Championing the crusade against plastic ocean waste

Double ’Cane Richard Conrick Gallagher III, who goes by Conrick, spent most of his childhood country-hopping because of his father’s profession. Having spent his childhood emerged in different cultures expanded his understanding of the world, and the importance of the role we play in its future.
Richard Gallagher

Double ’Cane Richard Conrick Gallagher III, who goes by Conrick, spent most of his childhood country-hopping because of his father’s profession. Having spent his childhood emerged in different cultures expanded his understanding of the world, and the importance of the role we play in its future.  

“I am extremely blessed and fortunate for having traveled the world at such an impressionable age,” said Conrick. “It opened up my eyes to realizing there has and should be a better solution to the current way we live our lives. We, especially in the United States, have become accustomed to being a ‘throwaway society.’ Traveling allowed me to see what other countries believe and practice from a sustainable perspective.”

As an undergraduate, Conrick followed his other passion, sports, and majored in sports administration. Then, because of a chance encounter with Dean John Quelch, his career path changed forever.

“As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in finding and researching ways to protect the environment,” Conrick said. “It wasn’t until later in life that I realized this passion could be a potential career path. Dean Quelch was the person who helped me recognize this. During my senior year, I met Dean Quelch at an event. Little did I know that the short five-minute conversation I had with him, held the power to change the trajectory of my life after college. I expressed my interests in sustainability, and in my goals post-graduation. To my surprise, he presented me with the opportunity to be a member of the inaugural class of the Master’s in Sustainable Business program. Without hesitation I applied to the program and the rest is history. I still love sports, but as a hobby rather than a career path!”

Conrick is currently working at Okeanos, a company devoted to making plastic disappear from our oceans. As Okeanos’ Partnership Development Manager, he is responsible for creating, maintaining, and managing business relationships in the United States and abroad.

Name: Richard Conrick Gallagher III

Title: Partnership Development Manager at Okeanos | Made From Stone

Degree & Grad date: Master of Science in Sustainable Business (2020) & Bachelor of Science in Sport Administration (2019)

Tell us about Okeanos.
Okeanos is a mission-driven company. It was founded with the goal of reducing as much single use plastic as we can. We’re accomplishing this by stemming the tide of plastic entering the environment by attacking it at its source. Our technology allows the brands we work with to replace the majority of the plastic that makes up their everyday single-use items like straws, shopping bags, and cups with a calcium carbonate, a naturally abundant renewable resource.

Fresh off a master’s degree in sustainable business at Miami Herbert, I could not ask for a better opportunity. I believe we all share the responsibility to leave the earth better than we found it. Okeanos is giving me the opportunity to work toward this goal every day. 

What was the most surprising thing about the program?
The diversity of my classmates. Growing up, I lived in four countries around the world–the United States, Brazil, Italy, and England–so being part of a class that represented more than 10 countries really brought me back to my childhood abroad. Learning in such a diverse environment surrounded by people of all ages and career paths provided a unique experience compared to a traditional classroom setting. Thanks to the master’s program, and all the inspiring people involved, I now feel like I’m adequately prepared for my new role at Okeanos.  

Was there a class or professor that was particularly meaningful or influential during your time at the School?
Professor Esteban Petruzzello was not only my favorite professor of the program but my favorite at the University of Miami. Right from the start of the program he presented himself as a friend who was highly invested in your future, rather than just a professor. His course, Microeconomics of Sustainability, was one of the more challenging classes I have taken, but because of his constant support and encouragement, toward the end I was wishing the class wouldn’t end. I want to thank him and Professor David Kelly for putting together such an experienced group of faculty for us.

Best experience, memory from your time at Miami Herbert?
Toward the end of my first week in the program, I had the time to reflect on my decision to alter my career plans. After five days at Miami Herbert, I realized that making the switch to go down the path of sustainability was the right one for me. In each of my classmates I could see a passion to want to make the world a better place. From sustainable fashion to finance, and from sustainable marketing to microeconomics, everyone felt like they had a purpose to stimulate change in the community around them. Sustainable business gives you the opportunity to change the world around you. At the end of that first week at Miami Herbert, I knew I was in the right place.

What is your advice for current Miami Herbert students?
Take advantage of the time you have with your professors. The Master’s in Sustainable Business program is incomparable to similar programs offered by other universities. Each of the professors are experts in their fields from both an academic and corporate perspective. The knowledge they share with you far exceeds that which you can learn just in the duration of the course. For example, even though graduation has come and gone, Professor Daniel Hicks, who is very well versed in corporate social responsibility reporting, has offered his time and expertise to help me along my career. It is obvious that Miami Herbert professors want us to succeed, and they keep demonstrating that to me today. Whatever program you are in, find these special relationships and you will continue to benefit from Miami Herbert as your career develops.

Fun family tidbit: Both of Conrick’s siblings also attended or are currently attending The U. Colby ’18, and Tommy ’21.