Award Nomination

I am nominating Carrie Bachelder for the Excellence in Leadership Award.

I am nominating Carrie Bachelder for the Excellence in Leadership Award. Carrie is the Founder and Executive Director of The Away Station, Marin’s only Marketplace ReUse including salvaged building materials.

As the Founder of The Away Station (TAS), Carrie has a vision to bring the concept of a One stop Drop then Shop-Shopping Center for All things Re – ReUse, RePair, RePurpose, ReSell, ReDistribute, ReThink consumption, since 2005.  She opened the doors of the first physical ReUse Facility at Fairfax Lumber and Hardware Store in January of 2010.   

Testimonial Drive

The mission of THE AWAY STATION is to serve the community in it’s commitment to a Zero Waste lifestyle, by providing a convenient facility and services for the collection and redistribution of the by-products of our consumption (or unwanted materials), while educating the public on best practices for reuse, reduction, redesign and recycling and creating fulfilling green collar jobs and training opportunities.

This is what Carrie’s leadership has created:
*The Away Station – Marin’s only Certified Zero Waste ReUse facility.
*TAS has diverted approx. 600 tons of waste per year from the landfill,
2013-2016.
*Created the only retail store in Marin County that provides opportunity to donate and acquire usable building materials, which includes hundreds of doors, windows, lumber, trim, flooring, cabinetry, (some) appliances, hardware, garden & landscaping materials, plumbing & electrical supplies. TAS also offers furniture, assorted art & art materials, housewares, lighting fixtures.
*Created Collaborative business with an existing for-profit lumber yard--Fairfax Lumber and Hardware Store. This collaboration is symbiotic for both entities; bringing new customers to Fairfax Lumber, a 100 yr old, employee owned business This collaboration makes good use of already existing buildings, utilities, business systems & infrastructure - like Cashiers, computerized tracking systems, forklifts, flatbeds and drivers, as well as vast retail experience, knowledge of building materials, hardware etc.
*Green Collar Jobs -5 fulltime positions. 4-6 part time workers,
3 administration personnel & PR subcontractors.
*Training experiences for reentry workers - previously incarcerated, recovering addicts, seniors, students and newcomers to the world of work
*Volunteer opportunities for the Marin County Court System, retirees, and wonderful community members
*A-Way for us to do the right things!!
*A-Way for contractors and homeowners to fulfill all of Marin’s building departments’ mandates for recycling and reuse.
*A-Way for Marin to get to its goal of Zero Waste by 2020.

The fulfillment of Carrie’s vision is shown also by:

*Community member’s daily express gratitude that there is now a place to bring their unwanted, reusable items, and not have to “see them go to waste” and not go into our landfill.

*TAS also hears how happy people are to be able to buy Used items and not have to incur all the upstream waste, packaging, and embedded energy

*TAS saves all the environmental and Resource costs/impacts of harvesting, hauling, processing, packaging, shipping and finally disposal

*TAS has grown from nothing to averaging $275,000. In gross sales per year.

CHALLENGES:

She had dream, she had no place to manifest her dream, no retail experience, no knowledge of how to create a nonprofit, how to run a board, how to create a website and online marketing presence. She experimented with producing fundraising events, hired consultants, enrolled volunteer experts, went to workshops, networked into the fields of building materials, building, garbage, Wastestream, and attended conferences to meet and learn from her colleagues around the nation. She went to the Environmental Forum of Marin 8 week seminar series, and learned about the environmental issues and innovations in the world of waste.

What got her to making TAS happen was her Moving and Organizing business.  Every move project had cast offs and most hi-end moves in the North Bay resulted in hi-end remodeling projects.  Carrie got so sick of watching hi value materials (like old growth redwood) go into the dumpster and sick of hauling great stuff around in her mini van that She acquired a truck (in trade for writing a grant), she drove it and loaded it herself, and figured it out a way to have these early acquisitions make some money

Carrie launched this endeavor with her own resources, and less than $12,000 in financial help from friends and family and one reimbursement of $11,000 from (what is now) CalRecycle; this was pure bootstrapping.  Her goal has always been to have this non Profit be viable. 

In order to ensure the organization’s existence we have come to terms with the fact that we need to raise money

2016 is the first year that Carrie, the TAS Board (special thanks to Richard Jensen-author of 27 grant applications!) & team have applied for grants.

TAS will launch its first Crowdfunding video and campaign on Giving Tues November 29, 2016, with a goal of raising $200,000.  This will allow TAS to fill 4 new job positions-including On-site manager, and Development director.

After 6 years of hands-on experience in the Fairfax location we can see that this site, as is, will always be labor intensive and difficult to have the sales cover the costs of hauling, handling: sorting, organizing, pricing, displaying, etc.  Carrie has come up with a redesign plan that includes upgrading the receiving and processing area, by moving into an unshared warehouse, creating better storage and access for both Fairfax Lumber & The Away Station (TAS.)  One example is improving access for our customers and staff to doors, windows and lumber –our most profitable items –

 

Carrie grew up in San Anselmo, and had the opportunity to be one of the first leaders in The alternative education program at Drake High school –SWAS (School within a School), from there on she has studied transformation, full self-expression, Business Management, Women’s Leadership, and how to have a great life.  She brings all of this to her every Day.  She is committed to having her staff happy, housed and healthy. She doesn’t give up even when the chaos is larger than the ability to pay the bills.

Carrie is a person who has a vision-The Shopping Center of ReUse, RePair, ReDistribute and A Way for all of the community to interact with the goods and materials of our lives in A Way that makes sense! Doesn’t waste resources or People.  She breathes life into this dream everyday

The kind of leadership Carrie Bachelder has demonstrated involves vision, guts, commitment and persistence.  She has learned business management skills like effective communication, bookkeeping, cash flow and budgeting; patience, collaboration. It has required faith in her vision and self-sacrifice.