In this picture I am to the right of Nina Vaca, Chairperson of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) and CEO of Pinnacle Technical Resources. On her left is Javier Palomarez, President & CEO of the USHCC. This picture was taken after a long and hugely successful day at the USHCC’s 2012 Legislative Summit. And most interesting for all Americans is that the USHCC’s legislative focus was upon creating a sustainable economy that will grow jobs while also implementing environmental stewardship.
I was honored to chair this event’s first-ever panel on energy. The lead legislative panelists were Senator Robert Portman of Ohio and Congressman Ben Lujan of New Mexico. Senator Portman spoke to the combined need to increase supply and reduce demand. The Senator spoke optimistically that his bill creating new incentives for building energy efficiency was attracting bipartisan support.
Congressman Lujan spoke on the leadership role he and New Mexico are playing to create renewable energy and a more efficient electrical grid. Congressman Lujan, speaking with experience based upon his distinguished service as a utility commissioner, outlined the current electric transmission bottlenecks that limit the efficient flow of electricity. For example, the current system limits the ability of moving competitively priced solar power produced in the West to homes and factories across the U.S. And he endorsed research on advanced transmission technology to reduce the current 10% energy loss now occurring in the transmission of electricity.
Here’s what happened behind the scene. Prior to the panel USHCC President Palomarez met with the panel participants. He outlined his vision of a strong economy offering jobs for all Americans implemented through a commitment to environmental stewardship.
He spoke to a USHCC Foundation program he is justifiable proud of called Green Builds Business. Through this program hundreds of business owners in 11 cities across the U.S. have been coached on green business best practices. Every participant attending GBB is coached in their design of a project that they can implement within 90 days that will make money and a difference.
Sample programs designed and implemented by Green Builds Business participants include:
Green Auto Body Shop, Salt Lake City
This auto body shop has a strong reputation for quality workmanship and price competitiveness. Like most Hispanic businesses it took pride in environmental stewardship including the hand washing of finished vehicles to minimize water use to one bucket. But this was a business struggling to make sales connections with government and corporate customers. GBB coaches on the growing business opportunity for selling to corporations and governments that are greening their supply chain. Their GBB project was to become a green auto body shop as a sales path for engaging institutional and corporate clients that were greening their supply chains. And it worked! Within 90 days of implementing the going green steps coached at the GBB program they landed Avis and the Salt Lake City’s police department as customers.
Recyclable Drying Cleaning Bags, Long Island
This Long Island entrepreneur has a great business idea that addresses the growing trend of cities outlawing throw-away plastic bags including dry cleaning bags. Like reusable grocery bags her recyclable garment bag will save money for dry cleaners and cities facing the growing cost of handling waste. For all her enthusiasm she was facing the typical early stage resistance to change. Her project was to sell 50% of her bag inventory in 60 days. She did it following the GBB coaching best practices for selling to Concerned Caregiver who are moms focused upon the well being of their loved ones. This entrepreneur designed and implemented a high energy marketing campaign targeting women seeking to make a difference. With her sales success confirming the product’s proof of concept she is looking to raise her first round of angel funding.
Tulsa Electrical Contractor Selling LED High Efficiency Lighting Solutions
This Tulsa electrical contractor had a successful contracting business and is well respected by the Tulsa community. But like everyone in the construction industry his business was challenged by the economic recession. One of the opportunities coached on in GBB is the superior financial returns generated from improving building energy efficiency. This Tulsa contractor designed a project to grow his business revenues selling high efficiency LED lights. He was coached on how to represent his company to senior officers of LED companies. Then through GBB he was connected with two LED lighting companies that offered cost competitive made in America technologies. This electrical contractor has secured exclusive distributor status and is now installing LED lighting solutions that save money and reduce emissions.
Many GBB participants followed the GBB coaching on how to reduce costs by going green. These business owners have installed energy efficient lighting, one is installing a solar power system and they have installed water saving low flow fixtures. Each participant in GBB is provided with a free bag (recyclable of course) with sample products like CFLs and faucet aerators.
This is a picture of participants in one of the two day Green Builds Business programs implemented in Nashville, Tennessee. In front is Dr. Waldo Mikels-Carrasco, Research Associate Director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Walmart funded this 11 cities program including the retention of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame to better quantify various business issues tied to going green including how Hispanic businesses are responding to green business opportunities.
Here’s the important insight for America regarding the leadership being implemented by the USHCC. Green Builds Business is open to all. The USHCC is dedicated to America’s success and to the key role Hispanic Americans contribute toward America’s success. They are focused upon creating jobs. They are focused upon enabling business growth. And they are committed to human and environmental health through their endorsement of environmental stewardship.
Bill Roth is the founder of Earth 2017, the company that is implementing the USHCC Foundation’s Green Builds Business program. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles case studies of business best practices that make money going green.