Q: What is your education and background?
A: I have a Master in Building Science from Ryerson University (Toronto), and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Calgary. In the 11 years between degrees, I worked in various capacities in the ENGO sector and ran a small natural building company, building straw bale houses and teaching hands-on workshops all across Western Canada.
Q: What is your area of interest?
A: It’s in working toward a future whereby human activity is a force for good on this planet, not just doing less damage but in supporting rich, biodiverse, healthy, vital communities, both human and non-human. The built environment presents countless opportunities to express this potential.
Q: When did you know you had found your discipline?
A: When I learned that North American’s spend 90% of their lives inside buildings, 5% of their lives in cars and only 5% of their lives outside. The human “environment” is now an indoor one, so how we shape these spaces has a profound effect on our health, our overall sense of well-being, and it influences how we connect and related to the world beyond four walls.
Q: Why did you choose to work at Okanagan College?
A: It was really about the people and their commitment to student learning. Okanagan College has a great reputation in the community and its programs are tailored to address current needs with an eye on the future.
Q: What do you like most about the work you do?
A: I suppose it is the opportunity to help people make sense of this world – to understand the innumerable connections, seen and unseen, that underpin the health and vitality of the natural world, the built environment and human culture. In doing so, I come to better understand it myself.
Q: Favourite teaching experience?
A: Seeing the students present their final capstone project results – projects grounded in the community and in real problems facing the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) sector. It is always so rewarding to see the incredible work the students produce, to see the delight of the host organizations, and to see how far the students have come from that first day of class.
Q: Who gave you the best advice you ever received?
A: The former executive director of a not-for-profit organization I worked for straight out of my undergraduate degree once said, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” That advice has always stuck with me.
Q: What advice do you have for new students?
A: While results and vision are important to a project’s success, do not overlook the process. The connections made between people and the community is where the real magic happens.
Q: Why do you think people should study Sustainable Building Technology?
A: It is now understood that we must eliminate all emissions from the built environment by 2040 if Paris Climate Agreement targets are to be met. To do this, most of the 1.6 trillion square feet of building stock already in existence world-wide will need to be retrofitted for energy performance and all new buildings – an equivalent square footage of an entire New York City constructed every month between now and 2040 – will need to be designed to meet net-zero-carbon building standards. Building professionals with a strong command of sustainable and high-performance building principles are urgently needed to support this transition.
Q: If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently?
A: I would read more fiction … and spend more time gathering stories from my elders.
Q: Where are you the happiest?
A: On my bicycle, riding long distances with friends.
Sustainable Building Technology
Be an agent of change as the built environment shifts to a net-zero energy, water and carbon future. Understand building science, technology, systems thinking and project management to deliver healthy, high-performance buildings.