WMSBF Names Bazzani, Steketee, DeBruyn To Hall of Fame

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will celebrate its work and honor local sustainable business leaders at The Third Annual Triple Bottom Line Bash next Wednesday, October 12 at Studio D2D.

One of the first organizations of its kind in the world, West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum has served as a support network for two generations of triple-bottom-line practitioners, playing a critical role in distinguishing West Michigan as the nation’s unofficial capital of sustainable business, helping to popularize green building, sustainable product design, beyond-compliance practices and savings-driven sustainability.

Each year, WMSBF honors the sustainable business practitioners that have made the greatest contribution to sustainable business in West Michigan over the course of their careers. This year’s class includes Guy Bazzani, President & CEO, Bazzani Associates, and founder of Local First of West Michigan; Deb Steketee, Professor of Sustainable Business at Aquinas College; and Gayle DeBruyn, Associate Professor & Chief Sustainability Officer at Kendall College of Art and Design.

Perhaps the region’s most visible green building practitioner, Bazzani has led West Michigan with his expertise in sustainable business practices through his firm’s architectural design, construction, and real estate services for commercial and residential development. As founder emeritus of Local First and a member of the Social Venture Network, Guy has helped set the direction for positive social and economic growth while respecting the environment in West Michigan. An example of this leadership is The East Hills Center of the Universe project featuring a blend of advanced green building technology, including passive solar design, zero-stormwater discharge, and appropriate neighborhood use. The project earned the Cool Cities Award from the state of Michigan for its innovative green technologies, LEED Double Gold Certification, neighborhood support, and sensitivity to the historic fabric of the area. Among many other accomplishments, he was a founding organizer of the West Michigan Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and recently his company was named a B-Lab “Best for the World” for second straight year.

Steketee joined the Aquinas College Sustainable Business Program in the fall of 2005, bringing an interest and expertise related to innovation, strategy and the social dimensions of sustainability. From 2006-2013, she served as Executive Director of the Center for Sustainability, and continues to contribute to Aquinas’ momentum toward sustainability.

DeBruyn is a designer and sustainability professional perhaps best known for founding Wege Prize, the interdisciplinary student circular economy design competition. She is currently or has been in leadership positions with the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, GreenHome Institute, U.S. Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter, Grand Rapids Community Sustainability Partnership, UNU Regional Center of Expertise advisory committee and Design West Michigan.

One emerging professional will also be honored with the Future Hall of Fame Award: Eric Saigeon, the locally based Sustainability Manager for worldwide testing lab Intertek’s US and Canadian operations. Saigeon is a recent graduate of Aquinas College.

Voting is currently underway for the event’s top prize, The Sustainable Business of the Year Award. Selected by the WMSBF membership, the award honors the company that best represents the values of the triple-bottom line. Finalists include Amway, Aquinas College, Catalyst Partners, City of Grand Rapids, Disher Design & Development, Grand Valley State University, Herman Miller, Kent County Department of Public Works, and Rockford Construction. Prior winners include Organicyle and Brewery Vivant.

Two organizations will be recognized with special honors as part of the Sustainable Business of the Year Awards. Steelcase will receive the Champion Award for its legacy of sustainability leadership. Barfly Ventures will receive the Change Agent Award for its aggressive recent efforts to become a sustainability leader in its industry and the region.

A sell-out in its first two years, the triple bottom line bash has become the signature function for local sustainable business professionals in West Michigan. An untraditional awards show, the Bash is designed to make a serious and often overwhelming topic fun, this year featuring a special performance by local comedy troupe Funny Girls: HallowGreen! Individual tickets are $100 each.

Learn more about the event and the awards at wmsbf.org/bash