Local 570 members employed by Leonard Paper joined other employees and invited guests Tuesday in a ceremony marking the company's switch to full solar power from traditional energy reliance, making it one of Maryland's most energy efficient distributors.
The family-owned company, a wholesale supplier of environmentally-friendly janitorial supplies and food service disposables, started business 73 years ago with four employees and one truck. It now employs more than 153 workers at its Baltimore plant, including 31 Teamsters Local 570-represented warehouse workers and 35 Teamsters Local 355- represented drivers.
Leonard Paper is one the first companies organized by Local 570, with collective bargaining agreements dating back to the late 1940s. The company serves a wide range of customers in the Baltimore-Washington region.
Dick Stacharowski (left), senior warehouseman with 37 years on the job, said the switch to solar power will give the company significant savings long-term but an immediate benefit for him and his coworkers will be more reliable heat during cold weather. "There are times when the guys complain about the lack of heat in the aisles when its cold outside and those doors [on the dock] have to be open. That can be stressful. The new system will keep us warm. It's a great improvement!"
The latest upgrade to its facility — the installation of 1,700 solar panels on the plant's roof — will allow the company to generate clean sustainably energy for the next 30 years. According to company literature, it has fully automated on demand sensing lights in its distribution facility, nightly on-site refueling of its trucks which reduces fuel consumption, and zero landfill impact as a result of its comprehensive recycling program.
The solar commissioning ceremony included comments by senior members of the Leonard family and presentation of a Proclamation to Maryland's Greenest Distributor from Governor O'Malley by the state's comptroller, Peter Franchot.
Pictured above right: Robert Buckalew (22-yr. employee) and Marvin Hightower (19-yr. employee)