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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.

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: 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.

ENV SP Spotlight: Julie Koehler

Julie Koehler is a Professional Engineer in the state of Colorado with a Master’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master’s in Development Management from The American University.

Julie hit her 5-year mark with the City of Westminster in January 2019, was recently promoted to Utilities Engineering Manager and previously worked as a Senior Engineer in the Utilities Engineering Division.

Prior to joining the City, she spent 13 years as a Senior Associate for a private engineering firm in Denver designing several municipal engineering projects.

Julie also spent time working with the US Agency for International Development in Washington DC as well as the Peace Corps and the Agency for International Development in Africa, where she worked on urban environmental issues such as solid waste, gray water, and erosion control.

ISI staff had the chance to connect with Julie, and she provided the following insights from her career:

Professional Experience

What drew you to your field of work?
In a previous life I managed Peace Corps’ Urban Environmental Management project in the Ivory Coast, West Africa.  30 Peace Corps Volunteers served in 15 secondary towns to assist and improve solid waste management, latrine construction, and increase knowledge of health issues related to ineffective management of solid waste, human waste, and related urban environment issues.  I appreciated the engineering perspective which was science driven, mathematical, and results oriented.

What has been your biggest career challenge?
I made a career change from International Development to Engineering in my 30s.  Accepting the challenge to take all the math and science required for an engineering degree with a background in social studies and foreign language was, and is, a big deal!

What has been your proudest career moment?
Successfully obtaining my PE.

Envision Experience

How did you learn about Envision?
Dewberry, my former employer, is a charter member of ISI and encouraged staff to pursue and obtain the credential to improve sustainability of horizontal infrastructure. I decided to pursue my credential because most of my project work involved chemical feed and storage systems and potable water pumping systems designs.  Having a tool and metric against which municipal infrastructure could be evaluated attracted me to Envision.

How is the City of Westminster using Envision?
The City of Westminster is using Envision in three ways:

  • The City has over 20 credentialed ENV SPs. We  provided training to introduce an alternative way of thinking about sustainability and Capital Improvements Projects (CIP).
  • With the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer, we interviewed 16 Project Managers from different departments within the City about their work. The intent was to explore how the Envision rating tool meshed with their 2019/20 CIPs, and to determine what role the Envision tool could play in future CIPs.  The discussions helped to increase the understanding of Envision’s applicability to a wide range of projects. Ultimately, the outcome of the discussions will inform the recommendation to the City Manager about the formal use of the Envision tool in the City.
  • Public Works and Utilities committed to seeking 3rd party Envision verification on a large CIP at our Big Dry Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility. The project is now under construction.  Following construction, the project team will submit the documentation to support what the City hopes will be a bronze rating.

Can you share some highlights from an Envision project?
The series of 16 meetings with City Project Managers to discuss the Envision tool was eye-opening for me, in a good way. Many City projects and PMs use Envision principles and are supported in thinking about sustainability even if they had not previously heard of Envision. Conversations about if, how, and when to use the tool across a wide range of projects suggests that the tool is a relevant metric in our municipal project context.  Our next steps include presenting overall results to City PMs, developing a recommendation for City Management, and possibly creating City policy based on using the Envision tool for City CIPs.

Fun Facts

What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?
I like riding my bike to work in the summer, quilting, reading, and spending time with my family.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I completed the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim in the mid 90s and placed 39th in my age group.