C.O. Sustainability Award winners named

BEND, Ore. - Central Oregon's 2012 Sustainability Awards were announced by The Environmental Center Thursday night at a celebration at the Cascade Culinary Institute's Elevation Restaurant.  

The Environmental Center received 20 nominations and the winners were selected by a community review committee. 

"Sustainability is a big, complex topic." said Mike Riley, Executive Director of The Environmental Center.  "Achieving it requires patience and perseverance in the face of some daunting obstacles. The Sustainability Awards celebrate the citizens, businesses, and organizations in our community that are dedicated to overcoming these challenges."

The Environmental Center presented six awards:

  • IndividualKaren Kassy
  • Small BusinessSolAire Homebuilders
  • Large BusinessDeschutes Brewery
  • OrganizationCascade Culinary Institute
  • Special Award—VisionBend Living Cities Design Team (Steven Ames, Rachel Stemach, Stacey Stemach)
  • Special Award—Commitment to the Cause: Debra Burke

Ruth Williamson, a previous event attendee, explained the importance of the awards. "Shining a spotlight on current successes is so important, creating a reality that is rooted in truth, not just aspiration," said Williamson.

A seven-member citizen committee reviewed 20 nominations and selected the final winners. The committee members were: Ben Gordon – Oregon Natural Desert Association, David Ford – Northwest Crossing (2012 Large Business Winner), Diana Fischetti – Earth Advantage and Environmental Center Board of Directors, Jennifer von Rohr – WH Pacific, Kim Curley – Commute Options, Matt Schinderman – OSU Cascades (and 2012 Individual Winner), and Rhonda Ealy – Strictly Organic Coffee Company.

The nominees were scored on the basis of their leadership, innovation and operating practices with regards to sustainability.  Additionally, nominees were scored on the basis of their community involvement and their promotion of social equity.  The nominees' scores were compared to their peers for each category (Individual, Small Business, Large Business, and Organization) to determine the award recipients.  The review committee also presented 2 special awards for vision and personal commitment.

 About The Environmental Center

 The Environmental Center educates and advocates for a sustainable future in Central Oregon.  We believe that sustainability hinges on how we live our daily lives: at home, at school and at work. The Center's focus areas include educating kids, promoting zero waste, supporting local businesses, and promoting energy efficiency and renewables. To learn more about The Environmental Center, visit them online at or at their facility 16 NW Kansas Avenue in downtown Bend.

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