The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) 2020 Leadership Award recipients are at the forefront of green building and working to advance healthy, resilient, and equitable buildings and communities.
“These recipients are an inspiration and celebrating their achievements is a bright spot during a year that has challenged us all,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president of USGBC. “Their work reminds us to be hopeful and stay the course because a commitment to green building will be a key part of rebuilding a better world.”
The recipients represent public and private sector leaders who have shown a commitment to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), as well as improving Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance, enhancing citywide sustainability and resilience, and introducing innovative waste management solutions. This year’s honorees include the following.
Inspiring individuals leading the way
Chris Castro, director of sustainability and resilience, City of Orlando, started as a USGBC student at the University of Central Florida, then became an Emerging Professional, and today is a recognized advocate for sustainability nationally. His consistent leadership helped Orlando become a LEED Gold city.
Geoff Morgan, president and CEO, First Community Housing (FCH), oversees all operations for the nonprofit, which is dedicated to developing affordable housing in San Jose and the greater Bay Area. Morgan holds a LEED AP Homes credential and has over 20 years of experience in financing, development, construction, and operations of affordable housing projects, subdivisions, commercial real estate, historic renovations, and military base reuse.
Kim Shinn, principal and senior sustainability wizard, TLC Engineering Solutions, has been actively involved in the design or commissioning of over 200 LEED certified projects. His work has included higher education, justice, healthcare and laboratory spaces, as well as pilot projects for LEED for commercial interiors, core and shell, and neighborhood development.
Kenya Stump, executive director, Kentucky Office of Energy Policy, played an integral role in helping Kentucky become the first state to leverage the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program funding to implement Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER) certification.
Gail Vittori, co-director, Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, is the recipient of this year’s Kate Hurst Leadership Award. Introduced last year in memory of USGBC’s senior vice-president of conference and events, the award recognizes an inspiring woman who embodies the spirit, strength, and sentiment Hurst brought to her own work. Vittori is a LEED Fellow and former USGBC and Green Business Certification, Inc., (GBCI) chair whose own work is focused on the intersection of sustainable design, green building, and human health.
Outstanding companies, organizations, and projects
Autodesk powers its buildings, data centers, and cloud services with 100 percent renewable energy and has reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 43 percent since 2009. Starting in FY21 they are committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions across their entire footprint, including supply chain. They have achieved 15 LEED certifications and are supporting other projects around the world in their journey to certification using their building information modeling (BIM) software.
Chumash Casino Resort is the sixth largest Native American gaming operation in California. Managing its waste is a critical function for the resort, Tribal Ownership, and the community. Its innovative approach to diverting waste earned it TRUE Silver certification.
TCF Center is a 222,967-m2 (2.4 million-sf) convention center in downtown Detroit that achieved LEED Gold in 2019 under LEED v4.1 O+M. It is one of only a few convention centers in the world to certify under that rating system. TCF is a high-performing green building and the team is dedicated to ongoing performance measurement through GBCI’s Arc digital platform.
Vanderbilt University is home to 21 LEED-certified buildings, WELL, and PETAL projects and incorporates sustainability into their construction and renovation projects. The university has fully committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 and incorporates renewable energy power on campus. Vanderbilt’s sustainability goals were created through a collaborative effort between administrators, faculty, staff, and students.
Vornado Realty Trust achieved the GRESB Green Star Ranking in 2019 for the seventh year in a row, scoring in the top six percent of over 950 companies worldwide. They are one of the largest owners of LEED-certified properties in the United States with more than 2.5 million m2 (27 million sf) of LEED certified space.
Click here to learn more about the award recipients.