Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability ‘15
Sustainability & Operations Manager, Land-Grant Brewing Company
Vinny graduated in 2015 after majoring in Environment, Economy, Develpment, and Sustainability. He works as the Sustainability & Operations Manager for Land-Grant Brewing Company, helping the brewery reduce their environmental impact. During his undergraduate career, he landed an internship with the City of Columbus’s Office of Environmental Stewardship following a collaboration through his senior capstone project. His degree and professional experiences have allowed him to apply his expertise to the craft beer industry and make a positive impact in this field.
Read the interview with Vinny:
A Glance at Vinny's Current Work
My day to day can vary quite wildly. While there is some consistency, it’s a bit easier to explain some of the roles I take on: I develop and manage our sustainability initiatives, our safety program, government relations & regulatory compliance, supply chain management, and a little bit of large event coordination.
The amount of variety in my role at Land-Grant is greatly rewarding. Sometimes I’ll spend all day working on spreadsheets and combing through utility bills. On other days I’ll be driving a van full of spent yeast to a farm. On some rare occasions I’ve been lucky enough to be flown out to D.C. to advocate for clean water policy.
What were you involved in during your undergraduate career?
I was briefly involved with the Growing Green student group - which was actually how I first heard about the EEDS program - and did some volunteering for the Obama 2012 campaign. More than anything, I worked as a server and bartender on the weekends and spent most of my little leftover free time playing in several different bands and getting involved in the local music scene.
I was very fortunate to intern with the City of Columbus’s Office of Environmental Stewardship under Erin Miller and the former Mayor Coleman. I was able to get this internship through my capstone class, in which we worked with Erin and her office to assess the city through STAR Communities’ sustainability standards.
What is your advice for someone still in college who wants to do what you do?
Definitely get to know your professors and counselors. Ask them questions about lectures, assignments, and get to know them as people too. Just staying after class and chatting about one or two things that jumped out at me during a lecture led to several long conversations and connections with professors I still check in with and consider friends.
I was extremely fortunate to have two incredible mentor figures in my life who provided a ton of valuable insight and advice. The first was Erin Miller, the former Environmental Steward of Columbus under Mayor Coleman. I interned for Erin in 2014 at City Hall, and the experience was invaluable in learning how ideas around sustainability get implemented in a community - how businesses, government, and individuals come together to make change.
The second was Aparna Dial. While I only interacted with Aparna sparsely throughout undergrad and my internship with the city, I was fortunate enough to get some great career advice right after graduation. Aparna encouraged me to utilize all facets of my degree and pursue a path of intrapreneurship - to work at an organization in a non-sustainability capacity, and then create a sustainability program from within the company. This was some of the most useful and inspiring advice I got at the time, especially as a recent graduate trying to find my way.
"Just staying after class and chatting about one or two things that jumped out at me during a lecture led to several long conversations and connections with professors I still check in with and consider friends."
What did you do immediately post-graduation?
I took the summer off after graduation, continued working as a bartender and went on tour with the band I was in at the time. While it was a much-needed break, by the end of the summer I was ready to begin the job hunt and put my degree to work.
Initially I was looking to transition out of the nightlife industry, so I really was looking for anything that would utilize my degree and have a more daytime schedule. As I began to search more and more, I refined my search to try and make sure the jobs in question would involve only doing meaningful work.
If you don’t have an advanced degree, do you feel that has been limiting for you? Would you consider getting an advanced degree in the future, or are you happy with your current opportunities?
I think like most people in their late 20s, I mull over the idea of getting an advanced degree every couple of weeks or so. If I ever did go back to school, I would go for a more technical degree, something that combines sustainability with design or technology or engineering or architecture, etc.
How to connect with Vinny:
Land-Grant's Sustainability Program Page
Post created March 2020