Sustainability Superheroes blog
Using Decision-making and Entrepreneurial Thinking
Florida Manufacturers Still Struggle to Comply with Environmental Responsibility. Featuring Patti Gander of Florida Makes
Sustainability Superheroes is giving you another special look into the world of sustainable manufacturing! This is part 2 of our sustainable manufacturing series. View part 1 here.
Today, we’re featuring Patti Gander, Business Advisor with FloridaMakes. Located in Orlando, Florida, this manufacturing, industry-led partnership center works with small to mid-size manufacturing companies and helps them advance to their greatest potential. Their mission is to “improve the productivity and technological performance of Florida’s manufacturing sector” (FloridaMakes).
As they are constantly strengthening and growing these companies, they consider several different factors, with one of them being sustainability. Find out how Patti Gander tackles the controversial situations that many manufacturers continue to struggle with!
What sustainability issues or concerns does Florida Makes have?
Left: Deborah Kozdras (USF Stavros Center) Middle: Patti Gander (FloridaMakes) Right: Marilyn Barger (Florida Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence)
Patti has worked with many different manufacturing companies and has even been a leader in a manufacturing organization for most of her career. She has noticed some continuous sustainability issues in this industry. The predominant manufacturers in Florida are rather small with 50 employees or less, and these organizations tend to lack compliance and understanding for sustainable responsibility. Patti says, “It’s not that they don’t want to comply. It’s that they lack knowledge in what compliance is. They believe that environmental policy and recycling are a cost to the organization and don’t understand that there are things they can do that satisfy both sides of the balance sheet.” This is why proper sustainable education and awareness is so important.
Although social responsibility cannot be legislated, it’s essential to help recognize global issues. Awareness and improved social consciousness can help the whole world think greener!
Could you give us an example of a company that you worked with in Florida?
Patti was once the plant manager in an organization, and they were planning on switching from a five-day work week to a four-day work week in an attempt to save money and energy. She says, “The overall cost savings in utility went significantly down. From an environmental perspective, you’re also using less energy.”
In addition, the company even added timers to the air conditioning units, so the temperature would increase after a work shift, then gradually decrease before the start of a work shift. This strategy was beneficial to the company, the environment, and even the workers because they wouldn’t have to drive to work one day. Taking a day-off, saving money, and helping the environment? It’s a win, win, win!
What are some sustainable problems you want to solve in the future?
Some industries still need to catch up on being more sustainable. For example, the electronics industry continues to generate hazardous waste with the use of toxic chemicals. Patti believes that we still need more research in the inputs and the fabrication of products to be more environmentally friendly. She hopes to discover more ways to recycle materials and eliminate toxins. Substituting damaging operations into more sustainable methods can avoid a depletion in the limited resources that we have.
Test Your Knowledge!
After reading about Patti Gander's work or watching the videos, take this quiz and find out if you've got what it takes to be a sustainability superhero! If the quiz does work on this page, you can also take it here.