Sam Geil

Valley businesses and UC Merced are inducted into the Green Hall of Fame

Five businesses and organizations and four individuals were inducted into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Fresno State University.

SunRun, UC Merced, Green Apple Horse Network, Electronic Recyclers International and Grid Alternatives were the inducted businesses and organizations. The individuals were Ed Begley Jr., Christina Schwerdtfeger, John Shegerian (CEO of Electronic Recyclers) and Alan Tratner, who received Lifetime Achievement awards.

  • SunRun is a San Francisco-based company that offers solar leasing and power purchase agreements.;
  • University of California Merced has six buildings that are LEED certified, and students and faculty are leaders in solar-energy research
  • Geen Apple Horse Network, based in Marin County, helps the horse industry go green, and manages a directory of green products and services;
  • Electronic Recyclers International, a Fresno-based firm that is the nation's largest electronic waste recyclers;
  • GRID Alternatives, an Oakland nonprofit that installs solar panels on low-income households throughout California. The Fresno office has installed solar power systems on more than 300 homes in the Valley, all owned by low-income families
  • Ed Begley Jr., an actor and environmental leader who is chair of the Environmental Media Association and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
  • Christina Schwerdtfeger founded Coto Consulting in 2009 as a woman-owned, small business enterprise to provide environmental consulting services to private and public sector clients throughout the United States. She specializes in multi-media compliance for air, water and hazardous waste, with particular emphasis on greenhouse gases and sustainability.
  • John Shegerian, a serial entrepreneur, is chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers. Prior to his work at ERI, Shegerian co-founded, one of the most successful student loan companies in the country, and founded, a comprehensive, interactive website dedicated to helping those struggling with the disease of addiction, that has become the leading online space for the recovering community.
  • Alan Tratner, international director of FD3′s Green2Gold in Santa Barbara and president of the Inventors Workshop International and Entrepreneurs Workshop, director of the Small Business Entrepreneurship Center in California and former publisher of Lightbulb Journal and INVENT!.
 Also honored were Climate Ride, a nonprofit in Missoula, Mont., that organizes charitable bike rides to support sustainable solutions, bike advocacy and environmental causes, and Aquacue, a San Jose firm whose customers set a baseline, reduce waste and engage the community to reduce water bills and advance sustainability.

Fresno businessman Sam Geil founded the International Green Industry Hall of Fame to recognize  pioneers, leaders, and visionaries who have contributed to the Green movement.

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.