DOWNTOWN — For the third year, a cadre of University of Tampa graduate students looking into business practices in the Tampa Bay area has singled out companies with winning ways.
Eighteen firms received the 2011 Sustainable Business Award at a luncheon last week. The award, sponsored by Earth Charter U.S., recognizes a company's ability to succeed while protecting the environment, providing an employee-friendly workplace and serving the community.
"I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot,'' said business student Krista Holle, 27, who expects to earn her master's degree in December. Holle researched ProShred, a Clearwater-based firm that sends trucks on site to shred customers' documents.
Holle was impressed by the company's environmentally friendly late-model trucks, which have cleaner exhaust emissions.
She said the company's employee-friendly measures include excellent benefits packages and flexible work schedules so employees can take care of family needs.
ProShred also has donated its services to a number of nonprofit organizations, which in turn has helped it win new customers, Holle says.
Mark MacMillan, president of ProShred, said, "It's good to get recognized for kind of doing the right thing.''
Jan Roberts, an adjunct professor at UT, founded Earth Charter U.S., part of a worldwide organization dedicated to building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. Roberts, who teaches a course in sustainable businesses, said it was no trouble getting graduate business students interested in the project.
"It's this generation that's really aware.''
This year's other winners are: Accusoft Pegasus, Alvarez New Concepts, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman, Clark Environmental Inc., Creative Signs Designs, Eco2Assets, EVOS, IKEA Tampa, Marketing Arm International Inc., MJM Electric Inc., Nature's Food Patch, OttLite Technologies Inc., Parke Family HydroFarms, PPI Technologies, Skanska, Sweetbay and Valet Cleaners.
Philip Morgan can be reached at (813) 226-3435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.