Aldan Shank, Sustainable Business Coordinator

Where are you from?: I grew up in southern Mississippi and moved to Seattle from Memphis.

What were you doing before you came to ECOSS?: Before starting at ECOSS I was finishing up my sustainable business degree at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. I attended a liberal arts school in Mississippi for undergrad and worked in science research for a few years after that. I moved to Seattle to attend BGI because I wanted to work in the environmental field and liked the idea of blending business and sustainability.

What do you do day-to-day at work?: I work with small and medium sized local businesses. I try to be a resource for whatever environmental or sustainability needs they might have. Sometimes that means helping a business with lighting upgrades or water conservation. Other times it’s help with starting a compost program or finding financing options for capital upgrades. Sometimes businesses just want help figuring out how to be more “green” and save money. Whatever they need, I try to help by giving them time, information and assistance.

What has been your favorite/most rewarding project to work on at ECOSS?: I really enjoyed working with Fuel Coffee, a local cafe chain that wanted to improve their energy, water and solid waste systems. I worked with the owner and managers to come up with low- and no-cost changes to their operations, including starting commercial compost service and donating used coffee grounds to local gardening organizations. The best part was how the team at Fuel was totally onboard with adopting the proposed changes. The fact that they “got it” from the start made my work really easy and enjoyable.

If you could change one thing about Seattle, what would it be?:
You know, after 3 and a half years here, I don’t mind the rain and gloom so much, but every year around May I’m kind of ready for it to be done. The summers here are so beautiful and sometimes I wish they showed up a little earlier and stayed a little longer.

Favorite spot in South Park?: Inside: the ship’s hull at Loretta’s. Outside: the Ultimate field at the Community Center.

What do you like to do outside the office?:
I like riding my bike. I also started climbing last year and that has been an interesting and challenging new hobby, but I’m starting to really like it. I play Ultimate with a great team called Huckin’ Easy and at least once a season I try to do some sort of outdoor trip. Sometimes I pretend I’m a snowboarder, but I think I’m giving that up, especially since my girlfriend is a skier and she thinks that snowboarding is low brow. Whatevs.

Biggest goal for 2010?:
Well, I’ve got some big ones but probably shouldn’t list them all here. One goal for this year is to take a vacation out of the country. Not counting a few road trips to Vancouver, B.C., I haven’t been out of the country since I lived in Germany when I was 6 years old. I’m itching to see more of the world. Maybe Copenhagen… the bike scene out there is marvelous.

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