2023 Texan by Nature Conservation Summit Recap

Category Archive: CW Summit & Celebration

  1. 2023 Texan by Nature Conservation Summit Recap

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    The Texan by Nature Conservation Summit is an annual opportunity for leaders in business and conservation to convene and catalyze conservation in the state of Texas. Through panel presentations and Q&A sessions with the audience, the summit drives dialogue and highlights emerging sustainability solutions.

    The 2023 summit took place on November 7 in Dallas. The Texan by Nature team was happy to welcome 300 in-person attendees at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. To engage with partners far and wide, a virtual attendance option was available, and 600 leaders and advocates joined us virtually through video stream. In the post-summit attendee survey, an impressive 99% of respondents reported learning something new and left with an average of 5 new connections made.

    The overarching theme of the day was ‘The Future of Conservation.” The future of conservation, just like Texas’s beautiful landscape and leadership role in industry, is ever-evolving. The Summit explored human dimensions, ecosystem-level thinking, and best-in-class collaborations with the goal of inspiring new partnerships and driving conservation innovation and impact. 

    Texan by Nature CEO Joni Carswell’s opening remarks called on the audience to take an active role in shaping Texas’ conservation future: “Our goals today with the discussion, our hope for the next year is that we leave here today and work together, that we seek, we understand, and we apply best practices” Watch the opening remarks, full panel presentation recordings, and closing remarks from former First Lady and TxN founder Mrs. Laura Bush below.

    2023 Texan by Nature Conservation Summit Agenda

    Conservation Engagement: Education and Application
    Humans process more and more data each year, with one study showing current exposure at 74 gigabytes daily. With this much information in the ‘discovered’ realm and immeasurable more in undiscovered areas, how do we reach future leaders with best practices and conservation opportunities? What education methodologies cut through information overload to drive action? What sources are trusted when decisions need to be made and we’re ready to move to application and implementation? Whether we’re seeking to engage youth, community members, the workforce, or c-suite leaders, education and ultimately application of key practices and decision factors are critical to conservation progress.

    Panelists included:
    Justin Dreibelbis, Texas Wildlife Association
    Dawn Davies, Hill Country Alliance
    Leticia Mendoza, Texas Disposal Systems

    Conservation Communication: Measurement and Reporting
    Science-based, standard measurement is the cornerstone of accounting and trade. It’s also a unifying foundation at the intersection of conservation and industry. Rising interest in ecosystem service valuation and crediting, use of local conservation efforts to achieve global sustainability strategies, and exploration of new partnerships rely on clear communication of goals, conservation practices, and impacts to create new opportunities. With the myriad of frameworks and data available, which communication strategies and what measurement and reporting standards best align conservation and industry to address these future opportunities.

    Panelists included:
    Laura-Ashley Overdyke, Caddo Lake Institute
    Dr. Daniel Willard, Ørsted
    Jesse Hereford, North American Development Bank

    Case Study: Collaborative Cleanup
    Texas is home to 13 major river basins, all of them flowing to the Gulf of Mexico. These waterways provide drinking water and recreation for people, habitat for diverse wildlife, and ingredients for our thriving industries. With unprecedented population and industry growth, Texas waterways have been negatively impacted by litter at both the sourcepoint and downstream. To stop this trend, collaborative conservation programs in Texas are using education, application, measurement, and reporting to restore our waterways for today and future generations.

    Panelists included:
    Maia Corbitt, Texans for Clean Water
    Liz Virgl, SPLASh
    Liz Donohue, Ozarka

    Case Study: Ecosystem Collaboration

    Conservation and industry leaders often think and speak of ecosystems in similar yet very different ways. Conservationists most often refer to natural systems while industry leaders may refer to their supply chain or internal processes. Few entities look at the entire ecosystem and the interaction between industry and nature. New models of collaboration bridge this communication and action gap, bringing conservation, community, and industry together to achieve long term, ecosystem results.

    Panelists included:
    Kevin Hartke, Ducks Unlimited
    Dr. Gabriella Farnham, Phillips 66
    Taylor Keys, Texan by Nature

    If you’re interested in sponsoring our 2024 Summit – learn more here!

    Contact info@texanbynature.org for questions.

  2. Wrapping Up Our Rescheduled 2020 Summit

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    The topic of our rescheduled 2020 Conservation Summit was “The Future of Conservation,” and in that spirt we hosted a virtual summit via livestream alongside some in-person speakers. For those of you who might have missed the panels, we have included videos of all three sessions below, the closing remarks, and some words of reflection from our CEO, Joni Carswell. Our next Conservation Summit is scheduled for November 3, 2021 at the Bush Center in Dallas.

    Former First Lady and Texan by Nature Founder, Laura W. Bush, speaking at our rescheduled 2020 Conservation Summit - by Grant Miller
    Former First Lady and Texan by Nature Founder, Laura W. Bush, speaking at our rescheduled 2020 Conservation Summit – by Grant Miller

    A Message from Our CEO, Joni Carswell

    The rescheduled 2020 Conservation Summit surpassed our high expectations thanks to our wonderful speakers, committed partners, and engaged attendees. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the future of conservation and what it means to each of us.  As we shared at the summit, we’re lucky to live in a state prosperous in economy, natural resources, and people. We have the opportunity to work together to explore and show how bringing natural resources, people and economics together benefits each in a way that is much more than 1+1+1 = 3.

    To Texan by Nature, the future or conservation is collaboration. It’s innovation. It’s economics. It’s a positive Return on Conservation. It’s private. It’s public. It’s using resources in imaginative ways. It’s new ways of looking at all of these. It’s true, deep partnership and commitment between everyone such that conservation is not a separate project, group, or conversation but part of our DNA. Conservation must be part of who we are — as citizens, family members, leaders, entrepreneurs, humans. It is partnership that yields innovation and returns that positively shape our resources, health, and economy.

    I want to take a moment to extend our deepest appreciation to our speakers and sponsors for the rescheduled 2020 summit. It goes without saying that 2020 was a difficult year. Thank you to each of our partners for helping us continue our work in 2020 to accelerate conservation across the state of Texas. Thank you to our speakers and sponsors for your flexibility in rescheduling the summit. Thank you to each of you for the work you do to advance the future of conservation.

    A special thanks to our sponsors and underwriters – H-E-B, Dell Technologies, Enbridge, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, EOG Resources, Deedie Rose, Carolyn and David Miller, Cynthia and Don Stevenson, Lyda Hill Philanthropies and our silver and bronze sponsors as well.

    Special thanks also to our speakers in sharing your expertise, vision and passion. You inspired all of us. Thank you to: Melinda Taylor and Louis Harveson from the Respect Big Bend Coalition, Karen Beadle, Vice President of ESG and Stakeholder Engagement from Marathon Petroleum, Sara Coles from Texas Children in Nature, Julia Murphy, Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of San Antonio Jana Renner of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, Tres Hess and Dr. Ben Holland from Cactus Feeders, Natalie Wolff from Texas Brigades, Rick Archer, founding partner and CEO of Overland Partners, Garret Boone and Kathryn Trainor from Trinity Park Conservancy, Rick Buckley from Groundwork Dallas, Kim Marotta, Global Senior Director of Sustainability and Enterprise Risk Management for Molson Coors Beverage Company, Frank Weary of Exploration Green Conservancy and Sarah Ziomek from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

    Joni Carswell
    CEO, Texan by Nature

    Panel 1: Collaborative Conservation

    Collaboration is widely proven to achieve better results — more innovative solutions, deeply engaged team members, higher loyalty and morale. Research shows that teams working collaboratively stick to the task 64 percent longer than those in solitary endeavors, report higher engagement levels, cite lower fatigue levels, and have a higher success rate. Collaborative conservation spanning business, landowners, communities, and natural resource organizations yield similar positive results. With our diversity of ecosystems, industry, and people, we have an opportunity to model a future that builds on collaborative efforts where we learn from one another, building upon new ideas and utilizing our expertise to the fullest. In this session you’ll hear from Melinda Taylor and Louis Harveson from the Respect Big Bend Coalition, Karen Beadle, Vice President of ESG and Stakeholder Engagement from Marathon Petroleum, Sara Coles from Texas Children in Nature, and Julia Murphy, Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of San Antonio.

    Panel 2: Developing Future Returns

    The future of conservation certainly depends on the returns realized as our state grows. Home to seven of the 15 fastest growing cities in the U.S., Texas’ population has increased over 48% in the last decade alone. With this mass urbanization, less than 1% of Texans are landowners and there’s a diminished connection to nature and our natural resources. As Texas develops, it’s critical that conservation and business work together to create innovative spaces, practices, and leaders to care for our natural resources, prosperity, and health for generations to come. In this panel you’ll hear from Jana Renner of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, Tres Hess and Dr. Ben Holland from Cactus Feeders, Natalie Wolff from Texas Brigades, and Rick Archer, founding partner and CEO of Overland Partners.

    Panel 3: Reimagining Resources & Closing Remarks

    Texas is bountiful – enjoying the world’s 10th largest GDP, 29 million citizens, and 10 diverse ecoregions. Reimagining how we bring our plentiful resources together to deliver innovative places, resilient landscapes and natural resources, equitable access, and economic opportunities is a future that will benefit every Texan at work, at play, and at home. The focus of this panel is innovation, ways of collaborating and conserving that are pushing the envelope. You’ll hear from Garret Boone and Kathryn Trainor from Trinity Park Conservancy, Rick Buckley from Groundwork Dallas, Kim Marotta, Global Senior Director of Sustainability and Enterprise Risk Management for Molson Coors Beverage Company, Frank Weary or Exploration Green Conservancy and Sarah Ziomek from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The day ended with remarks by Neal Wilkins, CEO of the East Foundation and Texan by Nature board member, and a closing message from our founder, former First Lady, Laura Bush.

  3. Dell Technologies – Platinum Supporter of Texan by Nature

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    Dell Technologies is truly a Texan company, through and through. From the time it was founded in the dorm rooms of UT Austin, Dell has always embodied that bold and passionate “Texan” ingenuity. Dell proves their commitment to protecting the environment through various company-wide initiatives, such as the reduction of e-waste, and the creation of critical pollinator habitats; as well as the hands-on and unwavering support of Texan by Nature’s conservation programs.

    Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler is an accelerator program that catalyzes the very best Texan-led conservation projects occurring in the state. During each program cycle, Texan by Nature selects six Conservation Wrangler projects to support program management, strategic planning, marketing messaging, metrics capture and analysis, professional content production, and partnership development – whatever is needed to amplify or broaden the impact of the project. The generous support of Dell Technologies allows Texan by Nature to successfully assist these conservation projects, making real progress for the research and conservation of natural resources in Texas. 

    “When Texan by Nature selects a project for our Conservation Wrangler program, we provide them with 18-months of services. Our team works with CWs to assist with strategic planning, marketing, fundraising, outreach and partnership building, or anything else they need and even provides each project with a professionally-produced project video to tell their story. Better still, TxN never assesses any fees from these projects for these services, ensuring the assistance never creates a burden. By partnering with us, Dell ensures we’re able to provide our CW projects with top-notch resources and hours of service, benefitting conservation across the state in bigger, bolder ways.” – Jenny Burden, Program Manager, Texan by Nature. 

    Each year, Texan by Nature hosts a Conservation Wrangler Summit, where over 200 conservation and business leaders gather to share success stories, lessons learned, and best practices from across the state and through a myriad of viewpoints. The Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler Summit highlights the six Conservation Wrangler programs of that year, as well as businesses and organizations that are making BIG, positive impacts for Texas’ communities, the economy, and for our diverse and beautiful natural resources. In 2018, Dell Technologies participated as a keynote speaker at the Conservation Wrangler Summit, educating attendees about how the company has used its culture of innovation, engineering, and supply chain expertise to become one of the biggest recyclers of plastic in the world. 

    In his presentation, Michael K. Murphy, VP of Environmental Affairs explained, “When we stand alongside our customers and suppliers on an issue that matters to them, it’s that trusted partnership that ultimately makes the investment good for Dell and for the planet. That’s why we see this as a business imperative, essential to our success.” 

    Dell is also a part of the Texan by Nature Project Certification program, which provides Texas employers, organizations, and individuals with recognition of meaningful conservation efforts involving and benefiting people, prosperity, and natural resources. Through their TxN Certified Design for Environment program, Dell acknowledges their responsibility as a global leader and environmental steward, reducing e-waste through a comprehensive approach to responsible product design and manufacturing. By taking a critical look at the full life cycle of their products, paired with innovative worldwide recycling initiatives, Dell commits to keeping materials in use for as long as possible, thereby reducing waste, the company’s carbon emissions, and capital costs. 

    “Dell believes we have a responsibility to protect and enrich our planet together with our customers, suppliers, and communities. It is a core part of our business and we embed sustainability and ethical practices into all that we do. Through our partnership with Texan by Nature, we ensure that the natural resources that make Texas a wonderful place to live and work are there for future generations.” – Darrel Ward, Senior Vice President, Dell Technologies

    Dell has also received a TxN Certification for their work with pollinator habitats. The company’s international headquarters in Round Rock occupies approximately 38 acres, situated on the I-35 migration corridor. Monarch butterflies rely on habitat waystations along this central flyway as they make their annual pilgrimage to and from Mexico. Dell employees and partner volunteers collaborated to create monarch habitat in addition to their Workplace Garden, planting milkweeds and other pollinator-friendly native plants, removing invasive species, managing a riparian zone and restored prairie meadow, and enhancing their educational interpretive signage. Dell also seeks to engage their employees in environmental and sustainability efforts happening company-wide through education, volunteerism, and collaboration.

    Dell Technologies has been a major ally to Texan by Nature, leading real and positive progress throughout the field of sustainability and conservation. They continue to serve as an influential role model for tech companies worldwide. We thank them for all that they have done and continue to do to make the great state of Texas even better. Learn more about Dell’s social and environmental impact goal planning here. 

    About Dell Technologies:

    Dell Technologies (NYSE:DELL) helps organizations and individuals build their digital future and transform how they work, live, and play. The company provides customers with the industry’s broadest and most innovative technology and services portfolio for the data era.

    About Texan by Nature:

    Texan by Nature (TxN) unites conservation and business leaders who believe Texas’ prosperity is dependent on the conservation of its natural resources. TxN amplifies projects and activates new investments in conservation which returns real benefits for people, prosperity, and natural resources. Texan by Nature achieves mission goals through the Texan by Nature Certification program, Conservation Wrangler program, Symposia Series, and the Texan by Nature 20. Get involved and learn more at www.texanbynature.org and follow on Facebook @TexanbyNature, Twitter @TexanbyNature, and Instagram @texanbynature.

  4. ROCing Results Presentations & Q+A – 2019 CW Summit

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    Measuring and reporting the results of conservation can be hard. Using a Return on Conservation framework that works can be a profitable competitive advantage. Watch the ROCing Results presentations below from the 2019 Conservation Wrangler Summit.

    Measuring and Evaluating Natural Resource Metrics

    Holly Bamford, Ph.D., Chief Conservation Officer at National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, presented on the “ROCing Results” Panel where she focused on Measuring and Evaluating Natural Resource Metrics.


    Presentation Summary:

    The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is an organization chartered by Congress that sets out to protect and restore natural systems. The foundation leverages public funding with private money to fund experts in the field who get conservation work done. For example, the Pecos Watershed Initiative supports conservation initiatives in the Pecos River Watershed. This project aims to improve habitat for species such as Pronghorn, Texas Hornshell, Pecos Pupfish, and Sprague’s Pipit. NFWF successfully removed invasive plants and planted natives in this area, significantly improving wildlife habitat. They also modified fences in order to improve migration for certain species. They tracked and measured conservation impact and found that the total impact for the Pecos Watershed Initiative is $9 million.

    Learn more about National Fish and Wildlife Foundation here.

    Union Pacific Railroad’s Collaborative Conservation Projects

    Brenda Mainwaring, AVP Public Affairs at Union Pacific, presented on the “ROCing Results” Panel where she focused on Union Pacific’s Collaborative Conservation Projects.


    Presentation Summary:

    Union Pacific is dedicated to reducing their impact on the environment wherever possible, especially when it comes to improving fuel efficiency. They utilize a tie processing machine that allows them to save truck miles and reduce fuel usage. Union Pacific also has a strong partnership with the National Parks Foundation and collaborates with them on several programs including Open Outdoors for Kids, the Wonder + Wander photo contest, and the Junior Ranger Program. Union Pacific and the National Parks Foundation have delivered measurable results through their programs. The programs reached 42,000 students through open outdoors and 7 million people through the Wonder + Wander photo contest. These results demonstrate how public good comes from private investment in conservation opportunities.

    Learn more about Union Pacific here.

    HKS Architects

    Ellen Mitchell-Kozack, Director of Sustainability & Citizen HKS Principal at HKS Architects presented on the “ROCing Results” Panel where she focused on HKS’s environmental efforts.


    Presentation Summary:

    Buildings generate 40% of all the greenhouse gas emissions in the US. Since humans now spend a large portion of our lives indoors, architects have more responsibility to public health than doctors. HKS believes that tackling sustainability requires looking at environmental, health, and social issues. An example of HKS’s work includes the Kachumbala Maternity Unit in Uganda, which has achieved a 96% reduction in predicted energy use and supplies 51% of their power needs from on-site renewables. The maternity now has a 9.77 out of 10 patient satisfaction rating, and a 29% increase in the number of deliveries. This is just one of many examples of how HKS designs and buildings support the environment, public health, and communities.

    Learn more about HKS Architects here.

    These speakers sat down to take questions from the audience. Watch the panel below.


    Click to see the This Land is Our Land, Treasure from Trash, and Futureproof panels.

  5. Futureproof Presentations & Q+A – 2019 CW Summit

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    Texas’ population is expected to grow 60% by 2050. Innovating and planning to best utilize and provide access to resources offers a sustainable advantage for our future. Watch the presentations below from the Futureproof panel at our 2019 Conservation Wrangler Summit.

    Health and Nature

    Jay Maddock, PhD, FAAHB, Chief Wellness Officer, Texas A&M University, presented on the “Futureproof” Panel where he focused on Health and Nature.


    Presentation Summary:

    The Texas A&M Center for Health and Nature is a collaboration between Houston Methodist Hospital, Texas A&M University, and Texan by Nature. The Center studies the impact of nature on health. The average American spends 11:39 to 12:08 hours a day with major media. In contrast, most people spend less than 10 hours a week outside. The Center for Health and Nature studies how these factors are linked to health. Studies have found that time in nature can contribute to restoration and stress relief. As populations continue to urbanize, healthcare professionals must understand the impact of nature on health and ensure their patients benefit from time outside. The Center for Health and Nature believes more public awareness of nature as a vital public health resource may lead to an increased demand for conservation.

    Learn more about Texas A&M University here.

    Learn more about the Center for Health and Nature here.

    2019 Conservation Wrangler – Trinity River Paddling Trail

    Steve Smith, Board Chair of Trinity Coalition, presented on the “Futureproof” Panel where he focused on the Trinity River Paddling Trail.


    Presentation Summary:

    The Trinity Coalition practices conservation through recreation with their Trinity River Paddling Trail. The paddling trail increases access to the river and promotes a cleaner river, since people care about resources they can see and interact with. The trail currently has 21 launch sites and there are plans to create even more. Future goals for the project include developing a clean Trinity program, securing an EPA trash-free rivers grant, and promoting personal connection to the Trinity. Trinity Coalition also wants to extend the paddling trail all the way to the end of the river at the Gulf of Mexico. By doing this, they hope to create the world’s largest urban nature park and receive the National Park Service’s National Trail Designation.

    Learn more about Trinity Coalition and the Trinity River Paddling Trail here.

    2019 Conservation Wrangler – Certified Water Partner Program

    Lisa Rosendorf, Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer of El Paso Water, presented on the “Futureproof” Panel where she focused on the Certified Water Partner Program.


    Presentation Summary:

    As the City of El Paso grows, so does the demand for water. In order to meet this demand, the city must improve water conservation. Over the last 30 years, El Paso Water has reduced per capita water consumption by 35% through residential programs. They created the Certified Water Partner Program to spread this success to non-residential sectors. The program’s pilot project focused on the restaurant sector. The project was successful in engaging restaurants and connecting customers. However, El Paso Water saw opportunities for better water savings in other sectors. The program expanded to the institutional and multifamily sectors. Certified facilities include 17 fire departments, 6 police departments, 4 libraries, and the El Paso Zoo.  The program has saved an estimated 1.2-2.1 million gallons of water per year.

    Learn more about El Paso Water and the Certified Water Partner Program here.

    Planning for the Future

    Wendy Shabay, Vice President and Group Manager of Urban Planning + Design at Freese and Nichols, presented on the “Futureproof” Panel where she focused on Planning for the Future.


    Presentation Summary:

    Freese and Nichols is the oldest engineering firm in Texas. They are a regionally-based firm with national expertise. Freese and Nichols recognizes that plans often fail due to no clear implementation, no partnerships and help, and no ownership. By recognizing this, they are able to avoid these downfalls and optimize success by implementing best practices and comprehensive plans. Conservation projects that Freese and Nichols take a part in include building living shorelines, a pipeline to move water, and LEED certified buildings. Their projects are built for a long-term future and disaster resiliency. Their long-term goals are to build resilient and healthy communities and robust economies.

    Learn more about Freese and Nichols here.

    These speakers sat down to take questions from the audience. Watch the panel below.


    Click to see the This Land is Our Land, Treasure from Trash, and ROCing Results panels.

  6. Treasure from Trash Presentations & Q+A – 2019 CW Summit

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    Resources come in many forms – including some that are headed for a landfill. Collaborating to utilize resources can create healthy habitats, recreation opportunities, cost savings, and even mitigate storm risks! Learn more in our Treasure from Trash panel below with their presentations from the 2019 Conservation Wrangler Summit.

    2019 Conservation Wrangler – Oyster Shell Recycling Program

    Michael Niebuhr, Habitat Restoration Coordinator at Galveston Bay Foundation, presented on the “Treasure from Trash” Panel where he focused on the Oyster Shell Recycling Program.


    Presentation Summary:

    Galveston Bay is the largest provider of oysters on the Texas Coast and oysters are extremely important to the bay, contributing millions to the area economy. Unfortunately, 85% of the world’s oyster reefs have been lost and 50% of Galveston Bay’s oyster reefs have been lost. To combat this issue, the Galveston Bay Foundation started the Oyster Shell Recycling Program in 2011. GBF collects shucked oyster shells from local seafood restaurants and returns them to the bay through reef enhancement and reef creation projects. In 2020 GBF has plans to expand into Houston. There will be a Houston Oyster Festival benefiting the program on April 4, 2020.

    Learn more about GBF and the Oyster Shell Recycling Program here.

    2019 Conservation Wrangler – Rio Grande Valley Reef Restoration

    Gary Glick, President of Friends of RGV Reef, presented on the “Treasure from Trash” Panel where he focused on Rio Grande Valley Reef Restoration.


    Presentation Summary:

    Off the Texas Coast in the Rio Grande Valley, fish populations have been decreasing for decades largely due to habitat degradation. Habitat is especially limited for guppies and younger fish, which are important to ocean ecosystems. Friends of RGV Reef, a nonprofit formed to help solve this issue, uses cinderblocks and railroad ties to create complex reef structures that young fish can thrive in. In areas where these structures have been deployed, there has been notable increase in juvenile fish, particularly red snapper. Friends of RGV Reef plans to continue reef construction using creatively and economically sourced materials until populations are stabilized.

    Learn more about Friends of RGV Reef and Rio Grande Valley Reef Restoration here.

    Repurpose with Purpose

    Megan Lee, Senior Manager of Community Outreach at Southwest Airlines, presented on the “Treasure from Trash” Panel where she focused on their Repurpose with Purpose project.


    Presentation Summary:

    In 2014, Southwest Airlines re-upholstered their aircraft to replace old leather with newer, lighter leather that would increase fuel efficiency. Rather than send the scrap to the landfill, Southwest then redistributed the old leather to small business or other countries where it could be repurposed into goods such as shoes, bags, and soccer balls. Southwest currently has 5 partners and has repurposed over 1 million pounds of seat covers since 2016. Future plans for Southwest are to sustain and grow the program, find additional partnerships, increase operational environmental efficiencies, create a market for the products, and address other areas of waste.

    Learn more about Southwest Airlines here.

    Learn more about Repurpose with Purpose here.

    These speakers sat down to take questions from the audience. Watch the panel below.


    Click to see the This Land is Our Land, Futureproof, and ROCing Results panels.

  7. This Land is Our Land Presentations & Q+A – 2019 CW Summit

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    95% of Texas is privately owned. Innovating to achieve broad and enduring conservation practices is key to our health, food systems, recreation opportunities, and sustained economy. Watch the This Land is Our Land panel below at the 2019 Conservation Wrangler Summit.

    Texas Land & Demographic Trends

    Neal Wilkins, President and CEO, East Foundation & Chairman of the Board, Texan by Nature presented on the “This Land is Our Land ” Panel where he focused on Texas Land and Demographic Trends.


    Presentation Summary:

    95% of Texas is privately owned and less than 1% of the population are landowners, meaning less than 1% of the Texas population makes the decisions for 95% of Texas land. Over the past 50 years, Texas has become more populated and more urbanized. As a consequence, Texas has lost 2.2 million acres of open space. Additionally, landowners in Texas are aging and over the next two decades we will see the largest intergenerational transfer of land in Texas history. This demographic shift will cause new challenges for conservation and is something conservationists must understand and adjust for when dealing with land owners.

    Learn more about the East Foundation here.

    Lear more about Texas Land Trends here.

    2019 Conservation Wrangler – Grassland Restoration Incentive Program

    Jim Giocomo, Coordinator of Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture, presented on the “This Land is Our Land” Panel where he focused on the Grassland Restoration Incentive Program.


    Presentation Summary:

    Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture’s Grassland Restoration Incentive Program, or GRIP, is a public-private partnership focused on bird conservation in Texas and Oklahoma. America has lost 3 million birds since 1970, which is more than half of all grassland birds. OPJV seeks to reverse this trend by providing incentives for landowners doing conservation efforts. Since 2014, there has been more than 200 projects spanning 85,000 acres, including controlled burns, grazing management, brush control, and many more practices. The overall goal of GRIP is to restore over 3 million acres, which will require increased and ongoing funding, and greater landowner participation.

    Learn more about Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture and GRIP here.

    2019 Conservation Wrangler – Texas Prairie Wetlands Project

    Taylor Abshier, Biologist at Ducks Unlimited, presented on the “This Land is Our Land” Panel where he focused on the Texas Prairie Wetlands Project.


    Presentation Summary:

    Texas wetlands are critical wintering and breeding habitat for waterfowl, but through human development, Texas has lost 7 million acres of wetland habitat. To reverse this trend, Ducks Unlimited created a private lands conservation program called Texas Prairie Wetlands Project. The program covers 28 counties and partners with private landowners to create, restore, and enhance wetlands. The result is a land management plan for each project that ends up benefiting people, wildlife, and the environment. Over 28 years, TPWP has protected a total of 85,000 acres and has spent $28.1 million on conservation in the Texas gulf coast.

    Learn more about Ducks Unlimited and the Texas Prairie Wetlands Project here.

    Pollinator Habitat on O&G Rights of Way

    Kevin Shomette, Environmental Manager at EOG Resources, presented on the “This Land is Our Land” Panel where he focused on Pollinator Habitat on Oil and Gas Rights of Way.


    Presentation Summary:

    Through a partnership with Texan by Nature and NFWF, EOG started seeding oil and gas pad sites to increase native plant species, creating desirable habitat. The project involves engaging with landowners to encourage the planting of native seeds while EOG downsizes well sites and pipeline right of ways. Of two sites seeded in March 2019, one site has been more successful in sprouting natives than the other. Although the results were not perfect, the project is still experimenting and using these results to improve methods and increase success rates. The goal of this project is to create best practices that have an industry-wide implementation and reaches well beyond the approximately 350 acres included in this project.

    Learn more about EOG Resources here.

    These speakers sat down to take questions from the audience. Watch the panel below.


    Click to see the Treasure from TrashFutureproof, and ROCing Results panels.

  8. Your Link in the Chain – Beyond the Core Offering – TxDOT

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    On Ocotober 29, Carlos Swonke, Director of Environmental Affairs at TxDOT presented at Texan by Nature’s first annual Conservation Wrangler Summit & Celebration at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. This important event brought together over 200 Texas leaders to engage in a thought-provoking summit exploring the beneficial connection between conservation and business. The event culminated in a gourmet meal and celebration of the 2018 Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler projects.

    txdot summit
    Carlos Swonke, Director of Environmental Affairs, TxDOT. Photo by Grant Miller

    Often, conservation is part of our mission and everyday operations unbeknownst to our customers and partners because it’s not our core offering or industry. Many people know TxDOT for highways, however, they work daily to restore habitats, preserve archaeological findings, and more. Carlos filled the audience in on how TxDOT addresses their conservation strategy both internally and externally and shared their role in Texas beyond their core offering.

    TxDOT’s Mission: 

    Through collaboration and leadership, we deliver a safe, reliable, and integrated transportation system that enables the movement of people and goods.

    TxDOT has 12,000 employees and annual construction accounts for $7B. They have Central/Division offices in Austin and 25 Regional/District offices, with Environmental Program Staffing: Environmenta Affairs Division – 78 District and District Environmental Staffing – 92.

    Goals and Objectives:

    Deliver the Right Projects – Implement effective planning and forecasting processes that deliver the right projects on-time and on-budget.

    • Use scenario-based forecasting, budgeting, and resource management practices to plan and program projects.
    • Align plans and programs with strategic goals.
    • Adhere to planned budgets and schedules.
    • Provide post-delivery project and program analysis.

    Focus on the Customer – People are at the center of everything we do.

    • Be transparent, open, and forthright in agency communications.
    • Strengthen our key partnerships and relationships with a customer service focus.
    • Incorporate customer feedback and comments into agency practices, project development, and policies.
    • Emphasize customer service in all TxDOT operations.

    Foster Stewardship – Ensure efficient use of state resources.

    • Use fiscal resources responsibly.
    • Protect our natural resources.
    • Operate efficiently and manage risk.

    Optimize System Performance – Develop and operate an integrated transportation system that provides reliable and accessible mobility, and enables economic growth.

    • Mitigate congestion.
    • Enhance connectivity and mobility.
    • Improve the reliability of our transportation system.
    • Facilitate the movement of freight and international trade.
    • Foster economic competitiveness through infrastructure investments.

    Preserve our Assets – Deliver preventive maintenance for TxDOT’s system and capital assets to protect our investments.

    • Maintain and preserve system infrastructure to achieve a state of good repair and avoid asset deterioration.
    • Procure, secure, and maintain equipment, technology, and buildings to achieve a state of good repair and prolong life cycle and utilization.

    Promote Safety – Champion a culture of safety.

    • Reduce crashes and fatalities by continuously improving guidelines and innovations along with increased targeted awareness and education.
    • Reduce employee incidents.

    Value our Employees – Respect and care for the well-being and development of our employees.

    • Emphasize internal communications.
    • Support and facilitate the development of a successful and skilled workforce through recruitment, training and mentoring programs, succession planning, trust, and empowerment.
    • Encourage a healthy work environment through wellness programs and work-life balance.

    Carlos elaborated on how environmental review is plays a huge role in constuction be providing an example of environemntal review in highway project development: Planning – Environmental – Design – Right-of-Way – Construction

    Carlos also provided examples of the many projects that TxDOT works on in regards to environmental stewardship. TxDOT owns/manages 1.1 million acres in the State. In 1934, the Texas Highway Department decided to delayed all mowing, unless essential for safety, until spring and early summer wildflower seasons were over.  This practice has stayed in place since then and is today part of TxDOT’s roadside vegetation management program. TxDOT buys and sows about 30,000 pounds of wildflower seed each year.


    TxDOT has established Pollinator Waystations in Safety Rest Areas along IH-35 Corridor:

    • Cooperative agreement between USFWS and Native Plant Society of Texas
    • Included native nectar, host-plants and interpretive signs to highlight the projects main features
    • Completed Four Safety Rest Areas on I35: Hill County Safety Rest Area (paired) & Bell County Safety Rest Area (paired)

    Signatory to the Monarch Highway Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in cooperation with six other states to adopt and maintain pollinator activities.

    They are a partner for pollinator habitat creation, education & promotion with US Fish & Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

    TxDOT also uses sustainable and conservation-minded approaches when constructed Safety Rest Areas across the state:

    • Context Sensitive Design
    • Native Landscaping
    • Energy Efficiency


    The audience had the pleasure of hearing about some little known facts about TxDOT as well! Did you know that TxDOT owns preserves? TxDOT’s Conservation Lands include:

    • 52 acre wetland preserve in Montgomery County
    • Eight acre preserve for the Navasota ladies tress in Brazos County
    • One acre cave preserve for a threatened cave beetle in Williamson County
    • 107 acre wetland preserve in Aransas County
    • One acre turtle pond in Presidio County

    To end the session Carlos shared TxDOT’s 2017 environmental acheivement awards video with the audience.

    Learn more about TxDOT at: http://txdot.gov

  9. Conservation Wrangler Summit & Celebration Opening Plenary Pt. 2

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    On October 29, Texan by Nature and our founder, Mrs. Laura Bush hosted the first annual Conservation Wrangler Summit and Celebration. This important event brought together over 200 Texas leaders to engage in a thought-provoking summit exploring the beneficial connection between conservation and business. The event culminated in a gourmet meal and celebration of the 2018 Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler projects.

    After Texan by Nature’s Executive Director, Joni Carswell’s remarks, Texan by Nature’s Board President, Tina Buford took the stage.

    summit opening Tina
    Tina Buford, Board President, Texan by Nature. Photo by Grant Miller

    I have had the pleasure of serving on the board since its inception and working alongside some of the most passionate, common-sense conservationists has been very rewarding. I continue to learn from each one of you every day.

    But most of all, thank you to Mrs. Bush, who all of you will have the opportunity to hear from in a few minutes, for your vision for and commitment to Texas’s land, water and wildlife.

    There are a lot of wonderful projects across this state where conservation is taking place and many of our partners are leading those projects. They may be species specific or focused on a particular ecosystem but what about the bigger picture?

    What about how the public at large or the business community that makes day-to-day decisions that impact our natural resources, our long term prosperity, our health?

    A quote from Confucius helps me describe what we dream to do:

                      Tell me and I forget

                      Show me and I may remember

                      Involve me and I will understand

    We aim to involve everyone in the bigger picture.

    When we started Texan by Nature back in 2011, we recognized a gap between conservation, business, and community. We believed and still believe that realizing the ultimate success for Texas, our economy, our people, and our land means tying the three pieces of the puzzle together. When our people, businesses, and natural resources are working together – we all benefit. When we make conservation a characteristic of who we are as Texans, there is no limit to possibilities.

    In late 2017 we made organizational changes to achieve our mission. We brought in a new Executive Director with a significant background in business, technology, and strategy. We believe pairing this with our board and staff knowledge of conservation across Texas sets us up to realize our mission with you – leaders from all across our great state. I’m pleased to share that we’ve made significant programmatic updates and progress this year. This summit and your participation is a key example of this.

    One update that I’m particularly excited about is the leadership roundtable series we launched in San Antonio in March. At each leadership roundtable, we bring together business leaders from the local community to discuss the concept of Return on Conservation, which to us is the ideal balance of business, community, and natural resources working together. We believe that $1 into conservation is much more than $1 in return – in terms of direct financial impact, health impact, and natural resources impact.

    Going back to Confucius quote, “Involve me and I understand.”

    These roundtables provide an opportunity for us to involve business and build relationship with businesses across Texas for us to better understand current business practices and shape the role conservation is playing in decision-making. Many of the sessions you’ll have the opportunity to take part in today are a direct result of lessons learned at the roundtables and a desire from all communities to hear real world examples and results and engage in dialogue and learning with one another.

    The leadership roundtables along with our Conservation Wrangler program, TxN Certification, and the Center for Health & Nature provide tangible examples of business, citizens, and conservation groups working together to advance all. Seeing our mission executed at both the thought leadership and programmatic level is beyond exciting, and gives me hope that in Texas we truly can find a balance.

    Thank ALL of you for joining us today and being Texan by Nature. I encourage you to learn during our breakout sessions today and share your own stories as well. The leaders surrounding you today are an equal split between businesses operating across Texas and conservation organizations. This is an opportunity to make new connections and take new thoughts back to your teams.

  10. Conservation Wrangler Summit & Celebration Opening Plenary Pt. 1

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    On October 29, Texan by Nature and our founder, Mrs. Laura Bush hosted the first annual Conservation Wrangler Summit and Celebration. This important event brought together over 200 Texas leaders to engage in a thought-provoking summit exploring the beneficial connection between conservation and business. The event culminated in a gourmet meal and celebration of the 2018 Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler projects.

    summit opening
    Joni Carswell, Executive Director, Texan by Nature. Photo by Grant Miller

    Joni Carswell, Texan by Nature’s Executive Director kicked off the Opening Plenary:

    When we began planning for this summit almost 12 months ago, we had a vision of bringing leaders from across the state together. Leaders of business, leaders of conservation, leaders from every industry. I’m proud to share that we have about a 50/50 split between conservation organizations and business leadership here today. We’ll have a true melding of minds. We have representation from oil & gas, construction, wildlife conservation, transportation, retail, state parks, defense, grocery, government, technology, land conservation, banking and finance, higher education, healthcare, historical preservation, architecture and development, health research, media, water conservation, national parks, and K12 education.

    As I was preparing for opening this summit, I did a lot of thinking about what a diverse group such as this has in common. I kept coming back to the fact that we’re all Texan – whether we were born here or got here as fast as we could. But what does it mean to be Texan?

    Well, many of you are at least slightly aware and perhaps you’ve embraced that we Texans have a long history of bragodoccio, boasting, pride….whatever you want to call it. Edward Smith once said that Texans ignore “better,” long ago forgot the useless word “good.” Everything in Texas is “best.” But why?

    Maybe it’s in our landscape. When some people think of Texas, they think of the Hollywood version – desert and cowboys. However, Texas is incredibly geographically diverse.  With 11 distinct ecological regions, 14 soil regions and 10 climatic regions, we won’t be pigeonholed–we have a little bit of everything in this state!

    We have everything from mountains, to canyons to wetlands to coast to prairie to yes, desert. It’s a wild, vast landscape that we’re passionate about. We have 103 state parks, 2 national parks, and 2 national monuments. There are over 150 organizations in Texas focusing on conservation of some type.

    From a people perspective, we’re also big – 28.5 million strong with the largest population growth in the United States at the last census. From a land mass perspective, WE are twice the size of Germany or Japan.

    So, we’re big in land, we’re diverse in ecology, we have a lot of people – and our business is second to none. Texas’ GDP was $1.49 Trillion in 2016 – the 10th largest economy in the world. We have four of the 11 largest cities in the US, and have led the nation in state export revenue since 2002. We lead the world in oil & gas, solar energy, and wind energy. Texas is big – in land, in people, in economy.

    Conrad Hilton started his empire right here in Texas. He bought his very first hotel in Cisco, TX, about 2.5 hours west of here and close to where I grew up. He once said: “There’s a vastness here and I believe that the people who are born here breathe that vastness into their soul. They dream big dreams and think big thoughts, because there is nothing to hem them in.”

    I share all this both to welcome you today, and also to have you think about the opportunity that is unique to us. What do you get when you pair the world’s 10th largest economy with over 150 conservation organizations, tremendous natural resources and leadership mindset that won’t be hemmed in? You get opportunity. Opportunity to lead the world in developing a model of collaborative conservation. Opportunity to think about how we accelerate and measure the return on what we’re putting into conservation – our Return On Conservation. Opportunity to sustain and expand our leadership across all sectors. Opportunity to attract and retain the brightest minds. Opportunity to develop healthy Texans, economic growth, and conserved natural resources for generations to come – a Return on Conservation that benefits us all. The opportunity is ours, and I’m thrilled that each of you are here today to take part in this opportunity.

  11. Your Link in the Chain-An Exploration of Your Impact – H-E-B

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    On Ocotober 29, Richard McDonald, Corporate Director of Environmental Affairs at H‑E‑B presented at Texan by Nature’s first annual Conservation Wrangler Summit & Celebration at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. This important event brought together over 200 Texas leaders to engage in a thought-provoking summit exploring the beneficial connection between conservation and business. The event culminated in a gourmet meal and celebration of the 2018 Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler projects.

    h-e-b summit
    Richard McDonald, Corporate Director of Environmental Affairs, H‑E‑B. Photo by Grant Miller

    Conservation is becoming a big part of businesses and their goals. At the Summit, attendees learned how H‑E‑B views their role in the overall chain of people, prosperity, and natural resources. Whether we’re landowners, businesses, or simply Texans, we each play a role in taking care of our state.

    Richard McDonald shared how H‑E‑B is planning to meet bold goals through customers, partnerships, and the processes and practices they employ to ensure long-term sustainability, profitability, and success. With 425 stores and over 109,000 partners, H‑E‑B is setting the example for businesses to be sustainable.

    H‑E‑B has set a standard for themselves with core sustainability and conservation tenets: Protect land, air, water and natural resources.

    • Building sustainable stores and facilities with the smallest environmental footprint possible.
    • Holding partners, vendors, and suppliers accountable.
    • Supporting organizations and groups that have a true deep passion for environmental conservation, sustainable practices, and education for our children and young people.
    • Protect the Public Trust.
    • Be relentlessly dissatisfied with the present.

    Richard shared H‑E‑B’s Corporate Environmental Commitment Statement, “We will conduct our business practices in an environmentally responsible, conservation minded, and sustainable manner. Conserve natural resources, minimize waste, conserve energy and water, protect air quality, and protect the environment in all areas of our operation. Support conservation efforts and relentlessly pursue sustainability excellence.”

    H-E-B is doing their part to take care of Texas!


    • H-E-B won the Texas Environmental Excellence Aware for Innovative operatiions & Management in 2015! 
    • In Texas and Northern Mexico in 2017, food bank donations reach, over 33 million pounds which provided over 25 million meals to families.
    • H-E-B’s Community Investment portfolio includes contributions to support environmental programs for organizations such as: Texan by Nature, Keep Texas Beautiful, The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Texas, EarthShare of Texas, Cibolo Nature Center & Farm, Ocean-Trout Texas, Hill Country Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, San Antonio BotanicalGardens. and many more.
    • At H-E-B, they are committed to responsible  and safe seafood sourcing! They source from legal, traceable fisheries that under science-based management programs. H-E-B also supports fisheries that are committed to improving their environmental performance through programs such as fishery improvement projects (FIP’s). The health and management of individual fisheries are considered in all or our sourcing decisions_.
    • In 2017, H-E-B donated a 24 foot research vessel to The Nature Conservancy of Texas to help support their coastal restoration work and research.


    Environmentally Friendly Stores:

    • Nine H-E-B stores have been awarded LEED® (Leadership i n Energy & Environmental Design) green building certifications since 2009, and H-E-B has incorporated many of the same sustainable design strategies into their new stores.
    • Their LEED Gold Certified H-E-B at Mueller store in Austin serves as a test for numerous sustainable innovations including the first North American supermarket use a whole-store propane refrigeration system.


    • The landscaping at H-E-B stores includes native and adapted plant selections appropriate to the area to reduce watering needs.
    • H-E-B has saved at least 928,000 gallons of water each year by keeping trash wash cycles below 5 minutes per wash.
    • Low flow restroom and kitchen fixtures have been used for many years in new store designs.
    • Car wash rinse water is reclaimed, filtered, and reused in the wash cycle reducing  their potable water reuse by 80%, saving over 10 million gallons of water in San Antonio alone.
    • H-E-B’s boilers at the San Antonio Retail Support Center take advantage of condensate return –  8 million gallons!
    • The new manufacturing cleaning system is saving over 15 million gallons of water

    H‑E‑B has been recognized as one of the best in the U.S. for safety and emission reductions:

    • Due to fuel-saving strategies, H‑E‑B was the only Texas-based company invited to serve as a charter partner in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay SM; Transport Partnership. The partnership was formed to reduce greenhouse gas and other harmful emissions from the heavy-duty sector.
    • H-E-B has improved fuel economy by 14% in the past 5 years by using new technologies and running engines at lower RPM’s at road speed.
    • HEB has reduced their use of diesel fuel by over 830,000 gallons each year and carbon dioxide emissions by more than 8,300 tons annually, which is the same as removing 614,815 cars from the road for one day.
    • H-E-B is recycling their used truck tires into rubber mulch.


    • At H-E-B’s Weslaco distribution center they have installed nearly 4000 solar panels spanning 105,000 square feet. The 1.2 megawatt installation supplies 40% of the center’s energy each year of roughly enough power to serve 2000 homes every year. In addition, H-E-B executed an eight-year contract to purchase 5 megawatts of wind energy for their South Texas facilities.
    • At H-E-B’s Temple Retail Support Center, they installed a 1.4 megawatt rooftop solar panel system which provides over 1.5 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy.
    • The 2.4 megawatt rooftop solar panel system at H-E-B’s San Marcos facility supplies over 3 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy to that facility.
    • In 2016, H-E-B installed rooftop solar panel systems on 18 Austin area stores totaling 4.0 megawatts. Since 2015, H-E-B has installed over 35,000 solar panels on the roofs of their facilities!
    • H-E-B has completed the installation of 4 rooftop solar panel systems at San Antonio stores. They are continuing their work for the remaining rooftop solar panel systems at 26 more area stores. When complete, these systems will provide 15-25% of the energy used by the store.
    • H-E-B continues to invest in energy efficient LED lighting. LED saves energy, produces less heat, and lasts longer than other lighting types.

    H-E-B’s efforts to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle:

    • In 2017, H‑E‑B diverted more than 461 million pounds of waste from landfills by recycling cardboard, plastics, organics, office paper, metals, and truck tires.
    • Recycling efforts saved the equivalent of 12 million trees, 1 million barrels of oil, and 690 million kilowatt hours (kWh). That’s enough to power more than 45,000 homes for an entire year!
    • H-E-B’s Organic Diversion Programs have diverted more than 50 million pounds of organics from the landfill to compost and animal feed.
    • By increasing the number of items that go into each bag at checkout, H-E-B has reduced the number of plastic bags they use. Adding just one more item to the bag saves H-E-B 308 million bags per year!
    • In 2017, H-E-B recycled 2 million pounds of plastic bags! In addition, H-EB provides in-store recycling for plastic bags, newspaper sleeves, outer wrap, 6-pack rings, and dry cleaning bags. Each store has specially marked containers for customer deposit.

    Richard gave examples of sourcing local through H-E-B’s Annual Quest for Texas Best Competition where he shared the story of Hondo Cane Company’s Hondo Sugar Cane Juice. He also spoke about sourcing initiaives abroad, such as chocolate baking items made in Peru sourced from a rain forest where the cocoa is grown and sustainable agriculture is being practiced.

    Richard closed the session by sharing that H‑E‑B believes that sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability and proactive conservation efforts are critical to the environment and for the bottom line as well.

    Thank you to H-E-B for being an invaluable partner and sponsor for our 2018 Conservation Wrangler Summit & Celebration

    Learn more about H-E-B at: https://www.heb.com/static-page/Environment

  12. Engaging Employees and the Community – Sundt

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    On Ocotober 29, Jon McKelvain, Vice President of Pre-Construction at Sundt presented at Texan by Nature’s first annual Conservation Wrangler Summit & Celebration at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. This important event brought together over 200 Texas leaders to engage in a thought-provoking summit exploring the beneficial connection between conservation and business. The event culminated in a gourmet meal and celebration of the 2018 Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler projects.

    Jon McKelvain, Vice President of Pre-Construction, Sundt. Photo by Grant Miller

    Jon told the audience more about Sundt’s history and who they are. Sundt was established in 1890, with 128 years in business! and offices in four states (Texas, Arizona, Utah, and California). You may recognize some of Sundt’s work across the US, which includes the Reunion Tower in Dallas, TX, the 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth, TX, and Launch Pad 39-A in Cape Canaveral, FL.

    Sundt’s purpose is to build environments where their clients, employees-owners, and communities prosper.

    In 2006 & 2016 Sundt was awarded the AGC GRAND AWARD for Safety, other rankings and recognitions include:

    • Top 100 on Engineering News Record Top 400 Contractors in the nation
    • AGC Build America: Sundt has earned more AGC Build America Awards than any contractor in the country
    • 7th in the nation on Engineering News Record Top Government/Public Service Contractors in the nation
    • Consistently ranked among the Best Places to Work
    • And many more!

    Sundt’s sustainability practices are also impressive with a LEED Gold Headquarters, 102 LEED Accredited Professionals, and an in-house Sustainability Committee.

    Jon asked the audience a few questions, “What is prosperity?, How do our built environments help create it?, Is prosperity just being rich?, and What if you were only rich for a couple of days, weeks or months?”

    Jon emphasized that Sundt is defined by their employee-owners:

    • “The work we are doing for the Ak-Chin community is going to allow them to fund a ton of new community services including a library, a museum, a public park, and a subsidized housing project. “-Project Executive
    • “We participated in an Ak-Chin community sponsored Earth Day relay race that promoted awareness to recycling and keeping the community clean.  We were asked to participate in this race for the 2nd year in a row.  I think it is important to participate in these events for a community like Ak-Chin where we are attempting to further their community daily with our construction project. This shows that we aren’t only interested in our work but we care about the community on a personal level as well.”-Project Engineer

    Jon elaborated on the importance of investing in people during his session. The company is 100% owned by the employees, and is ranked second in a survey for employer provided admin benefits, with the  benefit program being 19% higher than average and ranked first in a survey for employer-provided craft benefits, with the benefit program being 47% higher than average.

    Jon discussed the reasons why CEOs were pushing for community prosperity:

    1. Set the Right Tone

    2. Committed Caring

    3. Passionate Championship

    4. Pragmatic, Not Partisan

    Setting the Right Tone

    Sundt achieves this by forging relationships with established community groups such as Central Arizona College. They offered workforce development programs through welding, heavy equipment operations, pipefitting, industry carpentry and concrete. In 2017, 106 students enrolled in the course, and 180 are expected to enroll this upcoming year.

    Committed Caring

    Sundt believes this step must go beyond the CEO.

    • Riverside, CA:  At the Cal Baptist Events Center, Sundt helped increase university visibility due to location, which helps CBU move up to NCAA Division 1 in all sports. On campus graduation is now available and Sundt’s work helped increase property values in the surrounding area.
    • Farmington, NM: At APS Four Corners, the Sundt project became an important revenue source for Navajo Nation (82% of employees) and helped reduce emissions. The project will create a $6.3 billion economic value to the region over the next 30 years, 70% benefitting the Navajo Nation.
    • San Antonio, TX: At the new CPS Headquarters, Sundt created a new life for aging downtown buildings, with no rate increase. The project modernized the workplace for employees and increased downtown investment.
    • Chandler, AZ: At the Ocotillo Water Reclamation Facility, the technological innovation allows for smaller footprint and reduced sludge production. It increased service capacity to allow for community growth and the water was made available for aquifer recharge, industrial use, and irrigation.
    • San Antonio, TX: Sundt created a public gathering space for an underserved community at San Pedro Creek, becoming the focal point of the 300 year anniversary party for San Antonio. This creek improved flood control and wildlife habitat, with an anticipated $1 billion impact.
    • Phoenix, AZ: Sundt helped provide space for collaborative work in neurosciences, healthcare and cancer research through  the University of Arizona, Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building. This project created employment opportunities in the research field, and became a catalyst for further development downtown and improved housing options. This building also became LEED Silver Certified.

    Passionate Championship

    Community partnerships run on volunteer energy.

    The Sundt Foundation was founded to serve disadvantaged children and adults, giving more than $8.6 million in grants since 1999. Employee contributions are matched 1:1 and help decide which organizations to support.

    Total grants since inception:  

    • $8.6 Million
    • $3.8 from Employee Owners
    • Approximately 4,000 grants

    Number of Sundt Foundation members: 779

    Total number of volunteer hours since inception: 19,100 hours

    Making Strides through Breast Cancer Walk

    • Sundt was the top 4 of 738 participating companies in a walk raising funds for breast cancer research. A total of $11,350 was raised with over 50 walkers from Sundt.

    San Diego Blood Bank

    • 33 pints of blood was donated, beating the goal of 27. These donations were enough to save 99 lives.

    Gregory Fresh Market

    • This mobile market delivers fresh fruit and vegetables for homeless veterans, providing healthy food options. Sundt helped provide over 3 months of fresh food supply for the farmers market.

    Children’s Shelter BBQ Summer Bash

    • Ten employee-owners cooked burgers for 67 kids staying at the shelter, bring hope to battered and neglected children.

    Pragmatic, Not Partisan

    What do companies bring to the table?

    Jon shared a quote from Whitney Smith, Exec. Dir. of Chase Global Philanthropy, “Companies bring critical business discipline to community change: a relentless focus on results…The key is to have a learning agenda, always be evaluating, and if something’s not working, move on.”

    Sundt’s business skills to better community organizations

    •      Bring process that relies on high quality data to understand complex questions
    •      Identify good ideas that can be scaled
    •      Stop producing bad ideas that aren’t producing results

    Jon ended the session with, “So, what can you do to create prosperity in YOUR community!

    • Find an organization that fuels your passion
    • Find new ways to get involved
    • Stay relentless!

    Learn more about Sundt at: http://www.sundt.com