Michigan’s Water Strategy and Clean Water By Design Focus of Upcoming Event

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, and Berrien County Drain Commission will host an event intended to educate local decision makers on strategies to protect Michigan’s water resources.

Municipal staff and officials, professional engineers/planners, representatives from watershed groups, leaders from local businesses and institutions, and citizen stakeholders are encouraged to attend.

The Great Southwest Clean Water Summit will feature a workshop format with leading experts from across the state, including a luncheon keynote presentation from Jon Allan, Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, who will speak on water conservation in the region and Michigan’s Water Strategy. Full-day summit attendees will learn about the community and economic benefits of employing low impact development techniques and green stormwater infrastructure.

Luncheon and full-day options are available for the event at Weko Beach House on Wednesday, May 9. The full-day summit is 10:30 am to 4 pm, with the luncheon session from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

The Water Strategy is a 30-year plan for Michiganders to protect, manage, and enhance Michigan’s water resources for current and future generations. It identifies key actions for actors at many levels to promote healthy water resources, organized to ensure the viability and sustainability of Michigan’s water resources over time, placing Michigan on a path to achieving its water vision in a way the that builds economic capacity while sustaining ecological integrity of this globally-significant resource.

Green stormwater infrastructure and related practices are proven strategies for managing wet weather impacts more cost effectively and sustainably than traditional, single-purpose stormwater infrastructure (conventional piped drainage and water treatment systems). These practices reduce and treat stormwater at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits. Stormwater runoff is a major cause of water pollution and erosion in Southwest Michigan.

Jon Allan became Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes in 2012, contributing his considerable aquatic sciences experience to the office’s mission to protect, restore, and sustain the Great Lakes watershed. With nearly three decades of experience in environmental and energy policy, he has professionally applied his understanding of ecological management in a variety of academic, corporate, and public occupations. Other featured speakers include Don Carpenter, Vice President of Drummond Carpenter, Claire Schwartz, senior civil engineer with FTCH, and Elaine Sterrett Isely, Director of Water Programs for West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

The Great Southwest Clean Water Summit is presented by Spicer Group, Inc. and Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber.

Learn more and RSVP here.

MGSSBF Hosts 8th Annual Sustainability Legislative Forum

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted the 8th Annual Sustainability Issues Legislative Forum, an Earth Day discussion on how sustainability improvements can be used to leverage social, economic and environmental benefits for local communities.

Photos are available on Facebook here.

Ritchie Harrison, co-director of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy​ and former community planner for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, presented a vision for Michigan’s Great Southwest based on leadership and collaboration for the common good, and highlighted the unique value of natural resources in promoting economic development and community prosperity.

A panel of Southwest Michigan leaders introduced their visions for sustainability in the community. Panelists included:

– Fred Upton, U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District
– Michael Garey, Mayor of St. Joseph
– Marcus Muhammad, Mayor of Benton Harbor
– Kim Lasata, Michigan House of Representatives 79th District
– Matthew Flechter, Recycling Market Development Specialist at Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

The 8th Annual Sustainability Issues Legislative Forum was presented by Wightman.

Forum to Discuss Future of Sustainability in Michigan’s Great Southwest

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will host a special Earth Day discussion next Friday, April 20 inviting local leaders to share their visions for sustainability in the region at the 8th Annual Sustainability Issues Legislative Forum.

Hosted by Wightman Associates at its Benton Harbor headquarters, St. Joseph Mayor Michael Garey, Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad, and State Rep. Kim Lasata will be joined by Ritchie Harrison, co-director of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy and former community planner for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

Harrison will present a vision for Michigan’s Great Southwest based on leadership and collaboration for the common good, drawing on his experiences working in the City of Detroit. He will also highlight the unique value of natural resources in promoting economic development and community prosperity.

“The City of Detroit transformed its image through collaboration and working together, leveraging that for programs and initiatives such as the project that revitatlized the waterfront,” said Harrison. “We’re going to talk about how leaders can create a vision that brings people and resources together fot the common good.”

Doors open at 11:30 am for lunch, with the program from 12:10 to 1:30. Lunch is $15 for MGSSBF members, $20 for non-members. Learn more and register for the event here.

MGSSBF Hosts Smart and Sustainable Buildings at Whirlpool

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted a luncheon and networking program on intelligent buildings and energy efficiency at Whirlpool Global Headquarters on March 21.

See photos on Facebook here.

The program introduced attendees to the potential of intelligent building technology, detailed how it can be used in different building types, and provided a demonstration of Whirlpool’s 26-property local intelligent building infrastructure.

Whirlpool / JLL Director of Operations Dave Clayton and Buidling Management System Specialist Kieth Kiser discussed how Whirlpool has utilized integrated technology and dashboards to improve the performance of properties locally and globally.

Jason Whitman, Energy Efficiency and Consumer Program Coordinator for Indiana Michigan Power, introduced I&M’s current rebate and incentive programs for efficiency improvements.

Opportunity for Local Organizations to Learn About Energy Management Strategies, Smart Buildings

WhirlpoolEMEAMichigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum is hosting a pair of energy education programs for local businesses and institutions next week featuring regional and national experts on intelligent buildings, energy efficiency planning, and local incentives.

The back-to-back programs on Wednesday, March 21 at Whirlpool Global Headquarters includes an educational and networking luncheon for facility managers, property owners, and other stakeholders from all sectors, plus a customized training in the morning for municipalities, universities, schools and healthcare facilities.

Whirlpool and JLL Director of Operations Dave Clayton and Building Managment System Specialist Keith Kiser will discuss how Whirlpool has utilized integrated technology and dashboards to improve the performance of its properties locally and globally. The program will introduce attendees to the potential of intelligent building technology, detail how it can be used in different building types (office, manufacturing, medical) and provide a demonstration of Whirlpool’s 26-property local intelligent building infrastructure.

The luncheon program will also feature a presentation from Jason Whitman, Energy Efficiency and Consumer Program Coordinator for Indiana Michigan Power, who will introduce I&M’s current rebate and incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements. Networking and lunch begin at 11:30 am, with the program from 12:10 am to 1:30 pm.

The morning session is a free workshop for Southwest Michigan municipalities, schools, and health care facilities to learn skills and practices that will support the planning and implementation of clean energy and energy waste reduction programs. It is presented in collaboration with the Michigan Community Energy Partnership and Michigan’s Great Southwest Strategic Leadership Council.

Compared to private and residential sectors, municipalities, schools, and hospitals generally invest less in energy waste reduction and renewable energy initiatives due to unique financial and time constraints. A community energy management approach can free up capital to reinvest in future projects, reduce or eliminate large variable costs that public organizations face, and help organizations better manage financial resources for the benefit of constituents, patients, and students. Robust community energy management makes organizations more resilient, nimble, and proactive in a changing landscape.

Facilitated by John Kinch, Executive Director of Michigan Energy Options, the workshop will introduce attendees to benchmarking, revolving and energy fund establishment, and project financing. The workshop will also provide access to technical assistance and coaching, and for qualified applicants, continued one-on-one consulting on the development of energy projects.

Lunch is $15 for MGSSBF members, $20 for non-members. Learn more and register here.

Review: Doubling the Recycling Rate

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted a networking and education luncheon for local professionals interested in recycling and composting on Wednesday, January 24 at the Berrien County Conference Center.

View photos of the event on our Facebook page.

Matt Flechter, Recycling Market Development Specialist with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) discussed the DEQ’s work to grow recycling markets, developing a statewide recycling education campaign, expaningd recycling opportunities at all state facilities, modernizing Michigan’s solid waste laws, and establish a sustainable funding mechanism to accomplish Michigan’s recycling goals.

Kate Binder, Sustainability Specialist for Bell’s Brewery, shared the steps the brewery took to establish composting service in a community with no commercially available compost operations.

Katie Venechuk, the Michigan DEQ Recycling and Waste Minimization Specialist for Michigan’s Great Southwest and Jill Adams, Environmental Property Manager for Berrien County Parks & Recreation Department, discussed the county’s latest efforts to promote recycling, including the expected outcomes of recycling grants, projects, and educational resources.

Speaker Presentations are available for download here:

Thank you again to Berrien County Conference Center for hosting this month’s event.

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum Presents Recycling Event

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will host a networking and education luncheon for local professionals interested in recycling and composting on Wednesday, January 24 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Berrien County Conference Center.

Matt Flechter, Recycling Market Development Specialist with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will share updates on efforts to double Michigan’s recycling rate, a recent goal of the Snyder Administration.  He will describe DEQ’s work to grow recycling markets, develop a statewide recycling education campaign, expand recycling opportunities at all state facilities so that the government is leading by example, modernize Michigan’s solid waste laws, and establish a sustainable funding mechanism to accomplish Michigan’s recycling goals.  He will be joined by Katie Venechuk, the MDEQ Recycling and Waste Minimization Specialist for Michigan’s Great Southwest.

Also on the agenda is Kate Binder, Sustainability Specialist for Bell’s Brewery, who will speak on the steps the brewery took to establish composting service in a community with no commercially available compost operations. This is similar to the current situation in Michigan’s Great Southwest, as no local waste haulers currently offer such a service.

Jill Martin, Environmental Property Manager for Berrien County Parks & Recreation Department, will share the county’s latest efforts to promote recycling, including the expected outcomes of its recent Recycling Education Grant.

Learn more and register online at mgssbf.org. Lunch is $15 for members and $20 for non-members if paid in advance.

MGSSBF Honors Recent Sustainability Projects at Inaugural Great Green Gala

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum celebrated sustainability in the region last week at the Inaugural Great Green Gala on Wednesday, November 8 at Shadowland on Silver Beach.

See photos of the Gala on Facebook.

MGSSBF honored four organizations with its inaugural Sustainable Business Forum Leadership Awards, which recognizes meaningful efforts toward helping our community more equally value environmental stewardship, social responsibility and economic growth. Information on this year’s winners is included below:
Continue reading MGSSBF Honors Recent Sustainability Projects at Inaugural Great Green Gala

Review: Inaugural Great Green Gala

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum celebrated sustainability in the region last week at the Inaugural Great Green Gala on Wednesday, November 8 at Shadowland on Silver Beach.

See photos of the Gala on Facebook.

This year’s event featured a roast of MGSSBF Founder Becky Kliss, remarks from St. Joseph Mayor Michael Garey on the City of St. Joseph’s sustainability initiatives, and the honoring of four organizations with its inaugural Sustainable Business Forum Leadership Awards. This year’s winners included:

Indiana Michigan Power was recognized for its new Watervliet solar power plant.
Krasl Art Center piloted a recycling effort at its annual art fair.
Lakeland Health completed a major efficiency investment to modernize its main campus in St. Joseph.
– Village of Paw Paw was honored for work to improve water quality in its community.

Thank you again to our sponsors, volunteers, and honorees.

Great Green Gala Sponsors: Indiana Michigan Power, Wightman & Associates, Chemical Bank, Lakeland Health, Whirlpool Corporation, Four Elements Energy, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, & Stryker Corporation.

 

MGSSBF to Honor Kliss, Recent Sustainability Projects at Inaugural Great Green Gala

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will celebrate sustainability in the region next week at the Inaugural Great Green Gala on Wednesday, November 8 at Shadowland Ballroom at Silver Beach.

This year’s event will feature a roast of MGSSBF Founder Becky Kliss, president of Green Connection Inc. and most recently, circular economy boutique Re*Imagine. A tireless advocate for sustainability in the region, Kliss is responsible for introducing the concept to countless local organizations and professionals.

Comedian and writer Dave Dyer of “The Bob and Tom Show” will kick off the event with a performance, followed by roasters from the local and national sustainability community, including Chris Brayak, Ron Segura, Marilyn Havenga and J.B. Hoyt. St. Joseph Mayor Michael Garey will also be making remarks.

MGSSBF will also honor four organizations with its inaugural Sustainability Leadership Awards, which recognizes meaningful efforts toward helping our community more equally value environmental stewardship, social responsibility and economic growth. This year’s winners include:

  • Indiana Michigan Power – AEP is being recognized for its new Watervliet solar power plant.
  • Krasl Art Center piloted a recycling effort at its annual art fair.
  • Lakeland Health completed a major efficiency investment.
  • Village of Paw Paw is being honored for work to improve water quality in its community.

Tickets are $65 and still available at mgssbf.org/greatgreengala. The event also includes dinner, drinks, prizes and networking.

 

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MGSSBF Founder Becky Kliss