Jessica Franken, SMART’s director of government affairs, has more than 20 years of professional government relations and public policy experience—including positions on Capitol Hill. She has many years with industry association clients, such as groups representing nonwoven fabrics, pharmaceutical printing, and healthcare packaging industries. In this capacity, Franken has acted as a primary policy liaison and advocate between clients and public officials on a diverse array of issues, including the environment, product safety, trade, tax, healthcare, manufacturing, and labor and workplace policy.
An accomplished writer, Jessica has contributed to and authored more than 150 policy-themed articles for trade publications and has developed numerous industry-adopted position papers and formal submissions to the U.S. government. She has also been involved in drafting and advancing legislation at the state and federal level, benefiting her clients, and has testified before numerous state legislative bodies on behalf of her clients, achieving legislative victories in challenging policy environments.
Franken received a master’s degree in public policy from George Mason University’s School of Public Policy and was named the 2006 recipient of the university’s coveted Alexis de Tocqueville Award for academic achievement and professionalism in the field of public policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in government and politics, graduating with honors from the University of Maryland – College Park in 1997. She is the president of The Franken Group LLC, a government affairs consulting firm offering services to multiple association and industry clients. In her spare time, she makes and sells “Frankenballs” confections—a sinfully delicious cross between cake pops and truffles—and enjoys running and posting pictures of her cats on social media.
Adam Minter is a columnist with Bloomberg Opinion, where he writes about technology, waste, the business of sports, and other topics. From 2002 to 2014, he was based in Shanghai, where he covered the trans-Pacific trade in recycling; he continued that coverage from Kuala Lumpur, where he was based from 2014 until the COVID-19 pandemic. His first book, Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion Dollar Trash Trade, is an insider's look at the world of globalized recycling. His most recent book, Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale, is a deep dive into the secondhand economy that thrives around the world.
Steven Pires is an accomplished sustainability professional with over a decade of experience in corporate sustainability. He specializes in setting, reporting, and measuring sustainability goals using tools such as Life Cycle Assessment. As associate director of sustainability at Cotton Incorporated, Steven directs research activities aimed at helping the cotton industry meet their 10-year sustainability goals. Other key projects include establishing a precision conservation program with Quail Forever and developing new circular strategies for cotton textiles, such as composting, to enhance the circuitry of cotton systems. Additionally, he has been instrumental in launching the flagship cotton sustainability program for the United States, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.
Steven earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental technology and management and a Master of Science in forest biomaterials science from North Carolina State University, where he also completed his graduate research assistantship supported by the Biofuel Center of North Carolina. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in forest biomaterials science with a research focus on biogenic carbon accounting and applying dynamic life cycle assessment methodologies to the cotton value chain.
When he is not working, Steven enjoys spending time outdoors, mountain biking, cooking, and spending time with his two children. He frequently speaks on sustainability panels, keynotes, and webinars and has published original research in peer-reviewed academic journals.
Martin Schreiner is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a B.S. in textile management and apparel. He started his career with Hanes/Sara Lee Knit Products helping to start-up a new spinning operation in Rabun Gap, Georgia. Martin joined Cotton Incorporated’s Fiber Processing team in 1990. The Fiber Processing team covers product development, technical service, research, and implementation in the areas of ginning, textiles, and nonwovens. Martin has travelled to mills around the world to provide Cotton Incorporated’s service. Some of Martin’s favorite activities outside of work include spending time with family and his two granddaughters, enjoying outdoor time—usually near the water—boating or fishing, and brewing a crafty new recipe with his wife and sons.