Our Founder: Jack McGinnis
Jack McGinnis, founder of Durham Sustain Ability, believed as long as people were given the right tools, they would do the right thing. It was that thinking that solidified Jack as a visionary pioneer, educator and leader in conservation, recycling and sustainability. Jack died peacefully on January 29th, 2011 at the age of 64.
Jack was regarded as the father of the blue box introducing the world to the first blue box program in 1981. He greatly impacted the world of recycling and led numerous innovative projects, including founding the Recycling Council of Ontario and the Is Five Foundation, a non-profit environmental foundation, which organized Canada’s first multi-material curb side pickup of recyclable materials. Today the blue box is used by over 70 million North Americans and many more around the world. In Ontario alone the program diverts 870,000 tonnes of materials annually from landfills.
After a number of successful projects he co-founded Durham Sustain Ability (DSA) an environmental non profit organization. DSA’s programs and services are modeled on his belief of providing simple tools, education and resources to the community in order to promote positive environmental action. At DSA Jack cut through all of the confusion and had the ability to put things in perspective. A perfect example was using a bicycle as DSA’s logo. He compared sustainability with riding a bike. Once you know how to do it, you never lose the ability and it can be simple, joyous and efficient.
The Board of Directors and staff at DSA had the privilege of working alongside Jack for many years and have celebrated incredible milestones together. As an organization we will use the invaluable lessons and wisdom Jack provided us with, to move forward with the simple steps needed to provide a bright future to the Durham Region and beyond.
Friends and colleagues remember Jack, click here.
About The Bicycle
We believe that as we learn to balance environmental, economic and social objectives, our journey - like riding a bicycle - can be simple, joyous, and efficient.
Simple - Sustainability starts now with simple and practical actions.
Joyous - This journey can bring great satisfaction and joy.
Efficient - We can live better, doing more with less.
DSA was located in the hamlet of Brougham (north Pickering) in the Commercial House, a 151 year old building. When the Commercial House was built in 1860 it was a full day’s journey to Toronto. By 1927, when this early Ontario Hotel was converted to a private home, faster transportation had made a stop-over in Brougham unnecessary. The Commercial House was operated by carriage maker, Samuel Webb. Legend says that Mr. Webb decided to build Brougham’s second hotel after getting into a heated argument with Charles Matthews over a checkers’ game. Mr. Matthews was the owner of the Brougham Hotel (located across Highway 7 until 1986, when it was demolished).
Remnants of the Town Jail can still be seen in the basement of the Commercial House. Restoration of the Commercial House and transformation in the Green House began in 1982. Many recycling and conservation programs have started here, helping Durham residents protect and preserve their environment as well as their heritage. In 1993, the original lettering on the building Commercial House was restored by Artist Bert Bokkers.
In 2011, DSA moved from their home in Brougham to our current location in Port Perry.
Durham Sustain Ability
126 Water Street, Unit 3
Port Perry, ON
Terry Green, Chair & President - Scugog
Terry Green has over 20 years experience developing and managing creative environmentally sustainable solutions for clients in the private and public sectors. His background combines solid technical and engineering experience based on a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering, and extensive business management experience while running a $100 million environmental outsourcing business in the energy sector for 10 years, integrated with a broader human motivational perspective through a recent Masters of Arts in psychology. His consulting company Greenpath provides advisory services for organizations and communities in the field of sustainable development.
Gail Lawlor, Vice-Chair & Secretary - Pickering
Gail Lawlor has been involved in the energy, waste and water sectors for the past 25 years. Through her consulting company, Energy Matters, Gail provides training development and delivery, research, and project implementation expertise to a variety of clients. Gail's background includes a Bachelor of Environmental Studies, an Adult Education Diploma, and practical experience as an air sealing contractor, energy auditor and environmental products retailer. She also has extensive experience with volunteer committees including the Recycling Council of Ontario, the Ontario Water Works Association and is a founding member of Durham Environmental Network (DEN) and Durham Conservation Centre (now Durham Sustain Ability). Through the Durham Conservation Centre, Gail administered the first depot and curbside recycling program in Pickering and the energy retrofit of the Commercial House in Brougham.
Glenda Gies, Treasurer - Clarington
Glenda Gies has been involved in community-based recycling and environmental work since co-founding Durham Recycling in 1978. A member of the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) between 1983 and 1997, she served as a Board Member, chair of the Conference and Policy Committees, Chair and Past-Chair. Glenda has also been an active participant in other environmental groups in Durham, and was the Executive Director of Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO), a non-crown multi-stakeholder organization reporting to the Minister of Environment from 2003 to 2010. Glenda currently works as a consultant in the field of waste diversion, with a focus transitioning responsibility for end-of-life management from governments and their taxpayers to industry and their consumers through extended producer responsibility programs.
Angela Wheeler, Principal – Port Perry
Angela Wheeler applies her expertise in the sustainability and conservation fields to a variety of leading edge sustainable development, energy conservation and waste diversion projects. Through RDC Group, Angela balances creative thinking with logical design when working on program design and implementation, public education, communications and event coordination. Angela holds a Bachelor of Engineering Science from the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Western Ontario and has project management experience working on commercial and residential land development projects.
Shawn Williamson, Principal - Brooklin
Shawn is a more recent "convert" to environmental matters but brings with him more than 15 years experience from the private sector using advanced techniques and technologies to help companies better manage their business. As the Founder and Committee Chairman for the Pitch-In Brooklin Program he has used those same skills to mobilize his community towards an improved environment. As a Partner in the Baleen Group he helps companies achieve their goals - both financial and environmental.
Shawna Mutton, Executive Director - Clarington
Shawna has been involved with community engagement programs for over 10 years. Her strategic planning skills have afforded her many successes in the management, promotion and execution of sustainability initiatives. Through her effective and streamlined communication techniques, she has delivered numerous community outreach programs, consistently delivering positive and impactful results. Her proven ability to effectively build and foster relationships at all levels (including community groups, sr. management and Council) has resulted in positive organizational outcomes.
Carlie McDonald - Manager, Scugog Connections - Brock
Carlie has been passionate about the environment from an early age; graduating with a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Economics Stream) she understands the vital importance of equality within the three pillars of sustainability. Her experience with program management and implementation, has induced change within communities, and encouraged the shift towards more sustainable lifestyles. As Program Coordinator of Scugog Connections, she has been able to provide and enhance environmental stewardship initiatives within the Township of Scugog.
The OntarioTrillium Foundation
Durham Sustain Ability is generously supported by the the Ontario Trillium foundation . The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario.
Green Communities Canada
Green Communities Canada is a national association of non-profit organization that deliver innovative, practical environmental solutions to Canadian households and communities. Durham Sustain Ability is a proud member.