About The Reuse Network

Chestnut Hill, Boston, June 2002. A parking lot filled with dorm furniture. That was the beginning of The Reuse Network.

We were founded as the Institution Recycling Network – IRN – a recycling cooperative for education and healthcare institutions. Our job was to take over their loading docks and find a home for all their recyclables: paper and cardboard, cans and bottles, scrap metal, plastics, computers, fluorescent lamps, you name it.

And then Boston College called, with dorm furniture in a parking lot. It was good stuff, with years of life left. We asked why they didn’t donate it, to a halfway house or homeless shelter. They replied, “There are 60 colleges around Boston. We all have the same furniture. We’ve filled every shelter and thrift store in three states. They don’t want to hear from us any more. Just make it go away.” So we recycled it.

But we thought someone must be able to use that furniture, and we started making calls. Not to local charities, but to national and international organizations that do relief and development on a large scale, across the U.S., around the world.

And sure enough, they could. But there was a market failure. Plenty of supply, plenty of demand, but no one to make the match. The schools didn’t have time or resources to identify and reach out to the hundreds of nonprofits in the relief and development world. The nonprofits didn’t have time or resources to coordinate with the thousands of schools that might have excess furniture. Neither side had the time or expertise to manage removing the furniture and get it shipped where it was needed.

So good furniture was going into dumpsters, while kids were doing their schoolwork and families were sleeping on wood planks.

So we kept making calls, and started making matches, and got into the furniture reuse business. In 2002 IRN shipped two trailers of furniture. In 2003 we shipped nine. Then 16 in 2004, 85 in 2005, and we just kept going. Through 2023 IRN – The Reuse Network has filled more than 8,500 trucks and trailers with furniture from school districts, companies, hospitals, government agencies, colleges and universities – about 800 organizations in all, from 43 states. Reuse Network furnishings have supplied more than 300 nonprofit organizations serving underprivileged communities in 43 states and 62 countries around the world.

That’s our mission. That’s charitable reuse.

The team

Mark Lennon, Founder and CEO

Mark cut school in 8th grade to go to the first Earth Day in Philadelphia. Professionally, an environmentalist is all he’s ever wanted to be. After getting a degree in Biology and an M.S. in Ecosystems research, he started a career as an environmental policy-maker, as a consultant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. After a few (successful) years he realized he had neither the heart nor stomach for the bureaucratic and professional wrangling that goes into making environmental policy, and he’d rather just DO policy instead. That led to a career as an independent consultant, idea-person, and project developer, and eventually to founding and building The Reuse Network.

Emerson Lennon, Director of Client Development

Emerson is Mark’s son. He took a gap year after high school to work for IRN, and apart from stints off for college, he never left. He’s filled just about every job in the company: warehouse manager; project manager; truck and forklift driver; trailer loader. He knows every aspect of IRN’s business, inside and out. As Director of Client Development he is responsible for all aspects of client relationships: understanding client needs; assembling the pieces for a successful project; budget and proposal preparation; project fulfillment; and follow up to assure client satisfaction.

Jim Buchholz, Logistics Manager

Jim Buchholz is The Reuse Network’s Logistics Manager. On his shoulders falls the responsibility for making our projects work. Securing transportation. Coordinating and scheduling movers and truckers. Confirming that trucks and people come together when they’re supposed to, and troubleshooting when they don’t. Making sure all the paperwork is in place and filled out. That is, making sure all the pieces come together, no matter what. Trucks breaking down, movers stuck in traffic, shipping containers tied up at the port, drivers hung over… Jim deals with all of them, and keeps our projects on track. During our busiest season, his schedule is more like 5 to 9 than 9 to 5.

Martha Goettelmann, Director of Nonprofit Relationships

Situated at the downstream side of Reuse Network projects, it’s Martha’s job to locate potential furniture recipients and establish/maintain a relationship with them.  At last count, we have worked with more than 250 nonprofit recipients, in the U.S. and overseas.  She is responsible for making sure that each and every one of The Reuse Network’s projects finds a home among our nonprofit partners, then coordinating with Jim to assure that trucks or shipping containers are scheduled, arrive as scheduled, are loaded to the recipients’ specifications, and reach their destinations to the recipients’ satisfaction. The Reuse Network is nothing without our network of nonprofit partners; Martha keeps this network alive, healthy, and growing.

June Wallace, Head of Accounting Department

June Wallace has been heading the accounting department since 2015.  She oversees all aspects of the finances including accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll. She also works with the logistics department to create paperwork, enter inventory, and prepare clients shipping and project conclusion reports.  She has over 40 years of bookkeeping and accounting experience including 20 years as owner/operator of a private bookkeeping service. 

Coulson Oswald, Mid-Atlantic Regional Project Manager

She’s based out of the Delaware Valley (for foreigners to the East Coast, that’s eastern PA and southern NJ), but flying out of Baltimore or Philly her travels take her nationwide, from Seattle and Portland to New Mexico to Dallas to Atlanta. And to places in between, like Gary, Indiana and Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Wherever she is, she makes our projects work.

Becky Buchholz, Assistant for Client Development

Becky Buchholz (yes, there’s a connection) is Emerson’s Person Friday. If Emerson is the engine of client relationships, Becky is the transmission, cooling system, steering, heater and air-conditioner, manager of the auto doors, locks and windows. Emerson powers The Reuse Network forward; Becky keeps us running.

Jay Baldwin, West Coast Project Manager

Jay Baldwin represents The Reuse Network on the West Coast. Jay has been part of the IRN team almost since our inception. A successful entrepreneur and business manager in his own right, Jay was one of the first “outsiders” to see IRN’s potential, and has been with us ever since. After moving to Southern California to be close to family, Jay has ably managed our project and client relationships from The Pacific Coast to The Sierras.

Jamie Huffman, Marketing Coordinator

Jamie Huffman is the most recent addition to The Reuse Network team, and heads our e-Marketing. Born in the 21st Century, he knows how to deal with our troglodytic non-incorporation of the Web and social media in spreading the word about our mission and message. If you have gotten this far in our revamped website – or if you have seen even a single page of our revamped website – you have seen what Jamie accomplished in just his first few weeks onboard.

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