Harold "Gus" Frank is being recognized as a Champion of Change for his work demonstrating that corporate environmental leadership makes sense, both for business and for American communities.
The Forest County Potawatomi Community (”FCPC” or the “Tribe”) is guided by a fundamental belief in protecting Mother Earth and ensuring that future generations will have access to clean air, water and land. This philosophy has led FCPC to become an environmentally proactive tribe and take a pragmatic approach to ecological stewardship.
Over the past several years, FCPC has implemented a number of energy efficiency initiatives to significantly lower its energy usage and reduce its carbon emissions. Since 2007, the Tribe has reduced its energy usage per gross square foot by 12 percent and reduced their corresponding carbon emissions by more than 20 percent. These efficiencies have significantly lowered both the Tribe’s energy costs and its environmental footprint. It has eliminated more than 14,400 tons of emitted carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 2,560 passenger vehicles, or the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 1,630 homes for one year.
The Tribe has also invested in several renewable energy projects on its land. Last year, the Tribe installed solar panels on its Milwaukee, Wisconsin Administration Building. It is estimated that the clean energy produced by these panels will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 41 tons per year. In addition, the Tribe is developing a biogas cogeneration facility that will use food waste to produce clean, renewable energy. The installation will produce approximately 2.0 megawatts (MW) of electrical power per year. That is enough electricity to power roughly 1,500 homes.
The Tribe also purchases nearly 55 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy credits annually from certified wind-energy facilities in the United States. That is more than enough green energy to offset 100% of the electricity usage at all its facilities, including Potawatomi Bingo Casino (Milwaukee, WI) and Potawatomi Carter Casino & Hotel (Carter, WI).
The Tribe is also incorporating state-of-the-art energy efficiency into its planned development projects. These include the Tribe’s redevelopment of its historic Concordia Trust Property located in Milwaukee’s central city and its new hotel project, both of which are creating hundreds of job opportunities. As the Tribe looks to the future, it will continue to be guided by these important beliefs. As stated by tribal elder Jim Thunder, “I pray to the Creator that we look back so that we may see ahead. Let us examine our lives so that we are respectful to our fellow humans and to nature. Let us respect our children and, above all, let us live our lives in accordance with our beliefs.”
The Forest County Potawatomi Community is a federally recognized Native American tribe located in Wisconsin with a membership of about 1,500.
Harold “Gus” Frank is Chairman of the Forest County Potawatomi Community, and has lead the Potawatomi to take a proactive approach to environmental issues and taken practical steps to help ensure that future generations have access to clean air, water and land.