USGBC’s 2012 Leadership Awards winners announced
Annual awards celebrated at Greenbuild International Conference and Expo
By Ashley Katz
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced the recipients of its 2012 Leadership Awards, recognizing outstanding individuals who embody the vision, leadership and commitment to the evolution of green buildings and communities as a vehicle to enhance our quality of life. The awards were presented at the Leadership Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 15 during USGBC’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo held in San Francisco, Calif.
“The green building industry didn’t grow in to a global movement by chance. We got here because of the hard work and innovation of sustainability pioneers and visionaries,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC. “We are thrilled to recognize many of those individuals in this year’s awards.”
Tom Darden, Executive Director of Make It Right, a non-profit organization that builds sustainable homes and buildings for communities in need, received the Leadership in the NGO Sector Award. Make It Right has led the charge in redeveloping the Lower Ninth Ward with resource-efficient, durable homes after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
"Since the groundbreaking of Make It Right's first house, USGBC has been an important partner in our efforts to build affordable, LEED Platinum homes for families in need in New Orleans and beyond," said Darden. "I'm honored to receive this award and look forward to continuing our work together."
Healthy Building Network’s Tom Lent, Policy Director and Bill Walsh, Founder, each received the Leadership in Advocacy Award. Lent has advocated for the banning of arsenic-treated wood and educates on the environmental and health hazards of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), among many initiatives. Under the leadership of Walsh, Healthy Building Network has introduced new, healthier building materials into commercial markets and shifted more than $4 billion in materials purchases from toxic materials to healthier alternatives.
"We are proud to accept this Leadership in Advocacy Award with thanks to all the USGBC member firms who are stepping forward with us to advocate for healthy materials using our Pharos Project and the new Health Product Declaration,” said Lent.
“The Healthy Building Network is working shoulder to shoulder with leaders in the green building movement to make healthy building products a fundamental component of green building,” said Walsh. “I'm proud to accept this award honoring these efforts.”
Steve Saunders, CEO of Texas Energy Solutions, received the Leadership in the Residential Sector Award. Texas Energy Solutions is a LEED for Homes Provider, and Saunders has done extensive work to expand and advance the LEED for Homes program.
“This award is really a tribute to the leadership commitment of our wonderful clients and the dedicated effort of my coworkers – two groups I am proud to serve,” said Saunders. “I am grateful to the USGBC – particularly to the LEED for Homes team - for building a terrific platform for residential sustainability.”
Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President, Syracuse University; Joanie Mahoney, Onondaga County Executive; and Stephanie A. Miner, Mayor of Syracuse each received the 2012 Global Community Leadership Award for their collective and collaborative efforts to foster substantive change across the Syracuse and Central New York landscape. Among their many projects: Cantor has elevated the mission of green building on Syracuse University’s campus through numerous LEED building projects and a school-wide goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. County Executive Mahoney led the charge on the Save the Rain program for stormwater management and advocates for green roofs, among many sustainability initiatives. Mayor Miner has advocated for local green buildings and worked to create a vibrant, revitalized connective corridor in the city of Syracuse.
“This USGBC Leadership Award speaks to the power of innovation through collaboration,” said Cantor. “We can only tackle the profoundly complex challenges we face today such as achieving sustainability if we partner across sectors and roll up their sleeves together. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do in Syracuse and across Central New York, not only among City, County, and University leaders, but with the private sector and our neighborhoods, as well. We’re deeply grateful for this recognition, which we consider an achievement for our entire community.”
"It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by USGBC with this award," said Mahoney. "Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor have been excellent partners and we appreciate our sustainability efforts being recognized in a global way."
“It is a great honor receiving this award from USGBC,” said Miner. “I am glad to accept this recognition on behalf of the Syracuse community. We have worked very hard to become a leader in the green economy, working with start-up green tech firms, building LEED buildings across our city, renovating our airport to LEED standards, and creating a more sustainable community. I am proud to lead a city with this level of commitment to our green future.”
M. Arthur Gensler Jr., Founder, Gensler; and Donald Simon, Attorney, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean, LLP; received the President’s Award. Founder of global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm, Gensler, M. Arthur Gensler has helped pioneer green building as a business visionary and legend of the design industry.
“It is an honor for me to be a recipient of this award, but it should really be given to all the members of the Gensler design firm for their commitment to the green building movement since the founding of the USGBC,” said Gensler. Simon co-founded his firm’s Green Business Practice Group as well as USGBC’s Northern California Chapter, and has been instrumental in leading the charge behind green and sustainability law.
“I’m humbled by this honor and eternally grateful for the opportunity USGBC has provided me to blend my passion with my profession,” said Simon. “The green building movement’s overwhelming and growing success is proof positive that a small group of passionate people can state a contagion that changes the world.”
2012 Leadership Awards Recipients
Leadership in the NGO SectorTom Darden, Executive Director, Make It Right Foundation
Leadership in AdvocacyTom Lent, Policy Director, Healthy Building Network; Bill Walsh, Founder, Healthy Building Network
Leadership in the Residential SectorSteve Saunders, CEO of Texas Energy Solutions
Global Community Leadership AwardNancy Cantor, Chancellor and President, Syracuse University; Joanie Mahoney, Onondaga County Executive; Stephanie A. Miner, Mayor of Syracuse
President’s AwardM. Arthur Gensler Jr., Founder, Gensler; Donald Simon, Attorney, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean, LLP
About the Author
Ashley Katz is the Communications Manager for the U.S. Green Building Council.