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Straight Talk: Women Executives Discuss Issues Within the Built Environment

Posted By Christine Cube, Monday, October 7, 2019

WEB Panel
Photo: From left, Lakisha A. Woods, President & CEO of the National Institute of Building Sciences; Paula Glover, CEO of American Association of Blacks in Energy; Andrea Rutledge, President & CEO of the Construction Management Association of America, and Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association

It’s not every day that you gather a room full of female executives to talk about tough issues like diversity, inclusion, and management in the nonprofit built environment.

But that’s exactly what happened Friday, Oct. 4, when the National Institute of Building Sciences hosted the first Women Executives in Building Summit.

“It starts with us,” said Lakisha A. Woods, President and CEO of NIBS. “We have to talk with each other. Fifty-one percent of this country is female and over 90% of the building industry is male – there are not enough of us at this table.”

Woods was joined by a strong panel of CEOs: Paula Glover, of the American Association of Blacks in Energy; Andrea Rutledge, with the Construction Management Association of America; and Dawn Sweeney, of the National Restaurant Association. The event was held at the restaurant association headquarters. 

“Within an industry and even cross-industry, we don’t work together even though we have the exact same problem,” said AABE’s Glover.

Some of the issues discussed include balancing work and family, reaching career counselors and youth in high school and college to recruit into our industry, and whether companies are doing a good job taking care of women entering the workforce.

Building a Lasting Legacy

When Sweeney took over the helm of the National Restaurant Association in 2007, she was the organization’s first female president.

At the end of 2019, she plans to retire and says she’s proud to leave the group in “far more effective hands.”

Sweeney is talking very specifically about the association’s culture and environment.

Sweeney maintains that while restaurants are a “wonderfully diverse industry,” it’s taken some time for board representation of the national organization to catch up.

Today, 40 percent of the restaurant association’s board is made up of people of color, and 50 percent of the board are women.

Moving the Built Industry Forward

When Woods began leading NIBS in December 2018, she said the most attractive part of the job was its opportunity.

We are conveners, so we bring together the industry and find solutions to common problems.

“This is the path forward,” Woods said. “I love that our members impact where we live, work, and play. It’s not just talking about what the challenges are, but you also have to talk about solutions.”

One thing that has worked for the American Association of Blacks in Energy is a “signing day” for young people going into trades. 

“We formalize a signing day,” Glover said. “High school students [need] to feel value no matter what their path is. … Storytelling also is very important. Young people aspire to what they see.”

For women in construction, it’s imperative to “send the elevator back down,” said CMAA’s Rutledge.

“It is our obligation to send the elevator back down for the next person,” she said. “You have to make a path.”

In addition to nonprofit leaders, NIBS will open the 2020 summit to female business owners and C-suite leaders across the built environment. Follow us on social @bldgsciences and Facebook for the latest on updates. 

Tags:  Conferences 

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DC’s construction association executives are meeting. This Friday.

Posted By Christine Cube, Wednesday, October 2, 2019


In case you have not heard, the National Institute of Building Sciences is hosting a networking and industry summit to connect some very important people: Female executives from the nonprofit built world.

It’s happening this Friday, Oct. 4.

Dozens are planning to attend the first annual Women Executives in Building Summit.

We hope to open a can of worms that we all can be proud of: Conversations about diversity, inclusion, building, leadership -- the whole kit and caboodle.

The plan is to expand the event in 2020 to include female business owners and C-suite leaders across the built environment.

Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, President and CEO of NIBS, said the response to this year’s event already has been overwhelming.

“The messages are reinforcing that this was the right idea at the right time, and I’m thankful to my association friends, key members of my leadership network, and an incredible staff team who share my excitement,” she said.

We’ll be covering the event on social media. Follow us on @bldgsciences and LinkedIn to track the conversation.

Tags:  conferences 

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So you've got something to say about the built environment. We've got the meeting for you.

Posted By Christine Cube, Monday, September 30, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The deadline to speak at Building Innovation 2020 is coming up.

What is Building Innovation? It's the only place where everyone who impacts the built environment comes to find solutions, share ideas, and discuss initiatives, practices, and policies to optimize building performance and sustainability.

In the past, conference attendees have covered every facet of building design, sustainability and management, from architecture and code enforcement to mechanical and fire-protection engineering.

For 2020, we're changing things up a bit. We've streamlined the three-day meeting into three specific tracks: Resilience, technology, and workforce.

Don’t miss this compelling program, which takes place April 6-9, 2020, at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel. This also happens to be prime time for the cherry blossoms in the nation's capital.

So if you're in the building industry, thinking of joining this world, or would like to learn more about the inner workings of the built environment, register today. And, if you'd like to present to this group, drop in your abstract before it's too late. (Oct. 11 is too late.)

We want to hear from you. 

Tags:  BI2020  Conferences 

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Windy City’s Building Conference Attracts Thousands From Within the Built Environment

Posted By Sarah Swango, Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Chicago sure made an impression.

The National Institute of Building Sciences sent a small team to the Chicago Build Conference and Expo Sept. 19 and 20, at the McCormick Place Convention Center.

After setting up our booth (No. 755), our marketing, sales and technical staff were swamped in the best possible way.

We were greeted with high energy, and our booth saw tons of traffic. NIBS’ staff met with a variety of architects, designers, real estate professionals, and engineers. We promoted the value NIBS membership, including being able to participate on any or all the organization’s councils. These councils include the Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council, Building Seismic Safety Council, buildingSMART alliance, Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council, Multihazard Mitigation Council, and Off-Site Construction Council.

We also promoted attendance and sponsorship opportunities for our upcoming annual meeting: Building Innovation 2020. BI2020 takes place in the spring, right around cherry blossom time in Washington, DC.

There was so much interest.

The conversations we had were very engaging and energized. Let’s hope we were able to recruit new members, sponsors, and attendees to our annual conference.

Chicago Build was the first event of its kind for the Windy City, but the BUILD series has grown in recognition from hosting other events in New York, London, and Sydney, Australia.

For more information about NIBS membership, Kristen Petersen, And if you’d like to talk about sponsoring Building Innovation 2020, please contact me -- Sarah Swango,

Tags:  Conferences  NIBS in action 

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Talk about a busy summer.

Posted By Christine Cube, Monday, September 16, 2019


The National Institute of Building Sciences team and staff criss-crossed the country for meetings, speaking engagements, and conferences, including A’19 with the American Institute of Architects, Resilient Virginia, Disaster Resilience Symposium at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition, Energy Exchange 2019, SEAOC Convention of the Structural Engineers Association of Central California, and BIMExpo in Hanover, Germany.


At Resilient Virginia, for example, NIBS team member Jiqiu Yuan presented about mitigation and gave an overview of the 2020 National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program recommended seismic provisions, which have been in development by the NIBS Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) Provisions Update Committee (PUC). Yuan oversees the BSSC.


The U.S. is approaching a tipping point, with $990 billion a year being spent on new construction and buildings between 2008 to 2017.


The 2020 edition of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program provisions (as well as previous editions) have been sponsored by FEMA.


This state-of-the-art document summarizes the major code change proposals that are considered to have wide-ranging implications regarding future seismic design requirements for buildings. It will serve as a national resource for design professionals and U.S. standards and code-development agencies.


Also this summer, NIBS hosted a conversation to envision a U.S. national BIM roadmap led by the Centre for Digital Built Britain.


This week, NIBS will be at Chicago Build, a leading construction, design, and real estate show for Chicago and the Midwest. And, coming up on Oct. 4, we will host the inaugural Women Executives in Building Summit.


The event is being held at the headquarters of the National Restaurant Association in Washington, D.C.


Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, President and CEO of NIBS, says the summit is “an opportunity to bring together the unique and intelligent group of female leaders in the C-suite that represent building industry-related associations.”


“This is a very niche group, but it is important for us to come together to learn, share, and grow,” Woods says, in a release.


The NIBS team hand-picked the executives to be invited to the first annual summit. Already, the wheels are in motion to open up the event in 2020 to female business owners and C-suite leaders across the built environment.


Tags:  Conferences  NIBS in action 

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NIBS Staff Support Federal Energy Management Program’s 2019 Energy Exchange Show

Posted By Kyle Barry, Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Be Efficient and Resilient theme emphasizes the support of optimized operations and cost-effective and resilient projects

The National Institute of Building Sciences attended the DOE Federal Energy Management Program’s 2019 Energy Exchange and Trade Show in Denver at the end of August. The NIBS team went to support the FEMP Workforce Development program.

Energy Exchange is the federal government’s premier annual training and peer-networking event for the federal energy and water management community. This three-day event featured more than 100 training sessions, over a dozen plenary speakers, and 13 technical tracks. Here’s a snapshot of the comprehensive technical training agenda.

For sessions offering International Association for Continuing Education and Training CEUs, NIBS staff provided training on how to access session assessments and evaluation on the NIBS Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG), the learning management system for all accredited training events within the FEMP Workforce Development Program, including the Energy Exchange.

Tags:  Conferences  NIBS in action 

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