Kevin Kirsche

Kevin Kirsche

Director of Sustainability

Kevin is a landscape architect with more than two decades of experience in campus sustainability, planning, and ecological design. He leads a dynamic team of staff and students to address grand challenges through local solutions, developing inspired leaders, stronger communities, and thriving natural systems. Prior to becoming UGA’s first Director of Sustainability in 2010, Kevin served in the Office of University Architects with responsibility for campus planning and project management. He has Masters and Bachelor degrees in Landscape Architecture, as well as a graduate Certificate in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development, from the University of Georgia.

Tyra Byers

Tyra Byers

Director of the Interdisciplinary Sustainability Certificate

Program Coordinator: Academics, Research, and Internships

Tyra is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Sustainability Certificate and is responsible for academic research, and experiential learning initiatives at the Office of Sustainability. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Odum School of Ecology where she began work at UGA in 2008 before transitioning to the Office of Sustainability in 2010. Prior to her move to Georgia, she facilitated the climate and biodiversity initiatives at the University of New Hampshire office of Sustainability, managed the environmental programs for the San Juan Islands Conservation District in Washington State, and worked as a Planner for Santa Barbara County in California. Tyra has a Bachelors of Science in Conservation and Resource Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters of Environmental Science and Management from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Justin Ellis

Justin Ellis

Program Manager / Operational Strategy and Impact Analysis

Dr. Ellis is a restoration ecologist and GIS specialist with two decades of experience in systems assessment, strategic planning, community partnerships and project implementation. His experience in teaching and applied projects have focused on watershed scale restoration, innovative stormwater management, the acceleration of local food systems, and the deployment of geospatial tools to drive better sustainability decision making. His primary roles in the Office of Sustainability are to guide operational strategies and metrics that demonstrate the achievement of measurable sustainability targets. He leads the Offices' Clean Energy and Climate Solutions, and Biodiversity and Landscape programs and is chair of the FMD Fleet Electrification Workgroup. Prior to returning to UGA he was the Environmental Leadership Director at the University of North Georgia and an Honors Faculty Scholar at Longwood University in VA where he developed courses on sustainability metrics and the psychology of sustainable behavior change. His PhD is from UGA's Odum School of Ecology with training in fluvial geomorphology, agroecology, ecological restoration using soil organic matter and how innovations diffuse throughout society.

Ella Filston

Ella Filston

Waste Reduction Coordinator

Ella Filston is responsible for coordinating university-wide outreach and education with a focus on recycling and compost. She works closely with frontline staff, student interns, and key administrative staff to reduce waste from procurement to disposal and work towards achieving a more circular economy. Prior to moving to Athens, she worked in the Dean of the College Office at Wake Forest University in North Carolina where she managed special projects related to equity, education, and student wellbeing. Ella was an Office of Sustainability intern for plant-forward dining while pursuing her bachelor's degree in Political Science from Wake Forest University. She is a current Master's in Public Administration student at UGA.

Mason Towe

Mason Towe

Waste Reduction Manager

Mason is the Waste Reduction Manager within the Office of Sustainability. He supervises the Waste Reduction Services team, which provides waste, recycling, and compost collection services on campus, as well as strategic planning for campus-wide Waste Reduction goals, policies, infrastructure, and education. Prior to UGA, Mason worked for the Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division as an expert in recycling, compost, and other waste reduction education and outreach. Mason also currently serves on the board of the Georgia Recycling Coalition. Mason graduated from the UGA in 2016 with degrees in Economics and Sociology, minor in Environmental Law, and certificates in sustainability and environmental ethics.

Jessica Moore

Jessica Moore

Graduate Assistant-Internship Coordinator

Jessica is responsible for coordinating the internship program which includes communicating with project partners, mentoring students, and planning events. Jessica is currently a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at UGA. Her research interests include mental health of Black athletes. Jessica received a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education from UGA. 

Natasha Ruiz

Natasha Ruiz

Office of Sustainability & Waste Reduction Services Administration

Natasha joined the Office of Sustainability in November of 2022. Her role facilitiates communications and resources between faculty , staff and students  across all sustainability programs, intern projects, and waste reduction services. She also handles the business accounting for waste reduction services. Natasha’s previous position with University of Georgia was in the Work Request Center where she worked as a liaison between 468 UGA buildings in need of assistance to keep their buildings in working order. Prior to her employment at the University of Georgia Natasha was the Proprietor of NHR Sales where she owned and operated as an Independent sales Representative. Fun Fact:  Nastasha has always been an avid outdoor sportsperson enjoying activities such as hiking, scuba, skiing, and fishing.



Waste Reduction Services Staff

Located at the Health Sciences Campus on Prince Avenue 

We are proud that Waste Reduction Services is now an operational unit of the Office of Sustainability as of November of 2021.



Otis Teasley

Waste Reduction Supervisor

Otis began at UGA in 2020 as an Equipment Operator ll and was promoted to Supervisor in 2022. As Supervisor, Otis is responsible for Waste Reduction Services operations, including material collections, training, and vehicle maintenance. Prior to working at UGA, Otis drove a dump truck for Rogers Grading andHauling. Otis is an Athens native and enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids.


Elaine Culbertson

Waste Reduction Operations Lead

Elaine is responsible for coordinating routes, schedules, and staff training. She also receives daily work requests and serves as the primary point of contact between customers and the WRS team. Elaine is from Oglethorpe County and had a horse and carriage business before working at UGA, where she has worked since 1998. Elaine enjoys spending time with her husband, son, daughter-in-law, and grandbaby Emmy. She also enjoys time spent at church and among friends.


Kyle Norton

Waste Reduction Equipment Operator lll

Kyle operates any vehicles as needed on the WRS team. He most often drives the front loader truck, which services the trash and recycling dumpsters, and the rolloff truck. Initially working for University Housing, Kyle has been at UGA since 2007. Kyle is from Hull, Georgia. He enjoys fishing, coaching, and watching movies with his wife and three God children when he’s not working. In the last 21 years, Kyle has only missed three UGA home football games. He has his fingers crossed for a third consecutive championship win in 2023. 


Terence Lee

Waste Reduction Utility Worker ll

Terence, “T,” has worked at UGA since 2010, originally with Support Services and now with Waste Reduction Services. He primarily services the BigBelly pedestrian cans and the rolling “train car” dumpsters. Terence is from Brooklyn, NY and enjoys bodybuilding and playing with his son when he’s not at work. 


Larry Gresham Sr.

Waste Reduction Equipment Operator lll

Larry primarily operates the front loader and rolloff trucks. Before joining WRS in 2018, Larry worked at the New Veterinary School-Hospital for two years. Larry also works at the YMCA. He is from Rayle, Georgia and enjoys fishing and hunting in his spare time. Larry has four kids and goes to every UGA home football game. He wants to have a big garden when he retires.


Dewayne Green

Waste Reduction Utility Worker ll

Dewayne has worked at UGA since 2011. He started with the Building Services department, then moved to Grounds working with heavy equipment, and is now part of the Waste Reduction Services team. Dewayne works primarily as a Spotter, where he is responsible for the safe maneuvering of large collection vehicles. Dewayne is from Buford, Georgia and enjoys hunting in his free time. 


Jerry Huff

Waste Reduction - Equipment Operator lll

Jerry operates any vehicle as needed to collect trash and recycling on campus. He is from Oglethorpe County and has worked at UGA since 2021. Before UGA, Jerry worked as a truck driver for Pilgrim's Pride. He has been married for more than 34 years and enjoys hunting and fishing in his free time. Jerry loves to travel and is the best grillmaster in Athens.  


Campbell Sims

Waste Reduction Equipment Operator III

Campbell has been an Equipment Operator II on the WRS team since January 2023. He primarily drives the rear loader truck, which services roll carts and collects bulky items. Before working at UGA, he worked in the Gwinnett County Department of Transportation. Campbell has lived in several states but now lives in Winder, Georgia. While serving in the army, he traveled to South Korea and enjoyed the experience. Campbell played rugby and now spends time at the gym. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, other family members, two dogs, and two cats. 


Chris Fouche

Waste Reduction Equipment Operator II

Chris primarily works as a spotter on the WRS team where he prioritizes the safety of pedestrians and other passersby as well as the safe maneuvering of the larger collections vehicles. Chris is from Madison County and worked at Publix for 14 years before starting at UGA in January 2023. In his free time, Chris enjoys spending time with his wife, listening to music, and taking his dog for long walks. He is also passionate about video games, frisbee golf, and camping. He and his three siblings are adopted. Whenever he can, Chris loves attending Braves games.


Lucas Cottom

Waste Reduction Equipment Operator ll

Lucas has been a member of the WRS team since January 2023. He primarily drives the mini packer truck, which typically collects recycling, and he also spots for other drivers. Before working at UGA, Lucas had experience with Interior Design Services, Irrigation Repair and Installation, and Diesel Repair. He is originally from Illinois but grew up in Henry County, Georgia. In his free time, Lucas enjoys thinking and creating. 


William Peterson

Waste Reduction Utility Worker ll

Will has worked at UGA since September 2022. Typically, Will runs the paper and cardboard recycling route in the mini packer truck. Before UGA, Will worked at the Athens YMCA where he still coaches basketball and soccer. He loves both playing and coaching sports. Born and raised in Athens, Will and most of his family members work at UGA. 


Julia Ortiz

Waste Reduction Equipment Operator II


Katherine Green

Waste Reduction Equipment Operator ll