Our work is a collaborative effort among many partner organizations and individuals. Each year, our Smarty Pants Awards honor a few of those folks who are helping us build a climate smart community. Check out the latest winners, below!
2018 Smarty Pants Awards
Doctorate of Dedication: Ben Schmidt
Ben is stepping down after two decades of service as the chair of the City’s Energy and Climate Team! In this role, Ben helped coordinate the very first City greenhouse gas inventory back in the 1990s, and jump started conversations about climate change and energy before it was cool. Among other things, the ECT also supported Missoula’s joining Cities for Climate Protection, and the Conservation and Climate Action Plan. In addition to chairing the Energy and Climate Team, Ben also designates the proceeds from the annual Pumpkin Run, which he coordinates, to fund solar and clean energy projects. Ben’s deep and abiding dedication to climate issues is why he’s the perfect candidate for this award. Ben may be stepping down from as ECT chair, but we know he will continue to move these issues forward in his characteristically humble yet persistent way. Thank you, Ben!
Masters in the Fine Art of Community Building: Nicky Phear
Nicky is also moving on from a position she’s held for the last 10 years - Director of the Climate Change Studies program at the University of Montana. Nicky truly embodies the title of this award. Under her visionary leadership, CCS has become an integral part of the larger Missoula community, offering students invaluable opportunities for internships and connections with many local organizations and nonprofits, including us! Nicky was a member of the original Mayor’s advisory Team that helped push the City into more formal planning around climate change, and she was also a key member of the Adapt group that hosted community summits over several years, the outgrowth of which is Climate Smart Missoula. Although Nicky has decided to move on from UM, community building is in her bones and we can’t wait to see what she does next!
Partners for Renewable Energy Possibilities (PREP): Missoula Electric Co-op and KettleHouse Brewing Co.
This year’s wildcard award honored the team efforts of Missoula Electric Co-op and KettleHouse Brewing Co. for their community solar project atop the new KettleHouse taproom in Bonner. This ingenious partnership is well-deserving of this award: not only is it a great example of community solar collaboration, which allows MEC members to buy into the shared solar system and reap the benefits of renewable energy, but anyone who buys a panel gets a free beer whenever they want one. That’s a pretty good deal all around! Thanks to Mark Hayden, General Manager of MEC, and Tim O’Leary, KettleHouse owner, for joining forces, and we hope this project inspires more creative clean energy partnerships like this across our community!
Catalyst for Change award: Tom Platt
This year's award honors someone whose can-do attitude and zeal for solving challenges continues to inspire us. Tom passed away much too soon from cancer earlier this year. Tom was truly the instigator that this effort to achieve 100% clean electricity needed to get off the ground. He doggedly researched and documented ways to achieve that goal, and was a primary author of the initial 100% Clean Electricity Options Report. Tom was also the brainchild behind the innovative poplar farm adjacent to the wastewater treatment plant, which grows sustainable timber while diverting millions of gallons of treated effluent from our river. As Amy says, as with so many things he did, Tom was “all in” on these projects, and his work is an incredible legacy and gift to our community. We were grateful to be able to give Tom his award earlier this summer.
2017 Smarty Pants Awards
2016 Smarty Pants Awards
Doctorate of Dedication: Sarah Coefield, Air Quality Specialist, Missoula City/County Health Department
Sarah is dedicated to clean air - both indoors and out - more than anyone on the planet. Really. She poured herself into helping Missoula County residents stay healthy and safe during the worst wildfire smoke season ever recorded in this area. Her darkly humorous twice daily air quality reports kept us all going this past summer. And she was our primary partner in launching the HEPA air filter distribution program, which provided filters and clean air to vulnerable individuals and schools throughout Missoula County. Years ago, Sarah started thinking of a new, not-yet-tested program to give people clean air, and her dedication to working with us to figure out the pieces was key. She invested so much of herself into helping others, setting the bar for the rest of us. We cannot thank Sarah enough for her energy, smarts, and heart. We have the utmost respect for you Sarah! You can read more from and about Sarah here.
Masters in the (Fine) Art of Community Building: Don, Sarah, and Chris of MMW Architects - together with Steve Nelson and Home ReSource
Our Summer Smart initiative has us creating shade for Missoula's hot summer afternoons. Trees are fantastic but why not also build shade? Though we thought this might be a good idea, it took creative and talented partners to make our first shade shelter become a reality, partners who knew how to both design something cool, but also build it. Don, Sarah and Chris with MMW architects were with us every step of the way, designing an architecturally awesome structure, helping us figure out the site, engineering, materials and more. Together, we got the design approved, moved rocks and hung rebar. Their vision of a structure that used recycled scrap wood was a perfect fit to partner directly with Steve and his work crew at Home ReSource who figured out just how to wrangle wood scraps into a shelter and then actually did it! All four of these folks are smart, fun, and generous, just what's needed to build community. And they're even up for shelter #2 in 2018! Photos and more of the story behind this amazing Shade Shelter along the Milwaukee Trail, south side of the Clark Fork River, are here.
Catalyst of Change Award: Jeremy Drake, Home ReSource Community Engagement Manager
Jeremy is honored for his tremendous work to move Missoula toward Zero Waste. Waste has long been something that everyone talks about but few are bold enough to address. Not Jeremy. He and Home ReSource ED Katie Deuel led the discussion on our waste stream at a Climate Smart Community Summit and directed it toward the transformative concept of Zero Waste, which in 2015 became an official City Resolution. Fast forward 2 years and Jeremy is still leading that charge. Working with the City, we have ZERO by FIFTY: Missoula’s Pathway to Zero Waste, a forthcoming plan to reduce landfill waste 90% by 2050. Thanks to Jeremy, there’s a ton of momentum and zero waste ripples – from new compost services to Logjam’s new recycling efforts. Jeremy does this work because it’s truly his passion. He leads the education of hundreds of 5th graders in the Home ReSource ZWAP! Program, and he reminds us all “You can’t recycle your way to Zero Waste.” Jeremy is Missoula’s rock star of reduction, reverend of reuse, wrangler of recycling, catalyst of compost and overall czar of Zero Waste.
Certificate of Excellence in Energy Savings: Rose Dickson
From June through November 2017, 100 Missoulians participated in our pilot Energy Smart Challenge. Each week, participants received an email with tips, tools and resources to reduce their energy use at home. Then at the end of the month, they completed a survey telling us what they did and learned, earning points each month for doing so. Rose took the lead early and was our Energy Challenge winner! Her enthusiasm showed it's possible for everyone - renters and homeowners alike - to save energy, in big and small ways. Great job, Rose, and thanks for helping make this initial round of the Challenge a success!
Doctorate of Dedication: Beth Schenk, St Patrick Hospital and Climate Smart Executive Team
When it comes to commitment, Beth knows what it takes to see things through. She wears many hats in our community. A member of the Climate Smart Executive Team, she is a nurse scientist and sustainability coordinator at St. Pat’s hospital, an active researcher and professor, and has helped transform St. Pat’s with their waste reduction and sustainability plan. Beth has been unwavering in her dedication to Climate Smart Missoula from day 1, offering brilliant strategic guidance and generously giving her time and energy. Thank you, Beth!
Masters in the (Fine) Art of Community Building: Fernanda and Robert co-owners of Imagine Nation Brewing
Fernanda and Robert had a dream to brew awesome craft beer and use it to create social change – and we’ve seen that dream become reality over the last year! Climate Smart hosts our Monthly Meetups at INB the first Thursday of every month – just one of the many community-building happenings there in any given week. The INB vision is strengthening the social fabric of our city. We are so grateful for Fernanda and Robert’s smiles, encouragement, and support of Climate Smart.
Masters in Solar: Diana Maneta, executive director, Montana Renewable Energy Association
Diana has been a bright light in our community! As the executive director of the Montana Renewable Energy Association from 2010 until very recently, she led MREA as they advocated for smart policy at the Montana legislature, hosted Clean Energy Fairs around the state, and helped make Solarize Missoula possible. Diana’s quiet leadership helped solar energy shine brighter than ever – and connected Climate Smart Missoula with statewide policy efforts and partners that help make renewable energy more accessible right here in our community.
Catalyst of Change Award: Jack Lawson, CEO, Missoula Federal Credit Union
Jack has been instrumental in turning good ideas into action! As President and CEO of Missoula Federal Credit Union, he’s made a bold and visible commitment to values-based banking – from supporting Solarize and Summer Smart, to LEED certified and energy efficient MFCU buildings, to encouraging sustainability efforts with staff and MFCU’s 47,000(!) members. We’re grateful for Jack’s creative approach and partnership with Climate Smart, and are excited to see the impact he and MFCU will have in the years to come.