The worms in the company kitchen might seem like an infestation problem – but at Cities Management Inc. (CMI), it's perfectly normal.

This management firm, which specializes in condo and homeowner associations, prides itself on being different from other multifamily management companies. Its most distinguishing feature is the company's commitment to "healthy building management" – management practices that reduce the environmental impact of multifamily properties.

CMI, led by CEO Kim Carlson, promotes ecologically sensitive practices in its more than 14,000 units in the Minnesota area, ranging from water and energy conservation to using less toxic solutions in cleaning and lawn care products.

Kim Carlson, CEO Cities Management Inc.
Kim Carlson, CEO Cities Management Inc.

The company practices what it preaches. "Kim has worked diligently to lead by example," says Danie Watson, president of The Watson Group and board member of Business for Social Responsibility, where Carlson serves on the board.

CMI's headquarters is the first "green" building in Minnesota, and the worms are part of the company's compost program. The company uses the compost in flowerpots. "It's a demonstration of how everything should work," says Carlson.