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Employees inspired and led the effort

Richmond, CA—February 21, 2006—Mechanics Bank’s Concord and Walnut Creek offices have joined its Downtown Berkeley office as the only banks in the entire Bay Area to earn the distinction of becoming Green Businesses. Another office of the 100-year-old community bank has an application in the works.

The achievements perfectly illustrate how employees can set a good example in the workplace.

Deborah Golden, a Customer Service Officer who inspired the Green Business certification effort at the Concord Office of Mechanics Bank, says she was following the example set by the successful certification of the bank’s Berkeley Office, where she worked before coming to Concord.

“Raudel Wilson (the Berkeley Office Manager) is a role model who inspires others,” Golden said. “He pushed for the Berkeley Office to get Green-certified, and he taught me that as a business, we can take positive steps to protect the environment while achieving financial savings at the same time. So, one of the first things I did when I came to the Concord Office was to help set the process in motion here.”

Mechanics Bank Walnut Creek Office owes its certification to another employee role model, Nishad Patel. Patel, a student at San Francisco State University when he’s not working as a Senior Customer Service Representative at Mechanics Bank, will earn a degree in Ecology this August. Finding ways to reduce waste and increase recycling at his office was an assignment he took on for a class called “The Geography of Garbage.”

“To be honest, I had no idea before I took that class what a problem solid waste management is,” said Patel. “After seeing mountains of trash in dumps that had not even begun to bio-degrade after months, I decided we had to be part of the solution.”

Patel’s initial steps to recycle and reduce waste made it easier for the office to complete all the necessary steps to “go Green.” Still, it was a time-intensive process. To win certification, each office had to address four areas of eco-friendly activities: pollution prevention, solid waste reduction, energy conservation, and water conservation. For each of these sections of the application, the offices underwent an extensive review designed to evaluate their effectiveness and offer additional suggestions for reduction, conservation or prevention.

“Green Businesses usually are leaders in their communities,” said Robin Bedell-Waite, the Green Business Program Coordinator for Contra Costa County. “That's why they’re ahead of the game in recognizing that you can achieve a successful business operation, a healthy bottom line, and protect the environment at the same time. We believe Green Businesses are raising the bar for everyone, including their own employees, who take home the good habits they're developing at work.”

“Becoming a Green Business fits perfectly with our mission as a community bank,” said Jayne Sanford, Walnut Creek Area Manager of Mechanics Bank. “We go the extra mile to invest, support and sustain the communities in which we operate.”

Headquartered in Richmond, California, Mechanics Bank celebrated its centennial last year. With almost $2.6 billion in assets, it has become one of the largest banks headquartered in Northern California.

About the Green Business Program

Over 650 businesses have been certified as Green Businesses in the Bay Area under a program developed by Federal and State EPAs and local government. Listed at, these businesses have all been verified for having met specific standards for conserving energy and water, reducing waste and preventing any type of pollution. Contra Costa’s Green Business Program is a strong partnership of 24 local environmental agencies and cities, all working together to show all businesses that being environmentally responsible is not only possible, but good for business.

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