The People Behind Sustainable Cobourg

Great things don’t just happen on their own. It takes a team of dedicated volunteers to help make Sustainable Cobourg awesome. These passionate individuals give up their time every day to help the community and us. The next time you see one of these people, make sure you stop and tell them just how much you appreciate what they’re doing and ask what you can do to help.

Email Gigi

Gudrun “Gigi” Ludorf-Weaver – President / Chair Town Hall Committee

Gudrun came to Cobourg in 2005 from Toronto. Originally from Heidelberg, Germany, she arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1950/51 with her family, when she was four. Educated at Blythwood Elementary School, North Toronto Collegiate, and Toronto Teachers’ College, Gudrun continued her education by achieving a Master’s degree from O.I.S.E., and was accepted into a Doctorate program at the University of Toronto. She declined an opportunity to attend The Julliard School of Music in New York as a teenager.

After a forty-three year career in education, having worn many hats, from classroom teacher, to specialty teacher in music, art, drama, special education, French, English second language, swimming, physical education, to workshop leader, editor/writer, and finally as administrator, she decided it was time for a change.

Having been involved in establishing a community organization in Toronto called “Urban Harvest”, Gudrun witnessed first-hand the power of community. With that experience, she felt she could contribute to the newly formed Citizens for a Sustainable Cobourg. This was a wonderful group of enthusiastic Cobourgians who wanted to play an active role in helping to shape Cobourg as a sustainable community. After her return from teaching in China in 2009, Gudrun made a commitment to work with both Sustainable Cobourg and its sister organization, Go Green Together under Judy Smith-Torrie.

Gudrun’s three children are all in Toronto and enjoy visiting this lovely place by the lake with their own children.

photo of sustainable cobourg vice-president jeremy clarke
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Jeremy Clarke – Vice-President

Jeremy Clarke is the founder of Simple Life Homes, a manufacturer of prefab-panelized homes for the high performance and passive house market. Previously, Jeremy explored a variety of careers including music production, aviation, renewable energy sales and construction. While discovering new interest’s, Jeremy discovered a common calling, and chose to focus on “green” construction.

With a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Jeremy is currently focused on providing the building industry with a truly sustainable building system that utilizes carbon capturing materials and high performance assemblies. Jeremy’s goal is to increase occupants health and reduce our impact on our environment by living within our carbon budget.

photo of Sustainable Cobourg Secretary Susan Nakamichi
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Susan Nakamichi – Secretary

Susan is very interested in Sustainable Cobourg’s evolution and the various activities of local citizens with shared concerns about the detrimental impact of increasing pollution, and how we can plan for a more viable future. Despite having no related work or education background regarding the issues, Susan has been trying to learn more about some of the problems and solutions in other communities, which could be of use. Susan is glad to contribute what she can to provide information and alternatives, and to make them accessible in the local community. In particular, Susan wants to support efforts to encourage reduction, reuse and recycling, and discourage waste and pollution.

photo of sustainable cobourg treasurer Ellen Abramczyk
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Ellen Abramczyk – Treasurer

Conscripted by her father to leave high school for a year to build the family home, Ellen used that experience to springboard into the residential design profession. Born in Toronto, Ellen moved with husband and kids to Grafton in 1995 to build her own place. Ten years on she began to focus on designing homes of superior energy efficiency beyond what the Ontario Building Code requires. This drive to make a difference within the building community led Ellen to acquire the expertise necessary to earn the qualification of “Certified Passive House Designer” from the Passive House Institute (Germany, Dr. Wolfgang Feist). Her current ambition is to see the green building movement take off in Cobourg and Northumberland County. This work is in step with the philosophy she shares with Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.


photo of Warren McCarthy - Chair of sustainable cobourg ECO Action Committee
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Warren McCarthy – Lead – ECO Action Advisory Group

2020 will be our 9th year in Cobourg, having previously lived in Clarington near the Ganaraska Forest for 16 years. My last major business adventure was successfully completing the full 15-year cycle of starting, growing and selling a five-person company, Effectivation Inc. We provided business skills training and consulting to improve the quality of selling, servicing, prioritizing and managing.

We trained small businesses via our own ‘public schools’, as well as programs for U of T Continuing Education and the Canadian Association of Management Consultants. We also provided in-house business skills training for larger clients, including IBM, Dell, Royal Bank, Oracle, Pricewaterhouse, Coopers, Bell, KPMG.

Prior to being an entrepreneur, I enjoyed successful career intervals managing sales, service, marketing and operations in large, medium and small firms. Until 2019, I was a volunteer Coach with the ‘Business Advisory Centre Northumberland’ and served on Cobourg Advisory Committees for ‘Planning and Sustainability’ and ‘Downtown Coalition.

I enjoy travel, golf, pickle-ball, reading, thinking and wife & family time.

Advice for business owners: – Success is much more likely by doing
good work on the right things than by doing excellent work on the wrong things.

Email Johnathan

Jonathan Brown – Lead – Food Action Advisory Group

Jonathan was a former adult and alternative education teacher and Distributed Learning Consultant with the Kawartha Pine Ridges DSB. In 2000 he joined the Ontario Ministry of Education and from 2006-16 was an Education Officer with the Adult Education Policy Unit in the Student Success Policy Branch. In retirement, Jonathan is engaged in activities that explore the pros and cons of open data and digital services and the impact of Artificial Intelligence, big data and machine learning on civil society.

photo of Winston Emery Chair Bicycle Action Committee
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Winston Emery – Chair – Bicycle Action Committee

I’ve been cycling since my youth in Montreal. I rode everywhere in the city in the 1950s – even had a telegram delivery job! I’m a great fan of the Reseau Vert, which I used regularly, and would love to have a network like that around here.

By profession, I’m a teacher (and a teacher of teachers) but I’ve done all kinds of work: factory, sales, television producer, part-time mechanic; but, more important, I’m husband to a wonderful partner, and proud father and grandfather.

I sing, play, act, read, and love creations of all kinds, and am curious. I think and I write some.

Email Jenna

Jenna Martinello – Youth Ambassador

Jenna is a Grade 11 student in the International Baccalaureate program at Cobourg Collegiate Institute. She is an active member of the Environmental Club at CCI. She participates in other extra curricular activities including the studies of piano, cello, and music theory, numerous volunteer placements, and life guarding at her local pool. Jenna believes that the environment and the matter of sustainability are two of the biggest issues that will affect future generations.

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Judy Smith – Liaison

Judy Smith is the first Environmental Officer for the County of Northumberland. She is tasked with developing and then helping to implement the climate action plans for the County of Northumberland and several of the municipalities within  Northumberland County including the Town of Cobourg.

Previously, Ms. Smith was an environmental consultant for over thirty years with Torrie Smith Associates specializing in energy, climate change and environmental assessment. She was a Member of the Joint Environmental Advisory Committee for Environment Canada and Statistics Canada that produced the first State of the Environment Report for Canada.

Judy is a graduate of the University of Waterloo in Environmental Studies and graduate studies in Natural Resource Management.

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