Local Lock Haven University students aid people, profits and the planet
Management students study sustainable practices at Air Parts of Lock Haven
June 12, 2012
Go Green, Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Save the Planet. These words echo the theme of our times.
Small businesses are increasingly doing what they can to put into place sustainable (environmentally friendly) business practices as a way to deal more effectively and profitably with economic, social and environmental problems in ways that create value for their business as well as the planet.
Lock Haven University students took part in the effort by conducting Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIA) of area small businesses in search of ways to help them reduce costs and waste.
Lock Haven University students and recent graduates Brian Patterson of Narvon, Pennsylvania, and Jude Tropona of Pompton Plains, New Jersey, partnered up with George McKinney Sr., vice president and general manager of Air Parts of Lock Haven, and found that McKinney and his employees have been friendly to the planet for some time.
Brian and Jude documented and prepared a Sustainability Impact Assessment as a class project in MANG345 Strategic Sustainability for Entrepreneurs, one of several classes offered as part of the university's Entrepreneurship concentration.
Students taking the class investigate entrepreneurial opportunities created by environmental and social degradation, study the ethical responsibilities and challenges of sustainable business models, and learn strategies and practices of sustainable business.
Brian and Jude found that McKinney and his team at Air Parts are taking practical steps in making their operations more sustainable. Nevertheless, they said, "by applying the Natural Step Framework to assess their current sustainability practices, we were able to come up with a few new ideas for them to implement."
Their key recommendation was to make customers aware of sustainability goals. “Customers like to associate with responsible organizations,” the students noted. “Therefore, marketing these practices is key to maintaining a positive image.” Another of their recommendations was for Air Parts to consider ways to promote shared transport.
Air Parts sells and repairs parts for small personal aircraft to customers worldwide. They offer an online catalogue as well as a brick and mortar store located in Lock Haven near Piper Airport. Jude says that what they learned during their operations tour at Air Parts is that they "currently recycle a very high amount of materials including spray cans, and most importantly they take steps to properly dispose the many toxic chemicals used in the business."
"We believe Mr. McKinney’s original incentives to go green included his concern for the environment as well as an attempt to cut costs where possible," notes Jude. "American business large and small can no longer wait to go sustainable. Businesses can potentially lose lifelong customers if they feel as though the business is going against beliefs the customer holds."
Brian and Jude stressed the importance of sustainable operations. “Now is the time to go green; doing so will help businesses avoid governmental pressure, maintain a positive public image, help gain and hold customers and most importantly keep the business competitive in today’s ever changing economy."
Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.