Beyond Conversation: Actions We Can Take Now to Shape an Inclusive Building Industry

11:15 am, Room 220 - Access and Equity

Margaret Knight, Schemata Workshop/Meg Hartwig & Samantha Schultz, Sawhorse Revolution, Leah Missik, Built Green/Patti Southard, King County GreenTools/Grace Huang, ming | architecture & design (moderator)

Are you interested in empowering your team, increasing opportunity, and leading the building industry forward? The architecture, engineering, and construction sectors face the challenges of a limited workforce, environmental pressures, new technologies, and rising costs. And yet, when whole groups of people (women, gender non-conforming folks, and people of color) are underrepresented, we miss out on creative ideas, perspectives, and workforce development opportunities. This session will engage all attendees on how we can change this and move our businesses and communities forward to a more equitable future. We will look at data, share experiences, learn about initiatives in our communities, and provide examples of strategies that work and which can be immediately utilized in the workplace to shape a happier, more diverse team and turn the challenges we face into opportunities.

Learning Objectives:

  • Increase awareness of terminology and determinants of equity.

  • Understand how to make equity considerations on your projects.

  • Understand how to foster inclusiveness in your workplace, on your projects, and/or at your job sites.

  • Learn about the role of youth development, education, and training in shaping the future workforce.

Margaret is a licensed architect in the state of Washington, on AIA Seattle’s Board of Directors, and co-chair of AIA Seattle’s Diversity Roundtable committee, where she works to encourage and promote diversity within the architectural profession.

She is passionate about the role community engagement can play in the design process, especially for communities facing challenges. Following her graduation from Cornell University, Margaret worked to conduct participatory design workshops outside of Nairobi with the goal of creating productive public spaces. During her time at Schemata Workshop, Margaret has worked on several affordable housing projects throughout the state of Washington. Most recently she has been engaged with Seattle’s Central Area and Chinatown International District communities to develop neighborhood specific design guidelines through a series of workshops and outreach events.

Meg Hartwig is an artist, carpenter and educator living and working in Seattle. Hartwig was born and raised in Michigan and is currently a ten year resident of the Emerald City. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Illustration In Michigan, a Post Baccalaureate in Ceramics from Louisiana State University, and a Masters of Fine Arts, 3D4M, at the University of Washington. Hartwig brings extensive teaching experience to Sawhorse Revolution, has been swinging a hammer with the organization since it’s beginning days, and is now the head of Interagency Academy Programming.

Samantha has a Masters in Architecture from North Dakota State University where she received the prestigious Peter F. McKenzie Memorial Award for her social justice thesis. Following graduation, she worked professionally developing tribal communities across five states in the Midwest though sustainability-driven projects that provided better access to quality healthcare and housing. Entertaining a love for building, she has traveled to underserved communities across the United States and internationally for design-build projects and flipped her own home. She eventually entered into the trades as a carpenter, framing houses in Minnesota before coming to work for Sawhorse Revolution. Managing youth oriented design-build programs for Sawhorse perfectly combines her education, experiences and passions.

Leah Missik is the Program Manager of Built Green, a green home certification program of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. She has overseen the continued growth of the program, conducted studies that received national media attention, and collaborated on the expansion of incentives for green building in the region.

Leah is in the 2018 Class of Leadership Tomorrow and is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program. She holds her MPA from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, where she concentrated in Environmental Policy and International Affairs. Her B.A. is from Kenyon College.

Patti Southard is the program manager for “GreenTools” green building program in King County Washington. At King County Southard runs the Sustainable Cities Program which focuses on coordinating King County’s cities on built environment and climate related policies through a countywide Green Building Task Force (GBTF). In addition Southard provides technical assistance for the County’s LEED, Living Building Challenge and Built Green initiatives. Southard has led the GreenTools program as a two time Harvard Bright Idea Award winner and recently received Governor Jay Inslee’s Solar Community Award for the Regional Code Collaboration which she chairs.

Southard was raised on her family farm and has focused her sustainable development career on the juxtaposition between rural and urban communities and planning. Southard’s personal accolades include the Built Green Pioneer Award, Cascadia Green Building Council Public Sector Leadership Award, Sustainable Cities Inspirational Leadership Award, is a Cascadia Fellow, Living Future Hero and Honorary AIA.

Grace Huang (moderator)

Grace Huang is a licensed architect and owner of ming | architecture and design, specializing in sustainable and healthy home building practices. She has been in the design and construction industry for over 25 years, beginning her professional career in Chicago after graduating from the University of Illinois. The first few years of her career were spent in the field, in a hard hat and boots, as the only female and Asian on the job site. Much of her life, Grace has personally worked to challenge stereotypes and push against the boundaries of societal norms. She has also volunteered extensively, both in the U.S. and abroad, and is passionate about helping people live more responsibly and respectfully on the earth.