News & Press Releases

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


 

UPDATE: The USGBC - Texas Gulf Coast

May 6, 2013


Fellow USGBC Members,

As the new Chair of the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, I would like to address two issues that much of our membership is wondering about. Many of you know that Lora Marie Bernard has stepped down as our Executive Director, and I’m sure that many of you are wondering about the future of the Chapter.

First, I need to thank Lora Marie for her years of service to the Chapter. Under Lora Marie’s guidance, the USGBC Texas Gulf Coast Chapter acquired space within the Houston Permitting Building and was accredited by the Better Business Bureau, distinguishing our Chapter as the only BBB accredited chapter in the Nation. Lora Marie joined this Chapter in its early years and has been the face of our chapter to the many industries our membership encompasses and we can be proud that we are ranked: 2nd for total number of LEED registered schools, 3rd for total square footage of LEED commercial buildings, 5th for total number of LEED commercial buildings, and 5th for total number of certified LEED schools. Finally, Lora Marie has been a savior to me, as I have tried to understand the workings of the USGBC. For all of these reasons, along with her desire to help us transition to new management, I would like to thank Lora Marie on behalf of the Chapter and wish her the best.

Secondly, although there are questions concerning the future of this Chapter, be assured your Board is committed to the Mission of the Chapter and we are prepared to move forward in a bold new fashion; bringing the Chapter membership closer together and strengthening the relationships with our collaborating public, private, non-profit and for-profit Organizations. Many local Organizations also embrace the concept of Sustainability and have committees to promote and educate, ours is the only organization that is 100% focused on Sustainability, whether it be in New Construction, Existing Buildings, Schools, Neighborhoods Development, Healthcare, Core & Shell Development, Retail Establishments or in our Homes. My objective is to create a partnering culture with our Collaborating Industry Organizations and to use this new culture to advance Sustainability and the Chapter’s Mission.

As the Chapter’s Chair, I believe that it is important for people to understand my vision and expectations for the Chapter. First of all, let me say that I do not believe that the USGBC should be looked at as the only expert in Sustainability,. Our strength and passion is the promotion of environmentally conscious building concepts. The USGBC relies on motivated professionals, with expertise in each of our LEED Rating System areas, most of who belong to an Industry Organization, which specializes in a specific discipline. It is with their help that the USGBC advances the cause. My vision is to promote our Chapter’s mission, while simultaneously promoting and supporting the Missions of our collaborating Organizations, creating mutually beneficial relationships. I would like to integrate the training programs available within the industry, as well as our GPRO education partner HCC, to create a network of training that could be promoted and supported through the USGBC, assisting as a clearinghouse for Green Resources and Expertise. In fact, I believe we have the opportunity to create strong alliances between our Chapter, Industry, and the City of Houston, creating a culture of environmental consciousness, in Houston and throughout our Chapter.

I have heard many discussions about what our chapter should be doing, and I agree with many of them, however, with the current resources our chapter has, it will be important to prioritize activities and focus on securing revenues and delivering on the Chapter’s commitments. This will require some tough decisions at the board level and a continued culture of volunteerism, by our membership. I believe that we have the people, the desire and the knowhow to move this Chapter on to the next level but, we will need your help. Make no mistake about it. We have budgetary issues and need to raise our sources of revenue. Our Headquarter space is contingent upon the Chapter covering the volunteer needs of the Houston Green Building Resource Center, so it is important that we can continue to provide volunteers. We are looking to create a source of sustainable funding and are investigating our options to decrease the expenses required to administer our BBB Accredited Chapter. Luckily, we have motivated individuals leading our Education efforts. They have great vision and understanding but, cannot do it alone. We He needs your help to continually improve our Industry education efforts. Angel Rivera is doing a great job leading our Emerging Professionals community. Angel and I are working together to discover new ways for the Board to interact with our Emerging Professionals group in an effort to expand our ability to network and communicate, leveraging the strengths of the Chapter and EP. We have a great opportunity to do amazing things together and I look forward to the future of “Green”, in Houston.

Sincerely,

Richard O. Hunton, Jr.
Chapter Chair



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