Building a Greener Future

Duquesne Light Company and Pittsburgh Earth Day Present

Building a Greener Future Series

A 4 Part Series at the Duquesne Club, 325 Sixth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

"A must-attend for those committed to advancing environmentally conscious practices in the built environment."

Leaders, educators, and innovators in the realm of sustainable infrastructure and construction will converge for engaging panel discussions on the most pressing and trending industry topics. These free gatherings promise to offer unparalleled insights into the cutting-edge practices and innovations driving sustainable development in the construction sector.

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Building Material Reuse in Building Renovation & Waste Diversion

Tuesday, June 18 @ 6 - 8 PM | World Environment Month

Moderator: Grant Ervin, Vice President of External Affairs and Sustainability at S & B USA

Panelists: 

  • Michael Volpatt, Vice President of Marketing and Innovation | Volpatt Construction
  • Eric Booth, President | Desmone Architects
  • Melissa M. Bilec, PhD, Special Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability, Co-director | Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, University of Pittsburgh
  • Mike Gable, Executive Director | Construction Junction
  • Will Hancock, Business Development Manager | Michael Brothers Companies
  • Rachel Pless, Senior Associate | NEXT Architecture

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Building a Greener Future Series Moderator

Vice President of External Affairs and Sustainability at S&B USA

Grant Ervin, Director of Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) and Innovation for S&B USA - Sustainable Business Breakfast Panelist
S&B USA Construction Logo

Grant Ervin currently serves as the Vice President of External Affairs and Sustainability for S&B USA, an infrastructure integration firm based in Pittsburgh, Pa that specializes in civil construction solutions in the energy, transportation, ports and waterways and vehicle electrification space. Grant serves as an integrator of activities by working across departments, agencies and sectors to form public policy and market-based solutions. He brings deep experience, intersecting the worlds of environmental, community and economic development and infrastructure policy to create innovative and sustainable solutions for local governments, private sector clients, community development organizations, and state agencies.

Prior to joining S&B USA, Mr. Ervin served as the Chief Resilience Officer and Assistant Director for the Department of City Planning for the City of Pittsburgh.

Building a Greener Future: Waste Diversion Panelists

Michael Volpatt - Building Greener Future Panelist
Volpatt Construction Logo

Michael Volpatt is the Vice President of Marketing and Innovation for Volpatt Construction, one of the most respected building contractors in the Tri-State Area. Volpatt Construction continues to play an integral role in building the region into a top global destination for healthcare, research, and education. In his role, Michael directs marketing efforts while exploring how innovation can help the company and the industry as a whole build more efficiently and sustainably.

Michael is also the co-founder of Larkin/Volpatt Communications, a boutique public relations agency focused on helping early-stage technology companies develop strategic communications plans.

As a mentor and advisor, Michael sits on multiple boards providing guidance on marketing initiatives.

Eric Booth, President of Desmone Architects
Desmone Architects Logo

As President of Desmone, an architecture and interior design firm with offices in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, Eric Booth strategizes, innovates and implements through all facets of the company. Eric strives to elevate the perception of the architecture profession by structuring the design process around the fundamental reason a building is constructed: to serve people. This conviction is evident as Eric led the Desmone team to pioneer the design and construction of a 25,000 SF office addition, Pittsburgh’s first WELL Gold certified office space, and has since presented on numerous panels regarding the importance of wellness in design. Eric’s current and recent projects include the new Pop District Entertainment venue for the Warhol Museum, The Industrialist Hotel, Brewer’s Block, 51 Bridge Street, The Tryp Hotel in Lawrenceville, and the Block E development in the Lower Hill District.

For over 25 years, Eric has served the American Institute of Architects through a multitude of tactical and leadership initiatives. In Pittsburgh, Eric is dedicated to economic and community development through active positions such as the City of Pittsburgh Contextual Design Advisory Panel (CDAP), Construction Legislative Council of Western PA, Northside Leadership Conference, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, and the East Allegheny Community Council.

Melissa M. Bilec, PhD Special Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability
University of Pittsburgh Mascaro Center for Sustainability

Dr. Melissa Bilec is the George M. and Eva M. Bevier Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Co-director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. In October 2022, she was named as the Special Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability.

She has led the University of Pittsburgh’s greenhouse gas inventories since 2008, and she serves on the Chancellor’s Sustainability Council which informs the climate strategy and actions for the university. Dr. Bilec has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles and secured over $20 million in funding. Her research focuses on the sustainable built environment and healthcare. She is committed to exploring how the built environment and healthcare can be integral to climate change solutions. She views the world and her research using a systems-level approach and is an expert in life cycle assessment. Using this view, she integrates critical built environment modeling approaches from building energy modeling to indoor air quality to develop robust strategies to mitigate climate change and deleterious environmental and human health impacts.

She is working to solve the global waste challenge by advancing and developing circular economy principles, since the built environment is a major consumer of resources and waste producer.

Mike Gable, Executive Director, Construction Junction
Construction Junction Logo

Mike Gable is the founding Executive Director of Construction Junction (CJ), a nonprofit reuse retailer promoting conservation through the reuse of building materials. Under Mike’s 25 years of leadership, CJ has grown into a 2.3-million-dollar operation with over 30 staff members. The organization has diverted over 6 million building components (doors, windows, lumber etc.,) from landfill to reuse, generating about $30 million in sales from 700,000 transactions. CJ has received 4 Goodwill Power of Work Awards for our job training partnerships and was a founder of Project RE_ a program that formerly worked with architecture students from the Urban Design Build Studio at CMU and trainees from the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh. Current workforce development projects include partnering with the South Hilltop Men’s Group on deconstruction projects and launching the Pittsburgh Wood Project in 2023 in partnership with Urban Wood Economy to increase the volume of salvaged lumber offerings in our retail space.

Before leading Construction Junction, Mike managed an organic farm for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. He has a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He spreads the reuse message through participation as a member of the Pittsburgh AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) and as the current Vice President of the Board of Directors of Build Reuse after serving eight years as its President.

Will Hancock, Michael Brothers Hauling & Recycling
Michael Brothers Hauling & Recycling

Will Hancock is currently the Business Development Manager for Michael Brothers Companies; a local Construction and Demolition recycling company, waste roll off provider and scrap metal buyer with 4 locations around the Pittsburgh region. He has spent the last 15 years in different facets of the recycling industry and has built Material Recycling Facilities across the country and installed the first AI robot into a C&D sorting facility in Austin Tx.

He has experience with all forms of recycling and has consulted multiple companies around the country with their diversion needs and end market commodities. He currently is the Chair, for the End Markets Committee of the Construction and Demolition Recycling Association working with recyclers around the globe helping them find homes for all materials in their waste streams.

Rachel Pless, Senior Associate, NEXT Architecture
NEXT Architecture Logo

Rachel’s career has been multi-faceted encompassing several disciplines such as graphics/branding, sustainability and marketing. Rachel joined NEXT architecture in 2015 and is now a Senior Associate focusing on project interior design, sustainability, workplace design and programming.

Rachel has over 17 years’ experience in the design industry working on a variety of project types ranging from Corporate Interiors, Higher Education, Senior Living, Community Centers, R&D Laboratories and Residential. Her expertise includes conceptual design, programming, finish and furniture selection, space planning, renderings, graphic design and marketing. As a LEED accredited professional Rachel also utilizes sustainable building practices when possible.

Prior to joining NEXT Rachel was the LEED administrator/ Sustainability Coordinator for projects ranging from small renovations to large new construction facilities. Rachel enjoys close collaboration with clients and her team to seek unique design solutions for each project. With each project she hopes to create healthy, sustainable interiors that also achieve design excellence.

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Save the Date for Additional Panels

Prefabrication and Modular Construction - Greener and Sustainable Solutions | September 18

“What’s Tech Got to Do with It” Green Trends, Technology and Innovation | November 5

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The Building a Greener Future Series is proudly sponsored by:

Pittsburgh Earth Day Sponsors