Thursday, June 13, 2019  8:00 AM – 5:30 PM   San Diego State University, Aztec Student Union

San Diego State University and the Green Electronics Council are co-sponsoring a full day event focused on sharing lessons learned, tools and best practices with a focus on leveraging procurement and technology towards sustainability. This seminar and workshop is applicable to members of college and university sustainability teams, procurement staff and those responsible for high-performing or “green” buildings on campus.

Participation in this full-day seminar and workshop is free for higher education staff. Registration is required through the RSVP form below.



  8:00 AM  Arrive, coffee & refreshments
  8:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Welcome & Introductions

  • Nancy Gillis, CEO, Green Electronics Council
  • Tom Abram, Energy and Sustainability Officer, San Diego State University

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM 

Leveraging Procurement for Sustainability

  • Procurement as a Sustainability Driver
    Andrea Desimone, Purchaser Relations Senior Manager, Green Electronics Council
  • The Power of Purchasing in Driving Sustainability and the University as an Anchor Institution
    Trey McDonald, Director of Sustainability, University of San Diego
  10:30 AM – 11:00 AM Networking Break
  11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Quantifying the Benefits of Sustainability to Students and Academic Community

  • Communicating Sustainability Benefits to Campus
    Tom Abram, Energy and Sustainability Officer, San Diego State University
  • Quantifying the Benefits of Sustainable IT Procurement
    Andrea Desimone, Purchaser Relations Senior Manager, Green Electronics Council
  12:00 PM – 1:00 PM  Lunch provided by the Green Electronics Council
  1:00 PM– 2:00 PM

Technology and Campus Sustainability

  • Innovative Uses of Technology to Increase Campus Sustainability
    Ally Duncan, Energy and Sustainability Analyst, San Diego State University
  • High Performance Green Buildings
    Wendell Brase, Associate Chancellor for Sustainability, University of California, Irvine
  2:00 PM– 2:30 PM

Networking Break

  2:30 PM– 5:30 PM 

Sustainable Procurement Workshop 
(best suited for procurement and sustainability team members)
Jonathan Rifkin, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Green Electronics Council

  • Organizational Considerations
  • Prioritization + Spec Building
  • Embedding Sustainability into the Procurement Process
  • Implementation + Maintenance


Registration is Required

2 + 6 =

session details

Procurement as a Sustainability Driver
Jonathan Rifkin, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Andrea Desimone, Purchaser Relations Senior Manager, Green Electronics Council
Institutional Purchasers can “move the needle” toward sustainability in a powerful way. Learn why a successful sustainability program must involve an organization’s procurement functions, as well as where to look for trustworthy tools and resources to stand up your school’s successful sustainable procurement program.

Leveraging Purchasing to Benefit Communities
Trey McDonald, Director of Sustainability; Maria Silva, Director of Neighborhood and Community Engaged Partnerships; Theresa Robinson Harris, Director of Procurement Services; and Simon Croom, Professor of Supply Chain Management University of San Diego
This presentation will demonstrate how a small procurement team can partner with university constituents to accomplish their goals while improving the overall experience of the campus community. The University of San Diego has developed partnerships among the Procurement Office, the Office of Sustainability, the Anchor Institution Initiative, and the Supply Chain Management program of the School of Business. These partnerships have advanced university goals to reduce environmental impacts, to provide students practical learning opportunities, and to increase supplier diversity and opportunities for local vendors. Representatives from these areas will discuss their program goals and how USD has progressed in each.

Communicating Sustainability Benefits to Campus
Tom Abram, Energy and Sustainability Officer, San Diego State University

Quantifying the Benefits of Sustainable IT Procurement
Andrea Desimone, Purchaser Relations Senior Manager, Green Electronics Council
Using tools developed by the Green Electronics Council and the U.S. EPA, purchasers can calculate the environmental benefits associated with purchasing IT products that meet the sustainability criteria of GEC’s EPEAT ecolabel, including cost savings and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, water consumption, solid waste, and toxics. Learn how to use these tools to determine the effectiveness and demonstrate of your school’s sustainable IT procurement efforts.

Innovative Uses of Technology to Increase Campus Sustainability
Ally Duncan, Energy and Sustainability Analyst, San Diego State University
Learn about technologies implemented on San Diego State University’s campus from a new energy information system to interactive building dashboards, and how these technologies assist SDSU in achieving our sustainability goals. We’ll also explore some of the unexpected successes, challenges, and lessons learned we experienced while deploying these technologies.

High Performance Green Buildings
Wendell Brase, Associate Chancellor for Sustainability, University of California, Irvine
What are the greenest forms of renewable energy?  What is a “smart building”?  What is demand-response and how does it work for smart buildings?  (Hint for all three questions: Maybe not what you’ve been led to believe!)  

Sustainable Procurement Workshop
Jonathan Rifkin, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Green Electronics Council
Strategic sustainable purchasing programs allow institutional purchasers, and colleges and universities in particular, to advance the sustainable design of products and services they purchase while realizing environmental savings for their own organization. This workshop explains foundational aspects of a sustainable purchasing program, viewed through the lens of the procurement professional. The workshop’s “Procurement First” philosophy offers solutions that help campuses balance primary procurement needs while integrating sustainable considerations into the purchasing process. Workshop leaders will survey participants prior to  the workshop to customize content so that material speaks to the each school’s level of maturity and focus and so that breakout groups can be formed accordingly. This may include referencing policy, laws, processes, or procurements that address sustainability, and facilitating conversation around forthcoming initiatives.




Tom Abram, Assistant Director of Facilities Services, San Diego State University
Tom Abram is Assistant Director of Facilities Services at San Diego State University, responsible for Campus Sustainability and Energy. At SDSU, Tom focuses on strategic planning to develop and advance sustainability initiatives, including climate action, energy, water, and waste. Tom was the primary author of SDSU’s Climate Action Plan. Tom’s previous experience includes mechanical design for deep green and net zero buildings at Integral Group and Sustainability Coordinator at the University of Illinois – where he co-authored their Climate Action Plan. Tom holds a Masters Degree in Sustainable Design and Construction from Stanford University and a BS Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois. He is a Professional Engineer, LEED Accredited Professional, and Certified Energy Manager. 

Wendell C. Brase, Associate Chancellor for Sustainability, University of California, Irvine
Wendell Brase is the University of California, Irvine’s first Associate Chancellor for Sustainability. In this role, he leads efforts by UC Irvine and assists other campuses throughout the UC system to implement UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative. Brase co-chairs the University of California’s Global Climate Leadership Council.

For 25 years, he provided leadership for an award-winning sustainability program in his role as Vice Chancellor for Administrative and Business Services. UC Irvine received California’s highest environmental award, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, in 2008 and again in 2013; has earned numerous accolades for sustainability, including a 2009 Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Leadership Achievement Award and their 2014 Climate Leadership Award; has been on Sierra magazine’s Top 10 list of greenest campuses for the past nine years, coming in at No. 1 in 2014, 2015 and again in 2018; and in 2018, UCI was recognized by the American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education with a STARS Platinum rating for its sustainability operations, academics, and research. The campus currently has 18 LEED Platinum and 10 LEED Gold buildings, among the most of any campus in the U.S.

Simon Croom, Professor of Supply Chain Management, University of San Diego
Simon Croom, professor of supply chain management, is one of the most cited academic authors in the field. He joined the University of San Diego, School of Business, in 2005 as executive director of the Supply Chain Management Institute and academic director for the Master’s in Supply Chain Management (MSSCM) program. In this capacity, he oversaw the growth of supply chain management in the School and the attainment of the first national rankings and recognition for the MSSCM. He is a visiting professor in supply chain management at Cranfield University, UK and Associate Fellow at the University of Warwick. He has served as an advisor on e-procurement to the UK Government and has delivered keynote talks around the world on supply chain management, strategic improvement, and more recently on disordered personality in executives. Prior to academia, he was a buyer for Jaguar Cars in the United Kingdom, transitioning into senior supply chain management before starting and running his own retail businesses for over 10 years.

Andrea Desimone, Purchaser Relations Senior Manager, Green Electronics Council
Andrea supports organizations of all sizes as they seek ways to minimize the environmental impact of their purchase, operation and disposal of electronic equipment. She provides guidance to purchasers about leveraging the EPEAT system to fit their needs and manages the EPEAT Purchaser Award program. Andrea has been with the Green Electronics Council since 2012, during which time she has worked with purchasers and sustainability groups to help them implement EPEAT in their purchasing and evaluation programs. She has also collaborated with retailers and resellers to connect their customers with more sustainable electronics, and has developed criteria-specific training for manufacturers. Prior to joining GEC, Andrea worked in communications for the Puget Sound Educational Service District and managed marketing and training.

Ally Duncan, Energy and Sustainability Analyst, San Diego State University
Ally Duncan is the Energy and Sustainability Analyst at San Diego State University supporting the University in achieving the goals set in the Climate Action Plan.  Her main focus is is the implementation of a building data analytics platform to provide accurate diagnostics on all campus buildings in order to apply monitor-based and ongoing commissioning in support of SDSU’s carbon neutrality goal. Prior to relocating to San Diego from Washington, D.C., Ally performed whole building energy analysis to inform building designs at the earliest phase. Transitioning to the field side of engineering, she built out her expertise in building controls and commissioning applying it to a variety of high-profile projects and interesting programs, such as the new Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African American History & Culture on the National Mall, the United States Capitol Building, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Georgetown University, as well as the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Homes Program.  Ally holds a B.S. in Energy Engineering from James Madison University and is a Certified Building Commissioning Professional, as well as a LEED Accredited Professional.

Theresa Robinson Harris, Director of Procurement Services, University of San Diego
Theresa Harris currently serves as Director of Procurement Services at the University of San Diego (USD). In this capacity she is responsible for providing strategic direction and working in close collaboration with university departments to develop and implement sourcing strategies that help to realize the greatest value. Theresa joined USD in May 2018 and has worked in procurement for over 19 years starting out as a Procurement Specialist with the United Nations Development Program. She holds an MBA in Management and a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University.

Trey McDonald, Director of Sustainability, University of San Diego
Trey McDonald currently serves as the Director of Sustainability at the University of San Diego. He has worked in several capacities within sustainability for over 20 years, spending time as a whale biologist, environmental scientist, and university sustainability officer. Observing the pace and scale of growth during his time as a wetlands scientist in Florida, he recognized the need to rethink our approaches to development. He shifted his career focus to sustainability strategies, earning his LEED Accreditation in 2006, his M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of South Florida in 2008 and an Energy Management Certificate from NC State University in 2011. His Master’s thesis focused on sustainability at university campuses, and examined USF as a case study. Earlier he earned his B.S. in Marine Biology from Auburn University, and also studied at the University of British Columbia, the University of Oregon, and Florida Institute of Technology. Prior to his position at USD, he served as the first full-time sustainability officer for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and as the first sustainability coordinator for the University of Richmond, leading the development of comprehensive sustainability programs at each institution. Beyond his role at USD, Trey enjoys restoring large, expensive things such as houses and cars. He and his wife Sara have won historic preservation awards for home renovations in both Florida and North Carolina. They also have two large, unruly dogs they adopted six months ago. Trey is an avid distance runner with two marathons to his credit, an all-around sports fan, and a self-avowed science fiction geek.

Jonathan Rifkin, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Green Electronics Council
Jonathan Rifkin is the Director for Strategic Partnerships for the Green Electronics Council. In his role he is focused on identifying and collaborating with organizations that share GEC’s dedication to sustainable electronics and making them available to large-scale purchasers. Jonathan brings to GEC a unique perspective, which is informed by years as a procurement subject matter expert, and frequent and meaningful engagement with environmental experts, the manufacturing sector, and the standard setting world. Prior to joining GEC, Jonathan spent 10 years in the public sector working for the District of Columbia’s Office of Contracting and Procurement. During this time he developed and managed the District of Columbia’s Sustainable Purchasing Program, which won two national awards and is recognized a leader in the realm of sustainable purchasing. Jonathan currently serves as an Honorary Member of the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO), is a member of the Strategic Advisory Board for the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, and maintains a Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) Certification from the UPPCC. Jonathan believes in, and works to create, a world in which all electronics are environmentally preferable and developed and used in a socially responsible manner.

Maria Silva, Director, Neighborhood and Community Engaged Partnerships
As Director of Neighborhood and Community Engaged Partnerships, Ms. Silva facilitates collaboration with neighborhood and community stakeholders to co-create campus/community engagement that represents democratic, reciprocal, and equitable partnerships. Partnerships expand throughout San Diego with an emphasis in Linda Vista, City Heights, Logan Heights, and Tijuana. She also oversees USD’s community engagement data collection and impact assessment processes. Ms. Silva draws on 10 years of experience in advocacy and direct service with immigrant communities on both sides of the border, with a particular focus on asylum seekers. She received her Masters Degree in Migration Studies from the University of San Francisco. She is also Alum of the University of San Diego, where she earned her B.A. in Sociology with Minors in International Relations and Peace and Justice Studies. Before she moved to San Diego for College, she directed and Elementary Education Program in Bawinokachi, Chihuahua, a Raramuri Indigenous village in the Copper Canyon of Mexico.




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