On behalf of the Board of Directors, we thank you for your consistent support and membership in PEP, particularly over the past several turbulent years. Like you, we have spent significant energy into combatting increasing inflation by diligently seeking methods to reduce costs and to work as efficiently as possible. We are happy to report we will not increase membership dues or activity fees in 2024. In fact, dues have remained unchanged since 2019. We recognize and truly value your choice to continue to invest in PEP’s mission of economic growth in balance with a healthy environment and to connect your company’s good name to ours.
Led by an active Board of Directors and committees consisting of member volunteers, we continue to be recognized as the voice of reason. In 2023, we have increased our membership, initiated a signature environmental project, and grown our networking events. With your assistance, we continue to invest in growing PEP’s influence and impact.
Here are some of PEP’s achievements in 2023:
PEP and the PEP Gulf Coast Environmental Foundation, an IRS 501(c)(3) charitable corporation created in 2021, adopted a significant project designed to restore and revitalize marine ecosystems across Coastal Alabama. Began as an Eagle Scout’s project to deploy 50 mini-reefs to filter water and create fish nurseries, PEP and PEP GCEF have partnered with the Stokes School of Marine and Environmental Sciences at the University of South Alabama and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, to expand the project to deploy 1000 mini-reefs in Alabama coastal waters. Once loaded with filter feeders, each reef can filter up to 7.3 million gallons of water annually, removing excess nutrients, improving water clarity, and providing habitat for thousands of fish and crabs. Homeowners and businesses can actively improve the quality of our waters and fisheries by purchasing or adopting a reef.
On December 5th, the first set of reefs will be installed: 14 Eagle Reefs under City of Fairhope piers and 36 reefs under private piers on the eastern and western shores of Mobile Bay and Perdido Bay. PEP members are supporting the project with volunteers and donations. For more information, please go to https://pepmobile.org/the-eagle-reef/.
Business and Community Support
A key mission for PEP is to advocate on behalf of our member companies who incorporate best environmental practices and to voice reasonable and science-based opinions related to environmental issues affecting business and the community. This year, we provided public comments in support of BASF’s Hazardous Waste Permit renewal at ADEM’s public meeting; concerns about EPA’s proposed denial of ADEM’s Coal Combustion Residuals Permit Regulations; and the potential positive impact industry could provide for the City of Mobile’s Recycling plan. Additionally, PEP is actively engaged in many community organizations, including the Mobile Chamber of Commerce, the Executive Committee of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, and as part of the Economic and Infrastructure Working Group for the City of Mobile’s Resilience Assessment. Plus, we have offered ideas, future participation commitments, and support letters for a number of grant applications for new projects developed by our members, the University of South Alabama, and The Nature Conservancy.
Member Networking. Membership is on the rise with a 91% renewal rate and 20 new member companies. This Spring, we added a Clay Shoot to our roster of networking events. It was a fun afternoon of socializing, prizes, and good food. And our second annual informal Membership Social included almost 100 members and several prospective members. And we are happy to report that the PEP Industrial Reverse Trade Show has recovered from the impact of COVID. The energy and enthusiasm from the 40 Exhibitor companies, 9 of which were participating for the first time, and almost 300 attendees, were incredible. This 23-year-annual event was a big success this year, including the morning Seminar. As for next year, the RTS/Seminar Planning Committee has exciting new ideas: an innovation expo, matchmaking sessions, and more. Please plan to join us at our many educational and social events in 2024. Dates will be on the website soon.
Reducing Carbon Footprints: PEP Awards. For the second year, PEP calculated the combined reduction in Green House Gas emissions from our 2023 PEP Environmental Stewardship Award winners. Through innovation, refined processes, and conservation efforts, seven companies are eliminating 28,9099 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually. This is equivalent to removing 6,200 automobiles using fossil fuels from the road.
PEP Science and Technology Scholarship. The PEP Scholarship Fund continues to grow through generous charitable donations from member companies, local foundations, and participation in our Continental Pheasant Shoot. PEP’s 2023 Scholarship recipient is Zachary Burkett, a Civil Engineering student at the University of South Alabama. His father is an employee of Outokumpu. The $2500 Scholarship is provided to the employees and dependents of our member companies. The 2024 Scholarship applications are open now until April 30, 2024.
A PEP committee is a great opportunity to involve your employees in PEP and for you to provide your expertise and talents to PEP while meeting new people. Our committees range from event planning (Golf, RTS, Shoots) to committees that help PEP develop policy statements, identify education topics and speakers, and develop valuable membership resources. In particular, please consider your young professionals – this is a great way to hone their leadership skills while helping PEP stay current.
In a few days, you will receive your 2024 Membership Dues Renewal Invoice. Our Membership dues, which continue at 2019 rates, provide more than a third of PEP’s annual revenue. I hope you will remain steadfast in your decision to support PEP and protect our local natural resources by renewing your Membership before February 28, 2024. Thank you!
We wish you, your family, and your company a joyful Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year!
Steve Stewart, President, PEP Board of Directors
Jennifer Denson, PEP Executive Director