Building an Innovation Ecosystem

The WPI Innovator of the Year Award recognizes annually a graduate or friend of WPI who has demonstrated exemplary accomplishments as an innovator, showcasing individuals who have excelled in driving innovation within enterprises of all kinds.

The WPI Innovator of the Year celebration is a key building block of the university's entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. It recognizes role models for our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends; catalyzes the engagement of highly successful innovators and entrepreneurs in the transformation of WPI; and inspires honorees to commit their time and talent to help WPI become a leading global contributor to addressing the global grand challenges.

2016 WPI Innovator of the Year

Kathy Loftus ‘86 is the 2016 WPI Innovator of the Year. As the global leader of sustainable facilities for Whole Foods Market, Inc., the world’s leading natural and organic foods retailer, Kathy’s passion for sustainability, green and renewable energy, and green building practices drives her to make a real positive change in the world. Always thinking outside the box, she continuously rethinks how to use available technologies and, when those don’t fit her needs, develops new technology that will. With Kathy’s keen and innovative direction, Whole Foods continuously reduces its footprint from energy, refrigerant gas, waste, and water. Eager to help the rest of the world achieve the same success at conserving the earth’s resources, Kathy shares her knowledge as a keynote speaker at conferences nationwide and as a guest lecturer at colleges and universities. As an energy and sustainability advocate in her personal life, Kathy remains involved in WPI’s sustainability and energy efforts. She is a member of WPI’s Center for Sustainability in Business and Mechanical Engineering External Advisory Boards, Mass Maritime Academy’s Energy Advisory Council, and Cradle to Cradle’s Renewable Energy and Carbon Management Advisory Group. She is a member of the boards of Green Building Initiative, The Future of American Energy, and City Sprouts; she served as board chair of Clean Air-Cool Planet, and was a board member of Waste Cap of Massachusetts. Kathy holds a  BS degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Kathy Loftus Community Message

WPI 2016 Innovator of the Year Kathy Loftus ’86, global leader of sustainable facilities, shares her recipe for innovation: utilize collaborative thinking to apply technology in new ways and consume energy more efficiently. Watch her message to the community.

WPI 2016 Innovator of the Year: Kathy Loftus ’86