My Summer of Grease

Before beginning my internship, I could have told you that Breckenridge, Colorado would be an ideal place to spend the summer.  What I could not have told you with such confidence is that an internship revolving around grease would be just as enjoyable.  I can now attest to both. My work with grease was equally as gratifying as the beautiful scenery in which I was surrounded.

I was lucky enough to be only the second intern to ever work for Dara Lor, Founder and President of Summit Greasecycling (SGC). With a company of this size, the responsibilities are all-inclusive.  My duties focused on systemizing and running his office, to marketing and managing some of his new products, to physically assisting in collecting the grease.  It was with this wide range of responsibilities that I was really able to learn more than I ever could have expected—an experience that is truly unique to a small business such as SGC.

SGC is a young, grassroots company that collects and recycles the local restaurant grease throughout Summit County and the surrounding areas.  With this yellow grease that most people consider “waste”, Dara is able to create purified veggie oil which is then used to produce a number of products such as biodiesel, soap, cleaners, and industrial lubricants—clearly there is a difference in how Dara and most people perceive the value of grease.

While Dara knew from the beginning that grease could be commoditized, it was a long road to get SGC where it is today.  After four years of building a business out of blood, sweat, tears, and trash (literally—Dara’s business and house is made from over 85% reclaimed materials), SGC is now at a place where it is really ready to take off.  Dara has accumulated over 150 accounts, tripled his operations, and is now heading a biofuel association comprised of businesses across the country striving to succeed in the biofuels industry just like him.

Dara will rightfully admit it was not superior intelligence or a wealth of resources that fostered his success, but rather an innovative idea that was executed with passion and commitment.  Unlike most businesses out there, it was not economic incentives driving Dara and his business, but his deep passion for people and the planet and his ability to live and work off of minimal resources.  It was this unique mentality and life style that I had the opportunity to witness and experience myself that made the greatest impact on me.  I saw it as a testament that Business as UNusual is certainly possible with a little luck and a deep passion and commitment to your end goal.

-Cassidy Williams

Sustainable Business Practices
University of Oregon
MBA Candidate 2012

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.