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.

New Envision Supported Agencies

Envision Supported Agencies (January — April 2021)

Every quarter ISI honors public agencies who have joined ISI. The list below includes all of the public agencies that were added as members between the months of January through April 2021.

We are extremely proud to see more public agencies recognizing Envision’s value in building better infrastructure.

Public agencies receive free membership with ISI and discounts on ENV SP credentials and verification.

To learn more about each new member, view their websites below.

Santa Clara Valley Water District 
Unified Government of Wyandotte County
The New York Economic Development Corporation
City of San Marcos
Metro Vancouver
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)
City of Cleveland — Mayor’s Office of Capital Projects
Les Ponts Jacques Cartier et Champlain Iincorporée
County of Hawaii
City of San Clarita
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority


Port of Portland’s Rental Car Quick Turnaround Facility Earns Envision® Gold Rating

The new Quick Turnaround (QTA) facility at the Portland International Airport (PDX) opened in March 2018 and recently earned the ENVISION® Gold rating for sustainable infrastructure. This $67 million facility improves rental car processing operations, making it quick and easy for airport travelers to rent clean, fueled cars ready for use. The QTA facility is the first large infrastructure project completed as part of a suite of capital projects at PDX geared towards modernizing the airport’s infrastructure to meet the growing needs of airport travelers, employees, and tenants.

The QTA facility is three times the size of the previous rental car facility, providing employees with more efficient workspace. During peak demand, 220 rental car employees can work efficiently to clean and fuel 430 cars per hour, making the whole system of processing rental cars much faster.

To learn more about this project, read about it in our Project Awards Directory


Oxford Retention Basin Multiuse Enhancement Project Achieves Envision® Platinum Rating

The Oxford Retention Basin is a flood control facility operated by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District. This $14.7 million project is located in the seaside community of Marina del Rey in Los Angeles County, California. This multi-benefit project modernized the 10.7-acre facility to improve local water quality, flood protection, and ecological health. The project involved the construction of a meandering berm to facilitate circulation of local urban runoff and tidal flows through the basin to sustain a habitat for native plants and wildlife, and it added observation areas, educational signage, park benches, walkways with eco-friendly lighting and bike paths to the periphery.

Learn more by reading the announcement in the Project Awards Directory

New ISI Marketing Materials Available

Promoting ISI programs (Envision, Membership, Verification, and Education)  has never been easier. If you would like to share your Envision knowledge with others and need succinct brochures, click on the  links/bold text above or download each one from ISI’s Marketing Resources page.

If you need text versions only, please email Marketing at

Please keep in mind that ISI has more in-depth marketing materials available as well.
Feel free to view or download the following educational packets:

Each brochure and packet has been created to help ENV SPs and others communicate and learn more about the value of Envision. Together, we can Envision a more sustainable world!





Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s Berryessa Transit Center Earns Envision Platinum

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s Berryessa Transit Center
Earns Envision® Platinum Award

The Berryessa Transit Center is a multi-modal regional transportation hub located in northeastern San Jose, California. It is situated adjacent to the San Jose Flea Market and Upper Penitencia Creek. The project enhances community quality of life in the city by addressing the transportation needs in the congested San Francisco Bay Area, providing much needed connectivity between local transportation systems, and increasing access to service for all – including low-income, youth, elderly, and people with disabilities.

Read more about the project in the Project Awards Directory

Earth Day Podcast —#LinkedIn Live

Are you concerned about climate change? Would you like to see policy changes to address this pressing issue?

Join us on Thursday, April 22 —EARTH DAY— for a special LinkedIn Live (video) podcast on climate change, infrastructure policy, and Envision sustainability.

Moderators and Guest: ISI’s Marketing and Communications director, Dyan Lee, and Franklin E. Sherkow, who is an ENV SP and member of the ‘SOE’ task force and Academic Committee member, will be interviewing special guest John Williams, ISI Board Chair and CEO at Autocase.

The focus is going to be federal policy around infrastructure and the history of Earth Day.

If federal proposed legislation is passed, hundreds of billions— and possibly trillions—of dollars will be flowing into communities from the federal government to #buildbackbetter. We’ll be analyzing the federal policy and whether it prioritizes #sustainability, #resilience, and #equity. We’ll also be talking about what civil infrastructure owners and stakeholders need to know to advance their sustainability goals? We’ll also talk about how Envision is the solution.  #SustainOrExplain  #EnvisionTheSolution

Podcast Date and Time:
Earth Day, Thursday, April 22 at noon ET
LinkedIn or Youtube.

Get your questions ready and engage with us.

Simply mark your calendar for the date and time and go online to LinkedIn. There’s no need to register. You can also watch live on YouTube.



Employment Opportunity — Instructional Designer


At ISI, we want to transform the way civil infrastructure is planned, designed, and constructed to ensure that it is sustainable, resilient, and equitable. To achieve that goal, we provide people with the tools, resources, and roadmaps needed to be successful. 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 Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) is a nonprofit education and research organization based in Washington, DC. We were established in 2010 by the American Public Works Association (APWA), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

ISI develops, manages, and administers Envision®—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 (a/e/c) 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.

ISI’s active membership includes over 250 AEC companies, 120 governmental agencies, and 25 universities, encompassing over 13,200 individuals. ISI administers the Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) designation having credentialed over 8,700 professionals globally.

ISI is a growing organization! The right candidate will have the opportunity to impact educational programing that supports critical professionals in the infrastructure sector. We are a small collaborative team of passionate individuals dedicated to making the world a better place.

The ideal candidate is highly versatile and able to manage multiple tasks effectively and efficiently. The Instructional Designer role includes the following:

Instructional Design

– Create engaging learning activities and compelling course content to be delivered online (asynchronous and synchronous learning) as well as in a traditional, in-person learning environment.
– Define the objectives and scope of educational offerings.
– Devise and design instructional graphics. o Create exercises and activities that enable and enhance learning transfer.
– Design supporting material/media (e.g. audio, video, simulations, handouts, tutorials).
– Devise assessment methods, such as interactions, surveys, or quizzes, to measure the effectiveness of the course.
– Work closely with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to design and develop creative, innovative and visually appealing learning products (e.g. self-paced online courses, webinars, workshops).
– Analyze and apply trends and best practices in instructional design.
– Suggest best practices and improvements to enhance existing content, methodologies, tools, and templates.

Remote Work

– 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 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Eastern Time) are expected in order to respond to customer needs and to actively engage with education department staff.
– Attendance at weekly staff meetings is required.
– ISI staff are not currently traveling due to the pandemic. When it is safe to resume travel, this position may require minimal travel (i.e. 1-2 trips per quarter) within the U.S. and Canada.


– Post-secondary degree in instructional design, education technology, adult education or related field.
– Preferred: Post-secondary education or accreditation in adult learning, training and development or a related discipline, or equivalent experience.

Work Experience
– 3-5 years of relevant professional experience.
– Instructional design experience for traditional and online learning programs, including writing experience specifically focused on storyboard development for educational courses, instructional text, and audio/video scripts.
– Experience using course authoring tools.
– Experience with continuing education, professional development, accreditation or credentialing programs.
– Experience working with non-profit organizations, associations, or volunteers is highly desirable.
– Understanding of sustainability, environmental, infrastructure, and/or engineering industries is strongly preferred.

– In-depth knowledge of learning theories and instructional design models.
– Excellent organizational, project and time management skills, including the ability to prioritize and multitask several projects.
– Strong visual design skills (on any platform or software).
– Excellent written and verbal communication and proofing skills.
– At ease speaking in front of groups and delivering educational courses to adult learners in a traditional or virtual learning environment.
– Overall comfort with technology (including proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Acrobat) and aptitude for acquiring proficiency on new platforms and applications; knowledge of Articulate Storyline and Rise preferred.
– Must have an exceptional command of the English language and be able to produce high quality products tailored for targeted audiences.
– Fluency in additional languages (particularly French or Spanish) considered a significant asset.

Personal Qualities
– Demonstrated passion for sustainability, infrastructure, environment, and/or engineering is highly desirable.
– Exceptional interpersonal skills and detail-oriented.
– Strong service orientation with the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Salary range: $60,000-$70,000

Applicants must submit a cover letter and resume clearly describing how they meet the qualifications for this employment opportunity. Send by email only to:, no later than April 23, 2021.

ISI is an equal opportunity employer and will evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, and other protected characteristics. Accommodations will be made for employees with disabilities.

Did you have a chance to view the February 2021 webinar —Diversifying Behavior Styles on Project Teams and Enhancing Leadership, Communications and Social Skills—Presented by: Frank Sherkow, ISI Academic Committee Chair?

If not, you can view the recording by visiting your Envision Dashboard. Login to your ISI account, navigate to your Education page, then “All Courses”. The recording should populate at the top of the list as ISI’s most recent course publication, or you can search for the course using the search bar on the “All Courses” page.

You can view the slide deck handout as well

Don’t have an ISI account yet? – Sign up today! It’s free, and you’ll get immediate access to this recording and other resources.

The webinar examined the behavior styles that many civil engineers and technical people possess and how that helps them in analytical areas and with detailed issues, but could hinder them in dealing with leadership, team-building and communications. It also examined the topic of leadership using research with senior civil engineering students. This can be important in understanding the expectations about leadership traits on teams, their importance, and how to coach team members or work associates in being better leaders. Frank tied this discussion to Envision topics and the Leadership credit category.

LA Asphalt Plant No. 1 Earns Envision Bronze

The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) announced on March 10, 2021, that the LA Asphalt Plant No. 1 – Replacement and Modernization located in Los Angeles, CA, is the recent recipient of the Envision® Bronze award for sustainable infrastructure. To earn Envision Bronze, a project must demonstrate that it delivers a range of environmental, social, and economic benefits to the host and affected communities.

The Asphalt Plant No. 1 (AP1) is located on an approximately 2-acre site in an industrial area south of downtown Los Angeles. AP1 has been operated by the city of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services (BSS) since 1947. The existing plant currently produces up to a total of 100K to 200K tons of asphalt per year; and it utilizes 20% recycled asphalt product.

To learn more about this project, read the Project Profile Announcement in the Project Award’s Directory.