Conference Speakers

Sandra NessingSandra Nessing

Sandy Nessing has responsibility for managing sustainability activities, stakeholder engagement, and performance reporting for American Electric Power (AEP), as well as for strategic projects within the Environment, Safety & Health and Facilities organization. She works closely with executives and business units to identify, evaluate, and coordinate strategic opportunities to reduce environmental impacts, protect people, and support public policy and regulatory strategies. In addition, she manages special projects for AEP’s Chairman.

Prior to joining AEP in February 2006, she was the manager of Corporate Communications for Yankee Gas Services Company, part of the Northeast Utilities System and Connecticut’s largest natural gas distribution company. She was responsible for all internal and external communications, including managing the company’s regulatory compliance performance for new federal gas pipeline safety rules and community outreach to support construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility.

Nessing currently serves on the Mid Ohio Regional Plan Commission’s Advisory Council for its Center for Energy & Environment and is a member of the Stewardship Board of Directors for the Grange Insurance Audubon Nature Center, both in Columbus, OH. In addition, she is a member of the Electric Power Research Institute’s Sustainability Interest Group; the Board of Regents of NAEM; and the NGO working group for the Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance. She led AEP’s participation in the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Electric Utility Sector Supplement Pilot Program, an international project to develop electric utility-specific sustainability performance indicators.

Margaret “Margie” P. FlynnMargaret “Margie” P.  Flynn

Margie shares her deeply ingrained passion for the community and belief in “doing well by doing good” as principal of Brown/Flynn, the first certified Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) training partner in the U.S., Cleveland, Ohio, BrownFlynn is a corporate responsibility and sustainability consulting firm that advises clients on how to integrate strategic agendas with responsible practices and targeted communications to bottom line impact for its clients.  The firm helps companies and organizations become more adept at recognizing momentum and synergy between corporate and community issues, anticipating and managing risk, and innovating corporate responsibility and sustainability practices to increase competitive advantage and set precedents in brand leadership.  Margie speaks the language of bottom-line impact and has been instrumental in shaping a variety of responsible practices for regional, national and global corporations and organizations.

Margie’s strong commitment to ethical business practices and eye on global impact also make her a dynamic speaker and trusted advisor for clients who seek to improve their business practices while catalyzing positive change.  She approaches all obstacles with unfailing optimism, pragmatism and a willingness to listen, which has led her to mastermind creative strategic alliances, long-term communication solutions and valuable community relationships for clients.

In 2008, Margie was declared the winner of the Champions of Sustainability by Entrepreneurs for Sustainability.  In that same year, she was presented the World Class Customer Service Award by Smart Business Magazine. Before 1996, Margie spent more than a decade with National City Corporation where she served as co-vice president and manager of National City Corporation’s corporate communications department with Barb Brown.

Margie and her husband, Danny, have three sons and reside in Highland Heights, Ohio.

Keynote: America's Greenest CEO: Ray C. AndersonKeynote: America's Greenest CEO: Ray C. Anderson

Ray C. Anderson, Founder and Chairman (CEO for the first 28 years) of Interface, Inc. ― the world’s largest manufacturer of modular floor coverings and a multi-billion-dollar company ― has been named “the greenest chief executive in America.” Anderson, an industrial engineer and honors graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, currently holds eight honorary doctorate degrees. In 1973, he established Interface after working at various positions for Deering-Millken and Callaway Mills. Over two decades later, Anderson made a commitment to steer his company towards a zero emission manufacturing and processing endeavor to eliminate the negative impact upon the environment by year 2020, primarily through the use of new sources of energy and materials. 

Anderson has served as a prominent commentator for several award-winning documentaries, including Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The 11th Hour,” the internationally-acclaimed “The Corporation,” and most recently, the 2007 Greenbuild Film Festival winner, “Trashed.”   In 2007, he was named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes of the Environment” and served as co-chair of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development during President Clinton’s administration.  He has authored several books including “Face It,” “The Journey from There to Here: The Eco Odyssey of a CEO,” and “Mid-Course Correction: Toward a Sustainable Enterprise – The Interface Model.” Anderson has completed a new book tracking the company’s pursuit of complete sustainability.  Anderson’s books all chronicle his commitment to reassessing and reorganizing the operations of Interface to achieve a zero impact upon the environment and to ultimately move toward engaging in restorative measures. 

Recognition of Anderson’s efforts to generate ideas for sustainable commerce have emanated from business, environmental and governmental organizations including the U.S. Green Building Council, the Southern Institute for Business and Professional Ethics, Harvard Business School Alumni, and the National Wildlife Federation.  He was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1996 by Forbes Magazine and Ernst & Young.  In 2006, Interface was listed as #1 in global sustainability by GlobeScan.  Anderson has been awarded the Civic Ventures’ Purpose Prize, Auburn University’s International Quality of Life Award, and Global Green’s Inaugural Millennium Award.

Anderson’s mid-course change in direction demonstrates his unique ability to embrace environmental preservation efforts without forfeiting profit-making.  While the 20th century Industrial Revolution generated dramatic growth, it did so with insidious consequences. Anderson has made the bold choice “to pioneer the next Industrial Revolution that is kinder and gentler to the earth,” serving as an example to numerous business organizations.

Anderson’s new book, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist, tracks the company’s pursuit of complete sustainability. Anderson will share his unique ability to embrace environmental preservation efforts without forfeiting profit-making.