On November 7, the 2012 PACE Awards were presented in 13 categories to Georgia workplaces, schools and individual leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to improved mobility and air quality. Now in its 12th year, the PACE Awards are presented by The Clean Air Campaign, in partnership with the region’s transportation management associations, RideSmart, and the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Among those taking home awards were Cobb County Schools and Jamee Douglas, a fifth grade teacher at Big Shanty Elementary School in Kennesaw.
Cobb County Schools captured the PACE Award for Clean Air Schools District of the Year. The school district has had consistent participation in the Clean Air Schools program since 2008 with almost half of all schools participating in 2011-2012. Due to the county’s success, representatives from Cobb County schools are invited to speak with principals from other counties about the Clean Air Schools program. The PTA also provides a high level of support, and members are invited to events every year to help identify potential carpool matches for parents.
Jamee Douglas, a fifth grade science teacher at Big Shanty Elementary took home the PACE Award for Clean Air Schools Champion of the Year. Douglas has been the school’s Clean Air Schools Champion for three years and has grown student involvement in reducing idling. During the fall, she works with student and parent volunteers to have scarecrows on school grounds that hold No-Idling signs and scare off idlers. During Clean Commute Week, Douglas led the commute logging charge for Big Shanty Elementary and as a result, the school had more participation than any other school in Georgia. She has also partnered with the school nurse and school news team to educate students on the harmful effects of air pollution, as well as creating lesson plans about air quality.
The PACE Awards recognize the best commute options programs in Georgia, celebrating the success of employers, property managers, schools and individuals in advancing the promise of cleaner air and less traffic. This year’s program theme, “In Good Company,” explores the sense of community among those working together to make Georgia a better play to live, work and play.
“It’s energizing to see the growing number of Georgia employers that understand the importance of reducing traffic congestion and improving the region’s air quality,” said Renay Blumenthal, Clean Air Campaign board chair. “The PACE Awards is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who go above and beyond to improve the health and vitality of our communities.”
• Georgia Department of Transportation Leadership Award—Jim Durrett
Best Overall Program
• Mid-Sized Employer – Agnes Scott College
• Large Employer – Federal Reserve Bank
• Property Manager – CBRE/271 17th Street Building
• Federal Employer – Robins Air Force Base
• Local Employer – City of Milton
• Most Innovative Program (Two winners) – Star Subs DBA Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches and UHS Pruitt
• Telework Catalyst – Assurant Specialty Property
Clean Air Schools
• District of the Year – Cobb County Schools
• School of the Year – White Oak Elementary, Gwinnett County
• Champion of the Year – Jamee Douglas, teacher, Big Shanty Elementary
• Dr. Marlin R. Gottschalk Student Environmental Leadership Award – Zoe Spencer, OnAir teen blogger, Atlanta Public Schools
• UPS Exemplary Idle Reduction Program Award – Georgia Regional Transportation Authority Xpress (GRTA)
“Commute options programs are vital for effectively managing the increased demand on our roadways as our state continues to grow,” said Georgia DOT Director of Planning Toby Carr. “Georgia DOT applauds the many employers, individuals and schools, especially those honored today that are making significant contributions by encouraging the use of commute options.”
Also recognized were the 172 Georgia employers and property managers who qualified as Platinum Partners. To be eligible as a Platinum Partner, at least 20 percent of all employee or tenant trips to an employer’s worksite must involve alternatives to single-occupancy-vehicle trips, and companies must actively educate employees about commute options. Property managers must offer at least five amenities that benefit commuters who use commute options.
This year’s ceremony was held at the Georgia-Pacific Auditorium in downtown Atlanta.