328 

 

The 2035 Vision with two key elements – Integrated Watershed Management and Climate Change 
Mitigation/Adaptation emphasizing Energy Efficiency -- and the commitment to sustainability drive 
actions detailed in this application.  

Key attitudes infuse MMSD’s organizational culture – all staff are instrumental to the mission and 
fulfillment of the 2035 Vision; successful progress toward its goals is predicated upon productive 
internal teams and external partnerships; encouragement for out-of-the-pipe thinking that addresses 
challenges with a “What if?” approach, and “When we work together as a region, we succeed as a 
region.” 

Interdependence is stressed with cross-organizational teams working on core initiatives such as District-
wide implementation of green infrastructure (GI), bio-solids promotion and research, and energy 
efficiency/generation advancements.  

Out-of-the-pipe thinking is exemplified by the landfill gas energy project, development of a Regional GI 
Plan identifying opportunities and establishing priorities; programs focused upstream, outside the 
service area, to positively impact WQ goals downstream through the Greenseams® and Working Soils® 
programs; and the goal to capture the equivalent of the first ½ inch of rainfall (740 million gallons) that 
falls on impervious cover in the planning area.  

Initiatives are solution oriented and research-based. MMSD has established relationships with 
universities and industry partners. The Water Council, the Fund for Lake Michigan, and MMSD formed a 
partnership to identify research topics, solicit proposals and award grants. MMSD is also a founding 
member of the NSF-funded Industry/University Collaborative Research Center on Water Technology. 

MMSD’s policies and programs reflect its commitment to workforce development and training with 
spending in this area averaging ½ million dollars annually. The District’s workforce development 
programs help individuals develop skill sets for work in trades and businesses that interface with 
MMSD’s mission and help underutilized businesses develop capacity to compete for contracts. 

A Talent Development Program preserves institutional knowledge and skills ensuring knowledge transfer 
prior to employees leaving MMSD. Key components include identification of critical positions, selection 
of Accelerated Pool Candidates, a knowledge transfer process and the development of career ladders to 
enhance upward mobility and learning opportunities. 

MMSD provides employees opportunities to learn about new initiatives and policies and discuss 
concerns through open, informal gatherings including Lunch in the Lab, Coffee with Kevin, and Brown 
Bag Lunches. MMSD fosters a strong, supportive community among its employees through its Employee 
Connection Program, Wellness Program, special events and opportunities for community service.   

MMSD, a national leader in the area of biosolids reuse, operates one of the nation’s oldest and largest 
recycling efforts. The manufacturing of its class A-biosolids fertilizer, Milorganite®, began in 1926. In 
2015, close to 44,000 tons of Milorganite® were manufactured and distributed. The iconic brand is 
known world-wide and was the model when EPA created its “Exceptional Quality Standards.” 

Milorganite® is sold in over 12,000 retail and professional distribution outlets. MMSD relies on a host of 
partnerships to effectively execute production, inventory control, packaging, shipping, regulatory 
compliance, marketing and sales.  Since its inception well over 9 billion pounds of the product has been