2022 – 2025 SBN Board Member Candidates
The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) is special in many ways, one being that the organization chooses to be governed by volunteer representatives from our membership to help ensure we remain the authentic voice for the local independent triple bottom line business community. Each year, you – the membership of SBN – have the benefit and the responsibility to elect SBN’s Board of Directors. Please review the following board candidate profiles of your colleagues and peers who are offering their time and energy to lead in this capacity.
Michael DeVuono, Arcadis
Michael D. DeVuono is a Professional Engineer with over 25 years of experience in the civil engineering and land development industry. Michael assists both public and private-sector clients with the design and implementation of sustainable stormwater practices, low- impact development, and green stormwater infrastructure. Michael provides technical oversight for the engineering design of Green Stormwater Infrastructure in conjunction with Green City Clean Waters, an initiative of the Philadelphia Water Department that seeks to meet EPA-mandated water quality standards. He provides technical oversight for the development of green stormwater infrastructure programs and concepts for municipal clients across the United States, including those that serve as critical components of coastal resiliency packages for locations such as Norfolk, VA, Los Angeles, CA, San Diego, CA, and Honolulu, HI.
Michael was recognized as the Philadelphia Water Resources Engineer of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2019. Michael presents on topics of stormwater and green infrastructure at National and International conferences throughout the year. He is the co-author of the ASCE PA Infrastructure Report Card, 2018 and 2022, Stormwater Chapter, and co-author of the upcoming update to ASCE Manual of Practice 77, Design and Construction of Urban Stormwater Management Systems.
Michael currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Civil Engineers Philadelphia Section. He also serves on the Water Environment Federation Stormwater Technical Committee and is the Chair of the Water Environment Federation Technical Practice Stormwater Subcommittee. He is the Past-Chair of the Water Environment Federation Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Symposium.
Michael is an active member of the Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia’s GSI Partners and served on the Advisory Group for the development of “Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI): A Tool for Economic Recovery and Growth in Pennsylvania.”
Michael’s passion is promoting STEM education in local schools. Michael hosts bi-weekly engagements with students from all reaches of the City of Philadelphia to expose them to real- world design scenarios and engineering challenges.
Michael is a United States Marine Corps Veteran, and a life-long resident of the City of Philadelphia where he attended Roman Catholic High School, later earning a BA in Geographic Information Systems and Geospatial Analysis from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and a MS in Civil Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
I am honored to submit the following package in consideration for the Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia (SBN) Board of Directors posting. I pride myself in being a dynamic and enthusiastic leader, brand ambassador, and steward for the environment and engineering profession. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Civil Engineers Philadelphia Section, and have held several other leadership roles within the engineering industry. My passion, experience, and professional network within the City of Philadelphia and the stormwater industry will help to shape and advance the strategic objectives of SBN.
I am Professional Engineer, licensed in multiple jurisdictions across the country, with over 25 years of experience in the civil engineering industry. I specialize in the design and construction of sustainable stormwater practices, green stormwater infrastructure, and erosion and sediment control practices. I have been involved with the City of Philadelphia’s Green City Clean Waters initiative since its inception as both a developer and consultant for the city.
I did not take the typical path to licensure that most Professional Engineers take, and it is for this reason that I love introducing students to the field of engineering. I present on STEM topics throughout the Delaware Valley during the academic year, and I am also a mentor with the ACE Mentor Program of Eastern Pennsylvania, where I mentor students on a weekly basis on a variety of industry and design- related topics.
I feel that my diverse background, industry experience, and connection to the Philadelphia business community will provide an asset to the SBN Board of Directors, its members, and the community.
Rebecca Davies, Remark Glass
Rebecca Davies is from Connecticut. She went to Smith College in Northampton MA and moved to Philadelphia in 2009 to complete an MFA at the University of the Arts. After taking one course in glass she found work in the industry, first in stained glass, then at a blown glass lighting company. After their child was born she and her husband Mark Ellis moved into a studio in the same building as Danielle Ruttenberg. They worked together to develop an entirely different recycled glass making process and founded Remark Glass.
Hi, I’m Rebecca Davies! As a co-founder at Remark Glass and Bottle Underground, I’ve had a hand in creating businesses that are dedicated to building a responsible circular economy. To gather a thorough understanding of the problems we face, I have been in touch with many industry players to gain an understanding of the challenges in our waste systems and have become an advocate for small and sustainable businesses.
I believe in a positive and sustainable future for the city, and know that businesses play a critical role in creating it. The Sustainable Business Network has been an incredible resource to the businesses that my team and I are growing here in Philadelphia. For example, this year Remark Glass joined the 401k impact investment plan offered through SBN, and we are thrilled to include our team and share with like minded local businesses. As a board member, I would want to support other businesses who could be eligible for such programs, and help to develop initiatives that could be useful to growing and linking small sustainable companies.
I am interested in joining the board at SBN to add my voice and experience to the cause, and also to learn from a mature nonprofit. A role on the board at SBN will help me to develop my understanding of how nonprofits can be partners in creating a sustainable future by bridging the gap between public and private and fostering collaboration that builds a living return for everyone’s benefit.
Tess Hart, Triple Bottom Brewing
Tess Hart is the cofounder of Triple Bottom Brewing, a craft brewery with a social enterprise that creates jobs for people who face barriers to employment and connects small farmers to the growing craft beer industry. Triple Bottom Brewing is a certified B Corp – the first in Pennsylvania.
Before receiving her MBA and MEM from Yale, Tess was a Senior Associate at Hattaway Communications, a mission-driven communications firm where she led the development of messages and communications strategies for nonprofits, social enterprises, and foundations across various issue areas. She also worked in internal communications for the World Wildlife Fund and spent a year on Capitol Hill working for Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), the Chair of the Armed Services Committee. Tess graduated from Brown University in 2009 with a BA in Classics and Political Science.
The Sustainable Business Network has been a guiding light for me and my team since we started writing the business plan for Triple Bottom Brewing Company. Attending SBN events and meeting other business leaders who challenged and inspired us gave us the necessary tools, strategies, and emotional support to build our triple bottom line craft brewery.
I would be honored to join the board of an organization that has led the way in asserting that climate change adaptation, equity, and active, intentional inclusivity be keystones of our local economy. My work at Triple Bottom and in the economic development space has helped create strategic partnerships that advance equity and opportunity for all stakeholders in our community, and I am excited about the potential to contribute my experience collaborating across businesses and sectors in service of SBN’s mission.
In the case of sustainable business, I believe a rising tide lifts all boats, and that the SBN is the forefront of that tide. It is powerfully positioned to support sustainable business leaders directly while also advocating for the critical importance of the triple bottom line in both public policy and consumer awareness. The pandemic has made clear that we are stronger together, and I would be so excited and grateful for the opportunity to learn from other businesses, grow as a leader, and join forces with other folks who believe that the businesses we build and the economic choices we make can forge a safer, healthier, and more just future for our entire city.
Shandor Szalay, SJS Consulting
Shandor Szalay is an innovator, thought leader, and business executive with more than 20 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry. As a principal and practice lead for AKRF, Inc, Shandor’s professional focus has been working with cities to implement equity- focused approaches to delivering large-scale water quality, resiliency, and ecosystem restoration programs. Most notably, Shandor has made significant contributions to the development and success of Green City, Clean Waters Philadelphia’s nation-leading program for combined sewer overflow mitigation using green stormwater infrastructure. Connected to this work, Shandor was the founder of GreenUp, a Philadelphia-based local business dedicated to providing living wage jobs for Philadelphians in the field of green stormwater infrastructure. Shandor has also worked with many other notable water quality programs including D.C. Water’s Clean Rivers Program, NYCDEP’s Green Infrastructure Program, and Pittsburgh’s Green First Program.
Shandor was the lead for the design/build team for the Well Farm at Voris Field, which was awarded the U.S. Water Prize in 2019. Shandor is also a long-time collaborator and supporter of the Sustainable Business Network and an adjunct professor at Villanova University, where he teaches a course on River Mechanics and Engineering.
I’ve been both a big fan and active supporter of SBN for many years and have admired both the wide-ranging span of SBN’s vision and the specific programs related to my own field of interest, green stormwater infrastructure. With climate and equity issues more acute than ever, and the funding and policy landscape more complex than ever, SBN has an ever-more critical role to play in advocating for the City’s small businesses.
As a board member, I could contribute meaningfully in a variety of ways to the future of SBN. First, my experience starting local business dedicated to green infrastructure maintenance (GreenUp) provides an important perspective regarding the opportunities and challenges for this work moving forward. For instance, I can bring unique insight into how Philadelphia’s policies might evolve to provide a more accessible and sustainable business environment for small businesses, particularly those owned by or that employ people of color.
My experience as an executive leader could also provide an important source of expertise regarding operational and organizational management topics including financial management, strategic planning, technology integration, fund raising, staffing, recruitment, risk management, governance, and other organizational issues. As a practice leader and major owner of AKRF, a consulting and engineering firm of more than 300 staff, I bring the experience of a seasoned executive who can help provide steady and forward-looking leadership that will help ensure that SBN grows and thrives in the coming years.
I also feel that my national network of contacts in and broad knowledge of the climate resilience, environmental equity, urban sustainability, and urban water quality fields could benefit SBN in terms of bringing new ideas and approaches that have been used in other geographies to the Philadelphia area. For instance, I recently led efforts to revise the City of Pittsburgh’s stormwater code. Among other provisions, the code holds developers to a future climate standard and provides hardship waivers for affordable housing and minority developers. I would look forward to providing input on what is going on nationally to SBN’s locally-based work and feel that this perspective could strengthen SBN as an organization.
Nima Etemadi, Cake Life Bake Shop
A Persian-Canadian entrepreneur, he began his career in the editorial department at a non-profit art photography publisher, Aperture, before moving to Philadelphia to co-found Fishtown’s Cake Life Bake Shop. He is proud to be one of the city’s few transgender business owners.
It is a great honor to be considered for a second term on SBN’s Board of Directors, a privilege that has been incredibly meaningful to me for the last three years. Over that time, while SBN membership has allowed me to connect with a dedicated, passionate community of local business leaders who are committed to the progressive evolution of our local economy towards sustainability, serving on the Board has offered me the opportunity to contribute tangible impact to that evolution. Beyond that, I currently hold the distinction of serving the Board as Chair, a position that—besides the responsibilities inherent to it—has offered me a tremendous and ongoing opportunity for learning in a multitude of directions. That learning has not only contributed to my personal and professional progression, but has deepened my capacity for contributing to SBN, its mission, and its Board.
In my time on the Board, SBN has gone through a number of transitions and developments, to which I have been able to contribute compassionate, stabilizing leadership: navigating the onset and duration of COVID-19 and its impact on SBN, its members, and our region; the murder of George Floyd and its deep, broad impact across our community; the pandemic’s impact on SBN’s Board, as well as it’s ongoing shift into a more distinctly professionalized governing body; the multi-faceted development of a strategic plan; and the recent transition of SBN’s executive leadership, which I’m incredibly excited to see progress into the establishment of a fantastic new Executive Director in early February. The last three years have changed how businesses and organizations like ours do just about everything, and my time on the Board (and as Chair) has been primarily focused on building sound infrastructure to bridge SBN’s storied past and its vibrant, essential future.
With the support of the Membership, I hope to continue contributing to SBN’s ever- growing impact for another three years, during which we hope to see the organization blossom into a new era. I appreciate your time and consideration.