Last Tuesday I attended the 2010 Leadership Luncheon sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council. It was billed as “a celebratory luncheon to welcome the 2010 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo to Chicago this fall.” Greenbuild is taking place November 17 – 19 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The USGBC expects about 30,000 people to attend and has put together the largest expo hall devoted to green building.
About 100 Chicago area people from a variety of fields — including architecture, contracting, local government, consulting and more – were treated to the fabulous views from the 99th floor of the Willis (formerly known as Sears) Tower, interesting presentations and decent food.
The theme of this year’s Greenbuild is “Generation Green: Redefining Our Future.” USGBC says that “Generation Green is not an age group. It’s not about politics or personality, demographics or geography. It’s all of us.” They’ve encouraged people to post videos showing “the creative, meaningful, transformational and just-plain-fun ways they are working toward redefining an economically, environmentally and socially prosperous future.” There are dozens of those videos here.
Kimberly Lewis, USGBC’s Vice President for Conferences and Events, kicked things off with some introductory remarks and a number of plugs for the Green Jobs Summit and Green Job Fair to be held on November 16, the day before the main conference. Lewis stressed that the Job Fair is free and open to the public. She encouraged companies to participate and stressed that people seeking green careers should come and see the many types of opportunities that may be out there. With many great options to choose from, though, I’ll be attending the International Forum that day.
Doug Widener, Executive Director of the USGBC’s Illinois Chapter (one of, if not the strongest in the nation, I say proudly) then gave an overview of the progress Chicago and Illinois have made in promoting green building education and policy, and completing LEED certified projects. For example, Chicago has more LEED certified buildings than any other city.
USGBC’s President, CEO and Founding Chair, Rick Fedrizzi was unable to attend the luncheon, so Roger Platt, Senior VP for Global Policy and Law addressed us instead. Platt profusely thanked the Chicago green building community for its support to date, including taking over Greenbuild 2007 at the last minute when Los Angeles ran into difficulties. He proceeded to pump up the crowd, stating that even thought the “coasties” (his college age son’s term) are known for being “green,” the Midwest has plenty to be proud of in the green building arena. Platt went on to praise Chicago’s Mayor, Richard M. Daley, for his major contributions to greening the city and influencing others to go green. Platt then announced that the USGBC would be instituting a new award at Greenbuild and presenting it to Mayor Daley at the Opening Plenary session on Wednesday morning, November 17. Daley will be receiving the “Mayor Richard M. Daley Legacy Award for Global Leadership in Creating Sustainable Cities.” Platt commented that despite all of the accolades Daley has received during his tenure, this is probably the first award named for him.
And finally, in order to earn my lunch, let me encourage you to attend at least part of Greenbuild this year. If you can’t afford the price or time associated with a full registration, one day passes and Expo only passes are available. There are also half and full day classes and tours offered during the week. Note that there are big discounts for full time students and people age 25 or younger. Here’s a link to the registration information. Hope to see you there!