Andy Swindler

March 17, 2014

Build a Better Business by Defining a Company Culture

The term “Company Culture” is thrown around a lot these days. But what does it mean? The dot-com era gave us foosball machines, Aeron task chairs and catered lunch. The tech giants that survived have everything from yoga classes to dry cleaning. The millennials demand flexibility, clear rewards and open offices. The boomers don’t know where to put their bobble heads after getting kicked out of their cubicles.


Your company’s culture is ultimately defined by your people who, by the way, also define your brand. Your brand, in turn, defines what your company exhibits as an experience for all people involved: customer, staff, mascots, etc.


Basically, your culture is good if people want to be there and hold each other accountable for being their best.

December 14, 2011

Cloved Oranges – an Inspired Holiday Tradition

This month we are sharing things that inspire us.

Personally, crafting is my passion and is a huge influence on my personal aesthetic. My work on various crafts has informed the way I look at form, function, materials and, yep, even web design.

And in the spirit of the season, I thought I’d share a simple craft project that is an olfactory delight – cloving oranges!



October 10, 2011

Astek Staff Meeting: Going Green

We’re going green at Astek! Now…define green…

Sara Gorsky

April 21, 2011

Going GREEN at the Office!

I think there is a common misconception that “going green” seems like a lot of effort for such a small contribution.  Many people say to themselves  “I don’t drink that many sodas, I don’t have enough to recycle to be worth the effort.”  But I say to you, Scrooges, that if no one makes the effort, then who will?  It is our responsibility to be shining examples to our families, our neighbors, and our fellow vertebrates (and invertebrates too- I don’t discriminate against exo-skeletons).

So what are we doing at Astek to contribute?

RECYCLING:  One of the first things I did when I started here at Astek was to put together a recycling bin.  Chicago is notorious for being a bad recycling city so it didn’t surprise me that Logan Square does not have recycling pick-up, so I knew I had to make it happen myself.   I picked up a little plastic bin and made a recycling sign for it so nobody mistakes it for a garbage bin.  It also helps to keep the paper/cardboard recycling separate so you don’t end up with a pulpy mess if someone throws in a half-full can or something.  There are recycling drop off centers all around the city and when the bin is full I take the bin with me and empty on the way home from work

My Office-made Recycling Bin

My Office-made Recycling Bin

ELECTRONICS RECYCLING:  Did you know that throwing away old electronics in your regular garbage can/dumpster is really bad for the environment?  The metal and computer parts in electronic devices not only takes a really long time to decompose, but often electronics have some kind of liquid that is highly toxic to the environment, so when you  throw it out you are poisoning the environment.  The good news?  There are lots of electronic recycling plants all around the city.  I found this great place called Recycle Tech Solutions which takes your old electronics and breaks them down safely to remove those dangerous liquids, separate the parts into basic elements and recycle or reuse every little bit they can.  They recycle everything from computers and print cartridges, to old refrigerators;  They say if it has a power cord of any kind they can recycle it!  So I gathered up the old, unused and broken equipment Astek had in storage, the used print cartridges, and even collected old electronics from the staff which they had laying around at home and drove it all over to these guys.  They were very friendly, and even unloaded the car for me!

COMPOSTING:  I have to give Andrew Crowe credit for this one- he has a compost bin at home and when we started talking about being more environmentally friendly he brought in a little plastic bin with a lid that we can put compost material in.  We put everything from banana peels to coffee grounds & filters in it and when it’s full he brings it home and adds it to his home compost.

BIKING:  A number of us in the office are getting psyched about the weather warming up soon so that we can ride our bikes to work!  Leaving the car at home is a great way to reduce you carbon footprint.  Did you know that there is a feature on googlemaps that now allows you to plan a biking route?  Google knows which streets have specific bike lanes and will map you a route to keep you safe.  A friendly reminder from all of us at Astek that you should ALWAYS wear your helmet and bring multiple bike lights with you if you might be riding at night.

No effort can be too small when it comes to cleaning up our environment.  If we all did these little things and inspired those we know to do that same it would make a HUGE DIFFERENCE!

AstekArrow4 The Social Side of National Small Business Week This post was featured in ePiphany, Astek’s Monthly Newsletter |  Other ePiphany Articles

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February 7, 2011

Astek’s Katie Hawkey Organizing Swap-O-Rama-Rama Chicago Fundraiser


Just wanted to share with our blog readers a project that is near and dear to my heart – each year I organize Swap-O-Rama-Rama Chicago, a clothing swap and series of do-it-yourself workshops in which a community explores creative reuse through recycling. I do this as a fundraiser for my mother’s school Three Sister’s Folk Art School in Chillicothe, IL. If you enjoy clothes and/or crafting, I encourage you to come out for the event!


Swap-O-Rama-Rama Chicago

Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 9am-5pm

Chicago Waldorf School

1300 W Loyola Ave, Chicago

Just off Loyola Red Line | Free Parking

Suggested Donation:  $20 + a bag of clothes ($10 Students and Seniors)

Help save the environment and get a new spring wardrobe! Bring in those forgotten clothes, swap them for something new and then get creative! You get access to everything from sewing machines to silk screens, and all the supplies and coaching you’ll need to make new outfits, bags, jewelry and more. If you’re fashion-independent, green-minded, or DIY-centric, this is for you!

Also, if you’re wondering just how pregnant I’m looking these days, check out my interview promoting the event on NBC 5 Morning Show:

Andy Swindler

May 20, 2010

Triple Bottom Line for Small Local Businesses – You Can Make It Work

The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) concept of “People, Planet, Profit“ demands that a company’s responsibility be to the people who are influenced in any way by the actions of the firm rather than the people who own it.

TBL is typically discussed in a big business context for two reasons: One, big businesses are by nature the farthest out of human touch with sustainability. Two, if you have to choose one business to make sustainable, a bigger business will have a bigger impact.


But what if we could create an integrated network of small local businesses and independent professionals with an eye on the ecological, economic, and social concepts expressed by the Triple Bottom Line related to their communities?

What if people all over the planet quietly frustrated with the status quo could find the voices of power they’ve lost in the wake of unprecedented corporate growth over the past century?

GoHuman’s vision is a world where these ideals are not afterthoughts, but rather integral and essential elements connecting every community and every business within those communities. We cannot afford for these to be abstract thoughts or luxuries. They are a necessary part of the emerging global consciousness and we need to integrate them into our personal and professional lives by igniting our tribal instincts.


In the United States and other parts of the world, the motivation to adopt this sustainable lifestyle is neither handed down by the government nor encouraged by our existing capitalist economic model. An intricate web of subsidies and loopholes has all but extinguished the basic humanity enjoyed in simpler times in favor of the almighty profit margin.

It’s not all doom and gloom. There is hope. We believe in a better way. It’s the passion that fuels GoHuman and the real people behind it — people just like you with the vision and gumption to do something about it.

It starts simply. It starts with an equitable marketplace that promotes balance amongst the people who use it by rewarding those who provide value with something equitable in return.

It starts with you.