SMSBF Award Presentation
Randy Walker (left) receives the award from SMSBF president, Mike Shesterkin. “Jeff McCabe has been a long-time friend of SMSBF and a true triple bottom line business leader. As a representative of the SMSBF board, I couldn’t be happier presenting our first Triple Bottom Line Business Leader Award to Jeff”, Shesterkin said as he presented the award.

DETROIT, MI – On Thursday, December 13, 2017, while the largest storm of the 2018 winter season hit Midtown Detroit, the Southeast Michigan Sustainable Business Forum (SMSBF) held its third annual Holiday Celebration at HopCat Detroit. Although the 7 inches of snow may have kept some from attending, it didn’t stop the SMSBF and it’s die-hard supporters from holding another engaging event. New relationships were built, and old ones strengthened, as thoughtful people enjoyed HopCat fare, heard a short presentation and then spent the evening conversing about the transformation of business in the 21st century.

This year’s event included the awarding of SMSBF’s first annual, Triple Bottom Line Business Leader Award. This inaugural award goes to a local business leader who has made exemplary contributions to the advancement of triple bottom line business performance. SMSBF’s believes that businesses exist for much more than simply “maximizing shareholder value”. This single bottom line mentality represents the dominant view of today; yet it is beginning to see its end. Emerging all around us, especially here in Detroit, is a new way of valuing businesses, and it’s based on achieving sustainability by creating triple bottom line – people, planet and profit – value. The Triple Bottom Line Business Leader Award recognizes those who are creating triple bottom line alternatives to single-bottom line businesses. With all that’s going on today, those who dedicate themselves to making triple bottom line business a reality ought to be recognized and celebrated.

The Triple Bottom Line Business Leader Award honors that person who is committed, impassioned and willing to sacrifice for the proposition that businesses exist to lift-up humanity and the common good; operate in ways that minimize and eliminate negative environmental impacts, and do all of this while generating profits that are just.

This year’s award went to a person who has dedicated his life to seeking sustainable solutions that will grow the capacities of the local food supply system. Creating local sources of food is a vital and foundational step in the movement toward sustainability. Jeff McCabe’s Nifty Hoops is helping to make the transition to locally owned, import substitution a reality.

According to their website, “Nifty Hoops designs, manufactures, and installs hoop-houses throughout Michigan and the Midwest.” Nifty Hoops are no ordinary hoop-houses, though, and this is the reason SMSBF chose Jeff McCabe for its first Triple Bottom Line Business Leader Award.

Nifty Hoops are a durable and easily installed version of standard hoop houses. The mission of Nifty Hoops is to design and manufacture hoop-houses that can be erected in one day by volunteers who are guided by the Nifty Hoops team. Based on a well thought-out design and manufactured with today’s technology, Nifty Hoops are state of the art hoop-houses.

Nifty Hoops represents the means by which Jeff envisions local farmers realizing their potential to provide locally sourced food that can replace food produced at an unsustainable scale and in a place that’s far, far away. Jeff’s vision and passion is to see local farming become a resilient foundation to the local economy. Jeff’s commitment to this vision is manifested in Nifty Hoops and the other endeavors he’s undertaken throughout the years, including Selma Café and the Tilian Farm Development Center.

Jeff was not able to attend the event, because he was away in Nebraska working on a Nifty Hoops project. Accepting the award for Jeff was one of his partners, Randy Walker. Randy is a fabricator who is helping Nifty Hoops with the continual improvement of hoop-house design and manufacture.

It is the combination of manufacturing, local farming and the lifting-up of the community that struck the SMSBF board as a unique embodiment of the movement toward triple bottom line business. By focusing on design and the application of new manufacturing techniques, Nifty Hoops becomes a pathway for helping local farmers maximize their potential. And it is in the erecting of Nifty Hoops that the community of volunteers comes together to support one of their own: a local farmer. All the way around, Nifty Hoops exemplifies what it means to be triple bottom line. The SMSBF can think of no better person than Jeff McCabe as the inaugural recipient of its Triple Bottom Line Business Leader Award.