Green Awards 2007 Honorees

When we announced our plan to honor local eco-innovators, your nominations poured in. Here are the eight individuals we singled out for their vision. PLUS: How can Chicago become the most environmentally friendly city in America? Join us for a panel discussion with our inaugural class of Green Award honorees at the Green Festival on April 21st.

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Ori Sivan and Joe Silver, Greenmaker Supply Company

Ori Sivan and Joe Silver, Greenmaker Supply Company
The Budding Entrepreneurs

Joe Silver remembers his reaction when Ori Sivan, his best friend from Niles North High, pitched him on the idea of a one-stop green building supply shop. “Green building supplies? I’d never heard of them,” says Silver (right), whose family runs Remodeler’s Supply Company, a local behemoth with five area locations. Sivan, an environmental engineer, believed a series of green building initiatives put forth by Mayor Daley would create demand for items made from nontoxic and renewable resources. But he needed a partner like Silver, who understood the construction industry.

By 2005, the two had opened Greenmaker Supply at the Remodeler’s Supply complex at 2500 North Pulaski Road. Last year, revenue from sales of items such as solvent-free American Pride paint, recycled glass tiles, and flooring from renewable bamboo totaled $1 million. With plans in the works to expand, the two 30-year-olds have decided they don’t just want to peddle “green” products; they want to engineer them, too-hence their new line of cabinets made from recycled wood dust and nontoxic glue. “Until we change the way we do business, it’s not going to have an impact,” says Sivan, whose biggest coup has been the conversion of his business partner. “Now that I have a baby,” Silver says, “there are no conventional supplies I would put in my house.”
–Cassie Walker

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