Born and raised in Iowa, Gretchen graduated from the University of Iowa with an education degree. Gretchen began teaching school in Belgium at a NATO/SHAPE base and returned to teach junior high French in Davenport, Iowa. Following this, she was a sales representative for Bristol Myers.
She began a 21 year sales and marketing career with 3M in 1978 including 18 years as a senior account representative for Thinsulate®Thermal Insulation. Gretchen also helped launch new products for a specialty business development team. She completed her MBA at Loyola University in Chicago during this time.
Gretchen has been a freelance writer writing for the Sun-Times and Environment and Climate News. She has conducted research for think tanks and has written on natural resource and energy issues such as oil exploration, vehicle emissions and endangered species. She also appeared on national talk radio shows including the Rush Limbaugh Show. She writes many of the Winningreen Alerts — one page briefs on current energy and environmental issues of the day designed for Capitol Hill.