Our Team



Susan Monte outside headshot

Susan Monte, CCES Executive Director, has 22-plus years of combined experience as planner with the Champaign County Department of Planning & Zoning and with the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (1999-2022). Susan served as Champaign County Solid Waste Manager and Recycling Coordinator between 2005 and 2022. She served on the Illinois Materials Management Advisory Committee (2020-2021) and provided input to the Task Force on the Advancement of Materials Recycling (2013-2014).

She is a proponent of product stewardship and extended producer responsibility, and member of the Illinois Product Stewardship Council

At the Champaign County RPC, Susan formed a task force to explore a best path forward to address the long-standing need for convenient and safe household hazardous waste (HHW) management options for residents of Champaign County and nearby counties. A key task force recommendation was to form a nonprofit organization to advance and support efforts to provide improved HHW collection options to  residents.

In 2019, Susan founded Champaign County Environmental Stewards (CCES), a nonprofit that seeks improved solutions to reduce waste and pollution in our community. Susan presently serves as CCES Executive Director.


Board of Directors


Dominique Gilbert portrait

Dominique Gilbert, CCES Board President, is a Natural Resource Specialist, Waste Management & Climate Change, at the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory. She received a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and completed a Master of Environmental Science from the Yale School of the Environment

As CCES president, Dominique serves as the principal executive officer of the CCES Board of Directors, generally supervises and directs all CCES business and affairs, and presides at CCES Board meetings. Dominique participates in the Coalition for Plastic Reduction, with its mission to initiate and champion legislation and policy supportive of a circular economy that prohibits the sale, production, and use of single-use plastic, and reduces the production of new plastic in the state of Illinois.



Chris Hanson portrait

CCES Board Vice President Chris Hanson’s career has included the Marines, the Champaign Fire Department, and his current job as Director of the Hazardous Materials Training Program, at the School of Labor and Employment Relations, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 

Chris enlisted in the United States Marine Corp in 1981 and served 10 years, followed by seven years working in the dust collection and construction industries. In 1997, he joined the Champaign Fire Department and, beginning in 1998, served as part-time instructor with the Hazardous Materials Training Program. Chris was selected as Champaign Fire Department’s 2012 Firefighter of the Year. He retired from the fire department in 2016, and since 2017 has served as Director of the Hazardous Materials Training Program at UIUC. 

Over his years in public service, Chris has seen first-hand the injuries caused by the improper disposal of hazardous materials. Through his continuing work at the Hazardous Materials Training Program at UIUC, also with the Midwest Consortium for Hazardous Waste Worker Training, and as volunteer CCES Vice President, he is committed to preventing such injuries in the future.


Melissa Lear headshotMelissa Lear, CCES Treasurer and a Chartered Financial Consultant, brings over 10 years of financial planning and services experience to the board. Holding a bachelor’s degree in business administration, she is completing her MBA and will begin her MS in Accountancy in 2025 through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Melissa’s volunteer experience includes the local humane society and Midwest Food Bank. She enjoys engaging with green and sustainability initiatives through her work at State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co. in Bloomington. In her free time, she spends time outdoors with her various animals.



John Dwyer headshotJohn Dwyer, CCES Secretary, is the Coordinator of the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), appointed by the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office in 2013, following serving as Deputy Director of EMA for two prior years. From July 2004 to May 2011, John was the Emergency Response Planner for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

John has a Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois Springfield and a bachelor’s degree in biology with a chemistry minor from the Virginia Military Institute. Also, John is a traditional Guardsman with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Air National Guard assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters-Air staff in Springfield. He has over 27 years of military service having served on active duty, Air Force Reserves, and the Air National Guard.



Joy Scrogum headshotJoy Scrogum is a member of the Technical Assistance Program (TAP) at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she works primarily on zero-waste initiatives, helping businesses, organizations, and individuals identify and implement strategies for waste reduction and efficiency. As part of TAP, Joy has worked with the Forest Preserves of Cook County on their sustainability and climate resiliency initiatives, and with Feeding Illinois on its development of a statewide farm to food bank program. Joy has been part of ISTC’s analysis and materials management planning work with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses, Northwestern University, and Missouri State University.

She has also been involved in various projects focused on pollution prevention (P2), sustainable electronics and food waste prevention and reduction. She’s a member of the Illinois Recycling Foundation, the Illinois Food Scrap & Composting Coalition, the Wasted Food Action Alliance, and the International Society of Sustainability Professionals. Joy has an MS in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is a LEED Green Associate, and a Sustainability Excellence Professional (SEP). She has been recognized as the 2022 Fred Granek Memorial P2 Ambassador by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR).


Joe Hooker headshotJoe Hooker is a retired attorney who worked for 20 years as an Assistant City Attorney in the City of Champaign Legal Department. Joe served as an Adjunct Instructor of Land Use Law in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning for 13 years from 2008 until 2020. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois law school and Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

Joe’s interest in serving on the CCES board stems from his legal work and promotional activities to help create a coalition of local governments to oppose the acceptance of toxic waste at the Clinton Landfill in DeWitt County, which is regulated by the Federal Toxic Substances Control Act. The landfill, located over the Mahomet Aquifer, is the principal source of groundwater for Champaign County and several other central Illinois counties. As a result of this effort, the landfill company ceased accepting regulated toxic waste in Clinton. Joe represented a similar coalition of local governments to petion the EPA to designate the Mahomet Aquifer as Illinois’ first and only Sole Source Aquifer in 2015, providing further protection. 


Grace Wilken headshotGrace Wilken (she/her) is a founding member of CCES and is particularly passionate about the composting and household hazardous waste projects at CCES. Grace works at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) in environmental engineering research with projects focused on algal farming to treat wastewater, carbon capture, and generating renewable biofuels or food sources. Her other research interests include many sustainability-related topics such as compost, waste management, social justice, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy. She also serves as the Ward 6 representative on the Urbana City Council and as a member of the Urbana Sustainability Advisory Committee. Her educational background includes bachelor’s degrees from Millikin University in Biology and Spanish, and master’s degrees in Sustainable Energy and Business Administration from Eastern Illinois University. Before these current roles, Grace worked as a high school science teacher in southeast Kentucky, at an outdoor education center in southern California, and as an adjunct instructor in the Biology Department at Millikin University. Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR).