By Maria Saporta

It was so Dennis Creech.

Upon being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2012 Environmental Awards breakfast Friday, Creech said the honor really belongs to all the people he has worked with for the past 34 years.

Creech, who was a founder of Southface in 1978, has been advocating for green building practices for more than three decades. Due to his leadership, metro Atlanta has become a leader for green building with some of the highest concentration of LEED certified buildings in a metro area.

“For 34 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing co-workers,” Creech said upon accepting his award at the Georgia Aquarium. “A couple of lessons I’ve learned. As for any of our successes — none of them have been a solo act.”

Creech said Southface has had partners all along the way — working with federal, state and local governments, with the business community and homebuilders as well as with numerous foundations and nonprofit organizations.

In particular, he thanked the Turner Foundation and the Kendeda Fund for supporting environmental initiatives in metro Atlanta and around the country.

Barry Berlin, investment manager for the Kendeda Fund, said at a celebration for donors to the Eco Office fund at Southface, said that for decades Creech and Southface had been pioneers in the green building movement. But now, their work has become “mainstream.”

Now it is commonplace for companies and leaders to insist on sustainability measures and green building practices in their normal course of doing business.

In a video-taped message, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed thanked Creech for his involvement in the city’s Green Building Challenge as well as his efforts to make Atlanta more sustainable. Reed repeated his goal to make Atlanta one of the top 10 most sustainable cities in the country.

At the breakfast, Creech then thanked all the “business partners” that had worked with Southface over the years.

That led to the second lesson he’s learned running a nonprofit environmental organization.

“We have come to realize that the marketplace, the business community, is the greatest catalyst for change,” Creech said.

“Look at Southface as a partner,” Creech added to business leaders at the breakfast. Working together, Southface and local companies can have a great ”impact” on the region’s economy.

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Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news...

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