A Gentleman's Call: Voting is Open

This message is brought to you by our partner, Ketel One

In July, Ketel One Vodka teamed up with GQ to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit through a program called A Gentleman’s Call: In Pursuit of an Idea that Matters.

A Gentleman's Call is inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of the Nolet family—founders of Ketel One vodka—which has been carried through for 11 generations. They created the program to find and support ideas that improve society—and society's behavior bar. Thousands of ideas were submitted, and now the field has been narrowed to five finalists. Take a look at the top five proposals below and then make sure to vote for your favorite here. The winning finalist, determined by a public vote and Ketel One judges, will receive $100,000 to make his idea a reality.

Daniel Burstein

Great ideas come at the strangest times. In Daniel Burstein’s case, an idea emerged while waiting for a traffic light to turn green. As Burstein sat stopped at a city intersection, he looked across the corner at his local grocery store and realized how much space was wasted on the building’s roof. Burstein began brainstorming practical uses for this underutilized real estate and developed a solution: turn it into an urban farming space.

These elevated gardens could be used to plant, cultivate and grow produce that would be later sold in the store literally beneath its roots. In addition to benefitting from the cooling effects of green roofs, this plan would create a hyper-local supply system that would create jobs, reduce auto emissions caused by transportation of goods, and lower product cost. Picked that morning and sold that afternoon, fresh produce gives shoppers the wholesomeness of artisanal harvesting with the convenience of a modern grocery store.

Adam Johnson

New York City is a metropolis made of steel, wood, brick and concrete. But what happens to those materials when an old building gets torn down in favor of a new architectural masterpiece? The vision of Adam Johnson and his company, Withers & Grain, is to take these items and turn them into furniture. Johnson started Withers & Grain after building custom pieces from repurposed wood of old water towers. Since then, Adam has worked with New York City agencies to source discarded industrial materials and build modern furniture using the crafts of welding and carpentry. Finding his talents shine when creating spaces for entertaining, Adam specializes in designing pieces that are used for hotel décor, dining tables and even high-end lounges.

Corbin Clay

America’s Rocky Mountains have 4 million acres of beetle-killed pinewood, which poses a large forest fire risk. However, when harvested and turned into lumber, the wood can be used for crafts such as woodworking, carpentry and furniture design. This is the root of Corbin Clay’s business, The Azure Furniture Co. Corbin saw this wealth of unused reserve as an opportunity and began building everything from office furniture and cabinetry to dining room tables and home décor, all using this abundant natural resource. The result is items that are not only eco-friendly, but also retail at an approachable price. Clay’s business isn’t just an advantage to his customer’s wallet; it also benefits the environment. By harvesting the beetle-killed trees, The Azure Furniture Co’s process reduces the chance of forest fires in the Rockies and allows the remaining trees to thrive, grow and rebuild the ecosystem around them.

Tom Rachlin

Every day, gallons of water are wasted as faucets run while we brush our teeth or wait for our showers to warm up. There may be a solution, though, by utilizing technology to collect the excess water for future use. Tom Rachlin’s Clean Water Reserve plans to do just that. Using modern mechanical engineering, the Clean Water Reserve detects unused and used water.

Consider the technology in his specially designed digital weight scale: fitted underneath the tub of a home’s shower, the system can detect whether someone is present while water is running. The sensor, when zeroed out, would know when the water is unused, collecting it into a reserve tank within the home. Once a person steps into the shower, the weight sensor would engage, changing the water’s path out of the home. Over time, the reserve tank would fill and stored water could be used for household chores including watering the lawn, washing cars or bathing a pet. Additionally, the program’s functionality could extend outside residential homes and be applied to larger commercial buildings, resulting in the reuse of hundreds of gallons of water each year.

Rance Loftsgard

What if you could help appease world hunger by eating a loaf of bread? Though the concept seems counter-intuitive, Rance Loftsgard has a dream to make it a reality. Loftsgard hopes to open artisanal bakeries in impoverished areas to turn delicious bread into needed revenue. Through a program called Bread4Change, the bakeries would create community centers and spur economic growth by providing culinary training, business education, and employment opportunities to underprivileged residents. The baked goods would be sold to local stores, grocers and restaurants for purchase.For every purchase, one loaf of bread would be donated to a family in need. At its core, the program will benefit, build and bake for a community in need to provide nourishment in more ways than one.

One of these finalists will receive $100,000 to make their idea happen. Select your favorite by voting here.

Images via Ketel One

Join the conversation on Twitter with @KetelOne and @GQMagazine, use the hashtag #KetelOne and #GentlemansCall. Visit Ketel One on Facebook.


KETEL ONE® Vodka. Distilled from Wheat. 40% Alc/Vol. ©2012 Imported by Ketel One USA, Aliso Viejo, CA

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