It was the ski bum lifestyle that called to Lindsay Arell. Her only dream as a 20-something was a free lift ticket and enough tips to cover monthly rent; she was in Vail following college waiting to be accepted into the Peace Corps. Nonetheless, her passion for nature, the mountains and Colorado’s pristine attributes set in motion an avalanche of change for Arell and her beloved state. 

A Denver native, she graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder, receiving a degree in political science. However, Arell was inspired on the mountain and became more involved in the Vail community and resort as a lift operator, soon becoming the race and special events coordinator. 

“When I started at Vail, I could never have predicted this career path. But I always knew I wanted to work with the environment,” Arell notes. “I think the key to success in this area is working within an industry I was very familiar with the opportunities for improvement.” 

Arell returned to Denver after a few years out West to further her budding career of event production, but with a twist: She wanted to bring sustainability to the forefront of the industry. “The GM of the Colorado Convention Center proposed an idea. What if I were to become the sustainability coordinator? It was a new position, never been filled or even mapped out; I jumped at it,” says Arell, who became the first sustainable programs manager for CCC. 

The timing was perfect. Governor John Hickenlooper, then mayor of Denver, wanted the 2008 Democratic National Convention to be the most sustainable convention ever, and Arell was tasked as the team leader: “The common goal of a sustainable DNC was to lead incredible collaborations amongst various agencies and organizations in Denver.”

Fast forward eight years and Arell is now an industry leader. She is the president of Honeycomb Strategies , a company based in Denver that has an emphasis on helping events and conferences prepare and execute greener practices. In addition to her roll as sustainable program manager for CCC and City of Denver Arts and Venues facilities, other clients are as varied as the Philadelphia Eagles, Natural Products East and West Expos, Sustainable Brands, VISIT DENVER, Vancouver Convention Centre, Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre, and Incheon Convention & Visitors Bureau in South Korea. 

Whether Arell is working with local organizations to find new uses for leftover conference materials or tracking metrics such as energy and water consumption, this hometown girl proves that moving mountains and creating new solutions is possible. honeycombstrategies.net; 303.681.1768 

I’ve been traveling Amtrak for business a lot lately, from Washington, D.C., to points north, including Philadelphia, New York City, and Newark, and I’ve been reminded of how relaxing and time saving train travel can be. For one thing, train stations are typically right in the heart of cities; for another, it’s easy to plug in and work. 

 

The future of the travel industry depends on becoming increasingly more sustainable. 

That’s according to Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president, public affairs and policy, for the U.S. Travel Association.

“The industry’s existence depends on it and a whole-of-industry approach will be required to enable travelers to move through the travel ecosystem in a climate-conscious way,” Barnes says.

 

Two sustainability happenings caught my attention recently, so I’ll provide a quick recap. SCS Global Services (SCS) has launched Zero Waste for Events certification, and IMEX America has released its 2021 Sustainable Event Report that recaps measures taken and sustainability successes at the biggest trade show in the United States for the global incentive travel, meetings, and events industry.

Zero Waste Events Certification