Ford Executive Honored for Environmental Management

The Environmental Management Association (EMA) is honoring Ford executive Tim O'Brien for his role in leading the revolutionary redesign of the Rouge River manufacturing complex.

The Environmental Management Association (EMA) is honoring a Ford Motor Co. executive for his role in leading the revolutionary redesign of the Rouge River manufacturing complex. Tim O'Brien, vice president of Ford Real Estate, will receive the EMA's 2001 Environmental Achievement Award, at a ceremony on Thursday at the Automobile Hall of Fame in Dearborn.

Finalists for the award from Toyota, Honda, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Marine Pollution Control and Planterra Tropical Greenhouse, will also be honored at the dinner program.

The EMA Environmental Achievement Award was established to recognize individuals, organizations and businesses that demonstrate an outstanding achievement in the area of environmental management. Award criteria include:

  • Commitment to the environment resulting in opportunities for improved quality of life in Michigan;
  • Use of resources from the environmental management industry to provide innovative solutions to potential environmental challenges;
  • Innovative leadership in regard to environmental issues affecting the individual's or organization's situation;
  • Involvement in public policy issues that affect future quality of life including social, economic and environmental factors; and
  • Utilization of the individual's or organization's position, business, resources, and personal leadership in making a key contribution to the community where the individual or organization is located. The contribution may result in increased environmental awareness, community improvements, recycling efforts and employment opportunities that do not compromise the environment.

"We were especially impressed with Ford Motor Co.'s team approach of its manufacturing and environmental professionals to redevelop the Rouge complex," explained Walter J. Pociask Jr., EMA past president. "Ford took on this project not to gain any company or personal benefit, but because it was the right thing to do - to create a model of 21st Century sustainable manufacturing."

Last year, Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. announced plans to renovate the company's 83-year-old Rouge plant, involving environmental, development and manufacturing specialists in concert with the noted sustainability architect, William McDonough. Tim O'Brien was selected to lead the effort.

Advanced environmental concepts applied through the $2 billion Rouge project include:

  • The world's largest ecologically inspired "living roof;"
  • The use of natural plants throughout the grounds to rid the soil of contaminants;
  • Implementation of shallow green ditches seeded with indigenous plants to improve storm-water management;
  • Porous paving that filters water through retention beds with two to three feet of compact stones, helping mange storm-water runoff;
  • Planting flowering vines and other plants to shade and cool the Rouge Office building and assembly plant; and
  • Planting more than 1,500 trees.

The Environmental Management Association represents business professionals and scientists, governmental officials and others interested in promoting environmental and economic development in Michigan.

edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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