The public’s awareness of global warming has brought positive changes to the job of Paula Davis, director of Greenprint for Akron and CEO and president of Keep Akron Beautiful. Because people have accepted that global warming is happening, they can move forward to make improvements, and she has especially witnessed the progress in the last year.
The high price of gas, for instance, was the best thing for her organization because people were driving less and the air quality improved, she says.
Perhaps helping to pique her interest in the eco-friendly welfare of Akron is the fact that both she and her husband are lifelong residents of the city.
In addition, environmental awareness has long been a part of her life. “I did grow up with grandparents who had lived through the depression,” she explains. The motto of reduce, reuse and recycle is a familiar one because she says her grandparents wasted nothing. Davis continues to pass the message on professionally and personally. “It’s certainly the way my kids were brought up, and the way we operate in the home,” she says.
For those who consider recycling to be one burden too many, Davis suggests starting small. Making little changes, such as saving water and electricity can greatly impact the planet.
Even at the office, creative thinking and perseverance pays off. “You continuously add things to your repertoire,” she says. “You continuously train your staff to do one more thing. It’s not static.” Currently, she’s working on improving her office’s recycling plan.
Davis’ focus hasn’t always been on “green” living, though. After receiving her degree from Miami University, She worked in retail for about five years and now instead of selling phones or clothing, she is promoting the city of Akron.
Davis began work with Greenprint for Akron in August 2007 and has worked for Keep Akron Beautiful for 20 years. “You’re not in nonprofit work for the money,” she says with a laugh. “I feel that in my role I have actually been able to make changes in the city to make it more livable. That’s really cool.”