eco ramblings

a dialogue with an Eco Patriot

Archive for the ‘green jobs’ Category

Eco Entreprenuerial Idea of the Week

Posted by Luke on August 27, 2010

I love reading about entrepreneurs who creatively solve problems with sustainable business ideas.  The latest example I read about is a Minneapolis company called Eureka Recycling.  This non-profit company partnered with their city government to pilot a 1,100 residential curbside composting pickup program… using their bikes.

Eureka employees ride around with custom-built trailers attached to their bikes and pick up compostables.  Impressive!  Talk about zero emission waste hauling.  What I’m wondering, though, is how long it takes to pickup the waste from all 1,100 households.  They must make a lot of trips.  Sounds like a great job to ride your bike all day.  But what happens in winter?

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Posted in composting, green jobs, innovation, sustainability | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sustainability is a Journey… Part 2

Posted by Luke on June 30, 2010

A month ago I wrote a post on how sustainability is a journey.  The two main points I tried to get across were that (1) everyone defines sustainability differently and (2) sustainability isn’t something that happens overnight.  I am continually reminded of this at Eco-Products.

The challenge I face is that with a name like Eco-Products, people expect us to be the absolute, most sustainable business in the world (oh, and did I mention that everyone defines sustainability differently?).  We definitely want to be the most sustainable company possible, but it will take time.  Sustainability is a journey.

When Eco-Products built our brand of environmental products, like most young companies, we started at a sales level of nil.  We knew what we wanted to do – to green the packaging industry – but there was a long journey in front of us.  We knew we couldn’t change an industry over night.

One of the first steps we had to take in launching our brand was to find factories who were willing to bet on us.  They had to be willing to process new environmental materials on their multi-million dollar pieces of equipment.  We couldn’t tell them how much we’d be ordering because we had no idea.  Forecasting sales of a new product in a new market is nearly impossible.

These complexities narrowed down the field of potential factories very quickly.  We couldn’t find one manufacturer in the U.S. who was willing to bet on us.  The only companies who were willing to take a chance were in other parts of the world.  As we dug into this, we found that a global supply chain had some major benefits.

First, the energy used in some of the places we chose to manufacture was as clean or cleaner than in the U.S.  Second, we learned that the carbon emissions of shipping our products across the ocean was only 11% of the total carbon emissions of the product’s entire life cycle emissions.  Upon learning that, we made the commitment to invest in carbon offsets to completely offset the emissions from the transportation of our products.

Third, manufacturing in the U.S. would only yield a 1.6% improvement to our carbon footprint.  We hired BCS, Inc., an excellent independent environmental consulting firm, to do this analysis.  I was shocked at this number, but the reason it is so low is because we would have to truck products further distances which has more of a carbon impact than shipping containers on a boat that carries thousands of other products.

At the time, we didn’t have the sales volume that justified investing millions of dollars into U.S.-based manufacturing equipment (nor did we have the money), and we had to start somewhere if we wanted to green an entire industry.  Leveraging the technology and manufacturing capabilities overseas also gave us the opportunity to create nearly 50 jobs based in the U.S. at our headquarters doing sales, marketing, accounting, product development, and more.

All along, we have felt that if we could build enough critical mass we would be able to make even more meaningful changes to our carbon footprint when we could later afford to do so.  We essentially had to compromise early on.

George Siemon, the C-I-E-I-O of Organic Valley, talked about this very point in a recent interview.

“My enlightenment was to not try to do everything at once, but to build a broad, solid foundation, and then we would be able to do more of what our mission was, instead of trying to do it all at once, and failing—so we have found the happy medium. Now that we’ve reached maturity, we’ve been able to turn back and do some of the idealistic things we always felt were important.

Compromise is a part of doing business. A simple example would be we’ve hauled milk into North Carolina from Ohio and built up a business. And then we started working with farmers in North Carolina so we could start a local business. You could say it was a compromise to haul milk that far but we had market realities to address.

We’ve now reached the point where we are looking throughout the company for more opportunities to do things and invest more in sustainability.”

Eco-Products seems to be at a similar place to Organic Valley in our company’s evolution.  We have matured to the point that we are on the cusp of being able to make significant changes to our carbon footprint and invest more in sustainability.  We have had to make compromises early on to get us to that point, but we are nearly there.  And there’s no doubt that sustainability will continue to be a journey.

Posted in containers, Eco-Products, foodservice, footprint, GHG, green jobs, management, packaging, shipping, sustainability | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Eco-Products is Hiring

Posted by Luke on May 18, 2010

Eco-Products is looking for a talented Sales Coordinator to provide customer care to our distribution customers.  Essentially, the position manages a region of 10-14 states to provide inside sales and customer support in the form of handling distributor inquiries, processing orders, communicating with customers, and supporting the region’s sales team.  If interested, email your resume to employment AT ecoproducts.com or visit http://www.ecoproducts.com/va-cms/careers.html.

Summary of the Position

The objective of a Sales Coordinator is to be involved in all facets of customer service and sales for the re-distribution aspect of the Division.  This person will directly support the Regional and Territory Sales Reps as well the National Account Manager of the Division.  This person will perform all customer service activities for distribution sales, including processing orders, ensuring the orders are fulfilled properly, providing as-needed inside sales support to customers, and helping out with other customer service and sales support activities as requested.

Essential Duties/Responsibilities

  • Provides customer service to distribution customers
  • Processes distribution sales orders, invoices and credit/price deviations
  • Coordinates logistics with the Logistics Coordinators and communicates logistics with customers
  • Manages Custom print products for Direct/Distributor Sales
  • Supports Regional, Territory Sales Reps and the National Account Managers with as-needed functions
  • Supports Buyers, Reps and Brokers with inside sales support
  • Maintains and communicates order status
  • Communicates Product specs, new product information, discontinued items
  • Manages pricing deviations for distributors
  • Review and process bill back documents for national accounts.
  • First line for Screening Potential new distributors/large end users
  • Respond and Qualify potential new distributors as well as assist end users with inquiries and finding distributor partners in their area
  • Perform other duties as appropriate

Qualifications

  • 2+ years of sales experience in a customer service or inside sales position
  • Extremely detail-oriented with strong time management and prioritization skills
  • Proven record of success working as a team to achieve goals
  • Supports, demonstrates and promotes the philosophy and company mission of Eco-Products
  • Desired Education Level:  BS/BA degree preferred

Posted in green jobs | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Do I Find New Employees?

Posted by Luke on May 3, 2010

I’m periodically asked this question by job seekers.  Fortunately, Eco-Products has very low turnover so the only time we’re typically looking for new employees is when we open a new position.

When we have an opening, I have a number of avenues I go down and interestingly enough, none of them involve big job boards.  We’ve tried those in the past and it never drew the quality of the candidates we were looking for.  Craigslist worked for us at one point, but we’ve found more success through the following channels:

  • Internal Hires – There’s nothing like promoting someone who is already passionate about the company and our products
  • External Referrals – I often lean on my industry and/or local network by asking my personal contacts if they know of any qualified candidates.  This brings in pretty high quality people.  I’m also always open to people when they email me looking for candidates.  I can usually send a couple good people their way.
  • LinkedIn Searches This is my go-to when the above methods don’t draw enough candidates.  I have two approaches with LinkedIn.   The first is running specific searches for people based on job titles, industry, location, and companies they’ve worked for.  I have had a lot of success running searches for people who have worked at competitors or have worked in our industry and reaching out to those people directly.  It can be flattering when someone contacts you, so those people are typically interested in talking with me about the opportunity.
  • LinkedIn Groups – I have also posted jobs on certain industry LinkedIn Group pages.  This yields higher quality candidates than a job board, but it typically doesn’t draw quite as many people.  If you’re looking for a job and not on LinkedIn, sign up.  Here’s a great article why.  If you’re a manager and not a member of LinkedIn, I also recommend signing up to find future hires.
  • Networking – I frequently get emails from people wanting to network.  I’m always open to getting connected, but my schedule doesn’t always allow sitting down to get to know one other.  However, if you come to me through someone I know, it helps me recall your info when I hear of something.  I save most of the resumes I receive.
  • Internal Referrals – Our employees get a bonus if they refer someone who is hired.
  • Past candidates – As mentioned above, I save most of the resumes I receive.  If you aren’t hired for a job on the first go around, it doesn’t mean you won’t be hired by us in the future.  Our needs change.  Also, when I hear about openings from friends in other companies, I have no problem forwarding your resume over.
  • CU’s Leeds School of Business – Whether it be interns or graduates, CU has very qualified people.  A great example is an MBA student we hired as an intern last summer and then we convinced him to finish his final year of the program in the evening so he could stay on as a full-time employee.
  • Headhunter – Although these can be expensive, good ones can quickly figure out exactly the type of candidate you’re looking for and bring you great people.

Posted in green jobs | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Eco-Products is Hiring

Posted by Luke on April 30, 2010

We are currently looking for an Associate Product Marketing Manager.  The position is primarily responsible for effectively marketing assigned product lines and managing marketing activity in designated channels.  That includes evaluating the current category offering, identifying opportunities for expansion, managing the products through the entire product life cycle,  positioning the products against competitive offerings, and much more.

We are looking for someone with 5 or more years of experience in product marketing, brand management, or category management.  Experience in foodservice disposables or similar distribution channels is strongly preferred.  The person needs to be a self starter looking to make a contribution in a fun, growing company.  A BS degree is required and an MBA is a big plus.

A full job description with info on how to apply can be found here…

Check back often because we are expecting to open up some other positions later this year.

Posted in Eco-Products, green jobs | Leave a Comment »

 
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