White House Recognizes GM Waste Reduction Manager for Volunteerism

White House Recognizes GM Waste Reduction Manager for Volunteerism

GM Global Waste Reduction Manager John Bradburn received the 2015 President's Volunteer Service Award for a lifetime of service and was recognized by President Obama for making a difference in the community. The award program thanks and honors Americans who, by example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. (Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors)

GM global waste manager John Bradburn shows kids how to transform scrap Chevrolet Volt battery covers into bat nesting boxes. Fifty youngsters assembled 15 bat boxes, which will reside at the Pocono track's campgrounds to help threatened bat populations in the region.

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Monday, August 3, 2015 - 11:50am

CAMPAIGN: GM Resource Preservation

CONTENT: Blog

What do you get from a lifetime of community service and dedication to mentoring youth?

If you ask GM Global Waste Reduction Manager John Bradburn, it’s the satisfaction of inspiring the next generation to be stewards of the environment. It’s seeing them connect the dots and understand their impact. It’s noticing how his perspective helps expand their minds, enabling them to consider what’s possible.

For all these reasons, John received the 2015 President's Volunteer Service Award for a lifetime of service and was recognized by President Obama for making a difference in the community.

The award program thanks and honors Americans who, by example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. The awards are offered in multiple levels, and John received the highest honor – the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals who have contributed more than 4,000 hours of service in their lifetime.

For John, it comes natural. This authentic focus on outreach and mentorship has permeated his life.

At GM, he leads our landfill-free initiative and drives the company to zero waste. He is a globally recognized recycling expert, dubbed GM's MacGyver for his uncanny knack to devise unconventional uses for everyday waste. He helped reduce the secondary environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill by spearheading an initiative to convert 277 miles of oil-soaked booms into car parts. He repurposes scrap Chevrolet Volt battery covers into nesting boxes for bats and ducks, including an endangered species in Asia. He came up with the idea of using scrap vehicle absorption material to insulate coats for the homeless manufactured by Detroit-based nonprofit The Empowerment Plan.

That’s enough to inspire any sustainability professional. But John consistently finds a way to engage youth in these efforts as he believes they are the future. He has donated his time and expertise to countless classrooms, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, and after-school programs, getting kids to build materials out of reclaimed and recycled products and teaching them about habitat preservation and responsible environmental actions.

Whether it’s volunteering for 20-plus years as an assistant scoutmaster for a local Boy Scout troop or organizing a wood duck nesting box build with a group of underprivileged youth at the Lasky Recreation Center, John understands the power of listening to kids, showing them how they can leave a mark on society, and teaching them how to generate even more good.

We salute John for inspiring our company, our industry and our communities every day.