Governor recognizes roasting company's air quality efforts

Published: Tuesday, July 1 2014 6:42 p.m. MDT

Updated: Tuesday, July 1 2014 6:42 p.m. MDT

Brandon Despain, right, shows Gov. Gary Herbert a coffee roasting machine during a tour of Caffe Ibis in Logan on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

Eli Lucero, Logan Herald Journal

LOGAN — In the compact space of this home-grown manufacturing business, a collection of equipment and people quietly carry out a job.

At Caffe Ibis Roasting Co., as a trio of roasters carefully heat exotic and unique blends of coffee beans, the business demonstrates that this is not only how you make good coffee, it is how you make cleaner air.

"We have never compromised our values to do what we have wanted to do," said Ibis CEO Sally Sears, adding that the company has embraced social justice and environmental stewardship over its 38-year history.

The roasting company installed "afterburner" equipment in the spring to voluntary reduce its emissions by 95 percent.

On Tuesday, during a visit by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Ted Wilson, executive director of the Utah Clean Air Partnership, Sears received a $15,000 check to partially reimburse her for the costs.

"This is an example of a very successful business, not only meeting air quality standards, but going above and beyond because of concern over air quality in Cache Valley," Herbert said.

The reimbursement check is part of a collaborative state effort to help an entire slate of businesses address the costs of bringing harmful pollutants down. Eleven grants totaling $160,000 were awarded in the first cycle of the funding, with another $800,000 available beginning Tuesday.

Most of the grant recipients have been paint shops that have had to switched to water-based products to bring their emissions of volatile organic compounds down.

In the case of the roasting company, Utah Division of Air Quality planner Joel Karmazyn said the addition of afterburners to reduce emissions was entirely voluntary and will help on multiple fronts.

"They're not regulated, but this will reduce reactive volatile organic compounds that impact wintertime PM2.5 and summer ozone," Karmazyn said.

For Sears, the check and the corresponding recognition was bittersweet testimony to the legacy forged by her late husband, Randy Wirth, the "roastmaster" who was killed earlier this year by a drunken driver.

On Monday, she attended the sentencing for her husband's killer. On Tuesday, she saw a piece of his dream highlighted by the governor's office.

Sears noted that her husband was stubbornly passionate about finding the right kind of afterburner emissions control equipment that would function in their workspace and connect two roasters.

"We're not done yet. We are going to continue roasting amazing coffee," she said.

Also Tuesday, the Clear the Air Challenge kicked off. For one month, residents are invited to reduce their contributions to the air quality issues along the Wasatch Front by pledging to take action.

The challenge seeks to eliminate 300,000 single-vehicle trips and 2 million miles through carpooling, trip-chaining, public transit, bicycling and other means.

Email: amyjoi@deseretnews.com, Twitter: amyjoi16

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