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Christopher Schaffner is running for the Sustainable Practice Leader: Engineer seat on the 2015 Board of Directors.

Candidate interview

Why do you wish to serve on the USGBC Board of Directors?

I believe serving on the Board would be a natural evolution of my 14-year involvement with the USGBC. I also believe my unique skill set, industry experience, and engineering background is particularly relevant to the organization now as it heads into its third decade.

I have supported the USGBC at the national and local level through a variety of volunteer activities, serving on technical, market and education focused committees. I see the Board of Directors as the next place to most effectively use this skill set and expertise. Although I have often described myself as a "worker bee" – someone who commits, shows up, and gets things done - with more than ten years of perspective, I am also now in a position to exercise thoughtful leadership.

I have watched the USGBC grow from an all-volunteer organization with minimal staff, to a large, professional, staff-driven organization. That transition has enabled the USGBC to successfully promote its external goal of market transformation. Going forward, the challenge will be to build on this success, while maintaining the enthusiasm of volunteers, which has been the foundation for the organization’s growth all along.

The world has changed greatly since 1993 and so has the USGBC. Now we face new technical and political challenges. At the same time the urgency of our work has never been more clear.I want to serve on the Board so that I can help the organization meet these new challenges, since its mission has never been more relevant.

Please briefly describe how you, as an individual, have been aligned with the work of USGBC for the last three to five years.

I have been dedicated to the work and mission of the USGBC since I first became involved with the Council in the late 1990s. Since joining the LEED Faculty in 2001, I have been an advocate for the USGBC and LEED, both in my personal and professional life. As a volunteer, I have served on committees at the national level continuously since 2003, and helped to found our local USGBC Chapter, where I serve currently on the Board of Directors. My four year term on the EA TAG, where I was deeply involved in the development of LEED v4 ended in 2013. I now volunteer on both the Implementation Advisory Committee, and the Education Events Committee.

What resources could you bring to help further participation by diverse sectors in USGBC?

My practice is very diverse. – We work on a wide range of new construction and renovation projects – everything from small tenant fit-ups, schools, to high-rise residential developments to large hospitals and mixed-use facilities. As a consequence, I have a unique understanding of the market for green buildings across many different market sectors, from public to private, commercial to non-profit.

As a sustainable practice leader, my background as an engineer is also unique. The engineering profession has had an interesting relationship with the USGBC – while benefiting from our initiatives, there have always been some who see the USGBC as a threat or rival. I believe I can serve as a bridge with this community, helping the USGBC forge strong relationships with ASHRAE, and similar groups, and help both organization successfully meet their goals.

Last, but not least, I believe my technical expertise will be an asset to the Board. I have been “in the weeds” of LEED as a member of multiple TAGs and the Technical Committee. I have participated in the LEED review process, both as a project team leader and as a reviewer. As a result, I have deep knowledge about both the technical aspects and user experience of LEED. The USGBC is about much more than LEED. But LEED is how we interact with the majority of our industry, and it is key to the market perception of the USGBC. Board members with a deeper understanding of LEED can be more effective.

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