Category Archives: Press Companies

Defense Department Issues Climate Change Roadmap

by RP Siegel

SOURCE: Justmeans


The US Department of Defense (DOD) just issued their 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap.  The report designates climate change as a “threat multiplier.” It says that, “Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe.”

The report’s introduction, written by Secretary Chuck Hegel, acknowledges that fact that, “The military could be called upon more often to support civil authorities, and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the face of more frequent and more intense natural disasters.”

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Image credit: Expert infantry: Flickr Creative Commons

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. He has been published in business and technical journals and has written three books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an eco-thriller that is being adapted for the big screen. RP is a professional engineer – and a prolific inventor, with 50 patents, numerous awards, and several commercial products. He is president of Rain Mountain LLC and is an active environmental advocate in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. In addition to Justmeans, he writes for Triple Pundit, ThomasNet News, and Energy Viewpoints, occasionally contributing to Mechanical Engineering, Strategy + Business, and Huffington Post. You can follow RP on Twitter, @RPSiegel. 

Tweet me: The US Dept of Defense designates #climatechange as a “threat multiplier.” via @RPSiegel & @Justmeans

KEYWORDS: Environment and Climate Change, Defense department, dod, Chuck Hegel, threat multiplier, 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, military, weapons

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Playing God: Building with Robots, 3D Printers and Augmented Reality

The future of technology and building science.

SOURCE: Green Builder Media


No fewer than three major U.S. magazines last year, including The Economist and Wired, featured robots on their covers. The age of machine-assisted labor is here. But robotics is just one of many advancing technologies that are likely to change our lives dramatically. Converging technologies, including virtual reality, 3D printing, augmented reality, robotics and nanotechnology will combine to alter the way we construct buildings and products, and how we define work. What will occur is nothing less than a transference of power, where our technology will allow us to manipulate and control our environment as never before in human history.

And it’s a good thing. Because the next generation has been weaned on digital technology. The Millennials, who by 2030 will constitute 75 percent of the workforce in the U.S., will shun careers in construction or manufacturing—unless those careers become an extension of their techno-centric, eco-conscious world view. And the need for highly skilled construction experts is about to explode, as flight from the suburbs into urban areas accelerates. In Houston, for example, more than 5,000 units of residential apartments are breaking ground right now—and Houston is a city with only 3,500 full-time residents in its downtown core. To get a better sense of how this transference will play out over the next century, let’s focus on the construction industry. Get ready for a wild ride.

Read the full article.

Tweet me: GM’s Celestia Project #GBM Celestia: Give Your Millennial a Robot |

KEYWORDS: Technology, Environment and Climate Change, building science, 3D Printers, transference, augmented reality, virtual reality, Green Builder Media, millenials, home building


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Kohler Co. to Design Next-Generation, Closed-Loop Flush Toilet System for Field Testing

SOURCE: Kohler Co.


November 21, 2014 /3BL Media/ – For more than two years, Kohler Co., global leader in kitchen and bath design and technology, has collaborated with Caltech in the development of a photovoltaic toilet as part of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In response to this successful project, the Gates Foundation recently approved a two-year grant to Kohler to design and fabricate five closed-loop flush toilet systems for field testing in developing world locations without adequate sanitation. This new grant recognizes Kohler’s dedication to improving global sanitation conditions and supports continued research and innovation of its toilet system.

“Our goal of creating a completely off-the-grid toileting system that is easier to transport and easier to maintain will allow us to place toilets in more locations around the world that have inadequate sanitation. And that allows us to improve the lives of more people,” said Rob Zimmerman, sustainability manager for Kohler Co.

With the recent announcement from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, promising through his Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India campaign) to build 100 million toilets across the country, global interest in the developing world’s sanitation conditions is higher than ever.

“There are 2.5 billion people in the world without access to adequate sanitation,” said Zimmerman. “While education is an issue, there is also need for sanitation facilities that are hygienic, cost effective, and provide an aspirational toileting experience.”

The prototype unit developed by the Kohler-Caltech team was displayed in March in Delhi, India, at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair – a showcase of the projects funded through the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, and is currently in field-testing in India. Kohler will use the field findings to further improve the system with the goal of making it a more transportable unit. The toilet system includes a self-contained water purification and disinfection system that allows water to be reused and does not require wastewater disposal.

“Kohler has a long standing commitment to environmental and community enhancement,” Zimmerman said. “We feel privileged to be able to use our position as a leader in the plumbing industry and utilizing our talented engineers to help innovate new solutions to sanitation issues.”

Reinvent the Toilet Challenge

In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation started their Reinvent the Toilet Challenge with the intent of funding projects to address health and sanitation issues in the developing world. The program was created to design toilets that capture and process human waste without piped water, sewer or electrical connections, and transform waste into useful resources, such as energy and water, at an affordable price.

The Reinvent the Toilet Challenge is an effort to develop next-generation toilets that will deliver safe and sustainable sanitation to the 2.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have it. The program recognizes researchers from leading universities who are developing innovative ways to manage human waste, which will help improve the health and lives of people around the world.

To date, the Gates Foundation has funded 16 research institutions across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America as part of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.


About Kohler Co.
Founded in 1873 and headquartered in Kohler, Wisconsin, Kohler Co. is one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies comprised of more than 30,000 associates. With more than 50 manufacturing locations worldwide, Kohler is a global leader in the manufacture of kitchen and bath products; engines and power systems; premier furniture, cabinetry and tile; and owner/operator of two of the world’s finest five-star hospitality and golf resort destinations in Kohler, and St Andrews, Scotland.

Mirjam Lippuner
920-457-4441, ext. 71125 

Tweet me: .@Kohler receives @gatesfoundation grant to Design Next-Generation, Closed-Loop Flush Toilet System.

KEYWORDS: Technology, Environment and Climate Change, Kohler Co., CalTech, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Reinvent the Toilet Challenge

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When Giving Gets Going: Cisco’s 48-Hour Race with Second Harvest

SOURCE: Cisco Systems Inc.


This week, Cisco was named the winner of Second Harvest Food Bank’s 48-Hour Virtual Race to End Hunger. Raising money – just over $216,000 for this year’s race – to support our neighbors in need and at risk of food insecurity is now a signature part of our participation in the Cisco Global Hunger Relief Campaign – a company fundraising drive that benefits over 160 nonprofits worldwide.

After 8 years participating in the local 48-Hour Race, the Silicon Valley spirit of competition has spread to many other Cisco locations that compete in their own ways during the 48-Hour Race, including India and China.

My role here centers on empowering Cisco employees to make a tangible difference in our local community. Cisco employees don’t just read emails and click “donate here” links – we also love to use our hands and hearts to contribute to the causes that move us most. Hunger, an issue that affects a staggering 805 million people worldwide, is here with us even in Silicon Valley, an environment where the high cost of living continues to rise.  Every year during this campaign, at least a couple of our 15,000+ Bay Area employees shoots me a note, or mentions in confidence that they find meaning in supporting the Global Hunger Relief Campaign because they remember a moment in time when they too needed help to put enough food on the table.

Wednesday mid-way thru the 48-Hour Race, 211 Cisco volunteers selected from 10 different teams (Sales, Engineering, Marketing, etc.) came together to participate in our first ever “functional competition” food packaging event with Stop Hunger Now. Stop Hunger Now has a unique model of engaging anything from 50 to 500+ volunteers to package rice, soy, and vitamin supplements into small bags that are distributed to school feeding programs in 27 countries. In short order, Cisco volunteers had put on their hairnets and gloves and set about re-organizing their assembly lines, trying to identify efficiencies to see who could package meals the fastest. Within 90 minutes, we’d packaged 50,000 meals for the hungry.

Despite the sobering reality that there is a need, I’m humbled to join my Cisco colleagues in giving back in ways that can be utilized by those who need it most.

Tweet me: When Giving Gets Going: Cisco’s 48-Hour Race with @2ndharvest via @CiscoCSR

KEYWORDS: Volunteerism & Community Engagement, Business & Trade, cisco csr, Corporate Social Responsibility, employee volunteer, Second Harvest, hunger relief, Cisco, Cisco Global Hunger Relief

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Are You Communicating Effectively About Your Grants?

SOURCE: Versaic


Grant managers, ask yourselves, are we communicating effectively? This is the fourth question posed in the Grant Managers Network (GMN) report Assessing The How of Grantmaking. How does your organization convey its grantmaking goals and procedures? Are your written and verbal communications with grantseekers and grantees clear, intentional, appropriate, and courteous?

The word that jumps out for me here is clear. Clarity is the foundation of effective communication with grantees and prospective partners. In a previous post, I talked about the importance of having a laser focus on your mission and goals, but it bears repeating. Knowing what you’re trying to accomplish and where you’re going is the starting point for effective communication. The next step is your guidelines for support. That’s the entry point for many prospective grantees looking to engage with your organization. Getting this stage right makes all the difference. Prospective partners will understand where they fit – or don’t – with your focus areas. They’ll know exactly what information you need to make a decision. They’ll have reasonable expectations about what level of support they might get from your organization. They’ll understand your process from application through decision.

We spend a lot of time with clients clarifying their guidelines for support. Many come to us without guidelines in place or with existing guidelines that are totally inadequate. These clients are frustrated because they aren’t getting the right information from prospective grantees so they have to go back to the applicants to collect additional input. Or non-profits that clearly aren’t a fit with the organization’s focus areas are submitting proposals, taking up valuable time and resources on both sides.

Our experience with one client illustrates how getting clear guidelines in place can transform the grants communication process. When this organization came to Versaic, they had an overly complex approach to communicating with prospective partners. The organization has multiple regions that make grants, with different programs and program managers in each region. Each region had its own processes and guidelines. There was no single place for a prospective grantee to go to determine how they might engage with that organization. Needless to say, there were missed opportunities, dropped balls and confusion with grantees.

By implementing a centralized approach, the client got very clear on their goals and process. They were able to maintain their regional programs but with a common entry point in place, the confusion inside and outside the company evaporated. A clear, interactive set of guidelines and grant application means that information is provided at the right stage so applicants who aren’t a fit are given that feedback in a timely way and applicants that are a fit are prompted to submit the needed information. Proposals get to the right program managers for review and follow up. This level of clarity is continued throughout the process so grantees understand when decisions will be made and what they can expect from the organization. We hear from this client that putting clear guidelines in place has transformed the communication with their community partners. No more frustration and wasted time, response times are improved and engagement with grantees is more positive. Not a bad outcome for investing the reasonable amount of time required to establish clarity right up front.

Check out Versaic Grants.

Read the previous post in this series.

Tweet me: Are You Communicating Effectively About Your #Grants? @Versaic asks with @GrantsManagers #GrantsManagement #CSR

Contact Info:

+1 (877) 712-9495

KEYWORDS: Business & Trade, Corporate Social Responsibility, Versaic, Grants, Grant Making, Grants management, Grants Managers Network

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Voya Financial Recognized as a ‘Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality’ for 10th Consecutive Year

Perfect score achieved on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2015 Corporate Equality Index

SOURCE: Voya Financial, Inc.


November 19, 2014 /3BL Media/ – Voya Financial (NYSE: VOYA), formerly ING U.S., announced today that it has received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2015 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workplace equality. The 2015 Index, which was administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, marked the 10th consecutive year that Voya has received a perfect CEI score.

“We’re proud to be acknowledged as a company that embraces diversity and appreciates the unique skills and perspectives that every employee brings to our business,” said EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer Kevin Silva. “This recognition continues to validate Voya’s efforts to be an organization that places a high value on maintaining an inclusive, high-performing culture while living out our corporate values.”

The 2015 CEI rated 971 businesses, evaluating LGBT-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs and public engagement with the LGBT community. Voya’s efforts to satisfy all CEI criteria resulted in a 100 percent score and designation as a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.” To view the full 2015 report, visit

“In order to achieve a perfect score, a company has to show a deep and serious commitment to treating their LGBT employees fairly and equally on the job. We also look at whether a company is speaking out in the public square to advocate for LGBT equality here in this country and around the world,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “Voya not only meets these standards, it goes above and beyond the call of duty, making commitment to equality a fundamental aspect of its corporate values.”

As an industry leader and advocate for greater retirement readiness, Voya is committed to delivering on its vision to be America’s Retirement CompanyTM and on its mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family and one institution at a time. 


Media Contact:

Nicole Vasile                                                              

Voya Financial                                                                                                             

Office:  860.580.2690                                                

Cell:  860.839.1589                                                        


About the Human Rights Campaign

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBT equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, the organization strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


About Voya Financial

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), formerly ING U.S., is composed of premier retirement, investment and insurance companies serving the financial needs of approximately 13 million individual and institutional customers in the United States. The company’s vision is to be America’s Retirement CompanyTM and its guiding principle is centered on solving the most daunting financial challenge facing Americans today — retirement readiness. Working directly with clients and through a broad group of financial intermediaries, independent producers, affiliated advisors and dedicated sales specialists, Voya provides a comprehensive portfolio of asset accumulation, asset protection and asset distribution products and services. With a dedicated workforce of approximately 7,000 employees, Voya is grounded in a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time.  For more information, visit or view our Voya Financial Interactive Company Profile.  Follow Voya Financial on Facebook and Twitter @Voya.

Tweet me: .@Voya earned a perfect #100CEI score from @HRC — Named “Best Place to Work” for #LGBT workplace equality.

KEYWORDS: Awards and Recognition, Diversity and Human Resources, LGBT, equality, Best Place to Work, Voya, Voya Financial, Human Rights Campaign, corporate equality index

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Workplace Boost: Work and Life, Finding the Fit that’s Right for You

Career navigation insights from annual leadership conference hosted by BNY Mellon’s WIN Pittsburgh chapter



During its third annual Leadership Conference, several hundred attendees joined the WIN Pittsburgh chapter of BNY Mellon and industry experts for an in-depth discussion of how to confidently navigate your career. WIN, BNY Mellon’s global resource for the professional development and advancement of women, is employee-led with chapters around the world.

“Everyone makes decisions on how to divide their time and commitments between work and life,” said Catherine Giunta Ph. D., Seton Hill University. Guinta’s thought-provoking session delved into strategies for learning how to make deliberate choices. Better choices are the foundation of better time and stress management, as well as personal and professional balance. Everyone makes decisions on how to divide their time and commitments between work and life, so ask yourself two fundamental questions to better manage stress:

  • Am I being deliberate about the choices I am making in my life and my career?
  • What matters to me?

Recognize that needs and priorities will likely change as you progress in your life and career. Look for the fit that’s right for you.

The conference is part of BNY Mellon’s 2014 global diversity and inclusion campaign. To join our talent community, visit


Tweet me: Everyone makes decisions on how to divide time between work & life BNY Mellon’s #WINPIttsburgh explores the balance

KEYWORDS: Diversity and Human Resources, Business & Trade, #DiversityLeadership, #WINPittsburgh, BNY Mellon

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Colleges Get Chevy Support for Clean Energy Efforts

SOURCE: General Motors


Imagine an entire college campus’ heating and cooling powered by the thermal storage of the Earth. Or residence halls peppered with solar arrays and daylit spaces.

Universities around the country are aggressively reducing their carbon footprint and going above and beyond to combat climate change.

But these carbon-reducing projects require a big investment. Thanks to a new pathway pioneered by Chevy and several climate experts, colleges now have another revenue source to get these projects to see the light of day.

For the first time, colleges can access funding from the U.S. carbon market to fuel their large-scale energy efficiency efforts toward even greater progress through a new carbon credit methodology.

Chevrolet also is purchasing 11 colleges campuses’ energy efficiency-based carbon reductions – an investment of up to $5 million – and retiring them to benefit the climate. This means these carbon credits will never be used to offset Chevrolet vehicles or operations.

It’s all part of Chevy’s voluntary initiative to reduce 8 million metric tons of carbon from being emitted. To put that number into perspective, that’s the equivalent of Boston University reducing its emissions to zero for 65 years.

As we inch closer toward meeting that commitment, we wanted to help open the door for other companies to contribute to such clean energy projects. This way, campuses can continue to receive funding from companies’ carbon purchases long after we complete our carbon-reduction initiative next year.

The revenue from carbon credits help colleges reinvest in even more clean energy technologies so that they move closer to their goals — from incremental reductions all the way to carbon neutral commitments — more quickly.

As a bonus, utility bills decrease and students learn how they too can help lead a clean energy future. Take Southern Oregon University students, for example. They spearheaded the securing of this Chevy funding and are running an energy conservation campaign to get students involved in campus conservation efforts. Boston University student interns helped lead their campus through its carbon credit certification process, and convened a broader social media conversation on the importance of clean energy.

See how these colleges around the nation are taking bold steps to reduce their carbon load on the atmosphere, and join the conversation with students, university and climate leaders on the importance of clean energy via #CleanEnergyU.

  • Ball State University is creating the nation’s largest ground-source, closed-loop district geothermal energy system to provide heating and cooling for all 47 campus buildings. The switch cuts its carbon footprint by nearly half.
  • Portland State University committed to achieve net-zero emissions from campus operations by 2040, and champions climate change action beyond its own borders.
  • Spelman College aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions 100 percent by 2056 while inspiring its students to take action toward a cleaner energy future.
  • University of Illinois at Chicago’s LEED-Gold Douglas Hall features 245 solar panels, geothermal heating, daylighting, and occupancy detectors. It set a precedent for high-performing LEED buildings to earn carbon credit funding.
  • University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point switched from coal to natural gas at its heating plant and may use its new funds to power a wind turbine demonstration.
  • Boston University met its 25 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal six years early, and will use Chevy funds to build its Sustainability Revolving Loan Fund to fuel future sustainability projects.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology hopes to be carbon neutral by 2030. Its business incubator expands start-ups’ clean energy solutions across the country, and Chevy funding will accelerate further sustainability innovation.
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has reduced its dependence on coal, while retro-commissioning 50 buildings to improve heating and cooling. The university will match Chevy funds to drive further progress toward reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 100 percent by 2050.
  • Valencia College is implementing lighting retrofits, chiller plant and HVAC upgrades, using Chevy funding to drive additional efficiency projects.
  • Grand Valley State University’s energy-efficient practices are central to the campus culture. The millions of dollars saved from energy efficiency improvements and Chevy funds allow it to reinvest in the university.
  • Southern Oregon University is striving to reach its carbon neutral goal by 2050 by investing in green buildings, such as its LEED Gold Raider Village featuring daylit common spaces and 153 kilowatts of solar photovoltaics.

Tweet me: Colleges Get @Chevrolet Support for Clean Energy Efforts #CleanEnergyU

KEYWORDS: Environment and Climate Change, Energy, Carbon, Chevrolet Carbon Reduction Initiative, Chevrolet, universities

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