Posts

ENV SP Spotlight: Carly Shannon of C&S Companies

Carly Shannon is a Director for C&S Companies where she has worked for nearly a decade. Carly leads the company’s aviation sustainability and resilience practice. She is an Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) and also a LEED Accredited Professional with specialization in building design and construction (LEED AP BD+C). Carly holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geoscience and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning with a concentration in sustainability. She is originally from Syracuse, New York but now lives in Los Angeles, California.

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

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

Carly Shannon (CS): Although I’m based on the West Coast, I have the opportunity to work with airport clients across the country on everything from sustainability planning and strategy development to integration into design and construction, and even maintenance and operations. Every project I do is different from the last, which keeps me enthralled with the work. I also participate in several industry organizations including the Transportation Research Board (TRB), serving as co-chair of the Aviation Climate Change and Sustainability Sub-Committee, and Airports Council International – North America, serving on their Sustainability Integration Advisory Council that aims to bridge the various disciplines of an airport to identify collaborative solutions. Internally at C&S, I am working with my teammates to propel our own commitment to sustainability. Recently, we committed to purchasing carbon offsets for all air travel through The Good Traveler Program and have made a major investment in professional development focused on sustainability. For example, we have held in-person training sessions to help employees receive their Envision Sustainability Professional credential.

Professional Experience

ISI: What drew you to your field of work?

CS: A general passion for the environment, perhaps from growing up with the Adirondack Mountains in close range. My parents brought us on many camping trips as kids and I always felt connected to our surroundings. Once I learned more about sustainability and how this could be applied to all facets of our society and economy, I was hooked.

ISI: What has been your biggest career challenge?

CS: Saying “no”. Sustainability presents so many opportunities and there are always new areas to explore. Obviously, it’s not quite sustainable to do everything!

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

CS: I’ve had the pleasure of celebrating many successes at C&S and with our clients. However, I feel most proud when I walk out of a productive sustainability charrette or workshop after engaging a range of people from different disciplines and perhaps some “non-believers” to embrace sustainability for what it really is—whole-systems, balanced thinking and strategically approaching projects to avoid missed opportunities.

Envision Experience

ISI: How did you first learn about Envision?

CS: I was fortunate to have a very devoted colleague at C&S introduce me to the Envision framework and rating system years ago. He was aware of my passion for sustainability and had come across the framework thanks to his role leading our civil engineering practice. I was immediately drawn to Envision thanks to its holistic approach to sustainability and resilience. It also came at a perfect time when many of our clients were seeking guidance for infrastructure projects to fill the void left by LEED. After learning about Envision, I subsequently decided to pursue my ENV SP credential.

ISI: How are you using Envision? / How is your organization using Envision?

CS: How aren’t we?! Initially, I used Envision specifically for projects with the first one being the T.F. Green Airport Runway 5 Extension that achieved Envision Gold in 2016. I was the Envision administrator and sustainability coordinator for the project and it was an excellent experience. Since then, we’ve worked with a number of airports in different regions to pursue verification (including the first five airfield projects). Simultaneously, we are collaborating with airports to integrate Envision and sustainability into decision-making, planning, and airport-wide guidance for development and improvements, among other activities.

ISI: You mentioned one project in particular – the T.F. Green Airport Runway 5 Extension in Providence, Rhode Island. Can you share some highlights from another Envision project to show how you’re putting your ENV SP credential to use?

CS: Absolutely! I recently celebrated an exciting milestone that I’m happy to share. A couple of years ago, we worked with the Wayne County Airport Authority to pursue Envision verification for one of their major runway reconstruction projects at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW). It was an incredibly fulfilling process thanks to the Airport’s commitment to sustainability. We received Envision Silver on that project, but the rating system presented much more value than simply demonstrating leadership. It helped us maintain commitment to the sustainability integration from start to finish, serving as a beacon throughout the process. When we kicked off another runway reconstruction – this time in a more central location at the Airport and with numerous complexities – we sought to not just replicate successful measures from the past project but elevate our game. This involved robust efforts by the entire team and, just last month, we proudly announced our Envision Gold award for the Reconstruction of Runway 3L/21 R and Associated Taxiways project at DTW.

ISI: What does sustainable infrastructure mean to you?

CS: In addition to much of what I’ve already expressed, sustainability means adding value while balancing economic, operational, environmental, and social priorities; and ensuring seamless integration with the surrounding systems.

Fun Facts

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

CS: Although I don’t do any of them enough, I love camping, hiking, and paddle boarding. Southern California is a great spot for all of the above!

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

CS: I completely fell into the aviation world while looking for work in sustainability, and – like many others with similar experiences – have never looked back.

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.

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.

REGISTER

 

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.

REGISTER

 

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.

REGISTER

 

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. 

REGISTER

 

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.

REGISTRATION HAS CLOSED; EVENT HAS ENDED.

 

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. 

REGISTRATION HAS CLOSED; EVENT HAS ENDED.

 

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.

REGISTRATION HAS CLOSED; EVENT HAS ENDED.

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.

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.

ENV SP Spotlight: Michael Bloom

 

Michael Bloom, PE, ENV SP, BCEE, CFM is the Sustainability Practice Manager at R. G. Miller Engineers, Inc., in Houston, Texas.  He is responsible for wetlands, natural resources work, nature-based stormwater management, and surface water quality management projects. He has 28 years of experience in environmental consulting.

ISI staff had the chance to connect with Michael, and he provided the following insights from his career:

Professional Experience

What drew you to your field of work?

I have always had a keen interest in “making a difference” while applying science and engineering knowledge and skills.  I’d read articles in the late 1980s about Superfund clean-ups and a company called Roy F. Weston, Inc. doing projects like that. This piqued my interest, and I got to work for Roy F. Weston, Inc. back in the early 1990s.

What has been your biggest career challenge?

One one project I needed to deliver a complex information technology (IT) solution to a state agency on time, on budget, and while meeting client expectations about how the system would function.  A working IT solution was ultimately delivered, but the client was dissatisfied, the budget was overrun, and the technology team was exhausted. I learned that information technology projects are extremely challenging to deliver and that every consultant sometimes has a project that fails to make a profit.

What has been your proudest career moment?

organized and conducted a pre-conference workshop at a national conference on watershed management.  It was particularly rewarding to have the workshop sell out and generate lots of positive feedback from attendees.

Envision Experience

Why did you decide to pursue an Envision credential?

I saw that it was backed by ACEC, APWA, and ASCE – all large, well established organizations. I thought that adoption would take off and I felt that I needed to get credentialed or I would be left behind.

How are you using Envision?

I have been advocating for its use in the Houston region since 2010.  I helped secure resolutions of support for its use by Houston Wilderness, the North Houston Association, and the West Houston Association.  As an ISI trainer, I’m now among those training private sector practitioners as well as people who work for the Harris County Engineering Department, after the department announced they would be moving forward with its use on projects.  As an ISI trained Verifier, I’ve reviewed two large projects that have completed the entire process.

Could you share some highlights from an Envision project?

I helped teach a class in Advanced Sustainable Design at Rice University. We had the class use Envision to evaluate the sustainability of three different storm surge protection options for the Houston metropolitan area. The total Envision credit score was determined for all three options.  Through this evaluation, the students discovered that the net embodied carbon of all three barrier systems were not insignificant. Student groups used the entire Envision credit system to evaluate the three barrier options and present their findings in a report and in a presentation.

Fun Facts

What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?

I enjoy science fiction, helping my wife in the garden, the ancient eastern board game of “GO.”

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

I am a sucker for almost any type of cat or dog. We currently have 3 cats and 1 dog at home. I drive my wife to a particular garden-supply place in town — that usually has rescue kittens and puppies for adoption – just so I can pet them.

Credential Maintenance: Required Courses for 2019

As a part of the Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) credential maintenance program, ISI prescribes two courses annually that all ENV SPs are required to complete. These courses ensure all ENV SPs have the same foundational understanding of Envision and the current trends within the sustainable infrastructure sector.

Required courses are added to all ENV SPs’ accounts at the beginning of the renewal period. The following two courses were published and are available as the 2019 required courses for ENV SPs whose credential maintenance renewal period began in 2019.

ISI Required Course 2019: The Envision Framework

The purpose of this course is to examine the six components of the Envision framework. Each of the components are presented in detail, providing a comprehensive look at the framework. This course describes the interrelatedness of the components, illustrating how they optimally support the framework together.

ISI Required Course 2019: Sustainable Infrastructure and the Role of Envision

This course provides an overview of the trends impacting the implementation of sustainable infrastructure. Envision is detailed as a framework that can be used to address challenges in the infrastructure sector.

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

New Online Course for ENV SPs Available

We are 6 months into our new credential maintenance program and Envision Sustainability Professionals (ENV SPs) are eager for more courses to continue learning and to meet their credential maintenance requirements.

To meet growing demand for new courses, ISI has recently published a new course titled Beyond the Basics: Envision Verification. This course provides a detailed look at the verification process allowing for a streamlined project review. The first of many new courses to be added to the online library, this course qualifies for one elective, or “user’s choice”, education hour toward maintaining the 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. 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 enrol 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 Beyond the Basics: Envision Verification course and other informative courses that will be made available soon.

ENV SP Spotlight: Mabe Garcia-Rincon

Maria Beatriz (Mabe) Garcia-Rincon is an urban and climate change specialist at the World Bank focused on environmental and climate green financing. Prior to her appointment with the World Bank, she was at Harvard University, participating in a fellowship in sustainable infrastructure.

She is also the executive director and founder of Urban Elements Foundation (UEF), an international development agency. She has over nine years of experience in consulting on city development. Mabe has a keen commitment to international human development goals.  Throughout her career, she emphasizes addressing climate change, low-carbon city development, and innovative financing in an effort to create social equilibrium.

ISI staff had the chance to connect with Mabe to learn more about her career and her experience with Envision:

Professional Experience

What drew you to your field of work?

In 2009, I worked at the World Bank to help a team account for the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of the organization’s footprint in all 144 country offices and headquarters. I conducted three life-cycle analyses of the organization’s waste streams, water and energy use. From this initial introduction, I became interested in sustainable development and specifically, sustainable infrastructure. I began to consider my own individual GHG footprint and started living a life that was holistically sustainable with a mental life-cycle analysis of each of my actions.  I created a profession from this. I studied climate change, climate finance, international development, urbanization and infrastructure design. I have moved from Caracas, Venezuela and settled in Washington, D.C. to pursue my work with UEF and as a consultant to the World Bank.

What has been your biggest career challenge?

Walking the talk! In other words, one can learn a lot about sustainability but it’s challenging to incorporate sustainable living in my own lifestyle as well as promote it in my work across North and South America. To promote sustainability in a conflict area such as Venezuela is difficult because, for example, the country currently cannot produce local materials necessary to achieve sustainable infrastructure. We have to get creative and devise alternative infrastructure retrofits that are more appropriate within the economic context in Venezuela.

What has been your proudest career moment?

Creating Urban Elements Foundation. By creating this organization, I have applied what I learned at Harvard University and London School of Economics into a practice. Our board comes from five different countries with different ideologies, life styles, personal agendas and interests. We’ve come together to enable change. I work half of the year at international organizations and the rest at very local scale, driving change through entrepreneurship. I created this organization to promote life-cycle systems that support sustainable design in ways that surpass best practice.

Envision Experience

How did you learn about Envision?

I first learned about Envision while I was a Research Assistant for the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Through this work, we guided the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) in sustainable engineering, construction, and processes to support the private and public-private sectors of Latin America.

Part of this work was evaluating infrastructure projects in Latin America. To enhance my understanding of the Envision framework as it applied to these projects, I earned my ENV SP Credential.

How are you using Envision?

At the Urban Elements Foundation, and in the work I do for the World Bank, I always refer to the Envision framework to teach others about developing sustainable projects.

Through my work at UEF, I am developing a set of infrastructure slum upgrade projects in Caracas, Venezuela. I am using the Envision framework to create a sustainable project. My team and I are currently proposing a set of projects for water treatment and energy generation that are grounded in the principles and tenets of the Envision framework.

In 2017-2018, I worked for the World Bank on a regional project in West Africa. I shared the Envision framework with the engineers and developers on the project. I was hoping to integrate the Envision guidelines into a regional coastal resiliency project. My role in this project was to consult for the 20-person team using my skills as an ENV SP. I shared the Envision framework in an effort to incorporate a mindset of sustainability in each of the six countries’ approaches in investing in the regional project.

Throughout my work, I hope to leverage enough interest in Envision to transform projects beyond compliance with established environmental and social safeguards to integrating the Envision framework. In order to achieve this goal, I provide the guidance needed to initiate systemic change in the planning, design, and delivery of sustainable and resilient infrastructure projects. I wholeheartedly believe that Envision is a decision-making guide. It is not prescriptive, and this is exactly the type of mentality we want decision-makers to use in order to develop resilient spaces, designs, and construction.

Can you share some highlights from an Envision project?

When I was with the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, I worked with two other ENV SPs to evaluate sustainable infrastructure projects. We evaluated projects from companies that plan sustainable infrastructure, including: Enel Green Power’s Dominica Wind Farms (Mexico); Seven Seas Water Company’s Point Fortin Seawater’s Reverse Osmosis Desalination Facility (Trinidad & Tobago); Carilafquén/Malalcahuello Hydroelectric Plant (Chile); Akuo Energy company’s Florida Wind Farm (Uruguay).

The engineering process was evaluated for each project. We examined the documentation provided by the engineers and project managers to measure how sustainable each project had been. We defined the evaluation through a weighted system to quantify the results per Envision categories. The Inter-American Development Bank then measured the results of our evaluations against a set of 12 projects categorized by sustainable results. This process helped incentivize the private companies to become better at building sustainable projects. The process included a two-year capacity building exercise. Capacity building was performed between the ENV SP in the team and the project manager representative of each company. The engineers, project managers, and many other team members learned how to shift their thinking from performing a sustainable project to surpassing sustainable best practices.

Fun Facts

What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?

I love horseback riding to feel the speed and freedom from urban life. I also play soccer at an advanced level, and I absolutely love Lab dogs.

I want to build my home as a fully functional net zero home with net zero waste, water and energy, as well as off grid. I would love to add to this a sustainable garden from my seasonal fruits and veggies and a beautiful fountain.