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    Green CEO Interview with ACF Enterprises Icy Williams


    By Dr. Tyra Oldham, LAND sds, January 31, 2013

    Image provided by ACF Enterprises LLC (ACF)  


    ACF Enterprises LLC is a sustainable company providing expertise and solutions in transferring sustainable education to its clients. ACF Enterprises LLC (ACF) has a proven track record and a rich history. LAND sds is featuring and highlighting ACF for its commitment to sustainability and inclusion strategies that assist companies to meet the demands within these economic times.

    Formed in 2005, as a marketing and publishing firm. The founders, Icy Williams and Joan Carol-Flowers in 2009, seized the opportunity to strategically position ACF to be at the forefront of  sustainability by using technology specifically, "the Internet" to focus on online sustainability delivery methods. And since the company's inception it has been an honor to work with companies and educational intuitions to advance sustainable solutions that translate to a strong supply chain and organization leadership through our education and training.   

    Companies that succeed see the future and work toward the innovation to become the leader in their industry. ACF recognized the need for "sustainability education" within all industries supporting supply chain strategies. ACF developed a library of innovative sustainability curriculum supported by a robust Learning Management System that tracks users and can generate a variety of reports to meet the demands of the industry.

    Icy Williams shared, "ACF is uniquely aligned with America’s vision to foster a greener economy and a green-educated workforce."

    Williams states, "Over the next decade, education and training will play a key role in applying the science of sustainability to tasks and jobs in the workplace. In fact, developing the green skills and competencies of the nation’s workforce is essential to ensuring the competitiveness of American businesses in the global economy."

    Yesterday, President Obama determined that there is a need to have U.S. citizens be trianed and complete college by 2020.  Some of this education will be in the green and sustainable arenas, which ACF expertly provides a dynamic sustainability curriculum for colleges and training courseware for businesses that can be delivered onsite in a classroom setting, online using multimedia techniques, or a combination of both. We work with core-constituencies of labor, industry, and academia to identify relevant opportunities for knowledge transfer. Our competitive advantage is the use of state-of-the-art technology to create online curriculum, seminars and workshops that are thought-provoking, engaging and ensure that learning has been retained.  

    ACF focuses on two aspects of sustainability education and training: Workforce development and supplier development. The Center of Sustainability Excellence is an educationally-centered, college-controlled library of sustainability courseware available for licensing to community and technical colleges, universities and trade schools. The curricula specifically focuses on the technical and scientific application of sustainability. The courses were built for delivery in a traditional classroom setting, with related online assignments and virtual classroom discussion.

    The Institute for Sustainable Business Education is a web-based, virtual learning center with powerful, engaging and interactive e-courses  for workforce development. The program will be launched by ACF in early 2013 collaboration with several colleges and business development organizations. Six different Continuing Education Certificate Programs will be available to working students. The categories include Green Construction,  Sustainability Professional ,  Manufacturing & Industrial , Supplier Development,  Environmental Scorecard,  and Employee Engagement.

    ACF sets the standard for supplier sustainable development with SEMS™ (Supplier Excellence in Managing Sustainability). The SEMS™ program offers a unique risk management solution for the corporate supply chain. The program is completely online and includes everything from a Supplier Assessment that establishes a benchmark for sustainability performance improvement with a variety of interactive online e-courses that increase basic awareness of sustainability principles to an innovative tutorial with an online planning template that creates a customized sustainability plan. This comprehensive program incorporates training for the Supplier Environmental Sustainability Scorecard developed by the Procter & Gamble Company. Suppliers that participate on the SEMS™ program can use an online self-audit tool and SEMS™ Certification as verification that sustainable operations are functional and not just self proclamations. 

    ACF understands a company can claim to be “green,” but a business that participates in any of ACF’s education and training programs can produce evidence of a journey to sustainable development. ACF Enterprises has a strategic alliance with CVM Solutions, the nation’s premier provider of supplier database management. CVM’s corporate clients can track the sustainability performance improvement of current suppliers and potential suppliers through a “green supplier” component of CVM’s Supplier Locator system.

    Many argue that Green is a costly addition to any project or process. ACF responds by stating, sustainability is a self-help way of improving business performance. It does not happen overnight; sustainability happens  over time. In some instances new equipment may be necessary, but for the most part “going green” does not have to be an expensive process. The reality is that sustainable development is a global business strategy that is actually providing major corporations cost savings, cost optimizations, cost avoidance and increased efficiencies. The same principles of sustainability can be applied to the operation of even the smallest companies to reduce costs. 
    The typical use case for our firm’s services is our case study on Environmental threats to a large number of communities affected by combined sewer overflows  promoted The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to engage ACF to customize our SEMS™ program to specifically focus on prevention of water and air pollution.  MSD has a unique initiative called, Communities of the Future that is leading the development of a greener city. As part of this initiative, MSD had the goal of providing 50 small businesses (SBEs) in construction and construction-related industries with an opportunity to achieve SEMS™ Certification by taking action steps to protect the area’s water and air quality and to prevent pollution. ACF customized one of its e-courses and created a proprietary assessment specifically for the project.

    ACF Enterprises next step in service delivery to meet the changes in the industry is to use our education and training curriculum to improve the sustainability knowledge and skills of American workers in areas of manufacturing, energy, construction, health care and professional services. Our strategy is to partner with organizations like the EPA, MBDA and WBENC to establish Centers of Sustainability Excellence across the country, so that U.S. businesses have every opportunity and tool to succeed.  

    ACF's biggest challenge is that small business owners and decision makers don’t understand the significance of sustainable development. They view sustainability as an “option” in the sense that it is something you may choose to do or not to do. ACF’s biggest challenge is to change this mind-set before too many of these small companies with the potential to grow suddenly become obsolete.

    Our strengths is conveying “going green” is good for a company’s bottom line. Keep in mind that profits are directly impacted by the costs it takes to run a business. By integrating sustainability principles and practices into business operations, you can lower expenses over time and improve bottom line performance. Small businesses can achieve the same efficiencies as large business, but on a smaller scale. Second, global companies are looking for suppliers that can support their sustainability initiatives. Not only do they want to see value in the supply chain, larger companies are more open to collaborating with smaller companies that bring them green ideas and lower cost. Now is the time to take advantage of a marketplace that is constantly evolving to adapt to climate change.

    We understand  the number of green college programs  and the number of students enrolled in them rises every year.  Sustainability has increasingly become the driving force for thousands of new jobs and careers. In fact, you can read almost daily what executive recruiters, business think tanks, and industry chiefs are saying about the exciting growth in this discipline. By Spring of 2013, ACF will offer six different  Certificate Programs  with CEUs.

    Sustainability training online from ACF’s Institute of Sustainability Business Education will enable working students to become sustainable leaders in their organization. Through convenient video-based lectures, ACF’s sustainability certificate programs reveal how you can reduce waste and the consumption of energy, water and other natural resources, engage the community to boost public perception of your organization, and ultimately yield a return on your investment in the form of profits and cost savings.

    Our training courses and curriculums are best in class and are developed for to support the growing sustainability efforts required by supply chains and economic development in communities across this country and abroad.


    To learn more about ACF Enterprises LLC, please visit


    Envision Realty Services, Inc.

    Written by Dr. Tyra Oldham

    November 30, 2011

    The news release from eMail Wire announced “Envision Realty Services, Inc. Announces its 100 LEED Certification”.

    It is important to highlight green business and the contributions toward a greener world view.  One of these businesses is Envision Realty Services, Inc., who just recently “announced they received notification from the U.S. Green Building Council and GBCI that their 100th project has become LEED Certified, further solidifying their status as one of the largest full-service LEED Consulting companies in the nation.”

    Craig Sheehy, President and CEO, founded Envision in 2007 “specializing in existing buildings, though it has certified many new construction projects”.

    Sheehy stated,

    “When Envision certified their 50th LEED project, our goal is to have 100 projects LEED certified by this time next year. With 35 projects and approximately 14 million square feet currently in the process and another 70 projects in the pipeline, we feel confident we will meet our objective.”

    Envision has been in operation for four years. They determined within their fourth year that had surpassed their objective.   The company on November 18, 2011, was awarded their “103rd LEED certification”.

    The CEO stated,

    “Our philosophy has always been that operating green is both beneficial to the operating costs of a building as well as to the environment. The combination of those two factors is what sets up the opportunity to truly sustain a level of competitiveness in the market place. Our clients understand the value of that opportunity; when you’re ahead of the pack, you’re the leader. Our job is to assist building owners and managers achieve that goal."

    The company has established a nexus of water and energy savings for their clients.  Envision has established a system based on “20-week LEED submittal process” cycle that they “state produces the best life cycle cost impact with improved environmental performance.”


    Recycle Bank Quantifying Green



    Written by Dr. Tyra Oldham

    November 22, 2011


    Green companies as did search and open source are pushing the boundaries of innovation for environmental outcomes.  Recyclebank has open doors to sustainable integration for commercialization.  “Motivating Everyday Green Behavior With Real Reward” from PSFK brings attention to the green development of service solutions.


    “In 2005, Recyclebank took its first steps by launching a pilot home recycling rewards program in Philadelphia.”

    “Today, Recyclebank has millions of members in the United States and the United Kingdom, and with our recent acquisition of Greenopolis in October 2011, they became the leading online recycling rewards program in North America.”

    Recyclebank is an online platform that rewards individuals with points and cash rebates for making environmentally conscious decisions both on and offline. Users register with the site and can commit to a number of pledges that include using less energy, increasing their at home recycling, or learning how they can be more environmentally friendly in their neighborhood. The platform rewards every-day decisions with grocery store savings, drugstore coupons, and discounts from participating brands”.

    PSFK states, companies such as, “Kashi and Ziploc have really pioneered their partnership to motivate people to recycle their packaging.” 

    “Recyclebank motivates people and communities to take everyday green actions, such as recycling, saving energy, taking more sustainable transportation or learning about how to live greener lives.  We offer points to our members each time they take one of these actions, which they can then redeem for rewards. And today, we have more than 3,000 local and national rewards partners in our roster, including companies like Ziploc®, AVEENO®, Kashi® and Brita®.”

    The goal of these green companies spurs environmental concerns amidst profit. The objective to generate ideas around waste reduction to spur collaborative agreement on energy, lifecycle, recycling and conservation is a company worth watching.

    The opportunity is not only for the large corporate structures but within small to midsize companies to participate which is the larger impact. It is great on the books to show Ziploc and Kashi but in reality small companies are the largest pool of companies in the marketplace.

    Recylebank has to draw down and determine is recycling growth the focus or the investment push. Companies like Recyclebank are big targets for the VC’s and investment companies. As of ole’ innovation companies have been powered by the investment capital than sales growth.

    “Recyclebank realized early on that the digital medium would be key in motivating people on a mass scale to change their behaviors.”

    The larger sea of opportunity is to convert companies to the recycle way to bring about green mindshift thinking to produce sustainable companies that will be the employers and innovators in business. The issue is with the vast amount of websites many small businesses have failed to critically occupy the internet space. The cloud is obtuse and not a real operating space. The digital divide remains firm; and therefore, the objective to capture this large market is a challenge but a worth managing for the long-term.


    The cost of technology is still not affordable, despite price reductions as the cost of fuel, energy and food have increased with the cost of living. Technology is not accessible.  

    If it is Recyclebank’s role to gain ‘meaningful partnerships’ that courtship must go beyond the visible dates. They must think as and eHarmony that the pool of matches are broad and companies are also looking for viable dates (matches) that address their needs for environmental and sustainable impact.

    From The Green CEO of LAND sds.


    Green CEO Interview with Tom Keckeis

     Tom Keckeis, President & CEO of Messer

    Messer Construction Co. is a construction manager and general contractor providing leadership for complex commercial building projects.  In addition to building projects, they are building their communities where they work, live and raise their families.  Therefore, LAND sds is highlighting Messer in this week’s edition of the Green CEO.

    Founded in 1932, Messer has built a premier reputation through outstanding construction experiences and value with a focus on health care, life sciences and higher education. An employee-owned company, Messer ranks nationally as one of the Top 100 largest contractors, as well as a Top 40 green contractor.  Messer was honored with the 2009 International Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence by the Council of Better Business Bureaus for superior commitment to exceptional standards that benefit customers, employees, suppliers and surrounding communities.  In fiscal 2010, Messer put in place approximately $513 million in commercial construction.

    With that in mind, what was the reason behind Messer “going green”? The answer is really simple - they are engaged in environmental issues year round for their customers.  Water and energy conservation, climate issues, and debris management are all areas of strong familiarity to them. “We made a conscious decision to utilize our expertise regarding green building practices as a way to add value for our customers and be a responsible community partner,” states Tom Keckeis, president and CEO.

    In 1997 and 2000, Messer participated in two (USGBC) United States Green Building Council’s pilot projects located in Columbus and Cincinnati. Messer managers began LEED credentialing in 2001 and now have over 70 LEED AP’s or GA’s. In 2003, Messer built the first LEED Certified project in the Kentucky Commonwealth at Berea College, which earned Silver Certification. They have built over 30 LEED projects in the following regions: Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, Knoxville, Lexington, Louisville and Nashville. One of Messer’s most recent projects in Columbus has submitted for LEED Platinum. The owner is currently awaiting certification.

    In 2004, Messer researched and published a white paper on sustainability. That same year, a “green team” was formed and currently directs the company’s sustainable efforts. In 2009, Messer began their own LEED Existing Building or EB Certified project utilizing internal managers and now has an Energy Star, LEED EB Certified building at the Cincinnati Corporate Office, which has reaped substantial energy savings.

    Additionally, Messer promotes sustainable design and construction by educating the communities in which they live and work, and by participating in local USGBC Chapters. “Lunch & Learn’s” are great educational hour-long opportunities they provide to their partners.  In addition to Lunch & Learn’s, Messer participates in panel discussions on sustainability across industry.

    Now, many may argue that “green” initiatives are a costly addition to any project or process. Messer responds to that by saying, “A green project does not have to cost more if sustainability and/or energy efficiency are project goals from the beginning.”   

    Although projects that decide to become registered or certified through third-party agencies such as LEED, will pay a premium for the project review process.

    When thinking about the future and its sustainability,   Messer has started implementing new delivery methods to meet the needs of owners and changes within the industry. 

    According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) California council, Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a research-based, project delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to reduce waste and optimize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication and construction.

    By integrating Lean Six Sigma planning prior to space programming and design, the opportunity is available to substantially save on the long-term costs of owning and occupying a building.  This creates long-term efficiencies and sustainability regarding the building’s life-cycle: from design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.[1] (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (October 28, 2009). Green Building Basic Information. Retrieved December 10, 2009)

    They also recognize that there are developments outside of their scope that affect everyone within the company; these include the economy, technology and our communities.  The economy has challenged everyone in the industry, but it has allowed us to be smarter about our work and push ourselves to continue to advance the construction industry. Technology, in regards to Building Information Modeling has been and is a significant development over the last four years and one in which Messer has made a large investment. By utilizing the latest 3-D technology and software, our in-house BIM group has delivered higher value for owners.

    Additionally, according to the Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Giving USA Foundation, total charitable giving contributions fell 3.6 percent in the year 2010. This staggering statistic illustrates the fact that our country and our communities within it continue to face extraordinary challenges. Yet, in spite of economic uncertainties, Messer has an unwavering commitment to community engagement and support.

    During 2010, Messer and its more than 750 employee-owners invested more than $1.2 million, in a variety of community organizations across the eight regions where we live, raise our families and build. Additionally, the Messer Foundation awarded three $25,000 grants to employee-recommended community organizations.

    Messer’s long-term commitment to participate, invest and give back is part of our company DNA. We firmly believe vibrant communities create inclusive and thriving businesses, which benefit all of us, especially our children and future leaders. 

    Finally, LAND sds asked Messer to rate its green aptitude considering processes, systems, delivery and supply chain - on a scale from one (1) to ten (10), 10 being the highest. Messer responded that they rate themselves at 8.5 out of ten.

    “We have come a long way over the past decade,” states Tom Keckeis, president and CEO.  In 2009, they started the LEED EBOM process in regards to their existing corporate office.  Strategic goals and implementation started between April and September of that year with planning done by Messer’s Building Systems Group.  Project performance was completed between the months of October 2009 and June 2010.  In December of 2010, the award of “certification” was made.

    Modifications to the building included the installation of occupancy sensors in offices and conference rooms, the installation of carbon dioxide sensor for demand-control ventilation, daylight harvesting, moisture sensors for irrigation, and water saving toilets.

    “We felt a strong sense of responsibility to create a building that was healthier for our staff, healthier for the environment and could serve as a leading example for other companies in the region,” states Keckeis.

    Messer is making strides within their industry through education and awareness.


    To learn more about Messer, please visit


    Green CEO Interview with Greg Battle

    Greg Battle, CEO of Coolant Control

    Coolant Control was founded in 1976 and started controlling sump systems at Ford Motor Company.  As we reviewed the problems that Ford was having with maintaining proper coolant levels we decided to get involved with coolants from a manufacturing stand point. Today Ford Motor is our largest customer and 65% of our business is automotive. P&G, Kroger’s, Macy’s Cintas and 3000 other companies make up the other 35%.

    Coolant Control knew that it would only be a matter of time before our customers would demand Green products so ten years ago we developed products using Canola oil to substitute for mineral oil. Canola oil has the same ability to with stand the same abuse as mineral can in machining operations.

    Our unique green solutions for our customer’s is to provide Green cleaners and lubricants using canola oil made from corn.  Our customers and their customers want Green products. The reason green is important is a no brainer.

    Coolant Control’s response to the argument that going green is more costly is simply, green has been more expensive in the past because of the energy required to turn stock products into Green products. The price of oil has sky rocketed and now canola oil is lower priced. Our customers have come to realize that when they ask for Green lubricants they pay a higher price but for those that want Green products the extra cost are a cost of doing business. We share our cost with our customers so that they know the truth about the higher charges.

    Green cleaners are the most popular Green products we currently make. Prior to selling Green cleaners we do an assessment of the area they want to clean using a Green product. Sometimes Green cleaners don’t work for certain applications and often we find that none of our cleaners will clean everything. If Green products work we usually give the customer 5 gallons to test the product for themselves. We find that customers often use too much or not enough product and it makes a difference.  The industry talks a lot about going Green but we know it’s mostly talk.

    We can convert / turn over our entire manufacturing facility into a green manufacturing site. We have the ability to quickly switch from one to the other and not cross-contaminate the fluids. When they get ready if they ever do on a large scale we are ready.

    Coolant Control’s biggest challenge to green implementation, delivery and practice and competitive advantage is that there is very little competition. It seems that most of the billion dollar companies are waiting for more customers to step up. We have found that our competitors that do make Green products make a product that is impossible to waste treat and thus has to be burned to dispose. Coolant Control has the only product that can be waste treated on site reducing the cost to the factory.  We have a patent for our own chemistry.

    The three most significant developments that we see effecting Coolant Control are (1) Our largest customers want to consolidate their purchasing in one place. We find that this centralization is not good for us because they want to only buy the lowest priced products and these purchasing people don’t understand our value proposition. (2) The EPA and OSHA are pushing lubricants companies like us to test products using more expensive equipment and more tests requiring we hire more people for testing. This will cost us money. (3) The current chemist we have has vast knowledge of our business and will be retiring and taking that intellectual property with them. We have had to re-hire some of our retired chemist at higher rate of pay than when they previously were employed. The next generation of chemists has theoretical knowledge but little applied experience which will take time to acquire. This is a very serious problem.

    In reflection of our business in today’s market we rate our organization on a scale from one (1) to ten (10), 10 being the highest in green aptitude when considering Coolant Control’s processes, systems, delivery and our supply chain as a firm 10 for sure. We know how to go Green quickly and sustain ourselves. We are waiting on the industry to move.