Crystal Mountain, in northern Michigan, is one of the greenest resorts you'll find. They have a long list of environmental firsts, and it all stems from the resort's president and CEO Jim MacInnes.

MacInnes, an electrical engineer who designed wind turbines in California before moving to Michigan to help run his wife's family resort in the mid-1980s, was honored by the Detroit Free Press earlier this year being named one of Michigan's Green Leaders in environmental stewardship.

Crystal Mountain was the state's first ski area to invest in wind energy credits to offset its high-speed chairlift the Crystal Clipper.  Its spa, which opened last year, was the first in the Midwest certified with the silver leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designation.  It's one of only nine LEED-certified spas in the U.S.

The Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club recently awarded Crystal its White Pine Award, which is given annually to a Michigan organization showing extraordinary dedication to protection of the environment.

"I am concerned about humanity," MacInnes told the Free Press upon accepting the award.  "I want to see people change the way they live and be as sustainable as they can.  It's for us, the animals, and our planet.

"I grew up in a fairly empty world when you could throw away anything you didn't want, and there was unlimited landfill capacity to take care of it.  Now we are living in a full world with limits on fossil fuels and landfill capacity, yet we still act with an empty-world mentality.  That view needs to change."

He practices what he preaches by continuously implementing industry-leading environmental initiatives at the resort.

Crystal was the first four-season resort in Michigan to earn the highest level of certification offered by Green Lodging Michigan through the state's Energy Office and DEQ.  The resort offers guests the same level of recycling options they have at home. Recycling bins are found around all lodging units. They even collect the frying oil at the resort's restaurants to make into soap.

MacInnes has testified before the Senate Energy Committee and served on the Governor's Great Lakes Wind Council.  The resort has held conferences on renewable energy and implementing "green" practices and is dedicated to educating business, political leaders, employees, and the community about environmental and energy issues that will shape Michigan's future.

"Jim is a visionary entrepreneur and a lifelong student of clean energy technology, finance and sustainable business practices," said Stanley Pruss, director of Michigan's Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth in the article announcement of the award.

White may be the preferred color at a ski resort, but at Crystal Mountain, its heart beats green thanks to its CEO.

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