Sustainable Energy Fund committed nearly $4 million to 2014-2015 energy projects in PA

At its recent annual public meeting in Lower Macungie Township, Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF), a nonprofit non-governmental organization dedicated to educating, supporting and financing energy users seeking sustainable energy options, announced it had committed nearly $4 million dollars to regional renewable and sustainable energy projects during its fiscal 2014-2015 calendar year.

Those commitments, totaling $3,952,871, represent low-cost loans to help fund a variety of energy projects across approximately 20 different organizations, including nursing homes, condominium developments, day care centers, museums, municipal governments, non-profits and various commercial enterprises.

A sampling of these projects include:

  • $1 million for Community Energy Renewables in Radnor, Pa., to allow the organization to develop future solar PV projects.
  • Nearly $45,000 for Fairmount Homes in Ephrata, Pa., for a retrofit lighting project incorporating LED lighting at the organization’s Wheat Ridge Drive location.
  • Approximately $34,000 for Youth Advocate Programs in Harrisburg to retrofit the organization’s North 3rd Street location lighting with energy-saving LED lights.

“We continue to see in both the non- and for-profit sectors a recognized need to control costs, plan for the long-term and commit to more sustainable energy alternatives,” said John Costlow, president and CEO of SEF.

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TRSA’s Hygienically Clean healthcare certification earns AORN Seal of Recognition

TRSA, the leading global textile services trade association, today announces its Hygienically Clean Healthcare Certification program standards have received the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Seal of Recognition™ for its certification materials.

The AORN Seal of Recognition confirms the certification program has undergone a thorough quality review by AORN and is consistent with the organization’s Guidelines for Perioperative Practice. According to AORN, this is not a product endorsement but rather a demonstration that the educational and informative material provided about the certification program is sound and reliable. Specifically, the Seal of Recognition recognizes the certification program’s materials on the “Standard for Producing Hygienically Clean Reusable Textiles in the Healthcare Industry.”

“Since the creation of the Hygienically Clean certification in 2012, TRSA has continued its work to raise the bar and standards within the commercial laundry industry through this program,” explained Joseph Ricci, president and CEO of TRSA. “We’re honored to have successfully earned AORN’s Seal of Recognition for our Hygienically Clean program and we’ll continue to work with our membership to ensure the industry is held to the highest possible standards of cleanliness and safety.”

To be considered for Hygienically Clean Certification, facilities handling healthcare linens are inspected for adherence to best practices and quality assurance requirements. This inspection is preceded by two rounds of bacteriological testing of laundered textiles by an independent, TRSA-approved laboratory. Samples must pass a total of three rounds of testing to qualify for certification.

To maintain certification, facilities must regularly repeat the tests: the Replicate Organism Detection and Counting (RODAC) protocol, quarterly, rather than the previous protocol of twice per year; and United States Pharmacopeia (USP) 62, for microorganisms most commonly found in healthcare environments, twice yearly. This frequent quantification of performance fosters continuous improvement through adoption of new laundering techniques to deliver a better level of cleanliness.

“Hygienically Clean standards have a very large and positive impact on public health in general because they lower the overall community infectious disease risk burden,” said David F. Goldsmith, MSPH, Ph.D, an occupational and environmental epidemiologist with George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington, D.C., who recently conducted a third-party review of the certification program. “TRSA Certification offers a serious marketing advantage versus competitor laundries who have not adopted the Hygienically Clean process.”

According to TRSA, by Dec. 31, 2015, it expects approximately 50 percent of commercial laundries exclusively handling linens and other textiles from healthcare facilities will have earned its Hygienically Clean certification. Complete information on the program and its newly revised protocols and best practices can be found on the program’s new website at hygienicallyclean.org.

AAMGA calls for action on NARAB in interview with A.M. BestTV

On the left, John Weber of A.M. BestTV. On the right, Bernie Heinze of AAMGA.

Bernie Heinze of AAMGA speaks with John Weber of A.M. BestTV.

Eight months after the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Act (NARAB II) was signed into law, the federal government still has not appointed board to oversee its provisions.

In a conversation with A.M. BestTV’s John Weber, AAMGA president Bernie Heinze discusses this issue and the steps the AAMGA is taking to address this problem. Watch the interview here.

Sustainable Energy Fund issues 20 grants to Pennsylvania students

Travel grants will allow students to attend Energypath 2015 in July

Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF), a nonprofit non-governmental organization dedicated to educating, supporting and financing energy users seeking sustainable energy options, today announces it has issued all of its 20 available travel grants to students planning to attend Energypath 2015 at the University of Scranton beginning next week. The travel grants are sponsored by West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Foundation (WPPSEF).

Recipients include:

  • Matthew T. Brockett, Edinboro University
  • Sydney M. Bynum, Washington & Jefferson College
  • Devin Clark, Robert Morris University
  • Marysol Frost, Lock Haven University
  • Kelli Gohn, Penn State University
  • Benjamin Holmes, Ambridge High School
  • Kealeb Hyde, Washington & Jefferson College
  • Kayla Griffith Kalinoski, Penn State University
  • Abigail Katsos, Washington & Jefferson College
  • Nick Kolesar, Penn State University
  • Nick Lehmann, Penn State University
  • Zachary Phillips, Shippensburg University
  • Mike Reichart, Penn State University
  • Allen Rutter, Penn State University
  • Rebecca Schmitt, Gettysburg College
  • Michael Sell, Saint Francis University
  • Corry Shaffer, Shippensburg University
  • Alaria Sun, Quiet Creek Herb Farm and School
  • Sue Tran, Washington & Jefferson College
  • David Samuel Zuckerman, Wilson College

“Working with our partner WPPSEF, these travel grants ensure tomorrow’s leaders in the sustainable energy space are able to attend the leading conference on these issues in the region” said John Costlow, president and CEO of SEF which hosts Energypath annually.

The travel grants are part of larger $10,000 grant WPPSEF made to SEF in April to fund additional programming for Energypath, as well as to provide travel funding. Students living in or attending school in the WPPSEF region are eligible for the grants. The Energypath events begin July 20 with a series of energy camps ahead of the July 23 opening of the conference.

Energypath is dedicated to increasing the knowledge and passion for sustainable energy among industry professionals, policymakers and academia. This year’s event will be held at the University of Scranton, July 23 & 24.

Pando International launches with innovative embossed paper coffee cups

Distinctive hot cups offer superior insulation and ample branding opportunities

Today, Pando International, a Lehigh Valley-based producer of single-use, takeout paper containers, announces the introduction of its Embossed paper hot cup family of products to the U.S. market. The visually striking product line offers a unique, economical and safe hot beverage container for restaurants and other food and beverage businesses.

New to the U.S. market, this style of coffee cup has been adopted successfully in Europe and Asia, where it is currently in use by a global fast food brand.

The Embossed cups offer a distinctive and affordable alternative to paper cup sleeves or double-walled hot beverage cups. The outer, textured paper layer provides users with insulation and a tactile, slip-free grip. For businesses, the built-in insulation translates to savings and inventory reduction as they need only purchase one SKU instead of the usual pair—one for the cups and one for the accompanying insulating sleeves.

The texture of the Embossed product line also provides branding opportunities traditional paper cups cannot offer. The embossed patterns are customizable. With the help of Pando’s proprietary manufacturing process, custom printing is quick and easy to change as needed. A host of basic styles are available.

The cups come in all standard coffee cup sizes: 8, 10, 12, 16 and 20 ounces. They are made of paper coated in polyethylene, but can be coated in PLA to make them 100 percent compostable.

Addison Wolfe achieves milestone: 50 agents in 9 years

Addison Wolf Real Estate , a boutique real estate firm catering to estate and historic home buyers and sellers, today announces it has achieved another growth milestone with the addition of two new Realtors, bringing the firm’s official headcount to 50 real estate sales professionals.

“I’m immensely proud of the success we’ve achieved as a team,” says Art Mazzei, owner and partner of Addison Wolfe. “Nine years ago we set out to create something different in the real estate business, and our business model has rewarded us with outstanding clients and immensely talented and dedicated realtors who make it all possible.”

According to Mazzei, the two new realtors, Greg and Johanna Hanson, formerly of Lisa James Otto Country Properties, officially joined the firm at the end of April.

“Agents of Greg and Johanna’s caliber and loyal client following are few and far between, and we’re excited to welcome them to Addison Wolfe,” says Mazzei.

As the firm marks its ninth year in business, Mazzei says he’s already begun anticipating the next milestone of the company’s upward movement: more space. Mazzei notes that with the additional personnel, Addison Wolfe is now at maximum capacity for its 4,000 square foot office space in New Hope.

“We’re going to need more space, or a second space soon to continue our growth strategy. The good news, though, is we’ve got plenty of great agents who can help us find the perfect location,” notes Mazzei.

More than $5 billion in business written at 89th annual AAMGA meeting

Association introduces its inaugural specialty programs track

Current estimates are that more than $5 billion in insurance premium was written during the course of the American Association of Managing General Agents’ (AAMGA) 89th Annual Meeting in Maryland between May 17 to May 20. In addition to welcoming 1,120 attendees, the meeting also introduced AAMGA’s inaugural specialty programs track. AAMGA leadership also welcomed a number of newly installed members and prospective members from across the U.S. and Canada, including many of the premier Canadian managing general agents (MGAs) from the provinces of Manitoba, the Maritimes, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

“This was an incredibly successful and productive annual meeting,” explained AAMGA’s new president, Roger Ware of Genesee General in Alpharetta, Ga. “Our members were fortunate to gain a first-hand, global insurance market perspective from our Annual Business Meeting speaker, Chairman John Nelson of Lloyd’s. In addition to Chairman Nelson, we discussed a number of the emerging issues in the industry that our Emerging Issues & Trends Committee continues to monitor as well as welcoming our specialty program members to a number of dedicated break-out sessions focused on their needs. The debate on current political issues between Karl Rove and David Axelrod also gave our members an insight behind the scenes of how our current and prospective leaders are looking at the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

According to AAMGA Executive Director Bernd G. Heinze, attendance surpassed expectations with additional walk-ins showing up to take part in the meeting.

“I could point to our packed Agents & Brokers Lounge or our need to bring in additional seating and tables to demonstrate the sheer volume of interest in this year’s Annual Meeting,” noted Heinze. “However, I think the ability of all our members to have access to the entire wholesale and program insurance market, and to network and conduct business with global leaders in our industry, resulting in more than $5 billion in business being written in just four days speaks for itself.”

Brian Molusis, president of Vital Insurance Partners in Glastonbury, CT, who attended the Annual Meeting last week for the first time in nearly 8 years said he was impressed.

“Eight years ago, AAMGA wasn’t catering to the specialty program marketplace. But there has been a sea-change in the association in the last two years to better adapt to the insurance market as a whole,” explained Molusis. “And because there isn’t another not-for-profit out there focusing on the needs of the specialty program market, this is a very welcome change.”

In particular, Molusis pointed to commitments from insurance carriers and other program professionals who attended the 89th Annual Meeting as a sign of good things to come.

“By next year’s [Annual Meeting], this will be one of the biggest specialty program conferences in the program space,” said Molusis.

The AAMGA’s Under Forty Organization comprised of young emerging professionals also welcomed a record number of its members to the Annual Meeting and raised more than $12,000 at the meeting to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic.

AAMGA will host its 90th Annual Meeting on May 22, 2016 at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.