ENV SP Spotlight: Jesse Unke of RAM Consulting

Jesse Unke is both a professional engineer in Canada and the United States, and the Director of Project Management at RAM Consulting in Vancouver, British Columbia. He works on a variety of transportation and utility projects, ranging from complex, high-profile projects to smaller capital programs. In addition to being an ENV SP, he is a Project/Risk Management Professional (PMP/RMP), LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) and a MMCD Certified Contract Administrator (CCA).

ISI had an opportunity to connect with Jesse to learn more about his work, and his experience with Envision.


Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI): Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you enjoy most about your career.

Jesse Unke (JU): My career in the civil infrastructure industry started over 18 years ago. The things I enjoy most about my job are developing a deep understanding of a client’s drivers, working creatively and collaboratively as a team, implementing successful strategic initiatives, and engaging diverse sets of stakeholders.

I am actively engaged in the project management/construction community in British Columbia. Currently, I volunteer as President of the British Columbia Construction Roundtable (BCCR) and serve as a Board Member with both the American Association of Cost Engineers – British Columbia (AACE-BC) and Young Professionals in Energy – Vancouver (YPE).

Professional Experience

(ISI): What drew you to your field of work?

(JU): I like using my talents as a problem solver and critical thinker to devise holistic solutions to complex issues. From an early age, construction was very interesting to me. That led me to a career where I can make positive contributions to society and help build communities.

(ISI): What would you say has been your biggest career challenge? What about your proudest career moment?

(JU): My biggest career challenge has also been my proudest career moment. A component of my role at RAM is business development, and I was tasked with implementing the firm’s forward-thinking vision with an emphasis on our core values of safety, innovation, integrity, sustainability, and fun. I am very proud that my contributions helped to triple the size of the firm in just a few years.

Envision Experience

(ISI): How did you learn about Envision?

(JU): I came across some online articles featuring Envision projects in doing research on innovation and sustainable practices. I was impressed. This prompted me to look explore the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s website and ultimately pursue an ENV SP credential.

(ISI): Why did you decide to pursue an Envision credential?

(JU): I have been a long-time believer in sustainable practices. Several years ago, I became a LEED AP through the Canada Green Building Council. It was the only credential available for demonstrating proficiency in sustainability at the time. However, I found that LEED was really focused on vertical, occupied buildings. As my firm’s focus is in the heavy civil and electrical infrastructure sectors, my ENV SP credential gave me a much better understanding of how to integrate sustainability into infrastructure projects. It also helps me to represent my expertise in this area to clients and fellow team members.

(ISI): How are you and your organization using Envision? 

(JU): RAM’s core values include innovation and sustainability. As thought-leaders in our field, understanding Envision is important to staying current on global trends and best practices. Being well-versed in environmental regulations and practices is critical to our business model. Envision offers a framework through which social, environmental, and economic considerations can be evaluated during the construction process.

(ISI): How are you putting your ENV SP credential to use?

(JU): In becoming an ENV SP, I really came to learn and appreciate the Envision framework and the level of detail associated with each credit. While I have yet to apply Envision to an active project as an ENV SP, the knowledge I have gained allows me to bring helpful insights to infrastructure projects across our portfolio.

(ISI): What does sustainable infrastructure mean to you?

(JU): Right now, it means being innovative. It means learning from the past, but not limiting our solutions to past approaches that lacked consideration of social, economic, and environmental implications. It means being forward-thinking in that the infrastructure we are building today will shape the well-being of tomorrow’s communities. Sustainable infrastructure brings benefits to people today and sets up future generations for success.

Fun Facts

(ISI): What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?

(JU): I enjoy weight training in the gym, playing soccer, and hiking with my dog and wife on the weekends.

(ISI): What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

(JU): I am a certified personal trainer and I’ve built over 20 classic lowrider cars.

ENV SP Spotlight: Cristina Contreras of Harvard University

Cristina Contreras is a Research Associate in the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University, where she focuses on promoting sustainable practices in infrastructure projects on a global scale, with a special emphasis on emerging economies. Recently her work has focused on the business case for sustainable infrastructure.

Professionally, Cristina is a member of several working groups in sustainable infrastructure including the “United Nations Environment Programme’s Expert Working Group on integrated approaches to sustainable infrastructure”, American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) “Sustainable Infrastructure Standards Committee – Leadership Writing Group” and the “Planning Committee on Global Sustainability”.

ISI had an opportunity to connect with Cristina to learn more about her work, and her experience with Envision.

Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI): Cristina, in addition to the outstanding work you do at Harvard, could you tell us about some of your other work and current pursuits?

Cristina Contreras (CC): In addition to my research at Harvard, I also work as an independent sustainable infrastructure expert collaborating with financial institutions and international organizations in the US, Latin America and Europe to incorporate sustainability into their practice.  My work has allowed me to first, focus on understanding the tools and frameworks that currently exist to quantify sustainable infrastructure, and second, reflect on the main impediments we face to streamline sustainability in infrastructure projects.

As part of my interest in understanding the different tools and frameworks that currently exist to quantify sustainability in infrastructure at the global scale, I have worked on the development of the Sustainable Infrastructure Tool Navigator. This online platform aims to consolidate and provide easier access to existing tools, guidelines, benchmarks etc., helping better understand how to integrate sustainability in the different phases of the infrastructure project lifecycle as well as to allowing stakeholders identify the tool that better fits their needs.

During the last years I have also collaborated on the development and strengthening of different taxonomies for prioritization and screening of investment projects and programs towards more sustainable infrastructure, as well as advising on the incorporation of sustainability practices on National Infrastructure Plans.

Professional Experience

(ISI): What drew you to your field of work?

(CC): I consider myself a very curious person, always eager to learn new things. That is precisely what made me come back to academia after spending several years working in the private sector back in Spain, my country of origin. I believe that the exploration of synergies between research and industry allows us to push our boundaries and explore new ways to solve existing problems. I became interested in sustainability in infrastructure when I realized that this was the only possible path to development while minimizing the impact that we have in our communities and the environment as a whole.

(ISI): What would you say has been your biggest career challenge to-date?

(CC): Achieving a multidisciplinary view of sustainability and further educating myself in this quickly changing field has been rewarding but also challenging. The work that I have developed during the last decade has evolved from an almost entirely technical focus to a more policy and an economic driven approach. From an engineering perspective, we tend to think that having a great idea is enough to solve a problem; however, I quickly learned that listening to other people’s perspectives and understanding their challenges it is the only way to ensure a truly integrated approach.

(ISI): What has been your proudest career moment?

(CC): During the last couple of years, I have had the opportunity to participate in the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development that takes place at UN headquarters. My collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research was centered around building capacity and sharing good practices regarding the key role of sustainable infrastructure to help on the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Recording available.

Another proud moment in my career was the delivery of a commencement speech this last spring at the “Universidad Europea” in Madrid. The opportunity to address new graduates in the fields of architecture, engineering, and design and share with them some of the lessons that I have learned during my professional career was a very emotive moment for me.

(ISI): You have a wealth of experience in sustainable infrastructure and have explored it from multiple perspectives and angles. Are there any stones left unturned for you? What else are you interested in doing in this field?

(CC): During the last few years, most of my work has focused on the integration of sustainability practices in emerging economies. As such, numerous challenges regarding governance and lack of capacity have come across as some of the complexities to be addressed. It is for this reason that moving forward I would like to focus more on building capacity and providing training to decision makers, and other stakeholders as part of the effort to incorporate infrastructure in different markets. This includes providing training in other different languages. To this day I have had the opportunity to organize numerous training workshops in Spanish.

Another interest moving forward is to advance the understanding of how the sustainable infrastructure indicators are aligned with other frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to help recognize the commonalities between sustainable infrastructure and sustainable development. The work conducted in this regard during the last years will be presented in the forthcoming course “Sustainable Infrastructure: Learning from Practice” starting next spring 2020 at the Harvard University – Continuing Education.

Envision Experience

(ISI): For the benefit of our readers, could you tell us how you originally learned about Envision?

(CC): I’ve been a member of a key partner on the development of the Envision rating system—the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University—since 2012. As such, Envision has been directly or indirectly present in the work that I have done ever since.

(ISI): Why did you decide to pursue an Envision credential?

(CC): After working with Envision since it was first launched, I pursued credentialing as an Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) in 2013 and later as an Envision trainer in order to promote and educate sustainable infrastructure concepts.

(ISI): How are you using Envision?

(CC): During the last few years, I have had the opportunity to work on the application of Envision from a research standpoint in roughly 40 projects distributed across 12 countries in Latin America. I have analyzed the sustainability performance of a wide diversity of infrastructure projects including wind farms, Photovoltaic plants, airports, roads, ports, water treatment plants, and mass transits among others, representing a total investment of around 20 billion USD.

Envision has also been a fundamental tool in capacity building activities conducted during the last few years. This has included the coordination of Envision sustainability credentialing workshops, engagement with public officials to raise awareness on the importance of sustainability and elaboration of cross comparative analyses regarding the evolution of the sustainable infrastructure field and the existing tools and frameworks.

(ISI): Can you share some highlights in terms of how you’re putting your ENV SP credential to good use?

(CC): I have had the honor of leading the first Envision Certification Workshops in Spain, an effort to build capacity around sustainable infrastructure in other regions of the world and in other languages. During three consecutive years working in collaboration with the Spanish Association of Civil Engineers (Colegio de Caminos Canales y Puertos), representatives from numerous construction and engineering companies in Spain have gotten trained on the use of Envision and the benefits that sustainability can bring to their companies and their clients. These workshops were delivered in Spanish.

(ISI): With all this work you do in sustainability, and knowing that sustainability is defined differently by everyone, what does it mean to you?

(CC): For me sustainability is a new way of living and an opportunity to going back to the drawing board and ask ourselves where do we want to be as a society in a couple of decades from now.

Fun Facts

(ISI): What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?

(CC): I have a wide variety of hobbies ranging from sports such as biking, hiking and yoga, to the arts. My art interests include painting, ceramics, and recently, the creation of jewelry made out of recycled bike inner tubes. When I have the time, I also enjoy traveling. I was fortunate enough to travel to Alaska, Iceland, Paraguay, Chile, Brazil and Ethiopia during the last two years.

(ISI): What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

(CC): I was a member and coach of the Harvard Dragon Boat Team for several years. During this time we represented Harvard in international tournaments in China, Italy and Canada as well as in other numerous locations domestically.

ISI Publishes Online Course on Stormwater Management

ISI is pleased to announce the addition of a new course to our online library. Stormwater Management for Sustainable Projects introduces stormwater management concepts and strategies for effectively managing stormwater on infrastructure project sites. Methods for addressing both the quality and quantity of stormwater runoff will be presented along with temporary measures that may be incorporated during construction. Benefits of stormwater management can be linked to a range of Envision v3 credits including NW2.2 Manage Stormwater, which is explored in detail.

Credential Maintenance

This course qualifies for 1 elective, or “user’s choice” hour in fulfillment of your ENV SP credential maintenance education requirements. Find this course by logging in to your ISI account, and don’t forget to check out these other great offerings:

  • Beyond the Basics: Envision Verification
  • Using the Envision Pre-Assessment Checklist: A Case Study
  • Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Economics

For additional information on how to purchase this course and use the other new credential maintenance features of your ISI account, reference the illustrated Web Tutorial: ENV SP Credential Maintenance.

ENV SP Spotlight: Quin MacKenzie of Stantec Consulting

Quin MacKenzie works in Vancouver, British Columbia as a Strategic Management Consultant for Stantec. In this position, she takes on many roles – from project manager, to professional facilitator – specializing in the sustainable development of complex, infrastructure projects that require multi-disciplinary teamwork. She has experience in facilitating planning and design projects across North America to enhance asset performance, specializing in the application of leading design frameworks such as Envision and the Integrated Design Process (IDP).

Quin holds a Master of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Economics with a certificate in Environmental Impact Assessment and has completed her Foundations in Public Participation certificate through the International Association for Public Participation.

ISI had an opportunity to connect with Quin to learn more about her work, and experience using Envision.

Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI): Quin, please tell us more about your current work and pursuits.

Quin MacKenzie (QM): I am currently leading the sustainable design process on the YVR CORE Program, a $500 million program at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) comprised of a number of projects focused on upgrading infrastructure capacity and improving resilience.

In addition to my current work on the YVR Core Program, I have consulted on the sustainable design for over a dozen projects across North America, including the newly awarded North Campus Infrastructure Renewal Project at the British Columbia Institute of Technology campus in Burnaby, British Columbia (Envision Gold); the Naples Bay Restoration at the Cove project in Naples, Florida (Envision Silver); the Atlanta Water Supply Program in Atlanta, Georgia (Envision Silver); and the Dixon Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvements project in Dixon, California (Envision Silver).

I recently presented on the implementation of Envision and IDP at the Lean Construction Institute of Canada Conference in Montreal. I will also be delivering presentations and white papers on how to leverage Envision for large-scale projects at the upcoming Ecocity World Summit in Vancouver this October and at the American Society of Civil Engineers International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure in Los Angeles this November.

Professional Experience


(ISI): What drew you to your field of work?

(QM): Growing up I spent a lot of time outdoors and worked at a wilderness canoe camp when I was a teenager. I have always felt inspired by and connected to nature which is why I pursued a degree in environmental science and economics. After completing my degree, I realized that I wanted to help organizations integrate sustainability into their strategic visioning, project design and delivery, and long-term planning. This is one of the reasons I completed an MBA. Along the way, I learned about Envision and found a career that paired the best of both worlds. I think something that draws me to infrastructure projects specifically is the fact that these projects will be around for 50+ years. Being able to stimulate discussions around future uncertainties in order to generate innovative solutions is a powerful and rewarding component of my job.

(ISI): What has been your biggest career challenge?

(QM): My background and role are unique and not typical for a large engineering and design services firm. It hasn’t always been easy finding my niche within such a large organization, but I thrive in an environment where I can take on new challenges like these and overcome them.

Discovering the value that I add as a creative thinker and facilitator to highly technical project teams has been incredibly rewarding. Being able to work with integrated teams made up of people with diverse skillsets and experiences has proven to be incredibly valuable for me and my clients.

(ISI): What has been your proudest career moment thus far?

(QM): All the projects I have worked on have been incredible experiences, but the recent Envision verification of the BCIT North Campus Infrastructure Project is definitely one of my proudest career moments. Facilitating and supporting the collaborative Envision process and having the opportunity to work with an amazing team from BCIT, PCL, and Stantec led to numerous project successes, culminating in our Envision Gold award! It was such a rewarding experience to be involved in the Envision process from the beginning (from initial visioning, facilitation, to the integrated conceptual design) – to the end (from Envision submission, verification, to earning an award).

Envision Experience


(ISI): How did you learn about Envision?

(QM): I joined the Sustainable Development team at Stantec in early 2014. Our group had the mandate to build Envision capacity within the company. I was excited by the framework and completed my ENV SP designation right away. Over the past five and a half years, I have worked on over a dozen projects, implementing Envision to help clients across North America enhance the performance, sustainability, and resilience of their infrastructure assets.

(ISI): How does Envision help you with your work?

(QM): I use Envision on a regular basis. A core part of my career has been working with clients on complex infrastructure projects to implement sustainable and strategic solutions, beginning with planning and design and carrying through construction. This is typically done through an integrated planning and design process, beginning with visioning and goal setting and continuing with targeted charrettes and workshops to leverage the expertise of different disciplines in a collaborative and creative setting. Envision is a great reference for all of the projects I work on, whether required from project onset, or introduced to the client by our team. Not every project I work on undergoes third-party verification but all of them benefit from referencing Envision to inspire innovative thinking and track project metrics to improve performance.

(ISI): Do you see infrastructure owners incorporating Envision into their overall strategic planning processes?

(QM): Yes, absolutely. I am currently working with several clients to build Envision into their strategic planning processes for infrastructure projects. This is really exciting because it allows us to build Envision language and targets into policies and planning documents; which will hopefully result in enhanced project performance and integration of sustainability across all different types of horizontal infrastructure projects. Doing this kind of work is very inspiring because I get to work with top-tier clients who genuinely want to raise the bar when it comes to sustainable development.

Fun Facts


(ISI): What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?

(QM): Outside of work I pursue a wide variety of activities including painting and writing music, spending time outdoors, watching Star Trek reruns, volunteering in the community to help inspire young girls to pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math discipline, and flying in small planes (see photo).

(ISI): What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

(QM): I am an audiophile with a collection of approximately 200 vinyl records that I still listen to on an old Audio-Technica turntable.

ISI Launches Live Webinar Series

New Educational Opportunities that Qualify for ENV SP Credential Maintenance

ISI is pleased to announce the launch of a new live webinar series as a way to engage with the Envision user community and to help Envision Sustainability Professionals (ENV SPs) maintain their credentials. (Each webinar qualifies as one elective education hour towards the annual ENV SP credential maintenance requirements.)

All webinars will be hosted live. Registration is free and those wishing to participate must register in advance.

After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing important information about joining the meeting.

Webinar Schedule

Strengthening New York City DEP’s Sustainability Through Programmatic Application of Envision

Presented by Erika Jozwiak, New York City Department of Environmental Protection
Wednesday December 18, 2019 at 1:00 PM Eastern
As the largest combined water and wastewater system in the nation, New York City is in a unique position to advance sustainable infrastructure. Envision has been adopted to assist designers in placing a quantifiable value to the “intangibles”. Several case studies will be presented using both versions 2 and 3 of the Envision framework.



Application of Envision to the Ship Canal Water Quality Project

Presented by Richard Fernandez, Seattle Public Utilities and Jennifer Ninete, HDR
Tuesday January 14, 2020 at 1:00 PM Eastern
This webinar describes the process for implementing the Ship Canal Water Quality Project, a large-scale CSO tunnel solution. It focuses on sustainable components and will show how Envision was used to influence design, implementation and policy.



Reaching Platinum: Examples of Two Large Scale Wastewater Infrastructure Projects

Presented by Lorraine Moreno, City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering, Environmental Engineering Division
Wednesday January 29, 2020 at 1:00 PM Eastern
The City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Engineering Clean Water Infrastructure Program has completed construction on two large-scale multi-million-dollar projects: the Advanced Water Treatment Facility (AWPF) at Terminal Island Water Reclamation Plant (TIWRP) and the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant (HWRP) Digester Gas Utilization Project (DGUP). This webinar will discuss the process for achieving Platinum and share some of the lessons learned and the City’s approach to using Envision at a program level.



Applying Envision Retroactively – PANYNJ’s experience with the Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Project

Presented by: Melissa Targett, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Wednesday February 12, 2020 at 1:00 PM Eastern
The Envision Rating system provides public agencies with a distinguished method to gather and document efforts to develop Sustainable Projects.  This webinar will discuss the types of policies and processes conducted within public agencies that contribute to the documentation needed for Envision credits and present the Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Project Envision verification with a category by category review. 



Envision the Westminster Way

Presented by Julie Koehler, City of Westminster
Wednesday December 4, 2019 at 1:00 PM Eastern
This webinar will focus on how the City of Westminster, Colorado has taken active steps to increase knowledge of and practice using the Envision framework as we define what it means to Westminster to be sustainable.



Advocating for the Use of Envision by Local Public Infrastructure Agencies

Presented by Michael Bloom, R.G. Miller Engineers, Inc. and Liz Parent, 5engineering, Inc.
Wednesday November 13, 2019 at 1:00 PM Eastern
Have you ever wondered how you or your firm can help advocate for expanded use of Envision? This webinar will provide a summary of the advocacy work conducted in the Houston and Harris County area of Texas since 2013. 



11 Tips for Preparing Envision Documentation

Presented by Jennifer Ninete, HDR
Tuesday October 29, 2019 at 1:00 PM Eastern
Preparing to submit for Envision verification is as much of an art as a science.  The presentation is intended to provide high-level lessons learned that can be applied to developing documentation packages for any Envision project.


ENV SP Spotlight: Stephanie Dalo of AECOM

Stephanie Dalo, PE, ENV SP. [Photo submitted by Stephanie Dalo]

Stephanie Dalo is a professional engineer in Vancouver, British Columbia, with experience in the structural inspection and analysis of municipal and provincial infrastructure. Her civil infrastructure work has included bridges, culverts, dams, roads, wastewater treatment structure, water reservoirs, stormwater retention basins, noise walls, waste management structures, and other projects.

ISI had an opportunity to connect with Stephanie to learn more about her work, and experience using Envision.

Professional Experience

Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI): Tell us more about your current work and pursuits.

Stephanie Dalo (SD): My work with AECOM has spanned over 7 years. In addition to my work, I am pursuing a Masters of Engineering Leadership (Urban Systems) at the University of British Columbia. Through this program, I collaborate with faculty, government, and industry experts. Some of the key elements of this exciting program include exploring major ways in which urban systems provision and performance impact society; learning about the linkages between the environment, health, quality of life and economy; developing long-term investment plans and alternative analyses; applying systems theory to sustainability and resiliency; and applying principles of engineering economics.

(ISI): What drew you to your field of work in the first place?

(SD): I was fortunate to grow up in places with treated water, maintained roads, managed wastewater, distributed power, and well-maintained sewers. In my early teens, I began to question who is responsible for all of this. I realized that infrastructure touches the lives of everyone, and that good infrastructure creates cities that thrive. That became my passion and led me to my career as a structural engineer.

After working as a structural engineer for 4 years, I started asking myself ‘why’ I am designing these structures. To me, it wasn’t just about doing the project right, but also about doing the right project. I started learning about sustainability, but I did not feel that I was utilizing this concept in my projects. There was always a question of whether my clients were interested enough to include a thorough sustainability assessment. I wanted to follow my passion so I switched my focus from structural design to how people can plan, design, construct, operate and maintain infrastructure in a holistic way… in a way that authentically balances environmental, social, and economic considerations.

(ISI): What would you say has been your biggest career challenge thus far?

(SD): Getting engineers more engaged in conversations about sustainability. Planners, policy makers, and architects are leading the conversation, but engineers also need to be at the table to discuss how to best design these systems.

(ISI): What has been your proudest career moment to-date?

(SD): My proudest moment was the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Meadowlily Footbridge, a heritage bridge in the City of London, Ontario. The historical and sentimental value of this bridge meant a lot to the local residents. The notion of entirely replacing the bridge drew significant protests. So, despite restoration being the more costly option, the city prioritized rehabilitating it to match the original design as best as possible.

High quality public engagement ensured that this piece of cultural history was not erased. At the start of the project, there were no plans for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. However, since the project went well and the locals were so pleased with it, the ceremony was arranged. The mayor said a few words on the day that it was officially reopened to the public.

Envision Experience

(ISI): How did you learn about Envision?

(SD): While working as a Structural Engineer at AECOM, I began to grow increasingly aware of all the lives I touch with the work that I do. While I felt proud of my work, I recognized that there was more I could do to make my projects sustainable. I began reading and researching sustainable infrastructure and was invited to give a guest lecture to graduate students at the Western University in London Ontario about Reducing a Project’s Carbon Footprint and Adapting to Climate Change. One of the senior engineers at AECOM saw that I was very passionate about sustainability and referred me to the Envision Framework. As soon as I learned more about Envision, I realized it was a tool that I wanted to apply to my work.

(ISI): Why did you decide to pursue an Envision credential?

(SD): As an advocate for sustainable development, my objective is to consult decision makers on how to implement principles of sustainability into infrastructure planning, design, construction, and operations & maintenance. My goal is to reduce project risks through increased transparency, stakeholder involvement, inclusive practices, innovation, and leadership. I plan to use the Envision Framework on my projects because it offers a consistent, consensus-based framework for assessing sustainability and resilience in infrastructure.

(ISI): How are you advocating for the use of Envision?

(SD): I have been working with the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) to bring more exposure to the Envision framework and inform engineers across Canada on how they can use it. The framework provides a common understanding that allows owners, architects, landscape architects, planners, operators and constructors to set higher performance goals for projects and to collaborate and communicate on achieving those goals.

In November 2016, I was invited to sit on the CSCE’s Sustainability Assessment task force. This task force was developed to evaluate the challenges and opportunities of the ISI Envision Framework, identify gaps, and support continuous improvement.

Fun Facts

(ISI): What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?

(SD): I really enjoy practicing yoga. It helps me stay grounded, mindful and present. I also love camping and hiking. Being outdoors helps me connect with nature and my surroundings. I am also somewhat of a music nerd. While I appreciate the classics, I love keeping up with new music.

(ISI): What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

(SD): I play guitar and have a small two-piece band called Archives. I play rhythm guitar, keyboard / synth and sing. I also am writing a TV show with a friend. We are serious about it, but we are also having fun. We just want to write something that is entertaining, adventurous, suspenseful, and of course, funny.

ENV SP Spotlight: Ryan Prime of Skanska USA

Ryan Prime is the national Sustainability Director for Skanska USA’s civil construction business. In addition to leading sustainability initiatives across Skanska’s operating regions, Ryan is responsible for implementing the ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 certification process to ensure Skanska’s Environmental, Health and Safety Program is compliant with these international standards for Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety management. Ryan has been with Skanska since 2008 and has worked on some of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects in the New York metro area including the LaGuardia Terminal B Redevelopment Project, Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Program and the Second Avenue Subway Tunnels Project. During his time with Skanska, Ryan has worked extensively in risk management, environmental compliance and contracts administration. Since taking the role of Sustainability Director, Ryan has served as chair of the Construction Industry Workgroup for the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure and has provided his expertise in the development and review of the Envision framework, both v2 and v3. In addition, he lectures at Columbia University on sustainable development for the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. Ryan is a frequent speaker at Harvard University’s Zofnass Program Workshops and was recently invited to be a member of American Society of Civil Engineers’ Committee on Sustainability. Ryan holds a B.S. degree in Environmental Geoscience from Boston College and a M.E. degree in Ocean Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology.

ISI staff had a chance to connect with Ryan to learn more about his work and how he uses Envision.

Professional Experience

Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI): What drew you to your field of work?

Ryan Prime (RP): From a young age I have always been drawn to natural systems and how we as a society interact with our surroundings through the built environment.  As my knowledge expanded and my experiences multiplied I connected the delicate balance between what must be built to ensure a high quality of life with what must be conserved to ensure future generations have the same opportunity.

(ISI): What has been your biggest career challenge?

(RP): There have been many challenges but the toughest, and one I have yet to overcome, is reaching a point where the entire life cycle of an asset is taken into account when making project decisions.  To start, it’s important to define what lifecycle means and understand that different entities within project development team have different perspectives.  For example, a lender may interpret lifecycle differently from the contractor’s perspective who in turn has a different viewpoint than the operations and maintenance folks.  Decisions are often made with only one slice of the pie in view.  The biggest challenge I’ve faced in creating sustainable infrastructure is taking the time to understand the lifecycle impact of the decisions made on a project.

(ISI): What has been your proudest career moment?

(RP): I like to think that the best is yet to come. If I had to choose something at this point in my career I would say being selected as a committee member of ASCE’s Committee on Sustainability. Not only is it an honor to be recognized in the industry through such an appointment, the group is tasked with drafting a standard to be used as a rubric for sustainable infrastructure. Measures like these are the building blocks on which future infrastructure projects will be delivered in the USA and directly contribute to a strong and vibrant economy.

Envision Experience

(ISI): How did you learn about Envision?

(RP): In 2012 I researched “How to build a ‘green’ bridge?” I stumbled upon the Zofnass Program at Harvard and ISI and what was then a very early draft of Envision. At that time, I was a LEED AP and I knew that if the infrastructure sectors followed the same path with Envision as the commercial/residential sectors did in terms of LEED certification the opportunity was massive.

I then became an ENV SP to learn ISI’s definition of what it means to build “sustainable infrastructure” and to support this endeavor in the industry.

(ISI): How is Skanska using Envision?

(RP): Skanska is building six projects that have been verified and have earned Envision awards. The use of Envision supports Skanska’s values. We see these awards as a way to highlight the effort that goes into to planning and constructing projects sustainably that may otherwise be overlooked because it is often challenging to communicate this without a third-party certification like Envision.

(ISI): Can you share some highlights from an Envision project?

(RP): I am very proud of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Expo Line Phase 2 (Expo 2) Light Rail project award we earned in 2017. This project provided a critical piece of infrastructure that did not exist before and was one of the first projects Skanska had verified using Envision.  The client – Metro – was an excellent partner in the award and through the verification process they were able to demonstrate a leadership position in sustainability.

Fun Facts

(ISI): What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?

(RP): Not surprising I love anything outdoors. Hiking, trail running, surfing, mountain biking and camping – and always with my family.

(ISI): What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

(RP): I’m a car guy.  I know working in the sustainability field implies that I have to despise anything that consumes fossil fuels but I am very much into all makes and models of cars, trucks and vans – essentially anything with wheels and an engine.  In my defense nearly all of the work I perform on cars is maintenance related so the goal is to keep things operating safely and efficiently.

ISI Publishes Online Course on Infrastructure Economics in Collaboration with Autocase by Impact Infrastructure

ISI is pleased to announce the addition of a new course to our online library. Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Economics introduces business cases and triple bottom line cost benefit analysis for sustainable infrastructure. The lessons provide an overview of the fundamentals of business case development: financial and economic concepts; cost benefit analysis and an introduction to valuation of ecosystem services; and making the case for sustainability and resilience investments. Case studies are used to contextualize the concepts. An overview of new Envision v3 credit LD3.3 Conduct a Life-Cycle Economic Evaluation is included as well as a presentation of returns on investment for sustainable infrastructure.

About the Author

This course is the first online course developed in collaboration with an ISI member company. ISI congratulates Autocase by Impact Infrastructure and thanks primary course author, Eric Bill, for their contributions to this valuable course.

Eric Bill is an applied economist and vice president of Economics at Impact Infrastructure. He leads the economic research program and advisory practice, and he helps optimize the company’s automated business case evaluation tools, Autocase. His firm’s primary goal is to create a standardized suite of business case analysis tools to promote the development of more sustainable and resilient communities.

Credential Maintenance

This course qualifies for 2 elective, or “user’s choice” hours in fulfillment of your ENV SP credential maintenance education requirements. Find this course by logging in to your ISI account, and don’t forget to check out these other great offerings:

  • Beyond the Basics: Envision Verification
  • Using the Envision Pre-Assessment Checklist: A Case Study

Log in to your ISI account to access these courses. For additional information on how to purchase this course and use the other new credential maintenance features of your ISI account, reference the illustrated Web Tutorial: ENV SP Credential Maintenance.

Enroll in the credential maintenance program today to access the Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Economics course and other informative courses.


New Online Course Available: Using the Envision v3 Pre-Assessment Checklist

Along with the recent release of the Envision v3 pre-assessment checklist, ISI has published a companion course titled Using the Envision Pre-Assessment Checklist: A Case Study. This course provides detailed instruction and examples for using the Envision v3 pre-assessment checklist.  While the checklist is designed to be used without training, this course illustrates the use of the tool with a detailed case study, allowing course participants to practice completing the checklist using hypothetical project information. This course qualifies for one elective, or “user’s choice”, education hour toward maintaining the Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) credential. The course is available for purchase in ENV SPs’ accounts. ENV SPs may use their continuing education credit to purchase the course.

Log in to your ISI account to access this course and download the Envision v3 pre-assessment checklist. For additional information on how to purchase this course and use the other new credential maintenance features of your ISI account, reference the illustrated Web Tutorial: ENV SP Credential Maintenance.

It is not too late for ENV SPs to enroll in the credential maintenance program. The enrollment grace period for ENV SPs who originally earned their credential prior to 2018 ends on June 30th, 2019. Enroll today to access the Using the Envision Pre-Assessment Checklist: A Case Study course and other informative courses.

ENV SP Spotlight: Erika Jozwiak of NYC DEP

Erika works in New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) as the Sustainability Section Chief for the Bureau of Engineering, Design & Construction. NYC DEP is the largest combined water/wastewater agency in the United States, and Erika’s role is to incorporate sustainability into all of the department’s capital projects. She started working for NYC DEP in 2015. Prior to her current role, Erika worked in Pennsylvania as an environmental consultant. She has a degree in Environmental Science from Franklin & Marshall College.

We had an opportunity to connect with Erika to learn more about her work, and how she puts her Envision Sustainability Professional credential to good use.

Professional Experience

Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI): What drew you to your field of work?

Erika Jozwiak (EJ): Water and wastewater are critical services to everyone. The opportunity to work in this high-impact sector to incorporate the triple bottom line was, and continues to be, really exciting to me. I love the opportunities and challenges that each unique project brings. Working for the city is great because NYC is making big strides towards City-wide sustainability and it’s incredible to be a part of the solution.

ISI: What has been your biggest career challenge?

EJ: My previous company was 5 people total. Making the transition from a small company to an agency with 6,000 people serving a population of 8 million (and growing) was a major and exciting shift!

ISI: What has been your proudest career moment?

EJ: The example I’d like to use is less of a moment, and more of an observation. Sustainability has become a major driver for NYC DEP’s work. NYC DEP has always invested in the long-term sustainability of our critical infrastructure and has taken this commitment a step further. Now, we analyze greenhouse gas emissions, and consider climate resiliency, waste reduction, and material selection among other aspects. It has been a true honor to be a part of this shift towards a greater commitment to sustainability.

On a personal level, I also had the honor of representing NYC DEP at the International Conference for Sustainable Infrastructurein Shenzhen, China where we showcased our sustainability program’s approach and impact. The presentation received an award, and the whole experience was incredible.


Envision Experience


ISI: How did you learn about Envision?

EJ: When I started at NYC DEP in 2015, the agency had begun to incorporate Envision analysis into our capital projects. As I joined the team I learned of its value and have since worked to expand the use and implementation of Envision.

ISI: Why did you decide to pursue an Envision credential?

EJ: The perspective Envision offers to infrastructure projects are unique in the sustainability field and fits well with our water/wastewater work. I pursued the credential to make sure I was an expert in applying Envision to projects and was able to best take advantage of the opportunities the system provides.

ISI: How are you using Envision?

EJ: NYC DEP uses Envision as a tool on all of our capital projects to ensure opportunities to incorporate the triple bottom line are pursued, whether or not the project goes through full third-party verification. This process takes place in the early design phase to maximize the impact. Additionally, using Envision helps the agency meet certain regulatory criteria for third-party sustainability rating systems, and is a good fit for our industrial projects.

ISI: Can you share some highlights from an Envision project?

EJ: NYC DEP’s Bowery Bay Electrical Upgrade project recently became the first electrical project to receive recognition for sustainability from ISI. The project earned Envision Silver and the agency is so proud of the team for the work they performed to attain this achievement!


Fun Facts


ISI: We’d like readers to get to know you outside of work a bit better. Could you share with us some of your favorite hobbies and interests?

EJ: I love to hike, bike, and volunteer in my neighborhood.

ISI: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

EJ: Maybe it’s not a ‘surprise’ given my line of work, but I’m extremely interested in how different countries manage waste – it’s something I genuinely look forward to learning about when I travel to new places.