Except is a collaborative enterprise, consisting of talented and motivated sustainability experts in over 20 disciplines.
We’re immensely proud of our unique team, realizing that without our diversity, experience and dedication, we could never work on such a variety of pioneering projects.
Because of our global reach we have representation in various countries, including the United States, the Netherlands and Mexico. Most of our experts speak multiple languages and are available on an individual basis.
Tom is the founder and director of Except, and the visionary force behind its development. Starting Except at the age of 19 in 1999, he had the ambition to find more effective solutions for pressing societal challenges. He works from the belief that in order to create the positive change we need, we should consider environmental, societal, economical and technical aspects at the same time. To do this, he researched new approaches to generate change, including systems understanding, new forms of design and leadership through multi-disciplinary cooperation. Using this, he works to implement resilient, fundamental, and long term measures to improve our society, businesses, cities, and industry. Since then Tom has worked on over 500 projects worldwide to implement this knowledge. He has been increasingly recognized as a leader in sustainability thinking, the circular economy and systemic innovation. In 2014 he was elected number 38 of most influential sustainability professionals in the Netherlands by Trouw, and ranked number 21 on the Dutch Sustainable Real Estate awards.
Tom develops the Symbiosis in Development (SiD) methodology that lies at the core of Except’s operations. SiD combines systems thinking, complexity analysis, iterative design thinking and co-creation in multi-disciplinary teams. With SiD Tom leads transdisciplinary teams to develop pioneering solutions that breach the frontier of what's possible for organizations, cities, and industries. These include solutions for the circular economy, natural capital, smart urban redevelopment, bio-based economy, and resilience research and development.
As director and designer, he's driven Except's bio-based architectural and urban designs, such as the Merredin Algae plant, Shanghai vertical agriculture tower systems and the urban redevelopment of large and small cities around the world, including their energy systems, ecosystems, resource metabolisms, economy and the heakth and happiness of their people. He spearheads developments ranging from software for supply chain optimization, to sustainable agriculture systems such as Polydome. In addition, Tom is the founder of several sustainable communities of practice such as the Utrecht Community (UCo, 2016) and the Rotterdam Collective (RoCo, 2010), both collectives for socially engaged entrepreneurs. He advises national and regional governments as well as multi national corporations on sustainability strategy.
After his Master in Industrial Design Engineering from Delft, Tom studied Architecture in Australia at the University of Western Australia, and obtained his Masters in Architecture & Urban Planning from Yale University. Tom has worked and lectured in Australia, Canada, China, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and the United States. He teaches as a guest-lecturer in various universities and publishes articles regularly.
Tim rediscovered his love for sustainability early 2009, and started his own enterprise, following a diverse, partly international career in the chemical/multinational sector. During this period, Tim held a wide variety of positions in technology, operations management, product & resource management, sales, marketing and customer service management. Today these translate to a broad range of expertise, from strategy to execution.
Tim likes trying new, unorthodox ways and partnerships to overcome initial resistance to innovation. He even practices this at home where his children are allowed to refuse a new dish, but only after trying it first.
“We need to focus on what new directions may work, even though we usually have plenty of experts that think it won’t. If we want to get up to speed with sustainability, we need to act more collectively with the general interest in mind. Two areas of common interest, exactly why I enjoy working with Except !”
Tim has two Bachelor degrees, one in chemical engineering and one in business economics. He also completed the CSR Management executive program at Erasmus School of Accounting & Assurance in Rotterdam.
Renske is working on a sustainable society from a human-centered perspective. With a background in public policy, psychology and process facilitation, her aim is to transform the state of psychological and societal systems and transforming the status quo towards a healthy and resilient mind and an equitable society.
She does this by analyzing problems from a holistic perspective as well as developing innovative solutions that help shift towards a sustainable state of these systems, like in for example healthcare.
Within Except, Renske is currently working on our unique methodology Symbiosis in Development.
Elke Miedema is an ambitious architect and architectural researcher with a passion for the social aspects of architecture. She spent the last 7 years researching how our built environment relates to society’s well-being.
At Except she continues bridging research, design and practice in actual relevant problems. Finding solutions for the increase of social interaction in health care and public domain.
As a researcher she investigates different perspectives within context. As an architect she takes a stand and translates this in design solutions. Elke challenges herself to find ways to make architecture facilitate social interaction, reduce stress and pain, and increase value for people, for example in the healing process of patients. From this she expands from the field of architecture into the field of environmental psychology, evidence based design and healing environments.
Elke has a Bachelor in Construction and Building Engineering from the Avans Hogeschool in Tilburg (minor at the Academie van Bouwkunst in Rotterdam) and a Master Degree in Architecture from the TU Delft. She loves to brainstorm on complex issues and to get to the bottom of the case. With this technical bachelor and analytical and creative master, she is able to bridge the knowledge of research and practice into design solutions. Fascinated by forensic psychiatric care, she has also performed reasearch how to build for aggressive, unpredictable psychiatric patients.
On her days off Elke loves inviting friends over for dinner, surf when it’s sunny or snowboard when it’s cold.
Marta brings her skills as an architect and engineer to Except. She is able to work in a variety of areas such as graphic design, urban planning, and architectural design, including the development of infrastructures required by a wide range of projects.
As an architect she strives to make all her designs excel on sustainable performance. She strongly believes that every act has an ecological impact, and takes care to make balanced design decisions. Marta follows the motto: think global and act local. For her, attention to detail is essential in order to achieve excellence. The slightest changes in form, orientation, distribution and material can make a huge difference in key issues like energy savings of buildings.
Laurina believes that talent, knowledge and drive have the power to transform anything. She is excited by the new economy; one that is not defined by geography or nationality, but by unconventional businesses, creativity, technology, exceptional productivity, and social and environmental values. This is what she focuses on to develop at Except.
She believes that this kind of thinking, when applied in the developing world, is one of the keys to both local and global sustainability. New ideas and technologies have the capability to leap-frog old systems and ways of thinking within these societies and present significant step-change opportunities.
Laurina is interested in the practical application of sustainability in any situation, paring early adopters to suitable systems and methods in both developed and developing countries. She is particularly interested in tapping and leveraging the intellect and ambitions within the developing economies that are quickly coming online literally and virtually. She feels that developing new ways to include them into the conversations and implementations of sustainable methods will contribute significantly to addressing the world’s grand challenges and drive developing economies.
Laurina began her working life at a massive Caribbean petroleum refinery saturated with benzene and bureaucracy. Her way out was an MBA into London’s Financial district. Her insistence that HR should be strategic rather than administrative led to new ways of thinking about what created an organization’s best strategic advantage. The culmination of this part of her career was building and developing a young, awarding winning team in a previously failing company that created profits ten times higher than best-in-class in less than two years.
Since then she has developed two businesses: AccomplishedMinds where she interviews entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs from around the world, connecting the accomplished and fostering the ambitious. She also created Sound Body Science helping, trainers, physicians and Ministries of Health in the Caribbean deal with the crisis point they've reached with obesity related diseases.
Chris has wide ranging interests, ultimately focusing on business, technology and the challenge of sustainability. As a world-savvy business developer, he believes that profit is neutral and a powerful motivator of individual and societal behaviors. He believes that intelligence, science and technology are our most powerful tools, and that they are the key to individual and collective achievement, success and a sustainable and abundant future.
Chris' first job was working as a deckhand on a salvage ship. This led to a degree and a move to Wall Street. The move to Wall Street proved dissonant, so he left and co-founded a business in Mexico. After selling, if you could have found him, he spent the next ten years pared down to a backpack and The Meditations stuffed into a back pocket, working as an officer or captain on research vessels, hospital ships, offshore supply boats, tugs, and square riggers on many of the world’s oceans.
Coming ashore, he merged his knowledge of the maritime industry with Web 1.0, co-founding a project that connected the international shipping industry with the emerging internet businesses. This led to an intense and successful stint as Director of New Ventures for a large civil construction company. He left to co-found Portland Capital, a boutique firm taking on a range of advisory services and investments in the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, and Europe.
From there, he went to the Caribbean, attracted by the opportunity to lead a turn around of a large, region-wide marine construction group and a company villa on the beach in Barbados. There, with the acquisition of new young talent, a focus on integrity, execution, the introduction of Lean thinking, and a lot of hard work, the results were rewarding.
Making the cityscape more sustainable has become Bart’s major challenge. Bart believes our urban environment could be a more human- and nature friendly place, in so many different ways. That often requires downscaling big masterplans and strategies to proportions where citizens and entrepreneurs recognize their own added value and opportunities. As a result they will feel invited to co-create and get the support needed to fulfil their dreams. Bart supports, initiates and designs these processes.
Within the fields of urban planning and design, he has specialized himself in public infrastructure, constantly seeking ways to improve the main ‘urban streams’ such as transportation, water, nature, energy and food. Bart has a heart for transformation processes. Improving areas or systems within the urban context. Working on different layers and scales, with different stakeholders, having different interests. These are a jobs of tremendous complexity. They challenge not only Bart personally, it brings the best out of Except too!
After graduating at Delft University of Technology, Bart worked for Movares, the Almere municipality and Urhahn Urban Design in Amsterdam. In 2014 he founded his own company ‘Stadsstromen’, which is Dutch for ‘urban streams’. In 2015 Bart joined Except, enabling him to put even more effectiveness, expertise and inspiration in making cities more sustainable.
Antonia is an architect with many different passions. Her dream is to create interactive architecture that focuses on people and the natural environment, making them involved actors instead of just passive users. Her main goal is to design towards sustainability and not only energy-efficiency. With that in mind she challenges herself to always look from different perspectives in order to design solutions that embody economical, ecological and social sustainability.
Born and raised in 1700 year old Split on a Dalmatian coast, she has developed a sensitivity towards cultural and natural heritage since childhood. At the age of 19 Antonia moved to Italy where she graduated in Bachelor and Master degree in Architecture at the University of Florence. During her studies she has developed an interest in Urban Sociology and ever since is passionate in research about the interaction between the built environment and people’s behaviour.
Antonia joined Except initially as an intern during her 2nd level Post-Graduate Course “Sustainable Design of the built environment” and was part of the 1st Except Academy, a learning platform for interns. As an associate she continues to support the academy team, eager to further strengthen her skills and help others do the same.
As an architect she believes that design is not only about the form and aesthetics but rather about the added value it generates for the environment and the society. She wants to contribute to re-building cities where people are engaged and active part of the change. In everything she does she always asks herself: why are we doing what we do and how are we contributing to the environment we live in.
Mirjam Schmüll is a realistic process manager with a touch of idealism. She has an inner drive to use innovation and passion to make a positive contribution to the welfare of people and their surroundings. Working in the built environment, she makes a real contribution to this sustainable and resilient society.
During her career she has made the transition from architect to facilitator and consultant in integrated sustainability and circular economy. In this role, she assists the client and other advisors to achieve their predetermined goals. Mirjam is analytical, communicative and has an open attitude to tread new paths. Her perseverance gives concrete results and action plans to actually realize integral sustainability. She takes into account the overall scope, and differing interests. Her strength lies in guiding the search for performance questions -the question behind the question- and finding the desired set of interventions.
After her studies at TU Delft, Mirjam worked as an architect at KOW urbanism & architecture, as a project manager at William McDonough + Partners, and as an advisor circular economy at RAU and Turntoo. In 2014, she founded her own agency Schmull Urban Strategy (SUS). In October 2014, Mirjam made the step Except to deliver innovative work with even more impact, knowledge and experience in Dutch and international urban environments.
Luca is an expert in Environmental Building Engineering, who, after years of study and research brings his expertise and knowledge to Except.
As a child it was Lego that inspired Luca to build. After some years of studying, research and work, it was nature that became his biggest source of inspiration. Luca strives to achieve energy optimization and reduction of environmental impact, while maximizing human living comfort. With that ambition in mind, he directed his education and the first years of his professional career towards green buildings. After a Bachelor in Environmental Engineering in Italy, he worked for a consultancy company that supplied building energy modeling software. Passionate about the achievements of the Danish government, he decided to leave his country to study a Master in Building Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark, where he undertook the Energy Saving study line. This allowed him to work for the Solar Decathlon 2014 and for the International Center for Indoor Environment and Energy.
After one year of working as a researcher in Denmark, Luca felt the need to move forwards, he wanted to work on more tangible projects, together with others, on making the construction system more sustainable. The combination of smart building components and efficient services offers a promising way forwards. At Except, he has the possibility to understand the connections between those factors, as well as the opportunity to analyze buildings as a living organism, and the urban fabric as its ecosystem. He is now part of the 2nd Except Academy and works as a freelance consultant.
Born and raised in Italy, he has developed a sensitivity towards cultural and natural heritage which he combines with engineering knowledge. He believes that innovation is just the state of the art of tradition; one does not preclude the other, they are rather complementary.
Jeroen is an all-round professional in the built environment with experience in management. At Except, he is responsible for the office strategy. Hands-on experience with a creative company provides him with the necessary know-how to make sure everybody can focus on the things they want to do, and help them with the things they don’t.
Jeroen has a background as an urban designer, having studied Urbanism at the Delft University of Technology and having worked as a designer at an office for urban planning and landscapearchitecture. During the former, he developed a passion for general DTP-work, and designing reports and presentations in particular. During the latter, he was appointed as de facto office manager, while maintaining his expertise in edit and layout work. Jeroen not only has a feeling for creative processes, but also for numbers and spreadsheets, a combination of which comes in especially handy for his role as office manager for Except.
Libera is a curious and ambitious urban designer and researcher, with international experience, specialized in innovative solutions to improve urban metabolism & circularity.
In Except's team, Libera brings a sharp eye for strategic choices in spatial and urban challenges, mixed with experience in circular and re-use scenario's. Libera is looking for optimal ways for sustainable urban developments dealing with resource scarcity. She believes that cities can do more with less, working towards circular growth. Libera specializes in the regeneration of degraded urban areas.
Libera holds a five year degree in Architecture with Honours and a Ph.D. in Urban Design and Planning in recycling of Wasted Landscapes as a resource for contemporary cities. Besides her work at Except, Libera is a guest researcher at the TU Delft where she researches urban regenerations through urban metabolism and towards circular economies. Since graduation, she has researched new life-cycles for damaged landscapes in metropolitan areas, at the Department of Architecture (DiARC) of the University of Naples Federico II. At DiARC, Libera tutors students as an expert in Urbanism.
Brian is a designer and researcher. His area of expertise within Except is to analyze and synthesize information connecting business, technology and humans in order to develop new sustainable products, services, experiences and value propositions. His background combines technical design skills with creative thinking and a business mindset. He holds a BSc in Product Design at Politecnico di Milano University and an MSc in Design Strategy at Delft University of Technology with a specialization in Technology for Sustainable Development.
When he was three years old, Brian went to the mountains for the first time and discovered nature. He decided to become a paleontologist, explore the world and look for fossil dinosaurs trapped inside rocks. At the age of sixteen, he left his home in Rome, living, studying and working across eight different countries including Italy, The United States, Spain, Honduras, The Netherlands, India, Colombia and South Africa. He likes doodling with a black pen, writing down his thoughts, reading about the lives of real people who did something noteworthy, playing the acoustic guitar, rock climbing and, above all, exploring, seeing faraway places and talking to diverse people in order to get to know the world.
Brian believes that the designer should be an active agent of change in the transition towards sustainable development. He has worked on various international development projects for small social businesses and large NGOs in Latin America and in Asia. He also worked as a strategic consultant within sustainable service and business innovation projects for company clients. As a researcher at the Product Innovation Management Department of Delft University of Technology he has investigated which factors underlie successful implementation of design projects in emerging markets. He explored how sustainability objectives can be used as a catalyst for business model innovation, combining principles from Design Thinking and Sustainable Entrepreneurship.
As an outside the box strategist, Gertjan helps organizations to adapt their business models and develop and implement new ways to create value. Gertjan applies a 'systems approach' to support the efforts of public and private organizations to grow towards creating more sustainable business value that cohabits with the environment and society they operate in. Cross-linking disciplines, perspectives, values and knowledge and initiating co-creation as well as applying his over ten years of experience as an entrepreneur, make Gertjan a versatile innovator.
Fascinated by technology and the wondrous possibilities it brings, he is often involved in the application of disruptive technologies in his work. Technologies like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, all enable change and are among Gertjan's favorite instruments and discussion subjects. As a constructive dreamer he often wonders what a sustainable human centric business model for the world would look like.
Daphne de Wit is a concept developer and project manager. Her expertise at Except is actually combining those two in developing sustainable projects. As an entrepreneur she wants to take more responsibility for our environment and society and works with a holistic approach.
Her passion for food drives her to transform food chains into sustainable food chains, with added value to every chain and stakeholder involved. Besides that, she's interested in developing solutions to reconnect people with nature.
After 7 years of working for an entrepreneurial consultancy company, she decided to start her own business. Having experience in project management, consultancy, value chain management and concept development in different working areas, she’s able to connect different worlds, and she’s eager to make things work.
Mirjam is an anthropologist in sustainability. She is driven by the passion to make the world a better place, by becoming specialized in the area of sustainability. Mirjam feels challenged by the complexity and the constant, and often imbalanced, relationship between the frugal planet and its inhabitants. By using a critical and holistic view, she aims at capturing all aspects of sustainability, especially the relation between bottom-up and top-down.
Working in different environments and with different people, Mirjam strives to expand her vision of sustainability at all times, in order to constantly shift the boundaries of sustainability and create new solutions for each unique situation.
Mirjam's passion for sustainability started while growing up at the countryside of the Northern part of the Netherlands. As a child already, she realized that nature is an intrinsic part of human life, and she learned about the balanced ways in which society can, or should, interact with it. Mirjam expanded her interest for societal developments during her bachelor Sociology.
After her Bachelor, she started with the master degree Cultural Anthropology: Sustainable Citizenship, at the University of Utrecht. During this year, Mirjam further developed her holistic and critical view. She learned to thoroughly understand, and efficiently analyze, complex matters and group dynamics, by using a helicopter view and by thinking outside the box. During the establishment of several volunteer projects, Mirjam discovered that her qualities can best be described as enthusiastic, determined and a good listener.
In order to write her master thesis, Mirjam performed qualitative research in Aruba concerning perceptions of sustainability. Through this experience, she recognized the importance of an integrated approach towards sustainability on a national level.
Paula Land is a political scientist specialized in sustainability governance, a creative thinker and idealist. Paula chose to put sustainability at the center of her career because to her it is the way towards a healthy and fulfilled future for all. She believes that humanity has the capacity to do much better than it currently does.
Based on her experience and research in the field, she sees unlocking social capital within organizations, communities, and societies as key step in this direction. Understanding and listening to diverse stakeholders, and building an essence of their motivations is a challenge she likes to take on.
Her creativity and hunger for new ideas help her to see new opportunities in stuck situations. Having lived in six countries and speaking five languages fluently she understands what it takes to build bridges.
She recently graduated with a MSc in Sustainable Development and Environmental Governance from Utrecht University. Within Except Paula currently supports the Polydome Pilot prospects and learns about the ins and outs of being an independent entrepreneur.
Gaël is a scientist (chemist) who loves understanding complex processes. He is always looking for simple and, if possible, elegant solutions to issues. Gaël is a self-taught professional with a taste for social sciences and political philosophy.
Gaël started studying nuclear chemistry, followed by project management in France. After finishing those studies, he started as a researcher by the Petten Research Reactor in 2011. In the early months in 2015, he turned to the nuclear waste management domain where he developed an expertise in finding 'best available' solutions taking into accounts multiple antagonist constraints.
Over the years, Gaël developed a very strong common sense in project development and project management. His desire to have a more positive impact on society lead him to shift his career in 2017. At Except, he investigates how his skills could be useful to the development of projects with an added human value and outcome.
Pierce can make you a house from a napkin, if you ask him to. He’ll make sure it’s culturally relevant and makes a striking theoretical argument as a bonus. Pierce can take charge of anything ranging from that napkin to a space station, which comes in handy every so often.
Pierce’s all-round skills as an architect on various scales helps Except prepare for any spatial challenge, including project development in various parts of the world.
Pierce has a masters degree from Yale University and a bachelor of Architecture from Ohio State University, and won the 2008 AIA Henry Adams medal. He has worked for Pelli Clarke Pelli architects, NBBJ and ROTO studio, and has worked in the United States and Turkey on Institutional, Cultural and Residential architecture, as well as Urban Design.
James’ insight in spatial problems on various scales helps Except to solve complex problems concerning the built environment. He brings to the Except team landscape design experience gained in large-scale projects in South-east asia and throughout Europe.
As a teacher and researcher at the ETH in Zurich he spreads and develops his knowledge, and as Project Landscape Architect he is in charge of landscape and urban design challenges.
James also waters the Except office plants, and talks to them in Dutch and Swiss German.
James has a bachelors of architecture with honours from the University of Western Australia, and a master in landscape architecture from the ETH in Zurich. James has worked on landscape design and architecture projectecs in Australia, Asia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and Great Brittain.