2013 Biomimicry Specialists

Meet the 2013 Certified Biomimicry Specialists

Alessandro Villa
Entrepreneur/Advisor | Brescia, Italy

I was born on September 9, 1977, in Brescia, Italy. I graduated in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Bologna also spending two semesters at the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Freiburg (Germany). I took a master degree in Culture Management at the University of Basel (Switzerland). Since two years I work as strategic advisor in the automotive sector. I’m also board member of the German -­ Italian Chamber of Commerce based in Frankfurt and Berlin. I had a key position in Bratislava (Slovakia) for the Italian Ministry of Economic Development also managing different european funds (Interreg, IEE, EYE, CEE, LLP). I speak fluently German and Slovak. I work also with friends in developing web and social projects. I’m associated to the Italia Startup Association and the Fabbrica Intelligente Association (Smart Factory Cluster). I follow the Arduino project, an open-­source electronics prototyping platform.

AJ Wacaser
Business | Dillon Beach, California, USA

AJ Wacaser is a biologist, sculptor and collaboration social software entrepreneur who studies and applies nature’s designs with bioswarm intelligence and leadership rotation structure to inspire teams to innovate and communicate more efficiently and effectively. The focus is on adaptive problem solving, interactive engagement, redundant resiliency, priority ranking and relevant messaging based on living system networks to democratize decision making about direction and status bringing teams, organizations and communities into cadence. AJ’s career has progressed from building food forest arboretums, earth-­sheltered architecture design, banding migratory birds, natural resource management planning with GIS, population modeling, teaching science to students of all ages, leading field trips, organizing habitat restorations, rescuing wildlife, cleaning up watersheds, making environmental art, software as a service programming and co-­creating strategic software partnerships for environmental consultants. AJ is currently studying how nature manages projects, tasks and inspires innovation through adaptive prototyping, leadership and local self-­reliance through resilient, emergent, dynamic, responsive and regenerative organizations and communities. His software models challenge traditional project planning and task management process by emphasizing agile, smart, centralized files, feedback, communication through action steps, delegation, and real-­time communication for stakeholders and team members in virtual, mobile, distributed and remote locations using life’s principles and optimizing conditions for mutually beneficial results as the foundation. He holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Planning from the University of Illinois and is currently the Founder and CEO of

Mónica Cohen
Architect/Interior Design | Buenos Aires, Argentina

My history: I was born in Buenos Aires Argentina. I graduated In 1984 at the Belgrano University of architecture. Since then my specialization is in interior design. Some of my works are offices, commercial shops and private residences. In 1993 I did an interior design course at Parsons School in New York, and in 1997 in Buenos Aires at the Domus Academy form Italy. Since 1992 I participated in many editions of ¨Casa Foa¨ the largest design exhibition in Argentina. In 2001 I started my own design exhibition called Design Connection in which I was the curator of emerging and known designers from Argentina, showing Argentine design, and products at the Milano design week and ICFF New York. Since 2006 I am the director of ¨Remade in argentina¨ a program that leads in South America the ecodesign philosophy, showing eco design products all over the word. Organizing workshops and seminars. At this moment I am starting to write my first book about the a new thinking concept and philosophy for designing which I call “Eco-­Spiritual Design.:” As a first step, I made the “Eco Spiritual Manifest” with twelve items, basing myself on the needs of the human being to improve his quality of life, on different disciplines such as: architecture, industrial design, graphic design, fashion and art. We are on the process of a project, an “Inspirational Center” to organize seminars, conferences and workshops related to this philosophy, and this is because I truly believe that by spreading these tools, the quality of life and the quality of the new products will raise. We are in the beginning of a new Eco-­Nautic village and the plan is to start this new center there.

Mikhail Davis
Sustainable Business Strategist | San Francisco, California, USA

Davis is Director of Restorative Enterprise at Interface, the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet. In this role, he is responsible for building partnerships that shape the marketplace and support the company’s efforts to become a restorative enterprise. He leads Interface’s product transparency efforts and is editor of the Radical Industrialists column at His is the Co–Chair of the Materials Working Group of BizNGO and an expert on plastics and recycling. He has over 14 years of experience as a strategic advisor, analyst, designer, and manager for sustainability programs in the non–profit and for–profit sectors. His previous work includes 3 years as manager to environmental icon David Brower (an original member of Interface’s “Eco Dream Team”) and five years with Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting building sustainable business strategies for Fortune 500 companies including Walmart, Sony Pictures, Staples, and Waste Management. He holds a B.S. in Earth Systems–Biosphere from Stanford University.

Bas Verheijen
Entrepreneur | Hailey, Idaho, USA

I moved from The Netherlands to Hailey, Idaho, in summer 2005 with my wife Colette and our two children Esmée and Tobias. I’m holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. After my studies I worked for DHL, Brussels as a B2B consultant for outsourcing logistical services. I worked for coffee roasters in Munich, Germany and Portland, Oregon. In The Netherlands I was CEO of Bravilor Bonamat, my family-owned international manufacturing business for coffee brewing equipment. I served as a board member of Jigsaw, a local non-­profit organization supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses, and sustainable economy in the Wood River Valley. Right now I am a member of the venture capital group Boise Angel Alliance, which invests in and consults with local start-­up companies. At this moment I’m an active board member of The Sage School, a local start-­up for middle and high school students. Also I’m an organizing member of music and art festival MASSV. With MASSV we focus on current music and art styles. In my free time I like to hike, bike, camp, ski, snowshoe, garden, play and listen to music, and hang out with my family in our cabin in the Sawtooth Mountains.

Carol Thaler
Landscape Architect/Urban Planner | Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Throughout my career I’ve tried to find ways to connect people with the nature around them. It didn’t always work. In most situations, creating jobs and increasing the tax base were the goals. Over the years, my work as an urban planner evolved from community and transportation planning, development approval and regional greenspace studies to understanding how to apply the theories of sustainability to one place, the Cuyahoga River Valley between Cleveland and Akron Ohio. To me, biomimicry stood out as an important tool that could help create sustainable places. Now, as a leader in Great Lakes Biomimicry, I want to learn more about the science to be able to share it with others. Perhaps, a new found respect for nature will lead more people to connect with the nature around them. I’m happiest in the north woods and wonder how people spend so much time at the beach.

Cheryl A. Spector
A.I.A., LEED A. P. Eco‐Social Architect Entrepreneur | Denver, Colorado, USA

Cheryl Spector is the Principal of Spector & Associates, P-an eco- aware consulting architectural/development firm. Cheryl’s work stands out as she re-­thinks standard approaches to architectural design, development and construction while carefully considering how the entire building process affects our individual, social, and Cheryl uses an alternative approach to traditional development, architecture and construction practices by incorporating an innovative use of resources and sustainable materials combined with a respect and knowledge of building techniques and materials. Her diverse experience has allowed her to develop specialties in sustainable design and development, affordable housing, historic preservation and shared space facilities. Cheryl leads her firm as a Social Entrepreneurial with this methodology applied to all the projects they undertake. Cheryl has over 24 years of architectural experience and 18 years development experience.
She has previously worked as:
• City Architect for the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development (MOED)
• Associate Director for CU’s Colorado Center for Community Development (CCCD)
• Design/Development Director for Northeast Denver Housing Center (NDHC) a non-­profit CDC
Cheryl also oversees the management of the 910Arts Facility: studios and live/work lofts designed and developed by Spector and Associates.
Recent Project Award
• 2010 Innovative Space Award Finalist-­highly competitive national award recognizes outstanding efforts in the design and development of affordable space for artists sponsored by LINC (Leveraging Investments in Creativity) and MetLife Foundation
Community Involvement
• 2006 Task Force for Create Denver Initiative -­City of Denver
• Denver Waldorf School -­Bldg. Committee Member
• One of the founders of the U.S. Green Building Council Colorado Chapter. Served on the Chapter Steering Committee for the first four years.
• She is also one of the original founders of the Art District on Santa Fe Drive created to stabilize & build a collaborative and affordable creative community within one mile of downtown Denver.
• Santa Fe Drive Redevelopment Corporation Board Member 2003-12

Belem Salomon
Architect | Guatemala City, Guatemala

Born and raised in Guatemala the 21th, June 1986. Living in Guatemala gave me the great opportunity to be surrounded and inspired by nature through all the stages of my life. I had a very strong influence from my mother, who made arts and craft a hobby, to be involved in the ways things were created and to explore my artistic skills. Therefore I decided studied architect in the Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala. In 2009 I worked for the City Hall of Guatemala City, creating design workshops for citizen who wanted to enhance the public space and had ideas for it. I was in charge of shaping and developing all ideas into one and make it real. These workshops made me understand the importance of collaborating and how it can change the course of a design. In 2011 I began to work in the sustainable architecture field in Central America in the firm ½ Ambiente Arquitectura. The approach was very different from my former work, my clients changed, the necessities were others, the scale of my canvas changed and the results had to be different but the importance of collaborating stayed with me. As I read more about sustainability, I learn that the word “context” was going to be from now on my main collaborator in my designs process. In 2011, as my interest and expertise in all aspects of sustainable design grew I became a LEED Green Associated and was convinced that the premise of my designs had to be; minimize the environmental impact by mimicking the context not only aesthetically speaking but in term of function and operation. I’m a young enthusiastic architect who`s eager to learn new ways to discovering new ways of thinking and creating. I`m always trying to find something different to express through my designs.

Regina Rowland
Educator | Seattle, Washington, USA

Regina identifies as a trans-disciplinary scholar‐practitioner with an emphasis on enabling generativity in human systems. She comes to Biomimicry with great enthusiasm because her life journey highlights the nexus between design, engineering, and the social, natural, and economic sciences. In her focus on systemic sustainability she merges business strategies with systems and design thinking in nature‐inspired collaborative design processes in order to address complex challenges—a perfect playground for the Biomimicry approach. Regina teaches and learns at several institutions and consults in various organizational contexts in Europe and the US, Her background in art, design and intercultural communication brought her to social system design and organizational leadership and transformation, where she applies collaborative service design approaches to strategic management and innovation, and to community work. Her research area lies within the social sciences with a preference for participatory action research. She enjoys working with diverse communities on complex challenges that need to be addressed collaboratively. Regina is a life­‐long learner. She has earned undergraduate degrees in business administration and the fine arts in Europe and the US, a master degree in design at the North Carolina State University School of Design, her doctorate is from the California Institute of Integral Studies with a focus on the co-­creation of meaning in polycultural environments. Additionally, she completed a graduate certificate in sustainable enterprises at the Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management, and she is currently completing her post-­doc studies at the Grenoble Ecole de Management with a focus on strategy, technology, and innovation for sustainability stewardship. Her linked in profile can be found here. Regina loves her life and work in the world, and is excited about diving into Biomimicry more deeply.

Ken McLellan
Business | Coronado, California, USA

I grew up north of Boston, Massachusetts and quickly fell in love with the outdoors by enjoying all the pastimes that New Englander have surrounding them including hiking, camping, fishing, bicycling and beach combing. It was later as a teenager and by reading about nature through the eyes of Thoreau and others that I really started to better understand and fully appreciate the beautiful outdoors around me. College would take me to a totally different setting – Tucson, Arizona in the Southwest U.S. Here too I spent what I time I could outdoors when not in class, studying and working. I eventually grew aware while living there that the Sonoran desert could be every bit as beautiful as the woods of New England. I currently live in Coronado, California where I work out of a home office. For my career, I have been extremely fortunate to work in Open Innovation. In this line of work I support Greenworks, Burt’s Bees and other business units of the Clorox Company by identifying growth ideas, building business networks, and optimizing technical partnerships. My interests away from the workplace are as varied as the six states where I’ve lived. When indoors, I love to read to better understand the natural world including evolution, natural science, ecology and biology. Being outdoors is preferred, and I enjoy all that it has to offer. Most recently and with children in tow this includes stand-­up paddling, bicycling and hiking as well as walking our three dogs and cheering on the kids during their own activities. I seek to learn about this wonderful concept that so integrally weaves my most important learning passions (evolution, the environment, biology, science and organizational design) into one integrated approach. I look forward to a thrilling journey as both student and practitioner within this exciting new field. I plan to apply early insight and learning gained by participating in this program to my current job. I want to teach others about the myriad of ways that we can be delighted and inspired by the power of nature and evolution. I look forward to join this program as we take a journey to learn all that we can about Biomimicry. I believe Biomimicry will continue transform how we look at everything around us, and also guide us to make better decisions about how to exist within, and not against, nature.

Colleen Mahoney
Architect | Mill Valley, California, USA

Colleen Mahoney is an architect who believes that our buildings need to be comfortable, healthy, energy efficient, durable and beautiful. How quickly can we incorporate clues from nature for the home of the future? She is the principal architect of her award-­winning firm Mahoney Architects & Interiors and she has practiced architecture for over 25 years. Colleen studied in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, at Berkeley. Go Bears! Colleen’s childhood was enjoyed on a ranch in western Sonoma County and she is a 4th generation Californian. Colleen believes that stewardship of our land, water, plants and animals is not an option. She grew up loving tide pooling and clam digging on the Marin coast, walking in the redwood forests of Muir Woods and along the Russian River, picking wild flowers on the rolling hills and watching as tadpoles grew into frogs in the ponds on the family ranch. Colleen is happily married and the mother of two young children who love climbing rocks and trees, swimming in the ocean, and exploring our planet. And, Colleen loves to do those things too! Learning from the actions of her parents, Colleen has always believed in giving back to the community. Most recently she served on the Green Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and on the advisory board for Earth Day Marin. Athletic for many years, Colleen is a scuba diver, water and snow skier, horsewoman, and 4th degree black belt in TaeKwonDo. When not busy working as an architect or playing with her kids or dog, you might find Colleen enjoying her enthusiasm for photography of nature and of children. She also loves to cook and to spend time just hanging out with good friends.

Codrin Kruijne
Entrepreneurship Educator | Utrecht, The Netherlands

Codrin studied Information Science and wrote his thesis on Knowledge Management for Business Incubation. After some entrepreneurial adventures in web development, consulting and real estate development, which led to some valuable learning experiences, he has been developing courses and teaching entrepreneurship at the Utrecht University Centre for Entrepreneurship. He particularly enjoyed contributing to honours classes like Sustainable Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Ethics and Community & Cooperation. Next to education he is working with the help of students on a start-up in educational eco tourism in Romania. His academic interests are in social entrepreneurship in general and entrepreneurship education in particular. Codrin sees great potential in biomimicry for teaching sustainable entrepreneurship, not only for developing products and services based on nature’s experience, but also the development of individuals in harmony with their environment. In his spare time Codrin enjoys Ki-­Aikido and re-­learning the piano, resonates with the teachings of Krishnamurti, and occasionally goes out into the woods to learn the art of bushcraft. His personal mission has become “Teaching social entrepreneurship by example”.

Victoria Keziah
Brand and Business Strategist | Boulder, Colorado, USA

Victoria Kindred Keziah has spent the last twenty years consulting on brand and business strategy for an array of clients, from multinationals to local start-­ups. Her expertise in organizational change, strategic planning and brand messaging makes her work useful to organizations undergoing strategic evolution. She likes nothing better than a client at a crossroads, the more complex and complicated the better. Victoria’s work as a student of Biomimicry is a deliberate professional prioritization of sustainability as THE mission-­critical value of our time for brands and businesses. Rather than going back to business school, she has chosen the natural world as teacher, mentor, classroom and case study for future clients who will be compelled to reconcile their ambitions for growth and control with the burgeoning fragility of both economy and ecology. As more and more corporate entities recognize their responsibility not only to shareholders but to the web of life that powers it all, they will need tools for meaningful, achievable evolution toward positive, systemic change. In joining this cohort of Biomimicry Specialists, Victoria seeks to carry her commitment to sustainability from the spiritual to the practical, and from the personal to the professional. Victoria was co-­founder and principal of Kindred Keziah, Inc., a brand strategy consulting firm with offices in Boulder and New York City. Victoria oversaw development of the company’s three integrated divisions–Brand Strategy, New Product Innovation, and Consumer and Cultural Insights – which served an array of clients including Coca-­Cola, Kellogg’s, Bacardi, MGM/Mirage, Land Rover, Delta Airlines, General Motors, Proctor & Gamble, Bank of America, IBM, Chili’s Restaurants, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. In 2005, after ten years of solid growth, Victoria sold the firm to senior management and a global holding company. Since selling Kindred Keziah, Victoria has provided strategic consultation for several Boulder start-­ups and non-­profit organizations. She has also played a lead role in strategic planning efforts in her service as a trustee to Naropa University and The Boulder Country Day School. Victoria is a graduate of Colgate University and the Naropa University Authentic Leadership Certificate Program. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and their two children.

Susan Gladwin
Strategic Marketing Consultant | Mill Valley, California, USA

Susan Gladwin leads a strategy consulting practice that builds on her experience in technology marketing combined with a decade of helping organizations achieve success in a sustainable context. Gladwin Consulting works with companies to define and realize their sustainable brand proposition through their products, programs and positioning. Their client list includes Apple, Autodesk, HP, Microsoft, Adobe, PARC, many emerging technology companies, and numerous non-­profits. Susan has extensive experience in diverse technology fields from digital media to renewable energy. She co-­developed and taught the sustainability studio course in the MBA in Design Strategy program at the California College of the Arts for four years, was on the faculty at Dominican University’s Green MBA program, and served on the board of Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.

Campbell Frey
Architecture, Product, and Furniture Designer | Sausalito, California, USA

Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Campbell spent his childhood knee deep in swamps searching for frogs and turtles. It wasn’t before long that he began to spend his time fly-­fishing in the lakes and rivers up and down West Michigan. He left Michigan to attend the University of North Carolina where we received his BA in Political Science, while completing his pre-­veterinarian courses. After college he surrounded himself with animals by getting a dog, volunteering at the Duke Primate Center and working as a research technician in a nephrology lab working with mice doing diabetic and hypertensive research. A few years of work led Campbell to revisit his previous interest in design and eventually led him to the University of Oregon where he received his Masters of Architecture and got his first glimpse of Biomimicry. Now living in the Bay Area, Campbell is interested in applying Biomimicry to our built environment as well as to products and education.

Ana Carolina de Freitas Alves
Industrial Design | Brasilia DF, Brazil

With a background in industrial design, Ana works as in graphic and product design, also as interior design consultancy. All these fields serve to fuel their quest for understanding in a philosophical way the idea that exists behind things, by studying the symbols manifested in the form and function of things. The biomimicry comes as an important study for understanding the genius of nature and incorporate them in the creation of products and concepts that support and disseminate a new human culture, more sustainable and harmonic.

Jason Cuomo
Social Entrepreneur | Los Angeles, California, USA

An epidemiologist by training, I have been an intellectual butterfly in the years since graduate school, working in the fields of public health disaster response, biotechnology, international relief and development, and healthcare innovation and design. I have professional and personal interest in co-­creating solutions to social problems using systems thinking and the design process. Growing up in the not-­so-­wilds of New Jersey, I headed west to California for college where I’ve remained ever since (at least in spirit if not always in body). While I have long been an outdoors enthusiast and citizen environmentalist, I only recently discovered biomimicry as a discipline -­ and, like most, I was immediately hooked. I look to use the principles of biomimicry as a foundation in my work and as a connector of my many fields of interest. Most importantly, I want to teach my three young children to find daily inspiration and awe in nature.

Katherine Collins
Investor | Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Katherine Collins is Founder and CEO of Honeybee Capital, an independent research firm dedicated to pollinating ideas across varied fields, thereby enabling optimal investment decision-­making. After a long and successful career as portfolio manager and head of equity research at Fidelity Management & Research Company, Katherine set out to re-­integrate her investment philosophy with the broader world. She has spent the past five years traveling as a pilgrim and volunteer, earning her MTS degree at Harvard Divinity School, and following lessons from the natural world to reconnect with investing as a valued and integrated profession, in service to our communities and our planet.

Bryony Schwan
Biomimicry 3.8 co-­founder and Executive Director | Missoula, Montana USA

Bryony works with the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute board of directors to oversee and implement the vision, mission and programs of the Institute and works with the development staff to raise the annual budget. Before the Institute, Bryony founded Women’s Voices for the Earth and served as its Executive Director and then Program Director for 12 years. During that time she co-­founded the national Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Coming Clean, a national environmental health coalition now comprised of over 200 national and local organizations. Bryony received her MS in environmental studies from the University of Montana and a BA from the University of Natal in South Africa.

Giane Brocco
Industrial Engineer | Sao Leopoldo, Brazil

I’m Giane Cauzzi Brocco. My nicknames are Gi or Gika. I’m from Brasil and I live in the South of Brasil, Rio Grande do Sul, in São Leopoldo city. My birthday date is February 12th, 1989. I have two younger sisters, they are twins. My family belongs to my heart and my love for them are incomparable. I’ve just undergraduated in Industrial Engineering and I’m forward to coworking with different areas of knowledge. When I was at school and at University I have made a lot of courses to improve my knowledge about many different things. I’m a curious person! I can speak portuguese, spanish, english and understand a little bit of italian and german language too. I work with products quality in a rubber products company in Brasil, I’m the director of the company along with my dad and my mom. Nowadays I like to do yoga and pilates to keep in balance. I like to know different people, cultures and believe in the power of learn with each one. I like adventures, sports, nature, challenges, listening, reading, the smell of the books, animals, movies, vegetarian food, music and everything that makes my heart beats faster. Traveling is one of my passions as well as biomimicry! My faith gives me peace and is where I found my strength. I believe that dreams define our future, and so I do allow me to dream

Guillaume Bich
Entrepreneur | Brooklyn, New York, USA

Born in 1982 to French parents near New York City, I was raised between two cities -­ Paris and New York. From there on, the dichotomies only continue. Raised in cities, but with solid roots in nature, I attended Columbia University in New York and briefly worked on Wall Street, only to change things up by moving to Slovenia to build sailboats. As an avid outdoorsman and sailor, Ljubljana was just what the doctor ordered -­ the Austrian Alps and the Adriatic Sea, both natural playgrounds only two hours away! Alas, I left my wonderful eastern european home of 2 years and have spent the last three years between New York and South America building an organic fertilizer company in Ecuador. Trading in the Alps for the Ruta de los volcanes, and the Adriatic for the Pacific has been an absolute dream. Fascinated by science but schooled in economics, I started a small business just outside Quito that blends both. And it is the search for fresh new ideas that has now led me to the BSpecialist Program with the Biomimicry Institute. I am excited by the prospects of what I might learn during the program, from its teachers, and its other students in order to have an impact on the world around us all!

Gretchen Hooker
Industrial Designer and Education Specialist | Missoula, Montana, USA

Gretchen supports Biomimicry 3.8′s University Education Programs, including the Student Design Challenge. Gretchen is committed to educating others about sustainable design and has developed programs within higher education, served as a writer and editor for sustainable design exhibitions, and written for online media. Most recently she was the founding director of the ASMSU Sustainability Center at Montana State University. Gretchen has a master’s degree in Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design and continues to pursue self-­directed creative projects in her spare time.

Patrick Baumann
Mechanical Engineer | Russikon, Switzerland

With almost two decades of mechanical designing and project management experience I have developed a sharp eye for how production machines get bloated with inefficiencies, strenuous operation and hard to handle maintenance and how they could be retooled for a simpler smother easy to operate and nice looking workhorse. As a technical specialist and passionate drummer I have a two unique perspectives to look at things and find surprising solutions. To focus stronger on my believes of responsibility in what I create and do and to have a direct impact on my customers I started my own engineering company two years ago. I love to ride my mountain bike or skies in the mountains to recharge my batteries and find a good balance between life and work. My curiosity and my drive to evolve make the BMSpecialist program the right thing to do to strengthen my sense for the whole system, the whole world, the beauty and sustainability of mother nature and to preserve it.

▲  Back to Top