As a major developer, manufacturer, and seller of industrial coatings in the United States and some 130 countries around the world, DU partner Axalta is in the business of protecting and conserving natural resources. Therefore, it is only fitting that Axalta focuses its corporate giving on water conservation and sustainability projects. In fact, Axalta recently committed to working with DU through 2020.

"Helping sustain natural resources is critical to both organizations and the people they touch," says DU Chief Fundraising Officer Amy Batson. "We see this partnership growing and developing into a significant force for continental conservation."

Axalta's coatings can be seen on cars and commercial vehicles ranging from trucks and buses to ATVs and construction equipment. "Our paints are used by most of the world's leading car manufacturers, as well as in the body shops that repair damaged vehicles," says Axalta Chairman and CEO Charlie Shaver.

The coatings Axalta produces are found in less obvious places as well. They protect oil pipelines from corrosive environments deep underground. They also protect valves, building facades, lawn furniture, electric motors, and even playground equipment.

Axalta's employees take great pride in the fact that the coatings they produce preserve and protect everything they touch, conserving resources by enabling materials to last longer. These coatings extend the life of a car's body and help enormous electric generators run more efficiently by insulating them from high temperatures.

"Our employees produce great products, and they care deeply about the communities in which they live and work," Charlie says. "Each will benefit from projects that conserve wetlands and natural resources. Our support of these efforts will also help us commemorate Axalta's 150th anniversary in 2016. We look forward to doing great work together with DU."

DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt says the partnership with Axalta will fit in seamlessly with DU's Rescue Our Wetlands campaign. "We will start with priority wetland projects under the umbrella of the Rescue Our Wetlands campaign, focusing specifically on the Gulf Coast, Living Lakes, and Great Lakes Initiatives," he explains. "Our biologists and engineers will deliver crucial restoration work in these important breeding, migration, and wintering areas."

DU Director of Operations David Brakhage says partnership-driven project plans are already under way in the Great Lakes/Atlantic Region. "As part of the Great Lakes Initiative, we will restore and enhance over 600 acres of important coastal wetlands," he says. "These efforts will provide key breeding and migration habitat for waterfowl in this region."

Waterfowl wintering on the Gulf Coast will also benefit from Axalta's support. Through this partnership, more than 15,000 acres of threatened coastal prairie wetlands and marshes will be targeted by DU for restoration, enhancement, and maintenance.

Company's Leader Driven by Passion for Conservation

Axalta Chairman and CEO Charlie Shaver has a lifelong love of waterfowling and conservation. Growing up on the Texas Gulf Coast, he was surrounded by hunting culture and traditions. But he also witnessed firsthand the transformation of this fragile landscape as urbanization and development encroached on the region's wetlands. Watching these natural gems erode and wildlife suffer, Charlie turned his attention to habitat conservation at a young age. He began his relationship with Ducks Unlimited some 30 years ago while working on the Gulf Coast. Today, when his hectic schedule allows, Charlie still takes time away to hunt. He and his fellow members of the Thunderbird Hunting Club, southeast of El Campo, Texas, work closely with Ducks Unlimited on a number of coastal wetlands projects.