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National Institute of Building Sciences Names First Female Board Chair

Anne M. Ellis, Executive Director with the Charles Pankow Foundation, recently was elected with a new slate of officers

(WASHINGTON, DC, June 25, 2021) – The National Institute of Building Sciences, created by Congress in 1974, has named the first woman to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors.

Anne M. Ellis, P.E., Hon.M.ACI, F.ASCE, M.NAC, Executive Director with the Charles Pankow Foundation, recently was elected to serve alongside several new officers. They include:

NIBS also elected three new board members, including Sez Atamturktur Russcher, PhD, Head of the Department of Architectural Engineering, College of Engineering with Penn State University; Fiona Cousins, PE, LEED Fellow, an Arup Fellow and member of Arup’s Group and Americas Region Boards; and Sandra Benson, Worldwide Head of Engineering, Construction and Real Estate with Amazon Web Services. The new board term starts October 1.

“The founding fathers of NIBS were dedicated to reducing barriers to innovation in the building industry,” Ellis said. “My first order of business is to ready the Board to build on our past, look ahead and beyond, and enable the diversity of perspectives and voices to share their strategic wisdom.”

Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, President and CEO of NIBS, said this new slate, along with the four board members recently appointed by President Biden and submitted to the U.S. Senate for approval, will put NIBS in a strong position moving forward.

“We recognize the need to improve diversity and inclusion in leadership roles in this industry, and this year’s nominations process was a step in the right direction,” Woods said. “The skillset and knowledge that these new board members bring to the table will increase our ability to serve the needs of the nation’s building industry.”

The board elections come on the heels of the recent release of NIBS’ 2021 Built Environment Social Equity Survey, which found that two-thirds (65%) of employees indicated it is important or extremely important to increase the diversity of the built environment. NIBS enlisted market research and consulting firm Avenue M Group to conduct the survey and analyze data. Nearly 12,000 responses were collected.

The NIBS board is comprised of 21 members. The President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints six members to represent the public interest. The remaining 15 members are elected from the nation's building community and include both public interest representatives and industry voices.

About NIBS

National Institute of Building Sciences brings together labor and consumer interests, government representatives, regulatory agencies, and members of the building industry to identify and resolve problems and potential problems around the construction of housing and commercial buildings. NIBS is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization. It was established by Congress in 1974. For more information, visit or follow @bldgsciences on Twitter and Facebook.

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