Cooper Carry announces the appointment of J.D. Harper as the firm’s Sustainability Leader, bringing over a decade of experience in design. Based out of the D.C. office, the new role marks the design firm’s increased focus on sustainability and the critically important role it plays in designing for our future. Harper will work across all offices, studios and services to coach design teams by integrating, navigating and advocating for sustainability across disciplines.

“With over 61 years of experience, Cooper Carry has a long-standing reputation for producing solid results for its clients and always keeping sustainability as a key consideration in each of its projects,” said Harper. “Through my role as sustainability leader, I will build on that momentum and turn up the volume on sustainability at Cooper Carry. Environmental concern is not an on or off switch, and my goal is to empower our team to ask questions, push boundaries and be relentless in our responsibility to the environment, knowing the impact we can make in our world as architects and designers. How do people in our industry help solve the climate crisis? One project at a time.”

Harper began her career as a graphic designer with a vested interest in both architecture and environmental science. She realized she could marry the two, and went on to receive her Master of Architecture degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology Golisano Institute for Sustainability, as a pioneer of the program. She became a consultant for various architectural and design firms, honing her skills by connecting building performance, resilience, human health and wellness with clients’ values. Prior to joining Cooper Carry, Harper served as a sustainability consultant for Paladino and Company, an industry-leading green building and sustainability consulting firm. 

In her role at Cooper Carry, Harper’s first order of business is plugging into every active project to assist with certifications and develop other sustainability initiatives within the firm. Her next objective involves aiding the sustainability approach for future projects and opportunities. She plans to create a central internal resource system with the latest technology and tools, so that designers can self-educate and become masters in sustainable design. She will also be a resource to advise on the various certifications available to clients to validate their efforts, such as ILFI, LEED, WELL and Fitwel. Harper will grow her internal team to support the various projects across Cooper Carry’s three offices in Atlanta, New York and D.C. and its various studios and services. Harper has most recently worked with the Hospitality, K-12 Education, Office Design, and Science and Technology studios. 

“J.D. joins the team with varied expertise and deep passion for the environment, and understands that good design is sustainable design,” said Kyle Reis, President and CEO of Cooper Carry. “We are pleased to welcome her as we continue to focus on the impact we make in the communities where we work. J.D. is well positioned to lead our sustainability and resiliency priorities as we take our firm into a new era of design by recruiting top-tier talent, investing in the latest resources and tools for our people, and ensuring success for our clients and end users.”

In addition to her Master of Architecture degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology Golisano Institute for Sustainability, Harper holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic and Interactive Communication from the Ringling College of Art and Design. She holds several industry certifications including LEED AP Building Design and Construction,  RELi AP, and serves as a Fitwel Ambassador. Harper is also an emerging architectural designer and will continue to pursue licensure as an Associate AIA member