Sustainability is a buzzword that isn't going to fade away anytime soon. Sustainability focuses on addressing current needs without jeopardizing future generations' ability to meet their own. Economic, environmental, and social sustainability—also informally known as the three P's … profits, planet, and people—are the three pillars of sustainability. Every business and industry will be impacted.
In this Meet the Expert session, sustainability expert Kurt Duska will offer his insights on Creative and Profitable Sustainability Solutions. Kurt will cover how to leverage creative thinking, problem solving, and ideation processes to gain a competitive edge, as well as how to break down the pillars of sustainability as they relate to your business model, product creation, or product marketing.
Court Gould, Sustainable Solutions Consultant
Karen Szymanski, Founder Repair Cafe, Erie
Jason Williams, Assistant Teaching Professor, Plastics Engineering Technology, Penn State Erie
Kurt Duska, Sales and Consulting in Sustainability
Kurt has been in the plastics industry for over 40 years as a contract manufacturer. On a flight, a seat mate that worked for a medical company said she "wished she could recycle their used IV bags at hospitals". With no experience in recycling Kurt received a grant from the PA DEP and purchased an Erema recycling system. Twelve years later Kurt has run a recycling trial with the Cleveland Clinic as well as developed sustainability programs for multiple fortune 100 manufacturing companies. Kurt's experience covers medical, food, telecommunication and consumer products. Kurt represents Engineered Plastics Recycling Solutions as a consultant in new business develop, program design and technical solutions. Kurt earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering/Business from Gannon University.
Kurt is a founding member of the HPRC Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council. A group that consists of WM and ten of the largest medical manufacturers in the US. The group developed packaging/product design guidelines and recycling processes to improve hospital recycling rates. And a member of the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center.
In 2011, Kurt was awarded PA. Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.
In 2012, started a second recycling facility in Sanford, NC.
Kurt serves as Judge for business plans and products at the Gannon SBDC and Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
Court is available to assist leaders and their organizations to achieve triple bottom line wins (economy, environment, social equity) to increase impact and "do well by doing right". After 20 years as founding ED of Sustainable Pittsburgh, he moved to downtown Erie in early 2018 joining the Erie Community Foundation as Vice President of Community Impact. In May 2021, Court transitioned to consulting practice. At Sustainable Pittsburgh, Court led the creation of CEOs for Sustainability executive council, performance and education programs for businesses, local government, and nonprofits, and a niche sustainable business consultancy. Other focal topics included: Smart Growth, Regional Equitable Development, DEI, Transportation for Livable Communities, Energy Visioning and Strategy, Outdoor Recreation, Sustainable Community Development, Blight and Abandonment, Sustainable Business Strategies, and more. Education includes a MPA from the University of Southern California, BA in Political Science from Tufts University. He attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders. Professional Coach Certification was earned from Duquesne University.
Karen founded Earth Nerd Erie and the Repair Cafe Erie
A believer in all things green and the Right to Repair Movement, Karen became inspired to open a business where anyone can bring small electric appliances, clothing, furniture, toys, bicycles, etc. to work with the expert volunteers to fix your item for free (excluding parts) and perhaps learn something in the process.
Her mission is to bring members of the community together to share knowledge, transfer skills, strengthen social bonds, and actively contribute to a more sustainable society.
Jason Williams is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Plastics Engineering Technology program. Prior to joining Behrend in 2008, Jason was a principal at K Development which was a product design consultancy that developed products in the toy, consumer, medical, and industrial markets. He teaches courses in plastic part design and product development. He has over 25 years of experience with product design, 3D printing, and computer modeling.
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