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CONVERGE and ADVANCE

CONVERGE and ADVANCE
Courtney Brinegar, an Emerging Professional member of the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, attended USGBC’s Convergence (aka mid-year meeting) in San Diego, CA June 28 – July 1.  Here is a description of her experience:

This was my first time attending Convergence and experiencing the USGBC at a national level other than attending Green Building for the first time this past October.  If you haven’t attended a national USGBC event, it really is a breath of fresh air to be surrounded by people from around the country committed to raising the bar for sustainability.  My biggest takeaway from attending Convergence is realizing the Green Building movement is more than learning about the latest rating system or implementing clever energy saving techniques …it’s about love.  Love for the environment, love for our legacy, and love for healthy happy communities.  That’s why I’m so excited to be a part of USGBC’s newest initiative, ADVANCE.  ADVANCE is a new program developed to partner volunteers knowledgeable about green design with community-based organizations in underserved communities (such as non-profits, educational centers, and faith-based institutions).  The idea is to promote green for all.  With our help these organizations who may be unfamiliar with sustainable practices or how a green building can benefit those in need, could ultimately attempt LEED certification in the foreseeable future.   To make this happen I will be spending the next year as Houston’s Community Liaison recruiting passionate skilled volunteers and partner organizations in our community.  I look forward to making Houston a healthier happier place and hope you are too!

 


Pictured are the Emerging Professionals who will be ushering in ADVANCE across the country for the next year.  Orange was chosen as the token color to represent this new movement.

If you would like to know more about the ADVANCE movement, are interested in volunteering, or know of a local community project that could benefit from ADVANCE, contact Courtney at: courtney.brinegar@jacobs.com

Texas Chapter Consolidation

Hello Fellow Members and Friends of the Chapter,

2014 was a busy year and 2015 is proving to be even more exciting. Events are falling into places that are going to take our Chapter to the next level.

Last year the Chapter worked its way through organizational challenges. We contracted with AMC, an administrative management services company to help with our day to day operations. We consolidated our website and membership database. We restructured our finances and we streamlined our committees to be lean and efficient. National USGBC kept us on our toes too, with participation requests for Green Apple Day, a green schools initiative. We continued our education efforts with LEED training classes and partnered with the Green Building Resource Center to put on monthly presentations on topics relevant to our Chapter mission. All driven with the dedication of members and volunteers like you. What did become apparent though was how we were being challenged by the day to day operations and not having much time to develop new programs or partnerships. We reached out to other Texas Chapters on how they were operating and discovered that they too were asking the same questions. Could we benefit by working together? We began to answer this question with inquiries to National and other State Chapters. The answer became a “Yes”.

We recognized the power of collaboration and the potential it brings, which is why we are thrilled to announce that talks about bringing the Texas Chapters together permanently have begun. Your Chapter leadership is working diligently alongside leaders from across the State to make sure that a combined USGBC Texas has the capacity to represent the interests and concerns of the diverse communities within its borders. We know that we can be stronger together, and use this newfound strength to create better solutions to local issues and drive better community programming. Each Chapter brings something unique to the table, something that all of us can benefit from as a whole. However, it is by moving forward as a unified state that creates the capacity to truly affect positive transformation.

Sincerely,

Sergio Grado
Chair – TX Gulf Coast Region

President's Report, July 2015

Fellow Chapter Members,

Welcome to the Chapter’s Newsletter where we share Chapter news and updates.  In this edition, I want bring you up to date on where our Chapter stands in the process of merging the four USGBC Chapters in Texas into a single state Chapter.  In May, the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter held our first town hall board meeting. We plan to hold another one soon.  The goal was to provide an opportunity for members to meet and hear from the board and committee chairs about Chapter activities underway in 2015.  It was a great opportunity to network and get to know each other. The highlight of the meeting was our pressing need to vote on whether the Chapter should move forward with State Chapter consolidation.  All active members present were eligible to vote either for or against the motion to merge into a State Chapter.  I am happy to report that the vote was almost unanimous in support of the merger. 

So what does this mean?  It means we move ahead with efforts to merge bylaws for all four Texas Chapters into one, consolidate finances, perform legal reviews and define how our State Chapter is going to operate going forward.  For starters, our local group will no longer be referred to as a “Chapter” but will now be called a “Region.” The Texas Gulf Coast Region to be more specific.  As the name implies, we will handle most of the territory along the Gulf Coast, extending northwest to College Station.  Actually, we already service this territory, so the consolidation will not affect your affiliation if you reside within the current Chapter’s boundaries.  The Region will continue to be governed by a local board and officers and operate almost the same as before. The State Chapter will provide the added benefit of a centralized administration and Executive Director who will offer guidance to the Regions and run day-to-day operations.  This will free up the volunteer board and committee members to focus on community outreach. 

The power of a single Texas State Chapter can already been seen, as was evident from a recent “2014 Chapters Annual Report” prepared by USGBC National.  The report gathered financial, organizational, and social data from each Chapter across the USA.  It is always an eye opener to see how Chapters in other states are doing — their challenges and celebrations.  Taking a look at the four Chapters in Texas, it is evident that all of us are experiencing individual challenges.  But, when combined into one Texas State Chapter, the following numbers stand out:  

Memberships:  1,229 (one of the top 3 most populous Chapters in the US)

  • National Member Companies:  689 (Number 1 in the US)
  • LEED Professionals:  9,898 (Number 2 in the US)

Those are some strong numbers!  It is proof positive that merging into one State Chapter is going to benefit us all.  I will continue to update you with each publishing of this newsletter, so make sure and read it when you see it.  Also, please contact us with your thoughts and ideas.  Remember, this is your Region that benefits you locally.  It is up to you to make a difference.  Get involved and leave your mark on this world.

Sincerely,

Sergio Grado
Chair – TX Gulf Coast Region