Sustainability award winners announced

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Lakewood honored the winners of the 2013 Sustainability Awards at the Lakewood City Council meeting on Earth Day, April 22.

Winners were split into three categories: Defender of the Planet Youth Awards, Bruce Peoples Eco-Employee Award for city employees and the Community Sustainability Award, which goes to individuals and groups in the community.

“This is something we very much look forward to every year,” Mayor Bob Murphy said. “Congratulations to all of the awardees. We very much appreciate your work on sustainability in our community.”

Ward 5 Councilman Tom Quinn said that the nominees were judged based on how well they meet goals of Lakewood’s comprehensive plan, the positive impact they have on community, how they embrace innovation in their programs. He also added the judging committee — made up of former winners, Advisory Commission for an Inclusive Community members, and city council members — look for diversity in the projects as well.

Winners came from all areas of the community, from sisters Summer, 10, and Autumn, 7, Marquis who both go to Devinny Elementary School and spend their lunch time making sure proper items get recycled, to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, which installed a photovoltaic system that supplies 85 percent of the church’s electrical power and started a sustainability outreach program.

One of the winners of the Bruce Peoples Eco-Employee Award was the paperless payroll program, headed by Accounting Manager Richianne Sullivan, Benefits and Compensation Manager Nancy Rhode and Database Administrator Nicole Kendrick.

“The project was a huge coordination between all of our departments, and there are so many people who worked hard to make this happen,” Sullivan said.

According to Rhode, the inspiration for the project came from a desire to cut down on paper use by payroll, including all the envelopes and pieces of paper used for each city employee, which equaled out to about 39,000 saved pieces of paper and envelopes.

“We’ve been working on this project for two and a half years, and as we went through the project, we saw opportunities to use the technology in more areas than payroll,” Kendrick said.

Sullivan added that not only has using more technology cut down on paper, but it has allowed for greater access to information online.

“We feel really honored to receive this award, and I think it shows that our employees can really work together and get over the hurdles,” Sullivan said.

All three acknowledged that they were receiving the award on behalf of all the staff who helped implement the project.

For more information on the sustainability awards, visit www.lakewood.org/sustainabilityawards.