Changes Coming July 1, 2024

We are excited to announce a new chapter for the Iowa Sustainable Business Forum (ISBF).

The Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) will assume the mission of the ISBF effective July 1, 2024. The stand-alone 501(c)(6) will cease operations at that time.

CIRAS, our co-founder and primary funder, has committed to offering sustainability programming for two years through the Iowa Lean Consortium (ILC). The ILC bears many similarities to ISBF in that it is a member-driven consortium dedicated to connecting organizations to the resources they need to develop their teams and improve their operational performance. Throughout this period, CIRAS will assess the needs of current ISBF members and other Iowa businesses with an interest in sustainability.

Specifically, you can expect:

  • ISBF members with dues paid through June 30, 2024 will receive the member rate for ILC events through December 31, 2025.
  • ILC will offer several sustainability-focused events over the next two years including programming at the ILC Conference in October 2025.
  • The existing ISBF member library will remain available through CIRAS.
  • CIRAS will continue to explore ways to further the mission of ISBF.

To assist with this transition and ensure ongoing emphasis on sustainability, Lisa Brunie-McDermott, ISBF’s Vice President and HNI Corporation’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, has joined the CIRAS Advisory Board. CIRAS will provide additional opportunities for current ISBF members to drive content.

A Message from the ISBF Board Leadership
Alicia Simmons (Board Chair) and Lisa Brunie-McDermott (Vice Chair):
Since ISBF’s founding, CIRAS has played a critical role in fulfilling our mission: to connect Iowa companies to continuously improve practices that positively impact people, planet, and profits. We are excited about the opportunities that this merger will mean for our organization, and our ability to continue to promote sustainability among Iowa businesses into the future.

A Message from CIRAS Leadership
Mike O’Donnell, CIRAS Director:
Sustainability is an essential competency for industry in Iowa. Creating solutions that consider people and the environment while meeting business needs gives Iowa a competitive advantage. This partnership will join sustainability professionals with lean professionals to ensure that they all have access to the education and networks they need to thrive. We’re excited to continue to add more ways for professionals to learn from each other and world class experts.

Tracy Schuster, Director, Iowa Lean Consortium:
To the casual observer, Lean and sustainability may seem like separate paradigms, but when you peel back the layers and take a closer look, you will see they are two sides of the same coin. They share essential common objectives: increase efficiency, reduce waste, and continually improve by raising and solving problems while keeping respect for people at the forefront.

I am excited to lead the collaboration between Lean practitioners and sustainability professionals by facilitating opportunities where each can learn from the other. By bridging the gap between these disciplines, you can increase your impact organizational excellence.

In May, ISBF members received a communication from Tracy Schuster with specific details on how to participate in events, provide inputs on programming, and access online materials.

Like the ISBF, CIRAS and the ILC take pride in making decisions based on the needs of Iowa business. We encourage you to reach out with questions, ideas, and feedback.  

Contact Tracy Schuster at ILC to learn how to stay involved in sustainability programming.


  • Megan Baker
    Megan Baker
    Iowa Sustainable Business Forum
    Executive Director

Board Members

  • Alicia Simmons
    Alicia Simmons
    Frontier Co-op
    CSR Manager
    Leadership Director, President
  • Lisa Brunie-McDermott
    Lisa Brunie-McDermott
    HNI Corporation
    Director of Corporate Social Responsibility
    At-Large Director, 2022-2025, Vice President
  • Leah Barton
    Leah Barton
    CIRAS, Iowa State University
    Assistant Director
    Leadership Director, 2023-2026, Treasurer
  • Eric Biederman
    Eric Biederman
    Casey’s General Stores
    Procurement & Sustainability Manager
    Immediate Past-President
  • Justin Devoe
    Justin Devoe
    Casey's General Stores
    Energy & Sustainability Specialist
    Leadership Director, 2023-2026
  • Kelly Gipple, PHR
    Kelly Gipple, PHR
    Barilla America
    Human Resources Specialist
    Leadership Director, 2023-2026
  • Naura Heiman Godar, AIA, WELL AP
    Naura Heiman Godar, AIA, WELL AP
    RDG Planning & Design
    Senior Partner, Architect
    At-Large Director, 2021-2024
  • Jenny Jensen
    Jenny Jensen
    Danone North America
    Program & Methods Manager, Regenerative Agriculture
    At-Large Director, 2023-2026