Keypoint Intelligence and Agile Cybersecurity Solutions (ACS) are pleased to announce they have entered into a strategic partnership, combining Keypoint Intelligence’s independent hands-on testing, lab data, and extensive market research, with ACS’s elite team of cybersecurity professionals.
With security being an ongoing challenge for all organizations, protecting vital assets and determining the appropriate level of security is crucial to ensure companies maintain business continuity and reduce overall risk. The Keypoint Intelligence-ACS partnership brings together a range of comprehensive security assessments, testing, and deployment offerings to help clients uncover vulnerabilities.
“Cybersecurity continues to be one of the biggest areas of concern for our clients and their customers,” commented Anthony Sci, President & CEO of Keypoint Intelligence. “Our partnership with ACS is a very powerful combination. We can help OEMs determine security risks present in their A3/A4 print devices through our testing and security validation services, and now with ACS are able to perform our security penetration test on any IoT device in addition to providing full IT cybersecurity services to our channel partners and their clients.”
“ACS is excited to partner with Keypoint Intelligence to deliver elite cybersecurity services,” stated Carlos Fernandes, Chief Executive Officer at ACS. “Our ACS Cyber SEALs possess the experience and tradecraft necessary to solve the biggest cybersecurity challenges. We are proud of our participation in remediation activities of many high-profile breaches impacting our nation’s cybersecurity, through the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community, over the past 10 years. Bringing this elite cybersecurity experience to Keypoint Intelligence’s clients, in addition to our unique vendor-agnostic and product-agnostic approach, marks another step forward toward a safer and more secure digital future.”
By connecting Keypoint Intelligence’s and ACS’s expert teams, the collaboration will utilize proprietary toolsets, along with the latest threat intelligence and advanced countermeasures, to help build effective security programs that protect and enhance business operations.
Fairfield, NJ (September 20, 2022) – Keypoint Intelligence is pleased to announce that it has acquired Karstedt Partners, LLC of Eden, New York. The transaction enables Keypoint Intelligence to accelerate product development efforts to serve all facets of the packaging supply chain that is under extreme pressures to come up with new products and practices over the next decade.
Founded in 1996, Karstedt Partners, LLC has been a trusted source for insights, innovations, and consulting services to constituents in all sectors of the consumer products and packaging supply chain.
“As part of the Keypoint Intelligence family and using the extensive tools and capabilities of their extremely talented team of researchers and analysts, Karstedt Partners will be able to have an even greater impact on the industry that we love so deeply,” said Kevin Karstedt, CEO and Founder. “My partner Jeff Wettersten and I are very pleased to be able to expand the level of consulting and information sharing to an extended range of clients in an industry that is experiencing unprecedented challenges in supply chain and technology disruption.”
Anthony Sci, President and CEO of Keypoint Intelligence, said, “We are excited about the growth opportunities and expansion of our offerings in the packaging and labels market. Combining Keypoint Intelligence’s focus on improving business goals and increasing bottom lines with Karstedt Partners’ unbiased analysis and assessments of the ever-changing landscape of digital package printing is a powerful combination and will allow us to further serve our customers.”
About Keypoint Intelligence For 60 years, clients in the digital imaging industry have relied on Keypoint Intelligence for independent hands-on testing, lab data, and extensive market research to drive their product and sales success. Keypoint Intelligence has been recognized as the industry’s most trusted resource for unbiased information, analysis, and awards due to decades of analyst experience. Customers have harnessed this mission-critical knowledge for strategic decision-making, daily sales enablement, and operational excellence to improve business goals and increase bottom lines. With a central focus on clients, Keypoint Intelligence continues to evolve as the industry changes by expanding offerings and updating methods, while intimately understanding and serving manufacturers’, channels’, and their customers’ transformation in the digital printing and imaging sector.
About Karstedt Partners, LLC Since 1996 Karstedt Partners, LLC has been a trusted source for insights, innovations, and consulting services to constituents in all sectors of the consumer products and packaging supply chain. Brand Owners, Graphic Service Providers, Package Printers, and OEMs have counted on Karstedt Partners counsel and guidance with developing efficient and effective workflows and tools aimed at improving time-to-market and product quality. Building on a corporate reputation of being both visionary and pragmatic, Karstedt Partners offers insightful and actionable guidance to companies looking to; use existing technologies in innovative ways, build new processes or solutions and bring them to market, validate business and technology prospects.
Our portfolio company, WinCup, was highlighted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for their revolutionary efforts to halt the global plastic crisis.
The article provides more information about how the Phade Straw works, and how this signature product of theirs is an industry game-changer.
WinCup is a forward-thinking company that understands that many of our old methods of environmental consciousness are outdated and inadequate. Atar is honored and proud to have them profiled in this piece, and we are excited to see where their journey will go next.
Los Angeles, CA—May 10, 2022—Atar Capital, a global private investment firm, announced a sixth acquisition through its portfolio company, Pathways Health and Community Support, LLC (Pathways), with the closing of Psychological Assessment & Intervention Services, Inc. (PAIS). The definitive agreement for the acquisition was originally signed in December 2021. This acquisition allows Pathways to expand its footprint into West Virginia where PAIS currently serves clients in 29 out of 55 counties that are supported by 7 regional offices. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
PAIS offers person-centered home and community-based services, including direct services and case management for individuals with developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families, along with psychological assessment and general outpatient therapy services for children and adults. The organization’s programs and services align well with those offered by Pathways, making it possible for Pathways to offer a broader range of behavioral health services in more communities.
Pathways has an active presence in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Led by Jill Winters, Pathways’ CEO, the organization employs a team of 5,000+ dedicated staff members working to create healthier communities with programs that include counseling, IDD, telehealth, autism, case management, therapeutic foster care, parent education, supportive employment and substance use. The company also offers employer-based programs through Pathways at Work, a series of customized workplace health and well-being seminars, webinars and other resources for employees.
Winters said, “Atar Capital’s continued guidance and investment in our growth is making it possible for Pathways to broaden the scope of essential behavioral health and wellness services across the country for people struggling with critical life challenges. We look forward to expanding those resources with this latest acquisition.”
Cyrus Nikou, founder and managing partner of Atar Capital, said, “We continue to be excited about the growth prospects ahead for Pathways. This latest acquisition of PAIS, in addition to the five other bolt-on companies acquired for Pathways over the past two years, significantly expands the organization’s footprint and range of services. It is a clear testament to Atar Capital’s mission and commitment to supporting the growth of its portfolio companies.”
Atar’s investment team for the transaction included Atar Capital’s Founder and Managing Partner Cyrus Nikou, Senior Managing Director Robert Lezec, Managing Directors Stanley Huang and Vijay Mony and Director T.J. McCaffrey. Dykema provided legal counsel to Atar Capital.
About Atar Capital Atar Capital’s combination of operational expertise, industry knowledge and investment experience provide a unique edge in creating value and working as a true partner with its portfolio companies. The firm assists in activities ranging from growing the business to improving operations and financial performance, leveraging all available resources and talent within Atar’s leadership team, as well as its bench of seasoned senior advisors with deep sector and functional expertise. For more information, please visit www.atarcapital.com.
About Pathways Pathways Health and Community Support, LLC is one of the largest providers of behavioral and mental health services in the United States. Originally founded in 1997 as Providence Service Corporation, and subsequently acquired by Atar Capital in 2018, Pathways’ mission is to improve the lives of people by inspiring personal growth, health and wellness. The organization offers a full spectrum of social services and behavioral health solutions, including mental health support, youth and family services, adult services and prevention services, to clients in their homes or through telehealth and community-based resources. The company also offers employer-based programs to help employees manage stress, anxiety and other behavioral health challenges through Pathways at Work,a series of customized workplace health and well-being seminars, webinars and other resources for employees.
Detroit, Michigan – March 15, 2022 – Solero Technologies, a leading global supplier of transmission solenoids, engine solenoids, stop-start accumulators, and hydraulic control modules, has hired Dr. Donald R. James as the company’s new CEO. Dr. James will oversee Solero Technologies’ sales and engineering center in Detroit, as well as manufacturing operations in Water Valley, Mississippi. Additionally, he will be responsible for the strategic direction of the company and ensuring long-term profitable growth. Don will be based in Michigan with the team in Detroit.
Solero Technologies, formerly BorgWarner North American Controls, was acquired by Atar Capital in December 2021. Ramzi Hermiz, a transformational automotive industry leader, served as interim CEO since that time and will continue with the company as a Board Director.
“Don’s years of success in business and technology along with his extensive automotive industry experience will make him a tremendous asset to the Solero Technologies team,” said Hermiz. “His expertise will be critical to driving greater innovation within Solero, expanding our reach to new markets and maintaining our commitment to sustainability.” Dr. James has more than 24 years of leadership experience in the automotive industry,
domestically and abroad. Prior to joining Solero Technologies, he served as the president of the Americas and an executive committee member at Joyson Safety Systems, where he facilitated the merger of Takata and Key Safety Systems into Joyson, while developing strategic initiatives to drive profitability and growth.
In addition, Don served in a variety of leadership positions at Continental AG in both North America and Europe; most recently as vice president of North America for the company’s Hydraulic Brake Systems. At Continental, he led the launch of new facilities in Mexico and established the company’s commercial vehicle market strategy leading to substantial market growth. He was awarded two Silver Awards; one for ‘Top Turnaround Project in North America’ and the other for ‘Excellence in Project Management & New Business Development’.
“With Solero’s strong reputation of product innovation and manufacturing, I am excited to work with our employees, customers, suppliers and community to elevate Solero’s product reach within and outside the automotive industry,” added Dr. James.
Don earned a bachelor’s in economics from the University of Michigan; and both a master’s in business administration and a doctorate in business administration and sustainability from Lawrence Technological University.
About Solero Technologies Solero Technologies is a leading global supplier of transmission solenoids, engine solenoids, stop-start accumulators, and hydraulic control modules. Our capabilities include advanced design, prototyping, development, and manufacturing combined with a strong intellectual property portfolio across product categories. We have built an acclaimed reputation for developing and delivering quality solenoid products to automotive OEMs, the aftermarket and other industrial sectors. Our industry-leading solenoid products are critical to the optimal performance of vehicles today and tomorrow. The company operates from its manufacturing facility in Water Valley, Mississippi, along with related sales and engineering operations in Detroit. Visit www.solerotechnologies.com for more information.
Get insight into employee’s greatest mental and behavioral health concerns from the past year.
We began the year with a renewed hope of recovery and a path forward with increased vaccination availability, reopenings, and for some, a return to the office. This year, we have primarily focused on the process of recovery in the wake of last year’s unprecedented challenges. Reflecting on last year and the progress we’ve made since, while remarkable, has revealed a new set of challenges as we adjust to a new sense of normalcy.
Last March, the onset of COVID-19 changed the way we operated as business leaders and as people. Few of us felt prepared to lead the charge through what became a year of unimaginable circumstances. Yet, as new restrictions, policies, and information came into play, we adapted quickly and remained flexible in our decision-making. It was a year of profound loss demanding steadfast resilience, both from our people and ourselves.
Within one crisis arose many, with political and social issues reshaping our perspectives and the landscape of American culture. We became better critical thinkers and more empathetic toward one another, as each of us found ourselves uniquely challenged by the circumstances of 2020. Last year’s hardships, in hindsight, showcase the resilience shown by each of us as we continue to emerge from a once-in-a-lifetime crisis.
As business leaders, it is our responsibility to lead our recovery efforts for our people and our organizations. The first six months of this year required us to be flexible as we emerged from a challenging year and found hope in opportunities to support those we lead.
Between September 2020 and May 2021, we surveyed 2200+ employees from various industries and businesses across the U.S., including finance, advertising, marketing, I.T., accounting, facilities management, and education. Our survey results revealed that a majority of American workers are still grappling with the impact of last year’s events. As such, the response to last year’s hardships has not been acute or limited and persists at significant rates across all verticals.
We’re presenting the following data and insights for other business leaders to get a glimpse of the current state of mental health among American workers. In this year’s report, we hope to illuminate the persistent struggles of employees regarding their mental health at work and offer insights into how we as leaders can better support our people.
Four Leading Factors of Poor Employee Mental Health: Stress, Anxiety, Fatigue, and Burnout
Among the employee concerns reported, our findings revealed striking and persistent stress, fatigue, anxiety, and burnout among employees surveyed. These four factors are closely related and often contribute to one another in a workplace setting. The initial numbers reported by employees in December 2020 were alarming but expected during the second pandemic wave. However, the initial escalation in employee reports of stress, fatigue, anxiety, and burnout remained consistent throughout our survey. Thus, despite improvements in disease prevention and vaccination rates, employees reported the same level of stress, fatigue, anxiety, and burnout that they did at the height of the pandemic.
For employers, this means that the psychological effects of the pandemic will persist long beyond the cessation of infection. These persistent levels of stress, fatigue, anxiety, and burnout will ultimately hurt employee productivity, engagement, morale, and retention. Moreover, our findings revealed little to no change in the occurrence of these mental health concerns, which means employers should prepare for the long-term prevalence of employee stress, fatigue, anxiety, and burnout.
The Workplace Impact of Poor Employee Mental Health
Understanding how stress, anxiety, fatigue, and burnout present themselves within the workplace context is fundamental to a complete picture of employee wellness. The incidents of increased stress, anxiety, fatigue, and burnout result in adverse outcomes in the workplace, specifically around performance.
The sustained levels of sleep disturbances recorded among employees in our study indicate that employees are likely experiencing performance issues as a result. With employees reporting high levels of stress, anxiety, and burnout, incidents of communication issues, work conflict, misconduct, or mistrust are likely to materialize at a higher rate.
To capture the impact of the four critical mental health issues employees reported, we collected data regarding their productivity, ability to manage conflicts, and building trust in the workplace. Unsurprisingly, employees reported elevated levels of concern across all three categories, with a slight dip from 2020 to 2021.
The small decline is likely due to the economic and financial gains that have led to a more promising job market, less concern over layoffs, and improvements to job security. Despite the progress from last year, the occurrence rates remain high. More than 60% of all employees surveyed reported concern over productivity, managing conflicts, and building trust at work in 2021.
How Employees’ Personal Lives Impact Work
The multifaceted nature of COVID-19’s impact was pervasive in employees’ work and personal lives, causing unique effects that stem from multiple contributing stressors. The far-reaching consequences of the pandemic influenced personal relationships, family relations, living situations, finances, resources, and health. Ultimately, employees bring their personal circumstances to work, and those external factors influence their productivity and interactions with others.
The transition to remote work eroded routines related to work-life balance, where there became little delineation between the office and the home. Parents and caregivers were impacted substantially by school closures and inaccessible care brought on by the pandemic.
Struggling with personal relationships, isolation, feelings of loneliness, boredom, anxiety, and depression were common complaints last year. These factors led to new incidents of substance use disorders and caused relapses among those working toward sobriety. In addition, recreational activities that once served as means of self-care and wellness were largely unavailable during the pandemic, such as gyms and places of worship. As a result, healthy coping mechanisms and activities that were once readily available were no longer in place to curtail the emotional and mental health toll of COVID-19. The reduction in healthy outlets and increased external stressors ultimately impacted the workplace: how well employees work and how well they work with others.
Personal stress and a poor work-life balance come at the cost of employers. Presenteeism refers to the lost productivity when present employees are not fully functioning because of stressful life events, illness, or injury. Employees’ increased concern with work-life balance, managing stressful life events, managing depression, and preventing substance misuse often leads to presenteeism. The estimated cost of presenteeism amounts to $180 billion annually for U.S. companies, 34% more than absenteeism.
The Onset & Ongoing Effect of COVID-19 on Employee Mental Health
Reflecting on COVID-19 and analyzing employee reports provides perspective on recovery efforts and supporting employees in a post-pandemic work environment. The changes to work and everyday life were profound and introduced many challenges and stressors that employees are still coping with today. However, data collected from our employee survey reveals positive trends in pandemic-related categories, providing insights into employee resilience and adaptability throughout the pandemic and initial recovery.
While adapting to remote work was challenging for most, 2021 reporting illustrates marked improvements in employees’ comfort with working remotely. Additionally, employees had lower levels of financial stress in the first and second quarters of 2021, reflecting the improved economic conditions in recent months.
While these trends are encouraging, supporting employees after COVID-19 depends on addressing the issues they struggled with the most. 20% of employee respondents reported they were coping poorly with the effects of the pandemic in 2020. Inadequate coping mechanisms and unhealthy habits developed throughout the pandemic will not immediately disappear upon infection rate improvements. Learning to work remotely successfully was only half the battle— 10% of employees reported being very concerned with isolation and loneliness throughout the pandemic.
Challenges of social isolation will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on employees, regardless of whether they stay remote or return to the office. Following a year of isolation, social interactions are likely to cause anxiety among adults. Vaccinated adults have not returned to pre-pandemic levels of socialization, which indicates long-term implications due to prolonged isolation. Employees will likely have to grapple with the behavioral and mental health implications of COVID-19 for years to come. Employers will be responsible for creating a post-pandemic work environment that addresses the events of 2020 by taking a stance on employee wellness that considers the long-term impacts of the pandemic.
Racism and Social Injustice Concerns
COVID-19 was not the only pandemic that disrupted everyday life in 2020. By June, a second pandemic permeated the lives of Americans— institutionalized racism and social injustice. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others sparked public outrage and nationwide protests, bringing attention to the pervasive issue of racism in America.
While the issue of police violence against Black Americans was central to the protests, the conversation about racism in America included the disproportionate impact COVID-19 had on minority populations and raised historically buried sentiment about systemic racism. Thus, the dual pandemics proved to be a multifaceted issue, highlighting the intersection of social issues, public health, and racial inequality in the U.S.
While the conversation about racism and social injustice in America was long overdue, it compounded existing mental health challenges, especially for people of color. Racial trauma has psychological and physical consequences, including intense anxiety, depression, distress, distractibility, and avoidance related to the stressor, and increased occurrences of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
Employees across all ethnic and racial identities expressed mental health concerns due to the social injustices of 2020. Most employees reported racism and social injustice as a top concern in 2020, a trend that has continued into 2021. The following metrics highlight employee perspectives on the social and racial injustices of 2020, noting the continued level of concern in recent months.
Overall, the data collected in 2021, compared to 2020, indicates recovery trends and improvements in employee mental health. Our employee well-being metrics reflect the strength and determination of our team members and their need for additional support. While the impact of COVID-19 variants on employee mental health remains to be seen, positive employee well-being trends may plateau due to prolonged pandemic conditions. Nevertheless, the data paints a picture of what our employees need now and how we, as employers, can prepare to support our team members should the pandemic persist.
We remain encouraged by the data’s implications. Namely, the resilience employees have exhibited over the past two years. Recognizing employees’ demonstrations of flexibility, tenacity, and strength in the face of unprecedented challenges will be paramount to our collective recovery efforts.
The positive trends captured by our survey are encouraging, and we will continue to collect employee data to assess how developments in the COVID-19 pandemic influence workplace mental health. One thing is certain when looking at our data: addressing mental health has become imperative in the workplace, and employers should prepare to support employee mental health for the foreseeable future.
After reviewing survey responses, it’s clear that we can do more for our employees’ well-being regardless of what the future holds, whether it’s stress management, mental health resources, or conversations that reduce stigma around mental illness. In the long term, our efforts to help employees become mentally healthy now will help them cope in the future, should we endure further uncertainty due to the pandemic or struggle to grapple with its impact as we recover. Unfortunately, the limited information about long-term effects and delayed onset of mental health concerns point to a slow recovery. As a result, employees will need ongoing mental health support for years to come.
While our report included data from a wide range of participants and across several industries, mental health data about COVID-19’s impact is still generally limited. It will take experts years to collect data and report their findings of how the pandemic impacted our emotional well-being. Understanding the full scope of the pandemic’s impact on our mental health will also be delayed by the emergence of new COVID-19 variants. In the meantime, employers can focus on what we do know.
While employees have improved their ability to manage negative emotions, most employees would benefit from additional mental health support. To recruit talent, increase retention, and cultivate a healthy company culture, business leaders should prioritize mental health and well-being initiatives that address employees’ future and existing needs. While we grapple with more uncertainty and prolonged pandemic conditions, our employees will depend on our support to cope effectively.
A productive and well-rounded workforce depends on leaderships’ ability to respond thoughtfully to the current state of employee mental health.
As landfills reach capacity and oceans fill with trash and microplastics, the problem of finding solutions to the world’s growing trash problem is back in the news after a year dominated by COVID-related headlines. Businesses and individual consumers are increasingly prioritizing sustainability. For building operators and other real estate professionals, establishing a robust recycling program is one way to meet the demand for eco-friendly properties while also combating environmental pollution and complying with state and local mandates to divert trash from landfills.
Whether you’re dealing with commercial properties or multifamily residential complexes, most tenants want to do the right thing and reduce, reuse and recycle wherever they can. However, tenants may lapse into complacency unless they receive regular communications about where and how to recycle. It’s also helpful if they understand how their individual recycling efforts contribute to the overall health of their community. Property managers that leverage technology and omnichannel communications to promote recycling can drive compliance with recycling efforts through clear, concise messaging.
Having a positive impact on the environment by recycling your property’s waste can be a great draw for prospective tenants, especially Millennial and Gen Z consumers who want their spending to align with their values. However, recycling waste is also becoming a business necessity as more jurisdictions pass recycling mandates at the state and local level. As communities restrict the amount and kinds of waste that can be sent to landfills, the cost of non-compliance, in the form of fines and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) fee hikes, will continue to rise. Moreover, while recycling programs are most prevalent on the East and West coasts, adoption in the Midwest and South is growing and will continue to do so as landfills reach capacity.
Communication = success
Your effectiveness in promoting your recycling program will be a deciding factor in its success. Establishing clear goals and quantifiable benchmarks, then communicating them to tenants, are effective for driving compliance. Start with a baseline of how much waste your community currently diverts from landfills and set a specific target for where you’d like to be. Stating benchmarks in terms of volume or percentages provides tenants with a concrete frame of reference and metrics for measuring progress. Once you’ve communicated goals and benchmarks, provide tenants and employees with actionable steps they can take to achieve them.
While communication is critical to the success of your recycling program, it’s also vital to follow up with regular reports about your progress and to identify any areas for improvement. Without regular communication, tenants may assume that the program is working well and relax their recycling efforts. To combat this regular reports that provide hard data about the success of your program can help tenants see that their individual actions are having a positive impact.
Unless you’re generating a high volume of waste, it can be difficult to show overall improvement on a month-to-month basis. For many communities, quarterly reporting hits that sweet spot between too much information and not enough. These can be augmented with semi-annual and annual reports that provide a means to assess and communicate the effectiveness of your recycling program over the long-term, as well as a wealth of information for both client-facing communications and internal stakeholders.
In addition to communicating regularly with tenants, you will also want to report recycling goals and metrics to your employees, because they are responsible for operating your recycling program. Communications from the top can increase employee engagement by showing that management truly supports the recycling program.
Commercial vs. residential
When communicating with tenants, provide clear instructions on what can be recycled and where. There are a lot of misconceptions about what can and can’t be recycled. Understanding what can and can’t be recycled is especially important for multifamily residential complexes because these communities tend to generate more food waste. Most recyclable waste needs to be clean in order to be recycled so uninformed residents can defeat the purpose of your recycling program by sending contaminated materials to landfills.
Although communications with commercial and residential tenants share some common elements, like where and how to recycle materials, there are some important differences as well. In general, communications with residential tenants should emphasize the availability of the recycling program and its convenience. By contrast, communications with commercial tenants should provide more information on the types of materials that can be recycled to adhere to local mandates and avoid fines for non-compliance. Information on recyclable materials can also help commercial tenants generate revenue by selling recyclable commodities on the secondary market.
The process for establishing a recycling program is similar for residential and commercial properties. In both cases, the first step is to identify the different types of waste being generated. The easiest and simplest way to do this is with a basic waste audit. While more in-depth audits may separate materials by type and measure waste by quantity and volume, a more basic audit can be as simple as observing and tracking what types of materials are going to landfill versus recycling. These types of audits can be performed with a minimal investment of time and labor to yield valuable information for a successful recycling program.
When collecting data for your recycling program, leverage technology to maximize efficiency and convenience. Apps that track materials by type and location can be used to generate reports for both internal stakeholders and client-facing communications. You can also upload photos of waste and record the weights of various materials. Using GPS, some of these apps can even pinpoint the location of recycling containers and equipment in relation to tenants. This information can be invaluable for determining the optimal placement of recycling containers and greatly increase overall compliance with your recycling program.
One note of caution: your data is only as good as the people interpreting it. Automation has come a long way, but there’s still no substitute for human expertise when it comes to analyzing data and using that information to design and implement an effective recycling program. If you plan on using technology, make sure you have qualified people on hand to interpret your data and consider retaining a facility services company with expertise in this area.
Once you’ve collected your data, defined your goals, and identified quantifiable benchmarks, you can create communications with clear messaging for employees and tenants. It’s important to cast a wide net when distributing this important information. In addition to your company website and tenant portals, take advantage of email newsletters and monthly invoices to report recycling goals and celebrate achievements. Social media is also a great way to spread the news about your recycling efforts to prospective tenants while onsite posters and bulletins provide visual reminders for existing tenants.
With so many headlines about pollution and climate change, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by environmental challenges. Conducting a waste audit, setting and communicating recycling goals and benchmarks, and leveraging technology and omnichannel communications are three ways you can foster enthusiastic participation in your recycling program among tenants and employees. People like to know that they are contributing to a better world. Timely, effective communications that helps tenants understand the impact of their actions is vital to the success of a recycling program and is one of the most powerful ways buildings can reduce their environmental footprint and make a positive contribution to their communities.
Jeff Roney Jeff is Vice President of Operations for RWS Facility Services and has over 20 years of industry experience serving various roles with increasing responsibility in operations, account management, procurement, human resources, and business development.
The most sustainable sports venue in the world to feature new phade® marine biodegradable and compostable straws and stirrers to advance sustainability initiativesSeptember 30, 2021 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–WinCup, Inc., an Atlanta metro-based company, is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the Atlanta Falcons to introduce phade®, the world’s first marine biodegradable, home and industrial compostable drinking straws and stirrers to Mercedes-Benz Stadium beginning in August 2021.Falcons’ fans and other stadium attendees will be the latest beneficiaries of a growing movement of sustainable practices being adopted across the sports industry. Made with PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), a biodegradable resin derived from the fermentation of canola oil, phade® sustainable drinking straws and stirrers maintain the feel and user experience of traditional plastic equivalents but will safely return to nature through composting.
“Sports venues are starting to return to full capacity, and as we welcome both new and returning fans, we have committed to protecting their health, as well as the health of our shared planet,” said Mace Aluia, Vice President of Corporate Partnership Sales at AMB Sports + Entertainment. “As part of that initiative, we are excited that Mercedes-Benz Stadium will offer sustainable, innovative products such as phade® straws and stirrers, which help address the plastics pollution crisis.”
The sponsorship reflects the growing demand for viable alternatives to single-use petroleum-based plastics. Both paper straws and vegetable-based polylactic acid (PLA) straws present performance and sustainability challenges that phade® overcomes. Paper straws get soggy and can collapse during use, and biodegradation performance varies because of adhesives and other unknown chemical additives that may be used in the straws.
“We take a lot of pride in being named the most sustainable sports venue in the world, and we have achieved that through the integration of products like phade®,” said Dawn Brown, Director of Sustainability at Mercedes Benz Stadium. “The Atlanta Falcons and WinCup are a natural fit because both organizations are proven leaders in environmental innovation and action.”
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the first professional sports stadium to receive the LEED Platinum certification. Created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system. As the home to the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United® of MLS and many of the world’s top sports and entertainment events, this partnership with phade® will further the stadium’s ongoing sustainability initiatives.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Atlanta Falcons® in their continued quest to be the best environmental steward in the sports industry. Our sponsorship provides us a platform to provide meaningful, sustainable solutions to teams, venues, leagues and their fans, starting right here in Atlanta,” said Michael Winters, WinCup President and Chief Revenue Officer. “We look forward to seeing the continued adoption of eco-friendly products such as phade® expanding in the sports world, and into communities across the US and countries throughout the world to help reduce global plastic pollution.”
The development of phade® involved a rigorous testing and certification process. TÜV AUSTRIA, a globally recognized independent third-party certifying body, certified phade® as both industrial and backyard compostable in a matter of months. Additionally, the Biodegradable Products Institute Inc. (BPI) has certified phade® as industrially compostable.
“What makes phade® so revolutionary is that it’s made with PHA,” explained Brad Laporte, WinCup’s Chief Executive Officer. “Unlike with petroleum-based straws – which take hundreds of years to biodegrade – phade® straws generally biodegrade in a matter of months in environments where bacteria are present and can use PHA as a food source. With WinCup’s national footprint and extensive manufacturing experience within the foodservice industry, we have the infrastructure in place to scale phade® as market demand continues to increase.”
The Falcons’ partnership with WinCup is particularly fitting considering the role the state of Georgia plays in creating the phade® straw. Bainbridge-based biotech company Danimer Scientific (NYSE: DNMR), a global leader in PHA technology, creates the canola-based PHA resin using its Nodax® biopolymer, sourced by WinCup to manufacture the straws and stirrers. TÜV AUSTRIA certified Nodax® as industrial and home compostable, as well as soil, freshwater and marine biodegradable. The unique sustainable qualities of Nodax® PHA and the phade® straw and stirrer have attracted the attention of global restaurant brands that are turning to the straw as a high-performing biodegradable alternative to traditional petroleum-based straws.
WinCup has won numerous awards for the development and launch of phade®, including the 2021 Innovation in FoodService Award for Sustainability Solutions from the National Restaurant Association and SmartBrief. Most recently, WinCup’s phade® brand was recognized out of a pool of more than 4,000 global entries by Fast Company Magazine as a finalist or honorable mention winner in the “World Changing Ideas” Consumer Products, Enduring Impact, General Excellence and World Changing Ideas categories.
About WinCup, Inc.
WinCup, Inc. which is headquartered in Stone Mountain, Georgia, has recently been acquired by Atar Capital, a Los Angeles based global private investment firm. Among Atar’s core principles is a commitment to sustainability and investing in companies that work toward protecting the environment. WinCup is a leading manufacturer of traditional and sustainable disposable cups, bowls, containers, lids, and straws. The company’s eight manufacturing locations are committed to high-quality products and superior customer service. To learn more, please visit www.wincup.com and www.phadeproducts.com.
Written by A.J. Dilenno —April 14, 2021 —Vice President of Commodity Managed Services, RWS Facility Services
Discarding, destroying and recycling unwanted products is an important part of any supply chain strategy. After all, just tossing old or unneeded materials is an ineffective and unsafe way to dispose of items that may contain your intellectual properly. To better handle this element of supply chain, look to obsolete destruction.
Obsolete destruction is the process of earmarking items to be destroyed and discarded, then documenting that these actions were properly executed. In terms of scope, almost any business — from retailers and restaurants to manufacturers — can benefit from obsolete destruction. The relevant types of items include any damaged, expired or surplus products or packaging associated with your brand, especially anything printed with your logo.
Businesses wanting to cut costs during trying times may wonder whether obsolete destruction is worth the additional expense and effort. However, failing to securely dispose of outdated goods and packaging can affect brand integrity if unscrupulous resellers market the defective products or sell the surplus inventory at a discount. An obsolete destruction investment also preserves the value of limited-time promotional items by preventing their resale on e-commerce platforms. Furthermore, the practice bolsters the value of new product launches by preventing the unauthorized sale of products from retired lines that could compete with the new items.
Of course, obsolete destruction also plays a pivotal role in boosting supply chain sustainability and can even provide an additional source of revenue. Much of the material in items scheduled for destruction has value as scrap commodities that can be recycled or sold. Reclaiming materials and reusing them on production lines and diverting materials from landfills also can increase the profitability of your business by reducing costs associated with production and waste disposal. Moreover, the practice of recycling materials shows stakeholders and customers that you prioritize sustainability, which enhances your reputation as an ethical business.
Note that, if you do plan to recycle materials, it’s important to understand where obsolete destruction takes place in your supply chain so that you can identify recyclables before they are inadvertently destroyed. For example, although most manufacturers destroy outdated inventory at the plant level, many restaurants and retailers rely on distribution centers to handle destruction. Before this point in the process, discarded content should be reviewed so that the recyclables can be separated for reuse or resale rather than sent to a landfill.
Eliminating unwanted inventory also can cut storage costs, particularly for companies that rent storage space. The potential to save on storage costs by freeing up space is an evergreen benefit of obsolete destruction.
A certified obsolete destruction partner can help you achieve all of these benefits and more. However, it is important that you properly vet your vendors before using their services.
A major source of intellectual property theft occurs at docks, landfills and distribution centers where enterprising individuals keep an eye out for items with potential resale value. To prevent the wrong people from getting their hands on your unwanted goods, check the references and certifications of any company you plan to use for obsolete destruction. You also should request a step-by-step breakdown of their disposal processes as well as photos or videos of the processes.
It also is critical that your selected vendor provides you with certificates of destruction. These certificates provide proof that items have been destroyed and cannot be used for resale. These documents include the serial numbers and other identifying information about your products, so you can hold liable the vendor if your unwanted goods reenter the market. And if these items do make a surprise appearance, just cross-reference the information on the certificate of destruction to prove that they were not destroyed according to the terms of your agreement.
Even once you select a reputable vendor, it is important to perform periodic waste audits. Many businesses adopt a set-it-and-forget-it attitude. However, frequent staff turnover can erode practices over time. Waste audits ensure that your vendors consistently deliver high-quality services.
Many emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and blockchain, promise to bring more traceability and value to the waste stream, enabling businesses to track unwanted goods at each point in the supply chain. But until these technologies are fully mature, it’s crucial to effectively identify the value in your waste products and ensure that unwanted goods are disposed of appropriately.
Keypoint Intelligence recorded, monitored phade® straws to demonstrate biodegradability in salt water tanks
STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga., Aug. 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — New WinCup Holdings, Inc. has released a time-lapse video and an accompanying report showing the rapid biodegradation of its phade® straw in a controlled marine environment. phade® is the world’s first marine biodegradable drinking straw. The video and report are the result of a project conducted by Keypoint Intelligence, a product testing firm, that involved placing phade® in two unique saltwater tank environments and monitoring the biodegradation process. While petroleum-based plastic straws are estimated to take at least 200 years to biodegrade, this project showed that phade®, made with PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), a substrate derived from the fermentation of canola oil, achieved complete biodegradation in just 58 days.
As part of its assignment, Keypoint Intelligence established two marine tanks to monitor and evaluate the biodegradation of the phade® straw. Marine life in the form of Clown Fish and snails were added to both tanks to replicate ocean conditions and to show that the tanks could support marine life. After 58 days (Tank 1) and 54 days (Tank 2) of exposure, there were no visible signs of the two phade® straws in either tank. Keypoint Intelligence captured photos and monitored by video throughout the process, which have been used to develop a time-lapse video showing the breakdown of the straw in Tank 1. The video is intended to help anyone understand what the biodegradation process might look like if a phade® straw were to end up in a marine environment.
“We all remember the viral video of a sea turtle found with a plastic straw in its nose,” said WinCup President and Chief Revenue Officer Michael Winters. “That image showed the world the impacts of plastic pollution, and it also marked a turning point for us at WinCup. We developed a mission to do our part and create viable sustainable products, by exploring ocean safe alternatives to traditional petroleum-based plastics. Our straws are such a relevant innovation towards addressing the ocean plastics issue, our hope is that the phade® brand becomes a symbol for meaningful sustainable solutions for many years to come. This time-lapse video is evidence of that, and we are excited to share it with the world.”
The key to phade® is PHA, which is used as a food source by bacteria that consumes the phade® straw in a matter of months, as the time-lapse video demonstrates, instead of hundreds of years like petroleum-based straws. The rate of biodegradation for a phade® straw in a marine environment will likely vary from the rate of 58 days shown in the video because how quickly something biodegrades is dependent on the level of bacteria present in an environment and other actual conditions.
A phade® straw is intended to be composted after use and should never be disposed of in a marine environment. The reality is that petroleum plastic straws are often found as litter on beaches and in the ocean. phade® was designed to be consumed by bacteria, so in the unfortunate circumstance where a phade straw might end up in an ocean it will biodegrade due to the presence of bacteria. However, the proper disposal of phade® is in a home compost pile or an industrial compost bin, and it should never be littered.
The emergence of phade® straws comes as demand increases for a viable alternative to a traditional petroleum based products. Both paper straws and vegetable-based polylactic acid (PLA) straws present performance and sustainability challenges that phade® overcomes. Paper straws lack durability, get soggy, and breakdown during use. phade®, on the other hand, maintains the feel and user experience of a traditional plastic straw. In addition to its ability to biodegrade in marine environments, phade® is also home and industrially compostable, unlike PLA which will only beak down in an industrial composter.
“We remain focused on addressing the global plastics pollution crisis and this time-lapse video is a tremendous step in educating the world on what an alternative to petroleum-based plastic truly looks like,” said WinCup Chief Executive Officer Brad Laporte. “We feel strongly that the marketplace is a major driver in eliminating demand for petro plastics, and manufacturers have an obligation to alter business practices to contribute to the cause. We are incredibly proud of the innovation behind our product that allows for this rapid biodegradation process, and we remain committed to continuously improve the sustainable attributes of our products.”
The development of phade® involved a rigorous testing and certification process. TUV AUSTRIA, a globally recognized independent third-party certifying body, certified phade® as both industrial and backyard compostable in a matter of months. TUV also certified the material from which WinCup’s phade® straw is made as marine biodegradable. Additionally, the Biodegradable Products Institute Inc. (BPI) has certified phade® as industrially compostable.
WinCup has won numerous awards for the development and launch of phade®, including the 2021 Innovation in FoodService Award for Sustainability Solutions from the National Restaurant Association and SmartBrief and 2020 Innovation in Bioplastics Award from the Bioplastics Division of PLASTICS (The Plastics Industry Association). Most recently, in May, 2021, WinCup’s phade® brand was recognized out of a pool of more than 4,000 global entries by Fast Company Magazine as a finalist or honorable mention winner in the Consumer Products, Enduring Impact, General Excellence and World Changing Ideas categories.
WinCup’s focus on sustainable solutions was enhanced in September 2020 when Los Angeles-based Atar Capital, a global private investment firm, acquired the company. Among Atar’s core principles is a commitment to sustainability and investing in companies that work toward protecting the environment.
About WinCup, Inc.
WinCup, Inc. is headquartered in Stone Mountain, Georgia. WinCup is a leading manufacturer of traditional and sustainable disposable cups, bowls, containers, lids, and straws. The company’s eight manufacturing locations are committed to high-quality products and superior customer service. To learn more, please visit www.wincup.com and www.phadeproducts.com.
About Keypoint Intelligence
For 60 years, clients in the digital imaging industry have relied on Keypoint Intelligence for independent hands-on testing, lab data and extensive market research to drive their product and sales success. Keypoint Intelligence has been recognized as the industry’s most trusted resource for unbiased information, analysis, and awards due to decades of analyst experience. Customers have harnessed this critical knowledge for strategic decision-making, daily sales enablement, and operational efficiency improvements to increase bottom lines. With a central focus on clients, Keypoint Intelligence continues to evolve as the industry changes by expanding our offerings and updating methods, while intimately understanding and serving manufacturers’, channels and their customers’ transformation in the digital printing and imaging sector. To learn more, please visit https://www.keypointintelligence.com/.