Center News, Donor Impact

Ever-Green Energy Shares Values Through Volunteerism

Volunteering with your co-workers is a wonderful way to get out and help the community. The employees at Ever-Green Energy have chosen to do just that, embracing their company’s values of environmental stewardship by volunteering at Schlitz Audubon.

Rory Peters, Ever-Green Energy’s General Manager for Milwaukee Regional Medical Center Thermal Services, explained how they are advancing their cause. They do it in their operations, as well as in their company culture through volunteerism.

The Work of Ever-Green Energy

Ever-Green Energy, headquartered in St. Paul, MN, designs and runs advanced utility operations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, and Illinois. These include plants for municipalities, higher education, and health care. These plants thrive on providing improved efficiency in running heating, cooling, and energy production services, and are expanding their advanced methods throughout the industry. Their company’s development team designs efficient, state-of-the-art heating and cooling plants, with teams such as Rory’s specializing in running the plants. Overall, they are working to decarbonize energy production.

Rory manages a team of 26 locally hired employees that work together with Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Hospital, and the Medical College of Wisconsin to provide an extremely reliable and efficiently produced supply of heating and cooling services. In 2015, Ever-Green Energy won the contract to run MRMC Thermal Services. From 2016-2020, they ran the plant throughout a complete renovation, including conversion from coal power to natural gas, without interruption of service. Since then, they have reduced greenhouse gas emissions at the facility by over 70 percent.

Ever-Green Energy and Volunteerism

Ever-Green Energy amplifies its good environmental work by sharing the company’s values of environmental stewardship, community involvement, and customer service in the community. The group started volunteering as part of a company-wide desire to get involved with environmental organizations that also demonstrate these values. Employees at their offices in St. Paul, Duluth, and Milwaukee chose to all volunteer with the National Audubon Society on Earth Day in 2018. The Milwaukee team decided upon Schlitz Audubon, and employees have been volunteering at the Center one Friday per month since then, except during the height of the pandemic.

The relationship between Ever-Green Energy and Schlitz Audubon runs deep. That’s how the company approaches volunteer engagement, encouraging employees to contribute their skills over time to enduring projects. Rory remembered the challenge and satisfaction of moving a trail in the Stormwater Wetland and Ravine Restoration Project area with staff from his company and clearing invasive species from the Terrace. His team has been instrumental in removing hazardous ash trees, and they truly thrive through accomplishing physically demanding tasks like splitting logs and getting involved in major clean-ups. Over time, working on these projects has facilitated a relationship that allows for skill sharing between his staff and ours.

Building Teamwork Through Volunteering

One reason that company volunteerism is so important to Ever-Green Energy is that it builds what Rory called “espirit de corps.” Getting to know your coworkers while working on a project without bringing any job pressure with you, is a fantastic way to build and maintain a team. Companies that volunteer can develop harmonious relationships between employees and managers, Rory suggested. Working on projects at the Center also allows employees to get out of the office together and into a beautiful outdoor space while doing a beneficial, healthy activity.

Of course, there are many ways to volunteer. Many companies aren’t able to contribute volunteer time once a month, and that’s okay. Schlitz Audubon works with each organization on a case-by-case basis to find a schedule that works for each particular team. Companies such as Kohl’s, for example, visit a few times per year. The Catalyst Committee from Kohl’s recently spent an afternoon planting 60 trees in our Woodland Loop to replace those felled to the emerald ash borer.

If your company is looking for a way to enhance teamwork and build long-term relationships within your organization, consider joining us as a volunteer group. You can work on a cause you believe in, enjoy healthy activity in the great outdoors, and reap the benefits of enhanced community relationships.

Thank you, Ever-Green Energy, and all our corporate volunteer groups, for everything you do!