1.5°C
1.5°C SPEAKER BIOS 2022

Amy Anderson
Senior Vice President, Social Impact Lead, Wells Fargo
Amy Anderson is a Senior Vice President with Wells Fargo’s foundation, providing strategic leadership for national philanthropic investments that expand the supply of affordable housing. Wells Fargo’s Housing Affordability Philanthropy catalyzes pathways to affordable and quality homes, especially for underserved communities, by investing in change makers, fostering collaboration, and supporting systemic change in the housing sector. Amy Anderson most recently served as the Chief Housing Officer for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. In this role, Amy advanced the Mayor’s goals of increased housing production and a stronger safety net for vulnerable and economically disadvantaged Angelenos, using innovation, streamlining, inclusive planning policies, and expanded financial resources to make them possible. During her tenure she helped to realize key COVID emergency programs that lower health risks for impacted populations by improving access to housing, including Project RoomKey, Homekey and emergency rental assistance.

Avideh Haghighi
Sustainable Design Leader, ZGF architects
Avideh Haghighi is an Associate Principal and Licensed Architect at ZGF where she dedicates herself to designing a regenerative built environment. As a firm-wide sustainability leader, she guides ZGF teams in discovering synergies between building, social, and ecological processes. Avideh has a diverse body of leading edge high performance projects spanning public and private sectors, such as schools, large mixed-use developments and institutional projects, including California’s largest Net Zero Energy, LEED Platinum building currently under construction. With a career equally rooted in design and advocacy, Avideh’s long list of affiliations in the AEC community include former Living Future Los Angeles co-facilitator, former AIA|LA COTE co-chair, current AIA California Climate Change Action Committee member, and current USGBC-LA Board member.

Christopher James, Assoc. AIA
Business Development Manager, Holmes
Christopher James is the Business Development Manager for the international engineering firm Holmes⁠—offering structural engineering, fire engineering, and product development services in the US. Christopher is shepherding the firm’s growth as a leading voice in best practices for sustainable design. Committed to reaching net zero carbon structures by 2050, the Holmes team increasingly leverages mass timber construction on the West Coast. Having secured over 50 mass timber projects in the nation, Holmes helps clients navigate building codes across jurisdictions and bring these projects to life. Raised in Southern California, Christopher’s career is influenced by the history of the local region. With 8+ years of experience managing marketing and business development initiatives in the AEC community, he’s developed an expertise in strengthening narratives around value systems within architecture. Christopher is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where he earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 2013.

Ethan Martin
Director of Sustainability and Mass Timber, DCI Engineers
For many people in the AEC industry, Ethan Martin is known as “the wood guy.” Ethan is spearheading efforts to integrate more sustainable practices into DCI’s design process – spanning various markets, materials, and delivery methods. As someone who personally helped bring tall mass timber construction to the U.S.—specifically for his work in the State of Oregon developing the prototypes for getting Type IV-B and Type IV-C construction initiated, Ethan continues to assist on mass timber projects across DCI’s offices, currently consisting of 18 tall mass timber buildings. To leave a positive impact on life on our planet for future generations, Ethan leads DCI’s collaboration with clients, industry partners, TDI, CTBUH, CLFs, SE2050 and many others to deliver better, environmentally friendly building solutions.

Eugene Barbeau
LADBS
Eugene Barbeau is a licensed civil engineer and certified ICC plans examiner working for the City of Los Angeles, Department of Building and Safety. Eugene obtained his Bachelor’s degree in civil engineer from California State University, Long Beach. He has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry starting as a construction worker and tradesman before transitioning to a structural engineering consultant and then landing in the public sector service. He has been working at the City of Los Angeles for the past 9 years as engineering associate and building civil engineer. While at the City, Eugene has performed multiple functions including building code development, training, public policy development, plan check and the review of alternate products and materials.

Imke Woelk
Principal and creative director, IMKEWOELK + Partners, Berlin
Imke Woelk is a German architect and artist who deals with the positioning of the human habitat in the Anthropocene. In 2003 she was holding the ‘Rome Prize ‘Villa Massimo’ in architecture. Woelk studied architecture at the Leibniz Universität Hannover, the Technical University of Braunschweig and the Università luav di Venezia. She worked with Massimiliano Fuksas in Rome and Will Alsop in London. 2005 she founded the Berlin office IMKEWOELK + Partner which combines architecture and art, planning practice and research. Imke Woelk has taught and conducted research for educational institutions in Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark, Italy and was a visiting professor at the Duksung Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea. She received her PhD from Technical University Berlin under Finn Geipel and Andres Lepik in 2010, and successfully completed 2018 the class ‘Architectural Imagination’ at Harvard GSD under Michael Hays. She was appointed to the Art Advisory Committee by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture in 2016 and was holding the jury chairmanship for the Czech National Architecture Award 2019. Her video work ‘After All. The Culture of Nature’ was part of the official AFFIV selection of the Art Film Festival in Cannes in 2019. In 2020, she was appointed as a member of the Deutscher Werkbund.

Ismar Enriquez, AIA
AIALA COTE Immediate Past Chair & Associate and Project Manager, HED
Ismar has been practicing for 15 years and he is currently Director of Sustainable Design at TAC, focusing on housing that fosters social, equitable, and sustainable communities. Ismar was the Chair in 2017 for 2×8, which has awarded over $100,000 in scholarships. He has led discussions in past AIA conferences and other non-profit organizations addressing the housing crisis and social justice. As the 2021 COTE Chair, Ismar is addressing issues of carbon neutrality, resiliency, climate justice, and equity. In addition to the sustainability initiatives, Ismar is involved in government policy change and advocacy efforts across the State.

Jessica Martinez
Structural Sustainability Specialist, DCI Engineers
As one of DCI’s sustainability gurus, Jessica educates clients and internal staff alike on the innovative solutions for sustainable design. Since joining DCI in 2015, she has elevated her technical expertise, becoming the go-to resource for embodied carbon reduction and low carbon concrete. Jessica is actively involved with the Austin and Seattle Carbon Leadership Forum hubs where she provides embodied carbon leadership from the structural perspective to impact meaningful change in the building industry. She also leads the research of DCI’s life cycle assessment capabilities and has performed several integral studies that set the basis for the education of our staff. Jessica leads by her willingness to do things differently, seeking out new technologies and processes that capitalizes on efficient and sustainability-focused structural design. This results in advantages for both her projects teams and the industry as a whole.

Jessie Buckmaster
Sustainability Manager, Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company
Jessie Buckmaster has over 10 years of experience in sustainable commercial construction and green building across California. Her expertise is in evaluating healthy and low embodied carbon building materials and is an advocate for environmental justice. Jessie has presented and spoken on panels at green building conferences for the past 7 years, at events such as Living Future, Net Zero Conference, and VerdeXchange. She also has provided guest lectures for university undergrads at UCLA, CSUS, and Woodbury University. As Sustainability Manager for Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction she provides sustainability expertise and consultation for HDCCo’s projects from preconstruction through certification. Jessie has worked on numerous LEED projects, and completed a project pursuing Living Building Challenge certification. Jessie was selected for BD+C Magazine’s 40 under 40 cohort in 2020. She has a Sustainable Building Materials certificate from Parsons The New School Healthy Materials Lab. She holds credentials for LEED AP BD+C, LFA, is an ILFI Ambassador, and a Board Member for USGBC-LA.

Jori Finkel
Arts Writer, The New York Times and The Art Newspaper
Jori Finkel is a journalist who covers art from Los Angeles for The New York Times and The Art Newspaper. Her writing has also been published in W magazine, Art in America, ARTnews, and Art+Auction magazine, where she was previously a senior editor in New York. She lectures regularly at museums and art fairs and appears on NPR broadcasts as part of her larger project of making contemporary art more accessible. In 2018 she developed and co-produced for KCET the Emmy-nominated documentary Artist and Mother about artists who in unexpected ways make motherhood a part of their work. Her book It Speaks to Me: Art that Inspires Artists was called “fascinating” by Publishers Weekly and “an argument for why art museums matter” by New York magazine.

Katie Swenson, Assoc. AIA
Senior Principal, MASS Design Group
A nationally recognized design leader, researcher, writer, and educator, Katie Swenson has served as a Senior Principal of MASS Design Group, named 2022 Architecture Firm of the Year by the American Institute of Architects. Katie’s work explores how critical design practice can, and should, promote economic and social equity, environmental sustainability, and healthy communities. Katie has over 20 years of experience in the theoretical and practical application of design thinking and is a talented global public speaker and thought leader. A prolific writer, she authored Design with Love: At Home in America, and In Bohemia: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Kindness, both published in August 2020. She co-authored Growing Urban Habitats: Seeking a Housing Development Model with William Morrish and Susanne Schindler. She is a contributing author to Activist Architecture: Philosophy and Practice of Community Design and Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism. Katie was awarded the AIA Award for Excellence in Public Architecture in 2021. Prior to joining MASS, Katie was the vice president of Design & Sustainability at Enterprise Community Partners. An alumni of the Enterprise Rose Fellowship’s second class, Swenson was tapped to lead and grow the program in 2007. Katie also founded the Charlottesville Community Design Center in 2004.

Kathleen Hetrick
Associate, Buro Happold
Kathleen Hetrick is a WELL AP and LEED AP accredited Associate at Buro Happold and is a Bloomberg Fellow at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. As part of the Buro Happold Los Angeles Sustainability team, Kathleen combines her passion for regenerative design with a technical background in Architectural Engineering. She leads the sustainable design process on a wide range of cutting-edge projects including Living Building Challenge projects, net zero manufacturing campuses, global embodied carbon purchasing guidelines and corporate sustainability plans. She also facilitates Buro Happold’s regional outreach initiatives to encourage local K-12 students to pursue sustainability-focused careers in STEM. She is currently a board member of USGBC-LA and is one of the founding instigators of Carbon Leadership Forum – Los Angeles.

Kim Abeles
Community-based Artist
Kim Abeles is an artist whose artworks explore biography, geography, feminism, and the environment. Her work speaks to society, science literacy, and civic engagement, creating projects with science and natural history museums, health departments, air pollution control agencies, National Park Service, and community organizations. In 1987, she innovated a method to create images from the smog in the air, and Smog Collectors brought her work to international attention. In 2019, she worked with Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow to create smog portraits of world leaders with quotes from climate summits. “Kim Abeles: Smog Collectors, 1987-2020” is a survey of the environmental series, and the exhibition was presented at CSU Fullerton in 2021 and will travel next to CSU Sacramento. Projects funded by National Endowment for the Arts involved a residency at the Institute of Forest Genetics where she focused on “Resilience”; and “Valises for Camp Ground: Arts, Corrections, and Fire Management in the Santa Monica Mountains” in collaboration with Camp 13, a group of female prison inmates who fight wildfires. Permanent outdoor works include Walk a Mile in My Shoes, based on the shoes of the Civil Rights marchers and local activists; and, Citizen Seeds, a series of sculptures along the Park to Playa Trail. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts, California Community Foundation and Pollack-Krasner Foundation. Her work is in public collections including MOCA, LACMA, CAAM, Berkeley Art Museum, and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Her process documents are archived at the Center for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art. Recent publications about her projects include New York Times, Los Angeles Times, American Scientist Magazine, and the forthcoming book, Social Practice: Technologies for Change, Routledge Press. She is Professor Emerita at CSU Northridge.

Leila D. Behjat
Architect & Senior Researcher in Design and Practice, Parsons Healthy Materials Lab
Leila D. Behjat (@leiladb.design) is a creative solution finder with a high sense for design and aesthetics. With a Diplom-Ingenieur (Masters) in Architecture from Hafencity Universitaet, Hamburg, Germany, she has worked globally in the fields of interior and lighting design on both residential and commercial projects. In recent years, she has focused on renovation with healthier building materials. Her current role as senior researcher at Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School of Design deepens her motivation to contribute to creating spaces that are healthier and joyful to humans and the planet as a whole. Leila is currently a 2022 Maintainers Movement Fellow with Sam Bennett.

Leslie Sydnor, AIA
2022 AIALA Vice-President/2023 President Elect & Director, Cumming
Leslie is a director at Cumming; currently working as a planning and development project manager for LAUSD. She has over 25 years of experience in the design of education, aviation, industrial and low-income housing projects. Leslie is co-chair of the Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) committee and has been a member of the Design Awards and Long Range Strategic Plan Committees. She has planned and/or moderated the Encompass Conference on Equity and Diversity for the past 3 years. Leslie has a B.A. in Architecture from Yale and an M.Arch from UCLA.

Lynn von Koch-Liebert
Executive Director, Strategic Growth Council
Lynn von Koch-Liebert is the Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC), which works to achieve sustainability, equity, economic prosperity, and quality of life for all Californians. Lynn has held a variety of executive-level roles in the public and private sectors, working both nationally and internationally to effectuate change. She has expertise in organizational management, strategic planning, business development, strategic partnerships, policy development, continuous improvement, and project management. She has worked across a variety of sectors, including affordable housing & homelessness, international development, logistics, infrastructure, resiliency and emergency planning. Prior to joining SGC, Lynn was the Deputy Secretary for Housing at the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. In this role she worked to coordinate the housing finance system during the largest increase in funding in California’s affordable housing history; led the housing response during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic; led the implementation of California COVID-19 Rent Relief program; and created the Outsmart Disaster Campaign. Prior to working with the State, Lynn was a Business Development executive at DynCorp International LLC. She also served in Afghanistan, South Sudan and Jerusalem for the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS).

Martha Dina Arguello
Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles
For the past 32 years, Martha has served in the non-profit sector as an advocate, community organizer, and coalition builder. She joined PSR-LA in 1998 to launch the environmental health programs, and became Executive Director in November 2007. She is committed to making the credible voice of physicians a powerful instrument for transforming California and our planet into a more peaceful and healthy place. As a coalition builder, Martha has emphasized the need for local grassroots advocacy working in partnership with statewide policy actions. She is an active board member of numerous organizations, including Californians for Pesticide Reform, the California Environmental Rights Alliance, and Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy. She also co-founded the Los Angeles County Asthma Coalition and the Coalition for Environmental Health and Justice, and was appointed to Cal/EPA’s Environmental Justice Committee and the California Air Resources Board’s Global Warming Environmental Justice Advisory Committee.

Megumi Hironaka, AIA
Associate Principal, HED
Megumi Hironaka brings over 20 years of experience in the planning, design, and construction of higher education, civic, and mixed-use developments throughout California. She brings a technical expertise in managing and producing all architectural project documentation with a focus on designing and developing highly sustainable and healthy buildings. As a LEED and WELL Accredited Professional, Megumi is dedicated to improving working and living environments through design solutions that promote creativity, well-being, and community. Megumi is currently serving as a Vice Chair in AIA Los Angeles Committee On The Environment (COTE). She received her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Southern California.

Michael Faulkner
Senior Associate, LEVER Architecture
Michael is a versatile and creative designer with over 15 years of architectural experience working on large, high-profile projects in the US and internationally. These have included a variety of spaces for higher education clients, major office developments, healthcare facilities, and residential projects. Michael has been spearheading LEVER’s recent Los Angeles office launch, and leading many of the projects in the region.

Michael Lehrer, FAIA
Founder and President, LEHRER ARCHITECTS LA, Inc.
Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA founded LEHRER ARCHITECTS LA in his native Silverlake District of Los Angeles. His work, from the intimate to the monumental, is grounded in the idea that beauty is a rudiment of human dignity. He designs for community with a reverence for light and space. Delight is a matter of extreme gravitas in the work. Los Angeles–a deeply non-judgmental and open city of seamless indoor/outdoor living and being–is at the core of Michael’s architecture and worldview. He deeply believes that architecture is optimism. In 2020, The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles bestowed the Gold Medal, its “highest honor” on Michael. “His devotion to fellow humans is matched by his mastery of craft,” stated 2020 AIALA President Greg Verabian, AIA. “He is an architect fully engaged in architecture as a means to contribute to society as a whole.” Lehrer Architects LA has won over 150 major design and sustainability awards, including 50 design awards from the national, state, and local chapters of The American Institute of Architects. Educated at Berkeley and Harvard, Michael is Chairman Emeritus of the Harvard Graduate School of Design Alumni Council and is Past President of Homeless Health Care Los Angeles. He is Past President of AIA LA, where he founded its annual, ongoing Legislative Day–now in its 23ʳᵈ yea–which has fundamentally changed the nature of the profession in LA . He also initiated the AIA/LA push to make GREAT STREETS, a central initiative in our city. He was Vice Chairman of School Construction Bond Oversight Committee for over 5 years, overseeing (a now) $27 Billion repair and construction program for the LAUSD.

Miranda Gardiner, Assoc. AIA
AIALA COTE 2022 Chair & Sustainable Design Leader, HKS
Miranda Gardiner is a vice president and sustainability leader at HKS, with projects ranging from campus to commercial mixed-use. Her career has afforded her multiple international experiences including field work in Greece, a research fellowship in Germany, and a secondment with the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. Previously, she managed LEED technical development at USGBC, including LEED for Healthcare and LEED Pilot Credit Library. She serves on the SDGBC Board of Directors, USGBC’s LEED Advisory Committee, and as the Vice Chair for AIA-LA COTE. Miranda holds a M. Arch from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Georgetown University.

Peter Zuspan, AIA
Principal, Bureau V Architecture
Peter Zuspan is the principal of Bureau V Architecture (BVA). Trained as an architect, software engineer, and an opera singer, Peter’s work hovers between architecture, design, technology, and performance. His collaborative performance and design work has been performed or exhibited at venues such as the Venice Biennale of Art, the Gwangju Biennale, Inhotim, the Cooper Hewitt, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and MoMA PS1, and the Fondation d’Entreprise Galeries Lafayette. BVA’s work focuses on the design of architecture for arts and culture, public projects, and mixed-use buildings. Zuspan has extensive experience in inclusive design. His recent research project entitled “The Performance of Shame: The Desegregation Renovations of Downtown Atlanta,” won the AIA Arnold W. Brunner Grant for Architectural Research in 2021. The project seeks to understand how architecture intersects with the history of American racism and to find new paradigms for anti-racist and inclusive design within the failures of history. Peter is a member of the National Sawdust’s Board of Directors and is an active member of the LGBTQIA community and the NGLCC. Peter has lectured widely and has taught architecture and design at Columbia University, Syracuse University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Rosa Sheng, FAIA
Vice-President, Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Higher Education Studio Leader, SmithGroup
Rosa T. Sheng, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C is a Vice-President at SmithGroup serving multiple roles as Higher Education Studio Leader in Northern California and National Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion. She is also the founder of Equity by Design [EQxD] and the first Asian-American Women to serve as AIA San Francisco President (2018) in the organization’s 136 year history. Recognized as a designer, architect, strategist and thought leader, she is known for delivering design solutions with transformational impact in the built environment. When asked “What type of Architecture do you do?” Her answer, “The kind that’s never been done before.” This mindset has resulted in a variety of award-winning and internationally acclaimed projects including the aesthetically minimal, highly technical glass structures for Apple’s original high-profile retail stores – revolutionary workplace of the future in the Pixar Animation Studios Steven P. Jobs Building – and current work to advance equitable and sustainable design solutions for institutions of higher learning in California. These include the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College, and STEM projects at UC Davis, SF State, and many Community Colleges to advance underrepresented student in academic persistence and future ready resilience. Rosa has presented her work both nationally and overseas including “Why Equity Matters for Everyone: A New Value Proposition for Architecture” and in 2020 -The J.E.D.I. Agenda – An Intersectional Approach to Designing a Just Future”. In 2019, Rosa was honored by Metropolis Game Changer. Additionally, she has been featured in Architect Magazine, Architectural Record, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times including talks at ILFI Living Futures Conference, Harvard GSD, Stanford University, SxSW, TEDxPhiladelphia, KQED/NPR and the Cannes Lions Festival.

Scott Barton-Smith, AIA
Preconstruction Manager, Timberlab
Scott is a registered architect in the state of Oregon with three decades of experience. He designed his first timber structure in 1997 and has served as architect, design lead, or mass timber expert on ten more. Scott’s project experience is augmented with research in mass timber sustainability, sourcing, connections, and housing. As Preconstruction Manager for Timberlab, he works directly with clients and design teams to disseminate information on the use of mass timber as a more sustainable alternative while providing project-specific assistance to support appropriate and optimal design. Scott also serves as co-leader of the Sustainable Design Leaders, Climate-Smart Wood Group.

Simone Barth-Auster, Assoc. AIA
Associate Principal, Mithun
With over nineteen years of professional experience and a strong interest in craft and innovation, Simone’s talent lies in the synthesis of management, stewardship and design excellence. As project manager, Simone has contributed to the planning and execution of a wide range of award-winning academic, educational and civic buildings. She has a deep passion for green building, preservation and developing sustainable communities. Her architectural work and professional activism seek to engage and to inspire. She works with clients to find long-term solutions to complex challenges. As a skillful facilitator, she coordinates large stakeholder groups and translates a client’s vision into site and resource-sensitive places of performance and beauty. Simone effectively leads multi-disciplinary teams with a focus on constructibility, budget and schedule.

Tim Kohut, AIA
Director of Sustainable Design, National Community Renaissance
Tim Kohut, AIA, is Director of Sustainable Design with National Community Renaissance, a regional Developer/Builder of affordable housing. Tim works with design teams, construction teams and subcontractors implementing strategies aimed at high performance and energy efficiency, with an increasing focus on Zero Net Energy and Carbon Neutrality. He uses his skills as an Architect and a CEA to identify the most cost effective pathway to National CORE’s high performance goals. Tim is a Certified Energy Analyst (CEA), Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater, and Building Performance Institute (BPI) Energy Analyst. Tim has spent more than 25 years designing, building, and consulting on affordable housing projects throughout Southern California.

Tyler Reynolds
Owner & President, Metrics Mechanical Engineering
Tyler Reynolds is a seasoned Mechanical, Plumbing, & Energy consultant with 20 years’ experience in the industry and Founding Principal of Metrics Mechanical Engineering, a consulting firm based out of Southern California. Specializing in Multifamily housing, Hotel, Hospitality, and Mixed-Use projects, Tyler and Metrics Mechanical provide cost-effective high-performance designs for Architects and Developers. The firm maintains a strong focus on providing creative solutions that meet our client’s energy goals while also paying close attention to construction costs.