Name: John Huey
Title: Director of Stewardship
Company: Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts Inc., Buffalo, N.Y.
Number of years with company: 15
Year company founded: 1915
Work experience prior to current position: “I was a risk manager for a group of companies—mainly in the timber industry.”
Primary responsibilities: “My primary responsibility is to travel around the country and make sure our environmental management system is effectively administered.”
What he likes most about his job: “I get to go to great places in order to do good things to improve environmental performance.”
MODESTO, CALIF.—John Huey has a job that many of us would easily give up a career for. In his work as Director of Stewardship for Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts (DNC), he gets to work in some of the most amazing natural destinations—Yellowstone, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.
Based in Modesto, Calif., Huey leads the management of DNC’s GreenPath, a program that permeates all of the different types of operations that DNC owns or manages—everything from hotels and restaurants, to retail stores, tours, convention centers, airports and sporting venues. According to DNC, GreenPath is a “formal, documented and comprehensive environmental management system (EMS) covering just about everything we could think of to preserve and protect the natural resources at some of the most beautiful places on Earth.”
About six years ago, DNC formalized its GreenPath program by obtaining International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 registration for its managed and owned operations. DNC was the first hospitality company in the United States to get the registration and the first park concessionaire. Thirteen facilities have achieved ISO 14001 registration, including ones such as Asilomar Conference Grounds (Pacific Grove, Calif.) and Niagara Reservation State Park (Niagara Falls, New York).
Part of Huey’s job is to train new managers and to audit his company’s environmental management systems. He also helps develop goals and leads the effort for continual pursuit of environmental excellence. A key part of ISO registration is documenting progress and Huey makes sure that is done.
Eye on Efficiency
Throughout DNC, Huey helps ensure that the company’s facilities use energy, water and materials efficiently. Several hundred tons of material—everything from ballasts, to mattresses, to plastic bottles—are recycled annually. (After tearing the roof off of the historic Ahwahnee hotel at Yosemite National Park, Huey says the slate was reused to make coasters.) DNC also uses a lot of organic food items in its restaurants and buys from local vendors when possible. In some of the retail stores that it manages, shirts made from recycled plastic are sold.
Dispensers are used for amenities, toxic cleaning products have been replaced with green alternatives, and re-refined oil is used in the company’s fleet of more than 250 vehicles. Two years ago, 18 hybrid electric buses were introduced at Yosemite National Park. The Wawona Golf Course at Yosemite was recognized for its environmental excellence with an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary certification.
Green teams at each location meet regularly to push green initiatives forward and DNC personnel often get involved in community activities including Earth Day celebrations.
“At our Grand Canyon facility, we invited a local school to create Earth Day posters on paper grocery bags,” Huey says. “We selected one winner’s design and made a T-shirt from it.”
For its environmental accomplishments, DNC has won many awards. A few of them include: the 2006 WRAP (Waste Reduction Awards Program) Award from the California Integrated Waste Management Board; Distinguished Service Citation National Award Winner—Keep America Beautiful Award, 2005; and AH&LA Stars of the Industry Enviro-Management Award, 2004.
“We take a business-like approach to our environmental efforts,” Huey says. “We see it as not only the right thing to do but also good business. People go to these places because they want to enjoy nature. If we didn’t take the right approach, we would not be appreciated by businesses and travelers.”
Even though DNC’s company size requires to Huey to travel frequently, he finds it hard to complain.
“When I can be at work and watch Old Faithful at the same time, I think, ‘What a job!’”
To learn more, go to Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at email@example.com.