Details from the First Summit of Sustainability Awards

by Cindy Pantea

Summit of Sustainability Awards 2012

Founders and sponsors gift made of recyclable glass by Weisenbach Recycled Products. (Photo by Bruce S. Ford)

Founding members: City of Akron, County of Summit, Keep Akron Beautiful, the Greater Akron Chamber and the Summit Akron Solid Waste Management Authority, were excited for the first Summit of Sustainability Awards (SOSA) program held in The University of Akron Student Union ballroom on Thursday, October 25. It was a sold out event!

This awards program revealed the best sustainable business practices going on within our community and showcased the following winners of the 2012 Summit of Sustainability Awards in the three categories:

  1. Companies with over 250 employees – Bridgestone Americas
  2. Companies with 249 employees or less: Visual Marking Systems, Sustainable Green Printing Partnership
  3. Nonprofit: Akron Zoological Park
Summit of Sustainability Award Winner Bridgestone Americas

Bridgestone Americas accept Summit of Sustainability Award (made of recycled material) in the category: companies with more than 250 employees. (Photo by Bruce S. Ford.)

Winners received a beautiful plaque made out of recyclable materials by Weisenbach Recycled Products and had their pictures taken with Mayor Plusquellic and County of Summit Executive Russell Pry. They also had videos of their sustainability projects, beautifully produced by Steve Felix, shown at the luncheon. Keep checking back with us as we will share the winners’ videos and more.

Kudos to all the other applicants for their sustainable efforts as well: GOJO Industries, Inc., Boy Scouts of America, Akron Children’s Hospital, The Goodwill Industries of Akron Ohio, Inc., Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, Hampton Woods Condominium, Inc., Hattie Larlham, Laurel Lake Retirement Community, Our Lady of the Elms School, Akron Area YMCA, Barrington Carpet & Flooring Design, Hazel Tree Interiors, Involta, Jaco Fridge Recycling LLC, Main Street Gourmet, New Leaf Home Design, OEConnection, Red’s Gourmet Buffet Express / New Adventures Early Learning Center, Samuel Steel Pickling Company, SGS Tool Company, The Totally Cooked Hospitality Group, West Point Market and Ms. Julie’s Kitchen.

Inspiring Words from Elaine Gallagher Adams

SOSA keynote speaker Elaine Gallagher Adams

Summit of Sustainability Awards luncheon keynote speaker Elaine Gallagher Adams. (Photo by Bruce S. Ford.)

At the SOSA luncheon, architect, author and speaker, Elaine Gallagher Adams of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), enthusiastically shared how making just small changes and using out-of-the-box thinking can decrease water waste and increase energy savings for home and business.

For example, being aware of and fixing existing faucet or pipe leaks saves on the water bill and retrofitting an existing structure can provide significant energy savings. In fact, the remanufacturing of the Empire State Building’s existing windows was one case study she used. 

Also, think big! Businesses especially shouldn’t strive for just 17% savings…go for  more!

Read more about the speech by Elaine Gallagher Adams and the event in an article by Beacon Journal staff writer, Bob Downing, at

Thank You from the Founders

Thank you to sponsors:

  • Sustainable Champions – METRO RTA and Sterling Jewelers Inc.
  • Conservation Leaders – Dominion Foundation, FirstEnergy Foundation, The University of Akron, River Valley Paper Company, Smart Business Network Inc., Hasenstab Architects, Inc. and Greenstar Recycling
  • Resource Guardian – Affinity Consultants, Inc.
  • Media Sponsors – The Summit-91.3FM, Smart Business magazine and Lockett Media

Also, thank you to the expert panels of judges: Dr. Nicholas Zingale, Faculty Member, Cleveland State University, Dr. Stacy Willet, Faculty Member, The University of Akron, Sam Rubens, Administrator, Akron Regional Air Quality Management District, Robert Marshall, AIA, Principal, Robert Marshall Architecture and Michele Kilroy, LEED AP, Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the USGBC.

And…thank you to the applicants!

The Summit of Sustainability Awards is a part of Greenprint for Akron which is facilitated by Keep Akron Beautiful.


Keep Akron Beautiful - Greenprint for Akron

Helen Dauka, Keep Akron Beautiful Intern, and Jacqui Flaherty, Keep Akron Beautiful Program Manager, sitting at the Keep Akron Beautiful/Greenprint for Akron booth at the SOSA luncheon. Greenprint for Akron is a program facilitated by Keep Akron Beautiful. (Photo by Bruce S. Ford.)





What Type of Flowers Reseed Themselves

by Polly Kaczmarek, Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscape Director

Alyssum in Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscape

Purple alyssum borders this Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscape.

Letting annuals reseed in your garden is a great way to fill in spaces and cut down on the expense of buying annual plants every year! The trick is to be aware of new seedlings when preparing your flower beds for planting in early summer. Some seedlings don’t germinate until the soil has warmed up – so be patient! Patches of new seedlings may need to be thinned out  and can be easily moved when they are 2-3” tall. Some varieties that we have had good luck with are the following:

  • Verbena – “Bonariensus” reseeds very readily but other varieties can also reseed
  • Rudbeckia – you may know them as black-eyed susans; however, what you may not know is that there are 23 species of Rudbeckia and even annual or biennial varieties may winter over from plants left in the ground or reseed — we’ve had luck with “Prairie Sun,” “Indian Summer” and “Autumn Colors” varieties
  • Gomphrena
  • Ageratum – especially the taller varieties such as “Blue Horizon”
  • Cleome
  • Nicotiana – especially the taller varieties such as “Sylvestris” “Nicki” and ”Heaven Scent”
  • Alyssum
  • Heleniumwe’ve had luck with Helenium “Dakota Gold”
  • Calendula  – also called pot marigolds
  • Zinnia “Augustifolia”
  • Cosmos
  • Antirrhinum – you may know them as snapdragons  – will sometimes winter over from the plants left in the ground, and also reseeds

These reseeding plants have helped to reduce our overall flower bill. I hope that it will help you too. Happy gardening!

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Akron Residents Appreciate Community Improvement Efforts of Keep Akron Beautiful

By Cindy Pantea

Keep Akron Beautiful cash donation and note for beautification

“Just a note” from a proud Akron resident.

As an Administrative Assistant for Keep Akron Beautiful, one of my jobs is to record monies received from fundraising, donations, and grants. One thing I know is that Akron residents like the community improvement efforts of Keep Akron Beautiful and want to help.

From the Overwood Triangles Group  who is “happy to be a part of beautifying our city,” to the single water bill donor, Susan, who added “Love the flowers,” with an accompanying smiley face, you all make this job of mine more awesome every day!

And to Timothy, Wendy, Stephen, Judith, Renee, and anyone else who has written notes to thank the program and crews for the beautification work, your words have been forwarded on…most definitely.

Last but not least, although the words of thanks are a little added “fun” in the donation envelope, we cannot stress enough that everyone’s donations throughout the year, in a tough economy, is much appreciated and allows us to Keep Akron Beautiful for YOU as well as out-of-town visitors you may want to brag to by showing our wonderful Akron city Flowerscapes.

On behalf of Keep Akron Beautiful, thank you, and we look forward to more of your notes.

If you want to say more, reply to this post. We would love to read your comments!