How Academia and Industry Prepare Students with The Ohio State University’s Dr. Neil Drobny and Momentive Specialty Chemicals’ Tanis Marquette

December 29, 2014

Dr. Neil Drobny

Neil Drobny migrated professional to the academic world after many years of environmental consulting. Through his consulting work he determined than many companys’ environmental issues were really business issues stemming from unwise use of resources. About 10 years ago, after some research he found that a small group of business schools were starting to work into their M.B.A. programs an understanding of the nexus between business performance and environmental stewardship. He convinced the Fisher College of Buisness at The Ohio State University to let him teach a course in the M.B.A. program on a trial basis. That course went well, and became a regular elective in the curriculum. Eventually, he added a family of courses at the undergraduate level. Two years ago, Ohio State initiated a university-wide major in sustainability and Dr. Drobny’s courses on sustainable business practices were made a part of the core curriculum in that program. Additionally, Dr. Drobny was asked to play a leadership role in developing the new major which has become the fastest growing major on campus, with over 150 students enrolled – which is a larger enrollment than in some departments. Ohio State graduated its first sustainability majors last June, a grand total of five students, all of whom found jobs in the field. Dr. Drobny graduated from Dartmouth College with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental engineering and obtained his Ph.D. at Ohio State. His work has taken him to all seven continents and he speaks regularly to business groups on matters related to sustainability in business. How did you first get involved in the green industry? My first job out of school was as a Naval Officer in which I was assigned to work on waste management issues in the Antarctic in support of Operation Deep Freeze. What interests you most about being green? The opportunity to work with people, especially students, who have high energy and passion about the subject. What is your biggest “green” pet peeve? The notion that we must foul our air, water and soil to have a strong economy. What green trend is most exciting to you or your industry? The growing interest in the subject being exhibited by current and future business leaders.

Tanis Marquette

Tanis Marquette, Global Sustainability Leader, has been with Momentive Specialty Chemicals for 17 years. She has held site, regional and global roles in health, safety and sustainability. Since 2009 she has participated with National Sciences Foundation, ASTM and the National Association of Home Builders to develop green building and sustainability standards and guidelines. She has a technical diploma in Occupational Health and Safety from BCIT and professional credentials in health, safety, chemical management and green building from both Canada and the USA. She is an active member of numerous professional and trade associations across North America. Outside of the office, she is a strong supporter of her local community. She is the treasurer of the HoA and speaks at the local schools each year on various sustainability topics. How did you first get involved in the green industry? In my Global Industrial Hygienist role, I was responsible to support our North American customers’ product stewardship programs and travel with our commercial and marketing leaders. In early 2005, we recognized an opportunity to further enhance our value by supporting customer and supplier environmental programs. This led to the creation of a new role: the Technical Market Manager, which I assumed in 2007. This role was solely focused on understanding the market demand for greener products through advocacy and partnering with our stakeholders. What interests you most about being green? The opportunity to collaborate with our stakeholders and continually learn new ways to positively impact the markets we serve. What green trend is most exciting to you or your industry? The increase in stakeholder engagement. More companies are collaborating in new ways.