February 1, 2021
What is one of the opportunities that you are excited about in 2021?
I am very excited that my congressman Cedric Richmond will be working closely with the Biden administration and we look forward to engaging with him on environmental issues. I am very excited that my congressman is assuming this new role in the Biden Whitehouse. He has been a great partner at the state level engaging our communities in green building initiatives and environmental issues. I look forward to continuing our work with him and to seeing the impact that he will now have on a national level.
Can you tell me about Green Coast’s 2020 accomplishments and initiatives that you are proud of?
We helped to launch the retro-commissioning program with the Energy Smart program in New Orleans- the utility energy efficiency program. The first couple of projects are going through M&D right now, and this is been something that we’ve been working towards for most of the last decade. It is exciting to see that program get off the ground!
We also have started our first completely new construction project on the development side. That project is going to be Energy Star certified- so that was also really exciting! The project itself is 69 energy-efficient apartment units, and ten of those are designated as workforce affordable housing. We expect to complete the project by the end of this year.
We’ve got a couple of interesting new real estate projects including a modular homeownership model that I think the whole Relay Network might be interested in this opportunity. We are looking at how manufactured, and modular housing could bring down the cost of construction and increase the quality and the energy efficiency of these buildings.
Overall, we had a pretty good year.
What are you looking forward to as your major initiatives and cool and fun things in 2021?
Working closely with our fellow Relay Network members is one of the things that I am looking forward to. Andrea and I have kicked off the year by scheduling regular phone calls. I’m really excited for us to finally figure out how the two southern Relay Network members can really integrate into each other’s work. I think there’s a lot that she can help me with within Louisiana, and I hope similarly to help her with Georgia and that we can both grow and expand together.
What value has Green Coast gained from being members of Relay?
We find value in being amongst a group of like-minded practitioners in this space, in a time when our industry is really truly getting off the ground. In my opinion, Relay has gone from something that I think was at the edges of the construction industry, and our implementations only really happened when it was being required. Now we are at the forefront of how everyone in the United States thinks about buildings. I think that the folks that make up the Relay Network are the best and the brightest in green building science.
Tell us about becoming the CEO of Green Coast?
I had been the managing partner for the consulting side of Green Coast’s business and for many years. My moving into the CEO role will bring the consulting business back to the front and center of how we’re thinking about our future real estate projects. So, we are now aligning our own developments with the work we’ve been doing on behalf of other developers for the last five years. It came out of this moment in time in which in talking to my business partners about what we had learned could be applied to real estate development, and whether we should remain a consulting company. When we decided to merge the practice, and we started to make the transition, we actually were approached for a couple of new projects that were slowly rolling out this year, in which we would play the role of developer. It’s fortuitous that we decided that we would sit back be patient and do development where and where it aligns with that the green building work that we want to do, as well as continuing to be in real estate.
Can you tell us a fun fact about Green Coast?
I think the fun fact is that the Green Coast services team, at various points in time have all played on an adult recreational league soccer team together. Unfortunately, four members of Green Coast are on a team this season that has the worst record. We are currently at an all-time low as far as the percentage of Green Coasters playing soccer. In the old days, we were all on a team that had an undefeated season.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge in 2021?
Covid. It is the big issue that we have all been going through for a year, and who knows how much longer? The unknowns of how long are we going to be working like this? What is it going to look like when we get to the other side-the new normal? Construction has been relatively sheltered because the timelines on projects are so long. But we’re all reaching the end of the projects that started in January-February of last year and the pipeline of the projects behind them is smaller. I think the contraction for our industry is more likely to come this year.