Meet the Board of Directors
In 1990, Beth Hollenbeck began noticing a trend: the Green Consumer had been recognized as a market niche and retailers were offering products labeled "environmentally friendly." Hollenbeck was encouraged by the trend, but discouraged by the preponderance of products whose claims of being eco-friendly were either overstated or plainly fraudulent.
Hollenbeck decided to educate herself about the environmental products market. Armed with research about pesticides, recycling, energy efficiency and water pollution, Hollenbeck began compiling information about consumer products that truly stepped lightly on the earth. She began speaking to local civic and social action groups to teach them about hazardous cleaners, water conservation, and energy efficiency.
Through her public speaking, Hollenbeck found that her community was very interested in learning the truth about 'green' consumerism. Soon she was receiving calls from strangers asking her which paper, household cleaning, and pet products they should use. She provided consulting services to businesses that wished to set up in-house recycling and green purchasing programs. From the garage of her home, Hollenbeck began a catalog business, selling minimum-impact household goods.
The catalog business soon grew into a successful retail store featuring thousands of environmentally superior products. From the beginning, the store served as an icon for the community where one could learn about the issues involved in everything from solar cars to organic agriculture.
As her business grew, so did Hollenbeck's philanthropic endeavors. She organized teams of volunteers to participate in local cleanup efforts, tree plantings, and school programs, gave talks on environmental consumerism to schools and local civic groups, and was recruited by the local utility commission to serve on its conservation committee. She set up a resource room in the back of her store where citizens could read newsletters and files about environmental subjects, watch video documentaries on nuclear waste and other ecological issues, and learn of the whereabouts and missions of other environmental organizations both national and local. For these efforts, she was awarded the first Annual Hummer Nature Works Award and the Barred Owl Award of the Sierra Club, Florida Chapter.
In 1993, because the entrepreneurial ECO-Store was unable to meet the overwhelming community demand for information, outreach, and resources, Hollenbeck, Oswald Saavedra, and Robert Stonerock founded ECO-Action, an independent, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to furthering their mission
Founding Board Member
Dr. Stonerock is a physician who believes that the need to use renewable energy is a public health issue. His commitment to a cleaner environment and in particular renewable energy dates back to before he entered medical school.
Dr. Stonerock is a Rollins College honors graduate, with a B.S. in pre-med. He attended Vanderbilt Medical School in Nashville and did his 5 years of postgraduate studies at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He entered into a private multi-specialty group practice in Orlando, where he practiced Nephrology and Internal Medicine for 21 years. Currently he works part-time at Orlando Clinical Research Center as a sub-investigator doing research on investigational pharmaceutical agents.
He retired from his full-time medical practice in 1999, in order to work in the area of renewable energy. A self-educated renewable energy specialist, he has attended courses in photovoltaics and biodiesel. He was a member of the stakeholders’ group for green electricity in Florida. He served as President of the Florida Chapter of the American Hydrogen Association, when that group was active. He co-founded ECO-Action, Inc., a local grassroots environmental non-profit and has remained active on its Board of Directors. He is co-owner of The Eco-Store, Inc., an internet-based environmental retail company. He is Secretary/Treasurer of Clean Power Engineering Company, a startup engineering firm dedicated to doing renewable energy projects. He serves on the Board of Directors of AquaFiber Technologies, Inc., a start-up company which aims to clean up waterways using algae in flow-ways and other similar techniques. He has been a 15-year member of the American Solar Energy Society. He also has been a member of the Florida Renewable Energy Association since its origin and currently is its Vice-president.
His residence was the first in the City of Orlando with photovoltaics on its roof (5,400 rated watts) and the first residence to be grid-tied with Orlando Utilities. His home is highly energy efficient and has solar hot water. Currently he is building a separate solar canopy structure to hold more photovoltaic panels for additional grid-tied electricity generation (15,400 rated watts).
Dr. Stonerock lectures upon request about renewable energy and about his experience of living with solar. His goal for the short term is to generate more renewable energy than his home uses, and his intermediate term goal is for his vehicles to operate using renewable fuel exclusively.
The ECO-Canoeist joined ECO-Action in 1996. He has studied animals all of his life, with a special interest in Herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians). When growing up in Massachusetts, Steve kept a number of large Snapping Turtles under his bed where they could spend the winter. Then, he released them into the wild when they became active again, in the spring.
On his days off, he began captaining canoe cleanups, with over two hundred Florida water ways having been relieved of litter with ECO-Action efforts. We have removed tons of fishing line, tires, plastic bags, illegal traps, barbed wire and many other items that present a threat to wildlife. Steve became an ECO-Action board member in 1996 in honor of his leadership in the canoe clean-up program. Although Steve no longer participates in the project he started, he still oversees the work of the organization, and will always be the "Captain" of the fleet which has now grown to 11 canoes and has performed 500 weekly canoe clean-ups.
Steve's vision for ECO-Action: "I see a larger organization specializing in getting things done. I intend to continue contributing my efforts in writing, illustrating and captaining fleets of canoes to protect Florida's most precious resource -- water!"
Joe DuRocher joined ECO-Action as a board member in 2001. He brings with him 33 years practicing law.
He attended Villanova University (PA) earning a BS in Economics in 1960. He was commissioned in the US Navy and earned his wings as a Naval Aviator until 1965. He was awarded the J.D. degree by the University of Florida College of Law and was admitted to practice in 1967. In 1970, the Orange County Bar Association named Joe Executive Director of the Legal Aid Society. From 1971 to 1976, he served as Judge of the Juvenile Court of Orange County. Resigning from his judicial post, Joe entered the private practice of criminal, juvenile and family law.
In 1980, Joe was elected Public Defender of the Ninth Circuit (Orange and Osceola Counties). He was re-elected to four additional terms. Joe retired in the end of 2000 after 20 years of service, and is as busy as ever, between teaching a survey course in paralegal at University of Central Florida, writing book reports and articles for The ECO-Action Gram, and maybe even a book off in the near distance future?
The American Bar Association bestowed Joe Durocher with the Dorsey Award in '2001' for outstanding public defender of the year. It is indeed an honor to be recognized by one's peers. Bravo! Joe.
Linda Chapin (Mayor of Orlando) had this to say about ECO-Action's Joe DuRocher: "Our community should pause to recognize this honest public servant, this good and decent man."
We are so sad to tell those who do not already know that our dear friend, mentor, supporter, and ECO-Action Board Member Joe Durocher died in May. We miss him very much and will never stop cherishing the kindness and advice he freely gave to us over the last twenty years.... Rest In Peace, Joe.