By Vanessa Santos
Community Colleges Specialist
Congratulations to the five selected leaders who will work with USGBC National and the Center for Green Schools to launch and grow its newest program, Community Green. Community Green is USGBC’s commitment to supporting community colleges in educating the next generation of green building professionals who can lead and drive strong local sustainable economies. These five Chairs will work regionally to engage community colleges in the USGBC network, and support them in bringing green building education and activities to their campuses and communities. These Chairs were selected based on their skills, past experiences and their passion and commitment to promoting green building education and training opportunities in their regions.
John Fowler, Virginia: John Fowler currently works as an environmental engineer for Henrico County in the Engineering & Environmental Services Division. For the past 5 years, John has served as the Chairman for the Henrico County Environmental Compliance Task Force, a multi-agency committee whose primary goal is to decrease the County’s environmental footprint and resolve environmental issues. While Chairman, he has led the Go Green Initiative, started "It's Easy Being Green" - the County's environmental newsletter, and is currently working on the Green Star Award for local businesses. John has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Chemistry from Kutztown University and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Science from Penn State University. John is a LEED certified Green Associate and is currently pursuing his AP certification in Building Operations & Maintenance. He is also a USPTA certified Tennis Professional and plays guitar in a band.
Stephenie Presseller, Illinois: Stephenie Presseller is the Sustainability Manager for Moraine Valley Community College located in a suburb of Chicago, Palos Hills, Illinois. This past year, Stephenie coordinates STARS submission for Moraine Valley, which proudly received the Bronze rating. Stephenie manages the college’s Center for Sustainability, a project supported in part by the Illinois Green Economy Network. The Center supports broadly, greening of the campus, community outreach, student, staff and faculty engagement, greening curriculum and greening workforce. She also serves several committees within the Chicago-metro, south suburban community and state-wide including the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium- Sustainability Taskforce; chair of the education committee for the South Suburban Branch and co-chair of the Higher Education subcommittee of the US Green Building Council-Illinois Chapter; Greening Your Curriculum advisor and member of the Illinois Green Economy Network and Illinois Green Governments Coordinating Council- Green Universities and Colleges sub-committee; member of the 2012 AASHE Conference Steering Committee; and Citizens Advisory Council member for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). Stephenie lives in Chicago, a transplant from Southwest Florida, loves her urban vegetable garden plus creating delicious meals from the harvest, enjoys lazy days in the sun with her two dogs-the cat and turtle are inside pets only, spends free time biking/walking around the city or having brunch with friends, and looks forward to spring every winter.
Donnie Thurman, Texas: Donnie Thurman is an adjunct professor and senior lab technician at Austin Community College, in the Building Construction Technology Department. He began teaching in 2008 and was initially given the task of creating and expanding the curriculum for a green building class. His approach is to educate the students about the fundamentals of building science and incorporate green building techniques into a hands-on lab and lecture class. Currently, this class is further being developed into a sustainability certificate and additionally into a sustainability track for students in the construction management degree. Austin, Texas, is home to the nation’s first green building program, Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB), of which Donnie assists in their “Green By Design” community education program. He and his students provide building mock-ups and construction demonstration displays, which are used in the Green by Design curriculum. He also has a close working relationship with several local green builders that provide “in progress” construction projects for field trip and teaching purposes. In addition to being a teacher and senior lab assistant, Donnie is also an active member of the college’s advisory board committee, which consists of college and industry professionals working towards the goal of creating more successful and workforce ready students. Donnie is a certified BPI energy auditor as well as SIPA registered builder and is looking forward to the new relationship with USGBC.
Dan Smith, Washington: Dan Smith currently serves as an instructor in the Sustainable Building Science Program at Clover Park Technical College (CPTC) in Lakewood, Washington. Smith holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Economics from Western Washington University. He has been teaching for the past five years and is currently in tenure track. He serves as a staff member of the CPTC Sustainability Task Force, does weatherization testing and diagnostics for Rebuilding Together South Sound, and has participated in solar installation for the Tacoma Habitat for Humanity. Dan is the director of the Zero Energy House. The CPTC Campus Project website can viewed at www.cptc.edu/zero. He was a remodeling contractor for twenty five years. He is a member of Pierce County Master Builders Association, NorthWest Solar Group, and Cascadia Chapter of the United States Green Building Council. His recent achievements include: Certified Sustainable Building Advisor, BPI Building Analyst, HERS Rater, Level 2 Thermographer, and Green Advantage Certified Practitioner. Dan has also participated in building science seminars such as Retrotec - Large Building Air Leakage Training, U.S. Department of Energy Train-The-Trainer SEI Training, and EEBA – Houses That Work. He has a beautiful wife of twenty three years, Martha, and two boys and one girl, Michael, Gabriel, and Daniela (Dani). He is a volunteer at Mount Rainer National Park and enjoys fly fishing and glacier climbing to ski.
Dee Patel, California: Dee Patel was born in Nairobi Kenya, where sustainability is a way of life, to use resources wisely was an obvious thing to do “one had no choice if one is to survive.” As a sustainability educator she looks for innovative ways to enrich and enliven curricula for K- 12 schools, Community Colleges and professional examinations. Currently, Dee is working with the California Community Colleges State Chancellors Office, Foundation for California Community Colleges and Southern California Edison - Developing Energy Efficiency Professionals (DEEP) Program. The program is in the implementation phase at -Mt. San Antonio College, El Camino College and Citrus College. The DEEP program trains and employs paid student interns to identify, organize & implement on-campus projects that use LEED certified buildings as pedagogical tools to teach energy efficiency, sustainability, with peer-to-peer (P2P) awareness campaigns promoting sustainable lifestyles and developing low carbon campuses. Dee has presented in numerous conferences: Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Faculty Sustainability Summit 2009: Designing the Future Monarch Hall – LAVC. Greenbuild Phoenix Arizona 2009 - LACCD: Creating a Template for Green Collar Jobs & Social Equity Integration, Presenter/Moderator. International Consortium for Educational and Economic Development (ICEED - CIDEE) Opening Plenary session 2010 Responding to Industry Needs: Partnership Model in the Energy Efficiency Sector. She is active in the local USGBC-LA chapter and has co-chaired of the Green Gala, and has raised ten of thousands of dollars. USGBC-LA 5th Annual Green Gala – Lean Times, Green Measures Co-Chair Dee Created First Annual Student Scholarships - 2009 recipients from LA Pierce College.