Tim Pittman, Plant Engineering Manager and Environmental Coordinator at the Great Dane Trailers Plant in Brazil, was awarded an individual Environmental Achievement Award at the Indiana Division of the Izaak Walton League of America, Inc. State Convention awards banquet. The event was conducted June 6 at the league's Fort Wayne Chapter.
Pittman, who was nominated by Richard Walters, an employee with Great Dane, was one of four non-IWLA members to win. Pittman said he was not expecting to win the award, but said the victory was made all the sweeter seeing as how his work was initially recognized by one of his employees.
"It meant a lot that I was nominated by one of the guys from the plant," Pittman said. "It was a pleasant surprise."
While Great Dane has been recycling steel products for several years, the company has widely expanded the scope of its efforts during the last couple years recycling not only steel, but also a variety of wood and plastic products.
According to Pittman, at the end of 2008, the company had recycled 25 tons of plastic, 2,000 gallons of hydraulic oil, 4,000 pallets and more than 2,000 tons of metal. The effects have been seen via a 25 percent reduction in the plant's landfill load and a 40 percent drop in the rate of environmental hazards.
Despite all the success the company has experienced, Pittman said he believes a much wider expansion is possible. Great Dane has felt much of the same economic sting as businesses throughout the country, and the plant manager feels the company can expand its eco-friendly ways when the grip of the current recessions loosens.
"We are continually looking to expand," Pittman said. "We want to make sure we get good at our practices when business is slow, so we can get going again when it picks up."
Pittman endorsed the recycling program not only as a form of environmental improvement, but as a fiscally responsible business plan. Since its inception, the company's recycling program has saved Great Dane in the neighborhood of $20,000 in disposal costs. Pittman said recycling programs were a great way to combat the struggles of the economy.
"Anything that can be done to cut costs is a good thing," Pittman said. "Anything that will save a company money is a positive."