My Sustainability Work

I started my professional career in the purchasing and inventory management field and spent 18 years there.  I migrated over to a brief stay in I guess I would call information technology when I lead the effort of developing our corporate web presence and on-line ordering system for our customers.  When I handed that responsibility over 11% of our business was coming through the Internet back in 1997-1998.  That lead to a role in marketing which had not existed in the company before and then to marketing and sales for about 8 years.  For four of those eight years we also started to focus on sustainability with several of our customers.  Six years ago we were able to spin off that responsibility into a role of its own which I enjoy now.  I am fortunate that my passion led into a new role within the company and that I am able to share our own internal stories with others to inspire them to take action.

I have assisted with green cleaning program implementations for probably 40 LEED buildings in Michigan and many more than were not pursing LEED.  We achieved LEED EBOM for our own corporate headquarters and distribution center in June 2010 and are preparing now to recertify in 2015.  In fact we were recently accepted into the USGBC’s LEED V4.0 Beta program.  We could potentially be the first recertification under LEED V4.0 in the new category of Warehouse and Distribution Centers.

I serve and have served on several customer green teams.  At the community level I serve in a leadership role for the Muskegon Area Sustainability Coalition and the Grand Rapids Sustainable Partnership.  I coordinate guests for two WGVU Morning Show Segments with Shelley Irwin: Getting Green and Sustainable Community Voices.  Both of those programs have been going strong for more than three years.  I also am proud to be affiliated with the Michigan Green Ribbon Schools team through the Michigan Department of Education, WMEAC’s 2013 Strategic Planning Team, Grand Rapids Public Schools Ad Hoc Green Team, and Kent County Lodging Association Green Team.  In 2010 I also was responsible in launching Muskegon Green Drinks.

Several of the recognitions that either the company or I have received:  Michigan Green Leader by the Detroit Free Press in 2011 (Company); Michigan 101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies in 2013 (Company), Green Visionary by Michigan Business Review in 2012 (personal).  We also made the front cover of our industry magazine as we were and still are the only distributor in our industry that has achieved LEED EBOM in the U.S. (probably the entire world).

sanitary maintenance - nichols

I will share my experiences and what I have learned on this blog hoping to inspire those that might be reading this!


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