Learn about strategic and sustainable solutions!
February 2017
Are you the 92 percent?
Plisko Sustainable Solutions, LLC continues to serve clients based on innovative and an ever-growing range of solutions. This month, we share timeless information on systems analysis; explain subtle differences between sustainable and organic farming; define a micro-business; and introduce the PSS blog writer!
Strategy: 5 timeless characteristics of an index of performance 
Developing and assessing the best option to meet a desired project goal is not a simple task. Should the team measure economic performance such as return on investment or total cost; environmental/health impact such as energy required or emissions to the environment; or social impacts?

Regardless of the type of measurements chosen, J. Gibson (1989) recommends that measurements or indices of performance have five characteristics:
  1. Measurable: While this may seem obvious, it is imperative that you can assess how well a proposed project will achieve the desired outcome. 
  2. Objective: All observers should be able to reach the same conclusion about an observed quantity.
  3. Non-relativistic: When creating assessments, do not use moving targets; they are much more difficult to nail down.
  4. Meaningful: Measurements should relate to the project at hand and not another (hidden) agenda.
  5. Understandable: Make the measurements simple. Even when measuring highly technical or scientific works, it is best that all observers can describe the measurement in their own words.

Joan has been referencing Gibson's work -- How To Do System Analysis -- since 1989 when she took his class in graduate school at the University of Virginia, Department of Systems Engineering. This informative and timeless book has had more impact on Joan's professional track than any other.

Integration: You are what you eat, literally
Sustainable farming as defined by  sustainabletable.org is, “the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.” Essentially, sustainable farming is growing food or raising animals in a way that is most beneficial and least destructive to humans and the environment at the same time.

The terms sustainable and organic are not interchangeable when it comes to farming. Both methods are however, preferable to conventional farming since their impact (or lack thereof) on the environment and people is typically less. Both organic and sustainable farms do not use genetically modified organisms (GMOs), growth hormones, non-therapeutic antibiotics, or toxic pesticides and fertilizers. Here are some differences between sustainable and organic farming:

  • Organic farming is often large-scale and sustainable farming small-scale.
  • Organic farming methods are standardized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture while sustainable farming is not standardized. 
  • Sustainable farms aim to reduce soil erosion and nutrient depletion, are water and energy efficient, as well as low emission.
  • Sustainable farming is more humane and reduces impact on the local landscape.
  • Sustainable farming considers eco-friendly packaging as part of the process. 
Results:  We are the 92 percent!
Plisko Sustainable Solutions, LLC is a family owned and operated micro-business, which according to the Small Business Bank, can be described as a business with a total of up to five employees including the owner. More and more people of every age, particularly women and minorities, are starting their own micro-businesses because of the upward mobility and flexibility that they provide. Representing an amazing 92 percent of all U.S. businesses, micro-businesses change the dynamics of income, wealth creation and quality of life for American business owners. Meet the members of the PSS micro-business:

Joan Plisko, founder/president with 25+ years in the environmental sector.
Marc Plisko, Certified Industrial Hygienist, who provides technical review of projects and conducts environmental, health, safety and risk analyses.
Teddy Plisko, dual enrolled high school/college student, who provides writing and administrative assistance, with focus on writing the PSS blog  on the PSS website.
Lindsay Edwards, research intern from University of Maryland College Park, Ecological Technology Design major.

Holding firm to the notion that our future resides in our youth, PSS is thrilled to have both Teddy and Lindsay's knowledge, wit, and wisdom on board!
About Plisko Sustainable Solutions
Joan Plisko, PhD, President

Marc Plisko, CIH, Vice President
Plisko Sustainable Solutions (PSS) can help your company develop innovative strategies, optimize operations, and appraise performance related to environmental health, exposure assessment, and sustainability programs. The PSS team will provide expertise and guidance as you improve your company's economic, environmental, and social performance.