2020 Board of Director Candidates

Board of Director Candidates

Board Seat: Architect

Jana Silsby (Incumbent)


What is your background in the green building industry?

With over 25 years of experience designing high performance projects, I have developed a passion for high-performance/net-zero buildings and an integrated design process. Responsible for sustainability efforts at multiple firms, I served on Perkins Eastman’s Sustainability Oversight Group for the firm-wide Sustainability Team and Green Coordinators, collaborating to advance firm-wide sustainability policies and goals. As a design architect, I have been responsible for many high-performance projects, most notably the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School that was selected 2017 MA Green Building of the Year and achieved LEED v3 for Schools Platinum Certification (89 credits). I have authored articles, whitepapers and presentations on green schools, served as the Greenbuild ’17 Host Committee/Tours Program Co-Chair, served on the USGBC MA Chapter Board of Directors & the Strategic Planning sub-committee. As a speaker at GreenBuild ’19, my co-presenters & I “gamified” Breaking the Cost Barrier (to NZE) Thru Data and Design.

What will you bring to the Board of Directors?

I will bring my passion and commitment to move the AEC industry to a new normal of high-performance, net positive projects of all shapes and sizes. I will continue to be dedicated to the evolution of the USGBC MA as it changes and grows to better serve its members and partners through education, community engagement, advocacy and research. I will bring my experience in both strategic planning and projects to bear in helping to make USGBC MA strong and effective. In doing so, I believe that we as an organization can make a substantial positive impact here in Massachusetts and beyond.

Board Seat: Developer

Brad Mahoney (Incumbent)

Senior Project Manager
MP Boston

What is your background in the green building industry?

I am leading MP Boston’s market transformation efforts at Winthrop Center, which is bringing the high-performance Passive House standard to the commercial sector in downtown Boston.  Winthrop’s 800,000 sf of Office will be the largest PH office in the world and will help usher in other Passive House developments at scale here in Boston and in the Northeast.   Also integrating LEED Platinum/WELL standards together with Passive House into the Winthrop.  Part of my job is to educate, both internally and externally.  I also lead our sustainability efforts on the office’s other projects and must stay on the leading edge of what’s next and where we are collective community are going (electrification, high-performance, getting to zero, Boston’s carbon reduction in its existing building stock, etc).   

What will you bring to the Board of Directors?

A strong voice for thinking beyond what we think is possible in the world of development and construction, at a time where innovative solutions (such as Passive House, applied to a new building typology) are absolutely critical.   I hope to share lessons that we are learning at Winthrop Center with the industry as a whole, so that more projects, large and small, may follow and implement these high-performance principles.    I am intimately involved in my neighborhood here in Jamaica Plain and strongly believe in the idea of coaching and mentoring,  within the communities that we both live and work.

Board Seat: Clean Tech

Galen Nelson (Incumbent)

Chief Program Officer 


What is your background in the green building industry?

I have developed and managed high performance building policy, program, market and technology development efforts over the last decade, including co-developing affordable housing green building standards and guidelines at the municipal level, designing and managing programs that support high performance building component and material technology development, and structuring pilot and demonstration projects that catalyze high performance building markets.

I am closely engaged with the Commonwealth’s strategy to meet 2050 building sector de-carbonization goals via policy and targeted programs. I also co-founded two startup companies related to high performance buildings, one of which is still active today and am an amateur builder.

I understand the linkages and synergies between economic development, land use, and planning, and see opportunities to address workforce training, human health (indoor air quality) and broader equity challenges as we meet our building sector climate goals.

What will you bring to the Board of Directors?

As a board member, I have contributed to the organization’s strategic planning process, helped shape advocacy priorities, fundraising, and stakeholder engagement efforts. I helped secure funding for, and shaped the outcome of the organization’s Zero Energy Buildings study, and formalized coordination between, and support from MassCEC for the chapter.

We stand at a critical juncture with regard to our climate goals and the built environment. Our efforts over the next decade – to shape new construction standards, identify cost effective climate ready retrofit and electrification approaches for an array of building typologies and vintages, all while controlling costs particularly for our most vulnerable residents – will challenge our entire community.

I am eager to lend my nearly 20 years of program, policy, and technology innovation experience to ensure that the chapter remains a relevant, positive force in the industry, via trainings, stakeholder engagement, events, research, advocacy, and more.

Board Seat: Engineer

Bruce Douglas

Vice President
Natural Systems Utilities

What is your background in the green building industry?

Water is required for life and is an essential aspect of green building. I have 35 years of experience in water infrastructure, looking at how our built environment can be compatible with natural hydrologic cycle. I have been a researcher, regulator, consultant, and manager of public and private water infrastructure planning, design, construction and operation projects. I am a registered Professional Engineer. I have led public stakeholder meetings and workshops to educate water infrastructure professionals in designing with nature. As a Vice President with Natural Systems Utilities, I am focused on the development of urban and suburban onsite and district wastewater treatment and water reuse systems in southern New England from offices in Fall River and Brewster, Massachusetts. Personally, my family and I have lived off-the-grid for over 27 years, using photovoltaic panels as our primary source of electricity.

What will you bring to the Board of Directors?

As a former member of Board of Directors of Vermont Green Building Network and currently Vice Chair of Water Reuse Committee for New England Water Environment Association, I recognize the value of networking and sharing experiences to improve our built environment.

As a board member, I would collaborate with others to set up programs to:

• Listen to the professional green building community and others to learn about how we can best collaborate

• Communicate how climate change is impacting the built environment in both inland and coastal areas of Massachusetts

• Communicate the necessity to mitigate and adapt to climate change in our built environment.

• Educate members and others on how a resilient and adaptable built environment will contribute to the vitality and economic well-being of our communities

• Advocate for developing mitigation practices, policy, statutes and regulations in many areas including transit-oriented development and rapidly decreasing embodied and operational carbon-emissions in buildings and infrastructure.

Julie Janiski

BuroHappold Engineering

What is your background in the green building industry?

Julie Janiski, CPHC, LEED AP, is a principal and integrated design leader who works with project teams to deliver cutting-edge solutions that reduce environmental impact while optimizing wellbeing and experience. Julie moved to Boston three years ago after 16 years in New York City working as a sustainability consultant and project leader. Julie’s entrance into green building was as the LEED Consultant for the Poly Prep Lower School in Brooklyn, NY 15 years ago while working at Platt Byard Dovell White Architects, the firm’s first LEED project. Since then, Julie has led and/or supported projects achieving LEED Platinum, Net Zero Energy, Passive House and WELL – among other – certifications. Her recent work includes The House at Cornell Tech, the world’s tallest and largest Passive House certified project, and an integrated “roadmap” plan for the City of New York to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by the year 2050.


What will you bring to the Board of Directors?

Julie is passionate about using her knowledge designing some of the world’s most sustainable buildings to foster the next generation of sustainability leaders and integrated design practices. Her enthusiasm can be seen in the classroom as adjunct faculty at Columbia and guest lecturer at additional institutions as well as presenting at global industry events on topics including health & wellbeing, carbon, and early design analysis. Julie brings a multi-perspective background that includes working for a family-owned subcontractor in fire protection, a retail owner in operations, an architecture firm, and for the past nine years at BuroHappold Engineering. She is a systems thinker, and presents herself fondly as a double-agent working to strengthen the collaboration between architects and engineers. Julie is dedicated to maintaining both big-picture strategy and detailed design nuance – an ability well suited to a Board position representing critical challenges in both strategy and design detail.

Adam Jennings

Energy, Sustainability & Commissioning Department Manager
AHA Consulting Engineers

What is your background in the green building industry?

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to help influence the future of our planet! I’m a licensed mechanical engineer with 15+ years in energy and sustainability fields. I’ve worked in: energy efficiency; demand management; renewable energy; energy storage; green building certifications (LEED, WELL, and Fitwel); and benchmarking and auditing existing facilities. I’ve served as a nuclear-power engineering officer in the Navy, utility consultant, design professional, sustainability consultant, and performance assurance manager. This diversity of experience has provided a unique understanding of the environmental impacts of traditional and innovative design choices.

I am a current member of: the USGBC LEED Energy & Atmosphere Technical Advisory Group, Association of Energy Engineers – New England chapter board of directors, and Sustainable MEP Leaders Peer Network. I’ve also previously served as a member of the Massachusetts Technology Assessment Committee and as chair of the MassSave prescriptive application committee.


What will you bring to the Board of Directors?

I bring my experience in performance contracting and a retrofit focus on energy efficiency. Existing buildings are a huge piece of the puzzle for reaching our climate goals. It’s important to promote the persistence and continual improvement in operational energy and emissions. I also bring a track record of success working with diverse teams to build consensus and define a clear path forward.

Board Seat: Contractor

Jennifer Taranto

Director of Sustainability
Structure Tone, LLC

What is your background in the green building industry?

Jennifer has been a part of the commercial real estate Boston community since 2001. She collaborated with a group of like-minded industry professionals to organize the Massachusetts Membership Forum, part of the Green Roundtable, later to become the USGBC Massachusetts Chapter. She served on the Board of Directors, eventually becoming the Chair before reaching term limits. Professionally, as Structure Tone’s director of sustainability, Jenn grew her role from participating in LEED projects for the local Boston office to now leading the strategic oversight of the STO Building Group’s sustainability platform, providing pre-construction services to projects throughout the globe that are seeking strict sustainability standards and delivering thought leadership on sustainability, resilience and wellness in the built environment. Jenn also collaborated to help form the sustainable construction leaders’ group, where construction professionals from all over the nation help to solve some of the most pressing issues happening in our sector today.

What will you bring to the Board of Directors?

Jenn’s idea that success of the Chapter’s mission in our community is of utmost importance, as a place where market transformation gets a foothold, best practices are shared and a fundamental belief that through our remarkable members we can capitalize on sharing experiences for the greater good to build community is what she will bring to the Board. She will also bring an institutional knowledge of the Chapter and a strong desire to collaborate and usher in the next phase – the name change and rebranding to Built Environment +. Responsibility, to the mission, to the community and the fiscal success of the Chapter along with a dedication to the greater good are other key contributions Jenn will make to the Board of Directors. Jenn has long held the idea that membership participation is key to the organization and she will look to continually strengthen the Chapter’s member outreach.

Board Seat: Open Seat

Randa Ghattas

Senior Sustainability Project Manager
MIT Department of Campus Construction, Systems Performance and Turnover


Large Owner and Building Operator

What is your background in the green building industry?

I am an Architect and Sustainability professional with more than 20 years’ experience in design and planning, project management, and research. At the MIT Office of Sustainability and then the Department of Facilities, I am the sustainability project manager for all of MIT’s capital projects and have led and/or contributed to initiative surrounding sustainable design and construction standards, materials management, resiliency, stormwater and landscape management and green labs. I also support student sustainability research relevant to the Institute. Previously, as a researcher at the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub, I collaborated with the Concrete industry and MIT students, faculty and researchers to develop methodologies that quantify the environmental and economic impacts of buildings systems and materials while making it relevant to real world application. Prior to MIT, I practiced at various architecture firms where I worked on a wide range of project types.

What will you bring to the Board of Directors?

I will bring a unique insight and nuanced understanding of working across different sectors in the design and construction field; as a client, an owner, a researcher, and a practicing architect. A strategic thinker, I hope to leverage my capacity to engage a wide range of stakeholders, develop common ground, enhance existing, and develop new partnerships to further USGBC MA’s mission. Finally, a key interest of mine continues to be advancing policy with a focus on equity, sustainability, and resiliency in the built environment. I will bring my advocacy and non-profit sector knowledge developed from serving as a Community Art Center board member, my City of Cambridge committee experience (e.g. Central Square Advisory Committee and Urban Forest Master Plan), and my early involvement in the formation and leadership of A Better Cambridge, all of which focused on the intersection between economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Heather Henriksen

Chief Sustainability Officer
Harvard University

Large Owner and Building Operator

What is your background in the green building industry?

As Harvard’s chief sustainability officer since 2008, I advise the President and senior leadership on strategy and building an organizational change enterprise including directing the Office for Sustainability (OFS). OFS leads the implementation of the Harvard’s Sustainability Plan and Climate Action Plan to be fossil fuel-free by 2050 and fossil fuel-neutral by 2026 (building upon the 2016 achievement of Harvard’s initial science-based climate goal), both include a strong focus on the built environment. In 2016, OFS expanded a multi-disciplinary living laboratory research program that partners with faculty/students to use the campus as a testbed for piloting and sharing innovative solutions to real-world sustainability challenges. OFS spearheads the creation and evolution of Harvard’s Green Building Standards which apply to new construction, major renovations and smaller projects. I have managed and partnered with our Green Building Services group (LEED/sustainability project management). Working directly on capital projects has afforded me an opportunity to partner with architects, designers, contactors, manufacturers and other leaders in the built environment.

What will you bring to the Board of Directors?

I would be honored to bring a proven track record of leadership in the built environment and collaboration with USGBC-MA. A priority for Harvard is to translate research on sustainable and healthier buildings into action. In 2016, we launched the Harvard Healthier Building Materials Academy, a partnership with faculty from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to address the use of chemicals of concern in building products (involving 40 capital projects, 3 million sqft, 100s manufacturers and 10k+products). We have expanded our work to implement research related to indoor air quality and biophilic design. Harvard frequently speaks with professionals representing all aspects of the built environment to share the latest research as well as partner to advance market transformation towards healthier/sustainable buildings. I also bring three years of strategic experience as an HPDC Board member, and partnership with businesses/non-profits, and welcome an opportunity to collaboratively advance USGBC-MA’s mission with this talented board.

Blake Jackson

Sustainability Design Leader

Sustainability Consultant – Multiple Markets

What is your background in the green building industry?

I have been active in the green building industry since 2006 upon earning my LEED AP credential. From 2006-2009, I focused on office-wide sustainability initiatives and education, while a staff architect on projects pursuing LEED. By 2010, I became a dedicated sustainability director, first with Tsoi/Kobus Design (2010-2017) and currently with Stantec, focusing on the nexus between sustainability, wellbeing and resiliency, particularly where third-party certification/s are pursued, for a myriad of building types. During this time, I supported many high-profile projects, served as the VP of Advocacy for the BSA, and was an adjunct faculty with the BAC and Mt. Ida College where I lectured on sustainable building systems, specifications and interior design. I am a prolific, international speaker, lecturer and author, and I was named a BD+C Magazine “40 Under 40” in 2015.

What will you bring to the Board of Directors?

I bring a wealth of knowledge to the “Open Seat”, particularly given my international experience as a regional sustainability leader with Stantec, a global built environment practice of 22,000+. In this role, I support a diversity of project teams, geographic locations and am a known thought leader within several markets. This allows me to absorb the best ideas from a variety of locations, which I would use to inform board initiatives. I have been a Chapter member in good standing since 2011 and have supported the Chapter through voluntary educational offerings, the mentorship program, green building showcases, and most importantly, as the founder/emcee of the Healthy Materials Summit (2014-2016), which evolved into one of the Chapter’s main fundraising events. I have a talent for convening and translating industry concepts into fun, interactive opportunities, which promote and propel the green building industry and the Chapter.

Roxane Spears

VP of Sustainability for North America


What is your background in the green building industry?

I have been in the manufacturing sector for 15 years with Tarkett. Tarkett has been focused on sustainability and circular economy for over 30 years. My time at Tarkett as been focused on bringing sustainability education to the A&D community. Currently, I am the VP of Sustainability for North America at Tarkett. In this role I am setting the sustainability strategy, product design and overall company strategic goals in sustainability. I am also a regular presenter at sustainability conferences. Sharing guidelines and goals to help our industry grow to reach higher levels of engagement in impacting the future needs and concerns in sustainability issues. Tarkett is a signatory with the UN sustainablity development goals. These are important goals to create a fair and equitable future in sustainability. I believe we can all make an impact for the future. Be it through small or large changes, we all have the opportunity to influence the future.

What will you bring to the Board of Directors?

My role at Tarkett has allowed me to develop contacts and resources from various fields and industries. These resources can assist in developing programs, funding and education. As well as looking at the future direction sustainability will focus on.

I will also be focused on helping the board develop long term strategies to stay engaged in the needs of the community and grow as an organization. Working to make sure the USGBC MA is seen as a leader and resource to all communities.