2023 Design Challenge Final Competition Jurors
Learn more about the individual jurors for the 2023 Final Competition Event (April 20-23, 2023) by Division below. Visit the Design Challenge rules to learn how the jurors evaluate projects.
- Grand Jurors
- New Housing
- Retrofit Housing
- Attached Housing
- Multifamily Building
- Education Building
- Office Building
Mark Chambers is a national environmental policy leader, advocate for social justice, and licensed architect inspired by public service and lessons of collective action. Chambers is currently joining the leadership effort to launch Earth Alliance, a philanthropic studio at the intersection of climate and culture. He recently served the Biden-Harris administration in a presidential appointment as the first senior director for building emissions and community resilience at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he led the administration's climate policy development for the built environment. Chambers previously served as the director of sustainability for both New York City and the District of Columbia, where he led efforts to accelerate climate policy implementation across buildings, food, waste, transportation, health, and energy sectors in America's largest city and the nation's capital.
Jess Farber is a vice president with CMTA Consulting Engineers and a mechanical engineer. He leads CMTA's Boston office. He is passionate about transforming the built environment with proven sustainable strategies and has been involved in many zero energy projects and decarbonization projects for new construction and renovations over his almost 30-year career.
Amy Matthews is a remodeler, TV personality, and activist whose work threads together architecture, design, transformation, and education for empowerment and renewal. Amy has inspired with projects that rejuvenate homes and workplaces on her television shows on HGTV, DIY Network, and The Design Network. Most recently, Amy's design/build project “The Modern Barnhouse” was chosen by This Old House to be their Idea House of the year. Amy's work has been featured in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, People, Esquire, and USA Today. In November 2018, just as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported that home is the “most dangerous” place for women worldwide, Amy co-founded And Now She Rises, a nonprofit dedicated to helping women reclaim their personal narrative after experiencing domestic violence and abuse. Her activism also includes work with Habitat for Humanity and The Ronald McDonald House. Amy's public speaking across the country encompasses talks on construction and design, and how they contribute to spacious, inspired, and authentic living.
Courtney Anderson leads Net Zero Energy New Buildings and Homes for the City and County of Denver in the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency. As a member of the Buildings and Homes Team, she works to ensure Denver is on track to meet its climate target of all new buildings achieving net zero energy by 2030. She also serves at national subcommittee levels with the International Code Council to advocate for more sustainable codes nationally. Her background as an architect includes experience in residential, commercial, green building consulting, sustainability, codes and standards, design, construction administration, and research. She received her master's in architecture from Ball State University, where she explored her passion for design, sustainability, and traveling.
Joseph Kunkel, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, is the director of the Sustainable Native Communities Design Lab based in Oga' Poghe (Santa Fe), New Mexico, operating within MASS Design Group. As a community designer and educator, his work explores how architecture, planning, and construction can be leveraged to impact the built and unbuilt environments within Indian Country and across what is now the United States.
Sara Ann Logan
Sara Ann Logan is an Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) executive with extensive knowledge of and influence specializing in volumetric modular design for manufacturing, assembly, and construction. She has 20 years of architectural experience with more than 12 of those years exclusively focused on modular single-family, multifamily, hotel and luxury mixed-use developments serving as designer, managing principal, and architect of record. Her diverse background brings a research-based, contextual, and balanced approach to design. With over 100 projects in both the public and private sectors totaling billions of dollars in real estate value, her work has been featured in local, regional, and national press focusing on her efficient, collaborative design process resulting in unique, well apportioned spaces.
Lance MacNevin is the director of engineering for the Building & Construction Division at the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI). PPI's expertise is on plastic pressure pipes, such as chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), high density polyethylene (HDPE), PEX (cross-linked polyethylene), polyethylene of raised temperature (PE-RT), and polypropylene (PP). Lance has been in the plastic pipe industry since 1993—involved with hydronic radiant heating and cooling applications, geothermal ground loop piping systems, plumbing, and fire protection systems as an R&D engineer and trainer.
In addition to technical research, advocacy, and training, Lance also works with plumbing and mechanical codes and piping standards and serves on technical committees within the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); ASTM; the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE); the American Water Works Association; the Canadian Standards Association; the Hydronics Industry Alliance-Commercial; International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials; International Code Council; International Ground Source Heat Pump Association; NSF; and the Radiant Professionals Alliance. He is from Canada and has lived in Virginia since 1997.
Magnus is the senior director of technical marketing in North America for SolarEdge, a global provider of smart energy solutions that address a broad range of solar market segments. Magnus has over three decades of experience in the solar, telecommunications, and semiconductor industries, with more than 13 years managing inverter products at SolarEdge and other renewable energy companies. Prior to that, he managed carrier telecommunications products at Siemens and Nokia. Magnus holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California Santa Barbara.
Paul Francisco is a researcher and trainer at Colorado State University and the University of Illinois. His research focuses on healthy and efficient housing, with a special focus on field-based measurements in low-income homes. He also trains energy auditors and healthy home evaluators to diagnose housing problems, using the house-as-a-system approach, and then deliver high-quality improvements. Paul is the current chair of the Board of Directors of the Building Performance Association, and also has leadership roles with ASHRAE.
Meeta Morrison, American Institute of Architects (AIA), is the owner, founder, and principal architect of MMD Architecture. With over 15 years of experience in the design industry, Meeta has worked on a variety of project types and sizes. She is interested in making buildings that address the needs of their inhabitants, while using the specific environmental characteristics of the site to design sustainable spaces. Timeless passive design principles, strategies for conservation, and her experience with green building technologies are all part of the skill set she uses to help residential clients achieve energy efficiency and thermal comfort. Meeta holds a graduate degree from the School of Architecture at the University of Texas and an undergraduate degree in art and art history from Rice University.
Vicki Worden serves as president and CEO of the Green Building Initiative (GBI), an international nonprofit dedicated to reducing climate impacts by improving the built environment. During her tenure, GBI has become a thriving community that supports the integration of sustainability and net zero, health and wellness, and resilience objectives throughout some of the largest real estate portfolios in the world. GBI has now certified more than 550 million square feet of commercial building space in North America using its internationally recognized Green Globes building certification program and its federal Guiding Principles Compliance program.
Karla Butterfield is a sustainability director at Steven Winter Associates, Inc., working with residential buildings. Her expertise is in sustainable consulting services, program certification support, and implementation of high-performance building technologies. With architects, developers, builders, and homeowners, she develops specific sustainability strategies for both new construction and renovations.
Vanessa Hostick is a sustainable design leader with HOK St Louis. She is the global AIA 2030 manager for HOK and currently serves as working group co-chair. She has extensive experience in high-performance design for large complex buildings and works daily to implement sustainable best practices, including energy efficiency analysis, renewable energy integration, occupant wellness strategies, and third-party certification. Vanessa is also a member of the International Code Council Code Action Committee for Sustainable / Energy / High-Performance buildings and a Solar Decathlon alum!
Jamie McKay is the building science department manager with Morrison Hershfield Corporation's Seattle office. He is a sustainability and building envelope specialist and has worked for Morrison Hershfield for over 24 years. Jamie has acquired a wide range of knowledge in sustainable design and building science through his project experience at Morrison Hershfield, technical presentations, and teaching/lecturing. His specialties include sustainable design facilitation and integration, high-performance building envelopes, adaptive reuse of heritage buildings, LEED Building Durability, and LEED Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx). Jamie received his LEED Fellow designation in 2014 from the U.S. Green Building Council and his Building Envelope Commissioning (BECxP) accreditation from the University of Wisconsin in 2017.
Gene Myers is the owner and CEO of Thrive Home Builders. By virtue of Thrive's 10 consecutive DOE Grand Awards for Housing Innovation, Thrive is among the nation's foremost builders of high-performance homes. Every Thrive home is built zero energy ready and LEED certified, and Thrive is Denver's largest builder of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Indoor airPLUS-qualified homes. Thrive is a top 20 builder in Denver. Professional Builder Magazine named Thrive Home Builders its 2017 Builder of the Year, and Thrive won the National Housing Quality Award—bronze and silver in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Gene's career in urban development spans more than 30 years—from a civil engineer in the U.S. Peace Corps in the early 1970s to starting his own homebuilding company in the early 1990s. Gene is known as an advocate for smart growth and affordable housing. He frequently speaks locally and nationally on these topics.
Devin Abellon, P.E. is the business development manager for engineering services at Uponor North America. He has 29 years of experience in the HVAC and plumbing industries with a focus on high-performance and sustainable building design and construction. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara and is a registered professional engineer in California and Arizona. He is an active member of both ASPE and ASHRAE. He serves on the ASHRAE Board of Directors as the Region X director and regional chair and as an ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer.
Parag Rastogi is a building scientist with a background in civil engineering and 10 years of experience in research and development. At arbnco, Parag leads the research and development of health, well-being, and controls products. His work touches upon health and well-being in buildings, Internet of Things-based controls, integrating climate risk analysis into building performance evaluation and planning, and the use of machine learning and data science in software and hardware for buildings.
Smita Chandra Thomas
Smita Chandra Thomas is the founder and principal at Energy Shrink, a consulting practice in Washington D.C. focused on high-performance buildings. She has more than two decades of experience (going on three!) performing and managing techno-economic analyses and demand-side management strategies for path-breaking green buildings, programs, and policy. With a bachelor's in architecture and a master's degree in building science from the University of California, Los Angeles and Berkeley, complemented with LEED Accredited Professional and Certified Passive House Consultant certifications, Smita is dedicated to enabling energy efficiency in buildings through building science.
Reginald M. Truxon, AIA, National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), is the president of the DC NOMA chapter and an associate at Gensler. Reggie serves as Gensler's southeast region design management leader, providing guidance for the firm's design managers to strengthen the foundation of its business. A leader in large-scale, multifamily projects, he has a keen ability to manage complex projects and maintain a quality design product, all while driving both alignment and client satisfaction.
Reggie helped establish a resource group for Gensler's Black employees and is a regional race and diversity co-leader for the firm, where he organizes projects and people to make a lasting positive impact on the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry.
Jill Kurtz is a principal and director of building sciences at Page. As a registered architect and environmental building design specialist, Jill leverages her strengths as a systems thinker and her ability to “speak engineer” to work across the firm's interdisciplinary practices to integrate sustainability and building performance analysis across Page's market sectors. Her strategic vision has helped grow the influence and services of our building sciences team across our offices. “Intention requires rigor” is the mantra she frequently repeats, emphasizing the importance of follow-through on our ideals and aspirations towards meaningful and measured results.
Mohit Mehta is a principal and the global head of sustainability at Populous, a global design firm. Mohit has been engaged in sustainability research, analyses, and delivery of high-performance low-carbon projects for over 20 years and is knowledgeable in environmentally responsive building practices, materials, and site designs that promote comfortable, energy- and resource-efficient, and healthy solutions. Mohit has lectured and written on the integration of energy, climate change, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and sustainable design principles into master planning and building design and has delivered science-based decarbonization strategies on diverse project types—from large commercial buildings and corporate and higher education campuses to workplaces and sporting venues and events.
Elvin Ruya Ozel
Elvin Ruya Ozel is a senior energy engineer with more than 10 years of engineering experience in both new construction and existing buildings focusing on energy efficiency and high-performance building design and operation. She brings an extensive knowledge of high-performance building measures such as envelope, lighting, HVAC, and controls to help designers and commissioning teams from early-stage analysis to post occupancy. Elvin has worked with a variety of projects and clients including commercial offices, hospitals, universities, airports, and stadiums. Her project experience includes energy auditing, advanced energy modeling, measurement and verification, and construction management. Elvin has a master's degree in high performance building from Georgia Institute of Technology and participated in Race to Zero Student Design Competition in 2015, where her team received the Analysis Excellence Award.
Rick Ruppert is a registered architect with over 20 years of professional practice experience prior to a move into building product manufacturing and now building project delivery software. As director of partnerships at RIB Software, Ruppert is focused on topics concerning the delivery of effective and integrated resources driving architectural design, building construction, and facility operation processes. An architect himself, Rick has a well-informed perspective regarding the transformational technologies impacting successful, environmentally responsible project outcomes. The results of his efforts can be seen in the collaboration, education, and process management consultation he regularly provides to the building design and construction community.
Leia de Guzman
Leia de Guzman is co-founder of Cambio, software that helps commercial real estate companies and tenants decarbonize their buildings. Prior to Cambio, Leia was investments director across Europe and Asia for Oxford Properties / OMERS, deploying $8 billion in real estate investments globally. Leia studied environmental science and business at Queen's University, where she participated in the 2013 Solar Decathlon. She also earned a Master of Business Administration at Stanford University, where she met her co-founder, Steph.
Luke Leung is a LEED Fellow; ASHRAE Fellow; ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Commercial Team Leader; ASHRAE Task Force for Building Decarbonization ExCom; ASHRAE Director-at-Large; Carbon Leadership Forum MEP 2040 founding member; City of Chicago Decarbonization Task Force member; and ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer. He is the firmwide principal of the Sustainability Engineering Studio for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP. His work includes Burj Khalifa, currently the world's tallest building, and four more of the world's Top 20 tallest buildings.
Vinay Shekar is a mechanical engineer working for Affiliated Engineers Inc and is based out of Seattle. As an engineer in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry for nearly seven years, he has been involved in all phases of project development, including planning, design, and construction administration. At Affiliated Engineers, he is a key member of the mechanical department, involved with the design and execution of several complex mechanical systems for healthcare environments, laboratories, and research facilities. Additionally, Vinay is passionate about energy and sustainability and specializes in building performance simulation, building system analysis, and sustainability consulting.
Ryan Velasco is constantly seeking out solutions to design sustainable buildings as climate change presents new challenges. Whether that is a new energy system or material, he understands the positive impact architecture and technology can accomplish together. He collaborates with clients, consultants, and design teams to ensure the chosen systems are compatible with the overall design and energy goals of the project. Ryan can be found snowboarding down mountains across the country when he is not designing a project to benefit the environment.
Solar Decathlon Semifinal Competition Division Jurors
Learn more about the individual jurors for the 2023 Semifinal Competition Event (February 24-25, 2023) by Division below. Visit the Design Challenge rules to learn how the jurors evaluate projects.
- New Housing
- Retrofit Housing
- Attached Housing
- Multifamily Building
- Education Building
- Office Building
Susan McFaddin is a green developer and energy policy expert working on building codes and utility policy to help with climate change mitigation. She developed the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum office park in northern Colorado, as well as a net zero residential development in Fort Collins, and serves on the Colorado Utility Consumers' Board and the Adams County Planning Commission. She is a Colorado Governor's Fellow and a Fulbright Specialist, which combines her love of travel with giving back to developing nations.
Sam Rusek fell in love with architecture while working with The Nature Conservancy in a naturally daylit office building. Sam serves on the board of the Austin Passive House Alliance as an advocate for building science knowledge in the Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC) community. Involved with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) at the local, state, and national level, she advocates for the protection of finite resources and use of healthy building materials. Her education in archaeology, anthropology, and architecture, paired with her technical knowledge and field experience, position Sam uniquely to understand the challenge of bringing theory to practice in the built environment.
Michael Ihesiaba is the director, engineering at Elevate, a nonprofit organization that designs and implements programs that reduce costs, protect people and the environment, and ensure the benefits of the clean energy economy reach those who need them most. In this role, Michael leads Elevate's engineering team in supporting the organization's engineering and technical expertise needs. The engineering team conducts energy assessments and energy modeling, and provides technical consulting for Elevate's programs, projects, and utility programs that deliver services to a wide range of buildings, including commercial nonprofit, multifamily, and public buildings. Prior to joining Elevate, Michael held senior roles within the energy efficiency and sustainability sectors for consulting companies and the utilities Consolidated Edison and National Grid. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the Grove School of Engineering at the City College of New York and a Master of Business Administration from the Neil Griffin College of Business at Arkansas State University.
Stephen Michael Wilder is an architect and entrepreneur from Harlem, New York, with 20 years of experience working in the built environment. Stephen is a very ambitious person who is rooted in creativity and the desire to be innovative in new and existing spaces. Stephen is dedicated to using his status, resources, and influence to better his community and other similar communities. For the last 10 years, Stephen has worked on building his architectural firm Think Wilder Architecture. In the competitive and detail-oriented industry of architecture, there is not a day where Stephen is not juggling business, creativity, and technology. Stephen plans to use his business and architecture as a platform to help change the way underserved people live, work, and play. He has professional affiliations with the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and the AIA. Stephen has a master's degree in science of architecture from Carnegie Mellon University and a bachelor's degree in architecture from Howard University.
Alex has specialized experience in sustainable design and is responsible for conducting sustainable design charrettes; evaluating sustainable design criteria, methodologies, strategies, and technologies; and making determinations regarding the best approach and solution for construction projects both in the healthcare and residential environments. Alex and his wife Sabrina are the proud parents of Elly, Elijah, Israel, and twins Ezra and Isaiah. Alex enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, photography, and Churrasco (pronounced shoo-RAS-koo) or Brazilian style barbeque, which was the traditional staple food of the gauchos or cowboys of southern Brazil for centuries.
Steve is the chief programs officer at the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), which provides certified thermal performance ratings on fenestration in residential and commercial buildings. NFRC ratings and procedures are the basis for fenestration energy performance, and through NFRC's Efficient Windows Collaborative website are a driving factor in the selection of energy efficient windows by consumers. As the chief programs officer, Steve leads the team that develops and updates the certification programs to meet strategic priorities. Prior to joining NFRC, Steve spent 10 years at a building products test lab and another 10 years at an independent building products certification agency. Steve has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Penn State University and is a licensed engineer in three states.
Sarah is on the affordable housing team at Group14 Engineering, where she leads energy and sustainability services for multifamily projects pursuing green building certifications. She specializes in housing tax credit projects as well as market rate projects with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and sustainability goals. She has a strong interest in cost-effective and highly efficient all-electric designs for residential buildings. She is a National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Green Verifier and ENERGY STAR Rater, with experience in mechanical system commissioning, embodied energy analyses, and resilient building design consultation.
Luz Toro is an architect licensed in Colombia by Consejo Profesional Nacional de Arquitectura (CPNAA) and an International AIA Associate. She has 10 years of experience in design, project management and leadership, sustainable architecture, Colombian vernacular architecture, and passive design. Toro has worked on government-funded projects, private residences, offices, schools, and urban spaces in the public and private sectors. In her current position as manager of resilience and climate adaptation, she develops tools and resources to help architects and future architects understand the challenges and advantages of including resilience and climate adaptation solutions in their projects.
Patricia is an associate project architect at The Abo Group and leads their business development. She is motivated and excited about the role of building materials and their effect on societal constructs and the environments in which we live. With 10 years of experience in the industry, she has contributed to her community through her work with educational buildings involving unique design processes throughout Colorado. She is a founding member and president of NOMA Colorado and is a lecturer for undergraduate and graduate programs at the University of Colorado Denver College of Architecture and Planning.
Catherine is a strategic consultant on the planning, strategies, and analytics team of Page Southerland Page where she uses her 20+ years of facilities and project management experience in developing capital improvement and strategic facility master plans. An experienced senior project manager, Catherine combines her experience as an Existing Building Commissioning Professional (EBCP) with her knowledge of operations and maintenance management to help organizations assess and evaluate their existing facilities, promote proactive maintenance strategies, and craft replacement plans to ensure long-term return on investment. She has also served as a PK–12 administrator and certified classroom teacher, and keeps her teaching credential current while staying in tune with how facility quality impacts indoor environmental quality and student learning. She blends this expertise to advance client initiatives, whether reviewing existing data, formulating data collection instruments, conducting assessments onsite, or synthesizing findings into actionable project plans.
Lisa M. Ferretto, AIA, LEED, WELL, EcoDistricts Accredited Professional, has been committed to sustainability throughout her life, from her first "eco-city" designed at 8 years old, to her time in Portland, Oregon, back to her hometown of Baltimore. She has over 25 years' experience in sustainability and architecture and likes to describe herself as an "urban scientist" studying the interconnected systems of people with each other, nature, and cities. Lisa was previously a sustainability director for a large architecture firm and is now the senior director of sustainable practice and knowledge at AIA. She transitioned to her current role to help architects across the nation improve our built environment and work for climate action and climate justice.
Amy manages the High Impact Technology Catalyst program with the Commercial Buildings Integration team at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Catalyst program weighs changing market conditions against technological innovation to map out a cohesive step-by-step market stimulation strategy that enables DOE to leverage work by others, access key partnerships, and answer critical scientific and market-related requirements. Prior to her work with the Commercial Buildings Integration team, Amy managed energy efficiency sustainability and transportation funding to state and local governments, served as the executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council Colorado Chapter, and evaluated, commissioned, and verified high-performance building design and retrofit strategies as an architectural engineer. Amy graduated with a Bachelor of Science in architectural engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Juris Doctor from American University Washington College of Law.