UC Merced Shows Its True Colors (Green) By Hosting Event

It is no secret that we love UC Merced.

The newest campus in the University of California system is rapidly gaining cred for its heavy green tint. It already is a leader in cutting-edge solar and biofuel research, has six LEED Gold and one LEED Silver buildings and is not shy about its desire to become the greenest campus in the United States.

So, I guess it is natural for the university to host tomorrow's inaugural International Green Industry Hall of Fame (IGIHOF) Induction Ceremony and Conference. The highlight of the daylong event is the announcement of the first six inductees into the new Hall of Fame, which is designed to recognize individuals and organizations for outstanding achievements in the green industry and to provide an educational forum.

The Hall of Fame is the brainchild of Sam Geil, president of Geil Enterprises Inc., a diversified employee-owned Fresno-based business that has several green initiatives.

Geil's involvement in the green industry began during his tenure at Grundfos Pumps and continued at Geil Enterprises Inc. with the acquisition of A-MAZ Cleaning Products. In 2007, he was invited by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, to participate in the Pacific Economic Summit in Vancouver, British Columbia representing sustainable industries in California.

The Hall of Fame event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and includes speakers and tours of the campus. Speakers include Rod Diridon, Sr., executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute, a policy research center at San Jose State University. He will talk about high-speed rail.

Campus architect Thomas E. Lollini will talk about the design of UC Merced, and attorney Donald Simon, co-founder of Build It Green and the U.S. Green Building Council's Northern California chapter, will speak at a dinner reception about America's competitive edge in the new energy economy.

The San Joaquin Valley - with its rich agriculture base, a history of can-do entrepreneurial spirit, vast land and sun resources, access to the transmission grid, mid-state location and high energy bills - can be a leader in the emerging green economy.

And UC Merced, along with the new Hall of Fame, could play key roles in that transformation.