USF CEO Forum spotlighting sustainability with GM executive and other global experts

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News release from the University of Saint Francis:

USF CEO Forum spotlighting sustainability with GM executive and other global experts

Mike Robinson, Vice President for Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs for General Motors, will be the keynote speaker for the 19th annual CEO Forum at the University of Saint Francis North Campus on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 8:15-11:45 a.m.

The forum, “The Future of Sustainability: Impact on Efficiency, Innovation and Profit,” is hosted by the Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership, and will focus on practices that many analysts consider the driver of long-term business success. It is associated with the university’s over-arching “The Future of” lecture series.

Robinson will discuss how sustainability can impact cash flow, generate more profit, increase efficiency and stimulate innovation. He will detail measures taken by GM to respect the environment, save resources and place the company at the forefront of its marketplace, through policies that transform facilities into landfill-free sites and support zero-waste recycling.

He served as an Air Force officer from 1977-81, earning his J.D. from Villanova Law School in 1984 and joining GM that same year. Prior to accepting his present role in September 2009, he was the company’s vice president and general counsel for North America.

Supporting Robinson’s inside view on ways in which America’s successful automotive giant uses sustainable business measures will be a panel of noted leaders, who will discuss sustainability from a variety of perspectives. Panel members are from companies known for environmentally sound and cost-efficient practices.

Paul Chodak III is President and Chief Operating Officer for Indiana Michigan Power (IMP), an operating company of American Electric Power headquartered in Fort Wayne, Ind. IMP serves over 582,000 customers in Indiana and Michigan. Chodak oversees the company’s distribution operations and a wide range of customer and regulatory relationships.

Tom Horter is President and CEO for Bluffton, Ind.-based Alexin LLC, a recycler of scrap aluminum that serves the distribution, machinery, military, medical, electrical, RV/MH and consumer durables markets. The company also serves the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building and construction markets.

Tom Huntington has been CEO for WaterFurnace International Inc., a Fort Wayne-based manufacturer and distributor of environmentally friendly and efficient heating and cooling systems, since 2009. He leads the company’s efforts to help citizens reduce carbon imprint and utility costs through geothermal systems that utilize free, renewable energy found in ground water.

Dave Mathis is Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing for Kansas-based Golden Heritage Foods LLC, a honey producer. The company attained True Source Certification in 2011, becoming the first North American company to apply a comprehensive tracing standard to assure their product is legally and ethically sourced rather than imported from foreign markets to circumvent food safety and other standards.

A partner in the legal firm of Barrett & McNagny in Fort Wayne, Dave Steiner is an environmental attorney who practices in the areas of environmental compliance counseling for businesses and individuals, focusing upon transactions that environmentally impact real estate, brownfields development and tax-free exchanges. His expertise contributes to the establishment of environmentally compliant businesses and sites.

Dr. Joe Steensma, a USF biology graduate and professor in the school of business, will moderate. Steensma launched Industrial Solutions Group in 1999, growing it into one of the most well-known and respected environmental health and risk management companies in the United States in his 10 years as owner-manager.

The forum can aid a range of professionals, from the small business owner to the executive manager of a large company, to discover how sustainability can give organizations a competitive advantage and position them strategically for the years ahead.

“The University of Saint Francis understands the importance of sustainability,” said Keith Busse School of Business Dean Helen J. Murray. “We are pleased the school is able to use the forum as a vehicle to bring this vital topic to the business community. We hope to develop a deeper awareness and understanding of sustainability and how it can be implemented in any size organization.”

Tickets will be $45 each, and can be purchased online at

Doors will open at the North Campus at 7:30 a.m. Tower Bank is the corporate sponsor. For more information, call (260) 399-7700, ext. 8300 or ext. 8301.

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