20 years of LEED: In loving memory
Every year since 2001 I have attended Greenbuild as part of Malcolm Lewis’s team from CTG. Malcolm was an innovator, instigator, guru and wise man of the green building movement. And nobody loved Greenbuild more than Malcolm. Like a kid in a candy shop, Malcolm was bright eyed with enthusiasm about all the information to learn, all the opportunities to create, and most importantly, all the friends to embrace. Always easy to spot, his bald head towering above the crowd, his eyes would light up whenever he would see me and he’d say with amazement, “isn’t this fun?”
And it was. In the early years, when LEED was in its infancy and we were all just figuring out what it all meant, it was mind blowing to come together with so many diverse people who were asking the same kinds of questions, and feeling so inspired by the answers. In those days, it was hard to explain to most people what I even did for a living. As an ecologist working in the building industry, I found myself in some unexpected situations. Like standing in front of a room full of (mostly male) contractors explaining how waterless urinals worked. Or spending hours at solid waste facilities or concrete batch plants looking for realistic ways to generate that crazy LEED documentation. It was all new, it was all a puzzle. But at Greenbuild, I found my people.
It was easy to make that entry—all I had to do was say I worked for Malcolm, and I was welcomed warmly. Malcolm was thrilled that he could bring us with him to the world he loved and share the inspiration for the work we were doing at CTG. Our team was a reflection of him. As each member of that team grew and matured in our careers, and developed reputations in our own right, Malcolm was our biggest cheerleader.
Last year’s Greenbuild, which occurred shortly after Malcolm’s untimely passing, was filled with sadness. At every turn there was someone to mourn with, and reminisce.
Today, we will come together again, and see his memory honored through the Malcolm Lewis IMPACT Award, a fitting tribute to a man who as a volunteer at USGBC took on some of the thorniest and most challenging issues of the industry to provide transformative leadership. But I will miss him. And I won’t be able to stop myself from scanning just above the heads of the crowd, looking in vain for Malcolm.