSU
  • Gabe Ording, Director for Integrative Studies in General Science, MSU

          Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan

  • Norman Christopher, Executive Director, Office of Sustainability Practices, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan

          Carnegie Mellon University

  • Deanna Matthews, Assistant Teaching Professor, Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Affairs, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

Standards organizations:  Standards work related to sustainability; related programs implications for standards student preparation 

  • Mary Saunders, Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy, American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
  • Brad Miller, Director of Advocacy & Sustainability, BIFMA
  • Pamela Brody-Heine, Director of Standards, Green Electronics Council
  • Travis Murdock, Manager, Technical Committee Operations, ASTM International
  • Jessica Slomka, Manager, NSF International Center for Sustainability Standards


2:45       “Birds-of-a-Feather” Breakouts and Discussion 

Breakout groups will be defined by sector of sustainability education e.g. engineering, management environmental management, sustainable manufacturing, agriculture, etc.

Theme:  What are the industry challenges and implications for teaching – i.e. how can students be prepared to address and contribute to solving these challenges?

2:45       Introductions and expectations 

Patricia Harris, International Standards Specialist, Standards Coordination Office/Standards Services, NIST

2:55       Focal Questions: Discussion (Each breakout group should choose a spokesperson to give a 5-minute summary of the discussion)   

  • What sustainability challenges have standards underpinnings? How will standards impact solutions?
  • What are related implications/requirements for education? What topics need to be covered in courses?
  • What are the challenges to teaching: materials?  faculty knowledge?  course content? etc.? How can these be overcome?
  • How can standards content be incorporated into the curricula? Consider business, engineering and other possible “homes” and specific courses; what are course/discipline specific issues and how can they be addressed?
  • What specific knowledge and skills will professionals require to support the target domains and related standardization? What types of support and assistance enable the integration of standards into a sustainability curriculum?

 4:00      Reports from the Breakout Groups and open discussion

 4:40      Summary of Day 1 and Lead in to Day 2 - Jeffrey Strauss

 5:00      ADJOURN Day 1


Day 2 (8:00 am – 11:30 am)
Room B119

8:00        Doors open, coffee

8:15        Standards Simulation Exercise: An interactive, multi-country Standards negotiation

The goal of this session is to expose the challenges and complexity of standards development and present a pedagogical tool.

Introduction and instructions:
Jeffrey Strauss, moderator

8:30      Exercise begins

9:45      BREAK

10:00    Report-out: Discussion of the exercise; what lessons were learned; the potential use of this model in the academic and corporate setting and opportunities for adaptation in academic and institutional contexts

10:45    Wrap-up discussion: Next Steps and Action Items

11:30    ADJOURN




Sustainability: Enabler of Sustainability
An Academic-Industry Workshop

May 17 & 18, 2017

About our Speakers:


Erik Puskar is the Senior International Standards specialist in the Standards Coordination Office (SCO) at NIST. Erik provides technical information related to standards and supports Federal agencies by monitoring developments in standards and conformity assessment internationally. Erik also leads SCO's impact analysis efforts of voluntary consensus standards as well as NIST's efforts on education about standardization. He has been a member of the ANSI Committee on Education and represents NIST on the International Cooperation for Education About Standardization (ICES).  In addition to standards, he has experience in the fields of information technology, funding innovative high-risk technology and fiscal affairs/taxation. Erik holds a degree in Economics from Rutgers University and a Masters Degree in Public Management and Policy from Carnegie-Mellon University.


Jeffrey Strauss is the Associate Director, Big Problems and Technical Standards Initiatives at the Northwestern University’s Buffett Institute.  In his 30+ years at Northwestern University, Jeff has managed projects involving the design, development, and dissemination of complex and integrated interactive and other teaching materials/models for faculty teaching about operations in complex and uncertain environments, as well as a training program for managers.

Jeff is a member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) ISO Council and Committee on Education, and the International Federation of Standards users (IFAN) standardization promotion and awareness working group. He has published in ASTM Standardization News, presented on standards issues in multiple conferences and workshops, and spearheads NIST-sponsored Northwestern industry-academic workshops presenting standards in pressing problem contexts, with related development of standards negotiation exercises and a teaching support website.

He is Vice-Chair for the Americas for the International Cooperation for Education and Standardization (ICES). Strauss has taught/ co-taught courses in the Kellogg School of Management, undergraduate Business Institutions Program (BIP) as well as School of Professional Studies (all in Northwestern University.) He has degrees in sociology, psychology and East Asian Studies, an MBA from Kellogg and extensive experience in consulting, marketing and multi-national personnel management in a wide range of countries and cultural settings.


Wolfgang Bauer received a Ph.D. in nuclear physics in 1987 from the University of Giessen in Germany. He joined the MSU faculty in 1988, with a dual appointment at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, and was named University Distinguished Professor in 2007.  He served as Chairperson of the Department of Physics and Astronomy from 2001 to 2013 and as Founding Director of the Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research from 2009 to 2013.  In 2013, he became Senior Consultant in the office of the Executive Vice President for Administrative Services. 

His work focuses on energy efficiency, integration of renewable power sources, mobility, big data, and computing. He has authored more than 200 publications and given more than 400 invited presentations in 24 countries.  He is the author of several physics textbooks, which have been translated into German, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese languages, and he holds four patents on cancer detection and course management systems. Among his honors are the 1992 National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellow Award, the 1999 Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation Distinguished Senior U.S. Scientist Award and the 2003 ComputerWorld 21st Century Achievement Award for Education and Academia.


Holly Elwood is a Senior Program Manager for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. She has over seventeen years of experience assisting federal agencies in factoring the environment into purchasing decisions. She managed the issuance of EPA’s Interim Recommendations of Standards and Ecolabels for Federal Procurement, and is currently involved in integration of green purchasing requirements into federal e-procurement systems, and coordinating EPA technical input into several electronic product sustainability standard development efforts. She received an EPA Gold Award for her involvement in the formation and implementation of the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship, issued by the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality. She was selected as a Fed 100, awarded to government and industry leaders who have “played pivotal roles in the federal government IT community.”  Holly holds a M.S. in Environmental Sciences/Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University.


Mary Saunders is the Vice President, government relations and public policy at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the coordinator of the U.S. voluntary standardization system.  Previously, Mary was the associate director for management resources for the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). At NIST she was responsible for all NIST-wide institutional support and administrative offices and their functions, including: workforce management, information technology and services, safety and environmental management, facilities maintenance and construction, accounting and finance, acquisitions and grants management, budget formulation, strategic planning, and emergency response.  Mary previously served as the director of NIST’s Standards Coordination Office. In this capacity, she represented NIST and its significant interests in the standards and conformity assessment community, advising the NIST director and other officials throughout the government on policy and strategy related to the federal government’s role in standardization.


Doug Mazeffa is an Environmental Project Manager for The Sherwin-Williams Company and one of the leading experts on Life Cycle Assessment and environmental impact analysis. Doug has been cited as a sustainability expert in leading media outlets such as BBC, CNN, USA Today, CNBC, NBC, CBS, The Economist, Huffington Post, and Fox News. Doug has authored several texts on sustainability including Learning to Shop Sustainably, The Logical Environmentalist, and multiple Greenopia Green Living Guides. He is also a highly sought after speaker including lecturing at over a half-dozen Universities and presenting at numerous national conferences, webinars, radio shows, and television programs. Doug earned a Master’s Degree in Corporate Environmental Management from the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and completed his undergraduate work in Environmental Science and Economics at Miami University. Doug currently sits on the board of several companies across the US, is the Research Advisor for Greenopia (of which he was formerly the Research Director), and is an adjunct professor in the MBA program at Baldwin-Wallace University.  A former All-American and national chess champion, Doug presently resides in Cleveland, OH.


David Green manages Applied Sustainability Programs for the BASF Admixture Systems Group located in Beachwood, Ohio. In this role, David is responsible for managing the Admixture Sustainable Construction Leadership team as well as development and implementation of scientific based sustainability models and measurement tools to quantify sustainable impacts of products. David has completed over 300 life cycle based eco-efficiency analyses on the sustainable attributes of different concrete mixes for applications from residential driveways to iconic structures including the highly recognized One World Trade Center in New York.

David is currently involved on various sustainability subcommittees and technical working groups with ASTM, USGBC, and ACC and is LEED accredited by the Green Building Certification Institute and Green Globes certified by The Green Building Initiative.

David has over 25 years of engineering, manufacturing and operations management experience in numerous industries from raw material processing to consumer goods production. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Valparaiso University and a Master of Business Administration from Cleveland State University.


Denise Van Valkenburg, PE, LEED AP, is a Design for the Environment/Sustainability Engineer at Herman Miller, Inc. She works closely with product development teams assisting them in the implementation of Herman Miller’s DfE program. Her experience includes coordinating product certifications, managing Life Cycle Assessments, researching less toxic alternatives, environmental compliance, management systems and many other sustainability initiatives. Denise currently chairs BIFMA’s e3 standard’s Human and Ecosystem Health workgroup as well as the Chemical Subcommittee. Denise has been involved with numerous committees involving product and corporate sustainability including LEED committees, ASTM International, BIFMA, the Health Product Declaration® Collaborative (HPDC), and NSF International.


Norman Christopher has been referred to as “West Michigan’s de facto swami of sustainability.”  He is a staunch supporter of sustainability efforts across the region. It is a passion he brought to Grand Valley State University after a quarter century of corporate experience at companies including Dow Chemical, Olin Corporation and Haviland Enterprises. He currently helps lead the Grand Rapids Community Sustainability Partnership and serves as the executive director of the university’s Sustainable Community Development Initiative, where he continues to track the evolution of corporate sustainability and how it impacts the West Michigan region. 


Deanna Matthews is an assistant teaching professor and associate department head for undergraduate affairs in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) at Carnegie Mellon University.  This unique department works to solve problems at the interface of technology and society. Deanna is actively searching, exploring, and implementing mechanisms to improve the EPP student experience. As advisor and administrator for the undergraduate program, she has led the effort to evaluate and redesign the EPP double-major curriculum. Previously,  Deanna was a Research Associate with the Green Design Institute, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2001-2010.


Brad Miller is Director of Advocacy and Sustainability at BIFMA, the trade association for office furniture manufacturers.  He coordinates the organization’s government affairs program and facilitates participation of association members in the legislative and regulatory process. Brad is a voting member of the e3 Joint Committee, the decision-making body of the ANSI/BIFMA e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard. Prior to joining BIFMA, Brad worked for U.S. Senator Donald W. Riegle from 1985 to 1994 and U.S. House of Representatives Member Don Albosta for six years prior to that. He began his government experience in 1977 as staff to members of the Michigan State Legislature. He is a graduate of Central Michigan University.


Pamela Brody-Heine. As the Director of Standards at the Green Electronics Council Pamela is responsible for designing and managing standard development processes and special projects. Pamela co-chaired the IEEE 1680.2 Working Group managing and facilitating the multi-stakeholder process for the electronic imaging equipment standard and assisted in development of the parallel IEEE 1680.3 standard for televisions. Previously, Pamela managed and facilitated the development of the ground-breaking Outdoor Industry Association and European Outdoor Group Eco Index Green Standard and facilitated the multi-stakeholder process for the Council for Responsible Sport to revise and expand their sustainability standard for certifying sporting events.  Pamela received her Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado.


Travis Murdock is Manager of Technical Committees at ASTM International in West Conshohocken, PA. In that role Travis manages technical committees developing a wide range of standards including sustainability, pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing, and occupational safety. Prior to joining ASTM in May 2016, Travis began his standards career in 2010 with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), where he was responsible for the development and continued maintenance of coaxial and fiber optical cable and connector interface standards and best practices. He is a member of the ANSI Committee on Education.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications from Penn State University and a MPA in Nonprofit Administration from West Chester University.


Jessica Slomka is a Sustainability Standards Development Liaison at NSF International. Her previous position under the Sustainability Business Unit, included development of the EPD program and she served as technical reviewer for sustainability standards such as P391 Sustainable Service Providers, NSF/ANSI 332 for Resilient Flooring, ANSI/BIFMA e3 for Furniture, NSF/ANSI 336 for Commercial Furnishings, NSF/ANSI 342 for Wallcoverings, and NSF/ANSI 140 Sustainable Carpet. Jessica has experience in greenhouse gas reviews, energy modeling, LEED auditing and consulting, LCA analysis study and verification for Eco-Efficiency Analysis, and sustainable architectural development and analysis. Her Bachelors of Science is in Architecture and her Masters of Architecture is in sustainable architecture, both from Lawrence Technological University, and she is a LEED AP with a specialty in BD+C.



A block of rooms has been reserved for this group at the hotel adjoining the Henry Center at the rate of $95/night.

Candlewood Suites East Lansing, located at: 3545 Forest Road, Lansing, MI 48910

Reserve your room online  or call:  1-517-351-8181.  The $95 rate is good through May 1.  Mention that you will be attending the Sustainability Workshop.

The Candlewood Suites provides free shuttle service to MSU, Capital City Airport and locations within a 5-mile radius Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Created March 31, 2017, Updated May 16, 2017