LED lighting has been a priority for Walmart several years
and there have been a few exciting developments in the past year alone. In the
U.S., Walmart opened its first all-LED lit store in Ohio and introduced a new line
of Great Value LED light bulbs.
But what’s happening in the U.S. is just one piece of the
puzzle – we’re making progress on a global scale. And Walmart Brazil is the
latest to commit to LED sales floor lighting in new projects, joining ASDA, as
well as Walmart in Chile, China, Japan, Central America, and India. Working with
Philips lighting, Walmart Brazil outfitted a new store in Indaiatuba, Sao Paolo,
with 100% LED lighting, the first retail location Brazil to do so.
This store joins six other Walmart stores in Brazil that
have adopted important energy saving measures such as installing occupancy
sensors and timers in administrative environments, using intelligent cooling
systems that optimize power consumption, and benefitting from skylights that
enhance the penetration of natural light and block heat transfer.
Such moves are becoming standard for us as we continue to
work toward our sustainability goals globally.
“Hello, my name is….” It’s a phrase made up of only four words.
It takes very little time to say – it’s an easy way to begin a conversation. Yet, when people say these words, they can have such a big impact.
My late wife, Kate, started the #HelloMyNameIs campaign in 2013 while living with terminal cancer. As a medic herself, she had become frustrated with nurses and doctors who never introduced themselves to her before providing medical care.
Kate had already been speaking to hospitals and conferences about her experience as both a medical provider and a patient, but through the campaign she hoped to share some key values that resonate beyond people working in healthcare: communication, small acts of kindness, putting the patient at the center of every decision and seeing each person as an individual.
Kate was one of the most determined, resilient people I have ever known. I firmly believe that through adversity, comes legacy. July 23 is International “Hello My Name Is” Day – both the anniversary of Kate’s passing and what would have been our 12th wedding anniversary. We invite everyone – from people to corporations – to join us in celebrating Kate’s legacy by introducing yourself and using #HelloMyNameIs.
Glenn H. Garrett set a standard for protecting community waterways long before “going green” became a common refrain.
In 1996, after witnessing the damage left behind by hurricanes earlier that year, the disabled Marine Corps veteran launched his own business, Retention Pond Services, in his hometown of Wilmington, N.C.
The storms had destroyed the basins that hold stormwater and they were overflowing. Glenn decided to do something about it. Luckily, four years in the Marine Corps – from 1980 to 1984 – prepared him for the hard work ahead.
“It’s not glamorous, not high tech. It’s done with good, old-fashioned manpower,” he said of his business.
Glenn developed a relationship with Walmart in 2002 when a store in Wilmington had a runoff issue in the parking lot. Walmart’s construction division called the state’s stormwater regulators and asked for a recommendation on whom to hire for help. Retention Pond Services was their answer.
When the same issue happened again, this time at another store, Walmart decided to expand the maintenance procedures developed with Glenn’s company. From there, it went nationwide.
Retention Pond Services now repairs, maintains and services stormwater systems for 1,200 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs across the U.S. The goal is to help Walmart meet rules and regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency and reduce the risk of water pollution.
“I remember my first meeting with Walmart [representatives], and they started talking about being ‘green’. I had never heard anyone talk about green – being environmentally conscious,” he said, adding that the retailer encourages suppliers to be responsible by leading by example.
He didn’t realize it at the time, but Glenn and his company would play a major role in bringing that to fruition. He said Walmart has become a standard bearer of stormwater maintenance for big-box retailers throughout the U.S.
Retention Pond Services began with 16 employees. Fast-forward 20 years and it now employs as many as 250 workers each year, including Glenn and three other senior leaders, with clients ranging from retailers to municipalities. The number fluctuates with the seasons, but one thing remains constant – there are always military veterans like Glenn on staff. Several veterans started in junior positions and moved up through the ranks.
The business was hiring veterans before Walmart introduced its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment in 2013, but Glenn said the initiative is a great encouragement for suppliers and veterans alike. “It goes back to [Walmart] recognizing our service and appreciating what we’ve done,” he said. As a veteran himself, Glenn knows that the skills and can-do attitude learned in the military easily transfer over to civilian jobs. Glenn takes pride in his team – “I’m only as good as my worst employee” – and in protecting the environment. Much of that pride stems from his childhood in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.
“My grandfather used to tell me how great fishing was – about catching massive fish. When I was growing up, there were no fish. The bay was essentially dead, killed by pollution and runoff.”
In the 1970s, Maryland got involved in a save-the-bay campaign, and the federal government’s Water Quality Act followed in 1987. Those actions helped return fishing in the bay to its former glory.
Caring for the environment comes at a cost, whether it be time or money, but the results are well worth it. As U.S. businesses continue to grow, Glenn and his team are ready to step in and protect our communities.
There are two secrets to C. Ray Kennedy’s business success: an entrepreneurial spirit … and office paper.
In 1992, the bank Ray worked for in Charlotte, North Carolina, was in need of a copy paper supplier, but there were no local businesses offering that service. Ray took a chance and decided to quit his job and create a company that could meet the bank’s needs. Since then, what he started, American Product Distributors, has evolved into a nationwide provider of paper – and so much more – to large government organizations and corporations like Walmart.
APD now creates custom electronic catalogs for a variety of products needed to run a business – office and cleaning supplies, industrial items, branded corporate products like apparel, bags and awards – and houses many of the items within its network of 31 warehouses located across the U.S. The company believes in buying American-made whenever possible and sources the majority of its products from the U.S.
Office supplies may sound commonplace, but streamlining the buying process and offering advice make a huge difference for businesses in two key areas: cost savings and speed, according to Cy Kennedy, son of Ray. Cy has served as president of APD since 2011.
APD started small with three employees and a limited catalog. Twenty-five years later, the organization now employs around 50 people and includes a new software division that uses an updated, redesigned ordering system to save customers money. Walmart, a longtime customer, has found value in the company’s convenience, specialized service and quick turnaround, which is important to a business operating on such a large scale.
While growth is always something to be grateful for, Cy says that APD prides itself instead on its employees’ continued success inside and outside the company. While some have moved up to senior management positions within the family business, Cy said some former employees have gone on to become executives at other companies, and a few who started their careers with APD are now successful politicians or entrepreneurs.
Cy credited the culture his father established – a meritocracy built on kindness and respect for employees, suppliers and customers alike – with contributing to personal success.
That culture extends beyond the walls of the business. Ray’s family established the Kennedy Foundation to reach out to children in need. The foundation has helped feed hundreds of thousands of free meals to kids who don’t have access to healthy food outside of school.
The family also started three daycare centers that focus on serving low-income families. “We’ve prepared a lot of children for school who otherwise wouldn’t hit the ground running,” Cy said. “Some started with us as infants and are now college degree holders.”
Whether it’s in business or in the community, the Kennedys are focused on one thing: finding ways people can help each other.
It’s often the small details that make the difference between the mundane and the magical.
I believe that a lot of things can be better and more beautiful. There’s always a way to make something more natural, more delicious and more functional. This kind of thoughtfulness is often overlooked when it comes to things we use every day, and a good example is something like toothpaste. Good design is all about being hyper thoughtful, and an intense level of thoughtfulness is exactly what I wanted to put into everything when I founded Hello Products. It’s something that I call “elevating the everyday.”
Our mission in creating Hello Products in Montclair, New Jersey, is to make effective and naturally friendly toothpastes that are vegan, never tested on animals, and free from artificial flavors and synthetic dyes … all in a gorgeous package that makes people smile. Our commitment to manufacturing all our products in the U.S. is an even bigger, overall commitment to the people who work with us at every level of the supply chain.
What appeals to me the most as a design-obsessed entrepreneur isn’t just form, fit and function; it’s thoughtfulness. We want people to feel something magical and personal when they interact with hello — our products, our brand, and our company. That’s human connection. That’s real engagement. And along with making a healthy and effective product, that’s what I love the most.
I’m glad to see consumers’ growing interest in more natural and American-made products. It’s a passionate segment that’s expanding rapidly, especially because parents are becoming more interested in the ingredients going into products that their kids use every day. And that makes sense. I’m proud to have our children’s toothpaste sold at Walmart. Being on the shelves of the biggest retailer in the world means our naturally friendly products are available to more people; and elevating the everyday should be an option for everyone.