Johnson Controls Discovers Future Green Leaders by Igniting Creative Energy


Talented and creative students’ projects earn them educational trips to Hawaii and Washington D.C.


MILWAUKEE, March 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Johnson Controls, Inc., announces the three national winners of the 2008 Igniting Creative Energy Challenge (ICE) — an educational competition that encourages students to develop ingenious ways to live a more sustainable life and protect the environment. Out of thousands of entries, Tessa Hartley of Missouri, Matthew Belz of Ohio and Wesley Fulkerson of California are named this year’s national winners.


The contest is sponsored and funded through a grant by Johnson Controls, Inc., with additional support from Philips and the United States Energy Association, and is administered by the National Energy Foundation.

The Challenge asked students to submit projects that demonstrated ways of practicing sustainability at home, at school, or in the community. More about the winning entries follows.
Elementary School Winner — Tessa Hartley of Missouri

Tessa Hartley is a kindergartener in the St. James R-1 School District. Her winning project is a book she wrote and illustrated titled ABC’s in My Trash. The book identifies how she saved a piece of trash for every letter of the alphabet and found a way to reuse the item instead of throwing it away. Tessa’s project demonstrates that using creativity — with recycling and in life — can go a long way.

Middle School Winner — Matthew Belz of Ohio

Matthew Belz is a sixth-grader in the Upper Arlington (Ohio) City School District. His winning project is a documentary highlighting his journey to find an environmentally-friendly alternative to the polystyrene trays used in his school’s cafeteria. His extensive research led him to discover that trays made of sugar cane fiber are similar in cost and more environmentally conscious than polystyrene trays. School district officials, including the Director of Finance and Food Service Director, are reviewing Matthew’s findings to explore the possibility of changing the trays in the school’s cafeteria.

High School Winner — Wesley Fulkerson of California

Wesley Fulkerson is a junior in the Grossmont Union High School District. His winning project is a song he wrote and recorded called Its a Beautiful World. The song encourages others to make simple changes in their lives to conserve energy. It drives home the idea that if we all do little things we can collectively make a big difference.

All three students were announced as the national winners during surprise announcements in their respective classrooms, March 13 and 14, 2008. Representatives from Johnson Controls, local dignitaries, school officials and the student’s parents were on hand to congratulate each on his/her accomplishment. The winners will receive a hosted trip to Hawaii, March 26 – 30, 2008 as well as the opportunity to participate in the Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington, D.C., June 10 – 11, 2008, where they will share their Challenge entries and ideas with government and energy leaders

The Igniting Creative Energy Challenge is open to all students in grades K-12 in the United States and Canada. Students are asked to submit entries that reflect the competition theme, Igniting Creative Energy, and demonstrate an understanding of what an individual, family, or group can do to make a difference in the places they live or travel. In addition to the three student winners, there is also one teacher winner. Jean Kegerreis, a chemistry and zoology teacher in West Ottawa Public Schools in Michigan, was the teacher with the highest average score of student work from 15 or more qualifying entries is named the national winner. Ms. Kegerreis will be joining the student winners in Hawaii and Washington D.C.

The winning entries for 2008 will be posted at There also will be links from the National Energy Foundation and Johnson Controls Web sites.

About National Energy Foundation

The National Energy Foundation is a unique 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the development, dissemination, and implementation of supplementary educational materials, programs and courses that relate primarily to energy, water, natural resources, science and math, technology, conservation and the environment. These teaching resources recognize the importance and contribution of natural resources to our economy, our national security, the environment and our quality of life.

About United States Energy Association

The United States Energy Association (USEA) is the United States member of the World Energy Council. USEA is composed of approximately 150 public and private energy-related organizations, corporations and government agencies.

About Philips

Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands
(NYSE: PHG; AEX: PHI) is one of the world’s biggest electronics companies and Europe’s largest, with sales of $37.7 billion (EUR 30.4 billion) in 2005. With activities in the three interlocking domains of healthcare, lifestyle and technology and 161,500 employees in more than 60 countries, it has market leadership positions in medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring, color television sets, electric shavers, lighting and silicon system solutions. News from Philips is located at

About Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls(NYSE: JCI) is the global leader that brings ingenuity to the places where people live, work and travel. By integrating technologies, products and services, we create smart environments that redefine the relationships between people and their surroundings. Our team of 140,000 employees creates a more comfortable, safe and sustainable world through our products and services for more than 200 million vehicles, 12 million homes and one million commercial buildings. For additional information, please visit



About The Author

Igniting Creative Energy (ICE) is a national student contest that promotes creativity and environmental stewardship. ICE is unique in the realm of student contests due to a commitment to allowing rather than restricting. Entries in the contest range from poetry, videos, essays, 3d models, games to anything else a student may be able to imagine and create. ICE is advantageous for both students and teachers alike. Teachers are easily able to adapt the contest to fit with core curriculum and students have no problem making it exciting within the flexible parameters.