Street Talk

Street Talk: CWD has its eyes on the Prize

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August 22, 2014
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As Grand Rapids gears up to host its annual art extravaganza, corporate sponsors are getting on board to help with the details.

The latest to offer assistance is CWD Real Estate Investment, now the official real estate sponsor of ArtPrize 2014, which is offering its Ledyard Building to serve as the event’s “hospitality center.”

ArtPrize officials say they are excited by the Ledyard’s prime location next to the Grand Rapids Art Museum, one of the event’s main venues. Functions to be housed onsite will include badging and guest services, the ArtClub membership lounge, volunteer lounge, clubhouse and staff offices.

CWD’s participation in ArtPrize is key in helping the competition run smoothly, according to ArtPrize Director of Operations Dave DeBoer.

“CWD’s willingness to donate space downtown is crucial to the success of ArtPrize. Use of the Ledyard Building will provide our officials and volunteers with the space needed to better serve ArtPrize artists, guests and visitors from a more central location.”

The venue hosted a volunteer kickoff party last Thursday and will be home to a sponsor event and artist open house Sept. 19 and 21, respectively.

CWD’s involvement in ArtPrize is a natural outgrowth of the company’s vision to help strengthen the urban center and community of Grand Rapids, said Sam Cummings, CWD managing partner.

“Our amped-up participation in ArtPrize falls in line with our commitment to make downtown Grand Rapids a lively and vibrant destination for residents and visitors,” he said. “We’re excited to get involved in the festivities surrounding ArtPrize by providing strategic downtown locations to officials, sponsors, guests and volunteers.”

CWD is also a sponsor of ArtPrize’s Critical Discourse event Oct. 3 and a venue for 26 artists at the Fifty Monroe and PNC Bank buildings.

Road trip

In February, Dearborn-based Carhartt, makers of durable work wear, and New Holland Brewing Co. announced a collaboration brew — the Carhartt Woodsman— to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the iconic clothing manufacturer.

Now the two companies are taking that relationship one step (or hundreds of mile) further with The Road Home to Craftsmanship tour, a road trip designed to bring “the beer to the people” while collecting the stories of America’s working men and women.

The Road Home crew, including brewers, storytellers and tradespeople from New Holland, Carhartt and beyond, is reaching out to hear and share stories with working people en route to eventually arriving at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

The tour kicks off in Carhartt’s backyard Sept. 21 at Grand Trunk Pub in Detroit, with a finale in the mountains of Colorado — to be announced with GPS coordinates — before finally arriving in Denver.

“It has been a dream to work with Carhartt, and we can’t wait to hit the road with them to introduce the Carhartt Woodsman to its thirsty public,” said Fred Bueltmann, New Holland’s vice president of brand and lifestyle.

“As Carhartt celebrates its 125th year, we wanted to honor the craftspeople and tradespeople who have loyally supported the brand over the years and have helped us reach this significant milestone,” added Tony Ambroza, senior vice president of marketing at Carhartt.”

And don’t think the gang won’t be traveling in style. The crew will bring New Holland’s newly renovated Stop & Taste trailer, a 34-foot Spartan trailer from 1947, geared up with a 20-tap, glycol-chilled draught system for outside service, and a lounge outfitted in Carhartt upholstered benches.

The Road Home crew will celebrate the launch of the tour at Carhartt headquarters in Dearborn before heading across the state to host a series of launch parties in West Michigan. After that, the team begins its two-week trek across the Midwest and into Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

“We’re headed on this tour with an air of curiosity and an appetite for adventure,” said Bueltmann. “Our brands only exist because of the colorful, passionate people that support them. It will be great to be able to take time to talk and taste with them, lingering over flavors and conversations.”

Other tour stops include Milwaukee, Des Moines, and Lincoln, Neb.

Well done

In 1994, a small group of like-minded companies launched an initiative that would allow local companies, colleges, governments and nonprofits to share knowledge and collaborate on initiatives promoting sustainable business practices within their organizations and the region.

One of the first organizations of its kind in the world, West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum has served as a support network for two generations of triple-bottom-line practitioners, playing a critical role in distinguishing West Michigan as the nation’s unofficial capital of sustainable business, helping to popularize green building, sustainable product design, beyond-compliance practices and savings-driven sustainability.

Now, the forum, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, is taking Mayor George Heartwell to task. But it’s all in good fun.

Heartwell, the region’s foremost sustainability spokesperson, will be the subject of a roast from 6:30-10:30 p.m., Sept. 11, at the Bissell Tree House at John Ball Zoo.

Roasters will include Shelley Irwin, Eddie Tadlock, Dave Dyer, Ruth Kelly, Rich VanderVeen, Tommy Allen and the improv group Pop Scholars.

Also on the agenda is the Sustainable Business of the Year Award. Finalists are Amway, Cascade Engineering, Herman Miller, Organicycle and Steelcase.

Highlighting the event is the inaugural class selected for the West Michigan Sustainable Business Hall of Fame. In addition to Heartwell, this year’s class includes Cascade Engineering CEO Fred Keller and Sustainable Research Group CEO Bill Stough.

Special recognition will be given to Paul Murray, former Herman Miller director of sustainability, along with representatives from other founding and charter forum members.


Grand Valley State University is once again among the country’s greenest universities, according to the Sierra Club, the largest national grassroots environmental organization in the U.S.

The university is the highest-ranking Michigan institution on the list, ahead of universities such as Texas A&M and Ohio State.

For the third year in a row, Grand Valley is included in the Sierra’s Club’s annual list of Coolest Schools, which ranks schools that have a strong commitment to environmental improvement, are helping to solve climate problems and are making significant efforts to operate sustainably.

Grand Valley placed 58th out of 173 institutions. The ranking was based on scores given to universities that completed a questionnaire on measurable environmental goals and achievements, presented by the Sierra Club, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Sustainable Endowments Institute and Princeton Review.

Since 2013, Grand Valley has been the only university in the state — and is currently one of 61 in the country — to receive gold status. Of the 282 schools that currently hold a ranking nationwide, Grand Valley’s average score was higher than the national score.

The self-reporting assessment included more than 900 questions.

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