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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

George McKerrow Shares Green Wisdom

Southeast Green's Speaking of Green June live interview was with Atlanta Green Icon George McKerrow, co-founder & CEO of Ted's Montana Grill (TMG)  It is fun to hear George's complete bio and remember his amazing accomplishments prior to his partnership with Ted Turner.

George & Ted 
George tells the tales of creating one of the first, if not the first, national restaurant concept with its foundation built on sustainability from the ground up.  Starting with respect for the buffalo herd, TMG maintains a sustainable focus from the construction process to operational practices.  Some of the early feats were relatively easy with strong ROI (return on investment), especially the lighting project that lead to a $450,000 cost-savings over the two-year new light bulb life.

The paper straw story is phenomenal on so many dimensions.  For TMG, the paper straws met one of the final steps in a commitment to a plastic-free restaurant.  From a global perspective, George's childhood memory of paper straws re-ignited an industry long-forgotten back into production with world-wide distribution.  Back to TMG, the straw story exemplifies the importance of perseverance while working through the practical challenges of product effectiveness and  consumer demand.  

Solar Panels at Turner Bldg
Photo Credit:  Beth Bond
Wow - how exciting to learn the Turner Building located in Downtown Atlanta, with a TMG on the street level, is off the Grid!!!  Recently, solar panels were installed in the Turner Building parking lot that fuel the entire building's electricity demands.  An added benefit is the panels shelter cars from Atlanta's sweltering summer sun. 

In his humorous and simplistic style, George gives examples of how the foodservice industry may embrace sustainability by taking baby steps on the trail to HUGE accomplishments.  One of George's practical tips for water conservation is to carry a wrench in the back pocket to immediately fix leaky faucets - practical, effective and EASY!

As a Zero Waste Zones Founding Participant George gives credit to the program and Scott Seydel, Elemental Impact Advisory Council Chair, for development of systems to divert reusable materials from landfills and research of innovative waste-to-energy technology.  See the ZWZ Blog post, ZWZ Garners National Support, where George announced the Turner Building is the first Atlanta multi-use building with organics collection for composting throughout the residential, office and retail building components.

Thank you Beth Bond for your vision:  George was perfect for your June Speaking of Green live interview.  Click here to listen to the June 01 interview.

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