Today, USGBC announced the appointment of Jeneane Harter as the director of USGBC Nevada. In this role, Harter will work to advance USGBC’s mission to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated through localized engagement and outreach throughout Nevada.
As director of USGBC Nevada, Harter will collaborate on initiatives with local stakeholders and communities to create a built environmental that prioritizes environmental and human health. Harter will also work to expand the use of LEED, the world’s most widely used green building rating system, and advocate on behalf of the green building sector.
Where are you from?
California, the Bay Area.
What’s your favorite thing to do in in your town on a Saturday afternoon?
Hang out with my nieces and nephew, enjoying all the beauty northern Nevada (and Lake Tahoe) have to offer.
Who would you want to go to dinner with—living or dead?
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
Professionally—receiving an award from NASA for my work with the International Space Station.
In real life—adding “unintentional midwife” to my life resume. It’s a long story, but when my sister-in-law was ready to give birth to her third child, she asked me to come over to take care of the other children while she and my brother went to the hospital. She never made it out the front door. While my brother called the ambulance, she and I delivered my niece Kaelyn “Jeneane” Harter.
Who is your favorite superhero, and why?
Among the goddesses, Freyja (my ancestors were Vikings, so I really relate to that culture). Her corresponding super hero is Red Sonja. As a Viking descendent, I’ll never forgive Dino De Laurentiis for that movie!
In real life, my sister-in-law. She’s the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. She’s a policewoman here in Reno. She deals with horrors most of use can’t imagine, and she does it on a daily basis. And yet when she comes home at night ,she’s the most tender, loving, fun mother you can imagine.
What’s your background, and what motivated you to pursue a career in sustainability?
My first career was in technology. I spent 19 years in Silicon Valley raising venture capital, doing IPOs, mergers and acquisitions and bringing new technologies to market. When I moved to Nevada to be with my family, I got involved in sustainability for several reasons. One is that Nevada is a fragile high desert environment; what we do here is felt, and can be measured, more immediately than in areas of the world where human-caused damage is more readily absorbed by a more verdant, water-rich environment.
Since I wanted to leave my nieces and nephew with the same beautiful environment I enjoyed, I decided to dedicate my second career to sustainability. I got into the ecoliteracy aspects of sustainability because I wanted to create systemic rather than incremental change.
What impact does LEED have on the city of Reno and in the state?
Reno is located in a high desert environment. Las Vegas is an even more fragile, dry desert environment, so sustainability is more important here than in other state. The only way Reno, and Nevada, can experience economic growth is if that growth is based on sustainable practices. Anything less, and the environment will be destroyed. Destroy the environment, and it cannot sustain a population of any size.
What excites you most about joining the USGBC team?
The opportunity to work with like-minded individual people dedicated to sustainability. The more of us there are, the faster we can effect change.
What part of the sustainability movement inspires you the most?
Education. Building projects creates incremental change and public policy can expand markets for sustainability, but policies can change at the whim of the next administration. However, education, in terms of eco-literacy in the classroom, creates systemic change.
“A mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Changing minds creates systemic change.
What’s your favorite LEED project?
The next one, of course! LEED is a progressive continuum. To pick a favorite is to focus on the past. I try never to do that. My eyes are always firmly fixed on the horizon.