Innovation Awards lead to a Green Connection in America's Heartland
Gregg Keesling and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins drive green enterprise in the Midwest
Green For All’s November 2011 release, Best Practices in Green Re-Entry Strategies, at RecycleForce’s headquarters on the east side of Indianapolis, was the result of a unexpected connection made by SVN Innovation Award winners Gregg Keesling and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins.
In 2009, Gregg received an SVN Innovation Award for his success as Founder and President of RecycleForce, a company that provides ex-convicts with green job training and temporary employment to acclimate them to a positive work environment upon re-entry. Ever since, he has seized the opportunity connect with the SVN community by attending SVN conferences, where he met Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy.
“Without my SVN Innovation Award, I never would have met Phaedra and Green for All wouldn’t even know who we are.” – Gregg Keesling
Both had a strong desire to increase the quality of jobs available to disadvantaged communities, and saw an opportunity to collaborate by supporting green job creation in the Midwest, a region that struggles to break the association that green enterprise has with radical liberalism.
Phaedra’s courage to launch the report in the Midwest drew the attention of Congressman Andre Carson and staff from the offices of Indiana Senator Dan Coats, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who are now more receptive to policies that support green jobs and green enterprises like RecycleForce. Both Governor Daniels and Mayor Greg Ballard have recently extended state contracts with RecycleForce to safely recycle and dispose of all end of life electronic waste.
Gregg and Phaedra’s collaboration to promote green job growth across the Midwest is no accident. It is a result of SVN’s effort to connect like-minded entrepreneurs through the Bridge Project, and support their ventures through programs like the annual Innovation Awards, building the next generation of cutting-edge leaders who are changing the way the world does business.