Local Company Goes Green and Makes Green

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

It's a perfect picture of productivity and an ideal example of how business can blossom, even when the economy is falling apart at the seams.

"We started our company 30 years ago with a card table and a rented building. Today we have about 2,000 and we're still looking to grow," says Peckham President and CEO Mitchell Tomlinson.

And that growth is being celebrated Wednesday, as Peckham Incorporated-- a private non-profit that mainly employs people with disabilities-- unveils its new 100,000-square feet-plus facility; it's not only proof of its viability, but of its commitment to being green.

"It's a completely energy-efficient building, one of only four manufacturing plants in the state of Michigan that's LEED certified," says Governor Jennifer Granholm.

Granholm was on hand for the grand opening, where Tomlinson says by investing in a quality green facility, the success will follow.

Here, employees are making apparel for the U.S. Department of Defense.

"Our focus at Peckham is people, not the work," Tomlinson says, "so we think if we focus on people every day, good things will follow. So far that's kind of working out to be true."

At Peckham, they don't have your typical manufacturing floor. It's pretty cool in here, thanks to an energy-efficient heating and cooling system. And it's not dark in here like a typical manufacturing floor either; there are huge windows that aid in reducing energy costs.

They've created a roof-top garden, prayer rooms and a gym, among other amenities-- and more than 90 percent of the materials they used in construction were recycled.

They're saving the earth-- while helping save Lansing's manufacturing economy.

Much of this was possible thanks to a $16 million credit secured by the U.S. Department of Treasury and Chase Bank.

Tomlinson says at their older facility, on MLK and Grand River, they plan to invest $3 million in the coming months for improvements there as well.

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