Team

ESMC / EMSRC Team

ESMC is a member-based organization launching a national scale ecosystem services market program for agriculture to recognize and reward farmers and ranchers for their environmental services to society. The Ecosystem Services Market Research Consortium (ESMRC) is ESMC’s research arm. The ESMC/ESMRC team supports all efforts of the ESMC and the ESMRC in the development of this market program.

Debbie Reed - Executive Director

Debbie Reed was named Executive Director of the ESMC in May of 2019 upon the establishment of the Consortium and subsequently assumed the same role for the ESMRC upon the creation of the Research Consortium in November of 2019. Reed’s role in leading the ESMC builds on decades of experience in agriculture climate change mitigation and sustainability efforts at the national and international level. Previously, Reed led the Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (C-AGG), a national multi-stakeholder coalition, supporting the development of tools, support systems, knowledge, and programs to improve quantification of GHG from agriculture. Prior to her work with C-AGG, Reed worked at the White House Council on Environmental Quality as the Director of Legislative Affairs and Agricultural Policy and in the U.S. Senate as a Senior Staff on natural resource and agricultural issues for U.S. Senator Robert Kerrey of Nebraska. She has held numerous leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including special assistant to the Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics (REE) and special assistant to the Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

She has graduate and undergraduate degrees in human nutrition/dietetics, chemistry, and communications.

Caroline Wade – Deputy Director

As the organization’s Deputy Director, Caroline Wade provides leadership and coordination across the ESMRC project team, Working Groups, and Strike Teams to guide research, development, demonstration, and deployment of cost-effective, scalable technologies and approaches necessary to accomplish program goals, objectives, and outcomes. Prior to joining in September 2019, Wade was the Agriculture Program Director for the Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy where she led their sustainable agricultural initiatives to improve water quality and soil health while addressing the impacts of climate change through engagement with local partners and the ag supply chain. She previously worked for the Illinois Corn Growers Association where she served as the Nutrient Watershed Manager and collaborated with partners in Illinois and across the country on sustainability efforts in agricultural production systems. Throughout her career, Wade has worked to unite environmental science and agriculture by focusing on practical yet innovative solutions to the many interconnected natural resources issues facing the Midwest and beyond and by engaging with multiple stakeholders. She has served in collaborative leadership roles for the Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership, the Illinois S.T.A.R. program, Field to Market’s Education and Outreach Committee, and in Midwest Row Crop Collaborative project development and implementation.

Wade graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in Environmental Health and Environmental Science and an M.S. in Agriculture. She finds inspiration in the wonders of the natural world and spends her free time enjoying mountain biking, kayaking, camping, hiking, and gardening.

Sarah Sieman – Chief Financial Officer

As a CPA with nearly twenty years of experience in finance and accounting, Sarah Sieman brings a variety of experience to her role as CFO with a successful track record in Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A), financial modeling, and an emphasis on leveraging data analytics and technology. Sarah most recently spent four years at Sempra Energy overseeing a range of finance functions including budgeting, forecasting, procurement, AR/AP and accounting and financial modeling. Sarah also implemented new technology to increase automation and incorporate business analytics tools into the finance function to achieve greater reporting and financial efficiencies. Prior to Sempra, Sarah spent 13 years in public accounting at PwC working on tax and accounting projects across a broad range of industries. While at PwC, she also managed multi-million-dollar technology projects. Sarah is passionate about financial literacy and volunteers with young people teaching them financial life skills. Sarah holds a Master of Accounting from The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree from Pomona College where she majored in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. 

In her spare time, Sarah enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors, preferably in the mountains, hiking or taking photographs. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Mike, and dog, Chloe. 

Andrew Lentz - Policy Director

As ESMC’s Policy Director, Andrew develops the consortium’s strategic national policy plan to support and align with ESMC’s mission, vision, and national program buildout. Andrew has over a decade of experience in the nation’s capital, serving in roles in the public and private sectors, including at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Andrew came to ESMC from Deloitte where he served as a Senior Lead in the firm’s Policy & Government Relations office. Prior to his work at Deloitte, Andrew spent over seven years at FAS where he supported international agricultural capacity building and development projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout Africa. He has also held positions in the U.S. House of Representatives and at a national political party.

Andrew brings knowledge of the legislative and political processes of developing public policy to ESMC and excels at stakeholder management, government relations, and corporate affairs. He earned an MBA and an MA in Government from Johns Hopkins University and received his bachelor’s in Political Science from Villanova University. Andrew was born and raised in downtown Chicago and currently lives in Washington, DC.

Jack Jeworski - Business Development Director

As the organization’s Business Development Director, Jack advances ESMC’s business plan, launch strategy, membership growth, and other essential program elements. Jack brings with him business development experience at every phase of the agricultural value chain. He has worked at multiple firms in the agricultural sector, in close collaboration with farmers and corporate executives alike at a high-tech agricultural hardware company in Silicon Valley and at a California wine company. Jack has also worked as a product strategist for a nonprofit, multi-stakeholder climate advocacy group in Miami. Most recently, he co-founded a food and culture app that received backing from Facebook.

Jack earned a B.A. in Social Studies as a philosophy major at Bard College. He also studied at Stanford University, completing the Intensive Human Rights Program. In his spare time, Jack enjoys hiking, reading, and playing soccer.

Benjamin Bartley – Project Manager

Benjamin Bartley leads ESMC/ESMRC’s protocol adaptation and refinement work, including management of the protocols and the asset, credit, and program certification process. Bartley has worked in food systems and sustainable agriculture throughout his career, from vending at farmers markets and processing livestock to working in cooperative extension and as a farm food safety auditor. His experience spans the non-profit, private, and public sectors, including employment as an independent consultant and at a cooperative, family-owned business, social enterprise, and academia, most recently serving as Program Area Leader, Food Systems and Local Food with Penn State Extension. His prior positions entailed program area leadership, project management, and value chain coordination. Bartley also brings firsthand experience in policy advocacy on both a state and federal level around climate-smart agriculture, food access, and farm business vitality. He has a proven ability of working with a wide range of stakeholders, particularly food producers, businesses, researchers, and funders.

Bartley earned a Master of Business Administration from Drexel University and is pursuing a Masters in Ecosystem Management and Administration from Penn State. He also studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and was a National Fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program.

Amanda Raster - Research Manager

Amanda Raster leads the ESMRC Working Group and Strike Team activities, bringing with her fifteen years of experience in food systems and multi-stakeholder sustainable agriculture initiatives. In her previous role as Science Director at U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action, Raster led a comprehensive life cycle assessment harmonization project for major U.S. ag commodities and engaged farmers, ranchers, and supply chain partners around the science of sustainable food systems. Prior to joining USFRA, she worked for The Sustainability Consortium, where she developed environmental and social metrics for food and agriculture products sold at retail and explored opportunities to improve data flow across food supply chains. Raster also served as facilitator of a national effort to develop sustainability standards for U.S. agriculture through the Leonardo Academy.

Raster grew up on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her undergraduate studies in Anthropology and Conservation Biology and her graduate studies in Agroecology. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Political Science and Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.

Stacy Cushenbery - Project Manager

Stacy Cushenbery joins ESMC/ESMRC as an experienced agricultural planner focused on regenerative practices and community building. She grew up within a dairy community in Wisconsin and quickly fell in love with farming. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology focusing on food systems, she completed her farm training in organics at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin. Having operated farms in the Midwest, she has demonstrated her ability to work within the farming community.​

Stacy previously worked as Sustainable Agriculture Consultant for Solutions in the Land, where she managed projects focused on nutrient reduction and helped guide farmers and stakeholders in agriculture to better environmental and economic outcomes. She has previously worked with local and county governments to design agriculture plans that meet the community’s needs while preserving farmland. Her comprehensive and practical understanding of the steps necessary to implement conservation practices on farmland allows her to meet new challenges with practical guidance and empathy. ​

She currently lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children, where she finds joy in the outdoors, cooking, and traveling. ​

Neville Millar, Project Manager

Neville Millar is the team lead for planning, coordination, implementation, and evaluation of cropland pilot projects. Millar has over 15 years’ experience conducting work in agricultural systems with multiple stakeholders investigating management practices that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase soil carbon storage. ​Prior to joining ESMC, Millar was a Senior Research Associate and the Science Coordinator of the Long-term Ecological Research site at the W. K. Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University. During his work there he investigated the impacts of nitrogen and cover crop management on nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from row-crop systems in the U.S.A. and Mexico and helped lead the implementation of carbon offset protocols for N2O mitigation at several carbon market organizations. ​

Millar earned his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from St. Andrews University in Scotland, a Masters in Applied Environmental Science from Wye College, University of London, and a Doctorate in Agriculture from Imperial College London. He is originally from the northernmost town in England, and now lives in Michigan where he enjoys similar variation in weather. ​

Austin Arrington, Technical Product Lead

As ESMC/ESMRC Technical Product Lead, Austin Arrington is responsible for the development, oversight, and coordination of all technical and product aspects of building, launching, and supporting ESMC’s Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) platform. Austin is a software developer, scientist, and entrepreneur working on technologies to connect humans and nature. Prior to joining ESMC, he was a machine learning engineer with Teralytic, where he helped develop and bring to market technologies for monitoring and decision-making around soil health. In 2016, he founded the environmental consultancy PLANT Group, installing urban farms and green roofs across the Northeast, while helping growers cut water use by 25% using Internet of Things (IoT) smart irrigation systems.

Austin is a published researcher and holds an M.S. in Environmental Science from SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, an M.A. in Bioethics from NYU, and a B.A. in English from Penn State University. His research explores the intersection of ecology, technology, and ethics.

Isidora Jimenez LaCasse, Finance Manager

Isidora Jimenez LaCasse, ESMC/ESMRC Finance Manager, holds a Master of Business Administration from Mills College, with a program emphasis in Finance. She also completed her undergraduate work at Mills, with majors in Mathematics and International Relations and a minor in French.

Throughout her career, Isidora has performed financial analysis and auditing at the highest levels, as well as asset and debt management. Her recent roles include working for Fortune 500 companies, where she used her French and Spanish language skills managing their international banking relationships.

Isidora currently lives in Reno, Nevada, where she takes advantage of Lake Tahoe’s proximity to enjoy the outdoors with her family and Labrador retrievers.

Thayer Tomlinson – Communications Director

Thayer_1

As ESMC’s Communications Director, Thayer Tomlinson manages external organizational communications including the ESMC monthly newsletter, website, press releases, and social media accounts. She has worked in organizational communications for the last 15 years, serving as the Communications Director for the International Biochar Initiative and as the Program Manager for the Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. She also currently supports the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program providing research and technical support to small businesses and congregations working to increase facility energy efficiency.

She holds a Masters in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia. She lives in Vermont.

Lizzie Rose - Project Coordinator

Lizzie Rose coordinates scheduling for ESMC/ESMRC’s Executive Director and supports pilot projects through research and administration. Lizzie has been interested in sustainable agriculture for many years and spent a summer working on an organic farm in Kansas while pursuing her undergraduate degree. She has also worked with several nonprofits to engage the public and promote environmental stewardship. Her past roles include working as a Naturalist at the Audubon Center of the North Woods teaching nature-based classes and serving as a Communications and Outreach Intern with Women for Conservation by publicizing work to protect endangered species in the Colombian rainforest.

Lizzie earned a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Environmental Studies and English from St. Olaf College, and also holds a Master of Natural Resources Stewardship with a specialization in Forest Sciences from Colorado State University. She currently lives in Kansas City.

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