Melissa Peneycad Has Made Many Enduring Contributions to ISI. But now, a new chapter awaits…

From verification and Envision development to outreach and more, Melissa Peneycad will leave behind an impressive legacy at ISI. Left: at the site of a future Envision project in Montreal, in 2019; right: with a group of Italian ENV SPs (and ICMQ staff) during a verifier training session in Milan in 2019.

ISI has some important news to share about one of our incredible team members. We’re saying goodbye to a long-standing colleague who has been an integral part of ISI’s journey, contributing immensely to our organization’s growth and success. Our managing director, Melissa Peneycad, is moving on from ISI to pursue new professional opportunities. Melissa has been with ISI for seven years, and for three years before that, she was an active member in the ISI/Envision community. She put the first Canadian projects through verification, trained more than 100 people within her organization on the use of Envision, verified projects, and contributed to the development of several credits within Envision v3.

Clockwise from top: presenting an Envision Gold award to the British Columbia Institute of Technology for their North Campus Infrastructure Project; a meeting of the Envision Review Board in Denver, CO; preparing to present Envision to the UN, at the Palace of Nations; and attending an ISI staff retreat in Puerto Rico.

We would like to take this opportunity to reflect on some of Melissa’s many contributions to ISI and the Envision community, in her roles as verification director and, more recently, managing director.

During her time at ISI, Melissa took the project verification program to new heights, by developing its processes, policies, several guidance documents, applicant resources, and more. She introduced new verifier hiring procedures and contracting arrangements and began establishing a verifier ‘community of practice’.

Even more impressively, Melissa personally verified 70 infrastructure projects across the agriculture, energy, transportation, solid waste, and water/wastewater sectors, and oversaw the verifications of dozens of additional projects. Today, the verification program boasts more than 300 participating projects, representing more than $200 billion in sustainable development.

Melissa also led the way in building a robust external communications function at ISI and has contributed immensely to ISI’s strategic direction and organizational culture. Those in our industry—from consultants to contractors to infrastructure owners and others—who have had the opportunity to work with Melissa, learn from her, and hear her speak passionately about sustainable, resilient, and equitable infrastructure know the incredible value of her expertise and leadership.

In March 2022, Melissa was instrumental in launching Envision Canada—a formal partnership between the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and ISI to advance sustainable infrastructure practices. She, along with the Envision Canada program manager at CSCE and members of its Board have been working closely to improve awareness and uptake of Envision, build capacity, and encourage innovation.

In 2019, Melissa moderated a panel on mobilizing the financial community to invest in sustainable PPPs and infrastructure at the Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Right: the CSCE 2022 Conference keynote in Whistler, BC.

Melissa has an amazing ability to connect with people and establish deep and lasting relationships. Her influence and reach are truly global as she has forged relationships with individuals and organizations across the US, Canada, and internationally. During her time at ISI, she was seconded to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to facilitate the development of a framework to evaluate public-private partnerships (PPPs) and infrastructure projects for their contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It’s no surprise to us that her work with the UNECE—not to mention her exceptional contributions to ISI—led to the exciting next step she’ll be taking in her professional journey. She will be re-entering the consulting world, working first for the UN to help lay the ‘groundwork’ for the sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure.

“We will miss Melissa tremendously,” says ISI’s president and CEO Anthony Kane, “but we’re not saying goodbye, as we know she will remain a huge supporter of ISI, a strong advocate for Envision, and an active member of this community. We look forward to seeing Melissa rise in her career and, through her passion for sustainability and her leadership, continue to elevate the work we’re all doing to achieve a more sustainable world.”