Thank you to all of our attendees, sponsors, and supporters who joined us on May 10th to honor seven award recipients and to hear the inspiring keynote of Governor Roy Cooper!
After six years of fighting tooth and nail to defend policies protecting the state’s environment and natural resources, the more than 250 attendees at our 2017 Green Tie Awards celebrated a brighter, healthier future ahead for North Carolina thanks to the leadership of Governor Cooper.
This was NCLCV’s tenth annual Green Tie Awards to honor environmental champions in the state legislature and in local communities. Seven outstanding leaders and innovators received recognition for the positive impacts their work has meant for North Carolina’s economy, natural heritage and public health.
A 2009 Green Tie Catalyst Award recipient, Governor Cooper touched on his vision in his keynote for a North Carolina that provided the education, economic opportunity and clean resources so all North Carolinians could thrive. He reflected on taking walks with his father as a child as the moments he first grew to understand the importance of being a strong environmental steward. Governor Cooper carried this value into his multiple public service offices, from enacting stiffer penalties for polluters during his time in the NC General Assembly to requiring the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to install and operate basic pollution control equipment and the good neighbor provision to compel the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce the Clean Air Interstate Rule as NC’s Attorney General.
The Governor also touched on the critical role of the state’s clean, renewable energy sector. Not only is the transition to clean sources of electricity better for the environment, Governor Cooper noted, but “it’s putting money back into people’s pockets.” This theme of balancing clean air, water, and land safeguards with ensuring continued economic investment and job growth came up again as Governor Cooper praised the leadership of Secretary Michael Regan, who oversees the state’s once-handcuffed Department of Environmental Quality.
“Secretary Regan knows that DEQ’s primary customers are the citizens of North Carolina,” Cooper spoke. This comes in sharp contrast to the previous McCrory administration who chose to put the interests of businesses ahead of the well-being of North Carolinians and the state’s natural resources on multiple occasions.
Senator Mike Woodard was honored as the 2017 Senator of the Year due, in large part, to his work fighting for implementation of pollution-control plans for drinking water sources, including those for Jordan and Falls Lake, that serve over 500,000 residents.
Representative Pricey Harrison, who has a lifetime environmental score of 100 on NCLCV’s Legislative Scorecard, was awarded the 2017 Representative of the Year. Representative Harrison was the most vocal opponent to a 2016 bill that conservation groups dubbed the “Duke Energy Protection Act.” It gave the company unfettered authority to decide how and when to cleanup the millions of tons of coal ash around the state rather than granting that power to the state’s lead environmental agency.
Entrepreneurs Mack Pearsall and Carol Davis received NCLCV’s Catalyst Award for their respective endeavors.
Davis received her Catalyst honors for her leadership in creating The Enterprise Center, which is connected with the S.G. Atkins Community Development Corporation in Winston-Salem. As Executive Director, Davis has turned a former Boys & Girls Club into a small business incubator that encourages community-based leadership. Davis has worked closely with PowerUp NC, a project of NCLCV Foundation, to more tightly connect the issues of energy-efficiency, renewable energy, affordable housing, and utility justice to the idea of creating a green jobs pathway for local residents.
Pearsall founded The Collider in western North Carolina in 2016. The Collider is a nonprofit innovation center focused on catalyzing market-driven climate solutions. Headquartered in Asheville – also known as “Climate City” – The Collider seeks to bring the best minds and data together to catalyze a new industry dedicated to delivering climate products and services that not only benefit business but benefit the planet.
Because of his leadership in encouraging his caucus to prioritize clean air and water bills at the legislature, former Representative (now Secretary) Larry Hall received “The Joe” award. “The Joe” is named for former House Speaker Joe Hackney, one of the state’s most prominent environmental champions in its history. As Secretary of Veterans and Military Affairs, Hall continues to have the opportunity to champion clean energy projects in the state of North Carolina. The Department of Defense has been a leader in transitioning away from fossil fuels and integrating renewables such as solar and geothermal into providing power for its military operations in North Carolina and beyond. During his acceptance speech, Secretary Hall reflected that “the environment unites us all” and vowed to remain a champion for his agency and to support his former colleagues at the legislature.
Two Senators, Erica Smith-Ingram and Jay Chaudhuri were named 2017 Rising Stars, an honor bestowed upon newer state elected officials who showed an early commitment to protecting the people and places of North Carolina in Raleigh. Both Ingram and Chaudhuri prioritized pro-conservation legislation inside the General Assembly, including policies that promote renewable energy to legislation addressing the state’s coal ash cleanup mess.
Many former Green Tie recipients attended the event, including former Representative Deborah Ross; Senator Floyd McKissick; Melvin Montford (Executive Director of the NC A. Philip Randolph Institute); Senator Terry Van Duyn; Senator Joyce Waddell; Representative Graig Meyer; Representative Duane Hall; Representative John Ager; and Representative Brian Turner.
More than 70 corporate and individual sponsors supported the 2017 Green Tie and the continued work to prioritize conservation and clean energy in state and local decision-making. The list of sponsors and additional information about award recipients can be found below.
The generous contribution of corporate, individual, and nonprofit sponsors ensure the success of our annual Green Tie Awards. We are grateful for the support for their support and investment in helping to turn your environmental values turn into North Carolina priorities.
John Manuel & Cathy Murphy
Fred & Alice Stanback*
Kelly & Jane Clark
Linda & Rufus Edmisten
Marcia Angle & Mark Trustin
Erskine & Crandall Bowles
David & Avery Knight
Senator Terry Van Duyn
Cynthia Ball & David Aspnes
Andrew & Jean Canada
Nina Szlosberg-Landis & Kel Landis
Carol & Mac Montgomery
Al & Pam Swanstrom
Dr. Amy Tiemann
Dan & Sarah Crawford
Rep. Verla Insko
Kelly McNally Koney
Mary Beth Powell & Bill Rote
John & Ashley Wilson
*gift made to NCLCV Foundation
Keynote Speaker – Governor Roy Cooper
Governor Cooper has been an advocate for clean air and water, fighting pollution in two major cases as our state’s Attorney General: requiring the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to install and operate basic pollution control equipment and the good neighbor provision to compel the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce the Clean Air Interstate Rule. He received the Catalyst Award from NCLCV at the 2009 Green Tie Awards. His fight to protect North Carolinians, especially communities disproportionately impacted by hog waste, forged the eventual Smithfield Agreement, which was a step in the right direction for ensuring justice for all when it comes to access to basic resources. Spending summers working on the farm in his hometown of Nash County, Gov. Cooper understands the important role we have in stewarding this earth for future generations. During his time in the NC House, NC Senate and Attorney General, he continued to keep the environment as a priority as he works on behalf of our state and its people. Now, as North Carolina’s Governor, he will have the opportunity to ensure what’s best for our state’s natural resources and people become priorities once again.
Senator of the Year – Senator Mike Woodard
Throughout his time in the North Carolina Senate, Mike Woodard has been a stalwart supporter of pro-conservation legislation. He stood with communities first and worst impacted by coal ash contamination, including opposing the sweetheart deal for Duke Energy passed in the legislature and signed by then Governor McCrory in 2016. But Senator Woodard’s leadership extends beyond that one bill. During 2016, he also was a strong proponent of the Jordan Lake Rules and other clean water protections. At first blush, Senator Woodard’s lifetime score of 88 might not seem that high, but given everything he has had to fight against in the NC Senate, that score is a real accomplishment.
Representative of the Year – Rep. Pricey Harrison
With a lifetime environmental voting record of 100, Rep. Pricey Harrison personifies what it means to be a conservation champion. We often joke around the office that Rep. Pricey Harrison could win one of our Green Tie Awards every year, but when we sat down to discuss environmental leaders in the NC House, this year felt special. Conservation has been a core value of Rep. Pricey Harrison long before she entered elected office in 2005. Year in and year out, Rep. Harrison is a consistent and strong voice for clean air and water and renewable energy. Her 100% lifetime score on NCLCV’s scorecard proves it. As an example, this year Rep. Harrison has proposed legislation to move NC to 100% clean energy by 2050, further growing NC’s green economy. Rep. Harrison is ALWAYS our Representative of the Year.
Catalyst Award – Carol Davis
Growing community leaders and building pathways to economic opportunity takes a deep commitment to working within communities and fostering multi-faceted partnerships. As Executive Director of the S.G. Atkins CDC, Carol Davis has been an outstanding leader in Winston-Salem helping broaden and expand NCLCV Foundation’s PowerUp NC program. Whether it be supporting energy efficiency and weatherization campaigns, helping build a green careers pathway, or bringing diverse partners to the table to discuss environmental justice issues, Carol Davis has made the S.G. Atkins CDC the central hub for growing community leadership on environmental issues in Winston-Salem.
Catalyst Award – Mack Pearsall
Innovative climate solutions must be grounded in the best science and speak the language of business. But every day, businesses, and communities are making billions of dollars of decisions without this vital information. After decades of experience in business and as an environmental advocate, Mack Pearsall recognized this and founded The Collider. In a state with a fast-growing green economy, Mack and The Collider exist to bring together diverse expertise and stimulate a new industry: climate products and services. Part science and expertise repository, part entrepreneurship hub, The Collider is leading the way on climate-focused solutions.
The Collider is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that opened on March 11, 2016. Today, the nonprofit boasta a robust staff, including a CEO, Executive Director, Director of Communications,full-time event manager, a part-time administrative assistant, two paid interns, and several on-call and contract staff. You can learn more about The Collider’s 2016 Year in Review here.
Rising Star – Senator Erica Smith-Ingram
Senator Erica Smith-Ingram has been an outspoken voice for elevating environmental issues, particularly when policies have allowed environmental injustices to hurt her constituents and North Carolina. Since joining the General Assembly in 2015, Senator Smith-Ingram has stood up against the growing anti-environmental, anti-clean energy agenda of the broader North Carolina Senate. We look forward to her continued leadership in keeping North Carolinians safe from policies that put their health and natural resources in jeopardy!
Rising Star – Senator Jay Chaudhuri
In 2016, Senator Chaudhuri was the only North Carolina Senator to earn a perfect 100 on NCLCV’s annual Legislative Scorecard. He stood with communities who have been first and worst impacted by coal ash contamination by rejecting the sweetheart deal for Duke Energy. During his first term in office, he prioritized healthy air and clean water in his votes, recognizing that in order to ensure a vibrant North Carolina economy, leaders have to take care of the natural resources that communities and businesses depend on.
“The Joe” recipient – Secretary Larry Hall
In honor of former House Speaker Joe Hackney who defined the term “Environmental Champion,” NCLCV awards “The Joe” to legislative champions who have or will be leaving the NC General Assembly. After a distinguished career in the NC House, serving as the Minority Leader during the last several years of his term, Rep. Larry Hall stood unwavering on prioritizing clean air, water, and energy. Despite his new role as Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs, Secretary Hall’s willingness to prioritize the people and resources of this state will benefit North Carolina’s future greatly.