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.