'Green Marketing' career started with a girl's trip to a tiny Kansas store and broken jar of pickles
By Valerie Vaughan
Five-year-old Cathy Hartman didn't understand why she couldn't attend kindergarten with her sister, who was only 11 months older.
Hartman's mother realized her daughter's eagerness to learn and wanted to encourage her. She sent Cathy to the grocery store for several items, one for each finger.
Cathy scanned the shelves looking for familiar package designs of ketchup, mustard, milk and bread because she could not read the labels. Fruits and vegetables were never on her list of things to buy.
Arma, Kan., was a town of 400 people with a grocery store to suit their needs. To Hartman, however, the store was huge, filled with rows and rows of colors and shapes. She took the items to the check-out and watched as the cashier added together her purchases.
"I thought it was such a marvel to find products. I was fascinated when the clerks would count my change back," Hartman said. "I thought that when I went to school that is basically what I was going to learn, that is, how to locate things such as products and learn money exchange."
One day, Hartman's mother added a new item, pickles, to her list. She found her usual items and then carefully chose the bright green barrel-shaped jar. The jar of pickles was too heavy for Hartman to carry. Walking home, the paper sack slipped through her arms and the glass jar of pickles shattered. Hartman wasn't worried about the pickles, she was worried about the shards of glass becoming litter on the sidewalk. "I always had a definite view of my world," Hartman said. "I didn't want to litter."
A yellow and black needlepoint crest representing the University of Colorado hangs in Hartman's office as a proud reminder of her doctoral work in Boulder, Colo. A delicate English cottage teapot, bid on and purchased from eBay, that doesn't match any of her sets at home, sits on the widow sill. Two photos of Hartman's grandchildren proudly reserve space atop a desk piled with papers, exams, and books. A close look out her eighth story window of the business building may show a glimpse of the fading green at Logan Country Club and Golf Course.
These objects represent the person Hartman has become. Besides being a marketing professor and professional, Hartman has varied interests that occupy her spare time. She visits eBay, a new internet way of connecting buyers and sellers, finding new and matching teapots to bid on for her collection. Hartman also enjoys playing golf, and the green of the course is symbolic of her "green" research in marketing.
Experiments and research have always been part of Hartman's life. As a seventh-grader, she anticipated the annual science fair. She was curious to see if mice preferred cheese compared to other food choices and wanted to research their eating habits. Hartman's father allowed her to conduct an experiment in the garage.
and the jar
She didn't have very much money to work with so, she caught her own mice, her father helped make cages for the specimens, and she borrowed her grandmother's egg scale to keep track of how much weight each mouse gained. It wasn't hard finding the food for the mice either. She would use her mother's cheese and leftovers.
The experiment lasted almost a whole semester. A few weeks before completion, the experiment came to a sudden halt. The neighborhood cat broke into the garage and ate Hartman's specimens.
"I was devastated," she recalls.
Determined to succeed, Hartman tried again the next year. To avoid conflict with neighborhood cats, Hartman's father allowed her to move the lab to the basement. Her mother was against having live rodents in the house. So this year she tried to grow wheat. She found that the basement didn't offer prime conditions for growing things. There was little light and the temperature was too cold. Once again the experiment failed. Hartman believes the experiment failed because of unfavorable conditions in the lab. She also admits that she wasn't very scientific in measuring the chemicals used to water and fertilize the wheat.
"The experiment stunk more than anything," she said.
Hartman's parents helped her overcome failed science projects and encouraged her to keep on learning.
After the failed mice experiment, Hartman's mother wasn't very empathetic and instructed her daughter to deal with what had happened.
"My mother was an influence by teaching me how to deal with my problems," Hartman said.
Hartman's father encouraged interest in education. Hartman remembers her father reading to her at an early age.
"My father worked for the newspaper and would bring it home and read to us," Hartman said. He would read the comics, like Dick Tracy and Little Orphan Annie, and other stories of interest.
Hartman also gained her interest in sports from her father, a New York Yankees baseball fan, by listening to the games on the radio with him.
Grocery store experiences and growing up in Arma, an agricultural and coal mining town became the foundation of Hartman's interest in Green Marketing, the incorporation of marketing strategies and sustainability, or the idea that current actions do not compromise resources in the future.
She saw how industry made use of resources by producing coal. She also saw how the land was left in a state of ruin. The strip pits would fill with water. People would use them to swim in, but they weren't very safe. The depths were unknown and people would throw trash in them.
"I wanted to find solutions on how businesses and the environment could work together," she said.
After coming to Utah State University, Hartman met Edwin Stafford, a fellow professor. Stafford graduated from Arizona State University in Tempe with a Ph.D. in business administration. His research and teaching focuses on marketing strategies. Hartman devoted her past research to relationships between the consumer and marketer and the use of purchase pals. They combined their individual focuses and found a common interest in the environment and began their research in Green Marketing.
"We research different business cases that are green alliances and try to put new information together in a general framework of understanding," Hartman said.
A major component of their research is looking at what leads to success and failure in these alliances. For example, Hartman and Stafford have examined the green alliance between McDonald's and the Environmental Defense Fund.
This partnership succeeded by finding alternatives to using Sytrofoam packaging for products. McDonald's was still able to package food in an efficient manner and the EDF was able to cut down on harmful waste.
The two groups maintained an "arms-length relationship" and took responsibility for their own expenses. Hartman and Stafford believed these attributes to be the key to a successful relationship.
Hartman and Stafford's work as a team has made several contributions to the field of Green Marketing. Their research and analysis has been published in several scholarly journals such as Business Horizons and Business Strategy and the Environment. They have also presented papers for organizations such as the Greening of Industry Network and AMA Educators' Conference.
"Cathy and I are very different thinkers, but we balance each other out," Stafford said. "I tend to think fast, whereas Cathy is more thorough. She digests and thinks things through. She often sees the obvious that I have overlooked."
Hartman and Stafford plan to continue their research by examining different cases of green alliances. They also hope to create a Green Marketing course for the graduate program at USU. The course would work on building partnerships with other departments such as natural resources or communications.
"Working with Ed Stafford is very productive," Hartman said. "You have someone to brainstorm with and share work with. We also have a similar work ethic."
Hartman received her bachelor's degree in Economics from Pittsburg State University in Kansas in 1970. Three years later, she completed the master's program in Environmental Economics at Wichita State University.
With a master's degree in hand, Hartman embarked on new territory as she entered the work force. She began by working in the public sector as a consultant doing economic analysis in San Jose, Calif. She also tried working as a private consultant for the city of Calgary to determine the market impact of a light rail system.
Hartman's education had emphasized economics, but a common thread of marketing ran through every job she held. "In my experiences, I had moved more toward marketing than any other area. I couldn't be happier," she said.
Hartman moved to Colorado with her husband Michael for his employment. She finished her education in 1991 at the University of Colorado, when she received her Ph.D. in marketing.
After a year as a marketing professor at the University of Calgary, Hartman and her husband decided they wanted to relocate somewhere smaller and more rural. Hartman found a job listing for Utah State in a marketing newsletter. She began making contacts at the university and applied for the position. The aviation program at the university was also a factor for Hartman's husband.
After visiting Logan, Cathy and Michael Hartman fell in love with the town and made the move from Calgary.
Grocery store experiences, failed science projects, influence from parents, and a desire to learn and succeed have brought Hartman to this point in her life. As a professor at USU she shares her many experiences and knowledge with marketing students who are beginning the journey.
"She relates to marketing students by giving personal glimpses of her own life," said Laura Larsen, a senior majoring in public relations.
Hartman's excitement for marketing is shown through her teaching style.
"She can find a way to tie marketing into any aspect of life," Larsen said. "She encourages us to make those connections in our own lives."