Chip Giller, President and Founder
Chip founded Grist in 1999 to lighten up a movement known for taking itself too seriously. He’s been honored with a Heinz Award for his media innovations and for making environmental issues relevant to new and broad audiences; and he’s been named a TIME magazine “Hero of the Environment.” Chip has been featured in such outlets as Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and Outside, and has appeared on broadcast programs including the Today show and PBS’s NOW. Before launching Grist, Chip was editor of Greenwire, the first environmental news daily.
A native of Massachusetts, Chip graduated from Brown University with an honors degree in environmental studies. (Yes, he is an obsessive Red Sox fan.) When Chip’s not pondering the future of online environmental journalism, he likes to spend his time with his wonderful wife, Jenny, their daughter, Ellis, and their son, Sebastian, at their home on Vashon Island, near Seattle.
Ben Adler, Staff Writer
Ben reports on environmental politics and policy for Grist, with a focus on climate change, energy, and cities, although he is better known for being one of the world’s leading pizza snobs and most antiquated old-school rap fans. He previously covered national politics at The Nation, Politico, and Newsweek, where he also served as national editor of Newsweek.com. He has also worked at The New Republic and the Center for American Progress. Ben was the first urban leaders fellow, and later the first federal policy correspondent, at Next City. His writing has also appeared in The American Prospect, Architectural Record, The Atlantic, Columbia Journalism Review, The Economist, The Guardian, New York, The New York Times, Salon, Slate, and The Washington Monthly. Ben grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., which he whined constantly about missing when he lived in Washington, D.C. He is now back in Brooklyn, where he whines constantly about gentrification.
Ted Alvarez, Acting Executive Editor
Ted came to Grist as managing editor in 2011, where he played copy-flow traffic cop and sprinkled pixie dust on daily buckets of environmental woe. Also a contributing editor editor to Backpacker Magazine, his work has appeared in Men’s Health, Skiing, The Vail Daily, Rolling Stone, Budget Living, Westword, The Boulder Daily Camera, New West, Seed Magazine, Scientific American, and probably some others he’s forgetting just now. He was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2014 for a story about bears. He lost to Oprah.
Eve Andrews, Fellow
Eve has spent years fantasizing about a job where she could discuss urban beehives and Drake music videos in the same sentence, so coming to Grist has literally been a dream come true. She got her introduction to the nonprofit online publishing game at Food Tank in Chicago, where she wrote about the many, many issues in the global food system. She is a proud alum of Vassar College and an unapologetic Pittsburgher for life. In her free time, she is That Girl blasting hip-hop on her headphones en route to the farmers market, bugging the bartender for another fernet-and-coke, and making unnecessarily elaborate frittatas.
Brandi Cole, Social Engagement Coordinator
Brandi is a Seattle-area native who made a slight detour to San Francisco where, yes, she did leave part of her heart. Equal parts digital native, tech nerd, and bleeding heart, she loves all things social (media or otherwise). She graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham with a BA in Business Administration and went on to get her Master’s in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School in San Francisco. Now back on her home turf, Brandi can usually be found out at the many fabulous restaurants, bars, and boutiques that Seattle has to offer, marathoning sessions of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, or jogging around Green Lake, trying to inconspicuously make off with someone’s fluffy dog.
Amber Cortes, Fellow
Amber is a media producer and sound artist living in Seattle. She is currently attending the Master of Communication in Digital Media (MCDM) program at the University of Washington. Some of her radio pieces and artwork can be found at http://www.youneverknowradio.com. She likes fancy coffee, omnichords, and dresses with pockets.
Greg Hanscom, Senior Editor
Greg came to Seattle from his home state of Utah by way of Vermont, Montana, Colorado, and Maryland — which is a pretty good indication of how he travels through life: Not a whole lot of planning involved, but it’s always an interesting ride. After getting his start in journalism at High Country News, a nonprofit environmental publication based in po-dunk Colorado, Greg bounced to Baltimore, where he edited a city mag called Urbanite and learned that The Wire was more fact than fiction. Grist is the perfect mash-up of these experiences: He gets to look at cities through green-tinted glasses. Greg and his wife, Tara, have two young daughters who are learning to climb mountains and ski down them — and navigate the city by bike and bus.
Kirby Hollingsworth, Executive Assistant
Four years ago, Kirby decided it was time to move from Small Town, FLA, to Big City, USA. She wrote down 10 of her most beloved places, put them in a bag, drew Los Angeles (sh*t), put it back, drew a second time: San Francisco (a winner!), but never made it there. Instead, she flew to Seattle, fell in love with the Emerald City, and like all great love stories, the rest is history. Kirby couldn’t resist when the opportunity to join Grist came along — she’s a big fan of humor, sustainability, and keeping Florida above sea level (if not for the headlines alone). Now you can find her running around Grist HQ, keeping Chip hip and always on time.
Wentina Hurtado, Director of Finance
Wentina is on a train that left Seattle at 3 p.m., traveling 50 miles per hour, heading toward San Francisco, 800 miles away. Your train leaves S.F. at 9:12 p.m., heading toward Seattle at 90 mph. A fly is hovering just above the nose of Wentina’s train. It buzzes from her train to your train, turns around immediately, flies back to the first train, and turns around again. It goes on flying back and forth between the two trains until they meet. If the fly’s speed is 187 mph, how far will it travel? And at what time will our trains meet? To find out more about Wentina, meet her at the Amtrak Station, Saturday at noon. Wear a blue rose in your lapel and walk with a slight limp.
Lisa Hymas, Senior Editor
Lisa cofounded Grist in 1999 and now serves as senior editor. She’s also worked at Greenwire, an online environmental news service; Island Press, an environmental book publisher; Tomorrow, a sustainable business magazine; and ONE/Northwest, a nonprofit capacity builder for environmental groups in the Pacific Northwest. When not obsessing over news and politics, she’s likely to be found running, hiking, reading edifying books or trashy magazines, whipping up vegetarian delights in the kitchen, or planning her next international escapade.
Nathanael Johnson, Food Writer
Nathanael is a journalist who lives in Berkeley with his wife and daughter. He has contributed to magazines such as Harper’s, New York, and Conservation, and to National Public Radio and “This American Life.” His first book is All Natural: A Skeptic’s Quest to Discover If the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing, and the Environment Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier — it is also a quest for the world’s longest subtitle. He worked at a small-town newspaper in Idaho before going to study with Michael Pollan at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism. He writes the “Thought for Food” column at Grist, and tweets @SavorTooth.
Mignon Khargie, Designer
When she’s not working with The Amazing Product Team™, Mignon can be found poring over plans for supersonic travel between Seattle and San Luis Obispo.
Samantha Larson, Fellow
Samantha likes writing about the environment as much as she likes suffering in the mountains or eating stinky cheese. Which, weirdly enough, is quite a lot. A California native, she left after getting a B.S. and M.S. in Earth Systems at Stanford for the wilds of Washington, D.C., where she did research and reporting on things like guns and tornadoes and wrote a few pieces for National Geographic Daily News. She’s happy to be back on the West Coast, where she doesn’t have to feel self-conscious when she occasionally decides to wear purple pants to work.
Nathan Letsinger, Product Lead & Senior Developer
Nathan was born as a small script in the Programming Republic of Perl. Now an expatriate of the Republic, he is firmly a PHP convert, a Seattle transplant, and is a Web developer for Grist and the leader of the Web product team . His pursuits include philosophy, food, and of course, coding for a better life. He suspects Google can provide more than you ever would want to know about him.
Jennifer Mac Donald, Membership and Annual Support Manager
Being of fan of both humor and the planet, Jennifer found Grist to be a natural fit. After a six-year stint in Southern California, Jen turned in her sunglasses for a raincoat and returned to her native Seattle. And boy, is it good to be home. When she’s not busy making Friends with Benefits, she enjoys running, hiking, officiating weddings, civic service, and cultivating her love of fine food and cheap wine. Between the months of October and April you can usually find Jen calming her precious husband when the Utah Jazz don’t perform to their potential … for yet another season.
Brentin Mock, Staff Writer/Justice Editor
Brentin Mock is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist who is obsessed with Justice — meaning his 11-year-old son, whose name is Justice. He has a less healthy obsession with civil rights and environmental justice, the intersection of which he covers for Grist. He started his journalism career in his birthplace, Pittsburgh, where after graduating from Pitt and realizing he would never make wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he opted to write for the alt-weekly Pittsburgh City Paper. From there he moved south to work for the Southern Poverty Law Center, covering bogeymen like the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. After an illuminating journalism fellowship sponsored by the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting, Mock decided to tackle the far more threatening bogeyman in the sky, climate change. He continued to cover race, civil rights, and voting rights as a reporting fellow for Colorlines, The Nation, and The Institute for Southern Studies’ Facing South, but he’s most passionate about how those issues dance with environment and climate, which he’s written about for The American Prospect, Next City, In These Times, Essence, The Root, and The Washington Post. His favorite obsession is his wife, Thena Robinson-Mock, a civil rights attorney for the D.C.-based Advancement Project.
Mandy Ojendyk, Business Development Manager
Born in CA, raised in WA, Mandy went on to live in various places learning to say hello in ten different languages. Mandy is back in Seattle, where she is trying to debunk the Seattle Freeze and doing quintessential Seattleite things like hike, run, kayak, and make gluten-free sugar-free vegan granola, and is always on the lookout for stylish shoes she can walk to work in. Please contact her if you know of any or would like to advertise on Grist.
David Roberts, Staff Writer
David was born and raised in the South. A revelatory summer working in Yellowstone National Park convinced him that it was not the world but just the part where he lived that sucked, so he moved out West. After several wayward years spent snowboarding and getting an MA in philosophy (go griz), he woke up with nothing but a dissertation between him and an arid, cloistered life spent debating minutiae with the world’s other 12 Dewey scholars. So he bailed. A period was spent trudging through the swamp of Seattle tech work, wading past Amazon.com, IMDb.com, and Microsoft, before the fine folks at Grist fell for his devastating good looks in December 2003.
He now spends his free time playing in his new house with his newish sons and his not-so-new but still-wonderful wife. He loves them, loves Seattle, loves Grist, and still, despite himself, loves the internet.
Patrick Schmitt, Major Gifts and Events Manager
Patrick is a recovering archaeologist who left his trowel for the livelier world of nonprofit fundraising. While still a fan of the past, he now focuses his energy on raising the cold, hard cash Grist needs to stop the world from becoming a temple of doom. A Seattle transplant, Patrick hails from the great state of Wisconsin.
Ben Shewmaker, Web Developer
Andrew Simon, Fellowship Program Director
Andrew began his career as a music journalist. He was an editorial assistant at Rolling Stone, a deputy managing editor at VIBE, and the managing editor at Complex Media. In 2008, he switched his focus to sports and joined ESPN The Magazine as a senior editor. (For Andrew, it’s not so easy being green: the Jersey native and former Brooklynite is a fan of the hapless New York Jets.) In 2012 he became a senior editor at Fast Company, where he oversaw editorial franchises like Fast Talk and the Most Creative People in Business. He is co-author of the book Racing While Black: How an African-American Stock Car Team Made Its Mark on NASCAR.
Darby Minow Smith, Assistant Managing Editor
Darby is a fifth-generation Montana rancher and a first-generation vegetarian. (Although she still holds a place in her heart and diet for grass-fed steak.) She graduated from Gonzaga in 2009 and has spent most of her post-college time drinking copious amounts of coffee and talking about her cat.
Brian Troyer, Business Development Intern
Brian skipped a beat from the heartland of America and arrived in Seattle via Columbus, Ohio. He received his bachelor’s degree in Communications from The Ohio State University. Since moving to Seattle he has consumed more coffee in a little under a year than he has in his entire life. When he isn’t fiddling with the ads on Grist you can find Brian on the golf course, cheering on his Buckeyes or cooking up dinner for his seven roommates.
Amelia Urry, Editorial Intern
Amelia is a writer of, among other things, poems, essays, a math book, and this bio. She came to Seattle by way of Connecticut, and she came to science writing by way of the Yale English Department and supportive astrophysicist parents. (She came to her sense of humor by those same parents, so you can thank them for that.) Now she mostly writes about oceans and internet culture for Grist. When not exchanging cheese puns with other editors, Amelia enjoys shuffling commas, lipsyncing to podcasts, and cooing over other people’s pets.
Katharine Wroth, Senior Foundation Relations Manager
Katharine spent nearly five years as an editor at Grist before migrating to the wild world of fundraising. Pre-Grist, she spent eight years as an editor at environmental publications in the Northeast, sneaking humor into their pages whenever possible. A native New Englander, Katharine escaped to Seattle for a couple of years before being lured back to the land of lobsters and lighthouses, and now works from a sparsely decorated bunker in the Boston area. In her spare time, she defends the merits of bowling to anyone who will listen. Which isn’t really anyone at all.
Board of Directors
Rachel Morello-Frosch, Chair (San Francisco, Calif.)
Rachel Morello-Frosch is a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. Rachel’s research examines race and class determinants of environmental health among diverse communities in the United States. Previously, she held a joint appointment between the Department of Community Health at Brown Medical School and the Center for Environmental Studies. Rachel completed her bachelor’s degree in development studies, a master of public health degree in epidemiology and biostatistics, and her Ph.D. in environmental health sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. Rachel is a co-founder and former board chair of the Environmental Leadership Program and sits on the scientific advisory board of Breast Cancer Action.
John Alderman, Treasurer (Washington, D.C.)
John Alderman is the COO of SocialCode, a subsidiary of the Washington Post Company that provides social-media marketing solutions for leading consumer brands. Previously, he was publisher of Slate Magazine and head of business development for Washingtonpost. Newsweek Interactive, the digital arm of The Washington Post Company. John has also run business development for Away.com, a travel website that was sold to Orbitz in 2005, and served in a variety of editorial and business roles at Outside magazine. He has a bachelor’s degree in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College and an MBA from Columbia University.
Benjamin Strauss, Clerk (New York, N.Y.)
Dr. Ben Strauss serves as Vice President for Climate Impacts at Climate Central. He has published multiple scientific papers on sea level rise, testified before the U.S. Senate, and led development of the SurgingSeas.org suite of coastal flood risk tools. His research and tools have been featured in hundreds of stories including in The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and national news programming on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and NPR.
Gino Borland, Member (Seattle, Wash.)
Gino Borland was the founder of Gino Borland, Inc., an internet company that makes personalized e-marketing software. Since selling his company, he has focused his time on environmental interests, including the climate crisis and potential clean-energy solutions. Apart from Grist, he is also involved in Social Venture Partners in Seattle, Wash.
Michelle DePass, Member (New York, N.Y.)
Michelle DePass is dean of the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at the New School for Public Engagement in New York City. Michelle joins Milano from the Environmental Protection Agency, where since 2009 she had served as assistant administrator for international and tribal affairs. Prior to joining EPA, Michelle was a program officer at the Ford Foundation. She also served as founding executive director of the New York Environmental Justice Alliance, senior policy advisor to the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and environmental manager for the City of San Jose.
Chip Giller, Founder and President
See staff bio above.
Kristen Grimm, Member (Washington, D.C.)
Kristen Grimm is the founder and president of Spitfire Strategies, one of the country’s leading public relations firms dedicated to working exclusively with nonprofits and foundations to create positive social change. She has developed numerous resources for the field including Smart Chart 3.0, Discovering the Activation Point, Just Enough Planning Guide, and Big Ideas to Big Change. Prior to launching Spitfire, Kristen worked as a fellow at the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. And she was the president and chief operating officer of Fenton Communications, where she wrote NOW HEAR THIS: The Nine Laws of Successful Advocacy Communications. Kristen has a B.A. from Smith College. She serves on the boards of the National Academy for State Health Policy and Alaska Wilderness League.
Elise Hu, Member (Washington, D.C.)
Elise Hu covers technology and culture for NPR’s on-air and online platforms. She joined NPR in 2011 to head up the digital and editorial launch of StateImpact, a DuPont award winning public policy reporting network. Previously, she was a founding journalist at the non-profit digital news startup, The Texas Tribune. While working as a political reporter, she also oversaw the Tribune’s social and multimedia journalism and statewide television partnerships. Elise’s work has earned a Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism and a National Edward R. Murrow award for best online video. She’s an advisor to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and serves as a panelist for the Knight News Challenge.
Susan L. Kaufman, Member (Brookline, Mass.)
Susan L. Kaufman is a health care consultant working on health care system transformation in Massachusetts. She has held senior and executive level positions in government, health care delivery organizations and business. Kaufman founded and was a principal of Benova, Inc., a company that provided business process outsourcing services to health and human services agencies. She is also on the Board of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. She has a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a master’s degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Bill McKibben, Member (Middlebury, Vt.)
Bill McKibben writes regularly for The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Harper’s, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The Atlantic Monthly, Outside, and many other publications. His first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 after being excerpted in The New Yorker; it was a national bestseller and appeared in 20 foreign editions. His other books include Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, Enough, The Age of Missing Information, and The Bill McKibben Reader. Bill is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College and led the organizing for StepItUp, which coordinated 2,000 climate change demonstrations in all 50 states. He’s now at work on 350.org, the first attempt at a global grassroots climate change movement.
Eugene Mirman, Member (Brooklyn, N.Y.).
Eugene Mirman is a comedian who voices “Gene” on Fox’s hit animated series Bob’s Burgers. He has been a regular on Flight of the Conchords and Adult Swim’s Delocated, has two Comedy Central Specials to his name, and is a frequent comedic co-host of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s science radio show and podcast, Star Talk Radio. Eugene was named Best New York City Comedian by the Village Voice, and one of the 10 best comedians of the last decade by Paste Magazine. He’s released three comedy albums and an incredibly funny parody-ish self-help book, The Will to Whatevs. Named by Rolling Stone as a “Hot Twitterer,” Eugene keeps his 270k+ followers entertained daily. He attended Hampshire College and designed his own major of Comedy, doing a one-hour standup act as his thesis — for which he was made fun of, don’t worry.
Matt Mullenweg, Member (San Francisco, Calif.)
Matt Mullenweg is the founding developer of WordPress, the blogging software he guided from a handful of users to the most widely used open source blog tool. WordPress is now used by more than 200 million websites worldwide. After moving from his native Houston to San Francisco to work at CNET Networks, Matt left in late 2005 to found Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, as well as Akismet.com, Gravatar, and other enterprises. He has been named one of PC World’s Top 50 People on the Web, Inc.com’s 30 under 30, and Business Week’s 25 Most Influential People on the Web.
Shivika Sahdev, Member (New York, N.Y.)
Shivika is an engagement manager at McKinsey’s New York office, where she is part of the Sustainability and Resource Productivity and Public Sector practices. Prior to McKinsey, she was a project leader at Dalberg Global Development Advisors where she worked with foundations, UN agencies, governments, and nonprofit entities.
Wendy Schmidt, Member (Palo Alto, Calif.)
Wendy Schmidt is president of The Schmidt Family Foundation, working to advance the wiser use of energy and natural resources. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley, and graduated magna cum laude from Smith College. She is a founder of The 11th Hour Project, and of Climate Central; and also serves on the boards of the Natural Resources Defense Council, California Academy of Sciences, and Green Products Innovation Institute. Wendy is president of The Nantucket Dreamland Foundation, and supports a vital downtown to serve island residents through her work at ReMain Nantucket.
John Vechey, Member (Seattle, Wash.)
John Vechey is the co-founder of PopCap, a pioneer in the world’s gaming industry, with popular titles like Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies. Since PopCap’s beginnings in 2000, John has served in several roles, including interim CEO and VP of Corporate Strategy and Development, and has led the company’s forays into social and mobile product lines. In 2011, Electronic Arts, the leading publisher of video games, bought PopCap in the largest acquisition it has ever made. John now runs PopCap’s core franchise division, focusing on new product development.