Subscribe for 33¢ / day
Brooke Burnham
Brooke Burnham is marketing and communications director of the Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau. Contact her at 233-8350 or

The Cedar Valley Corp. was recently certified by the Green Cedar Valley Initiative as a leader in sustainable business. A forward-thinking construction company specializing in heavy highway construction, the CVC is mindful of the long-term outcome and has taken numerous steps to make its environmental impact smaller and human capital more efficient.

Sustainability first came about at the Cedar Valley Corp. in 2007 with a simple energy audit by MidAmerican Energy. The audit highlighted several areas where the company could make small improvements to lower its bottom line and reduce its energy consumption.

"Subsequently, as we looked at future improvements we automatically reviewed them for additional gains in efficiency. This, in turn, triggered additional motivations in our sustainability efforts," said Jeff Bowers, safety director for Cedar Valley Corp.

By implementing energy efficient and sustainable measures on both internal and external projects, CVC has reduced its environmental footprint and helped clients do the same. The company is constantly looking for new technologies, products and methods that will be both environmentally friendly and budget friendly, while also trying to keep its business local by purchasing from local suppliers.

Within the business, the environmental steps include buying recycled or durable goods to reduce waste, reducing water consumption through purposeful landscaping and irrigation, lowering fuel consumption by utilizing E85 and flex-fuel vehicles, and reducing energy use by installing energy saving fixtures, CFL lights and motion sensors in place of switches.

Bowers noted environmental responsibility has always been present in the company's leadership. While it hasn't focused on financially quantifying the impact, the Green Cedar Valley Initiative has allowed the company to assess and evaluate overall sustainable efforts that span from environmental to employee sustainability.

Employee sustainability has taken shape at CVC as Team WellPro, an employee-driven task force that has helped propel the company forward in providing preventative health care, smoking cessation assistance and wellness coaching, among other measures. By taking on health care mandates early, the company has been pro-active in creating a healthier work force which, in turn, is expected to lead to lower absenteeism, fewer injuries and stronger, healthier employees, which CVC sees as its most valued assets.

"Our wellness philosophies further reinforce to our employees the company's belief that our employees are our most valued asset when they can see the benefits of the steps the company has taken on their behalf. Also, because our employees freely share positive thoughts of our company with family and acquaintances, we believe it results in our being an "employer of choice" and provides us with a larger and stronger pool of applicants when openings occur within our work force," Bowers said.

It is beneficial for companies to understand the positive impact a company can have on the environment, employees and the community at large also can help the bottom line by reducing costs and becoming a more competitive employer with a higher-skilled work force. All of this helps a business to stay competitive, even through dips in the economy.

As Bowers said, "There is nothing magical about being an environmentally responsible company. In most cases it is possible to make economically prudent decisions that can still be environmentally sound. As we continue to develop this culture in our corporate environment, it is our hope and expectation that this culture is adopted by our employees and their families. As we all become more aware, our communities become more conscious and accountable for the environment in which we live."

If you are interested in finding out more about the GCVI and how your business can move forward in sustainability, visit


Load comments