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This compost school is canceled due to COVID-19 concerns and related university restrictions on travel and in-person instruction.

​Instructors: 2020 Midwest Compost School

Rob Michitsch.gifRobert Michitsch 

Rob has a Master of Science degree in Soil Science and Waste Management from the University of Guelph (Canada) where he looked at reusing anaerobic digestion digestate as a fertilizer for crop growth. He earned his doctorate in biological engineering from Dalhousie University (Canada) where he looked at composting slaughterhouse wastes as a means to reduce bacterial pathogens in the materials. Rob is currently an associate professor of Soil and Waste Resources in the UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources with an emphasis in composting and compostability research. Rob is also a member of the board of directors of the United States Composting Council (USCC), and a trustee of the Composting Council Research and Education Foundation (CCREF).

Casey LamenskyCasey Lamensky

Casey has been the solid waste coordinator for the Waste and Materials Management Program at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for five years. In that role she provides technical support to non-landfill solid waste facilities, including licensed composting facilities, writes guidance for the Recycling and Solid Waste Section and participates on both the Food and Organics Residuals Materials Management subgroup of the Waste and Materials Management Study Group as well as the Organics group of the Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin. Previously Casey worked in the DNR's Green Bay office for three years as a waste management specialist. Casey has her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of Minnesota.

DennisBrusky.jpgDennis Brusky

Dennis, a born-and-raised dairy farmer, has been with Hsu Growing Supply from the beginning, for over 25 years. Dennis is a graduate of Fox Valley Technical College in agribusiness, in the sales and service program. During his time at Hsu, he has helped with the ginseng farms, grown mushrooms commercially and, of course, has held many positions within Hsu Growing Supply. He is currently the purchasing and operations manager. Dennis will lead the tour group around the compost facility and explain the Hsu operation.

Walker_Paul.jpg Michael Seipel

Michael Seipel is Professor and Chair of the Agricultural Science Department at Truman State University in Kirksville, MO, where he has taught since 1998. Michael’s academic background is in Agricultural Economics (BS) and Rural Sociology (PhD) and he teaches courses on Agricultural and Food Marketing, Agricultural Policy, Ag. Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Agriculture, and an interdisciplinary seminar on Rural America. Since 2018 he has served as director of the Truman Compost Project, a food waste composting program that began in 2004. The Compost Project collects food scraps from campus dining halls and produces finished compost for sale to the public. Michael and Cherie’ have three children and live on a small farm where they raise Katahdin hair sheep

Meleesa Johnson

Meleesa is the director of solid waste management for Marathon County. She oversees solid waste programming and facilities serving central and north-central Wisconsin. Serving as adjunct faculty at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Meleesa helped create the current curriculum for both the introductory and advanced waste management classes. 

Meleesa is in her fifth term as president of Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin (AROW), is treasurer for the Solid Waste Association of North America-Badger Chapter and for the Wisconsin Counties Solid Waste Management Association. Recently she was appointed to the DNR’s Waste and Materials Management Study Group, co-chairing that group. In 2005 Governor Doyle appointed her to the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Waste Materials Recovery and Disposal. She is the 2012 recipient of the AROW Christy Dixon Recycler of the Year Award and was awarded the 2017 UW Green Bay Environment and Business Management Institute’s Earth Caretaker Award.

Meleesa is in her 4th term as president of Stevens Point Common Council and is in her 3rd term as supervisor for the Portage County Board.

RonAlexander.jpgKelly Adlington

Kelly graduated from UW-Stevens Point with a degree in waste management in May 2017. She started working for the Stevens Point-based nonprofit Recycling Connections in 2015 and has enjoyed the continuous education of solid waste and recycling management received through this avenue ever since. Duties at Recycling Connections include staffing an information line for central Wisconsin residents with questions about garbage and recycling, educating the public on what really happens when we leave our bins at the curb for pickup every week, and co-coordinating the state's only solid waste and recycling-oriented conference every February (WIRMC).  

In January of 2018 Kelly became a founding Member/Owner of Rising Sand Organics (RSO).  RSO is a cooperative farm that specializes in growing organic vegetables.  Additionally, through multiple partnerships, RSO was a party to developing Stevens Point's very own curbside pickup service of food scraps. Curbside Compost Collection started in June 2018 and since then has diverted over 125,000 lbs. of organic material from landfill disposal. RSO services residents, businesses, and schools, and looks forward to expanding accessibility to, and understanding of, better waste-resource management.

Lewis, Mike.jpgGinny Black

Ginny currently chairs the Minnesota Composting Council, a nonprofit organization and state chapter of the U.S. Composting Council, which works with composters, businesses, and the public sector to divert organic materials to compost facilities. In addition, she has served on the Compost Council's Research and Education Foundation board of trustees for the past five years and is the current chair.

Ginny retired from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in 2013, where she had worked as a technical staff person assisting in the setting up of recycling and composting programs throughout the state. Her last 12 years focused exclusively on promoting reduction and composting of organic materials, specifically yard waste and source-separated food scraps and non-recyclable paper.

fowler.jpgPaul Fowler

Paul Fowler is the executive director of the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. With a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, he has over 20 years of experience in contract research and development of new products and opportunities from bio-based materials. With a keen focus on commercialization potential, Paul explores new applications of underutilized natural resources to add value to current industrial processes along with the possibility to implement new disruptive technologies. Core competencies support two major themes: value-added applications in Wisconsin's potato and vegetable processing sector and activities to support Wisconsin's pulp and paper sector. Paul speaks regularly at conferences addressing matters of sustainability, paper-based packaging, bio-based plastics and compostability.

Bart Sexton

Bart Sexton has a Bachelor of Science degree in soil science from the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point and a Master of Science degree in soil physics from the University of Minnesota. He was a U.S. Army Ranger from 1982-1986. From 1993 to 2008, Bart was the Oneida County Solid Waste Director. His experiences included design, permitting, storm water management and operations of source-separated organics, yard waste and paper sludge composting facilities.  Since 2009, Bart has been the project manager and professional soil scientist at Sand Creek Consultants out of Rhinelander and Amherst, Wisconsin.

Deb Shaw

Deb is the Retail Sales Manager and Educator at Hsu Growing Supply. She states she is a plant geek with 50+ years of experience and passion. Deb gets her love of plants from her grandmother and Dad.

As well as being in the horticulture industry since a child, Deb has a degree in ornamental horticulture and urban forestry. Deb spent 20+ years in several nationally recognized, large-scale industrial greenhouses before specializing in landscape care and design. Deb has become a master composter in recent years.

As a member of the Hsu Growing Supply team for the last seven years, she has helped share the passion of plants by being an educator and outreach specialist as well as helping people learn more about how to garden. Deb spent several years working for Hsu Ginseng Enterprise doing research and development with ginseng plants.

Deb is active in implementing a community composting program. She feels it's important for all of us to do our part in recycling and composting to save waste from going to our landfills. As a member of the Hsu staff, Deb is responsible for educating people on how to make and use compost. She also works with the production staff to research and investigate new sources for materials for making compost. Deb also monitors the ongoing production of the company's current compost projects. Hsu's currently makes and sells between 2500-5000 cubic yards of compost annually. These compost products are sold individually and as part of many different media blends.

Deb's house and gardens are chock full of strange and healthy plants, including microgreens.  Plants are an important key to better health and life!