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We are Hiring an Envision Verification Specialist

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: VERIFICATION SPECIALIST  

Who we are
The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) is a nonprofit education and research organization based in Washington, D.C. We were established in 2010 by the American Public Works Association (APWA), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). In 2011, ISI and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design collaborated to develop Envision®. Envision – developed, managed and administered by ISI – is a holistic framework and rating system that enables a thorough examination of civil infrastructure’s sustainability and resiliency. We train and credential public- and private-sector leaders, students, and other stakeholders in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry on Envision; we offer a third-party verification program that rates projects; and we work with member organizations and partners to accelerate positive change. To date, we have verified more than 100 infrastructure projects in the United States, Canada and abroad, and more than 8,000 people have taken our training program to become Envision Sustainabilty Professionals (ENV SPs). Currently we count as members more than 200 private companies, 130 public agencies, and 25 academic institutions.

Our Mission

ISI envisions a day when all infrastructure projects worldwide are designed and built to be sustainable, resilient, and equitable. To ensure that happens, we provide people with the tools, resources, and roadmaps needed to succeed. Better infrastructure equals a better world. And working together, we can help communities, businesses, and people thrive and prosper while restoring and healing the planet.

The Role
The Verification Specialist plays a crucial role in the ongoing growth and development of the Envision verification and awards program. The Verification Specialist works alongside contracted third-party verifiers to undertake documentation reviews of infrastructure projects seeking Envision verification. The Verification Specialist directly liaises with third-party verifiers and ensures timely, consistent, and high-quality project verifications. The Verification Specialist ensures the correct application of ISI guidance and policies, collaborates with the Verification Director to develop and implement tools and strategies to further grow the program, and will support both third-party verifiers and applicants.

 

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Thoroughly review project submissions against the Envision sustainable infrastructure framework to ensure consistency and quality across all project reviews.
  • Develop and maintain excellent relationships with contracted third-party verifiers.
  • Liaise with third-party verifiers during the verification process and support them in correctly interpreting requirements.
  • Develop tools and other guidance materials to support third-party verifiers and applicants.
  • Maintain a database of verification decisions and responses to technical inquiries.
  • Respond to general and technical questions about the Envision verification process/specific requirements
  • Identify and escalate issues to the Verification Director
  • Participate in staff and committee meetings
  • Provide administrative support for the verification program
  • Other duties as required


Work Environment

  • This position may either be based at ISI’s Headquarters in Washington, DC, or work remotely.
  • Work hours can be flexible, but core hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) are expected to respond to customer needs and actively engage with ISI staff.
  • Required attendance at bi-weekly staff meetings.
  • We do not expect this position to require regular travel. (Due to the pandemic, ISI staff members are not currently traveling.)

Qualifications

Education and work experience

Skills

  • A high level of familiarity and training in the Envision® system is preferred.
  • Experience developing and/or applying sustainability frameworks and rating systems on buildings, infrastructure projects and/or communities, is preferred.
  • Must be organized and have strong project–and time–management skills, including the ability to prioritize and multitask several projects.
  • Proficient writer and communicator, possessing strong copy-editing skills.
  • Adept at using Excel and other Microsoft Office programs.
  • Must have an excellent command of the English language and produce quality products tailored for targeted audiences. Fluency in additional languages (particularly Spanish and/or French) is considered an asset.

Personal Qualities

  • Passion for sustainability, infrastructure, environment, and/or engineering
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • A self-starter who possesses sound judgment
  • Service-oriented with the ability to work independently or as part of a team

Remuneration

Salary: $60,000 – $70,000

Benefits: health, dental, vision, and life insurance; Health Savings Account; company-matched retirement plan with up to 5% match; quarterly stipend for internet and phone expenses.

Vacation: Four (4) weeks; all federal holidays per the United States or Canadian calendar; five (5) sick/mental health days per year.


ISI’s Commitment to Inclusion

ISI is an equal opportunity employer, and we remain steadfastly committed to creating a diverse and inclusive work environment. Our dedication to promoting diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion is clearly reflected in our work and within the Envision framework, and we partner regularly with organizations to champion these ideals. We are tenacious in our pledge to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace and will evaluate qualified applicants without regard for race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, and other protected characteristics. Accommodations will be made for employees with disabilities.

 

To Apply

Applicants must submit a cover letter and resume clearly describing how they meet the qualifications for this employment opportunity. Send by email only to: hr@sustainableinfrastructure.org, no later than Wednesday, June 25, 2021.

You can download the full description here in Word document form.

You can also download a pdf.

WSP Advocacy on Envision & Standards

Right now, the one message that needs to get through to elected officials when it comes to building back better is that new projects must be designed and delivered using Envision. Using ENV SPs and the Envision framework on new projects will help communities meet climate change targets, create jobs, achieve environmental justice goals, and cut GHG emissions. 
 
To that end, we wanted to make you aware of what’s happening on the advocacy front. On March 17, Tom Lewis, PE, JD, an executive with WSP, submitted testimony in front of the US House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee on “Making the Business Case for Climate Solutions”.  He talked in part about ICSI and the importance of standards and tools, like Envision.
 
The Chair of the T&I Committee asked a specific follow-up question to which Tom Lewis  emphasized the importance of the ASCE Sustainability Standard and Envision. You can read his response here
 
When it comes to informing our local, state, regional, and federal officials on the importance of using Envision we have a great deal of work ahead.  If you need tips on how to advocate for Envision, check out our ‘Sustain it or Explain it’ (SOE) advocacy toolkit.

Advocacy Emails to City, County, State, and Federal Officials

As part of the ‘Sustain it or Explain it’ (SOE) ACT NOW Advocacy Podcast on August 26, 2021, ISI is holding a raffle. There are three ways to enter:

1) invite a guest to the podcast who cares about sustainable infrastructure but is not familiar with Envision.

2) send a question to ISI that you would like to ask the advocacy panelists. (Anything related to advocacy, sustainability, resiliency, climate change, or infrastructure policy.) Just email your question to ISI’s Marketing and Communications director, Dyan Lee, at  lee@sustainableinfrastructure.org

3) or copy and paste one of the emails below and send it to a city, county, state, or federal elected official of your choosing. Simply take a screen shot of the email and send it to lee@sustainableinfrastructure.org.

Prize giveaways include: 150 dollars’ worth of new sustainability books and Envision mugs. (Each book was based on recommendations from industry professionals.)


County Email / City Email

Dear [insert lawmaker’s name],

I am writing to you today to inform you of a comprehensive infrastructure sustainability framework that could help [insert community] cut GHG emissions, create good-paying jobs, foster environmental justice, and address the climate-change crisis. That proven solution is the Envision® framework and rating system, provided by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), an educational nonprofit in Washington D.C.

Miami-Dade County, Houston, New York City, and Kansas City are just a few of the communities that created ‘city or county’ ordinances requiring Envision to design and build sustainable, resilient, and equitable civil infrastructure projects. Our community can—and should—do the same!

Envision encourages communities to work closely with infrastructure stakeholders to innovate and think critically about the projects being created. Envision also helps public and private agencies save money if applied early within the design process and carried through the life cycle of the project.

If our community makes Envision a requirement, we can build more resilient and sustainable roads, bridges, dams, water, and wastewater facilities, wind farms, airport facilities, community parks, pipelines, and other civil infrastructure, thereby, meeting our goals for the 21st century.

Please feel free to reach out to me to learn more or visit ISI’s website.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration

 

Sincerely,

 

[Insert name]
[Insert title and company]
[insert email / snail mail address]
[insert phone number]


State Email

 

Dear [insert lawmaker’s name],

 

I am writing to you today to inform you of a comprehensive sustainability framework for civil infrastructure that if adopted by our state can help cut GHG emissions, create good-paying jobs, foster environmental justice, and address the climate-change crisis. That proven solution is the Envision® framework, provided by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), an educational nonprofit in Washington D.C.

California is currently considering a bill that includes Envision as a requirement to build sustainable, resilient, and equitable civil infrastructure. Our state can—and should—do the same!

Envision is a comprehensive, tried-and-tested strategy that encourages communities to work closely with infrastructure stakeholders to innovate and think critically about what they build. Envision can also help public agencies and the state save money if applied early at the onset or in the design phase and used throughout the life cycle of the project.

If our state makes Envision a requirement, we will be successful in meeting our 21st-century goals of delivering more resilient and sustainable roads, bridges, dams, water, and wastewater facilities, wind farms, airport facilities, community parks, pipelines, and other civil infrastructure.

Please feel free to reach out to me to learn more or visit ISI’s website.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration

 

Sincerely,

 

[Insert name]
[Insert title and company]
[insert email / snail mail address]
[insert phone number]


Federal Email

 

Dear [insert lawmaker’s name],

 

I am writing to you today to inform you of a comprehensive infrastructure sustainability framework that if adopted on a federal level can help the nation cut GHG emissions, create good-paying jobs, foster environmental justice, and address the climate-change crisis. That proven solution is the Envision® framework, provided by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), an educational nonprofit in Washington D.C.

Just as LEED was adopted as a federal requirement for buildings, Envision should be a requirement for designing and building sustainable, resilient, and equitable civil infrastructure.

Envision is a proactive strategy that encourages communities to work closely with infrastructure stakeholders to innovate and think critically about the projects created. Envision can also help save money if applied early within the design phases and used throughout the life cycle of the project.

If we make Envision a requirement, we will meet our nation’s 21st century goals. We can embed Envision into the process and build more resilient and sustainable roads, bridges, dams, water, and wastewater facilities, wind farms, airport facilities, community parks, pipelines, and other civil infrastructure.

Please feel free to reach out to me to learn more or visit ISI’s website.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

[Insert name]
[Insert title and company]
[insert email / snail mail address]
[insert phone number]

 

 

Earth Day Video Podcast Q&A


We recently sat down with ISI’s Chairman of the Board (& CEO of Autocase), John Williams, to talk about why Envision is the solution for building back better. The following is a list of questions and answers from John.

You may also watch the 30-minute ‘Sustain it or Explain it’ (SOE) video podcast with John and Frank Sherkow, who is on ISI’s SOE task force. In addition to the answers below, John and Frank share their thoughts on how Envision can help private and public agencies build better civil infrastructure. 

ISI Question: What do you think about the proposed infrastructure plan?
John Williams’ Answer: “I’ll begin by weighing in on the debate as to what is and isn’t infrastructure.
I agree with a recent Washington Post Opinion piece (April 6th) entitled, “Our debate over ‘real’ infrastructure is dumb.” Here is why I agree: (Let’s connect some dots.)
The systems and services that influence the stability of the planet, health and well-being of society, economy of nations, regional competitiveness, and resilience of communities are Economic Infrastructure.

Well beyond bridges within transportation networks, these systems deliver the necessities of a growing economy including: energy, water, waste services, communications and data networks, health and education, child and elder care,
public space, safety and resilience, as well as the standards and rules
including the Envision Rating System that shape, mold, deliver, and hold the systems together. They’re necessary investments that in the U.S., have been short-changed for more than 50 years.

The pandemic, ice storms, recession, and expanding wealth gap have revealed the extent of our vulnerability and declining competitiveness. It is time to invest again, this time in solutions to 21st century challenges while insisting on fair and equitable results. Investments should be prioritized based on merit and Life Cycle Cost effectiveness (LCCe) – you will be hearing that term LCCe much more as well as merit-based funding very soon. In the meantime, there are planning and policy tools already in place including Envision (note that V3.0 LD 3.3 already addresses LCCA and different levels of Cost Benefit Analysis)

A few more hints already out there include: the new Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings; guidance from OMB Circular A-11; the Capital Programming Guide, 10 CFR Part 436, Subpart A.; and the NIST and Federal Energy Management Program and (FEMP) Life Cycle Costing Manual for the Federal Energy Management Program (Handbook 135).

Each of these require consideration of the value of carbon as well as other public benefits and their social, environmental, and economic returns on investment in exchange for public funding.

I know we are all hoping that massive sums of money will simply flow into system of practice that are dumb in today’s world.

If you expect to benefit from those funds, be ready to produce smart
Economic Infrastructure, including fair-and-equitable solutions that deliver returns on investment that are postively impactful across the triple bottom line. That’s how we will create Economic Infrastructure that assures a sustainable future.”

ISI Question: You’ve worked with Envision and have been in this industry for a long time… why is Envision the right tool to help communities and others build better infrastructure, and why should communities be putting it into policy?
John Williams’Answer: “Sustainability and resilience are broad and complex subjects. Design professionals need the benefit of well-thought-out guidance consistent from project to project and jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

In 2007 there were nearly 900 sustainability assessment tools around the world – many were propriety –none represented a standard. They weren’t helpful. They produced confusion, conflict, and there was resistance to the use of a system that someone else created and might derive financial benefit from.

Forget about comparability. A group of us recognized that ASCE, ACEC, APWA, and the Harvard Zofnass Program were offering similar but different rating systems. They were contributing to the challenge of getting to an accepted standard.

The decision was made to join forces to combine the best features of each of those five systems. That was when ISI born. ISI’s President, when he was part of the original Zofnass team, worked with Bill Wallace and others to reconcile the legacy systems into Envision 1.0.

As a result, we finally have a broadly recognized system that meets the industry’s overarching goal of assessing the sustainability of a wide range infrastructure projects.

Hundreds of charter firms signed on (many shelved their own efforts to create proprietary tools), public agencies like LA Metro, the PANY&NJ, Kansas City, and many other jurisdictions, as well as all levels of government.

Most importantly, thousands of planning, design and construction professionals signed up for training and earned their ENV SP credentials.

Over less than 10 years, billions of dollars in Envision verifications have been completed. Today, ISI is self-sustaining, has a growing staff, and a presence across North America and the EU.

ISI is filling a need for a: high-quality, time-tested standard that is objective and consistent. Our findings are comparable and thousands of professionals know how to use Envision.

Public entities see value in making the case for sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

Fast forward to Earth Day 2021 and the good news that public policy makers and their procurement officers have discovered that they can specify the use of Envision and know exactly what they will get: competence, comparability, and credible findings – not to mention membership in a community of sustainability professionals that are making a huge difference for future generations.”

ISI Question: We’ve had some success with getting Envision into policy, specifically in places like New York City, Los Angeles, Kansas City, and a few others communities… there’s even a bill in the state of California that mentions Envision… but we need to take this further… what do we need to do? How can we move this forward and gain more ground?
John Williams’ Answer: “We are focused on accelerating the pace at which we are scaling the use of Envision. We know that LEED preceded us and it was thanks to a federal mandate and subsequent state and local mandates that catalyzed explosive growth.

Given emerging federal policy encouraging the development of sustainable and resilient infrastructure and insisting on objective evidence of those results– now is the time to press hard on policy makers, including federal agencies that fund infrastructure projects – and encourage them to think beyond LEED and sustainable buildings to achieve similar outcomes with horizontal construction and civil projects.An Envision ratings backed by LCCe assessments and business cases, should be essential evidence that concrete steps have been taken to deliver the right projects for the right reasons.

If we follow the money through layers of government to the project level and show how the implementation of Envision even addresses criteria for merit-based funding along with LCCe requirements, we should be on our way.”

ISI Question: Any final thoughts you would like to convey?
John Williams’ Answer: “I hope this podcast audience will consider participating in an upcoming conference called the, “Triennial Summit – Planning for Climate Change and the Enhanced Resilience of Civil Infrastructure” being held virtually on May 25 and 26th.

I will be representing ISI and joining leaders from the ASCE, Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and the Institution of Civil Engineers for the plenary panel on a “Global Engineering Commitment to Sustainable and Climate Resilient Infrastructure.”

Consider joining us.”

You can also download the questions and answers here.