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Monday, April 27, 2015

Atlanta Airport honors sustainability partners at greeningATL Excellence Awards

Michael Cheyne
On April 24, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) hosted the first annual greeningATL Excellence Awards 2015, Recognizing Excellence in Sustainable Business Practices. The well attended event honored corporations and individuals within the airport community who contributed to ATL and the surrounding area's sustainability success.

ATL General Manager Miguel Southwell states the airport's sustainability vision and commitment:
“At Hartsfield-Jackson, we don’t want to be known as just the world’s busiest and most efficient airport, but also the most sustainable airport. Our guiding principles are very clear. We are focused on striking an effective, meaningful balance between environmental sustainability, economic stability and social responsibility. Today’s award winners illustrate our collective and demonstrated commitment to these goals.”
With more than 63,000 employees, ATL is the largest employer in Georgia and boasts a direct economic impact of $34.8 billion in metro Atlanta and $70.9 billion in Georgia. ATL has tremendous impact, economic and otherwise, on travelers, employees and the surrounding community. 

In March 2014, the Atlanta Aerotroplis Alliance, a new economic coalition centered around the airport, was launched. In addition, the ATL EcoDistrict, comprised of various stakeholders within the defined airport area, was founded on the concept of continual improvement and provides a unified voice to focus on sustainable practices within the airport community.

Myrna @ podium
Teamwork among internal divisions and organizations along with concessionaire, airline and other business partners is integral to success. Local, state and federal government, non-profits and the surrounding community schools and businesses are vital players in building a solid sustainability platform.  At the awards luncheon, ATL honored businesses and individuals who excelled in their respective roles.

Arriving guests were greeted with a personal welcome by Michael Smith, ATL senior deputy general manager, and Michael Cheyne, ATL director of asset management and sustainability. In the ample pre-program networking time guests enjoyed catching up with long-time friends and meeting new colleagues.

ATL Director, Office of Public Affairs Myrna White opened the luncheon program and served as the Master of Ceremonies. Michael Smith gave welcoming remarks followed by a lovely Invocation by ATL Interfaith Airport Chaplain Reverend Dr. Chester Cook.

Scott @ podum
After the delicious lunch, Myrna introduced Elemental Impact Chair Scott Seydel for his keynote address. In his usual entertaining manner, Scott used clever humor to chronicle ATL's early history from racetrack (no planes!) to the current status of busiest airport in the world. Within his presentation, Scott applauded the airport on sustainability successes intertwined with fun visuals.

The award presentations were tag-teamed by Myrna and Michael Smith. Ei Partner HMSHost was a double winner for the corporate Innovation and individual Innovative Leadership Awards. 

Dating back to 2009, HMSHost took the leadership role in the collection of spent grease (from fryers) for bio-fuel production. Working with their sub-concessionaires and the other master concessionaire, HMSHost created a working model where all airport spent grease was collected for bio-fuel production.

In 2011, Ei worked with HMSHost on crafting a milk jug recycling program for the ATL Starbucks. With approximately 2500 milk jugs used per week, 130,000 milk jugs per year, HMSHost took the initiative to bale the milk jugs back-of-the-house in one store location and deliver the mini bales to a local recycling company. Revenue generated covered the baler and labor costs. 

Scott DeFife (NRA), Holly & Tim
w/ Going Green Airports award
The ZWA Blog post, Milk Jugs Recycled @ Atlanta Airport, is an overview of the system. The Ei FB album, 12-05-11 SFCI ATL Airport Milk Jug Recycling, gives a pictorial play by play of the collection, compacting and baling process.

Later in 2011 HMSHost worked closely with ATL on a successful back-of-the-house food waste collection for compost pilot on Concourse T. During this time frame, Michael Cheyne included the groundbreaking compostable food & beverage packaging provision in the then Concessions Contract RFP - request for proposal. The ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport Makes Bold Sustainable Statement, announces the groundbreaking contract provision.

As 2011 drew to a close, ATL was the recipient of the prestigious Going Green Airport Award for the monumental concessionaire contract provision. The ZWA Blog article, Atlanta Airport wins National Award, announces the award.

In 2013, HMSHost was the leader in Ei's Airborne Kitchen Grease (AKG), a proactive approach to a costly cooking by-product, initiative. Pei Wei, an HMSHost restaurant on ATL's international terminal, participated in the eight-week AKG pilot. The Water, Chemical, & Cost Savings in Commercial Kitchens By Using Grease Lock Filters (GLF), an independent engineer's report, established the cost-savings inherent within the GLF system. 

Devon & Tony with awards
The ZWA Blog article, GREASE: a new frontier filled with economic & environmental promise, announces the pilot report and describes how an AKG proactive approach saves water, toxic chemical use, labor and dollars.

As documented in the ZWA Blog article, Atlanta Airport Presents a Proactive Approach to Airborne Kitchen Grease, ATL committed to a campus-wide GLF installation. Due to the AKG proactive approach, ATL anticipates 1.1 million gallons per year in water-savings and an estimated $7,000+ cost-savings per concessionaire. HMSHost was the first concessionaire to install GLF in their ATL restaurants. With a GLF contract in-place, HMSHost is developing a national GLF installation plan for their airport and travel plaza operations.

Devon Ray, HMSHost senior manger, contracting, flew in from D.C. to accept the corporate award. As he was unavailable to attend the lunch, Tony Szajdek - HMSHost assistant general manager - accepted the individual award on behalf of Tim Slaney, HMS senior director operations. 

Other greeningATL Excellence Awards included:

greeningATL awards
  • Community Leader Award - Ray Williams, Benjamin E. Mays High School
  • GreeningATL Eco-Employee Award – Pat Gallimore, Atlanta Airlines Terminal Corporation 
The creative greeningATL eco-sphere awards were compliments of ATL senior sustainability planner, Liza Milagro's ingenuity.

As lunch closed, Liza announced each table was complete with Ei Supporter Asean | Stalkmarket compostable containers and requested guests to place uneaten food in the containers for later composting. Ei founder Holly Elmore and Sustainable Food Court Initiative Co-Chair Doug Kunnemann of NatureWorks joined Rick Mills, Asean national account & sales manager, and Paul Brown of Paul Brown Consulting at the Asean sponsor table. Paul Brown recently joined forces with Asean to share his airport concession expertise.

Michael Cheyne gave the greeningATL luncheon closing remarks as well as facilitated the raffle drawings.

Ei Partners EcoProducts and NaturBag were sponsors and recognized in the event program as well as during the raffle drawing.

Doug, Scott, Stephanie & Michael C.
Incoming City of Atlanta Director of Sustainability Stephanie Benfield made the greeningATL event a priority in her hectic schedule. Twice Stephanie was honored during presentations. Friends from the metro area were thrilled to personally congratulate Stephanie on her new role and offer their support.

The Ei FB album, greeningATL Excellence Awards 2015, gives a pictorial recap of the impressive first annual awards ceremony.

Ei has a long-standing close working relationship with ATL dating back to early 2011 when Michael Cheyne's current position - Director of Asset Management & Sustainability - was created. With new projects within the Water Use | Toxicity platform underway, Ei is a strong supporter in ATL's quest for "greenest airport in the world" designation.

The greeningATL Excellence Awards are an important vehicle to recognize ATL's partners, whether employee, contractor or area organization, who accelerate sustainability success at the world's busiest and most efficient airport. .... soon to be the world's greenest airport!

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