Earth Friendly Products, one of the nation’s leading green cleaning products companies and maker of the ECOS™ brand of products, hosted a number of California and Environmental VIPs to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, in conjunction with Earth Month and in honor of Arbor Day. The event, hosted by President and CEO Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, took place at the company’s Cypress manufacturing facility. To honor its achievement, Earth Friendly Products gave back to the community by presenting a $150,000 check to the Discovery Cube Museums of Orange County and Los Angeles. The donation supports the museums’ award-winning Eco Challenge exhibit and brings green chemistry into classrooms to empower children with the tools they need to “think green” at an early age. Additionally, all employees of the company were gifted with an extra week’s salary for Earth Month.
More than 300 guests were in attendance, including:
- California Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva
- U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Deputy State Director Peter Muller
- U.S. Senator Kamala Harris’ Field Representative, Brent Robinson
- U.S. Representative Alan Lowenthal’s Deputy Press Secretary Irantzu Pujadas and Senior Constituent Service Representative Robin McCray
- U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman’s District Director, Scott Abrams
- Cypress Mayor Paulo Morales, Cypress Police Chief Rod Cox, Cypress Chamber of Commerce President Ed Munson, and members the Cypress City Council
- Actor Ed O’Ross, who starred as Earth Friendly Products’ founder Van Vlahakis in the major motion picture biography A Green Story
- Debbie Levin, president of the Environmental Media Association
- Actor Frances Fisher, Environmental Media Association board member and star of films such as Titanic and Unforgiven and television series such as Resurrection and Criminal Minds
Representatives from the University of Southern California’s prestigious Food Industry Management Program and from two of Vlahakis-Hanks’ alma maters – Chapman University and UCLA – attended the celebration. Also on hand were numerous non-profit organizations that Earth Friendly Products partners with, including the American Cancer Society, Autism Hope Alliance, Grades of Green, the National Women’s History Museum, Orange County Coastkeeper, and Second Harvest Food Bank.
Brent Robinson read a personal statement from Senator Harris that commended Earth Friendly Products for “protecting Californians with a $17-an-hour living wage.” Irantzu Pujadas and Robin McCray from Congressman Alan Lowenthal’s office commented on how Earth Friendly Products “has thrived for 50 years, not solely because of its good products, but because of its people and the Vlahakis family.” Scott Abrams from Congressman Brad Sherman’s office announced that Congressman Sherman has entered a statement about Earth Friendly Products’ accomplishments into the U.S. Congressional Record.
A plant-based luncheon, prepared by chef Brandon Hall, was served in the eco-garden under a large tent. During the inspiring afternoon, Vlahakis-Hanks spoke about her love of the environment and gave heartfelt praise to her employees. She thanked Congressman Lowenthal for his work to clean up millions of tons of pollutants from the port of Long Beach, Senator Harris for championing immigrant rights, Congressman Sherman for his support of the Greek community, Senator Feinstein for promoting policies to address climate change and support renewable energy, and Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva for her 31 years of public service. Vlahakis-Hanks encouraged guests to “read labels and know what you bring into your house,” and she thanked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for selecting Earth Friendly Products as the agency’s 2017 Safer Choice Partner of the Year.
As Vlahakis-Hanks stood on the podium, she told the moving story of her father, Van Vlahakis, a Greek immigrant who came to the U.S. with $22 in his pocket and faced many struggles. “My father was an eco-pioneer who founded this at the dawn of the environmental movement. He said that success comes to those who do the right thing – for their customers, for their employees and for the environment. The vision that guided him then continues to guide us today, as we continue to break barriers in green science. Remember that the choices you make, even the small ones, can have big consequences for your health and for our planet.”