Get Into Green – GIG 2009

Last night was one of the many times that I beam with pride over the organization for which I work. The U.S. Green Building Council is a national non-profit organization that affects change in all areas of building – for the sustainable better.

I work for the local chapter (USGBC – Central Plains). I am proud to work with a progressive group of people in western Missouri and all of Kansas, that want to bring about positive changes in our built environment.

Each year we have a large event in which we tour the latest LEED certified building in Kansas City and then party together while networking occurs throughout. Last night we toured the new JE Dunn building at 10th and Locust in downtown Kansas City. What a fabulously inspiring building!! It is on track to be certified at the LEED Gold level – an admirable feat!!

I am proud of JE Dunn (a sponsor of USGBC – Central Plains) for their commitment to working conditions for their employees as well as their environmental impact on the KC community. Equally, I was inspired by the building’s design. Some of you know what I mean (and how affectionately I mean it) when I say that there were Paper Source colors everywhere!!

This was probably my favorite shot of the night:

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chartreuse, black, kraft, white, orange, cement…yummy, yummy, yummy! Made me want to come directly home and play with some paper!!!

Scott has been invaluable in the operations side of our chapter. He works at LEAST a part-time job for the USGBC, working with the online membership and event directory. I could never accomplish alone in a week what he and I tackle daily. Both of us working from different states, but with laptops in hand!

He came to the GIG last night and assisted with registration. Afterwards, he took my camera and in VERY poor lighting, took some pictures. There are a few on which I want to comment, but the entirety can be found at the bottom of this post.

The committee that put together this year’s event did an EXCELLENT JOB!! We had a large amount of sponsorship dollars that allowed the chapter to keep more of the registration fees from the over 400 participants. Something a non-profit is always in need of: income!

One of our sponsors was Cellar Rat. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are a staple in the downtown Crossroads district. A wine merchant that was co-founded by one of our USGBC member’s husband.

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We were extremely proud to utilize Ripple Glass. Launched just this month, Ripple Glass is a local glass recycler (a void in the Kansas City community until now.) I do not have the final tally yet, but the majority of our event last night was completely recycled. (more to come on that.)

At JE Dunn, you have to make the conscious choice to throw your waste directly into the landfill, if what you’re using is not recyclable. Ouch; but a great reminder to people to re-use as often as possible. And when not, use product that can be re-used on down the road.

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Our fearless leader, Jay Guerra. I know there are Truman grads that read this blog, and yes – it’s THAT Jay Guerra, President of our Chapter’s Board of Directors. Jay was a good friend in high school. And now, has been a blessed friend as an adult. I love it when life continues to allow you to cross paths with some of your very favorite people.

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Speaking of favorite people (and yes, it’s the photo that’s blurry): Harriet Grindel, architect at Hollis + Miller Architects in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. And, of course, Angel Guerra. Wife of fearless leader. And long-time friend of mine.

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And Janet Baker, my friend and co-worker (in that order.) This picture is applicable, since we are quite often putting our heads together to accomplish the daunting tasks of our jobs! We represent the entirety of the paid staff for USGBC – Central Plains. She is the part-time (achem) Executive Director and I am the full-time Executive Administrator for the chapter. Everything else that is accomplished is because of the incredible effort from our committed volunteers.

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I liked this picture on a personal level. As I said before, Scott had my camera and took all the pictures (through no fault of his own that they aren’t of great quality…the lighting…my little camera…) But as we were looking at them at home later in the evening, he grinned and proudly pointed to this one saying, “This is my ‘Greta Photography’ attempt.” -ha! Oh how I love me a great angle shot!!!

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It was a great night. It reminded me again how blessed I am to work for an organization for which I wholly believe in their mission – and with people that are above excellent. 450 people who passionately care about Kansas City’s environment…

GIG 2009
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