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 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.
Suzanne Gates is a Sustainability Manager at Kyndryl. She is a environmental compliance and sustainability specialist with over 20 years’ experience in the biotechnology field with emphasis in ISO management systems. She has guided organizations through evolving food safety, environmental and occupational safety regulations. Her focused industry sectors have included hematology and chemistry laboratory devices, animal feed and human food enzymes and microbes. Within the animal feed and human food sectors, she has driven zero waste initiatives which diverted 20,000 tons of waste from landfills annually. Her work experience includes Triple Bottom Line and regulatory reporting, community outreach, risk assessments, continuous improvement, target setting and management review. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and ISSP Sustainability Excellence Associate certificate.
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.
Jack MacLean joined the Board in 2023 after years of membership with the NRC. Jack works for Casella Resource Solutions as a National Account Manager as part of the Healthcare Solutions line of business. In this role, Jack works directly with large scale waste generators to design sustainable resource management programs, providing comprehensive services driving zero waste and ESG goals for their customers, while also generating cost-saving initiatives that ensure the economic, as well as environmental, viability of the resource program. Jack works with customers across North America, integrating with their operation to implement innovative solutions to complex waste challenges to drive higher value from their byproducts, increase recyclability, reduce overall waste, and maintain higher quality materials cycling in the circular economy. Within the state of Nebraska, Jack and his team work collaboratively with partners and customers to recycle over 25,000 tons of post-industrial scrap materials every year.
Jack is driven by the idea of being of service of his community, which extends beyond his work in environmental sustainability. Jack is also passionate about youth development in athletics. In his spare time, Jack works as a volleyball coach and takes an active role in helping his parents run a nonprofit volleyball club in the state of Nebraska which promotes boys’ volleyball and youth athletics participation in the state of Nebraska. Jack has coached volleyball since 2012 and is a staunch advocate for youth athletic participation.
Jack grew up in Lincoln, where he still currently lives. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Finance, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Philosophy from McKendree University, where he also competed on their Men’s Volleyball program. Additionally, Jack is a certified TRUE Zero Waste Advisor and currently pursuing a Master’s in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln.
Melissa is the Director of Organics & Sustainability for Uribe Refuse Services, where she oversees Waste to Energy Lincoln, LLC. Melissa is working to develop and implement new and innovative sustainable waste management solutions. She focuses on growing waste diversion programs in the community and developing infrastructure for the recovery of energy and nutrients from organic waste. Melissa has a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in Biological Oceanography with molecular biology from the Graduate School of Oceanography. After graduating, she worked in genetics for five years before leaving to pursue her passion for sustainability.
Melissa grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where she attended science camps and family trips on the Chesapeake Bay that fostered her love for the natural environment. She was passionate about recycling from a young age, which ultimately led her to a career in sustainable waste management. She lives in Lincoln with her fiancé Brent and their two dogs and guinea pig. She loves to travel, camp, and spend as much time outdoors with her dogs as possible in her free time.
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.
Rich Woodson is a steward of sustainable solutions and committed to pioneering innovative approaches that connect sustainability and energy goals from design to execution. For more than twenty years, he has provided oversite on design solutions and enhanced the quality of complex commercial buildings. He is a registered Professional Engineer with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering from Kansas State University.
Rich is the Manager of Design Build and Sustainability at MCL Construction. He manages MCL’s commitment to sustainable practices and led the firm to become the 19th contractor in the country to accept Building Green’s – Contractor’s Commitment to Sustainable Construction. A pledge to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint and manage waste diversion.
Prior to joining MCL, Rich was a consulting mechanical engineer designing sustainable mechanical systems to provide heating and cooling for commercial buildings.