Good Works, Good Business


American Standard and GEF Partner on Green Jobs Initiative

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Beginning this month, six school districts in New Jersey will offer a new career and technical education (CTE) program designed to teach high school students about the attributes and benefits of green buildings and develop potential career paths to support the building industry.

The new sustainability curriculum will allow students to use their own schools as teaching tools as they learn to identify areas where natural resources are being wasted and then create solutions to the problems they find.

The Green Program of Study for Sustainable Design, Construction, and Energy was created by the Green Education Foundation thanks to a generous grant from American Standard.

Jay Gould, CEO of American Standard commented, “American Standard is proud to support the schools in our home state of New Jersey with green building curriculum as they continue to lead the charge in sustainability education and green jobs training.  As a New Jersey employer, we are delighted to raise the standard on educating our future generation of sustainable-focused professionals.”

New Jersey’s Green Program of Study for Sustainable Design, Construction, and Energy is a career and technical education (CTE) program developed by multiple statewide partners to ensure graduates have the 21st Century skills necessary to succeed in the emerging green economy.

Good Works, Good Business


Public Relations Success Story: Local TV Coverage for School Environmental Prize

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The Marist School’s Environmental Science Class in Atlanta won a national “Green in Action” Contest from the Green Education Foundation, sponsored by American Standard Brands.  The Atlanta NBC affiliate, 11 Alive, documents what the students’ accomplished. Watch the report here.

Marist School student Dani Spencer being interviewed on 11 Alive this morning.

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What it looked like behind the scenes with Spencer being interviewed by Donna Lowry, education reporter for 11 Alive.

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Donna Lowry with Marist Environmental Science Teacher Kelly Mandy setting up the students for some shots.

Campaigns - Consumer | Good Works, Good Business | Media Relations | Reputation Management | The OR-DP Portfolio


American Standard and WinWholesale Partner to Bring Water Conservation Exhibit to Life at Ohio Museum

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American Standard and WinWholesale have partnered with the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton, Ohio to create a new interactive exhibit designed to teach children about the importance of water conservation.

Through the “Splash!” exhibit, museum goers of all ages learn about the earth’s water cycle, the impacts that humans have on water access and quality, and about careers — like plumbing, geology and environmental conservation — related to water stewardship. The eye-catching displays employ familiar plumbing fixtures to help visitors understand how individual actions impact water resources – including aquifers, rivers, and lakes.

For more information on this announcement, view the complete press release on the American Standard partnership with the Boonshoft Museum or email us.

Building Industry News | Good Works, Good Business | O'Reilly-DePalma Client News | The OR-DP POV


American Standard Brands Awarded Gates Foundation Grant to Develop Toilet System

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Cheers to our client, American Standard on being awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. American Standard Brands will develop and test a low-cost and potentially life-saving toilet system.

It’s easy for those of us in developed nations to forget how plumbing systems and plumbers “protect the health of the nation,” as  heralded in the famous 1930s advertisement from American Standard.

Lack of adequate sanitation facilities affects around 40 percent of the world’s population. 40 percent!   The World Health Organization estimate that 1.6 million people, mostly children under the age of five, die each year from water and sanitation related disease.

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American Standard is putting its top toilet scientist on the case, Jim McHale, a Ph.D, assisted by industrial designer Daigo Ishiyama.   McHale and Ishiyama just returned from a fact-finding trip to Bangladesh with International Development Enterprises (iDE).   Above, Ishiyama opens the door to a typical latrine.

Inside a typical Bangladesh latrine.  The pit is directly under the latrine, allowing flies to easily enter and exit the pit, spreading disease:

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The villager is holding a “bodna.”  Everyone goes to the river to fill the bonda before using the latrine, pouring the one liter of water down the latrine after use.

Improving the situation is quite challenge. There is simply not enough money in developing countries to construct and maintain sewer systems to safely remove waste from homes and villages.  Nor can villagers pay much more than the roughly $10 they currently pay for latrines.

Eight universities are also taking on the challenge with Gates Foundation grants.

Building Industry News | Good Works, Good Business | Luxury


Richard Sussman, Co-Chairman of Mr. Steam Parent Company, Donates $1M to Drake University

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Richard Sussman, past president of Mr. Steam and co-chairman of Sussman Automatic, Mr. Steam’s parent company, has donated $1 million to his alma mater, Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in memory of his late wife Lila.

The generous gift will be dedicated to creating an endowment for leadership education, and to renovating one of the most-used buildings on campus, the Bulldog Theater.

Sussman’s donation has funded the creation of the Lila and Richard Sussman Endowment for Leadership, which will provide ongoing sponsorship of the fall and spring leadership conferences attended by students enrolled in the Donald V. Adams Leadership Institute, as well as by students in the overall University community.

For more information on this announcement, view the complete press release about the Richard Sussman/Mr. Steam donation or email us.


Building Industry News | Good Works, Good Business | Luxury


GreenTown Joplin – Building Hope

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2011 was quite a year for natural disasters.  Everyone at O’Reilly-DePalma and at our clients stayed safe, although there were some close calls. For people whose lives have been upended, who have lost homes, towns and loved ones, we wonder how they find hope again.

Then we met a great organization that is delivering hope on a daily basis: GreenTown Joplin. An offshoot of Greensburg GreenTown, GreenTown Joplin is helping the Missouri town that was devastated by a tornado last May to rebuild sustainable and durable new homes and buildings.

We met GreenTown founder Daniel Wallach and his wife, Catherine Hart, when he was invited to speak at a Green Builder Media event this summer.  Wallach lives about a half hour away from Greensburg, KS and was moved to take action after witnessing the aftermath of a similarly-horrific tornado in 2007. Together with city and county officials, business owners and local residents, GreenTown set up a system for residents to source unbiased research on how to build high-performance, healthy homes.

Greensburg not only rebuilt, but created jobs through a new industry, attracting eco-tourism groups from all over the world to study emerging environmental technologies. Or as Wallach calls it, a permanent trade show.

What could be a better investment for building, home and architectural brands than a permanent exhibit demonstrating the real-world performance of environmental products?

For Joplin, Wallach and his team are in a race to secure financing from individual and corporate sponsors to fund the estimated 60 percent of projects waiting in the wings for financing before public interest wanes.

O’Reilly-DePalma and the Green Earth PR Network selected to financially and materially support GreenTown Joplin as a gift to our valued clients this year. Wallach’s story of hope was amazing, and resonated with us as the building industry begins its own rebuilding from disaster.

Can you help Joplin? Here’s how:

1. Make an individual donation (via PayPal) and become a member here.

2. Join as a corporate member here.

3. For product donations and more, call Daniel and the GreenTown team at 620-723-2790. ORDP_card.indd


Good Works, Good Business


A Pat on the Back: Celebrating Client Successes

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This week has been full of great news and good works, so we’re excited to give a shout out to three of our wonderful clients today and celebrate some amazing achievements.

First of all, we’re pleased to announce that Uponor’s Pro Site,, has earned the “Outstanding Website” award in the Web Marketing Association’s 2011 competition. Congratulations to the Uponor Team for this great win!

American Standard Brands also had some good news recently: their innovative FunBath tub conversion kit was awarded the Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval for Fall 2011. We definitely would’ve wanted one of those tubs when we were kids.

Last but certainly not least, we were thrilled that Mr. Steam raised over $1,000 for the Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association’s scholarship fund through Hank’s Ride. Many thanks to everyone at Mr. Steam for their time and generosity, and also to Hank for the pedal power.

Good Works, Good Business


Go Hank, Go!

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We’re doing extra laps and push-ups today in honor of our friend Hank Darlington who pushed off this morning on his Maine to Florida bike ride.  Hank will be averaging more than 70 miles a day for the next 26 days.

In other words, averaging his age in mileage every day.

We want to take a nap on our couches just thinking about it.

Hank is ready to roll

Hank and our client, Mr. Steam, want us to get off our couches, however, and start actively pursuing wellness. Which is why Mr. Steam partnered with the Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association (DPHA) to deliver regular updates on Hank’s progress, along with fitness tips from Fun and Fit, to get us all up and moving.

Follow along with Hank’s ride on the Mr. Steam Steamtherapy Facebook page or following the Twitter hashtag: #hanksride.

Hank and Mr. Steam are also working to raise money for the DPHA Scholarship Foundation, which provides two $3,000 scholarships to a child or grandchild of DPHA member companies for post-secondary education.

O’Reilly/DePalma kicked in $100. Surely you can do $10, $25, $50 or even a $100? It’s uber-convenient with Pay Pal and you don’t even need an account.

This contribution is tax-deductible as a charitable contribution, since DPHA is recognized as a section 501(c)(3) organization with the IRS.


And now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to get our workout done today.

Building Industry News | Good Works, Good Business


Leading with Love: Profiting from a Return on Relationships

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This is a tale of two companies forging a very different path to profitability: Patagonia and Trader Joe’s. One is a story I heard. The other is a story I Iived.

Patagonia: At the recent Emerald Circle summit hosted by our wonderful friends at Green Builder Media, one of the most compelling speakers was Patagonia CEO Casey Sheahan. Faced with a recession-generated business slowdown, Sheahan came home one day and told his wife Tara that he thought he would be instituting layoffs.

Tara asked him: “Are you leading from fear or are you leading from love?”

Not a question I suspect a lot of CEOs get. Or consider. Businesses exist to make money, not to help people feel the love. But it made Sheahan stop and think. Did he have alternatives? Had they found all the possible efficiencies? The market would be back at some point. What about the costs of recruiting and training? Eventually, he decided on the following:

• No layoffs, but severely limited raises and no bonuses.
• Direct and honest communications with employees about the decision and the implications.
• Reducing other operating expenses by 20 percent.

Not every job was saved. The reduction in operating expenses meant identifying and terminating the few poor performers. No one likes to tell anyone they no longer have a job, but taking a hard line helped keep everyone else employed.

“Jack Welch was famous for his strategy of focusing on the 5% of employees who were poor performers,” Sheahan said. “I like to focus on the 95% who are good to excellent.”

Results: “Business didn’t just increase. It went through the roof,” Sheahan told us. He said his employees became more motivated than ever, realizing that things could have gone very differently. The resulting loyalty improved both retention and performance.

The good performers were rewarded. The business and Sheahan were rewarded.

Which brings us to Trader Joe’s.

Our son worked at a Trader Joe’s for about a month when he was involved in a horrible accident on his way home from work. Here is the note he sent to Trader Joe’s last month:

Last fall, October 21 to be exact, I fired up my motorcycle and headed on home. Not 5 minutes in to the ride, a car attempting to make an illegal u turn cut from the right lane in to the left and I collided with them. Long story short, I spent 6 weeks in the hospital, and was lucky to be alive.

My crew only knew that I did not show up for work the next day, until one of the EMT’s came by and informed them of what happened.

On my first return visit there was practically a line of people waiting to greet me. I couldn’t believe it. They had only known me for a month, but everyone welcomed me back as if I was family. Genuine feelings and concern were shown by every single person. I have never experienced anything like that before.

As I had only been employed for a month, I did not qualify for any leave. When I returned, my Captain assured me I was welcome to return as soon as I was ready.

I have now been back to work for almost 6 months. I still have various problems that limit me to working 4 days a week, and sometimes force me to leave early. The family here has stepped in every chance they have to help me through the work day.

None of this is shown in the job description or any benefits package. It just goes to show what a company built on simple values can create not just for its customers, but for its employees. The grocery business is about stocking shelves. The TRADING business is about building relationships and maintaining them through consistency, integrity, and apparently, random acts of kindness performed on a regular basis. WOW.

Alex is definitely a performer, a hard-worker with exceptional customer service skills. Trader Joe’s clearly recognizes that. But in a recession, there’s no reason to think they could not have easily replaced him.

They chose to stand by him.

Results: Many of our friends already shopped Trader Joe’s for their unique shopping experience. Now, no one in our circle of friends and colleagues will shop anywhere else, given the choice. More Trader Joe’s business results here.

A brave new world for business? Not for all; some brands will continue to invest in obfuscation to tell their story. Other will invest in government lobbying power to avoid competition.

Others will compete just as fiercely, but—dare I say it?—with love. Because that’s what consumers are increasingly demanding, according to studies like this showing that consumers are taking values into account in their purchase decisions.

It’s the return on relationships. And it works.

Good Works, Good Business | Public Relations Insights | The OR-DP POV


Photo Gallery: Saving Water at Home: Fix a Leak Week

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Fix a Leak Week, an annual event sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense Program, is designed to encourage Americans to fix running toilets, dripping faucets, and other household leaks, which combined waste an average of 10,000 gallons of water annually per household. This year, Fix a Leak Week ran from March 14-21, 2011.

American Standard Brands marked the occasion by co-sponsoring a free workshop in Marietta, GA titled “Go Green and Save Green.” The workshop was led by Nick Marine of Marine Plumbing, Georgia’s first Certified GreenPlumber® and showed participants how to check for leaks, and how to install retrofit kits that conserve water and reduce household expenses.

View the complete press release for additional details about the event, or click through the event photo gallery below.

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Nick Marine, Georgia's first certfied GreenPlumber, shows how a toilet works.

Campaigns - Consumer | Good Works, Good Business | Media Relations | The OR-DP Portfolio

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