The private aircraft accelerating along the runway punctures the quiet morning air. Propellers whirl, engines roar to life, and before you know it, the plane has flown off into the not-so-wild blue yonder. Calm returns to the Yolo County Airport. Now, it is just the squish, squish, squashing sound of squeegee on glass as Frank Giustino, of Giustino and Son’s Window Cleaning, begins another day at the office.
You may have noticed his ladder-bedecked truck parked downtown, as you dashed into the coffee shop for an early-morning latte. Giustino is a regular fixture around Davis, known to many by his red shirt and distinctive pony tail. But if you haven’t taken a moment to talk to the man behind the squeegee, you’d probably never guess that the guy who’s reflected back from that shop window isn’t just fixing to polish up some glass. He’s ready to clean up the world.
Giustino’s love of nature, his love of the earth, has led to his newest venture, Landfill Diversion Oils. Using waste oils like the trap grease found in restaurants and commercial kitchens, and converting them into usable biofuels, Landfill Diversion Oils will help keep these wastes from clogging up the landfills.
“The type of oil we’re going to use is a true waste product,” says Giustino. “There’s no demand for it. And there is a lot of it available.”
And the added environmental bonus? This new breed of biofuel may be the balm that alleviates our petroleum dependence.
“Right now, whether we really want to admit it, we are slaves to the oil industry, the coal industry, natural gas,” says Giustino. “And that’s what the fishermen are realizing along the Gulf. They can’t even do their jobs, what they’ve done for generations. That’s what farmers are finding out. They can’t afford to harvest their crops because of the [price of] fuel.”
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as dumping the ol’ FryDaddy grease straight into the tank. Biodiesels need to be processed to meet stringent regulations and EPA standards before being legally used, sold, or distributed as fuel. Luckily, Giustino is in negotiations with a company who has perfected that technology. And if everything goes as planned, it looks like one man’s sewage will soon become another man’s super-fuel.
“For all the beating that the catch-all term ‘biofuels’ takes these days, the reality is that there’s a sustainability spectrum,” says Kumar Plocher, President of Yokayo Biofuels, Inc. in Ukiah, CA. “The bad news is that the soy, palm, and corn companies that have dominated the industry fall on the ‘unsustainable’ side of that spectrum. The good news is that there are a growing number of smaller, innovative, companies that base their business models around recycling, resource conservation, and sound energy management.”
It appears that Giustino is doing just fine with his energy management. When he’s not logging ten hour days at his window washing business, or burning the midnight oils on his quest to reformulate the fuel industry, he’s working with folks throughout the community to make Davis an even better place.
“Frank is a tremendous advocate of Davis and our relaxing lifestyle. There are many wonderful resources that make this city a great place to live and we enjoy those resources on a daily basis,” says Stewart Savage, owner of Abaton Consulting – Technology Development Services in Davis. “The World’s Greatest Bicycle Parade is Frank’s way of giving back to the community he loves.”
On Sunday, October 3, 2010, the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge will lead a community effort to break the Guinness World’s record for “largest parade of bicycles”–just one more of Giustino’s dreams that seems to be coming true. As the Committee Chair of The World’s Greatest Bicycle Parade and Liaison to the Davis Schools Foundation, Giustino is thrilled to be part of something that not only brings the community together and could possibly break a world record, but also provides crucial funding for Davis Schools.
“To see all of these people at a certain time of day, getting on their bicycles, meeting downtown, specifically to have this bicycle parade, to break a record, and to raise money–it is just a fun thought, everyone doing that for a common good,” says Giustino. “It was that visual idea that drove me this far to attempt to make it a reality. I am so blessed and amazed that other people said it was a good idea.”
Hopefully more than 3,515 people will think it is a good idea, which is what it will take to break the current record, held by bicyclists in Bangkok, Thailand.
“Breaking a world’s record is a big job, requiring lots of organizational work, a small army of volunteers, dedicated sponsors, and supportive community leaders, “ says Committee Spokesperson Dave Rosenberg. “So we’re planning a Festival in Central Park as our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the bike riders and volunteers for an expected job well done.”
Anyone interested in becoming a part of this exciting and Oh-So-Davis-y event is encouraged to go to their website at www.worldsgreatestbicycleparade.com.
As for Giustino, it seems like building businesses and building community is all in a day’s work. And it doesn’t look like he’s going to stop there. In answer to the question, how did you get this far, his reply is simple: “I decided to dream big,” says Giustino. “I wanted something big, something that’s going to make an impact.”
So, the next time you see that shiny, red Giustino and Sons truck, take a minute to say hello. When you spend time with Giustino, his enthusiasm begins to rub off. You might want to run home and scrub out the oven, write a feature film, floss. Or at the very least, dust off that bicycle. Hang around with Giustino and you begin to believe that maybe, just maybe, you can dream big too.
To join in the fun of the World’s Greatest Bicycle Parade go to their website at www.WorldsGreatestBicycleParade.com or look for their page on Facebook.
To contact Stewart Savage of Abaton Consulting – Technology Development Services, please go to the website at www.abatonconsulting.com.
You may visit Kumar Plocher’s Yokayo Biofuels, Inc. website at www.ybiofuels.org.