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Utilities’ Kinder on a personal sustainability mission

Thu, Oct 25, 2012

One on One

Frank Kinder came from California to attend college in Colorado Springs. While here he found his passion: sustainability.

Kinder, now 38, works as senior water conservation specialist for Colorado Springs Utilities and has been involved with numerous energy, water and recycling projects around Colorado Springs.

One of his most high-profile roles has been to spread the word about advances in sustainability at Fort Carson. And, as the sustainability industry grows, you’re likely to hear a lot from him and about him.

Others already are noticing Kinder. He recently was named by ColoradoBiz magazine as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Young Professionals in Colorado.

Where are you from, and why did you come to Colorado Springs?

I grew up in the North Bay of California, in the cities of Vallejo and Vacaville, where we also had a large military industry. Like here, it’s a beautiful place with great history, great people and amazing things happening. I came to Colorado Springs because I was looking to see the country and had family out here, so college at UCCS sounded great. Colorado is an exceptional place. You can’t find a place that has a more diverse landscape, population and economy within a few hours traveling distance.

You were recently named one of ColoradoBiz magazine’s GenXYZ 25 Most Influential Young Professionals. Tell us about that.

This town is filled with incredible people who give freely of their time and energy to make things happen. They believe in what they’re doing, volunteer, and work hard to try new ideas and improve our community. It’s part of the pioneering and entrepreneurial western spirit, but it’s also a belief that we should aspire to great things. And it’s contagious. One of my roles in consulting with Sustainable Fort Carson was to share the Army’s sustainability story with the community, which involved outreach through presentations, committee work, in many professional organizations. Through this and collaborations such as DreamCity 2020, the Quality of Life Indicators, Colorado Association for Recycling, the US Green Building Council, and more, you’re exposed to many passionate leaders, all of whom are working to benefit this city. I learned much from them, and decided to participate and hopefully continue the legacy of service and philanthropy. Professional organizations are crucial to career success; they leverage your time and talent and provide information and contacts that help you succeed. It’s energizing to work together on a project, and many nonprofits in our community survive and thrive on the efforts of volunteers. Finally, the professional growth you gain from interactions with others in the community is invaluable, and seeing an accomplishment, be it a conference, product, or project, is rewarding in itself.

What are some organizations you’re involved with in the community?

Fort Carson has had tremendous growth in the last five years, and it uses the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design as construction criteria. The USGBC Colorado has a very active Southern Branch in our region that supports green building, efficiency, and conservation. I’ve been the Advocacy co-chair for two years and on the committee, made up of local building professionals, for four. Palmer Land Trust owns and manages many local conservation easements in our region, and I’ve served on its Stewardship Committee for about 10 years. Southern Colorado Clean Cities Coalition promotes diverse fuel and transportation types and I served as board president for four years. I am currently Co-Treasurer for Colorado WaterWise, a statewide nonprofit for water conservation professionals, and participate with the Recycling Coalition of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Sustainable Business Network, and others.

What projects are you most proud of for their impact on our community?

We’ve had great success with partnerships in the last few years and look forward to more. We worked with builder Wayne Intermill at Gold Hill Mesa on the state’s first WaterSense labeled home, which also achieved EnergyStar certification and is LEED for Homes registered, making it the only home in the nation with these three designations. This home is a proof of private industry’s ability to incorporate conservation and efficiency with market-friendly techniques and technologies that save 20 percent more water than standard designs. The builder has incorporated this into his business and the developer is now working with other builders as well. We are assisting the Waldo Canyon rebuilding effort at Colorado Springs Together to share information and rebates on efficiency and conservation as these homeowners rebuild, and many are taking part. We launched a five-party partnership to recycle waste porcelain as our rebates help businesses save water with WaterSense fixtures. These old toilets and urinals, once destined for the landfill, are now collected, crushed, and will be reused as road base through the City of Colorado Springs and PPRTA. This resource saving project lowers the cost of retrofits, diverts waste from the landfill, and provides a reusable aggregate for municipal needs. Finally, we’re assisting regional businesses of all types with lowering their utility costs through efficiency renovations and retrofits using rebates and information, which makes them more profitable, productive, and extends their mission funds and resources. It’s an incredibly rewarding time and I feel privileged to help our city. I talk toilets and efficiency for a living and I love it.

I’d like to thank all the community leaders who contribute to causes they care about. It’s easy to be divisive in today’s atmosphere, but I prefer to focus on what’s possible and how to get to yes, and hopefully we’ll continue to make progress, do good things, and have fun doing them.

Link to Gen XYZ article: http://www.cobizmag.com/articles/genxyz-colorados-25-most-influential-young-professionals

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