Southwest Michigan Sustainable Business Forum History of Events

Sustainable Business Forum Supporting the Triple Bottom Line

The mission of the Southwest Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is to promote business practices which demonstrate environmental stewardship, economic vitality, and social responsibility.

You are invited to join the SWMSBF today!  

Event History


Jan 2016,
Project Zero How-To Session 2 -- Kalamazoo Community Foundation. 2nd installation of our "Project Zero U" how-to sessions. Feat. Ryan Smith from Landscape Forms and Marley McVey, SWMSBF intern.

Feb/Mar 2016, Annual Meeting -- Kalamazoo Nature Center Feat. Dr. Andrew Hoffman of U of M, on his book HOW CULTURE SHAPES THE CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATE.

Apr 2016, Project Zero How-To Session 3 -- Bronson Hospital. Feat. Brendan Molony of Bronson, who also led the group on a tour of Bronson's substantial sustainability efforts.

May 2016, KVCC Healthy Living Campus Tour -- KVCC Downtown.  Feat. Rachel Bair. Sustainable design features of new campus and presentation on new programs offered.

Jun 2016, Composting -- Kalamazoo Nature Center and Kalsec's nearby compost field. Featuring 4 sustainability/composting speakers from Kalsec's staff, followed by tour of Kalsec composting facility in Cooper Twp.


Feb 2015, Annual Meeting – Kalamazoo Nature Center Feat. Dean McCurdy from KVCC

June 2015, Transit Millage Info session – WMU Office for Sustainability Feat. Sean McBride from Kalamazoo County Transit

Sept 2015, Project Zero Kickoff – Kalamazoo College Feat. Panelists from Kellogg's, Republic Services, Landscape Forms, Kalamazoo College, and composting startup

Oct 2015, SWMSBF Fundraiser and local food program – St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw Feat. Wine and small plate pairings - tour of winery and local foods menu

Nov 2015, PZ How-To Session #1 – Landscape Forms Feat. Ryan Smith of Landscape Forms

Dec 2015, Living Building Challenge 3.0 – Kalamazoo Nature Center Feat. Matt Hollander of Hollander Development Corp.



Dec. 3, 2014 Topic: Arcus Center Completion Tour (joint event) Speaker: Paul Manstrom, Kalamazoo College Location: K-College, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Co-sponsored by SWMSBF and AIA SW Michigan   Nov. 12, 2014 Topic: Bell’s Sustainability Program Speaker: Walker Modic, Bell’s Sustainability Manager Location: Bell’s Eccentric Café Sponsor: Bell’s   Sept. 4, 2014 Joint Event: Michigan’s Great SW Sustainable Business Forum Topic: Solar Flair! The power of SW Michigan Speakers: -Art Toy, Four Elements Energy -Dan Scripps, Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council -Mike Linsea: Solar Winds Power Systems Location: VanBuren Conference Center, Lawrence Co-Sponsors: SWMSBF and MGSSBF   June 9, 2014 Joint Event: SWMSBF, Rotary International, Lean & Green Michigan, and the Kalamazoo Nature Center Topic: PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) Location: Kalamazoo Rotary, CityScape Co-sponsored by mentioned organizations   May 12, 2014 Joint Event: West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum Speakers: -Elsie Palabrica, Environmental Resources Management -Dave Auperlee, Bissell Homecare -Travis Gibbs, Disher Design & Development Topic: Materiality, Metrics & Motivation Location: Perrigo Sponsors: Perrigo and SWMSBF Feb. 26, 2014 Speaker: AIA SW Michigan Program, Joint Event Topic: Hardhat construction tour of new Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Location: Kalamazoo College Sponsor: Southwest Michigan Sustainable Business Forum Annual Meeting, Feb. 20, 2014 Speaker: John Austin, Michigan Economic Center Topic: Growing Michigan’s Green and Blue Economy Location: Kalamazoo Nature Center Sponsor: Kellogg’s      

Have a topic you would like us to consider?

Email your suggestion! 2013 November 7, 2013
Speakers: Chris Dilley, Peoples Food Coop Topic: Big Payoffs from Innovative Design and Construction Location: YWCA Sponsor: Solar Winds Power Systems LLC, All-Phase Electric, Feyen Zylstra, Kendall Electric, Lochinvar, LLC, Miller Davis September 19, 2013 Speakers: Luke Miller (Miller Energy); Steve Losher (MI Land, Air, Water Defense);  Bill Mitchell (MDEQ). Moderated by: Bill Rose (President, Kalamazoo Nature Center) Topic: Fracking! Location: Kalamazoo Nature Center Sponsor: Miller Energy June 25, 2013 Speakers: Kal Kalkowski (Landscape Forms Director of Operations and Engineering); Kirt Martin (Landscape Forms VP of Design and Marketing); WMU Green Manufacturing Industrial Consortium representative Topic: Green Manufacturing at Landscape Forms Location: Landscape Forms Sponsor: Landscape Forms, American Institute of Architects (AIA) Southwest Michigan May 19, 2013 Speakers: Christopher Barnes (City of Portage Transportation and Utilities Director); Steven L. Stepek (Senior Transportation Planner, KATS (Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study)); Kalamazoo County Law Enforcement (invited) Topic: A Community Forum on Cycling Location: Borgess Medical Center Sponsor: Borgess, Envirologic February 21, 2013 Speakers: Peter Sinclair Topic: Climate Change Location: Kalamazoo Nature Center Sponsor: American Institute of Architects (AIA) Southwest Michigan, Kalamazoo College 2012 November 15, 2012 Speakers: Bruce Westlake and Larry Tuttle at Michigan Electric Auto Association Topic: Electric Car Technologies for Home and Business Location: Kalamazoo County Expo Center Sponsor: Cole Nissan October 18, 2012 Speakers: Dennis Berkebile—Consumers Energy, Steve Transeth—Truscott Rossman, James Clift—MI Environmental Council, and Mike Linsea—Solar Winds Power Systems. Moderated by: Michele Karpinski, Kalamazoo Nature Center. Topic: Proposal 3: 25% Renewables by 2025 Location: WMU Fetzer Center September 20, 2012 Speaker: Donna Densmore, Corporate Account Manager at Consumers Energy Topic: Wind, Solar, Hydro: Renewable Energy Programs at Consumers Energy Location: Kalamazoo Public Library August 16, 2012 Speaker: Peter Strazdas, Associate VP of President of Facilities Management at WMU Topic: WMU Sustainability Overview Location: WMU Fetzer Center June 1, 2012 Speakers: Michele Wregglesworth, Miller‐Davis, Rachel Kuipers of LiveRoof LLC, and John Stein of Modern Roofing Topic: Green Roof: KVCC Student Success Center Installation, Establishment & Coordination Location: KVCC Student Success Center May 3, 2012 Speaker: Michael Rowe, Executive Director for the Bronson Athletic Club and former Director of Food and Nutrition at Bronson Methodist Hospital Topic: Sustainable Foods Location: Bronson Athletic Club Sponsor: Bronson February 16, 2012 Speaker: Renee Hesselink, Vice President of Sustainability at Nichols Topic: Nichols – A Journey Toward Sustainability Location: Kalamazoo Nature Center


History of Events .


November 17, 2011

Speaker: Dr. Andrew Targowski, Director of the Center for Sustainable Business Practices at Western Michigan University
Topic: The WMU HCoB Business' Center for Sustainable Business Practices mission, goals, actions, implementation and curriculum

September 21, 2011
Speaker: Tom Tishler, Contract Manager with Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity
Topic: Green building features of Habitat for Humanity homes

June 16, 2011

Speakers:  Lisa Hardesty, Environment of Care and Sustainability Manager for Bronson Healthcare Group,
and Ty Cleary, a construction representative for Republic Services
Topic:  Commercial & Construction Waste & Recycling Opportunities

April 21, 2011
David B. Warwick from Envirologic,
Jeff Spencer from Griffin Pest Solutions,
Robert Huebner from Lansing Sanitary Supply,
and Steve Allen from Geum Services
Topic:  Sustainability 101: Greening Your Business 

February 17, 2011
Annual Membership Meeting
Speaker:  Ryan Werder, Political and Campaigns Director, Michigan League of Conservation Voters
Topic:  Progress of the Michigan Legislature and the Snyder Administration on conservation issues


November 4, 2010
Gary Spies, Environment, Health & Safety Leader, Pfizer Kalamazoo
Topic:  Pfizerʹs Participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project & Portage Plantʹs Progress Toward Environmental Sustainability

August 5, 2010
Speaker:  Dr. John Patten, Professor of Manufacturing Engineering, WMU.
Topic:  Green Manufacturing Initiative at WMU.

May 26, 2010
  Norman Christopher, Director of Sustainability, Grand Valley State University.
Topic:  Sustainability Steps…  What can you do?

April 21, 2010
  Paul Manstrom, Director of Facilities Management, Kalamazoo College, 
and Michelle Wreggelsworth, Senior Project Manager, Miller-Davis.
Topic:  Kalamazoo College Hicks Student Center…  Construction and Beyond

February 18, 2010
Annual Membership Meeting
Speaker:  Dr. Harold Glasser, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, WMU
Topic:  Southwest Michigan Sustainability Covenant…  Past, Present & Future


November 4, 2009
J.B. Hoyt, Director of Government Relations at Whirlpool Corporation
Topic:  Moving from Interest to Action: Whirlpool’s effort toward true sustainability. 

October 15, 2009
  Ed Rodgers, Wal-Mart General Transportation Manager, and Denise DeVries, Griffin Pest Solutions.
Topic:  Large and Small Fleet Management…  Wal-Mart’s Drive for Sustainable Transportation and The Greening of Griffin Pest Solutions Service Fleet.

August 20, 2009
Jim DeHaven, VP for Economic & Business Development at KVCC, and John Patten, Professor in the Department of Manufacturing Engineering at WMU
Topic:  Wind Energy Partnership 

April 16, 2009
Speaker:  Mike Myszka from Denso Manufacturing
Topic:  From the Towers to the Trenches…  Environmental Sustainability at Denso Michigan.

February 19, 2009
Annual Membership Meeting
Speaker:  Juan Olivarez, President of Kalamazoo Community Foundation
Topic:  Sustainable Advocacy

February 11, 2009 – Bonus Event
Subaru Assembly Plant Tour – a trip to Lafayette, Indiana to visit the Subaru Assembly Plant, which has been at a zero landfill status since 2004.  (Yes, 100% of the by products produced from fabricating Subaru vehicles in Lafayette are reclaimed!)


November 13, 2008 – 12th Annual Statewide Sustainability Conference of Michigan
Speakers:  Andrew Winston – “Green to Gold”, Commissioner Monica Martinez – “Energy, State of the State”, Jerome Ringo – “The Color of Green – the Next Inconvenient Truth”, Tom Easterday – “Waste Elimination/Energy Conservation – Cost Saving/Carbon Emission Reductions: A Winning Combination”, Dr. Imad Mahawili – “Michigan’s Renewable Energy:  A Current Perspective”, Dr. John Patten – “Small-Scale Wind Turbine Projects:  Strategies for Successful Implementation”, and Dr. Bruce Dale - Grassoline in Your Tank: Why Cellulosic Ethanol is Nearer than You Think”.

September 18, 2008
  Ron Jimmerson from Cascade Engineering
Topic:  Social Empowerment by Business…  Transitions that work

April 17, 2008
Speaker:  Renae Hesselink from Nichols Paper and Supply
Topic:  Green Cleaning: More than Just Products 

February 21, 2008
Annual Membership Meeting
Speaker:  Todd Parker from the Delta Institute
Topic:  Opportunities in the Carbon Market

November 8, 2007
Jeff Hawkins – Envirologic Technologies, David Warwick – Envirologic Technologies, Jeff Spencer – Griffin Pest Control, and John Winterburn – Portage Cleaners & Laundry
Topic:  Green Business Practices:  How Small Businesses Can Make a Difference! 

September 21, 2007
Chris Lester from Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, and Ken Peregon from O’Boyle Cowell Blalock & Associates
Topic:  Innovative Storm Water Management

May 17, 2007
  CSM Group, Diekema Hamann, and O’Boyle Cowell Blalock & Associates
Topic:  Greek Building Initiatives

February 22, 2007
Annual Membership Meeting
Topic:  Announcement of the formation of the SWMSBF as a non-profit organization.  Official Election of Officers and Board of Directors


November 16, 2006

Speakers:  Mike Way, Vice President of Material Management and Facilities Services, and Lisa Hardesty, Healthcare Support Services Specialist at Bronson Healthcare Group
Topic:  “It’s Good to Be Green”

September 21, 2006
Christopher Pyzik, WMU Campus Architecture & Interior Design
Topic:  Sustainable Design and LEED at WMU – Health and Human Services Building

May 25, 2006
  Paul Murray of Herman Miller

March 2, 2006
Topic:  The Power of One - Energy Alternatives; Wind Power
Speaker:  Rich VanderVeen of Mackinaw Power


November 18, 2005
  Brad Newman, Land Use Policy Educator for St. Joseph County - Topic:  General Land Use Issues and Trends
Monte Bordner, Owner/President of Bordner Farms – Topic:  A Farmer’s Perspective on Land Use
Maury Kaercher, St. Joseph County Extension Director – Topic:  Maintaining Land for Agricultural Purposes

September 21, 2005
Speaker:  Amy A. Butler of DEQ Environmental Science and Services Division

April 26, 2005
Topic:  The Economic Development and Growth through Environmental Efficiency (EDGE2)
  Keith Winn, LEED AP of FTC&H, and Mark Zoeteman, P.E., Leed AP of FTC&H

January 19, 2005
Topic:  High Performance, Healthy Buildings, and LEED
Speaker:  Bill Stough of Sustainable Research Group, LLC
Topic:  The Economics of Sustainability…  How it Can Enhance Your Bottom Line


September 13, 2004

Presented in partnership with the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum
Speaker:  The Southwest Michigan Sustainable Business Forum Steering Committee
Topic:  Green Roofs:  The Competitive Edge. 

Sustainable Business Forum Founders .

Link to Aggregate    

Link to Kellogg      Link to Perrigo

 Link to the Kalamazoo Nature Center 

The SWMSBF is a program of the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

Southwest Michigan Sustainable Business Forum  •  c/o Kalamazoo Nature Center

7000 N Westnedge Ave  •  Kalamazoo, MI 49009

Phone (269) 381-1574  •  Fax (269) 381-2557