The Impactors

The IMPACTORS are companies, organizations or individuals who excel in their sustainability practices and blaze the trails for others to follow. Their efforts and work are important to our civilization and the ability for humans to thrive on the Earth. As consumers, we can cast our votes of support with our purchasing dollars and communicate their exemplary performance on personal blogs, websites, social networks and other communication tools. Each monthly newsletter will feature one of The IMPACTORS.


Sarah Elizabeth’s makes no little plans, aims high and embraces audacious thinking.  The time is NOW to address our nation’s and world’s urgent demand for change.  It takes courage and tenacity to bring visions to reality – Sarah Elizabeth Ippel is Bold, Audacious, Courageous and an Amazing individual.

While traveling the world visiting 77 countries over six continents, Sarah Elizabeth realized it was time to overhaul societal philosophies, educational systems, eating habits and energy policies for humanity to thrive.  What better place to start overhauling an ingrained system but with the youth?  Sarah Elizabeth’s vision for tomorrow evolved into the Academy for Global Citizenship, a Chicago Public Charter School under Mayor Richard Daley’s Renaissance 2010 initiative.

At 23 years old, Sarah Elizabeth submitted her first proposal to the Chicago Board of Education for AGC to a firm NO along with some laughs from board members.  The third proposal was the charm and AGC received the big YES on October 24, 2007.  AGC welcomed their inaugural kindergarten and first grade students in August, 2008.  One grade per year will be added until 8th grade is reached in  2015-2016.  Each graduating student will experience an international field trip.

AGS teaches student to thrive, not survive.  According to Sarah Elizabeth, short-term thinking is failing our nation and she embraces:  1> Make no little plans 2> Think Big  3> Aim High 4> Be Bold & Audacious.  AGC students learn in a relevant environment that nourishes the body (students are fed two organic meals per day), mind (students receive 36% more educational time annual) and spirit (students participate in a daily yoga practice).  The AGC education approach nourishes students so they are confident to THINK AND ACT BIG.

Visit the AGC website to learn more about their innovative approach to education where biliteracy development is core to curriculum.  Proof of success is in the testing:  most of the students test at least one grade ahead

Sarah Elizabeth is amazing in her TED video, This is Ann. The IMPACT Blog post, Bold & Audacious:  Sarah Elizabeth Ippel celebrates Sara Elizabeth’s journey to take Audacious & Big Action.  Ei is honored to name Sara Elizabeth Ippel the IMPACTOR for March, 2011. The future is brighter thanks to Sarah Elizabeth – thank you for your audacious spirit!


Jake Wilson is a passionate, driven man who knows how to get the job done, especially if told it cannot be done.  As the Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful (KMB) Executive Director, Jake knew the initial step to an effective working environment was recruiting a diverse, committed Board of Directors capable and willing to devote resources to KMB projects.

With twenty active Board members secured, including Coca-Cola, Bank of America, the County Sherrif’s Office, several faith organizations to name a few, Jake developed projects that made good business sense for Board members to fund or support with other resources.

The Recycle and Win program “catches” residences with contaminant-free recycling bins and rewards them with $100 Harris Teeter gift cards.  Coca-Cola employees follow the recycling collector in a “wrapped” Prius, go through recycling bins with the program sticker, and give county residents the $100 gift card reward.  With an 18% increase in recycling rates, the successful program is staged for expansion to Raleigh, NC, Charleston, W VA, and possibly New Orleans.

Other innovative programs include Swat-A-Litterbug – Keep it in the Car!Panther Tailgate Recycling, and Event Recycling with Speed Street, which earned a 2009 EVIE Award for “Best Green Event”.

Mecklenburg County is fortunate Jake Wilson calls Charlotte home.  With his boundless energy dedicated to environmental causes, Jake is a gift to humanity.  Ei recognizes Jake Wilson as the February 2011 IMPACTOR with a feature in the IMPACT Blog A Man of Controversy; A Man of ActionThank you Jake!


Arthur Potts Dawson is a visionary who is committed to ACTION in the foodservice industry.  At his two London restaurants, Acorn House and Waterhouse, Arthur has taken sustainability to new dimensions.  Noting that for every calorie consumed it takes 10 calories to produce the food, Arthur has a strong emphasis on minimizing waste.  A realist, Arthur understands with the current urban infrastructure and packaging available zero waste is a goal; hopefully, a destination in the future.

Arthur categorizes waste into four categories:  time, space, energy and waste.  At the Acorn House, the menu is devised so guests may choose the volume of food desired, rather than pre-determined portions.  Walls are covered with shelves to maximize the use of space.  At Waterhouse, the entire restaurant is hydro-electric powered.  Located on a canal, the restaurant uses a heat/cooling system with canal water to keep the restaurant comfortable.  There is no air conditioning system at the restaurant.

Using the Chinese Medicine Elements as his inspiration, Arthur plans to develop a total of five restaurants themed by the elements:  wood (Acorn House), water (Waterhouse) and three more themed on fire, metal and earth.  Passionate about the disconnection between urban dwellers and their food sources, Arthur recently opened The People’s Supermarket.  According to Arthur, it is the most sustainable grocery store on earth.

To learn more about Arthur Potts Dawson’s vision, view his TED video, A Vision for Sustainable Restaurants at this link.  The video gives a virtual tour of his two restaurants and detailed explanations of his innovative ways to reduce his four categories of waste.

He is featured in the IMPACT Blog post, Arthur Potts Dawson, A Committed Visionary and Ei recognizes Arthur Potts Dawson as the January 2011, IMPACTOR.  With his drive and commitment to ACTION, Arthur is an inspiration to the restaurant industry and is giving powerful examples of how sustainable practices work in a profitable enterprise.



Angel  Poventud is a man who understands his TRUTH and lives it every day with exuberant energy.  Arriving in Atlanta 12 years ago to spend time with his immediate family and aging Grandmother, Angel cultivated a new life filled with community spirit in his new city.

While employed by U.S. Air, Angel traveled the world and witnessed society’s evolution in his travel of choice cities:  New York, San Francisco, Charlotte and many abroad.  Once his travel benefits subsided with his layoff, Angel shifted his focus to the communities within Atlanta

Trees Atlanta’s community spirit captivated Angel by their environmental concern augmented by simple appreciation.  Each three-hour volunteer session ended with a pizza rendezvous, a special time for the diverse volunteers to bond.  Angel devotes a significant portion of his 20 -30 hours per week (yes, this is per week!) of volunteer time to Trees Atlanta.

As the recipient of the 2010 Cox Conserves Hero Award, Angel is in the spotlight.  With his  open-hearted spirit, Angel’s influence beckons others to take the leap of committing their life to integrity of their Spirit.  Click here to view the impressive video filmed by Channel 2, WSB-TV for the Awards Ceremony.  Click here for the related The IMPACT blog post, An Angel NOT in Disguise.

Ei recognizes Angel Poventud as the December 2010, IMPACTOR with a feature on the IMPACT Blog, An Angel NOT in Disguise. With passion as deep as Angel’s, his inspiration is contagious.  The time is NOW for Humanity to understand the importance of Living in the Heart – it is beings like Angel who serve as examples to follow.  For mere mortals it takes courage, for Angels it is the way they live.



Aaron Williams is a man on a mission to stop the use of disposable cups in offices, event venues, and retail outlets and by off-site employees.  According to his estimates, an average person uses two cups per shift at their work.  The cups cost employers on the front-end with purchases and the back-end with disposal costs.  Then there is the cost to the environment.

A man committed to action, Aaron formed $ave Green™ and Recycling for Humanity™ to set-up programs in front of the house (FOH – retail customers) and back of the house (BOH –  operations, offices etc.) to encourage customers and employees to use reusable cups, rather than disposables.  After much research, Aaron found a manufacturer who makes a reusable hot cup from recycled material and is recyclable as well as dishwasher and microwave safe.  Thanks to Aaron’s negotiations, the cups may be purchased in quantities of six for less than $5.00 each.  Stay tuned for Aaron’s website launch where bulk purchases may be made on-line along with tips for employers to implement a reusable cup program. Click here to view The New Green World Order, an entertaining video Aaron produced to encourage reusable cups in the work place.

Visit The IMPACT Blog, The New Green World Order to learn more about Aaron William’s commitment and work toward promoting the use of reusable cups.


Greenco Environmental owners Tim & Melia Lesko are true pioneers in sustainability and the foundation for the national accolades received by the City of Atlanta and the Zero Waste Zones.  It took over eighteen months of perseverance and determination for the Leskos to wade through the permitting and zoning requirements necessary to open their state-permitted food composting site in Barnesville, GA , roughly 50 miles south of Atlanta.

Developing an organics collection system for the foodservice industry is no easy feat.  The Leskos faced many challenges in their first two years of operations:  contamination issues, torrential rains, adequate carbon (yard trimmings, wood chips) necessary for the compost recipe.  With creativity and resolve, the Leskos found solutions for the challenges inherent in composting operations and operate a vibrant business.

Thanks to the Leskos, the metro Atlanta has composted over 15,116 tons of food residuals, previously destined for landfills, into valuable compost.  These impressive numbers translate into 514 of methane not released as a Green House Gas, with a carbon equivalent of 10.803 tons (1964 cars off the road for one year).

Greenco is a family business with Russ Lesko, Tim’s brother, invested in the business and serving at the Chief, Jack of All Trades.  Melia works with the foodservice operators when she is not busy raising their two lovely daughters.

Read more about Tim and Melia in The IMPACT Blog post, OCTOBER IMPACTOR: Greenco Environmental. Join Ei in honoring the Leskos for their dedication and commitment to making the Earth a better place for our children to inherent.  THANK YOU Tim & Melia.


The Global Soap Project improves and saves lives one bar of soap at a time by sanitizing, melting and remolding used soap into new bars for distribution to African refugee camps. As an Uganda refugee, GSP founder Derreck Kayongo understands firsthand the living conditions of refugee camps and the unnecessary deaths due to the lack of clean water and sanitary conditions.

The simple action of hand washing with soap reduces preventable diseases by 42-65%. In Uganda alone, 200,000 children die in one year from preventable diseases. Upon his arrival to the United States Derreck realized soap, a scarce and valuable commodity at refugee camps, was thrown out after one use in hotels across the nation. Amazed by the opportunity to improve sanitary conditions in the camps, Derreck formed the GSP to repurpose the estimated 2.6 million soap bars discarded each day by the nation’s hospitality industry.

Derrick’s passion and drive mobilized the hotel and lodging industry to send used soap to GSP instead of the landfill, a double win! To date GSP has received over 20 tons of soap from their hotel partners across the nation and has distributed an estimated 20,000 news bars of soap to Haiti, Swaziland, Kenya and Uganda. Currently, 10,000 bars of soap are in production for Ghana.

It is an honor to name the Global Soap Project and Derreck Kayongo Elemental Impact’s September IMPACTOR. Thank you Derreck for your vision and determination to improve the lives of those in your homeland and other impoverished communities.


Garth Peters is a man making a difference in Buckhead.  As Director of Community Development for The Buckhead Coalition, Garth is a powerful advocate for recycling practices and in a position to influence Buckhead foodservice operators during the liquor license review process.

At a recent Neighborhood Planning Unit Safety Committee meeting where liquor license renewals, transfers and applications are reviewed, Garth questioned a new license applicant on his recycling practices and ZWZ~Buckhead participation.  Although recycling is not required for a liquor license, future applicants can expect questions about their recycling practices in front of the Safety Committee.  To learn more about the meeting and Buckhead’s recycling commitment read the August 13, 2010 Buckhead Reporter article. In the spring of 2009, The Buckhead Coalition was instrumental in forming the ZWZ-Buckhead.  Due to Garth’s passion and effort, over sixty restaurateurs and hotel operators attended the May, 2009 zone launch.  To learn more about the ZWZ~Buckhead Launch , read theZWZ Blog post.  The Buckhead Coalition continues its strong support of the ZWZ~Buckhead by using its influence and powerful connections to support the program.

Thank you Garth ~ individuals like you are necessary to motivate communities to adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives.  You are a true IMPACTOR!


Wow – talk about inspiration! Craig Durkin and Aubrey Daniels brave the urban environment in search of forgotten fruits and vegetables in public and private property. A substantial portion of their bounty is donated to feed Atlanta’s hungry population. These young gentlemen, along with a crew of volunteers, spend most weekends May through October in the southern heat to ensure these local treasures end-up in human bellies. Concrete Jungle is their local organization dedicated to urban foraging. At their website, residents may register their property for harvesting or volunteers may connect with the foraging team. The site works similar to a blog with posts on their weekly adventures along with a map of crop locations with a map of crop locations within the metro area and plenty of great pictures.

It is the drive and ingenuity of individuals like Craig and Aubrey who will shift consciousness to the next levels of local food commitment.


Sodexo rocks when it comes to sustainable foodservice and especially shines in the college campus arena. In The Princeton Review’s Second Annual Green Rating, Sodexo serviced nearly one third of the campuses honored for their sustainability programs. Three Sodexo-serviced campuses received the coveted 99 top rating. Atlanta’s own Georgia Tech was one of those exemplary campuses ~ GO JACKETS!!!

As a foodservice contractor, Sodexo is in an interesting position with sustainable practices. Sodexo is a guest on campuses and must adhere to the college demands and parameters. It is clear Sodexo educates college administration on the benefits of implementing sustainable practices into their foodservice programs. With their amazing record, Sodexo is a proven advocate dedicated to action in an arena where dialogue seems prevalent.

For more information on Sodexo’s accomplishments, visit THE IMPACT BLOG for the June 6 post.


In August 2009, FreshPoint of Atlanta began sending their food scraps from their cut shop along with unsellable product to Greenco for composting. As a regional hub for the national produce distributor, the Atlanta facility diverts an average of 100 tons per month of organics from the landfills. In May, FreshPoint surpassed the 1000 tons mark (2,000,000 pounds!) of organics collected by Greenco for compost. This is the equivalent of taking 166 cars off the road for one year. FreshPoint embarked on their composting program because it made good business sense. There was no big press release or media event. FreshPoint’s composting program shows how the Zero Waste Zone program expands it influence beyond the foodservice industry.

Stay tuned as FreshPoint is exploring another program to feed the hungry unsellable, yet nutritious, edible food.

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