Sustainability Breakfast Series Offers Insight Into Exciting Innovations In and Near Connecticut

Short, high-impact sustainability-focused speakers throughout the fall semester at the School of Business in Storrs.


The School of Business will kickoff a new Sustainable Business Breakfast Series this month, with prominent guest speakers discussing everything from building sustainable homes and office complexes to the future of wind-farming in our state.

“We’ve been fortunate to attract some of the most knowledgeable experts to this breakfast series, and they are offering us not only their insight but are eager to connect with young talent whose passions align with their own,’’ said Arminda Kamphausen, director of Global & Sustainability Initiatives at the School of Business.

“This series is meant to offer networking and sharing of ideas and experiences. The more we can connect faculty, alumni, business professionals and leaders in sustainability, the more awareness we will build of the great work that is being done, and where we can still collaborate to ensure that business is moving forward with positive impact,’’ she said.

All three programs will be on Fridays from 9 to 11 a.m. in Room 321 of the School of Business in Storrs. The series includes the following presentations:

Kickoff presentation, Sept. 15: “Building Solutions for Climate Change’’ is the theme for the first presentation.

In large urban centers, buildings can be responsible for up to 70 percent of carbon emissions. In his presentation, John Mandyck will discuss trends in building decarbonization, electrification, and clean energy, as well as the future expectations from the financial industry that will prompt real estate organizations to disclose carbon emissions.

The presentation will be of interest to anyone who is concerned about climate and sustainability, but is imperative for climate change, real estate, and urban studies students.

Since 2018, Mandyck has been the CEO of the Urban Green Council, a New York-City based nonprofit dedicated to helping the city achieve an 80 percent carbon reduction by 2050. The organization also exports solutions globally. The company promotes innovative policy, educates design, construction and operating professionals, and accelerates energy efficiency.

Mandyck spent a 25-year career as United Technologies Corporation and has done business in 53 countries. He served UTC in many capacities including as its Chief Sustainability Officer. Mandyck is an adjunct professor at the School of Business and has also served as a visiting scientist at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Sustainability is soaring to the forefront of leaders’ agendas, Mandyck said. “Interest has never been greater, and never more important than it is right now,’’ he said.

Subsequent presentations will include:

Second Discussion on Oct. 20: Renewable Energy

Bryan Dougherty, the Operations Readiness Project Manager at Orsted, a Danish renewable energy company, will discuss the Southfork Wind project. Based in New London, the offshore wind farm will be fully operational by the end of 2023. By 2026, Orsted will have installed more than 161 offshore wind turbines.

Dougherty is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Connecticut Army National Guard and had previously been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. While in the active service, he realized the importance of energy security and accelerated climate change and developed a passion for renewable energy innovation.

Third Discussion on Nov. 10: Sustainability Trends Shaping the Business Landscape: Why Companies View ESG As An Imperative

Speaker Heather Burns is the founder and CEO of the Connecticut Sustainable Business Council, where she oversees the organization’s work at the nexus of climate change and business. In her role, she provides business members with advice about how to embed and leverage ESG for strategic benefit. Before founding the Council, she spent 10 years as a sustainability consultant collaborating with companies such as AT&T, Disney, and Merck.

She became interested in sustainability in 1999 while living in Koh Tao, Thailand, and working as a dive master. There, she realized that the fishing and tourism industries could benefit the local economy if they implemented sustainable business practices. In 2000, she co-founded Save the Reef Foundation, a non-profit organization educating local fishermen on environmental impacts — an organization that still exists today.

She will be joined by Joseph Fullerton, Director of UConn Office of Sustainability, who will talk about some of the innovations at UConn. Fullerton works with senior UConn administrators, students, faculty and staff to set and achieve sustainability goals for UConn. Prior to joining UConn he was the Director of Energy and Sustainability programs at Prospect Silicon Valley in San Jose, Calif., a non-profit dedicated to accelerating the adoption of equitable cleantech solutions. “I’m tremendously pleased that Joe is participating in this presentation and for the re-invigorated partnership between the Office of Sustainability and the School of Business,’’ Kamphausen said.

The breakfast series provides a way to keep sustainability initiatives growing and offers a preview of the School of Business’ annual half-day Sustainability Summit that occurs in March.

To register for the breakfast programs, please visit our Google Form