Town Haul Podcast | Episode 12

  • Host: Amy Koonin (Rubicon)
  • Guest: Steve Koonin (CEO of the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club)
  • Listen Here!

Steve Koonin is a brand builder. Hopping from Coca-Cola to TNT to the Atlanta Hawks, the Atlanta legend is currently advocating for sustainability in sports. His greatest accomplishment to date? Fathering Amy Koonin, the host of this very podcast.

The two sat down to discuss the business of sustainability and what strides the Hawks are taking to protect our environment. Connecting a passion for sports with a passion for environmentalism, it’s no shock that Amy and Steve share DNA.

On taking a risk in business:

KOONIN: It’s not worth taking a risk without facts. And while to the outside, it looks like we roll the dice, the truth is we get all the facts and knowledge that we need to make educated bets. I love to analyze an opportunity and then find the opportunity in the numbers.

On the Atlanta Hawks teaming up with Rubicon to recycle waste:

KOONIN:[Recycling seats at Philips Arena] looked like lots and lots of trucks with lots and lots of seats heading out. And then Rubicon had the wherewithal to recycle them and separate them. The metal, the plastic, and all of the different pieces, and quite candidly it was a very efficient transaction for us and a very positive transaction for Rubicon because there are so much attention and passion paid to sports.

On how Philips Arena is becoming more environmentally sustainable:

KOONIN: The building was built in 1999 and there are so many things that have been invented and built since then. For example, our plumbing fixtures. Just by upgrading those we’ll save almost a quarter of a million gallons of water annually. And a significant amount of lighting has been moved from fluorescent light to LED, and most of the foodservice equipment is energy star rated.

We have partnered with a wonderful organization called Second Helping. One of the philanthropy pieces, which I really enjoy probably the most of my job, is connecting and giving back to the community.

Second Helpings takes all the cooked food that has not been contaminated, not been used or served in the building, and we deliver it to communities that night – right after the game. So, we’ve been loading trucks after the game and sending food out to communities so kids and families can get a nutritious, healthy meal. And we’re also working with the Atlanta food bank in assisting hunger. Again, playing in that basketball metaphor, and trying to provide food. No kid should go hungry in Atlanta and that’s one of our key emphases.

On Steve Koonin’s favorite child:

KOONIN: My favorite child…it is a combination of David and Amy Koonin. Come on man, you should be smarter than that. There is no favorite child.

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