By John Schaffner

editor@reporternewspapers.net

After a five-month competition to find Buckhead’s greenest commuters, employers and office building, the Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association recognized the winners of the Go Green and Commute Clean Challenge at a luncheon Oct. 29, which also celebrated the 10th anniversary of BATMA.

Buckhead’s greenest commuter: Kevin Fitch, starts his day by catching the 6:30 am Xpress bus from Newnan to MARTA’s Five Points Station. From there he rides the train to Buckhead, and finishes his commute on the bus to the Mansell Group’s offices at Securities Centre on Piedmont Road. Since May, Fitch has logged more than 200 clean commutes and reduced almost 10,000 miles of driving.

For winning the challenge, Fitch gets his choice three $2,500 grand prize packages: an eco-vacation to Costa Rica, an ENERGY STAR® appliance package or six months of groceries from Whole Foods Market.

BATMA honored four Buckhead employers for their programs to encourage employees to use commute alternatives.

Best single commuter program: This award is given to an employer that created a program with one especially successful aspect. Chubb Atlanta was honored for its alternative work arrangement program, which gives employees flexibility and reduces the number of cars on the road during rush hours. More than 60 percent of Chubb Atlanta’s employees participate in the program, choosing between a four-day work week and the opportunity to telework.

Best new commuter program: This award honors a company that has the best commute options program established after March 1, 2008. The Atlanta History Center was recognized for its program which has attracted nearly one-third of its employees as participants. Within two months, Atlanta History Center had a full-blown program off the ground, offering a full range of commute alternatives and getting employee involvement at every level of the organization.

Since July 2008, Atlanta History Center’s commute options program has eliminated more than 209,737 vehicle miles of travel and more than a quarter-ton of harmful emissions.

Most creative commuter program: Although not an official award category at the outset, the judges who reviewed the award entry from The Buckhead Community Bank felt like it deserved special recognition for creativity. Earlier this year, the bank created the Bucks for Bikes program, which allows customers to borrow funds to purchase a bicycle with no fees or interest for 12 months at a time when Atlanta residents have been cutting back.

Best overall commuter program: Rollins, Inc. was named winner in the best overall commuter program category, having eliminated 400,000 vehicle miles of travel by encouraging employees to take advantage of commute alternatives. Rollins offers transit and vanpool riders the option of paying for their commutes through pre-tax deduction, enabling them to save up to 30 percent. The company also constantly promotes commute alternatives through its newsletter, intranet and other means.

Buckhead’s greenest office building: One Alliance Center, owned and managed by Tishman-Speyer, earned the title for its operations and maintenance policies, commuter participation rates, and on-site events and tenant amenities, such as free parking for vanpools, etc. One Alliance Center has also achieved certification in both the Energy Star and LEED programs.

“Go Green and Commute Clean was a fun way for us to encourage more people to get involved with clean commuting, and we’re really pleased with the results,” said Denise Starling, executive director of BATMA. “There are a lot of fantastic people and programs that are having a positive impact every day by reducing traffic and improving air quality in Buckhead. The Go Green winners are just the best of the best.”