Board Of Directors
Danielle Easdale, President
Danielle Easdale moved to Nebraska in 2015 from the United Kingdom. Originally from Australia, Danielle brings almost two decades of waste resource management experience working within the Energy, Waste, Environmental Management and Facilities Management fields for both large Public and Private Sector Organizations. Danielle is currently the Director of Sales and Marketing at Firstar Fiber where she is known for critical thinking and strategic analysis. Danielle is passionate about providing economic and environmentally sustainable waste resource management services and sharing her in-depth knowledge of the recycling industry with communities, businesses and the public alike. Danielle has served on the Nebraska Recycling Council Board of Directors and previously WasteCap for 7 years in various roles including President, Vice President, Treasurer.
Willa DiCostanzo, Vice President
Willa DiCostanzo is the Waste Diversion Coordinator for the City of Lincoln. Willa has a degree in Environmental Studies and English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has worked for the City of Lincoln for nearly eight years in a variety of positions. Most recently, Willa worked at the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department as an Environmental Educator for the Keep Lincoln and Lancaster County Beautiful program as well as the Toxics Reduction Program for Household Hazardous Waste. She is the treasurer of Lincoln Earth Day and is actively engaged throughout the Lincoln and Lancaster County community. Willa is passionate about issues related to environmental sustainability, waste reduction and diversion and living harmoniously with our natural environment.
“Now is the time,” says Willa, “to help empower each citizen to reduce their footprint through reducing, repairing, rejecting and rethinking the actions we make every day that produce trash. Conscious consumption is a mindful practice that will significantly reduce the demand humans are creating to source so much virgin material (i.e. wood pulp, oil, aluminum) from the ground. We must make the effort to protect the environment for our future with the decisions we make and we must start to practice that change today.”
Benjamin Newton, Secretary
Benjamin has been the Environmental Sustainability Director at Central Community College (CCC) since August 2016. His office is in Grand Island but he oversees all CCC campus sustainability projects and manages an office of currently five student interns on different campuses. Some major projects and initiatives at CCC include a 1.7 MW wind turbine, pollinator gardens on all 3 campuses, electric vehicle charging stations, four e-badges that award students for volunteering and hands on projects, a plastic bag recycling program in partnership with TREX, bike share, composting, Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series (SLPS), Earth Week on all campuses, America Recycles Day, and volunteer events.
Benjamin has a Bachelor of Arts in Earth Science from the University of Northern Iowa, a Masters of Environmental Studies (MES) from The Evergreen State College, and is currently a doctoral candidate in Environmental Resources and Policy from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where he completed the initial climate assessment and action plan. He currently also serves on the AASHE STARS steering committee and is the CCC Board member for Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA). Ben has worked on federal, state, and non-profit grants and was a water quality consultant for Gettler Ryan Inc. throughout California, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska from 2000-2008. Previously he was at Triton College in River Grove, Illinois where he was TAACCCT Grant Coordinator for Sustainable Agriculture from 2012-2015. Prior to that he was the initial Sustainability Coordinator at Richland Community College and he was on the Green Hospitals and Sustainable Agriculture statewide committees through the Illinois Green Economy Network.
He grew up on a small family farm near Osage, Iowa exploring the outdoors. Ben also was selected to travel to the Ukraine as part of a nuclear study team and visited Chernobyl as a water quality expert. He also is an avid hiker, biker, and skier and has explored much of the West coast.
Kim Burge, Treasurer
Kim Burge has worked in a full range of fundraising roles for 20 years. In 2016, she started her own coaching business to help non-profits exceed their goals. During this time, she has also done work for the North Central Ne RC&D as they have shifted to a new reuse, recycle vision. That is her first experience working purposely on the topic. The RC&D is experiencing success with a newly created Directory for recycling options, E-waste and HHW collections across the 6 counties they serve. It has also launched a consistent media messaging campaign to educate and inform those in and around the 6 counties. Kim has played a key role in developing and rolling out each of these components.
A long time gardener and composter, Kim recognizes and values the larger vision that includes less waste, recycling, reusing and finding alternatives to sending items to the landfill.
Perhaps new to recycling at this level, Kim enthusiastically sees the vision of where Nebraska and NRC could be. She eagerly anticipates the planning, executing, supporting and the challenges that come with the NRC Board Member role.
Kim lives outside of Valentine with husband Mike. They have 3 grown children, all proudly living in Nebraska. And if you have a few moments, she would be delighted to show you the photos of their 4 beautiful little granddaughters.
Nicole Frankl graduated from SD School of Mines and Technology with a degree in Civil Engineering and NC State with a Masters in Construction Engineering. After a while with Flatiron Constructors in Edmonton Alberta Canada, Nicole worked for SDDOT as a Assistant Traffic Safety Engineer. Later they moved to Lincoln, NE and Nicole became the LTAP Director. After working with Locals, Nicole then transitioned to working with Central States Reprocessing, CSR. With CSR, Nicole managed the plastics recycling process as well as grant applications. Nicole has since moved back to civil engineering and is working as a Roadway Engineer. HDR presented the Frankls with an amazing opportunity to move to “Way West Nebraska”, which on a map is Salem, Oregon. Nicole joined a great group at Oregon DOT and has been able to provide insight to recycling in an area where recycling is supported by legislation and is integrated into the culture. The Frankls are enjoying the mountains and ski racing, ocean, and horses. Hubby is still amazing and the boys are still wild :).
Suzanne Gates is the Environmental Compliance Specialist at Novozymes in Blair, Nebraska. Suzanne has a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and has worked for Novozymes since 2012. During her tenure at Novozymes, Suzanne has worked in a variety of roles but her true passion is sustainability. She drives change within the organization by engaging employees through environmental education and sustainability initiatives. Suzanne also oversees the environmental permitting for the Blair location. From air to water, she monitors and inspects to ensure compliance. She supports industry in the state by serving on the board of Nebraska Industrial Council for the Environment (NICE).
In support of Novozymes’ Zero Waste goals, Suzanne and her team at Novozymes are diverting 20,000 tons per year from the landfill through composting, land application of Spent Biomass, and recycling.
She grew up in Omaha and lives in the Millard area with her husband Tony. They have two dogs, two turtles and so many fish. Suzanne is an avid gardener and loves to inspire and educate others through her pollinator garden. She is a travel junkie and happy to share her adventures through photography.
Frank Uhlarik has been a Board member with NSRA since 2009 and a past President. He has a Geological Engineering Degree from the Colorado School of Mines and over 30 years of experience in environmental restoration, regulatory compliance and sustainability planning. He currently serves as the City of Lincoln’s Administrator of Sustainability and Compliance.