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USGBC's 2012 Leadership Awards highlight innovators in sustainability

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the recipients of its 2012 Leadership Awards, recognizing individuals who contribute to the evolution of green buildings and communities as a vehicle to enhance quality of life. Awards will be 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 into 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 policy director Tom Lent and founder Bill Walsh each received the Leadership in Advocacy Award. Lent advocated for the banning of arsenic-treated wood and educates on the environmental and health hazards of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Under the leadership of Walsh, Healthy Building Network has introduced new building materials into commercial markets and shifted more than $4 billion in product purchases from toxic materials to healthy alternatives.

“We are proud to accept the 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 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 an award honoring these efforts.”

Steve Saunders, CEO, 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 the LEED for Homes program.

“This award is a tribute to the leadership commitment of our clients and the efforts 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 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 efforts to foster substantive change across the Syracuse and Central New York landscape. Cantor 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 storm water management and advocates for green roofs, among other sustainability initiatives. Mayor Miner promotes green buildings and worked to create a revitalized connective corridor in the city of Syracuse.

“The USGBC Leadership Award speaks to the power of innovation through collaboration,” said Cantor. “We can only tackle the complex challenges we face today, such as achieving sustainability, if we partner across sectors. 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 neighborhoods, as well. We’re grateful for this recognition, which is an achievement for our entire community.”

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by USGBC with this award,” said Mahoney. “[Miner] and [Cantor] have been excellent partners and we appreciate our sustainability efforts being recognized in a global way.”

“Receiving this award is a great honor,” said Miner. “I am glad to accept this recognition on behalf of the Syracuse community. We worked hard to become a leader in the green economy, collaborating 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., Gensler founder, and Donald Simon, attorney, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean, LLP,both received the President’s Award. M. Arthur Gensler helped pioneer green building as a business visionary of the design industry. 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.

“It is an honor 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.

“I’m humbled by this honor and grateful for the opportunity USGBC has provided to blend my passion with my profession,” said Simon. “The green building movement’s growing success is proof that a small group of passionate people can start a contagion that changes the world.”

2012 Leadership Awards Recipients

  • Leadership in the NGO Sector: Tom Darden, Executive Director, Make It Right Foundation
  • Leadership in Advocacy: Tom Lent, Policy Director, Healthy Building Network; Bill Walsh, Founder, Healthy Building Network
  • Leadership in the Residential Sector: Steve Saunders, CEO, Texas Energy Solutions
  • Global Community Leadership Award: Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President, Syracuse University; Joanie Mahoney, Onondaga County Executive; Stephanie A. Miner, Mayor of Syracuse
  • President’s Award: M. Arthur Gensler Jr., Founder, Gensler; Donald Simon, Attorney, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean, LLP