EcoInterview-Keely Killpack, PhD

EcoApprentice has a talented Advisory Board that has helped guide us during our entrepreneurial venture. We’d like you to meet Advisory Board Chair, Keely Killpack, and learn about her involvement with EcoApprentice. Keely Killpack PhD is the Owner and CEO of Killpack Group. Killpack Group offers management consulting services. They focus on change strategy & management, performance management systems, process improvement, work motivation, organizational design, culture change, team development, coaching, training & learning systems. They specialize in transforming a company’s human capital toward sustainability practices and increasing shareholder value through an integrated bottom line. They offer a full spectrum of services from diagnostics through implementation and beyond. Visit Killpack Group.


1) Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a change management consultant with more than a decade of diverse client experiences in transforming human behavior at work and influencing leadership talent strategies. I’ve worked across many industries helping companies realize the value and impact of its employees and have seen amazing opportunities for change toward more sustainable operations in many places we all work.

2) What interested you about the EcoApprentice model/Why did you choose to serve on the EcoApprentice Advisory Board?
Everything I do is driven by my passions: authenticity, the environment, and making the world a better place to work are my top 3. When I met Richard and we talked about EcoApprentice, I felt a real connection: to his passion around the model, to the impact it will have on the students and the businesses and most of all, his authentic approach to the business, operations, web design and its users. I am so excited to be a part of the EcoApprentice team and to have been invited along on this journey!

3) How important is the sustainability issue to your clients?
Many of my clients have sustainability efforts in progress and recognize the importance of changing many ways their business interacts with and impacts the world. That said, I see much more focus on products, innovation and technology than on changing employee behavior or work environments to reduce energy consumption and waste. My hope is that EcoApprentice will foster solutions in all these realms, including how we change ourselves to improve sustainability and positively influence climate change.

4) How do you think EcoApprentice can benefit businesses?

Beyond the business benefit of the EcoSolutions a company will get from using the site; EcoApprentice is also a great opportunity to increase marketing efforts & customer visibility in the sustainable space and to attract sustainable-focused talent. Being a business member of EcoApprentice can result in leaner operating costs AND innovative sustainable solutions!

Thank you Keely! Interested? Sign up to be a member free and get started on the path of being a more eco friendly business.

EcoChallenge from Balch Hotel in Dufur, Oregon

Jeff & Samantha Irwin renovated the Historic Balch Hotel and it’s now a wonderful place to stay, have a gorgeous, sunny Columbia Gorge wedding or attend delectable Supper Club dinners they host once a month. The Irwin’s have shared an EcoChallenge that could impact many hotels, lodges and B & B’s. Check it out.

No Soap-on-a-Rope!

We have a boutique hotel and are amassing a significant quantity of shampoo, conditioner, and soaps. Instead of bar soap we changed to a more friendly liquid form in a small bottle that can be recycled. In fact, the shampoo, conditioner, and soap are all in these little containers that we recycle. The problem is that guests either don’t use ALL of the soap/shampoo/conditioner or they don’t take them home. While our dog smells really nice and has super soft fur now, she can only tolerate so many baths. What can we do with our leftovers?

Challenge Guidelines

We’re open! No guidelines save that we don’t want to dump the soap etc. into the water and prefer not to spend a ton of moolah shipping or whatever you might come up with.

What this challenge offers to the winner

Depends on the challenge winner’s age and their interest! Could be an overnight stay complete with an amazing breakfast. Might be that a HUGE batch of our chocolate chip cookies is preferred. Always there is super satisfaction of doing a job well. (Intrinsic motivation!) Of course, we would like your mug shot to show off on facebook and in our newsletter. So this would qualify as a guaranteed 15 minutes of fame. Who can beat that?

Leaving Kathmandu

My first trek through the Khumbu region of Nepal was as a young man and it was amazing! I was determined to make it to the highest mountain in the world. The logistics of how I would solo trek to Everest Base Camp were challenging, but I knew I would reach my goal. I studied a little Nepali, found a good map, borrowed some high elevation gear in Kathmandu, and headed off. My plan was to eat with the locals and avoid the comforts given to Western groups who hired guides and porters to carry their stuff. I’d sleep by the fires and under the stars, eat dal bhat (rice with lentil soup), and follow the trails. There is only going up or down in the Himalaya, not much in between. I followed my own voice, trusting I would find the way. That was in 1985.

I got lost often, got sick with dysentery, and was stranded for days by the weather. I also enjoyed the ancient Mani Rimdu festival at the Tengboche Monastery after a fall full moon. I saw first hand deforestation on a massive scale, and the early efforts of the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation’s seedling plantations to regenerate alpine juniper in the High Himalaya. I met unique souls and travelers from all over the world. I learned how the Sherpa people, who had little in the way of material possessions, were so rich in kindness. And I made it above Everest Base Camp to a spectacular scene, but that’s a story for another day.

That young man knew, with a mixture of bravado and naivety, that  he would make it. What he really learned up there was the importance of the journey.

Flash forward to a career working with students, including 15-plus years as school counselor in public education. I was ready for a career change, but struggled to find the direction I knew was right for me. How could I take the best of what I saw in schools: Hands-on learning, student as teacher, and school to career, and combine it with a passion for the environment and sustainability? The answer finally came as EcoApprentice.

It has been one wild journey to get this far, and if creating a business is akin to a trekking expedition; we have finally assembled all our gear at base camp after a handful of detours. I have enjoyed working with some very talented folks and advisers that share in the mission. The summit is shrouded in clouds, but we are launching– passionate and determined. It’s about the journey,still, but this is a business after all and I’m a parent; the stakes are higher for my children and generations to follow on this fragile planet. How can less equal more and still be good for business and the environment?

Welcome to EcoApprentice!

Our vision is a dynamic meeting place. A corner of cyberspace where eco-friendly ideas are shared among college students, business owners, soccer moms (and dads), corporate managers, professors, retired professionals, and nonprofit organizations. Our proposition to the business community is the opportunity to collaborate with people from all walks of life to make your product or service better; better for both profit and the planet. Our brand will invite customers to your door through engaging with them on solutions they care about! To students, we offer the opportunity to make connections that stand out as unique and might change your future.

We invite you to become a member of EcoApprentice. The paint is still wet on the OPEN sign; consider EcoApprentice 1.0 a working prototype. If something rocks (or sucks), we would be grateful for some feedback.  Constructive suggestions are always well received!  Do you have an EcoChallenge at home or in the workplace? Somebody out there has a great idea for an answer! It’s also cool to just sit back and see what happens, no pressure to post.

Thanks for making it this far. If you’re up to it, grab some climbing rope and a stainless steel water bottle. We would love to hear about your ideas and challenges along the way.

Learn more and join us,

Richard Halpern~Founder
EcoApprentice

EcoChallenge of the Month

Starting this month, we’re selecting our favorite EcoChallenge of the Month. April’s EcoChallenge of the Month comes from Allium Restaurant in West Linn, Oregon.

Green Clean

Using eco-friendly commercial dish cleaner for our restaurant that is also health-code compliant. We use as many eco-friendly cleaners as possible, but again, the health department has really strict guidelines. The chemicals in use to clean dishes are super crazy strong and probably very toxic. We’d really love to find something that would work, get the dishes as clean as can be, and is not going to be toxic in the water system.

Challenge Guidelines

Must comply with Oregon health code & food handling requirements for restaurants.

If you want to work on solving this EcoChallenge, check out criteria here.