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GREEN AWARDS 2011: Earthy with an Edge

  • July 25, 2011



Jim Richards has been helping children and practicing conservation his entire adult life. Now, as the vice president of operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas, he is able to combine those two passions.

After graduating from San Francisco State University and receiving a master's in public administration from Cal State Hayward, Richards opened a summer camp offering sixth-graders outdoor education.

Richards has spent about four decades working in an administrative capacity with the Boys & Girls Clubs. That included a position as executive director of the Boys & Girls Club in Alameda, Calif. But a call from Cashman Equipment CEO and former Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas Chairwoman Mary Kaye Cashman convinced him to move to Las Vegas in 2007.

Under Richards' leadership, each club has been modernized to include up-to-date heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, daylighting and daylighting controls and recycled materials. A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold-certified Boys & Girls Club was recently built in Las Vegas' Cambridge neighborhood.

How can going green improve productivity?

On the productivity side, we have reduced our need for water by switching to turf and desert landscaping. We have reduced the use of landscape by using auto watering. That had little to do with our kids. That creates more time for us to do things like working on the HVAC and doing preventative maintenance rather than crisis management.

What influenced your decision to pursue green practices?

I have a lifetime interest in the environment, starting in the 1950s in my backpacker days. We moved the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas from the '70s' and '80s' management model to a model where caring for the environment is important to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas.

How has being green reshaped your company's public perception?

I think being green had a lot of collateral positive effects. Just by saying, 'We are not taking donated paints,' and 'We are not taking donated TVs,' the look of the Boys & Girls Club has changed. It has helped us brand ourselves, and not just as the valley's green nonprofit.

What makes your green product unique?

I think our green product is our competent, educated young people. That's what we do. We turn out the next generation of competent and educated adults.

-- Valerie Miller

See article and photo on the Las Vegas Business Press Web site

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