What design-first firms can do about climate change

Deke Arndt

Deke Arndt
Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)

Deke Arndt is the Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) in Asheville, North Carolina. NCEI is the largest archive of weather and climate data in the world. The Climate Monitoring group are the scorekeepers of the global climate system. They track climate on large scales (global warming) and on smaller scales (regional drought), and host the U.S. Drought Portal (drought.gov).

Mr. Arndt has served as the lead or co-lead editor of the State of the Climate report, the "annual physical" of the climate system, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, since 2010. This year's version was written by 460 authors from 62 countries. Mr. Arndt is also the chair of the U.S. Global Change Research Program's (GCRP's) Climate Indicator Working Group. He holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma.


Ann Kosmal, FAIA

Ann Kosmal FAIA, LEED APBD+C, CPHC, PDC
Strategic Risk Management & Resilience, U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Federal High-Performance Buildings

Ann Kosmal safeguards assets from the observed and expected changes in climate for prudent investment, risk management, and augments life safety, public safety, health and security. She prompts design innovation and bolsters our Nation’s global competitiveness in the emerging sector of climate security which cannot be off-shored or outsourced. Ann is a co-author of the Fourth National Climate Assessment’s Built Environment chapter. She is a Certified Passive House Consultant and Permaculturist.


Jim Newman

Jim Newman, LEED AP O+M
Principal, Linnean Solutions

Jim is founder and Principal at Linnean Solutions. He helped found the Massachusetts Chapter of the USGBC and held the position of Chair of the Board of the Chapter for two years. Jim is a founding Board member of a the Resilient Design Institute. Created by Alex Wilson of BuildingGreen, the organization pursues research and education on resilience in the built environment. Jim is also a Board member of CLEAR, the owner of the LENSES regenerative development framework. Previously, Jim worked as the Director of Strategy at BuildingGreen.


Data driven design: the future is here

Jesse Shapkins

Jesse Shapins
Director, Public Realm, Sidewalk Labs

For over a decade, Jesse Shapins has been leading groundbreaking work at the intersection of art, design, technology and city-building. Currently, Jesse lives in Toronto and is Director of Public Realm & 307 at Sidewalk Labs, where he leads community engagement, vision, design and prototyping for how to create more inclusive, vibrant urban neighbourhoods. In 2004, before smartphones, Jesse invented Yellow Arrow, a global public art project that allowed people around the world to uncover and share hidden stories in their environments. Jesse's first major urban media arts project was The Colors of Berlin, an exhibition and publication that provides a unique lens on everyday life in the city, produced in a formerly abandoned storefront space.

Jesse holds a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University and a PhD in Urbanism and Critical Media Practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. At Harvard, he also served on the Faculty of Architecture and Co-Founded metaLAB (at) Harvard, a Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society lab that bridges humanities, urbanism and technology.

Jesse is also Co-Founder of UnionDocs, one of the North America's leading centers for documentary arts, based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Jesse is also Co-Founder of Mapping Main Street, a documentary arts project that tells the stories of the over 10,466 streets named Main Street across the United States. Previously, Jesse was also Co-Founder and CEO of GoPop, a platform for visual conversation that was acquired by BuzzFeed in 2014, where he then became Director of Product. GoPop was featured by Apple twice as a "Best New App," and got its start at Matter Ventures, the first accelerator focused on media innovation. Before GoPop, Jesse was Co-Founder and CEO of Zeega, a pioneering web platform empowering anyone to tell interactive stories by mixing their own media with maps, video clips, memes, and anything else they could find online.


Violet Whitney

Violet Whitney
Associate Director, Design, Sidewalk Labs

Violet Whitney is Associate Director of Design at Sidewalk Labs, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, where she teaches urban data analytics and design courses. She co-founded A-Frame, an organization that advocates for collaborative and equitable approaches in building practice. Prior to joining Sidewalk, Violet created a humanitarian mapping project that geolocates civilian journalist YouTube videos for the Center for Spatial Research; led research and development of interactive and immersive environments at SOFTlab; and developed master plans and sustainability analytics tools as a LEED Specialist at SmithGroupJJR.

Violet holds a BSD in Architecture from Arizona State University and an MArch from Columbia University. Originally from Los Alamos, New Mexico, she enjoys all things society, technology, and the built environment.


Leaders in the Future

Burke Pemberton

Burke Pemberton
Finance | Accounting | Operations, stok

Burke develops, maintains, and continuously improves stok’s operational, financial, and risk management functions. As an MBA, Burke possesses a deep passion for team building, growing sustainable enterprise, and a unique ability to maintain the ever-critical balance between achieving profitability targets and maintaining a healthy and inspired workforce. Burke has played a key role in developing stok’s strategic vision, growth plans and financing activities, co-creating stok’s self-managed organizational design, and developing new vertical and geographic offerings.


Jolene Goldsmith

Jolene Goldsmith
Operations, stok

Jolene combines her passions for sustainability and social justice in her work at stok, where she is responsible for the organization’s operational systems and practices. Jolene led and continues to improve upon stok’s design and implementation of an equitable, autonomous and evolving organizational structure. In addition to project managing the implementation of the new structure and supporting policies, Jolene developed salary guidelines to ensure compensation equitability across the company, implemented a peer-to-peer feedback model, and designed a profit sharing system that rewards team members for the long-term value they bring to stok.


PechaKucha Presenters

Jennifer Devlin-Herbert, FAIA

Jennifer Devlin-Herbert, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C
Principal, ehdd

Jennifer Devlin-Herbert is a distinguished design leader for evolving trends in learning environments across multiple project types, from libraries to museums and educational spaces. Her key strength is an ability to effectively engage the community—the public at large, project stakeholders, the design team, and firm members. For Jennifer, engaging people is a way to discover a common vision, to incorporate fundamental values and goals, and thereby to represent a community with conviction.

Throughout a career spanning 25 years, Jennifer’s rich portfolio includes projects that reflect an unwavering commitment to her clients. Her work has been recognized with a National AIA Honor Award for Design.


Erica Ross, PAE

Erica Ross, PE, LEED AP BD+C, GPC
Associate, PAE

As an Associate at PAE Engineers, Erica Ross focuses primarily on water efficient plumbing designs for sustainable buildings, and has designed over a dozen LEED rated or registered projects. Erica has provided expertise for a wide variety of onsite water reuse systems including rainwater, greywater, and blackwater systems.


Kevin Sullivan

Kevin B. Sullivan, FAIA
President / CEO, Payette

Kevin joined Payette in 1987, became a partner in 1998 and became President in 2014. He provides strategic direction, vision and intellectual design leadership to the firm. His body of work includes seminal healthcare, science and campus planning projects which have been consistently recognized nationally for their attention to detail, social geometry and integration of the landscape into transformative spaces.

Kevin believes that an in-depth understanding of a building’s program and site provide the fundamental palette for each project. This knowledge is combined with the concept of transparency, both literal and phenomenal; in his practice, Kevin strives to provide a deep logic to forms and spaces.


Lisa Petterson, AIA

Lisa Petterson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, NCQLP LC, NCARB
Principal, SRG Partnership

For the past 28 years, Lisa has focused her work on the development of green building projects, with a special emphasis on lighting and daylight. Lisa has a dual role at SRG, as a project manager with a focus on projects with deep green goals and as a daylighting / sustainable design specialist.

Projects Lisa is currently managing include the UC Davis Equine Performance Center, the Linfield College Science Complex Addition and Renovation, and the Gonzaga Integrated Science and Engineering Building. Lisa is also deeply involved in advancing SRG’s internal sustainability goals, and serves as the co-chair for the firm’s Sustainability Committee.


Bryan Lee

Bryan Lee
Founder/Director, Colloqate Design

Bryan is a Designer and Design Justice Advocate. He is the founder/Director of Colloqate Design, a nonprofit multidisciplinary design practice dedicated to expanding community access to design and creating spaces of racial, social and cultural equity. Lee most recently served as the Place + Civic Design Director for the Arts Council of New Orleans and prior to that at the 2014 AIA National Firm of the Year, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (Architecture) in New Orleans.

Bryan is the founding organizer of the Design Justice Platform and organized the Design As Protest National day of Action. Additionally, he has led two award-winning architecture + design programs for high school students through the Arts Council (local) and the National Organization of Minority Architects (national), respectively. He serves on several boards; most notably as the Design Education Chair National NOMA board and on the National AIA Equity + the Future of Architecture Committee. He was selected as the 2014 NOMA member of the year, 2015 Next City Vanguard Fellow, 2015 International British American Project Fellow. In 2016, Bryan was selected to give a TED Talk and to Keynote at SXSW Eco on Design Justice.