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Contact: Mary Ann Remolador,
Date: February 11, 2022

NERC's DE&I Training Series Continues With Two More Trainings

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) continues its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Training Series for the recycling and solid waste industries.  The third and fourth Trainings will be held on February 28 and March 21, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. eastern.  The Trainings are free-of-charge and all are welcome to attend.

The February 28 Training—Creating a DE&I Pathis about developing a deeper understanding and awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and the importance of the path each of us takes in this process. It will include creative exercises for empowering us to advance our thinking about DE&I and how we can incorporate it into our work lives.

Robyn Afrik, Director of the Ottawa County Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is the session trainer.  She is responsible for assessing implicit bias in current polices and decision-making processes with a goal to operationalize DE&I throughout the organization.   Ms. Afrik serves on many Committees and Boards including the Supreme Court Administrative Office (SCAO) & Michigan Judicial Institute’s (MJI) D&I Committee, and the National Association of Counties (NACo) DE&I Directors Network.  She’s a graduate of Cornerstone University, Michigan State University, and holds a Public Leadership Certification from Cornell.

The March 21 Training is about Engaging with Diverse Communities and will include Spanish interpretation. Through storytelling, sharing of case studies, and small group discussions, the Training focuses on lessons learned to effectively conduct outreach and build lasting connections in underrepresented communities.  Some of the concepts to be covered include understanding the cultures, trust levels and values of the communities in which you work; building equitable sustainability programs; and empowering community members to become part of the programs offered.

The session features two trainers— Berenice Garcia-Tellez, Energize Denver Equitable Implementation Administrator of the Office of Climate Action Sustainability & Resiliency for Denver; and José Luis Ramos, Bilingual Business Specialist for the City of Ft. Collins in Colorado.

Ms. Garcia-Tellez implements equitable policies for the new Energize Denver Building Performance Ordinance.  Prior to that, she managed the Sustainable Business Program at the City of Longmont and worked with the business community on implementing sustainable and DE&I practices that lead to the creation of the first equitable sustainable business program in the country. Berenice also sits on the Latino Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  Berenice is a Mexican native and received her master’s degree in Environmental Engineering in Saudi Arabia. She also spent time in Turkey, Italy, and Norway, where she researched climate change. 

Mr. Ramos is a bilingual business specialist for the City of Fort Collins in Colorado. He supports Spanish-speaking small business owners and entrepreneurs to develop and grow their business. Formerly, he worked at the Poudre River Public Library District after running his own business for over 10 years, where he experienced the different needs of small businesses and the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the United States.  He is an engineer and has a BS in Computer Science from California Polytechnic State University.

More details about the Training Series may be found at

NERC would like to recognize and thank its partners for their commitment and passion in developing the Training Series content.  They include:

  • Dan Schoonmaker & Isabel Soberal, West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum
  • Cherish Miller, Revolution
  • Steve Changaris, National Waste & Recycling Association
  • Stef Murray, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.
  • Nidhi Turakhia, Allied Alloys
  • Renee Panetta, City of Troy & NYSAR3’s DEI Committee
  • Willie Johnson, Willie Johnson Communications

NERC also thanks the sponsors of the DE&I Training and NERC’s work on DE&I:

  • Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries
  • National Waste & Recycling Association
  • Revolution