Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 10, 2010

Father/son business wins awards for being green

Pitchers team reuses materials.

By K.O. Jackson
Tribune business writer

Kokomo — Old stones and wood give The Quarry restaurant its unique look and design.

The stones and wood were destined to be discarded — until a local property-management company saw green in the trash.

Fortune Management and 5 Kingdoms Development LLC practice what they preach: One man’s trash is another man’s green treasure.

Fortune is owned by Scott Pitcher. His son, Brandon, owns 5KD. Reusing local materials rather than discarding them has now brought the father and son green honors.

And it has nothing to do with dollar bills.

Sponsored by Rolls-Royce and organized by Green Fest Expos Inc., Fortune won the Indiana Green Business Award in the category for sustainable use of local material for its revitalization of Kokomo’s west side, Forest Park Shopping Center and, in particular, the interior and exterior of The Quarry.

“My wife [Heather] and I are very pro-environment. We do our part with being green,” said Scott Futerfas, The Quarry’s owner. “The stone and wood here make the place unique, especially the courtyard, and it was all going to be thrown out as garbage. In this day and age, that is hard to believe.

“When we were looking at relocating here, we really loved the courtyard’s beauty. We did help some on the inside, but the courtyard was all [Fortune Management’s] original work. To see how beautiful it is really speaks volumes about their work. If they’ve won an award because of it, I can’t help but to congratulate them. Their work is a good sign for the environment. It is tremendous.”

Brandon Pitcher also was honored with the Green Entrepreneur of the Year award for his lifelong dedication to sustainable education.

For years, Brandon has been preaching and lecturing worldwide about creating a sustainable society; a society that satisfies its ecology needs without diminishing the prospects of future generations.

As a 19-year-old, Brandon began lecturing to Purdue University classes about a green economy and renewable energy. Now, the 30-year-old is being recognized for giving more than 300 presentations and workshops in Indiana on sustainable systems, zero emissions and innovative green solutions.

By counseling clients in sustainable building practices, the economics of sustainability and the greening of the infrastructure, Brandon’s company focuses on “utilizing the philosophy and practicality of zero emissions with a keen understanding of the interrelationships of nature.

“We are dedicated to creating abundant lifestyles for the 21st century economy by guiding communities, organizations and industries in the most productive, positive projects through integration of education and implementation of sustainable systems.

“I came up with the phrase ‘sustainable development.’ But I was young, and no one my age was talking about it, but I knew this was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” continued Brandon, who bypassed earning a college degree to focus on educating people on an emerging, green economy.

“There was a big gap because no one was teaching this stuff. Now, everyone, everywhere wants to teach it.”

It’s one thing, however, to say you’re a green business and another to actually be one — with or without an award.

“If you want to integrate sustainability into your lifestyle or business, and avoid companies that love to pay lip service to being ‘green,’ but offer little in substance, then 5KD is the way to go,” said Zach Robinson, principal of Green Circuit Electric LLC. “I have not run into many people that have made sustainability a code of conduct like Brandon, nor have I seen a display of depth in projects and educational experiences that are exemplified in his portfolio.”

Part of Brandon’s sustainable systems philosophy is displayed in his current living conditions.

Brandon recently moved into a downtown Kokomo apartment — behind the Kokomo Tribune building — that was an old funeral home.

“It has been refurbished with environmentally designed carpets with an open floor plan,” he said. “The wood work and doors are reused from properties that were either demolished or remodeled right here in Kokomo. So what is more sustainable than using what we already have available locally?

“The reuse of existing structures and materials is a much more intelligent, sustainable way to design and operate our communities in the 21st century. In fact, it is also the most economically productive over the generations.”

Timothy M. Andrews, president and CEO of Pennsylvania-based The Advertising Specialty Institute, said the type of work Brandon is doing will only be in greater demand in the future.

Andrews’ media and marketing organization is highlighting the Top 10 eco-friendly giveaways for Earth Day, which will be celebrated on April 22. But like 5KD, protecting the environment needs to be something done daily.

“Companies are hungering for eco-friendly products to help tout their earth-friendliness,” said Andrews, adding at five super-regional trade shows, his company has an exclusive pavilion dedicated to showcasing new eco-friendly products.

It may not be at a trade show, but Brandon plans to hold local presentations about his award-winning beliefs and mission. One day, he foresees being green will make a lot of green.

“We have to stop resisting and embrace sustainable systems. I’ve dedicated my adult life to educating people about this. This is more than about money, but it can create wealth. I am not talking about making millionaires, I am talking about trillionaires,” said Brandon. “We have the 49th dirtiest state. People don’t want to raise their children in filth, so the smart people are leaving the state. I don’t want that to happen.

“I’ve been to 40 countries and lived in other places. There was no reason for me to come back here to live if I was not going to make a change.

“That’s what I try to do every day: Change behavior.”

• K.O. Jackson is the Kokomo Tribune’s business writer. He can be reached at 765-854-6739 or via e-mail kirven.jackson@kokomotribune.com