keynote speaker

Alan Durning

Alan Durning

This year’s keynote speaker is renowned author and founder of Sightline Institute, Alan Durning! Alan has contributed significantly to Sightline’s effort to create a new regional index of progress, the Cascadia Scorecard, and has led many of the organization’s other successes.

Durning is author or co-author of more than ten Sightline books. His current topics of focus include carbon pricing, housing affordability, and democracy reform. In 2013 he published Sightline’s first e-book, Unlocking Home.

Prior to founding Sightline, Durning was a senior researcher at Worldwatch Institute in Washington, DC, where he studied the relationships between social and environmental issues. While at Worldwatch, Durning wrote How Much is Enough? The Consumer Society and the Future of the Earth (1992), which was translated into seven languages and given two awards. He also coauthored seven State of the World reports along with Worldwatch Papers on topics ranging from animal agriculture to indigenous peoples.

Durning’s articles have been published in over 100 periodicals, including the Washington PostLos Angeles TimesNew York TimesChristian Science MonitorInternational Herald TribuneForeign PolicySierraUtne Reader, and Technology Review. He publishes regularly in the Northwest press.

Scott Adams
presenter | Accessibility and Universal Design: An Integral Part of Social Equity and Sustainability

Scott is an architect with 19 years of commercial architectural experience. He is currently an accessibility consultant with Endelman & Associates, an ADA and FHA Compliance consulting firm. Previously, he worked at Starbucks helping to develop their sustainable building program and construction standards. He developed their International Accessibility Standard based on U.S. building codes and trained design and construction teams throughout the U.S. and in Europe on the implementation of sustainable building strategies. Scott was a presenter at the 2014 and 2015 Built Green Conferences and was on a panel of presenters at the 2015 Greenbuild conference.

Patricia Akiyama
Moderator | Neighborhood Engagement: Increasing Density with Neighbor Allies

Patricia Akiyama is External Relations Manager for the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties.  Previously, she was Director of Public Affairs for the Port of Seattle, and Director of Government and Community Relations for Russell Investments. Before that, Patricia worked with Weyerhaeuser Company as a Government and Community Affairs Manager, later becoming Director of Government Affairs for Quadrant Homes. A former Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Patricia also served as Senator Murray’s press secretary and later, as Senior Staff Coordinator for Rep. Frank Chopps. Patricia earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon, and is an alumna of the Senior Managers in Government Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She was recently appointed to Seattle’s newly formed Community Involvement Commission, is Board Vice President of Leadership Tomorrow (Class of 2002), and is on the emeritus board of the Seattle Public Library Foundation.

Jennifer Barnes
presenter | Applying Nature's Solutions to Building Design: Getting Your Hands Dirty with Biomimicry

Jennifer is an architect and sustainability consultant with over 20 years of project experience. She splits her professional life between her own sustainability consulting company, 55-5 Consulting, and her work on the Urban Greenprint, a project that applies biomimicry at a city scale. Jennifer is a co-founder of Biomimicry Puget Sound and is active in the Northwest green building community. She speaks frequently at conferences on various sustainability topics including deep green construction, biomimicry, and water issues. Jennifer has a BA in Architecture from Princeton University and a Masters of Architecture from the University of Washington.


Patrick Beebe-sweet
Panelist | Heat - It's Not Just Your Grandfather's Forced Air Anymore!

Patrick founded Ducoterra in 2011 and has grown the company to a nationwide leader in affordable, comfortable, and efficient radiant heating products.  Patrick has over 15 years of analytical and information management experience. His background in scientific research and engineering projects also brings in needed expertise around the design and engineering challenges in product development. Patrick is dedicated to crafting a business that meets and exceeds the needs of employees, customers, our communities and planet. Patrick has a B.S in Physics and and MBA from Bainbridge Graduate Institute, a recognized leader in sustainable business education.


alexis cureton
Presenter | Affordable Clean Energy for All

Alexis Cureton recently achieved a Master of Public Affairs degree at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. This summer, Alexis will support Spark Northwest’s Affordable Clean Energy for All program, researching and communicating the role solar energy can play to reduce the energy burden on low income residents. He is passionate about equity and environment, and has done research, communications and coordination for a range of organizations, including the national solar industry association, SEIA. Alexis, having received his undergraduate degree from Clark Atlanta University, understands the importance of diversity in thought and analysis of diverse communities. With that foundation, he is committed to helping others spark the clean energy future. Alexis believes energy can be used as a tool to achieve sustainable economic development within minority communities, and seeks to achieve that through his endeavors.


Laura Elfline
Moderator | Heat - It's Not Just Your Grandfather's Forced Air Anymore!

Laura is a co-founder and managing partner at Mighty House Construction, a sustainable home remodeling company, and Mighty Energy Solutions, a distributor of efficient and comfortable heating solution. She is also an über volunteer and Regional Board Member of the NW EcoBuilding Guild. For over 20 years, Laura has utilized education and outreach to influence positive change towards sustainability. She believes that an open mind, a willingness to learn, and the commitment to take action on lots of small, sticky, positive choices will result in healthy homes for us and the environment.


Lynn eshleman
Panelist | Neighborhood Engagement: Increasing Density with Neighbor Allies

Lynn Eshleman, a third generation builder and developer, has over 35 years of experience in the building and development industry of Washington. Currently, she is the Vice President of Operations and manager of Land Acquisition and Development, Pacific Ridge Homes, a DR Horton Company.  She is intricately involved with business planning and implementation of ideas at Pacific Ridge Homes. Additionally she works closely with property owners, engineers, consultants, public officials and more in every phase and aspect of land use, development, construction and sales of real estate.


Aaron fairchild
moderator | from exclusionary to inclusionary and Presenter | Neighborhood Engagement

Aaron is the CEO of Green Canopy Inc., a Seattle in-city homebuilder, and Fund Manager of several real estate lending funds. A third generation lender, he has participated in lending over $300 million on single-family residential construction and light commercial loans since 1997. He began working in speculative homebuilding in 1988 and has completed and sold over 60 homes. Aaron has combined his skill and experience set in his work at Green Canopy, and looks forward to bringing more homes and real estate investment funds to the market. He sits on the Boards of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, Washington Environmental Council, and Clean Energy Works of Oregon. He built schools and teachers’ houses in Gabon, Central Africa with the Peace Corps in the mid-1990s and holds an EMBA from the University of Washington.


Mikhaila B. gonzales
presenter | Affordable Clean Energy for All

Mikhaila spearheads the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) for All initiative at Spark Northwest and supports State Energy Strategy work across Oregon and Washington. The ACE for All project aims to deploy solar energy as a solution to insulate from rising utility costs, build wealth, and transition to a fossil free economy. Spark Northwest coordinates with many local stakeholders including housing providers, tenant advocates, financing institutions, and utilities, to forge a pathway for affordable solar energy in Seattle and beyond. Mikhaila previously worked with National Audubon Society, where she championed programs serving young adults and English language learners. Prior to Audubon, she directed Save Habitat And Diversity Of Wetlands (SHADOW), where she built partnerships across King and Pierce Counties to protect wetlands and critical habitat. Mikhaila completed a B.A. In International Development, M.A. in Environmental Science & Policy, Sustainable Building Advisor Certification, Fulbright Fellowship, Asian Pacific Islander Community Leaders Program and Environmental Leadership Program.   


justin hooks
panelist | Cost-Effective and green remodeling solutions

Justin Hooks is an experienced professional in construction management with over a dozen years of diverse responsibility in commercial and residential construction project management. He is responsible for the overall management of Green Canopy’s construction program. He works closely with the entire team to ensure the comfort, beauty and successful completion of every Green Canopy Home.


sam lai
presenter | Green TALK: Scalable Net zero energy Solutions

Sam is a co-founder of Green Canopy Homes, a mission driven homebuilder and multi-year winner of the Built Green “Green Hammer Award.” Green Canopy builds ultra-efficient and Net Zero Energy homes in Seattle and Portland with an ultimate goal of reducing the negative impacts of climate change and increasing the social and environmental resiliency of our communities. Sam leads the acquisitions, design and sales channels of Green Canopy Homes. He is a licensed and certified residential real estate appraiser in Washington and Oregon and has completed over ten thousand appraisals on properties and construction projects in the Pacific Northwest. Sam completed a MBA in Sustainable Business from Presidio Graduate School and BA at the University of Washington in Drama and Communications. Sam has served as a direct service volunteer and board director at New Horizons Ministries and Street Bean Coffee, which connects with and empowers street involved youth on their journey toward healing in Seattle.


jason legat
panelist | cost-effective and green remodeling solutions

Jason Legat is the founder and President of Model Remodel (MRM): a Seattle-based, design-build company with specialties in green building and remodeling. He has been working in residential, multi-family and commercial construction since junior high school. Growing up in Coupeville, Washington, he learned his trade as a contractor’s apprentice and spent a lot of time “at the business end of a shovel.” Since MRM’s founding in 2002, the company has been named Built Green Remodeler of the Year (2010), and has since received multiple Built Green Hammer awards among other regional and national recognitions. Jason has been featured in the Puget Sound Business Journal “40-Under-40” list, recognizing the area’s top business leaders who excel in their industries. His company is dedicated to protecting the natural environment and enhancing the value of our neighborhoods one home at a time.


Suraj Lobo
presenter | Heat - It's Not Just Your Grandfather's Forced Air Anymore! 

Details to come!


anthony Maschmedt
presenter | How to Take Solar and Smart Home Technology to Create the Next Generation of Net Zero

Anthony is a lifelong Seattleite and has been building homes in the Seattle area for the last 12 years. Hehas been trailblazing with his work in energy efficient, green home building since Dwell Development’s inception and currently is co-chair of the Built Green Executive Committee. He continues to push the envelope in the sustainable community with innovative construction methods that have influenced and positively affected city building practices. 


Rachael meyer
PRESENTER | Applying Nature's Solutions to Building Design: Getting Your Hands Dirty with Biomimicry

Rachael is Principal of Landscape Architecture at Weber Thompson and has over 13 years’ experience working on a variety of residential, commercial office, mixed-use and public open space landscape designs, with a focus on projects in the Puget Sound region. She was project manager for The Bullitt Center’s Living Landscape as well as McGilvra Place Park, the first Living Park. Rachael is passionate about green roofs, urban agriculture and sustainable strategies, and integrates these passions into each of her landscape designs.


tien peng
Presenter | Build with Strength: Sutainable Concrete Multifamily Construction

Tien, currently the Vice President of Sustainability, Codes and Standards for the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, is a long‐time advocate of sustainability, promoting green building practices and social responsibility to various industries from affordable housing to manufacturing to NGOs. Over the past two decades, Tien has been involved in codes and standards as a means to ensure buildings and facilities are safe, healthy, and energy efficient. He advised the Washington State Legislature on building code adoption as a member of the State Building Code Council. He also facilitated the creation of the LEED Homes rating system and currently serves on the Green Globes Consensus Body and ASTM E60 Committee. Tien holds a M. Arch from the University of Houston and a B.E. in mechanical engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Tien is an experienced designer, presenter, and facilitator, and recently co‐authored “Insulating Concrete Forms for Multifamily Residential Construction” published in Architect Magazine (Feb 2017). 


alexandra ramsden
PRESENTER | Applying Nature's Solutions to Building Design: Getting Your Hands Dirty with Biomimicry

Alexandra is a Principal and Director of Sustainability at Rushing and leads the firm’s sustainability consulting practice where she guides teams to identify project appropriate sustainability solutions for both buildings and businesses. Her expertise lies in sustainability strategy development, charrette facilitation, green building rating system facilitation and management (LEED, Built Green, Living Building Challenge), curriculum development, and cost-benefit analyses. Alexandra’s passion for learning from local ecosystems inspired her to found and develop Biomimicry Puget Sound, a local network of biomimicry enthusiasts gathering to foster change in policy and design through the perspective of nature.


Lisa Rutzick
panelist | Neighborhood Engagement: Increasing Density with Neighbor Allies

Lisa Rutzick is Seattle’s Design Review Program Manager within the Department of Construction and Inspections. Providing organization, support and training to 36 Design Review Board members and programs spread across seven boards covering the entire City is a primary focus of her efforts. In addition, she has the pleasure of working and engaging with a smart and motivated group of Land Use Planners in the Department of Construction and Inspections working on Design Review projects. Prior to managing the program, she was involved in conducting design review and environmental review of proposed new construction throughout the City. Lisa holds a Bachelor's degree in Urban Studies and Planning from the University of California, San Diego and a Master's in Planning from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.


tadishi shiga
presenter | How to Take Solar and Smart Home Technology to Create the Next Generation of Net Zero

Tadashi , owner and creator of Evergreen Certified LLC, is a third-party verifier recognized by the Built Green program, performing the role of an independent, neutral entity in conducting evaluations and verifications. He possesses the knowledge, experience, and determination to help his clients achieve their sustainable building project goals. He understands how to thoroughly examine a project in order to strategize for the successful completion of a project. Evergreen Certified LLC won a Built Green Hammer Award in 2013 and has over 600 active Built Green projects in the region.


Ellen Southard
PRESENTER | Design for Watershed Health

Ellen founded Site Story, a practice dedicated to supporting community-enriching projects that emphasize sustainability, place making and social capital building, in 2009. She has also represented Salmon-Safe for eight years as the Puget Sound Outreach Manager. Salmon-Safe offers a series of peer-reviewed certification and accreditation programs linking site development and land management practices with the protection of rural and urban watersheds. With Salmon-Safe she is managing a pilot program for Vulcan Real Estate, creating the first watershed focused developer accreditation in the country, and she has worked on two Living Buildings. Ina 2016, Ellen was named Sustainable Seattle’s Community Hero.


chris van daalen
PRESENTER | What Would Captain Picard Do? A Building Codes "Prime Directive"

Chris van Daalen is the “Captain” of the Code Innovations Database, an online resource documenting green building innovations that go boldly where few have gone before, breaking through code barriers and pioneering new codes policies and incentives that make it easier to build green.  A lifelong environmental activist, Chris has been a forest activist, sustainable development professional, and for the last ten years, a green building educator with the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, based in Olympia.


Amy Walen
Panelist | Neighborhood Engagement: Increasing Density with Neighbor Allies

Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen began her first term in January 2010 and was re-elected in November 2013. She was selected by her fellow Council Members to serve as Mayor for a two-year term beginning January 2014, and again in January 2016. Mayor Walen has been instrumental in Kirkland’s efforts to revitalize the Totem Lake Business District. She seeks to further raise Kirkland’s profile in local, regional and state-wide initiatives such as transportation infrastructure and strategic economic development. Originally from Oregon, Mayor Walen attended University of Queensland in Australia, graduating in 1990. She practiced law in Australia until she returned to Oregon in 1994. Upon an interest in purchasing Ford of Kirkland, the Walens moved to the Kirkland area. Mayor Walen is currently the chief financial officer at Ford Hyundai of Kirkland, located in the Totem Lake Business District. She has been honored by the Alliance of Eastside Agencies as the Elected Official of the Year (2013), and was presented with the Advocacy All-Star Award by the Association of Washington Cities (2015). 



As the Building Science Manager for CLEAResult, Dan is completely immersed in the discussion of what is required to create high performance buildings. Dan has over 20 years of experience working directly for a contractor, performing energy audits and ratings, weatherization repairs, consulting, and analysis for private clients in both new construction and the existing buildings market. Dan currently provides building science consultation, training and presentation services for a variety of programs across the country.