We could not run the annual NH Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC) without the distinguished Preliminary Round and Final Round judges, who lend valuable time and expertise to the process. Their feedback and encouragement to our students is an incredible asset in their educational experience.

Join us December 5th and 6th for the concluding events of the Social Venture Innovation Challenge!

Schedule of SVIC events

Vote in the Audience Choice Awards
Voting opens Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. and closes on December 5 at NOON.
Vote for your favorite finalist idea!

Day 1: Live Final Round Presentations
Finalist teams will pitch their ideas to the judges’ panel.

December 5, 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Strafford Room, MUB
Durham, NH

Day 2: SVIC Awards, Social Innovator of the Year Award & Keynote (virtual)
SVIC winning teams will be announced, along with the presentation of the UNH Social Innovator of the Year Award to UNH alumna and 2015 SVIC winner, Paige Balcom ’16, Co-Founder, Co-CEO, and CTO, Takataka Plastics, who will present a keynote on the role of entrepreneurs and innovators in sustainability.

December 6, 12 to 1 p.m.

Register to join us online for the Awards

Thank you to our 2023 Final & Preliminary Round Judges!

Final Round Judges

Paige Balcom ‘16 

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A Londonderry, NH native and SVIC alum, Paige graduated from UNH in 2016 with her bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering. She is now Co-Founder, Co-CEO, and CTO of Takataka Plastics, a Ugandan social enterprise locally recycling plastic waste and creating jobs for vulnerable youth. Paige holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Berkeley where she focused on Energy Science and Technology & Development Engineering. She has a deep passion to use engineering and entrepreneurship to create jobs and help improve people’s lives. Paige is also a lecturer at Gulu University in Uganda. 

Paige pitched on Shark Tank and has received several fellowships and awards including those from the National Science Foundation, UC Berkeley, Fulbright Program, USAID, the Institute of International Education, and the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize. 


Michael Burns ‘86 

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Michael Burns is an educator of twenty-five years having taught third grade through twelfth as well as run summer camps and after school programs. Having lived in seven states, he has recently retired to the Seacoast and fills his time with managing properties and seeking ways in which to impact his community through volunteerism. During his teaching career Michael developed and taught curricula that often engaged his students in cooperative and project-based learning. Whenever possible, he engaged the tenets of sustainability education by “experientializing” skills and content, incorporating a “systems thinking” approach to problem-solving, and assessing through exhibition and reflection. Michael was recently named to the UNH Sustainability Institute’s Sustainability Advisory Board where he will support the continued growth of initiatives on and off campus. Michael has also been a preliminary judge for both the Social Venture and Innovation Challenge as well as the Community Changemaker Challenge for high school students. Michael earned a BA from the University of New Hampshire and studied Educating for Sustainability at Antioch University New England. 


Kate Dumas, CFA 

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After 20 years in the investment industry, Kate has undertaken a career break to explore ways to maximize her impact. Kate serves on the Finance and Strategic Planning committees of the Southeast Land Trust (SELT), is establishing an impact investing collective, and works with select individuals and not-for-profits in an advisory capacity. She recently joined the Sustainability Advisory Board at the University of New Hampshire.  

In her 15+ years at Prime Buchholz and Associates in Portsmouth, NH, Kate provided investment advice to various endowment and foundation clients, specializing in aligning portfolios with mission and values. A Managing Principal, Kate was a member of the firm’s Board, Executive Committee, Chair of the Mission-Aligned Investment Committee, and a founding member of the firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. Before joining Prime Buchholz, she was with Deutsche Bank AG in New York and Mellon Trust in Boston.   

Kate earned her M.B.A. from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University, with a specialization in Finance and Global Business, and her B.A. from McGill University in Economics.  As a CFA Institute/Boston Security Analysts Society member, she volunteers with its financial literacy initiative and global research challenge. Kate earned a Certificate in Sustainable Capitalism from the University of California, Berkeley – School of Law in 2022.   


Ed Farrington  '93

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Ed is Head of Distribution for North America. Ed leads Impax Asset Management’s institutional and intermediary sales and client service efforts, engaging with consultants, advisers, institutions, and plan sponsors on issues ranging from investing in the transition to a more sustainable economy to global retirement systems. 

He joined Impax in 2021 from Natixis Investment Managers where he held a similar role for 12 years. Prior to that he worked in sales and sales management for Fidelity Investments, Fidelity Charitable Services and Pioneer Investments. 

With a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire, Ed also holds the FINRA Series 6, 7, 24, and 31 registrations, and is a registered representative of Foreside Financial Services, LLC. He serves on the Travis Roy Foundation board of trustees, the World Surf League advisory board, The Levitate Foundation and the sustainability advisory board at the University of New Hampshire. 


Harry Lamberton '90

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Harry is the CEO and President of Yellowstone Landscape, the second largest commercial landscaping company in the United States.  Yellowstone operates sixty-one branches in 16 states.    

Prior to entering the commercial landscape business, Harry was in the waste and environmental business for thirty-one years, spending the prior twenty-one years at Waste Management.  Joining WM in 2000 Harry served as the Area Vice-President of the Heartland Area, Vice-President of Energy & Environmental Services, Vice-President of the Southern Group, Vice-President of the Manufacturing & Industrial Segment and Vice-President of Sustainability Services.  In these roles his responsibilities spanned sustainability, operations, sales and finance.  Harry has been working in roles related to sustainability and ESG since the late 90’s.  

Harry currently serves on UNH’s Sustainability Advisory Board, the Board of Friends of the Chicago River and the Conference Board’s Global Sustainability Advisory Board.   Harry earned a BA from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University.

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Deborah Merrill-Sands 

Deborah is recently retired as dean of the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire where she served for 7 years. Prior to UNH, she served as the Dean of the Lorry I. Lokey School of Business and Public Policy at Mills College in Oakland, CA (now Northeastern University) and at the School of Business at Simmons University in Boston, MA.  

Throughout her career as an academic leader, researcher, consultant, and change maker, Deborah has emphasized the important role and impact that business can have in addressing critical social and economic issues including gender equality and women’s leadership, diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, and economic development in the Global South. Early in her career she worked as a researcher and consultant on strengthening sustainable agriculture In Latin America and eastern Africa.  

Deborah earned her MA and Ph.D. in Applied Anthropology at Cornell University and her BA from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. She was awarded numerous fellowships and grants to support her scholarship and programmatic work, including from Fulbright, Social Science Research Council, Inter-American Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Ford Foundation.  

As a volunteer, Deborah currently serves on the Advisory Board of the NH Small Business Development Center and, most recently, on the UNH Sustainability Advisory Board. 


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Martha Prybylo

Martha is the Executive Vice President of the Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation, and has worked directly with the Lewis Family for more than 25 years. She started her tenure leading the Grand Circle Foundation with a mission to give back to the people and places where the Lewis Family’s companies under Grand Circle Corporation travel. She then served as the company’s first head of corporate culture and eventually oversaw the People and Culture division for the worldwide organization. Martha helped launch the Lewis Family Foundation’s CollegeWorks initiative and the social mission work of Alnoba.


Sara Sankowich 

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Sara Sankowich is the Director of Sustainability and Shared Services at Unitil where she oversees the development and implementation of the company’s sustainability initiatives and reporting, the vegetation management program, and the company’s fleet and facilities and procurement departments. She has been working in the utility field for 22 years. Sara has a BS in Forest and Natural Resource Management from the State University of NY, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She serves on many industry committees and is committed to advancing corporate social responsibility, environmental stewardship, diversity, equity and inclusion, and workforce development and retention. She is the chair of the Board of Governors of the Utility Vegetation Management Professional Development Program partnered with the University of Wisconsin. She was president of both the Utility Arborist Association in 2018, and the New England Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture in 2021. 


Cathy Saunders '83

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Ms. Saunders is Head of Corporate Sustainability and Public Policy, reporting directly to Putnam President and CEO Robert L. Reynolds. Ms. Saunders advocates for all of Putnam's stakeholders and leads the firm's corporate initiatives around environmental, social, and governance issues and public policy. She is a member of Putnam's Operating Committee, ESG Leadership Committee, Diversity Advisory Council, Pride Alliance, and the Advisory Council for the Women of Putnam. Ms. Saunders has been in the investment industry since she joined Putnam in 1987. 

Ms. Saunders leverages an extensive background in retail and institutional business. Previously, she led Putnam's internal consulting team, served as Head of the Registered Investment Advisory Business, Private Bank and Trust, directed the firm's North American institutional business, and was a Regional Director for the retail business. She received a Top Women in Asset Management Award from Money Management Executive. 

Ms. Saunders speaks frequently on leadership, women and wealth, diversity and inclusion, and client experience. She is Co-Chair of The Wilson Center's Policy Council, Washington, D.C., and a member of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the New England Council Board of Directors, the YMCA of Greater Boston General Board of Directors, and the Board of Directors of Invest in Others, a charitable foundation that recognizes philanthropic contributions made by financial professionals and firms. Ms. Saunders holds her Series 6, 7, 24, 26, 63, and 65 licenses with FINRA. 


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Liz Torrance   

Liz Torrance has been with Kennebunk Savings since 2012 and is currently Vice President and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager. She drives the strategic direction and execution of corporate social responsibility initiatives and philanthropy, through which the bank donates more than $1 million to local nonprofit organizations each year. She leads the Social Responsibility team, overseeing grants and sponsorships, the Kennebunk Savings Foundation, the corporate volunteer program, the Community Reinvestment Act program, environmental sustainability efforts, and works as an advisor on the Kennebunk Savings Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council.  

Liz grew up in Rochester, NH, studied Environmental & Resource Economics at UNH, and currently lives in North Hampton, NH. She serves on the Hope on Haven Hill Board of Directors, University of New Hampshire Sustainability Advisory Board, THRIVE 2027 Goal 3 Cabinet, the Granite United Way DEI Committee and Greater Seacoast Region Community Impact Committee, and the Greater Rochester Community Health Foundation Community Advisory Committee. She is a strong believer in the business community’s power to be a force for good and she is proud to be a part of a purpose-driven organization like Kennebunk Savings. 


Preliminary Round Judges

Jeff Ashe, Author and Research Fellow, Columbia University 
Ted Barber, Co-Founder, Prosperity Candle 
Bryan Bessette, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Freedom Café 
Susi Burke, Strategic Advisor / Chief Impact Officer, Phin 
Bethany Cottrell, Executive Director, Brigid's House of Hope 
Kayleigh Erwin, Assistant Branch Manager - Berwick, Kennebunk Savings 
Sarah Glatt, Founder & Principal Consultant, Paper Crane Associates 
Joe Harrison, VP of Project Development , ReWild Renewables 
Molly Hodgson, CEO, Goodwork 
Eric Holstein, COO, Streetlight Ventures 
Heather Iworsky , Solar Foundations Coordinator , ReVision Energy 
Chandler Jones, Managing Director, CEI Ventures, Inc.  
Jeffrey Kohn, Senior Policy Analyst, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
Keith Lemnios, CEO/Founder, Sun Coffee Roasters 
Zachary Little, Corporate Communications Administrator, Kennebunk Savings 
Raili Marks, Independent Consultant,  
Mark McPeak, Senior Advisor, Kuja Kuja 
Christine Morin, Former Chief Risk and Loan Operations Officer, Mascoma Bank 
Aaron Niederhelman, Principal & Founder, TreeView Consulting 
Casey Otis, Portfolio Director, Custom Programs, Harvard Business School Executive Education 
Mikey Pasciuto, Founder, Scrapp Recycling 
Betsy Peters, Chief Revenue Officer, BetterLesson 
Jeff Pillet-Shore, Marketing Director, Allagash Brewing 
Kevin Porter, VP of Loan Originations, ROC USA Capital 
Allen Reetz, Director Public & Government Affairs, Hanover Food Coop 
Anne Richardson, Owner & Media Director, Richardson Media Group 
John Rodat, President, Public Signals, LLC 
John Rooks, President, The Soap Group 
Chris Rooney, Vice President: Intermediary Business Development, Impax Asset Management| Pax World Funds 
Rachel Rymaszewski, Mission-Aligned Research Analyst, Prime Buchholz 
Laura Schaffer, VP Conservation & Sustainability, Orvis  
Maggie Schmidt, Supervising Attorney, Children's Law Center 
Todd Selig, Administrator, Town of Durham NH 
Bill Seretta, Executive Director, Fork Food Lab  
Maria Sillari, COO, Goodwork 
Chris Skoglund, Director of Energy Transition, Clean Energy NH 
Doug Smith, Community Relations Coordinator, Kennebunk Savings 
Keegan Smith, Recycling & Redemptions Specialist, Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages 
Greg Starbird, Principal, Starbird Consulting 
Zoila Stokes, Solar Advisor, SunCommon 
Erin Sullivan Ph.D., Associate Professor, Healthcare Administration, Sawyer Business School, Suffolk University, Faculty | Center for Primary Care at Harvard Medical School 
Robin Tindall, Environmental Stewardship Team Leader, Hypertherm  
Ian Vickers, CEO, Global Partners in Hope 
Stephen Weisbuch, Founding Partner, The Recycled Planet 
Tricia Wheeler, Vice President, General Counsel & Compliance Officer, Kennebunk Savings 
Trendy Stanchfield, Senior Vice President, Mission Advancement, Goodwill New England 
Zeina Eyceoz, Program Manager, NHBSR