The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that Boston's Chief Resilience Officer, Dr. S. Atiya Martin, CEM, and John Valverde, CEO of YouthBuild USA, will headline the Opening Plenary of the Communities and Affordable Homes Summit at the 2017 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, taking place in Boston. The summit will be held on Tues., Nov. 7 and convene multi-disciplinary leaders to tackle major issues facing communities in today's world.

“The past two months have been marked by a series of devastating natural disasters across North America, from earthquakes in Mexico to wildfires in the Pacific Northwest to the four major hurricanes,” said Kimberly Lewis, USGBC’s senior vice president of market transformation and development, North America. “As communities from the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to the Gulf Coast and beyond look to rebuild, now is the time for meaningful and immediate actions from the USGBC community to ensure resilient, healthy, equitable green buildings for all.”

Dr. Atiya Martin is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) who has spent her career working in various public health, emergency management, intelligence, and homeland security capacities. Appointed by Mayor Martin J. Walsh as part of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, she is responsible for leading the development and implementation of Boston’s Resilience Strategy. Boston’s focus on advancing racial equity as the foundation of its resilience strategy aims to increase its collective ability to thrive after emergencies. Dr. Martin has served as adjunct faculty in the Master of Homeland Security at Northeastern University, and previously served as the Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness at the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC).

John Valverde recently joined YouthBuild after decades of advocacy work on behalf of formerly incarcerated and low-income people. Valverde began working with imprisoned individuals in 1992 to ensure access to HIV/AIDS counseling, high school equivalency instruction, alternatives to violence programs, and college education. In 2009, he worked with a team at the Osborne Association to create New York City’s first green jobs training program exclusively for people with criminal records. In that role, Valverde oversaw programs related to children, youth and family services; substance abuse treatment; workforce development; community benefit projects; health and wellness services; and housing.

The summit kicks off a renewed industry focus to support vulnerable and front-line communities. This year, summit attendees can participate in education sessions and a User’s Conference that aims to inform an action plan for the coming year in each of USGBC's regional communities. The User’s Conference will focus on resilience, health, equitable development and new technologies:

  1. Resilience: led by Alex Wilson, Founder of BuildingGreen and President of the Resilient Design Institute.
  2. Equitable Development: led by Carlton Eley, Senior Environmental Protection Specialist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  3. New Technologies and Paradigms: led by Trenton Allen, Managing Director and CEO at Sustainable Capital Advisors.
  4. Health: led by Vedette Gavin, Director of Research at the Conservative Law Foundation.