By Sherry Bronson
Rolf Scholtz, owner of the Dero Bike Rack Company, credits the University of Minnesota with his first awareness of a climate problem. “I was a student at the U of M, and we were assigned a project. I think it was 1992 or ’93. It was in that class that I learned about the glaciers disappearing and first realized that there was a climate issue.”
Rolf’s company is donating bike racks that will accommodate at least 500 bicycles for the upcoming MN350 rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on September 24th. He is to be congratulated and emulated for his ‘green’ business model. Consider this example of what Rolf is doing to reduce his company’s carbon footprint:
1. The energy that powers the Dero Company’s office and shop is 100% wind generated.
2. Dero is a member of Minnesota Waste Wise, a program that helps businesses reduce waste, save money, and protect the environment.
3. Taking seriously its responsibility for a clean environment, Dero Bike Rack Company is a member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and has a LEED accredited professional on staff.
But number 4 is the one that really goes above and beyond…
4. Dero employees receive financial incentives to bike, bus, walk, or carpool to work.“
Currently, over a third of our employees bike or walk to work on a regular basis,” says Rolf. “They are paid an additional $3.00/day for every day they use alternative transportation.” The company makes an RFID based system that attaches an RFID tag to the bike. When an employee arrives at work the RFID tag passes a ZAP scanner and the information is instantly recorded.
The University of Minnesota is implementing a Health and Wellness Program that will also utilize the Dero solar powered Zap device. (See more information on the Zap scanner below.) Faculty and staff that earn enough points in the university wellness program, walking, biking, or other exercise activities, can have a portion of their health insurance premium, refunded by the university.
Always an urban dweller, Rolf has biked for transportation and recreation all his life. “It makes so much sense,” he exclaims. “It goes faster, costs less, parking is easier…especially in downtown Minneapolis.” Reflecting for a moment he adds, ”There are people that don’t feel comfortable biking in traffic,” saying that his wife is one of these. “But they are working hard to remedy that with new bike lanes being installed all the time.”
When asked why MN350 was important Rolf responded, “Grassroots movements are critical. We need MN350 to get people fired up and not feeling so alone!”