The good news is that there is $80 million worth of federal government stimulus money earmarked for green community initiatives in Michigan. The bad news? Many municipalities do not know how to find an architect, engineer, or landscape architect that is local and qualified, let alone how to appropriately craft their RFPs.
Because of this, a Brighton-based company named Michigan Resource (MiSource
) has launched a resource service to connect Michigan-based companies that offer green building technologies -- including solar, wind and geothermal -- with municipalities looking to capitalize on some of the stimulus funds. The goal: keeping jobs and dollars in the state, maximizing resource allocations, and rewarding members who implement green strategies.
Founder Angela Matthews, an environmental graphic designer, was motivated to connect design professionals with one another and potential clients after seeing too many notable jobs go to out-of-state firms. "As designers and planners and engineers and manufacturers, we choose to live here," she says. "Instead of (them) flying in, planning our communities and flying away, we're the ones who live here and use it every day."
Another way of looking at it is the reduced carbon footprint that results from using a local firm. In consideration of the implementation, "How is a project green if it's flying someone in from out of state?" Matthews asks. "If we make park benches in Michigan from aluminum made in Detroit, we close the circle. Sourcing locally makes the carbon footprint much smaller."
As for anyone thinking that the talent to satisfy the demand for sustainable projects isn't here, Matthews points out that there are 330 Michigan members of the American Society of Landscape Engineers. "There is a misconception (that firms) have to be from somewhere else to be better," she says. "That's a myth we are looking to dispel -- we have amazing universities that foster so much talent."
Bottom line for MiSource, as Matthews puts it, is creating a place that "pulls (together) everyone that can
implement, that is already here, and connecting them with people ready to implement."
Among the resources MiSource offers its member constituents:
· RFQ/RFP notification and distribution;
· RFQ/RFP development, drafting and assessment;
· web-based forums;
· job bank; and
· one-on-one sourcing services.
Membership in MiSource is free to municipalities and costs $275 a year for Michigan designers, engineers, and manufacturers. For more information, call 877-322-MICH (6424) or visit www.misource.org
. Source: Angela Matthews, MiSourceWriter: Kelli B. Kavanaugh