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Three years into an entrepreneurial foray into the greening of America's professional sports, former politician and communications consultant Mark Andrew is starting to make some green.
Andrew, 58, is a former Hennepin County commissioner who championed the Hennepin County waste-to-energy plant and the county's recycling program. He quit a $150,000-plus consulting job at Tunheim Partners three years ago to test his vision that the Minnesota Twins, a Tunheim client, and other teams could turn their stadiums into environmental showcases.
Target Field already has drawn rave reviews not only for its aesthetics but also for Mortenson Construction's use of recycled and sustainable building materials, despite the early opposition of HOK Architecture. The ballpark's common areas, locker rooms and field are powered partly by a steam line from the neighboring solid-waste incinerator. The ballpark is also amid the loop's hub for bus, train and light rail.
Years ago Andrew got the ear of Twins boss Jim Pohlad, who endorsed the idea of the Twins and the park becoming models of efficiency and sustainability. The Twins contracted with Andrew's GreenMark firm, which negotiated a seven-figure, multi-year contract with Pentair to install a custom-designed rain water recycling system that captures, conserves and reuses rain water at Target Field.
In addition, Pentair's Everpure tap water filtration systems were installed in Target Field suites, offices and training rooms to enhance water quality and reduce the use of plastic bottled drinking water.
As a result, the Twins' water bill should be half what was expected. And Pentair got a stadium exhibit that showcases water issues and the company's technology.
"GreenMark's solutions-base sponsorship brings authentic opportunities for us to tell our sustainability story," said Todd Gleason, the Minneapolis company's vice president of strategic planning.
Andrew, who started paying himself a salary after he got the Pentair deal, is negotiating with another green sponsor for the Twins. In May, GreenMark signed on with the Boston Red Sox, and the firm also has a deal pending for the new Meadowlands stadium for the New York Giants and Jets.
Nearly $1 million in revenue
"Everything I made until this year, mostly some consulting, all went back into the company," Andrew said. "We will have something close to $1 million in revenue this year, before we pay our [two] employees, contractors and consultants. That will be three times bigger than last year."
He said the company makes money two ways. One is consulting for the Twins and others, including the managers of Target Center, Xcel Energy and Northwest Airlines (now Delta). The other is to build repeatable commissions from corporate sponsorships.
Andrew said the company has an advantage in being ahead of potential competitors. He first talked with Pohlad about the idea in 2001 and wrote a 200-page study for the Twins in 2004.
"I never had doubts about my ability to pull this off," Andrew said. "Sports buildings are iconic structures, gigantic billboards that can be testimony to commercialization. And they can be community assets, setting an example to educate the public about the economics of green buildings and environmental stewardship. "
Red Sox Senior Vice President Joe Januszewski said GreenMark will help the Red Sox through new corporate partnerships that address environmental issues in a public way.
GreenMark doesn't focus on traditional corporate sponsorships in exchange for executive suites, free tickets and radio ads, as do banks, beer and telecom sponsors.
'New sponsorship plays'
"Those corporate sponsorships are business-to-consumer," Andrew said. "We create green, instead of consumer categories, that focus on clean water, energy efficiency, building materials, transportation. These are new sponsorship plays that require the sponsor to install equipment that solves an environmental problem.
"GreenMark creates naming rights. Pentair is the sustainable water provider of the Twins and Target Field. They contributed their equipment and a sponsorship fee to own that entitlement. They get sponsorship and on-air mentions. Our programs get out of the ballpark and into the businesses of the sponsors and their key audiences."
Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144 • email@example.com