by Gordon Nary
Gordon: As a start, please provide an overview of your growth strategy presentation to the White House, and please outline some of the takeaways the Church could use in addressing today’s pressing issues.
Tim: First, thank you, Gordon, for your wonderful dedication to profiling the work of Catholics and others in this world, which encourages all of us in our faith and faith walk.
The White House growth strategy presentation came about because I had developed and executed a nationwide program with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce to help businesses pursue growth strategies and solutions for success. I had identified key strategies for success from among thousands of business case histories we had jointly compiled. I had also initiated and led a National Symposium on Minority and Women Business with the Chamber to support business and economic growth and to help address issues that were impeding these groups from realizing their full potential.
So, when the Chamber’s leadership was asked by the Clinton White House to identify someone who could help them develop strategies for growth, they recommended me.
This was a huge challenge. It forced me to consider and research the most important macro issues, trends, technologies, finance matters, healthcare factors, societal inequities, diversity concerns, ecosystems, and other enabling or impeding issues. It caused me to question the relative magnitude and impacts of various factors and strategies, to assess the most efficacious solutions, and to examine possible cross-cutting concerns and impacts for expediency and growth.
I researched, summarized, and addressed such issues and opportunities as R&D and its relative spending levels, impacts and “fuel” for growth; finance and gaps in access to finance; healthcare, health insurance issues, costs, and gaps; early workplace technologies and their adoption (or the lack there of) across various IT functionalities; business enablers such as franchise systems, collaborations, ecosystems and supply chain management issues; diversity issues and inequities; use of and management by key performance indicators (KPIs); and other potential growth factors.
It was an incredible experience that put my research and strategic planning skills to the test and caused me to hone them. Peter M. Yu, (White House) Director of the National Economic Council, called the presentation “thoughtful and provocative." At the end of the presentation, I was also referred to DOD’s PTAC operations to help address supply chain resiliency and growth and enable greater collective effectiveness.
This early-career experience also set a foundation that would later enable my pursuing significant and challenging endeavors – including establishing the Global Institute For Transformation® (GIFT) 501(c)(3) cross-denominational ministry and the Lifestyle management International, Inc. (LMI) affiliated for profit entity for global business development purposes, for collaborative innovation facilitation, and for tax compliance and competitive fairness.
Years after the White House presentation, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation also contracted me to write a series of blogs on “Innovation and Data for Good,” where I discussed purposeful innovation; IT and its massive data feeds, “containers” and analytics; collaborations; strategies for global Bottom of the (economic) Pyramid impact; and more. Perhaps some of these insights and approaches could be helpful to the Church and the Laity in meeting today’s pressing needs.
There are so many needs facing our Church and God’s children today. But I believe there’s potential to address far more of these needs than are currently being fulfilled, including addressing the challenges that frustrate us here and the challenges impacting so many others globally. And I’ve seen that we need not act alone in seeking to address these huge needs, considering the work of God’s Church that’s already underway and considering the encouraging words Jesus shared in John 14: 12-13: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”.
Some key takeaways I could see for our Church today are: there could be greater gains in affecting collaborations across denominations, consistent with the 2012 Synod on Evangelization, which called for uniting all Christians in a “common witness to the world of the prophetic and transforming power of the Gospel; in Parishes and the Laity collaboratively engaging in endeavors such as the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and the current Synod of Bishops (which aims to facilitate greater engagement of the Laity); and in the Laity and Church engaging with institutions and businesses outside the Church to help lead much-needed change. Perhaps GIFT and LMI, and their strategies and innovations for Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy, could help with this.
Gordon: What Would You Like To Accomplish From This Profile?
Tim: Ideally, I’d like for this profile to encourage readers in: 1) engaging even more so in addressing the needs increasingly confronting so many in our world; and 2) engaging more deeply in supporting the Church in its mission. Including by prayerfully reflecting on the prevailing trends and concerns and by exploring and deploying efficacious innovations for these two pursuits.
In this profile, I’ll be raising issues needing to be addressed and sharing potential solutions I’ve seen or have been developing and deploying – in both Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy – which align with and can support Church teaching, and which could, hopefully, be transformative. Importantly, I humbly believe that my thinking and ideas have been guided by God after much prayer and reflection, and far more prayer and reflection will be needed going forward. My work has also benefited from best-minds thinking and extensive collaboration, and this, too will be needed going forward.
Consider: the number of those starving and living in poverty globally -- especially post-COVID – is so high; our environment is stressed; society is moving away from God and His Church, and there’s so much divisiveness in our world today.
Moreover, our youth have faced so many struggles and fears, and many are losing or have lost hope. They’d like to see changes that will assure a more sustainable and just world, and the Church and its resources can offer support and promise. But many aren’t participating in the Church and are living without Spiritual or material help.
Given the deteriorating conditions confronting our world and our Church today, we must look at things more integrally and innovatively. Perhaps we can affect both Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy even more efficaciously, with greater commitment and haste.
The fact is: as Catholics, we’re called to do so. And we’re even promised to have access to resources from God Himself to help affect these much-needed impacts.
Fortunately, from what I’ve seen and experienced, I believe there’s more reason for hope and more potential for each of us and our organizations to make an impact than ever. Our Church is a vast and accomplished network of caring, smart, Godly people.
Initiatives such as the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and the Synod of Bishops, with all its efforts to engage the Laity, could be harnessed for much greater support of both Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy than ever before. The Laudato Si’ Action Platform calls for and is a framework for this and is worthy of our consideration and embrace.
Ideally, this profile can help frame and offer at least one approach for achieving this.
So, if possible, I’d like for us to pray about, reflect on, and ideally act more intentionally upon, some of these pressing issues after reading this profile. Yes, there’s a lot of information and details in all I’m sharing here. But as an innovation leader once explained to me in her discussion on disruptive innovation: successful innovation and change management requires working through a “firehose” of insights.
Sometimes I think my middle initial, “F” (for Francis), could also represent “firehose.” But I believe we must regularly invest time to prayerfully reflect upon, understand and act on more of the pressing issues confronting our world and Church, including finding time to address more of the issues, as God encourages in His Word and via Church teaching.
Gordon: What is the reason for your optimistic view amid your awareness of such increasing pressures and problems facing our society and our Church?
Tim: There are many reasons, but perhaps my biggest source of optimism comes from my experience leading an Innovation Practice. During the 50th anniversary of the Lunar Landing in 2019, I was serving as Practice Lead in an innovation research organization which was founded as a university and NASA joint venture to commercialize Apollo program discoveries. I saw that we were motivated, mobilized, and achieved so much.
I saw all that teams of everyday people – workers across so many industries -- helped Apollo achieve, on far less technology than we have today in our microwaves, cell phones, or watches. They achieved the most amazing feat by coming together, tapping “best-minds thinking,” and collaborating on a master plan involving many organizations.
Apollo’s new processes enabled technology development and deployment far faster than would have happened otherwise. Apollo pursued processes for rapid prototyping and deployment. Collaborations spanned aerospace companies like Boeing and Northrup as well as non-aerospace companies, including Velcro, Hammond Organ, Black & Decker, Honeywell, and Motorola. This work launched countless new technologies into the world following the Lunar Landing. Apollo didn’t just advance technology, it advanced the way of doing things that could be a model the Church could embrace now.
After the Lunar Landing, people repeatedly asked, “If we could put a person on the moon, why can’t we… (fill in the blank)?” It’s with this perspective that I’d like to use this profile to challenge ourselves to do more to fulfill what God has been calling us to do.
Because we not only have incredible technology that connects the world and that helps us research, see and solve issues, we also have the power of the Lord’s Presence in us. And we have His assurance to us, in the Gospel of John, that we can achieve more.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14.
This should encourage us to act with greater hope, pursuits, and potentiality than ever.
Gordon: You speak with such confidence regarding what can be done. How is that?
Tim: I’m not really a very successful person by the world’s standards, but I’ve been blessed with a career that has spanned many industries and even ministries, and I’ve been used in some interesting ways in enabling economic growth and impacts. And I would like to encourage us to do more for the world. Specifically, I’d love to help turn things around regarding the status and impact of God’s Church… the Spiritual wellbeing of our brothers and sisters… and the unmet needs that His children globally are facing.
I’ve had the opportunity to learn about many issues; to help impact some of these; to beneficially address many needs corporately, ministerially, Spiritually, and materially.
I’ve been recognized throughout my career for “connecting the dots” to transform organizations, products, technology use, and communities; and I’ve been working to help the Church and several of its ministries connect dots in addressing today’s challenges.
I’ve also seen God’s hand guiding me in affecting diverse solutions and transformations at top corporations and organizations by identifying and enhancing organizational competencies and missions – and His using me to bring solutions to those in dire need.
I’ve had the opportunity to see that Church ministries, networks, and teachings have been doing tremendous good. And I’ve worked with some of these to help them leverage innovations to more efficaciously make even greater impact. I’ve personally experienced doing so with multiple ministries, parishes and global “twinning” communities. I’ve come to believe so much more could be accomplished if more people would come along-side these dedicated organizations and provide whatever hands-on support they can provide.
I’ve had such an incredibly exciting life. It’s been like nothing I would have anticipated.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve tried to assure that my career would be considerate of and consistent with Biblical, Church and Jesus’ own teaching regarding how God can work powerfully in our lives, providing we give ourselves fully to Him. I wish I could transfer this experience and joy to others.
Gordon: You have an idea regarding how two under-recognized and underutilized Spiritual tenets could represent a foundational framework for stimulating greater involvement and impact in transforming lives and our world. Please share this.
In my efforts launching the Global Institute For Transformation (GIFT), I’ve come to understand that there are actually two faith pillars detailed in Holy Scripture and expressed over-and-over again in Church teaching, which can empower us to achieve more of what God desires for us and our lives and for His children and Church.
I’ve come to appreciate all of the world’s wonder – all the gifts we’ve been given by God. And I’ve experienced the tremendous joy of joining with the Church, the Holy Spirit and the Presence of God in serving others to transform lives.
So, I would hope this profile could serve as an encouragement to others to:
1) more fully appreciate and utilize all the incredible GIFTs we’ve been given by God
2) allow the Holy Spirit to work in fully transforming us to want to know and do God’s good, pleasing and perfect will; and to grow into “re-presenting” the face of Christ to the world, so we can live and love more like Christ -- and TRANSFORM our world.
Considering this, I suggest that there are two – albeit under-appreciated and under-leveraged – foundational faith pillars: GIFT and TRANSFORMATION. These two pillars can provide a foundation for our lives to be more fulfilling, impactful and joyful, if we can:
1) Acknowledge that everything and everyone are incredible GIFTs from God, and that we should more fully assess and appreciate God’s innumerable gifts in our lives; reciprocate to God in more frequently giving thanks to Him for all His gifts; and strive to re-gift the many gifts God has given us – or given us access to -- to help others
2) Accept the Holy Spirit’s ongoing TRANSFORMATION of each of us, so we’ll become the face of Christ to the world, and so we’ll live out Catholic teaching that instructs, “All of the baptized are called to work toward the transformation of the world.” And so that we’ll “ACT (on an issue)..; REFLECT (prayerfully, on the root cause)… and TRANSFORM (the issue at the root cause), just as we’re called to do by USCCB CSJ teaching. Recall that Pope Francis said in his very first Homily as Pope, “With Christ, we can transform ourselves and the world.”
Importantly, there are many Scripture verses and Church teachings affirming these pillars, and I’ve compiled a compendium of these. I believe it would be well worth the time to repeatedly reflect on such Scripture references and Church teachings, including:
“We need to acknowledge jubilantly that our life is essentially a gift… Only on the basis of God’s gift, freely accepted and humbly received, can we cooperate by our own efforts in our progressive transformation. God wants to speak to the world by your life. Let yourself be transformed… charity alone makes growth in the life of grace possible, for ‘if I do not have love, I am nothing’…. share in the life of those most in need… configure ourselves to Jesus… remain ever open to his supernatural grace, which purifies and enlightens… holiness is nothing other than charity lived to the full. If we seek the holiness pleasing to God’s eyes, this text offers us one clear criterion on which we will be judged: ‘I was hungry and you gave me food…’’’ Gaudete Et Exsultate.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. James 1:17
“Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:8
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:18
“Faith is God’s free gift… Faith consists in the willingness to let ourselves be constantly transformed and renewed by God’s call. Christian faith is thus faith in a perfect love, in its decisive power, in its ability to transform the world,” Lumen Fidei.
“Even if many are now involved in the lay ministries, this involvement is not reflected in a greater penetration of Christian values in the social, political and economic sectors. It often remains tied to tasks within the Church, without a real commitment to applying the Gospel to the transformation of society. The formation of the laity and the evangelization of professional and intellectual life represent a significant pastoral challenge. The Holy Spirit also enriches the entire evangelizing Church with different charisms. These gifts are meant to renew and build up the Church… Evangelization consists mostly of patience and disregard for constraints of time. Faithful to the Lord’s gift, it also bears fruit… Grace supposes culture, and God’s gift becomes flesh in the culture of those who receive it… Each portion of the people of God, by translating the gift of God into its own life and in accordance with its own genius, bears witness to the faith it has received and enriches it with new and eloquent expressions,” Evangelii-Gaudium.
"In the end, life is not about accumulation. It is much more than success. To be truly alive is to be transformed from within, open to the energy of God's love. In accepting the power of the Holy Spirit you too can transform your families, communities and nations,” encouraged Pope Benedict, XVI, at World Youth Day.
“Our human ability to transform reality must proceed in line with God’s original gift of all that is,’’ Laudato Si’
A broader compendium is available if anyone wants to further exploring these pillars.
I’ve also come to believe that if we humbly, prayerfully and fervently engage in Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in accordance with and repeatedly motivated by these two faith pillars, our impact could be greater, and our lives could be exceedingly rich.
From my perspective, I wish everyone could experience this. I wish that our collective energies could make as big an impact on our hurting world today – a world whose pains have been exacerbated by COVID 19 – just as the Lunar Landing did over 50 years ago.
Gordon: Where did you attend University; what were some of the most memorable courses that you took; and how did your school’s teaching influence your life?
Tim: I attended Seton Hall University, and my most memorable courses were in Journalism, Communications, and Religion/Social Justice.
In Communications, I learned the value of building a “brand” and curating a tangible “brand proposition” that makes the brand and its offerings relevant and even indispensable in affecting a beneficial impact in some manner.
*In Journalism classes, I learned how to research, assess and express: “Who?”... “What?”... “What if?”… “How?”... “How much?”... “Where?”... When?”... “Why?”… “Why not? -- and “If this, then what about…(fill in the blank)?”
Based on my Journalism work, I was asked to serve as the Editor-In-Chief of SHU’s Comment on the Media magazine. I had the privilege of personally interviewing experts and writing stories on such diverse issues as the press coverage of Mets vs. Yankees and the hostage situation in Iran, and I also conducted a live Q&A profiling the famous NBC newscaster and author, Edwin Newman.
Since I also had to publish the magazine, I learned first-hand that teams and “best minds” collaborations were essential to producing a valuable product.
Gordon: You studied Journalism and Communications, so how did you end up working in strategic planning, innovation, product management, sustainability, sales, and in supporting ministries globally? And what were some of the results?
Tim: My SHU experience asking questions and researching answers ultimately enabled me to lead corporate strategy, innovation, product management, sustainability, sales, and marketing -- and support the Church and some of its ministries in innovative ways.
Based on being taught how to research and make detailed, critical assessments, I’ve been able to see unmet needs and to create, brand and market gap-filling solutions, which have addressed various issues across multiple industries and consumers. This has included supporting the Church and its ministries, domestically and globally.
This research and questioning capability are what helped me develop growth strategies for the Clinton White House and the National Economic Council.
Corporate results from my research and questioning include my helping to enable a company to double profitability -- from $130,000 per-full-time-equivalent employee (FTE) to $260,000-per-FTE -- while serving as VP Product & Marketing at First Data Solutions.
I also helped lead the transformation of Northeast Utilities at the onset of electricity deregulation, as Director of Market Management. We secured 35% share of the market amid 30 competitors. We forged a collaboration with Rockwell Automation to create the industry’s 1st smart grid/smart facility technology, and we initiated and led nationwide seminars on deregulation with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. This taught me so much about the role of technology and data in solving issues and improving results.
This research-based approach to work enabled me to create or help create innovations used by numerous corporate leaders across a range of industries. This includes innovations spanning smart buildings/smart grid, smarter farming, nutrition, biomaterials, and financial services.
My SHU experience forging collaborations and connecting with industry leaders also enabled me to approach, forge partnerships with, and design solutions in collaboration with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, the International Franchise Association, an affiliate of the Smithsonian, the U. S. Small Business Administration and Ski New England resorts.
I wish that one particular career move I made could have produced far more results, but it taught me so much. I had the privilege of serving as a CEO-Convener for the launch of the Father Joseph Network (FJN) umbrella organization, in Haiti. Father Joseph is amazing. He created multiple entities including a microfinance company with 45 branches and 1000 employees; a university; a religious order, Sisters of St. Anthony; clinics; an orphanage; and an elementary and high school. Securing funding for Haiti became very hard when “competition” for funds occurred due to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, although we were able to raise funds for school meals, farming, and the Sisters. Sadly, I learned more than I contributed, especially when I rode in a van behind a pickup truck with a young girl’s casket in the truck bed. I Googled and found Haiti had 10x the rate of infant mortality and had a 15-year lesser lifespan than in the U. S. This disparity shouldn’t exist. Unfortunately, the situation in Haiti has become even worse since then. And as is the case in many areas facing conflicts, the situations are so dire. These places and the people struggling in them really do need more help!
Gordon: How did your experiences in business lead to your service work domestically and globally?
Tim: My business experience began to cross over into service work (what’s now viewed under the lenses of ESG and the UN SDGs) while I was serving as a VP Product & Marketing at First Data, which owned the global remittance company, Western Union.
President George W. Bush had made an announcement regarding cutting the cost of outbound remittances by 50%. I had developed “affinity” solutions previously, so I contacted USAID and suggested there could be a better approach, by looking at the remittance recipients as an affinity group and leveraging their collective, enabled “purchase clout”. My recommendation: rather than cutting the cost of a $100 outbound remittance from about $10 to $5 per transaction, what would happen if we could negotiate discounts of 20% on essential purchases, on behalf of all those who regularly received Western Union $100 remittances? That would provide a savings of $20 vs. $5.
Note: I left First Data without this being executed, but the experience struck a chord in me, such that I would continue to develop solutions on behalf of the extreme poor.
(By the way: I wonder what could happen today if the Church could exercise its collective clout as an affinity group and develop a Christian stewardship program that would not only support parishioners with discounts on their purchases but also contribute a share of purchases to local Parish and Dioceses and to various, member-identified ministries. We’ve conceived of such a program at GIFT, “The G.I.F.T. Card That Makes Change,” which we’d love to further explore, develop and launch if any party were interested in exploring this and its potential to fund both parishes and global work.)
After my Western Union experience, I continued studying the plight of the global poor, and I took to heart a book and strategy by the late economist, C. K. Prahalad, “The Fortune At The Bottom Of The (Global Economic) Pyramid… Eradicating Poverty Through Profits.” In his book, he noted there were approximately 4 billion people living on less than $2 per day, and that in serving them and helping them get things they need, we could build an even bigger, more beneficial and more equitable global economy.
In such an economy, companies could profit, and people’s lives and livelihoods would improve dramatically – including through greater development of localized ecosystems, distribution networks, etc., to fulfill growing needs. (Plus, we’d fulfill what the Lord asks us to do in Matthew 25 and elsewhere.)
Prahalad’s strategy even called for collaboration with NGOs (which included Faith-Based Organizations) to help bring ideas and solutions to life around the world and in hard-to-navigate places in the world. Based on Prahalad’s thinking, the Church’s vast footprint, network of people and their giftedness and affiliations, and existing resources could be deployed under new “business models” where all parties participate in innovatively bringing new solutions to the world and all such parties share in the gains. (Note, I experienced some of this first-hand when the Diocese of Norwich enabled my reach across Haiti and my support of several organizations caring for Haitian people.)
After studying Prahalad, I began pursuing my own research to identify potential, highly efficacious strategies that we could affect to make such an impact.
My research approach has since led to my serving and supporting global ministries in some of the world’s poorest communities with impactful innovations – including the Father Joseph Network, Wynne Farm and L’Arc-en-Ciel Orphanage, in Haiti; Father Fred’s Ecogenesis, in the Philippines; and Daughters of Wisdom, in Malawi.
Much of my service work has been done via the Global Institute For Transformation (GIFT), a 501(c)(3) cross-denominational ministry; and via our affiliated, for-profit company Lifestyle Management International, Inc. (LMI), established for collaborative innovation and development, tax compliance, and competitive fairness. I’d love for these entities to take on a more resourced life of their own and scale the work being done.
Gordon: What exactly was the genesis of GIFT?
Tim: Importantly, GIFT wasn’t my idea. While driving down the road contemplating other ministerial plans, I received a near-audible thought: “GIFT. Everything’s a GIFT. What is the Church but a Global Institute For Transformation (a GIFT)!”
I immediately saw the value and tremendous potential in the brand proposition, especially if GIFT could come along side Church and ministry entities and help enable their impact. And I felt I was being given an opportunity to put my career and life experience to work in a more direct manner of impacting lives spiritually and materially.
I checked the trademark database and the web and found out that the brand didn’t yet exist. So. I quickly created GIFT as a 501(c)(3) cross-denominational ministry dedicated to Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and to supporting other ministries.
After I created multiple solutions, GIFT was acknowledged as consistent with Church teaching and valuable by a priest in Omaha; and he pursued and received the “enthusiastic” endorsement of GIFT by Omaha Archbishop Elden Curtiss. Archbishop Curtiss recognized GIFT’s focus on developing and deploying innovations in Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, and he expressed in writing, “GIFT is sorely needed.”
I see GIFT as a unifying and empowering brand proposition. GIFT has become focused on supporting and working through the Church’s vast network of ministerial organizations, and our group of concerned Christians would love to do even more to support these entities and their constituents.
Gordon: What are some of the things you’ve been doing through GIFT and LMI?
Tim: Through GIFT and LMI, a number of concerned individuals and I have been providing unique nutrition, clean energy, and economic development solutions. This has included developing innovative solutions for poor farmers and their starving families and communities. Much of our work has been in collaboration with other ministries globally.
We’ve helped ministries in Haiti, Malawi, and the Philippines grow and take advantage of Orange Flesh Sweet Potatoes and their Edible Leaves more effectively.
In support of Father Fred’s Ecogensis in the Philippines, we’ve enabled the deployment of a solar array to serve the ministry and its community center, a solar-powered water pump, and a food dryer to help them preserve, manufacture and market various products. And we’re prepared to bring similar clean energy resources and solutions to the L’Arc-en-Ciel orphanage for children impacted by Aids in Haiti, once the situation calms down there.
The Daughters of Wisdom has had tremendous success with the Orange Flesh Sweet Potato and their Edible leaves -- their latest harvest yielded 13,000 pounds of potatoes.
GIFT has also been very involved in creating and providing Spiritual resources and campaigns to help build faith formation and faith fervency. Our intent is to help people find in prayerful Scripture reflection the motivation to allow the Holy Spirit to transform their lives, so we’ll all live and love more like Jesus and “re-present” the face of Christ to this hurting and sinful world.
GIFT’s Spiritual content has received Imprimaturs and an Ecclesiastical Permission. This Church-approved content affirms Catholic teaching and helps build faith fervency, while purposefully utilizing unifying NIV® Bible text to engage and support Protestants, Catholics and individuals with no religious affiliation or orientation. GIFT seeks to fulfill Jesus’ expressed want that His Church be united.
To this end, the content addresses perspectives from across a mosaic of differing denominational views for everyone to consider and benefit from in their faith walks.
GIFT has worked to affect Spiritual Works of Mercy and to help both Christians and non-Christians consider key Scripture concepts and make an assessment of critical issues:
Celebrating God as our Creator via “Celebrate Our Creator” curriculum and materials, (which directly addresses a key reason youth leave the Church – their solely accepting evolution vs. appreciating the Creation of our world by our all-powerful, magnificent and loving God)
Conveying Matthew 25’s Parable of the Final Judgment to children in a fun manner via our “Sheep & Goat Go To The Ice Cream Parlor” book. This book was covered on Catholic TV. (This teaching is what Pope Francis said was the key thing we must learn: “What must we do, Father? If you want to know what you actually have to do, read Matthew Chapter 25, which is the standard by which we will be judged.”)
Developing and providing Scripture artwork and a coffee-table book, “The Secret To Being A Happy Camper” which covers:
Affirming Mary’s solemnity and unparalleled value to humanity as a Holy, Humble and Obedient (H2O) vessel (and model) that God would use to bring the “Living Water” of Christ to this hurting and sinful world (a model all Christians can follow)
Encouraging all people to evaluate the existence of Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, by rendering the Discourse on the Eucharist in John, Chapter 6
Acknowledging that we’re saved by Grace and not by Works, but sharing that we’re also called explicitly to do good works in accordance with God’s will and to turn away from selfishness and sin
Highlighting that Church teaching-- in addition to Scripture -- brings essential value in our Spiritual walk
Celebrating that God, in His infinite wisdom and incredible design for the world, established the wonder of Holy Matrimony
Addressing an example of horrific food waste in the $700 million that the U. S. spends annually on Halloween pumpkins (what’s really food, that just gets thrown out), while food pantries go empty before Thanksgiving and people are starving globally. We’ve created an awareness-generating and fundraising campaign, “The Great Pumpkin Food Fight – Fighting For Those Who Need Food.” This campaign provides an iconic rendering of our current, seeming indifference to waste and hunger and offers a simple strategy going forward to address hunger here and around the world. This was also covered on CatholicTV
Providing insights on what’s involved in lives being transformed so we’ll live and love like Christ and “re-present” the face of Jesus to this hurting and sinful world -- via a “Spiritual Transformation Guide” (which received an Ecclesiastical Permission)
Encouraging faith fervency via a Bible study on the Parable of the Sower – which was developed after being encouraged by a leader at the USCCB Secretariat for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs. This “Spiritual Transformation Path” focuses on the importance of the seed (Word of God) growing in good soil (a good heart), which requires ‘humus” (the root word of Humility). GIFT has provided this study with the global farming support we’ve provided ministries we’ve worked with, where we provided soil test kits and taught farmers to test the soil for higher yields. (And even as I reflect on this now, I know I must more fully acknowledge that God’s gifts, guidance and provisions are what have enabled all my work, and I may still be far too proudful regarding how I view my own role in achieving my career impacts, GIFT solutions, etc. Yes, we must act on what God guides us in doing, but we must acknowledge that He gives us so much to work with and helps orchestrate so much!)
GIFT has worked with church groups: provided Faith Formation at an Archdiocesan Youth Spectacular; led Parish Days of Reflection; coordinated readings of the “Sheep & Goat Go To The Ice Cream Parlor” book about Matthew 25 with Catholic school classes and a local Protestant church’s community outreach; run Vacation Bible School Celebrate Our Creator curriculum events; supplied healthier Mediterranean-style food as an alternative to donuts after Masses; and conducted “The Great Pumpkin Food Fight” fundraisers.
It’s heartwarming that GIFT content has been covered twice on Catholic TV and received the endorsement of an Archbishop, multiple Monsignors and CatholicMom. Because GIFT’s goal is to support the Church as specified in the Document on the Laity, “All of the faithful are called in various ways to share in the Church’s mission of announcing the reign of God and transforming the world in the light of Christ.”
My Spiritual Director even had me send GIFT’s Spiritual content and descriptions of our global work and impacts to Pope Francis to alert him to the domestic and global work we’re doing in Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
I believe more can and must be done amid such pressing Spiritual and material needs domestically and globally and amid deteriorating conditions surrounding Church attendance, participation in the Sacraments, and the Church’s societal acceptance and influence. Ideally, GIFT and its resources can help in many ways, including potentially integrating with the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and Synod of Bishops’ engaging of Laity. I’d also like GIFT to encourage others in putting their gifts to work for the Church and our brothers and sisters – as a gift back to God. It won’t be perfect, but it could be helpful.
Gordon: How did your faith experience at Seton Hall University, a Catholic Institution, guide you in launching and curating your career and in your life?
Tim: Seton Hall challenged me and encouraged me to see everything from a Godly perspective, which also entails a Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy perspective.
From my religious coursework at SHU, I recall a class in which we were asked to close our eyes and imagine being seated in an empty gymnasium next to someone who was unkind to us or causing us difficulties -- and to consider how we felt toward that person.
Next, we were asked to imagine Jesus walking into the room and sitting between the two of us -- and then to reconsider how we felt toward that person. For me, I could only consider the other person as my brother/sister in Christ, with love.
This was a powerful, life-long insight on internalizing and sharing God’s universal love, forgiveness, and concern with all our brothers and sisters nearby and around the world.
Interestingly, my professor and mentor at SHU also gave me wonderful advice on the day of my graduation. He encouraged me with the thought, “Just remember this: the happiest people in the world are those who can laugh at themselves.” This encouraged me not to take myself too seriously, and I’ve since given myself many related reasons to experience happiness. This seemingly superficial philosophy has actually encouraged me to pursue bigger challenges, including those that would even seem unattainable; knowing that the worst thing that can happen is: I’ll have more to laugh at.
Gordon: You experienced a shocking loss and reframing of your life immediately after graduating from Seton Hall. Please tell us about this and its influence on you.
Importantly, the foundational teachings I received from Seton Hall – including while serving as a Chapel Sacristan setting up Masses on many mornings – prepared me for the shocking reframing of my life that would occur immediately after my graduation.
One month after graduation, I sat at the hospital bedside of my identical twin -- a just-commissioned Army Second Lieutenant -- in an Army Medical Center, as he passed away from a heatstroke he suffered while on maneuvers.
In experiencing Stephen’s incredible loss, I never became angry with God. Rather, I realized God had given me a great gift, and that the reason his loss hurt so very much was that the gift of his life was so great. I also came to appreciate that everything and everyone – and everything we’re enabled to do -- is a gift. (I’ve often shared this sentiment with others who have endured the loss of a loved one.) I also realized that Steve would be more intimately experiencing God’s love, wonder and joy – with no pain – and I really didn’t want to deny him that to satisfy my want to have him here with me.
I also realized that we’ll all face our own final moments on Earth. And I came to believe that we’ll all need be in the right relationship with God when we reach this final, inevitable moment. I came to view this as life’s most important consideration. This realization has influenced how I’ve spent my time, energy, and resources, including in launching GIFT. Others may not agree, but through moments like this, such issues surface and need to be reckoned with – so we might as well reconcile with this issue on a regular basis.
Also, while Steve lay dying, we heard a Sunday Homily from 2 Timothy 4, that not only spoke of Saint Paul finishing his race and receiving a merited crown, but also included Paul’s admonition to Timothy to preach the Word in a world that had turned away from the truth to follow what their itching ears wanted to hear. This impacted me more than I realized then. Perhaps all this crystalized as a calling in the formation of GIFT.
Importantly, I had been given comforting experiences witnessing God’s active presence in our lives, not long before Steve passed away, which could have helped ease my pain:
When Steve registered his first car at the Motor Vehicle Department, he was given – over the counter, as simply the next person in line -- a license plate with “US” (e.g.: twin) and the number that’s the date of our birth on it. There weren’t specialty license plates at the time. Consider the odds of this occurring? I petitioned the MVD for his plate, and I now have this license plate number on my car. I’m often reminded of God’s providence, love, and discreet care in our lives.
Also, the day we learned of Steve’s heatstroke, I experienced God’s wonder and gifts in a personally impactful way. As I left my home, I was approached by a squirrel that looked up at me in a manner that compelled me to go back into the house and get a piece of bread to feed him. He ate it very quickly, right from my hand. So, I got another piece of bread and fed him that as well. And I immediately began praising God for His awesome Creation and for all the gifts which He had given us to enjoy.
Here's a related sidebar regarding seeing God’s continual, comforting hand in our lives:
Nearly forty years after Steve passed away, my son joined the Air Force. He sought to serve in procurement or supply chain management. But he had an EMT certificate, so the Air Force placed him in the medical field. Astoundingly, they stationed my son in the exact same Army hospital that my brother and I were in. This hospital base has since become a joint Army-Air Force Base, and God has had my son serving hurting soldiers and their families, just as we were so compassionately served immediately after I graduated college. The military had zero knowledge of this history. Consider the odds of my son ending up serving in the very same hospital ward my twin and I were in. To me, it’s another comforting illustration of God’s active, intimate and meaningful presence in our lives.
Throughout my life, I’ve seen God’s presence and power manifested in providential occurrences, which has caused my faith in God to grow and to explode with incredible joy. In fact, I’ve repeatedly seen God working with us to affect His will. And I want to share these wonderful encounters of God’s love with as many people as possible.
These realizations and touching impacts -- which I believe my time at Seton Hall prepared me to appreciate -- would come to frame much of what I think about and do.
Regarding all of us facing a final moment, I’m hoping GIFT resources and planned venues can engage all those not coming to Church and help them fully appreciate all God’s wonder and be transformed by the Spirit to ultimately know, love, and live like Christ.
Gordon: What was your first career position, what did you learn there, and what has been its influence on you today?
Tim: My first job was a copywriting role in a three-person advertising agency. I was able use my education in research and communications in conveying the meeting of unmet needs; in product differentiation and surpassing competition; and in selling benefits vs. simply touting features. This helped me help my clients and the agency succeed.
Of note: I had the restaurant owned by the hockey great Gordie Howe (Mr. Hockey) as a client, which exposed me to expertise, potential, success – and humility and Godliness.
I’ve spent a little time learning about Gordie. He was a great model for a professional life – and for life itself.
He was once described as loving God and always crediting God for his gifts. It’s been said that, “He changed people’s lives.”
Gordie appeared to be a very personable and selfless sports hero. His eulogy described him as “an animal on the rink, a saint off it” and “the epitome of humility.” And it noted, “lessons we can learn from Mr. Howe are how to be gracious and share our gifts.”
During the taping of a radio commercial we once did together, Gordie asked me to join him and his wife, Colleen, as an Amway representative, but I turned him down to focus more on advancing solutions.
The ad agency job turned out to be a great experience, as I wore many hats. It introduced me to more leaders. Importantly, it exposed me to unmet needs and to seeking the best solutions for addressing them. It was an eye-opener and foundational enabler. So, I probably didn’t lose out too badly by not accepting Gordie’s kind offer.
That initial job led to more advertising work at several agencies.
Once I was tasked with the development of advertising for the Hartford Archdiocese to introduce RENEW, to bring people back to the Church, and to evangelize. I loved this! This certainly encouraged my ongoing development of cross-denominational Spiritual encouragement.
Regarding my Spiritual content pursuits, I’m also reminded that had I read a book about Gordie’s life and learned that his choice for best man at his wedding was disallowed, as that man was Catholic, and the wedding was in a Presbyterian Church. That sad event for Gordie and Colleen Howe stuck with me and may be part of the reason I’m now working to affect greater unity across Christian faiths – and because it’s likely a house divided against itself will fall, as Jesus foretold in Mark 3:25 and Matthew 12:25.
Sadly, I fear that Jesus’ prediction of a fractured Church’s losing its influence could be coming to fruition – at least in the U. S. and in other developed nations. I believe we must pursue a more unified approach and more fully engage – and soon. There’s strength in numbers, and the collective Church body is composed of ~2.5 billion people. What might help is if the Church could lead a more unified, collaborative approach such as was modeled in the Apollo Program. And I’ve been trying to help with this via GIFT.
It’s important to prayerfully reflect upon and seek solutions to the research that says: just a minority of the U. S. professes affiliation to any denomination or local Church; we’re in the midst of a severe, long-term decline in Church attendance, and particularly among our youth; participation in the Sacraments has plummeted; there’s been a huge growth in behaviors and lifestyles that are inconsistent with Biblical and Church teaching; and there’s less belief in Christian or Catholic truths, in sin and in hell among society.
It should also be noted that the Synod on Evangelization in 2012 concluded, “A new evangelization means that the Church must convincingly sustain her efforts at uniting all Christians in a common witness to the world of the prophetic and ‘transforming power’ of the Gospel message.“
As such, I’ve been working through GIFT to create a unifying ministry and provide compelling Christian content that can be accepted, used and valued by Catholics and Protestants in common witness to the transforming power of the Gospel.
In reaching out to and supporting people Spiritually, I don’t ever want to judge, condemn or think less highly of anyone. Rather, I want to help people assess and deal with whether they’ll experience a final moment where they will face God, just as I watched my twin as he went through his final moment. And if so, I’d like to encourage, comfort, and urge them to live a life worthy of God – and to help equip them in doing so.
Gordon: What is your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
Tim: I’m currently serving as a Director of Sustainability and Energy Efficiency in an energy services company. I’ve focused the firm toward applying its overall expertise in addressing Sustainability and the growing movement toward ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance issues) with the latest technologically-enabled solutions. I’ve helped lead the compilation of a “Roadmap Toward Net Zero” portfolio of sustainability and efficiency solutions, including a suite of solutions no other organization is offering across energy supply; renewables; storage; EV charging; conservation measures; demand response technology; and other solutions
This sustainable portfolio includes HVAC ventilation filtration that safely cleans a facility’s indoor air, improves air quality, and dramatically reduces the need to take in and condition outside air -- avoiding much of the need to cool extremely hot air during summer heatwaves or to heat extremely cold air during winter vortexes. This technology is helping organizations save lots of money, energy and GHGs -- including reducing the disproportionately dirtier emissions from peaker power plants that get turned on to meet society’s peeking demand. BTW: this technology we’re representing has repeatedly received acclamation by many expert organizations.
This portfolio also includes an Energy Information System, Internet of Things connectivity, and Analytics for smarter buildings and smarter manufacturing, for such benefits as optimizing energy intensity and energy-per-unit-produced; reducing downtime and idle electric loads for greater profitability; managing efficiency strategies to lower usage and costs; enabling the facility’s active response to stressful conditions and dirtier emissions in the grid to earn income. All of which can not only improve the environment but can also improve cash flow and overall financial performance, help extend the useful life of the equipment and enable greater competitiveness and growth.
Importantly, an EIS is critical to Sustainability, as it provides the means to “know and control how, when and at what cost facilities use energy – and emit GHGs.” And only with this insight can facilities truly plan to affect more efficacious energy procurement, conservation measures and renewable energy solutions.
Gordon: Why should managing electricity loads and grid emissions matter to Catholics in their workplaces and lives?
Tim: Pope Francis, in Laudato Si’ called out the issue of Air Conditioning – although he didn’t explicitly reference the peaker plants that get turned on and emit greater GHGs.
The Pope’s Encyclical noted, “The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious, not only because God has entrusted the world to us men and women, but because human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement. Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies.”
“…on the national and local levels, much still needs to be done, such as promoting ways of conserving energy. These would include favouring forms of industrial production with maximum energy efficiency and diminished use of raw materials, removing from the market products which are less energy efficient or more polluting, improving transport systems, and encouraging the construction and repair of buildings aimed at reducing their energy consumption and levels of pollution.”
“People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more.”
“A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning. The markets, which immediately benefit from sales, stimulate ever greater demand. An outsider looking at our world would be amazed at such behaviour, which at times appears self-destructive.”
It should be noted that without Air Conditioning, more will suffer heat strokes and death, but AC needs to be better managed – and it can be through filtration and IoT controls.
Now that the Laudato Si’ Action Platform has been introduced, I believe every Catholic institution would benefit from helping pursue facility management, energy efficiency and sustainability strategies similar to those we’re affecting that address AC and emissions.
Gordon: You have been involved in helping reduce some of the dirtiest electricity grid emissions, including emissions coming from Air Conditioning; why does this matter to you so much; and why should it matter to the rest of us?
Tim: This situation is growing in concern for humanity, but fortunately there are solutions.
An example of why this matters occurred in Boston during a 5-day heatwave this past summer. Boston-area electricity grid emissions put 36 million extra pounds of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, due to all the dirtier power plants being turned on to meet peak demand, driven in large part by Air Conditioning. In NYC, peaker plants emit 2x as much carbon dioxide per unit of electricity than regular power plants and 20x as much nitrogen oxides, all of which harms our planet and results in high rates of asthma, heart disease, and cancer. In fact, in peaker-plant areas, the asthma emergency room visit rate among children ages 5 to 17 is reportedly nearly triple the broader citywide rate. It’s also been reported that AC use during heatwaves actually increases the temperature of surrounding areas by 2o F or more, which can exacerbate heatwave impacts and lead to more people suffering heat strokes and dying. Heatstroke deaths have been increasing and show that AC is needed, but it needs to be better managed.
The AC load and its disproportionately higher emissions can be managed through 1) facilities safely reducing outside air intake -- which reduces HVAC system usage, cost and emissions and even can reduce the sizing and costs of unit retrofits or new construction, all while delivering similar cooling capacity – and 2) by using persistent load control IT that enables cycling of AC units.
The need to avert the electricity grid’s peak load and peaker plants’ harmful emissions is recognized by many industry leaders. I’m working to share and act on this knowledge. Ideally, this strategy could become part of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform solutions. Maybe some additional technical details would help put this in perspective regarding available resources and help enable addressing the Air Conditioning issues call out in Laudato Si’.
Since 2008, I’ve been developing and deploying Internet of Things (IoT) technology and Analytics that lowers peak electricity demand and that identifies and addresses the real-time impact of the dirtier generation supply mix that gets turned on to meet peak usage. And the technology has become refined over the years to be able to make a real impact.
I was asked to present these issues during a MIT Energy Forum, and I’ve presented at state Public Utility Commissions regarding minimizing society’s peak electricity load, to combat the increasing number and intensification of climate events and stresses.
I once had the opportunity to meet with a prior Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), who acknowledged in writing that the IOT and Analytics solutions I was developing could be more efficacious than smart meters in affecting much-needed peak load management, and he offered his support in advancing this technology. He later helped advance this to a state utility commission.
In 2015, I was honored to be recognized as a “Smart Grid Pioneer,” one of 50 globally, for the innovation and deployment of IoT and Analytics for use in peak load mitigation and peak emissions reduction. The award highlighted IT’s ability to help make an impact.
In 2017 and 2018, utilities in the Northeast funded demonstration projects that fully paid for deployments of this peak demand reduction strategy and technology at the region’s top corporations, two high schools, and many other mid-size businesses.
Today, the portfolio we’re advancing includes an Energy Information System, Internet of Things connectivity and Analytics for peak load control -- as well as “addressable” conservation measures, renewables and storage – will ultimately enable what’s called, “Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings (GEB). GEB is a key sustainability strategy.
The portfolio also provides real-time peaker-plant emissions data monitoring -- vs. the commonly used, “eGRID” emissions data that’s composed of averaged and dated data that’s not actionable. Our portfolio provides real-time., actionable emissions data vs. static data – coupled with load control technology -- in order to enable reducing loads during periods of more harmful emissions. This data has also supported cleaner EV Charging, and it will help facilities be responsive in reducing emissions as well.
We’re also advancing Smart Manufacturing, with plant-floor monitoring and management technology to identify and optimize energy-per-unit-produced, a key sustainability metric.
We’re reducing building loads via both HVAC ventilation filtration and persistent load management, so we can also help enable the “electrification” of building HVAC systems – replacing natural gas systems and their emissions -- through significantly reduced HVAC asset sizes. (In a Library, we’re reducing the size of a chiller retrofit from 100 tons to 70 tons.) This is important given today’s grid capacity to handle loads in some areas.
And as our nation moves to electrify both buildings and transportation with more and more EV charging sites, we have to be mindful of the grid’s ability to handle the added electric loads – which can be limited. Being able to reduce HVAC usage and sizing will be critical to short-term electrification, to grid resiliency, and to climate stewardship.
Gordon: Beyond Laudato Si’s emphasis on Air Conditioning, another practical matter it surfaces is Agribusiness. Can you talk about this and what you’re doing to affect gains in this sector?
Tim: There is overlap in the latest technology used for climate mitigation and energy efficiency (smart building IoT and Analytics) and in technology that can satisfy Laudato Si’s admonition to address poverty and hunger issues. While researching Laudato Si’, I saw the correlation and the applicability of IoT in affecting multiple global solutions, starting with IoT in smart agribusiness to improve yields and enable greater ecosystems. Importantly, Caritas en Veritate also raised the need to focus on global agribusiness.
Laudato Si’ references, “Agriculture in poorer regions can be improved through investment in rural infrastructures, a better organization of local or national markets, systems of irrigation, and the development of techniques of sustainable agriculture. New forms of cooperation and community organization can be encouraged in order to defend the interests of small producers and preserve local ecosystems from destruction. Truly, much can be done!”
Due to my involvement in smart grid/smart building technology, I was able to research and engage agribusiness technology. I encountered a global supercomputing operation, and their work in smart farming, and I reached out and forged a collaboration with them. With their involvement as a foundation, other parties have become engaged in the pursuit of a strategy that can improve farming yields globally and help affect ecosystems that could comprise using crops, crop damage and food processing waste to support many industries, including food and beverage, bioplastics, biofuels and pharmaceuticals.
Gordon: What is the greatest impact your faith has had upon you and your work?
Tim: I have been given the opportunity to see God work in extraordinary ways, as I’ve been prompted and equipped to use the gifts God has given me in the service to God, to the Church, and to my brothers and sisters in Christ.
One of my most valued faith learnings has been in Matthew 25 – the Parable of the Final Judgment, regarding our need to care for our brothers and sisters in need, here and around the world. E.g.: “I was hungry and you gave me food… inherit the kingdom of prepared for you…” But unfortunately, I fear that we/I may be taking too much solace and pride in our response to this Parable.
Sadly, there are far too many of our brothers and sisters suffering globally in many ways, including nearly a billion hungry people. (Pope Francis has lamented that there’s too much isolation and indifference associated with this.) I fear that since we know this level of horrific hunger exists, yet we’re essentially accepting of this reality, we may hear Jesus tell us on our final judgment, “for I was hungry and you gave me no food… depart from me and into the eternal fire prepared for Satan and his angels.”
But regardless of our judgment fate, I know that if I were one of the people who’s starving, or a father of children who are starving, I’d welcome someone trying to help, trying to “re-present” the face of Christ and His love amid their suffering and needs.
In fact, once when I was checking into a hotel while we all watched the “Arab Spring” happening on the TV set behind the desk, the man checking me in asked “Do you know why this is happening?” I replied “no.” He continued, “I’m from the Philippines, and if a father has one can of tuna to give his children each day, he’s happy. But he doesn’t.” His words motivate me to this day to help other fathers get food, as my children did.
(NOTE: as someone who has sold and led sales teams, I know what it is to “represent” a product that I’ve never had to actually use myself. But as Christians, we’re called to “re-present” Jesus to the world, selflessly and sacrificially being the face, hands and heart of Christ to those suffering or struggling Spiritually. Catholics should appreciate that their believe in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist can help further empower them to actually make a more profound impact.)
Pope Francis once noted in his remarks during World Food Day, 2013, “It is a scandal that there is still hunger and malnutrition in the world! The data provided by FAO indicates that approximately one third of the global production of food is not available due to increasing loss and wastefulness. Wasting food is only one of the fruits of the “culture of waste” which often leads to sacrificing men and women to the idols of profit and consumption. It is a sad sign of the “globalization of indifference” which slowly leads us to grow “accustomed” to the suffering of others, as though it were normal,” noted Pope Francis at an FAO meeting, World Food Day, 2013.
As noted previously, one of the programs I’ve created at the Global Institute For Transformation (GIFT) ministry focuses on the recapturing the $700 million we spend on pumpkins that only get thrown out (wasted as the Holy Father noted) while food pantries are empty, and people go hungry. Beyond a fundraising campaign, it’s an awareness-generating campaign. Called, “The Great Pumpkin Food Fight – Fighting For Those Who Need Food,” we encourage people to stop wasting by using a visual of a pumpkin in their holiday decorations and to donate what they would have spent on pumpkins to local food pantries or toward addressing global starvation. Or should they still elect to buy a pumpkin, to match what they spend on pumpkins to help fight hunger and use the pumpkin as food vs. just throw it out. I see this as a powerful, iconic opportunity that could remind people year after year of those who are suffering and of our need not to be indifferent. This is an example of how our faith coupled with knowledge can encourage Godly thinking and guide our actions in small but valuable ways.
Gordon: You seem to believe so much more is possible than what we’re currently doing. Why is that?
Tim: I’ve taken to heart Jesus’ admonition in John 14:12-13: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
In fact, given our access to the Eucharist and Christ’s Real Presence living in us, and with the gifts we’ve been given (including knowledge, experiences, technology, networks, etc.), I believe we can do far more than we currently challenge ourselves to do, considering the Lord, Himself, can guide, enable and equip our actions and impacts.
Especially as we step out in faith, selflessly and sacrificially, to serve Him, His plan for humanity, His Church, and His children here and around the world.
But it’s not up to us alone. God is active and very much in control of this world, and He has repeatedly demonstrated this to me. And this is why I believe we can do so much more than is currently getting done on multiple fronts.
Consider these manifestations of God’s providence that I’ve witnessed:
God used me to deliver a set of bicycles to a refugee family as an answer to the mom’s prayers, the very moment they came to Chicago O’Hare airport from Bosnia. When first explaining their upcoming relocation to the U. S. to her children, the widow mom had comforted her kids with the incentive, “Maybe when we get to America, I can get you a bike;” and she began praying to God for bikes. But she never told anyone else. And God had me fulfill this prayer immediately upon their arrival, in the garage at O’Hare Airport.
I was also the delivery person bringing socks to a homeless shelter in the dead of winter – unplanned and unannounced -- the very second the shelter’s administrator was telling a visitor, “It’s hard to get enough underwear and socks.” This timing “coincidence” occurred after our driving all across Chicagoland picking up socks, only to arrive just when the administrator would voice his lament. When pressed, the administrator noted he came from the streets himself, and he had been on his knees praying for socks. In further conversation with the administrator, my colleague and I began explaining that another colleague of ours wanted to provide refurbished and internet-enabled computers (at the onset of the Internet) to all area homeless shelters, so they could network among each other and share resources. But the administrator graciously declined the offer saying, “Thanks, but I have to decline; I’m already networked. I pray, and socks come in.” In reflecting on all this, I realized I had just been under God’s guidance, and once again, he had used me to answer prayer with His incredibly pertinent love and solutions.
I also saw our facilitation of the purchase of a house in Zimbabwe -- for use as a Sudanese-refugee orphanage -- enabled through the foreign exchange rate suddenly increasing many times its typical rate. This made our previously insufficient funds instantaneously sufficient for the purchase. Just in time to meet the payment deadline in the real estate contract. Once the transaction was executed, we observed the exchange system shutting down; and upon its reopening, the exchange rate went back to its original level. Could God have affected the global currency exchange? It appears like that’s what happened, and that I witnessed, again, God’s sovereignty, power, and love.
Gordon: You noted that in your growth presentation to the Clinton White House you covered Supply Chain Management; how can today’s supply delivery challenges be reduced?
Tim: It’s important to realize that COVID-19 has disrupted supply and delivery globally. And many people are doing without key provisions globally. What’s needed more than ever is a new focus on more sustainable, resilient, and localized supply and delivery ecosystems.
Of particular note, COVID and the related shutdowns caused horrific setbacks in the quest to reduce hunger and poverty. In 2020, it’s estimated that up to 811 million people worldwide faced hunger — ~160 million more people than in 2019. The World Bank also estimates that 97 million people across the globe fell into extreme poverty due to the pandemic in 2020, all living on less than $2 a day.”
We’re called to help address hunger and poverty, but we were falling short even before COVID, and now we’ve fallen further behind.
In fact, Pope Francis called out the “glaring inequalities” and our “indifference,” when he asked, ”Do we take refuge in a universal love that would embrace the whole world while failing to see the Lazarus sitting before our closed doors?”
Even before Pope Francis raised these concerns, Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Caritas in Veritate, “The scandal of glaring inequalities continues.”
In fact, Caritas in Veritate referenced the resources available to address these problems and virtually eliminated excuses for not affecting greater impacts in these areas of need:
”What is (still) missing is a network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to sufficient food and water for nutritional needs. The problem of food insecurity needs to be addressed… promoting the agricultural development of poorer countries.
It could be useful to consider the new possibilities that are opening up through proper use of traditional as well as innovative farming techniques...
The right to food, like the right to water, has an important place within the pursuit of other rights, beginning with the fundamental right to life. It is therefore necessary to cultivate a public conscience that considers food and access to water as universal rights of all human beings, without distinction or discrimination…
The significant new elements in the picture of the development of peoples today in many cases demand new solutions.”
But God is still the all-powerful, sovereign, and loving God who cares and can provide, providing we’re willing to work with Him.
It’s worth repeating that Laudato Si’ references, “Agriculture in poorer regions can be improved through investment in rural infrastructures, a better organization of local or national markets, systems of irrigation, and the development of techniques of sustainable agriculture. New forms of cooperation and community organization can be encouraged in order to defend the interests of small producers and preserve local ecosystems from destruction. Truly, much can be done!”
What I had presented to the White House back then regarding Supply Chain Management could be applicable today. I proposed that corporations and government entities could benefit from forging deeper partnerships with suppliers, including with such strategies as exchanging expertise and ideas for mutual improvement; providing funding and/or access to capital at more favorable costs and terms reflective of the prime organization’s clout; sharing resources, risks and rewards, technologies, and visibility into operations and operational improvements; jointly establishing, managing to and reporting on key performance indicators; extending contract lengths to enable suppliers to make better investments in critical areas and to enable suppliers to negotiate their own supply arrangements on more favorable terms; jointly pursuing improved second-tier supplier purchasing agreements and supplier diversity arrangements; etc. Today, developing and managing to sustainability metrics could be added to this list.
Today, I’m seeking to support poor farmers and their communities globally with food and other innovations from Orange Flesh Sweet Potatoes and their Edible Leaves, using smart farming technology to not only improve yields, but to also establish metrics and management of entirely new ecosystems and business models. E.g.: today’s business model -- wherein all the burdens are now being borne entirely by farmers – can be replaced with a new business model that shares burdens, resources, risks and returns across multiple collaborators and amid a greatly expanded value chain, ecosystem and value stream, and all managed, tracked and equitably rewarded through technology.
Gordon: How have you helped the largest companies across multiple industries? And what does this have to do with Catholic Social Justice?
Tim: I supported the majority of these top organizations with technology innovations for reducing their energy usage, costs, and emissions and for improving their sustainability, as defined previously regarding answering key Laudato Si’ concerns over Air Conditioning.
For one of these companies, beyond providing energy technology, I also helped advance Smart Solar Farm Irrigation in India, where there is a great need for increased farm production due to extremely high levels of starvation and poverty (and farmer suicides) and a great need for precision irrigation given the extensive water crises throughout the country.
Importantly, for a top global sporting goods company, I helped them explore opportunities to replace fossil-fuel-based polyester apparel with bioplastics-based apparel. In the process, what I discovered was that there is currently far too little biomaterial to enable a transition away from biofuels, but that the crop damage and processing waste of Orange Flesh Sweet Potato could be used to create biomaterials that might fit the bill and could ultimately help reduce the company’s dependence on fossil fuel-generated polyester.
If this biomaterial and bioplastic effort were deployed, the company would also enable reducing global hunger and farmer and community poverty -- as they essentially invest in crop damage and processing waste and simultaneously provide more food for starving people and more income for struggling farmers.
In this world where we need to replace fossil fuels in countless applications across transportation, utensils, bottling, packaging, apparel, and components, there appears to be far too little “2nd-generation” biomaterial. (2nd-generation biomaterial is bio-feedstock that isn’t produced by taking food away from people’s mouths, such as currently occurs with corn-based ethanol, but rather is biomaterial from waste or other non-food sources.)
The potential of OFSP’s considerable propagation, crop damage, and processing wastes enabling 2nd-generation biomaterial feedstock offers hope that we can make a successful transition away from fossil fuels, and farmers and their surrounding communities could benefit from the increased foods and holistic sources of income.
Interestingly, Toyota has produced plastic car parts from OFSP for its more sustainable models. Plus, OFSP has been proven to also support the production of bioethanol and biohydrogen as well as lithium-ion battery anodes and oxytetracycline.
Imagine all the ecosystems and corresponding economic impacts that such a holistic, cross-cutting, and collaborative strategy could fulfill. And realize how this strategy could satisfy Catholic Social Justice Teaching, Vatican and Papal admonitions, and other Church and Biblical guidance on how we can reciprocate to God for all his gifts, transform our world, and “re-present” and become the face of Christ to our hurting world.
Gordon: Please provide an overview of your work in India, how it started and where it can go.
Tim: Following my work advancing smart, precision solar irrigation in India, I was able to also engage in pursuing the advancement of Orange Flesh Sweet Potatoes and their Edible Leaves in that country.
But first, this all started when I was asked by a farmer I was supporting in Ethiopia -- to whom our GIFT ministry had delivered a manual “KickStart” irrigation pump -- “Now that I can continuously grow across all seasons of the year, what should I grow?”
Through conducting research, I was able to unearth that Sweet Potato crops deliver the most nutrition per acre; require the least water footprint; have an exceptionally low carbon footprint; can grow yields 156% compared to traditional farming by using organic growing methods (thus requiring less fertilizer that damages waterways); and has seeds and vine cuttings that can propagate exponentially. Plus, the dual crop’s Edible Leaves provide incremental nutrition, which is uniquely beneficial in a world where many people don’t consume enough nutrients, especially those available through green vegetables.
I then thought to introduce this to our Parish’s Outreach To Haiti operation.
It helped that early in this process of identifying a strategy, God relocated a specialist from the US Department of Agriculture to our Parish, and he enabled us to overcome my agriculture inabilities. He taught me and our parish valuable strategies such as soil testing and making tools to enable easier propagation and replanting of sweet potato vine cuttings. We developed a test garden at our Church, had a harvest day similar to an Easter Egg Hunt that the children really loved, and donated the crop to the senior center.
I also learned by working with LSU that if you plant 120 potatoes as seeds and replant as much of the vine cuttings as possible that will grow over a four-month growing season -- and you also replant 10% of each vine’s potato harvest, and then you exercise the same process all over again for four full generations -- you can achieve a yield of over 12 million sweet potatoes along with edible leaves. (WOW! GOD AND HIS CREATION ARE AMAZING! The crops that all of us 8 billion people depend on show us this daily.)
Plus, my research indicated that along with that extremely bountiful OFSP and Leaves crop, you’ll end up with incremental crop damage of about 30% - 40% of the potato yield in addition to the edible/sellable harvest, which can be used for biomaterials. Furthermore, in processing the crop for chips, flour, or fries, there’s another ~23% processing waste that can also support biomaterials.
Additionally, I learned in my innovation work for the company that was seeking to reduce the use of fossil fuel now used in making their polyester apparel, that OFSP crop damage and processing wastes could be used for converting into plastics that offer promise for apparel, plus bioplastics overall, bioethanol, biohydrogen, lithium-ion battery anodes, and even oxytetracycline. I also saw how plastic replacement has become so very important, as research showed we’re now consuming a credit card of plastic micro-beads monthly!
Essentially, God has enabled me to see OFSP and Leaves production could represent a most-efficacious strategy to create global ecosystems for hunger relief, economic development, climate management – including fossil fuel reduction -- and more.
So, I’ve developed a strategy and began working with an accomplished group of collaborators to pursue the realization of all this potential.
While attending a Business Fights Poverty event in NYC, I ran into a member of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and explained our OFSP work and plans. She became very interested and introduced me to others in the organization who also took an interest in this cross-cutting opportunity, too.
The conclusion was that many parties have focused on OFSP’s nutritional impacts and Vitamin A deficiency prevention in particular, but few if any parties globally were focusing on building out a nutrition-smart, climate-smart agribusiness strategy, and holistic ecosystem to exploit all the crop’s potential for addressing hunger, poverty, climate change, clean water preservation, fossil fuel reduction, responsible production and more.
An SDSN leader viewed our strategy as a model of both cross-cutting UN Sustainable Development Goals fulfillment and SDG 17 collaboration, and she connected me with an India-based agribusiness, nutrition, energy, and biotechnology research institute to pursue affecting the total impacts possible in Sweet Potato and Leaves across India, a nation that’s struggling with malnutrition, poverty, and even farmer suicides.
Together, our India collaboration has developed a comprehensive plan for an OFSP and Leaves agribusiness that can deliver and document more efficacious midday meals to better meet the needs of starving children and to enable converting the crop damage and processing wastes into biofuels and bioplastics. Our team has the capacity and expertise required for doing all this. Including proven expertise in smart farming technology and IT services from a supercomputing group that can also enable new farming business models that reduce risks, remove burdens, and add considerable economic value potential to current smallholder farmer operations. And our leading partner in India brings considerable expertise across agriculture, food innovation and packaging, nutrition, market making, biomaterials production, and more. Plus, we’ve engaged with global experts in potatoes and sweet potatoes working in India to deploy new, government-approved sweet potato hybrids best suited for growing in India. We’re now seeking funding to launch this strategy and our team’s collaborative expertise.
Beyond my work with India’s experts on the OFSP and Leaves smart agribusiness and ecosystems, I’ve also been working with one of these expert parties to support building energy optimization, as this group is also leading national efforts to manage down their Air Conditioning load. I’ve introduced the same HVAC ventilation technology we’re representing in the U. S. to help reduce India’s energy consumption, costs, and emissions, and the group has begun introducing this technology to the building sector.
Gordon: You’ve mentioned the UN SDGs. Could you please tell us more about this?
Tim: The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – deemed “17 Goals To Transform Our World,” by 2030 – was enacted in 2015 and approved by all member nations of the UN and the Vatican. Anyone not familiar with the SDGs may want to become familiar with this groundbreaking initiative. The “Global Goals”, as they are often called, address essentially what we’re called to do by Jesus and in Catholic Teaching.
The SDGs include eliminating poverty and hunger, enabling wellbeing, reducing GHGs and managing climate risks, assuring access to clean energy and clean water, reducing fossil fuels, developing infrastructure and technology globally, assuring diversity and inclusion, and more.
In addition, COVID set back the fulfillment of many essential SDGs.
Unfortunately, I believe there has been too little discussion about this in the Church from what I have seen. And sadly, many of the great opportunities to impact humanity identified in the SDGs have taken a backseat to climate change initiatives and “ESG” pursuits for climate impact. It’s all needed! And we could simultaneously pursue all of it, as Laudato Si’ recommends and provides guidance for engaging all of us in doing this.
Unfortunately, I must also lament that I’ve heard several Catholics actually express concerns when hearing about the SDGs, voicing, “But didn’t the Lord say, the poor we would always have with us?” – rather than instantly embracing the potential of what could happen if we all aligned behind these goals, and if our Parishes, Dioceses and twinning communities were supported by concerned Laity in engaging with these goals?
Importantly, the SDGs are consistent with the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and could well become a part of Church activities. And conversely, engaging in the Laudato Si’ platform will enable fulfillment of the Laudato Si’ Goals.
The seven Laudato Si’ goals are:
1. Response to the Cry of the Earth – examples are reducing fossil fuel use, net zero carbon efforts and renewable energy, protecting biodiversity and providing access to clean water.
2. Response to the Cry of the Poor – examples are protection of human life and all forms of life, caring for vulnerable groups such as migrants, children at risk and indigenous peoples.
3. Ecological Economics – examples are Fair-trade, ethical purchasing, sustainable production, investment in renewable energy and divestment from damaging economic activities including those responsible for pollution, fossil fuels and those that harm people and communities.
4. Adoption of Simple Lifestyles – examples are reduction in consumption, reduction of use of energy, reduction of waste, reduction in use of plastics, reduction in the amount of meat eaten, use of public transport and avoiding pollution.
5. Ecological Education – examples are creating ecological awareness and action through embedding integral ecology in educational courses and institutions and encouraging the ecological vocation for learners, teachers and leaders.
6. Ecological Spirituality – examples are renewing our spiritual life through a greater interaction with God’s created world, encouraging ecological conversion to a caring stewardship of the earth and bringing that focus into liturgical practice, prayer and retreats.
7. Community Engagement and Participatory Action – examples are advocacy and campaigning from the local level to the international level, hands-on awareness of the local environment and protection of local ecosystems.
The Laudato Si’ Action Platform identifies tangible ways for Parishes, Dioceses, Universities and Catholic Organizations to engage in actions consistent with the SDGs.
The 17 SDGs are: (1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (10) Reduced Inequality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life On Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships for the Goals.
I believe that Matthew 25 and other Church teachings would encourage more Catholics to not only participate in Laudato Si’ Goals or SDGs but also to help lead their fulfillment.
In fact, we’re called by God to affect Matthew 25 strategies; to pursue the SDGs and Laudato Si’ solutions; to heed the Pope’s admonition in his first Homily that “With Christ we can transform our lives and the world;” to fulfill USCCB teaching in the “Document on the Laity” that “All the baptized are called to work toward the transformation of the world:” and to execute the Social Justice Teaching of, Act (on an issue)… Reflect (prayerfully, on the root cause)… and Transform (the issue at the root cause).
Achieving Laudato Si’ goals or the SDGs would be even more valuable than all that came out of the Lunar Landing. I believe engaging in these goals would also be a way to support our youth in addressing their growing concerns.
Gordon: In conclusion, what are some of the major challenges you see affecting the work of the Catholic Church in America and what do you think the Church should do about these?
Tim: Everyone concerned about the wellbeing of our God-created world, God’s children and our Church acknowledges much work needs to be done, that we’re losing ground, and that we need to accomplish much to reverse course in a very short amount of time.
We can’t continue with the same response while the Church continues losing ground as a societal influence; while people are confronted with increasingly secular propositions and lifestyles; and while the Church continues declining in numbers of religious, in Mass attendance, in youth participation, and in sacramental participation – and while belief in Catholic teaching regarding the Eucharist being Christ’s Real Presence is declining among the faithful.
I’d like to see greater lay engagement in referencing and addressing the issues facing the Church and God’s children domestically and globally and in identifying and pursuing the most efficacious and transformative solutions, despite the fact that there is so much going on with Parish management issues. I’d like to help laity engage in a “best-minds, collaborative approach;” the priests are SO stretched and can’t take on any more duties.
I’d like to think that many GIFT properties could be used by Parishes, Dioceses, Laity and Ministries to help counter some of the reasons people no longer believe in Church teachings -- with much excitement and considerable Spiritual and Corporal impact. After all, “What is the Church but a Global Institute For Transformation, (a GIFT!).” I’d like to work with the Church to enable local Parishes, Ministries and Laity to utilize GIFT tools they view as beneficial.
As discussed earlier, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, began his Papal ministry stating, “With Christ, we can transform ourselves and the World.” And Vatican, Papal and USCCB teachings have shared so much instruction about everything being a gift, that life must be redolent of the Spirit of Gift, and that we need to live lives transformed to more fully live and love like Christ and transform our world. Given all this, it would be great if the Church could teach and communicate the two Faith Pillars of GIFT and TRANSFORMATION, within Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
I believe the Church body could assert greater leadership in affecting Laudato Si’s Platform Goals across all levels of the Church and businesses and facilitate far greater leadership in the corresponding UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Church has been gifted with a most extensive global footprint, a vast network and a huge body of concerned and capable people which could all be better harnessed to make a sorely-needed impact in transforming this world – and to provide a compelling example of what it truly means to be a Catholic.
Note: experts outside the Church have acknowledged that Faith Based Organizations can be and need to be better leveraged and supported to truly help impact and transform our world for good. We could come along side these experts and help affect this.
The Church seeks to reach and love those not coming to Church as well as “win” back former Catholics -- plus unify the Body of Christ through the New Evangelization’s mission of “uniting all Christians in a common witness to the world of the prophetic
and ‘transforming power’ of the Gospel message.” I’d like to think that GIFT’s idea and plans for Café & G.I.F.T. Shoppe franchises could end up being a hub for all GIFT elements to help affect the New Evangelization, help instill greater Faith Fervency, and help affect greater Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy impacts.
It would be great if GIFT’s outreach and discipleship tools and plans – which are consistent with the Holy Father’s admonition to have laity rent garages to reach where the Church isn’t reaching – could ultimately be a unifying force and bring people into the Church and into full communion with the Body of Christ, including through the Eucharist. GIFT and LMI have developed ideas and business plans that could support this.
Money is needed to accomplish everything – including supporting the religious in their retirements, in keeping up Church facilities, and in performing Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy domestically and globally. I’d welcome the opportunity to help the Church explore an affinity and stewardship program – such as “The G.I.F.T. Card That Makes Change” -- to help God’s people make the most of their resources and to help the Church thrive and fulfill the many unmet needs domestically and globally. GIFT and LMI have ideas and business plans to support this, and I’ve had experience launching such.
Relatedly, all GIFT materials represent income-generating propositions that could be harnessed by the Church and its ministries in current or revised forms to raise funds. It would be awesome if these were fully exploited.
In summary, through a best-minds, collaborative approach, the initiatives we’ve been engaged in developing and deploying could help the Church and God’s children and help fulfill Laudato Si’ Platform Goals and the UN SDGs, including:
Solar arrays and solar water pumping placement globally for economic enablement
Orange Flesh Sweet Potato/Leaves optimization and ecosystem development for midday meals and conversion to bioplastics and biofuels to reduce fossil fuels
GIFT Spiritual materials, including two faith pillars of GIFT and TRANSFORMATION
“The Great Pumpkin Food Fight – Fighting For Those Who Need Food” campaign to raise awareness off those suffering, reduce indifference, and impact hunger
Facility sustainability innovations including peak load reduction EIS and responsive energy efficiency measures for energy, cost and GHG reduction – including reducing the most harmful peaker-plant emissions
The GIFT Card that Makes Change” affinity stewardship program to guide people in a lifestyle “redolent of the Spirit of gift,” respecting and stewarding creation, building faith fervency; and raising funds to help impact Laudato Si’ Goals and SDG initiatives
Café & G.I.F.T. Shoppe franchises that can provide venues for the Laity to reach those not coming to Church, to enable experiencing and celebrating the wonder of God’s creation
All of this could be a consideration for Laity engagement in the Synod of Bishops
GIFT is open to helping affect these endeavors by engaging with other organizations.
Gordon: How can people contact you with questions or if they’d like to engage?
GIFT’s websites are www.institutefortransformaiton.org and www.giftransforms.org.
I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your interest in our work and for helping to spread the word about all the needs, so much that needs to get done, and what we’re doing, through Catholic Profiles.
Gordon: Thank you for an exceptional Interview