People at Planet Aid
Board and Officers
Meet Our Staff...
Gena Carruthers has been with Planet Aid since 2012 as North Carolina's Community Relations Manager. She develops relationships with individuals, businesses, governments, and other organizations, and educates the community about the importance of textile recycling.
"Having the platform to share and involve others with Planet Aid's work is an incredibly rewarding position," Gena Says. "I enjoy orchestrating recycle opportunities which give directly back to the environment, while at the same time, make a real difference in people's lives who need it the most." In 2015, she helped Planet Aid make a strong impact locally by working with veterans groups, shelters, community resource centers, food banks, literacy organizations, schools, and more.
Frank Fowler has been working at Planet Aid’s headquarters in Maryland since 2011. He started as the Transportation Manager and was quickly promoted to his current position as Operations Manager. He oversees all community outreach activities and clothes collection operations throughout the Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. areas. He also manages dozens of employees, including truck drivers, warehouse staff, logistics specialists, and territory managers, all of whom help process the thousands of pounds of textiles dropped in the area’s yellow bins each year.
"I like knowing that what I am doing is truly helping someone somewhere,” says Frank. “It’s my mission to do the best that I can for others.”
Luana Costa is a multi-talented special projects manager, who started working with Planet Aid in 2006. She has been involved in many aspects of Planet Aid's operations, helping to fix problems and make operations run smoothly. She is currently in charge of training staff on how to use Planet Aid’s new data base system. “Our data base has information on every Planet Aid bin, including its history and ongoing usage, and a lot more.”
Luana says her job is never dull and there are always new challenges. “What I like best about working here is the family like environment, and everyone is treated with respect.”
Robert Smith applied for a job as a Planet Aid Truck Driver in 2004 after hearing positive things about the company from his brother, who already was an employee. Since then, he has been an integral part of the clothes collection process for the Michigan office, traveling around the state to pick up donated clothes from the signature yellow bins.
Robert generally gets on the road by 6 a.m., and visits 25 to 35 sites during his shift. “I like the driving,” he says, “and not to sound cliché, but I like the people that I work with.” He credits his supervisors for creating a great work environment.
“I just enjoy doing what I do, and the people I work with have always been a pleasure,” Robert says.
Michele Yaruta got her start at Planet Aid almost 10 years ago through the company’s Manager In Training program. As part of the program, Michele had the opportunity to contribute to Planet Aid’s development work overseas. “Having worked with one of the projects in Africa for three months, I saw firsthand how Planet Aid helps,” she says. “The idea behind the programs is to teach rather than give so that, if or when the program ends, the people left behind are self-sufficient.”
She stayed on after completing her training and has been a versatile member of the Planet Aid team ever since. Her job now is Operation’s Analyst, which has her overseeing the company's auto insurance, submitting payroll, handling invoices and receipts, and performing other tasks for the transportation department. “I have had the opportunity to watch the organization grow from something small to something much larger that can make a greater impact on the world,” says Michele, “and the one thing that has never changed over the years is that everyone—from the employees in the warehouse to the president of the organization—works as a team.”
Tom Meehan is Planet Aid's Chief Financial Officer working from the Milford, Massachusetts office. Tom came to Planet Aid in 2007 with 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. As the CFO, Tom has controllership authority and is responsible for monitoring and reporting on the organization's overall financial condition.
"I am proud to be a part of this great organization," says Tom. "Planet Aid offers people a hand up in getting on their feet and in developing their communities. I have seen the work being carried out first hand in Africa, and I continue to be very impressed."