BioCycle Trailblazer: Sally Brown, PhD, University of Washington

Sally Brown is a woman with many talents and achievements.

BioCycle July 2019, Vol. 60 No. 5, p. 23

BioCycle Trailblazers

Sally Brown, PhD

Sally Brown, PhD

Sally Brown is a woman with many talents and achievements. As I considered how to capture her Trailblazer characteristics, the following flowed forth:

• Future Sight: One of the biggest challenges we’re faced with in resource recycling is taking the necessary steps in preparing to pass the torch. This includes not just building a robust program or knowledge base for others to assimilate and make their own, but to actually identify and empower that next wave of specialized professionals. Sally Brown, along with her husband Chuck Henry, have created a research model that captivates future change makers in organics recycling. These individuals sign on as researchers and leave as brave souls venturing out to make their indelible mark. So this great challenge has been met with this most encouraging model that blends research, relationships and rights of passage to take their turn at the helm. A recent article posted on the Northwest Biosolids website demonstrates this “family tree ethos” as part of the research program.

• Pivot the Conversation: Communicating for biosolids more often than not starts on the defense — defending the science, the safety, the long history of practical applications. What Sally has done brilliantly is put a pivot in that conversation to start with the benefits of what biosolids can do and the broader solutions that biosolids can be a part of collectively with other partners.

• Fire Walker: When considering what Trailblazers truly embody, one key attribute is standing up for their cause no matter the repercussions because they believe in it. This in turn means that you stand a little closer to the composting pile heat than others might and get singed a time or two because of it. Sally has skin in the game, and it is evident not by her being trifled by it, but because it doesn’t keep her from marching on. Maybe it’s in part due to her New York City upbringing, but I think it’s more of her passion in finding solutions where others would not attempt to venture.

Of course, this is just a cross section of what Dr. Sally Brown has done in her career. She is in large part a reason why our organization continues to thrive and meet the needs of our membership.

— Maile Lono-Batura, Northwest Biosolid

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