University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Northstar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise
Portrait: Tim Smith

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Tim Smith

Dr. Timothy M. Smith is director of the NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment; and an associate professor of environmental sciences, policy and management, and bioproducts and biosystems engineering at the university. His work focuses on policy and market adoption of technologies that enhance environmental performance, public and private governance of sustainability, and sustainability systems modeling in decision making.

Through his career, Smith has held the rotating chair in sustainable entrepreneurship at Wageningen University, Netherlands, served on the faculty at INCAE Business School in Costa Rica, and is on the extended faculty in marketing and logistics management at the Carlson School of Management and in the College of Continuing Education at UMN. He is a former AT&T Industrial Ecology Fellow and has advised the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Research Council’s Committee on Certification of Sustainable Products and Services, and numerous companies and organizations on supply chain sustainability and product-based policies.

Portrait: Jennifer Schmitt

Lead Scientist

Jennifer Schmitt

Jennifer Schmitt is a lead scientist with the NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise. Her research focuses on collective action in sustainability and spatial dimensions to sustainability challenges. Jennifer’s current research projects include supply chain collective action, supply chain mapping of the US corn industry and organic waste mapping in Minnesota. She is also interested applying the theory of collective action to the sharing economy and conservation. Her past research has included conservation policies and socioeconomics in the Serengeti ecosystem, Tanzania. Jennifer has a M.S. in applied economics and Ph.D. in conservation biology from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in biology and international relations from Beloit College. Through engaging practitioners in her research and her prowess in finding, connecting and analyzing data, Jennifer seeks to highlight and inform businesses and individuals in solving global sustainability challenges. After work Jennifer enjoys spending time with her two daughters, scrapbooking and reading.

Portrait: Mo Li

Graduate Research Assistant

Mo Li

Mo Li is a Graduate Research Assistant with NiSE at the Institute on the Environment and a Ph.D. student in the program of Natural Resources, Science and Management (NRSM) in the University of Minnesota. Mo’s research focuses on industrial supply chain and procurement management and optimization, interactive dynamics of electric power generation and electricity consumption in the MISO (Midcontinental Independent System Operator, Inc.), and applications of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Currently, she is working on employing LCA-based methodologies to develop supply chain optimization for procurement managers in manufacturing industries from environmental-impact’s perspective. This work will be presented at the ISIE conference 2015. She is also working on identifying opportunities for reducing energy usage and improving energy efficiency at intensive energy users’ side via incorporating manufacturing process improvement with existing electricity generation and transmission systems in MISO.

Mo has received her M.S. in NRSM from the University of Minnesota and her B.S. in Environmental Sciences from the Renmin University of China. Her past research has included LCA and economic analysis on residential GSHP systems in Minnesota, solar-biomass gasification in the U.S., and exploitations of desert shrub biomass for power generation in Inner Mongolia, China.

Portrait: Rylie Pelton

Research Assistant


Rylie Pelton

Rylie Pelton is a graduate research fellow with NiSE at the Institute on the Environment. Rylie’s research focuses on applications of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to aid procurement and manufacturing decision makers in integrating environmental metrics into their decision-making. She is currently using LCA-based methodologies to assess and identify product environmental claims that demonstrate improved environmental performance, the results of which will be integrated into a decision-making software tool to guide procurers in reaching their organizational sustainability objectives. Rylie is also recipient of the Biobased and Biosystems Engineering Buckman Fellowship for her research using LCA to investigate the dynamic environmental performance of bio-refineries based on the fluctuations in co-product and intermediate product production portfolios.

Rylie is a PhD student at the University of Minnesota in the Natural Resources Science and Management (NRSM) program and is minoring in Public Health. She has received her M.S. in NRSM and her B.S. in Corporate Environmental Management with a minor in Management from the University of Minnesota. Her past research has included developing streamlined LCA methods (called Hotspot Scenario Analysis) as a practical way to integrate LCA in procurement environments, and looking at the barriers to purchasing environmentally preferable products. In her free time, Rylie loves to travel, hike, camp, read and do art.

Portrait: Luyi Chen

Graduate Student Assistant

Luyi Chen

Luyi Chen is a Ph.D. student in Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering and a research assistant working with NiSE at the Institute on the Environment. Luyi’s current research interests focus on environmental life cycle analysis methods across fuel and material outputs of biorefineries (specifically, impact assessment of biomass-based plastic bottles). She is also interested in expanding these methods to explore spatial variation in field-level management and land use regimes on food and fuel systems.  Through her abilities in computer sciences and interests in big data and visualization of complex information, Luyi seeks to help managers and policy makers strike a better balance between economic development and environment protection. In her spare time, Luyi is an accomplished pianist, loves classical music, and is a big fan of baking. She is a bread fanatic!

Portrait: Lloyd Rivera

Graduate Student Assistant

Lloyd Rivera

Lloyd Rivera is a graduate student of bioproducts and biosystems engineering and doing research through NiSE at the Institute on the Environment. He is working on projects that include valuation of natural capital and promotion of bioenergy generation in the USA.  In Costa Rica, his native country, Lloyd worked as research manager at CIMS, from the INCAE Business School, doing research and strategic advise on sustainability and supply chains for companies like Nestlé, Walmart and Rainforest Alliance. Lloyd has a B.S. sustainable agriculture from EARTH University.  His past research includes reactions and consequences of the price volatility in coffee producers, impact of carbon reduction alternatives in the coffee value chain, sustainable challenges in the industry of high quality coffee in Colombia, and early indicators for sustainable farming.

Portrait: Taegon Kim

Post-doctoral Associate

Taegon Kim

Taegon Kim is a postdoctoral associate with NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in rural systems engineering and his B.S. in agricultural civil engineering from Seoul National University in South Korea.

Dr. Kim has considerable experience working on multi-disciplinary research teams with modeling and simulation studies such as numerical structure analysis, indicating agricultural drought, estimating water footprints, detecting community structures and calculating circuity factors in Korea. He has published 40 articles based on these studies. He is now developing simulation models and interactive tools for agricultural supply chain decision-makers at IonE. He is particularly interested in developing a simulation platform that will allow researchers to easily build, test, evaluate, and visualize models related to agricultural and environmental research. In his spare time, he and his wife enjoy the Twin Cities with their one-year-old twins.

Portrait: Andrew Goodkind

Post-doctoral Associate

Andrew Goodkind

Andrew Goodkind is a post-doctoral associate in the department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering. His research interests focus on the link between criteria pollutant emissions and mortality, estimating the spatial heterogeneity of damages of emissions, and evaluating the trade-offs between improved health and industry abatement costs from pollution control policies. Andrew has also been involved in research relating to ecosystem service damages from mining in Minnesota, updating externality values of air emissions from Minnesota electric utilities for regulatory decision-making, and a spatial analysis of the implications for cellulosic biofuel of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Andrew’s current work with NiSE applies similar approaches to inform policy and management across food and energy supply chains. Andrew received his Ph.D. in Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota.

Portrait: Milda Irhamni

Research Assistant


Milda Irhamni

Milda Irhamni is a research assistant with the NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise. Her work focuses on examining the global environmental footprint of food supply chains. She is also a PhD student in applied economics at the University of Minnesota. Her dissertation focuses on household economics and palm oil supply chains in Indonesia.

Prior to graduate school, Milda worked for The World Bank Jakarta Office, the International Labour Organization and University of Indonesia. Past research topics included industrial air pollution, tropical deforestation and natural disaster recovery. Her research focuses on the interaction of environment and development. She also has much affinity for national parks, books and photography.

NiSE is a program of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment.

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