ISD Announces 2013 Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Winners

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We’re announcing one of the 2013 Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Award winners each week day until our Sunday, June 2nd Green Plus Benefit Brunch hosted by the amazing Chapel Hill Restaurant Group at Mez. All of the 2013 Award winners will be recognized at the June 2nd Benefit Brunch. Click here for a quick video featuring past Green Plus Awards.


2013 Green Plus Medium-Sized Business of the Year: Strata Solar

The Green Plus Medium-Sized Business of the Year recognizes exemplary sustainability leadership in companies with more than 50 but fewer than 500 employees. Chapel Hill, NC-based Strata Solar is not only an industry leader in clean energy, but also maintains a strong focus on people through a commitment to skilled workforce training, creating ‘local jobs for local projects.’ Strata works closely with area economic development and employee offices to recruit its workforce, and concentrates multiple projects together in order to build opportunities for long-term employment.

“We are honored to be receiving this wonderful award,” said Cathy Wilhelm, Co-Founder & CAO, Strata Solar. “We have worked very hard to integrate best practices across our business, and to see those efforts reflected in our winning the Green Plus Medium-Sized Business of the Year Award is very inspiring,” Wilhelm continued. “We have big plans to do even more work company-wide this year and this award will be a further motivator and a source of pride for all of us,” Wilhelm concluded.

2013 Green Plus Small Business of the Year: Stay Online

The Green Plus Small Business Award is made annually to a business with between three and fifty employees that exemplifies great business, employee, community, and environmental practices. Creedmoor, NC-based Stay Online, products products for data and power infrastructure, and has a large and very creative array of efforts in every area of the triple bottom line.

  • On the People side of sustainability, Stay Online has intense loyalty to its employees, dog and family-friendly policies, on-site group health activities, and sponsored volunteerism.
  • Stay Online’s environmental efforts range from composting to on-site chicken farming, composting, aggressive recycling, rain capture, and on-site vegetation management. 

Stay Online is Certified Green Plus and ISO 9001.

“I am very excited to receive this award as it affirms Stay Online’s efforts to help the environment,” said Jim Higgins, General Manager, Stay Online. “My mother Carolyn Higgins instilled these values in me when I was a child when in the 1970’s we would bring our recyclables to a facility,” Higgins contined. “I thank Green Plus for fostering change in attitude and participation amongst companies: It really just takes a little imagination and commitment to make a considerable difference,” Higgins concluded.

2013 Green Plus Champion: Larry Herst, Founder & CEO, Triangle Ecycling

The Green Plus Champion award recognizes evangelists for sustainability — individuals who have undertaken multiple efforts to make people think differently about how sustainability applies to their businesses and to their lives. This year, the Institute recognizes Larry Herst, Founder & CEO of Triangle Ecycling. Herst started Triangle Ecycling to “help kids and give back to the community” — refurbishing and recycling electronic waste (often known as E-Waste). Herst partners with TROSA and Certified Green Plus GEEP (Global Electric Electronic Processing) to accomplish this mission in Durham. 

“Sustainability is the basic building block of our business model so it is really awesome to be recognized by an organization as dedicated to Green Plus principles as the Institute,” Larry Herst, Founder & CEO, Triangle Ecycling. “We are proud to play a small part along with so many people and businesses that make Durham such a supportive and thriving triple bottom line community,” Herst concluded.


2013 Green Plus NonProfit of the Year: Wilmington NC International Airport 

The Green Plus NonProfit Award recognizes 501c3s, academic institutions, or units of government that have exhibited creative triple bottom line leadership.

“The Wilmington International Airport (ILM) is proud to be recognized for our efforts to be an efficient and sustainable organization,” said Dr. Chuck Kays, Airport Authority Chairman.

ILM, the first organization in the Wilmington area to achieve full Green Plus certification, executed a number of ideas have already reduced the airport’s energy bills by 8% also reducing its environmental impact – from installing LED lights into the air field to propane mowers, to light sensors. The airport was the first organization to pursue Green Plus through a partnership established by the Wilmington NC Chamber of Commerce and Piedmont Natural Gas.

2013 Innovator of the Year: WaterraNo Bottles, Just Water

The Green Plus Innovator Award recognizes entrepreneurs who have taken a different approach to a big sustainability issue. Greensboro, NC-based Waterra has tackled water bottles — providing a convenient way for people to use their own bottles for water and drinks the same convenient way you might bring your own portable mug for that first cup of coffee.

According to National Geographic, Americans consume 29 billion water bottles a year which require 17 million gallons of crude oil to manufacture — and most of which end up in the landfill. Waterra offers a viable alternative in several areas to bottles and cans for purified water, flavored water, sports drinks, and energy drinks: Waterra provides a way enjoy a delicious, healthy drink while conserving energy and natural resources.

“Waterra is both humbled and honored to receive the Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Award for Innovator of the Year,” said Wendell Roth, President of Waterra. “Green Plus is THE leader in setting sustainable standards for small business and organizations, so this recognition is especially rewarding,” Roth continued. “Waterra truly appreciates this award and aspires to lead other companies by our example to embrace more sustainable and healthy practices,” Roth concluded.


2013 Green Plus Sole Proprietor of the Year: Sanitation Creations — Helping the World, One Toilet at a Time

The Green Plus Sole Proprietor Award recognizes sole proprietors, home-based businesses, and early-stage entrepreneurs who are building an highly sustainable enterprise.

“Winning this award is a wonderful surprise and strengthens our commitment to sustainability as Sanitation Creations grows,” said Liz Morris, Founder & CEO, Sanitation Creations.

Sanitation Creations’ lead product, the Dungaroo, was the brainchild of Liz Morris while she was an environmental sciences major at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Morris recognized that 4 million people die from water, hygiene, and sanitation-related problems every year, and designed a waterless toilet that uses the ‘waste to energy’ process to generate local power. Click here for a quick video on the Dungaroo. 



If you would like to join the 2013 Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Award winners and our Green Plus community for the June 2nd Benefit Brunch, you can purchase tickets here


Thanks to our Sponsors & Host Committee!

Event Sponsor: The Chapel Hill Restaurant Group (first-ever Certified Green Plus business — check out a video featuring CHRG’s Greg Overbeck, here).

Gold Sponsors 


  • The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce
  • The Word Factory
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Dean of the Graduate Schools


Silver Sponsors


  • Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Elon University Love School of Business


Host Committee


  • Comma
  • Counter Culture Coffee
  • FlowerThyme
  • The King’s Daughters Inn
  • The PTA Thrift Shops
  • TS Designs


And Thank You to To These Great Supporters…

Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation
Duke Energy
Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment
The Hitachi Foundation
The Park Foundation
The Redwoods Group Foundation
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Wells Fargo

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