The American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA) Annual LCA Awards honors individuals and organizations that have demonstrated excellence in advancing LCA and life cycle thinking. The annual awards program is an opportunity to recognize those leaders at all levels, in all areas that have shown powerful support and a clear vision for the implementation and application of LCA.

ACLCA Awards includes the following three categories to recognize organizations and individuals for leadership, career achievements, and best practices that have advanced the field.

Rita Schenck Lifetime Individual LCA Leadership Award (individual award)
Through the Rita Schenck Lifetime Individual LCA Leadership Award (individual award), we seek to identify a leader whose long-term active engagement in our community has had a significant, impact on the field and profession of LCA and life cycle thinking.  A Lifetime Achievement Award winner is a successful leader in an organization, industry, and in our community. Further, the Lifetime Award allows us to recognize a true pillar who will teach future generations by example. This award recognizes contributions over the entirety of a career, rather than, or in addition to, a single contribution.

Rising Star Award (individual award)
The LCA Rising Star award is intended to recognize an emerging leader in LCA and life cycle thinking who reflects ongoing and exceptional growth in contribution to the profession and increased levels of leadership and responsibility. Successful candidates will have not yet reached a senior-level position, but their track-record should reflect a strong potential for continued growth towards the highest levels of the profession.

LCA Leadership Awards  - Corporate, Government, Education, Student (individual or organization)
ACLCA Leadership Awards recognize the role of perceptive and forward-thinking individuals or organizations that have been instrumental in the advancement and application of LCA and life cycle thinking.


2021 ACLCA Awards Committee

Peter Arbuckle, USDA

Hassana Elzein

Bill Flanagan, Aspire Sustainability

Connie Hensler, Interface

Carrie Pearson, 3M

Tim Skone, NETL


LCA Award recipients for 2021 include:

Rita Schenck Lifetime Individual LCA Leadership Award: Mike Levy, First Environment
Mike Levy is a Senior Associate with environmental consulting firm First Environment, Inc (First Environment). At First Environment Mr. Levy leads a team conducting ISO conformant external peer reviews of life cycle assessment (LCA) studies, as well as sustainability and circular economy related programs and advice for clients. Mike’s expertise includes active participation in ISO global standards for life cycle, greenhouse gas (GHG) climate issues, and circular economy. He is also an accomplished chemical and plastics industry executive and life cycle expert with over 30 years’ experience working in and advising Fortune 500 companies, governments and trade organizations.

Mike’s career goes well beyond the world of life cycle assessment, and spans government, industry trade association, and consulting experience. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and early in his career began working in state government in New York.

Corporate LCA Leadership Award: Cheryl Smith Owens Corning
Owens Corning is a global building and industrial materials leader headquartered in Toledo, Ohio. The company’s three integrated businesses are dedicated to the manufacture and advancement of a broad range of insulation, roofing and fiberglass composite materials with the talents of 19,000 employees in 33 countries.

The Owens Corning LCA team is part of the corporate sustainability team.  Sustainability is about meeting the needs of the present while leaving the world a better place for the future and is at the heart of the business, from the products made to the way they are made. The company is committed to considering the future in its decisions made today, working both to expand its handprint and striving to reduce its footprint.

Cheryl Smith has held a variety of roles in the company’s R&D group in Granville, Ohio, since the mid-‘90s. She was part of Owens Corning’s early LCA work from 2006-2008, delivering many of the early screening projects which helped establish the process. After working on other projects in support of R&D, Cheryl returned to LCA in 2017. Cheryl serves as co-chair of the ACLCA Industry Committee and is Owens Corning’s representative to the ACLCA Board.

Government Leadership in LCA Award: Ezra Kahn, USDA
Ezra Kahn has been the defacto lead of the Federal LCA Commons interagency working group since 2016. He has been very successful in convening federal agency stakeholders, maintaining and pushing forward with a collaborative agenda.

His leadership approach as a convenor has been very effective in bringing disparate groups together and fostering collaboration. Ezra has raised the profile of LCA in the USDA and the Agricultural Research Service to the point that we now have a major budget initiative to support Federal Life Cycle Assessment. He is a leader in knowledge management and informatics for LCA and is participating in a number of nation and international data initiatives as an advisor on Best Management Practices for making LCA data open and Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable (FAIR).

He has also been the lead figure in keeping the Federal LCA Commons data portal running, expanding, and improving in its services. He has overseen the development of LCA data management software in the USDA's significant contributions to drive the openLCA collaboration server development. He has reached out to external organizations where their efforts may dovetail with those of the Commons to try to keep large efforts around LCA data in sync. He has kept the working group informed of prospective policy changes. His recent detail to the Federal Highway Administration further demonstrates his willingness to go beyond his duties to the USDA to support related initiatives. His strong technical background in LCA data helps him understand the intricacies of LCA data and software that are often lost on LCA users and policy makers. He has also been a regular presence at ACLCA conferences for the last 10 years.

Ezra is a world leader in the movement toward open LCA data and should be recognized for his national and international contribution in this area. In 20 years we will look back and recognize the foundational contributions he has made toward data interoperability and re-use.

Education LCA Leadership Award: John Cays, Hillier College of Art and Design, NJIT
John is a driving force in integrating LCA and design. Through his position as the Associate Dean at the Hillier College of Architecture and Design, John is pushing to integrate LCA into the design practices of architecture students, interior design students, and industrial design students. He accomplishes this by giving guest lectures to classes across all levels and disciplines, mentoring students through independent studies on the topic, and working with studio instructors to integrate LCA thinking and tools into ongoing studio projects.

John continues to push for LCA education through the eLCAd 2021 symposium which he was instrumental in organizing to bring professionals and students in both LCA and Design together to have conversations and further the link between these two worlds. Additionally, his recent publication An Environmental Life Cycle Approach to Design is a culmination of his work in this area. It covers an introduction to LCA and provides designers with the fundamental knowledge, concepts, and skills required to bring life cycle thinking into their work. From your first conversation with John about the subject you can feel how passionate he is about the importance of LCA.

Student LCA Leadership Award: Erin Heidelberger, Georgia Tech
During her undergraduate degree, Erin started researching life cycle assessment and how it relates to architecture and design. Initially, her research focused on how life cycle thinking and existing whole building LCA tools could be implemented in the typical architectural education settings. This led to expanded research on how LCA can be integrated in all design workflows and at all stages of design through available tools and LCI databases. She was one of the organizers of the first annual Environmental Life Cycle Assessment in Design symposium hosted in the Spring of 2020 and looks forward to continuing to push for the integration of LCA and design.

Erin completed her Bachelors of Architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and most recently her Masters of Science in High Performance Buildings at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She recently returned to the New Jersey institute of Technology as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Architecture.

Rising Star Award: Aidan Ganzert, Interface
As the LCA Specialist at Interface since 2018, Aidan has rapidly advanced in the practice of LCA. In less than 2 years she has completed multiple LCA studies including a critically reviewed study, development of multiple Environmental Product Declarations, and the third-party reviewed the annual Carbon Neutral Floors LCAs covering Interface’s global product portfolio.

In addition to this intensive level of LCA practice, Aidan achieve the LCACP certification in January of 2021. Not only has Aidan demonstrated amazing progress in developing her LCA expertise, she has also embraced the ACLCA community, actively participating in the Industry Committee, the PCR Committee, working with Terri Bugoski in development and presentation of multiple sessions of the ACLCA webinar EPD 101, presented a technical paper at the 2020 ACLCA conference and the LCA Institute in 2021. Aidan has a Masters in Sustainability from Wake Forest and a Bachelor of Science from Elon University.



Past Awardees

Rita Schenck Lifetime Individual LCA Leadership Award

2021 Mike Levy, First Environment

2020 Sangwon Suh, University of California, Santa Barbara

2019 Jim Fava, Anthesis Group

2018 Rich Helling, DOW

2017 Lise Laurin, EarthShift Global

2016 Tom Gloria, Industrial Ecology Consultants 

2015 Rita Schenck, IERE

2014 Bill Flanagan, GE Ecoassessment Center of Excellence

Rising Star Award

2021 Aidan Ganzert, Interface

2020 Brandon Kuczenski, University of California, Santa Barbara

2019 Hongyue Jin, University of Arizona

2018 Russ Balzer, The Phoenix Group

LCA Leadership Awards - Corporate, Government, Education, Student


Cheryl Smith, Owens Corning - Corporate LCA Leadership Award

Ezra Kahn, USDA  -  Government Leadership in LCA Award

John Cays, Hillier College of Art and Design, NJIT - Education LCA Leadership Award

Erin Heidelberger, Georgia Tech - Student LCA Leadership Award


Carrie Pearson, 3M - Corporate LCA Leadership Award

Wesley Ingwersen, US EPA  -  Government Leadership in LCA Award

Bhavik Bhakshi, The Ohio State University - Education LCA Leadership Award


Abdelhadi Sahnoune, ExxonMobil - Corporate LCA Leadership Award

Timothy Skone, DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory -  Government Leadership in LCA Award

Nathan Pelletier, Food System PRISM Lab - Education LCA Leadership Award


Kohler Co.  - Corporate LCA Leadership Award

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)  -  Government Leadership in LCA Award

Ben Amor, University of Sherbrooke - Education LCA Leadership Award

Shaobin Li, PhD student, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Student LCA Leadership Award


GE Ecoassessment Center of Excellence  - Corporate LCA Leadership Award

Federal Commons -  Government LCA Leadership Award


American Chemistry Council - Corporate LCA Leadership Award

Laurie Wright, Solent University - Education LCA Leadership Award


University of British Columbia - Academic LCA Leadership Award

City of Vancouver - Government LCA Leadership Awards

Dow - Corporate LCA Leadership Awards