After a four-month search and thousands of entries, Ketel One and GQ are proud to announce the five finalists selected for “A Gentleman’s Call,” the search for one innovative, entrepreneurial idea worth a $100,000 investment. Beginning October 24th, fans can vote via Facebook to choose the concept that best personifies the pillars of craftsmanship, philanthropy and entrepreneurship and one winner will receive the investment of a lifetime to kick-start their business.
Since May 14, 2012, hopeful participants from across the nation answered the call by visiting the Ketel One Facebook page and presenting an idea, inspiration or endeavor that would raise society’s behavioral bar. Entries were judged on the way they demonstrated entrepreneurship, craftsmanship and philanthropy, pillars at the core of Ketel One Vodka in the modern world, to prove that craft and conviction are not lost arts.
From the mass of entries, five concepts were selected that exemplify a higher standard of thinking and living. The men and their game-changing ideas are:
Tom Rachlin (Boulder, Colo.) – Everyday, gallons of water are wasted. However, through mechanical craftsmanship, Rachlin has a systematic plan to turn this wasted water into a reusable resource. Rachlin’s Clean Water Reserve Project will use infrared technology to distinguish between “used water” and “unused water.” For example, when shaving, the system will determine between clean water and would collect it into a reserve tank for later use such as watering the lawn, washing a car or bathing a pet saving gallons of water each year.
Corbin Clay (Denver, Colo.) – The Rocky Mountains consist of 4 million acres of beetle-killed pinewood posing a large forest fire risk. However, when the wood is harvested and turned into lumber, the risk becomes a resource. Clay has tapped this resource for his furniture business, The Azure Furniture. Originally trained by a German carpenter and using the artisanal skills of his apprenticeship, Clay uses the abundant wood to create furniture that is crafted to be both affordable and environmentally beneficial.
Daniel Burstein (Jacksonville, Fla.) – As Burstein was stopped at a city intersection, he looked across the corner at his local grocery store chain and realized how much space was wasted on the building’s roof. The thought led to his idea to create urban farms on top of supermarkets that will yield fresh produce to be later sold in the store below. Picked in the morning and sold later that afternoon, the project offers shoppers the wholesomeness of an artisanal farmer with the convenience of a modern grocery store.
Adam Johnson (New York, N.Y.) – New York City is a jungle of steel, wood, brick and concrete but Johnson sees it as furniture. Johnson’s company, Withers & Grain, takes materials from demolished New York buildings and uses them to craft and carve sustainable design masterpieces. The result is high quality, upcycled furniture that are used in homes, restaurants and high-end, cocktail lounges across the city.
Rance Loftsgard (Philadelphia, Pa.) – Loftsgard yearns to open artisanal bakeries in impoverished areas that will provide nourishment in more ways than one. The bakeries would create community centers and spur economic growth through culinary training, business education and employment opportunities to underprivileged residents. This example of social entrepreneurship is called Bread4Change and for every loaf purchased, Loftsgard would donate one to a family in need.
“There were so many great ideas but, in the end, these five individuals truly answered a higher call,” said Carl Nolet, Jr., Executive Vice President of Nolet Spirits USA. “We’re honored to have been part of this exploration and feel that these concepts celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and virtue of craftsmanship evident throughout the history Ketel One. There is no better way to honor our heritage than by investing and fostering an idea that will set an example for modern gentleman everywhere.”
To cast your vote for the idea that matters, visit www.AGentlemansCall.com. Join the conversation, tag @KetelOne and @GQmagazine, use the hashtag #KetelOne #GentlemansCall, and visit www.facebook.com/KetelOne.
Below is Rance Loftgard's entry. To view the rest of the finalists' video entries visit A Gentleman's Call.