Former GV vice president to be inducted into Sustainable Business Hall of Fame


Courtesy / GVSU, Amanda Pitts

Jacob DeWeerd, Staff Reporter

James Moyer, former Vice President of Facilities Planning at Grand Valley State University, is being inducted to the Sustainable Business Hall of Fame by the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.

Moyer worked in GVSU’s Facilities Services department for 22 years and oversaw the development and expansion of many important additions to GVSU’s campuses.

His induction comes after his previous retirement in March 2018.

Moyer arrived at GVSU in 1996 when the Facilities Planning team was made up of three people, including him and another brand new employee that arrived on the same day. Throughout his 22-year tenure, the team grew to twelve people and oversaw the expansion of GVSU’s campus, which has increasingly valued sustainability and efficiency in all its buildings. In addition to heading a team doing essential work for GVSU, Moyer has always been beloved by his colleagues for his professionalism and care for his peers.

Shannon Sullivan, one of Moyer’s longtime coworkers, first met him in 1998 when he worked for a subcontractor doing electrical work for the DeVos Center on the Pew Campus.

“As a fresh college graduate, I remember James as a highly professional articulate Project Manager,” Sullivan said. “He was very kind to me from the first time I was introduced to him.”

Moyer has long been a supporter of LEED-certified construction projects, and GVSU adopted the standard for its new buildings in 2005.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and buildings that receive LEED certification are more energy-efficient, less expensive to maintain and are generally much better for the environment. Sullivan recalled that Moyer championed LEED benefits on every project they collaborated on.

“James was a tireless advocate for LEED building principles and sustainability,” Sullivan said. “He was not just interested in a plaque on the wall or the recognition. He was interested in the long-term energy savings and quality of building that the University would own over the next 50 plus years.”

Moyer led the development of 24 LEED-certified buildings at GVSU, perhaps the grandest of which is the Mary Idema Pew Library on the Allendale Campus. That building received a LEED Platinum certification, which is the highest rating the organization awards. The Pew Library is constructed of 90% recycled materials and the energy efficiency of the building will pay dividends for decades. The library is one of Moyer’s favorite projects because he and his team had to get creative during construction.

“With the assistance of the library staff, we determined where the books would go in the new building nearly a year before the move to the new building,” Moyer said. “When the library shelves were completely installed in the new building, we literally rolled the books to their final location in the new building or into the book storage system.”

One of Moyer’s other lasting legacies at GVSU is a scholarship in his name, focused on students pursuing degrees to help the aging population with recovery from disease and injuries. The scholarship also aims to help foster careers that will help older folks receive in-home care. Moyer said the scholarship was a complete surprise to him, and that the subject of the scholarship is based on his own parents.

“GVSU has a very unique way of saying thank you to its staff as well as its many contributors,” Moyer said. “There is no way for me to quantify the appreciation for the health and other care aids which enabled my parents to live in their home until their deaths. And as this country grows older, others will face the same challenges my family faced with aging parents.”

Moyer’s work at GVSU will ensure the University operates efficiently and sustainably for decades to come, and GVSU’s leading example will pave the way for other universities to adopt similar efficiency standards. Induction into the Sustainable Business Hall of Fame is a celebration of a lifetime of achievement in sustainable business practices, which Moyer has undoubtedly earned through his passion for energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly work.

Moyer’s induction ceremony will take place at the seventh Annual Triple Bottom Line Bash at the Fulton Street Farmers Market on Oct. 8.