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Speakers

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Members of the HBN leadership team are often quoted and are in continuous demand at industry events for their deep knowledge of healthy building materials. They are frequently called upon to deliver impactful keynote addresses, facilitate engaging panel discussions and convene results-oriented working groups.


Topics of ExpertiseBill Walsh - GB2014 Speaking (horizontal)

At right:  HBN Executive Director, Bill Walsh, speaks at Greenbuild 2014 in New Orleans.


Bill Walsh
Bill WalshFounder and President, is widely recognized as a leader in the environmental community and an expert on materials health in the built environment. Bill has provided the long-term vision for the Healthy Building Network since February 2000. Under his leadership, HBN eliminated arsenic from pressure-treated wood, restricted formaldehyde emissions, created the Green Guide for Health Care and launched the Pharos Project. He is a visiting professor at Parsons The New School for Design and a founding Board Member of the Health Product Declaration (HPD) Collaborative. The Health Product Declaration is the first open standard format for reporting building product contents and associated health hazards. In 2012 Bill received the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Advocacy Award and was named a Fellow at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts. Previously he served as a national campaign director at Greenpeace USA and held staff attorney positions with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Institute for Public Representation of Georgetown University Law Center. He holds a JD from Northeastern University School of Law and LLM in Public Interest Advocacy from Georgetown University. 
 

Gina Ciganik

Gina CiganikCheif Executive Officer, is responsible for integrating and scaling healthy materials into the affordable housing sector. For over two decades, Gina has been committed to improving community well being through innovative health, sustainability, and housing solutions.  In her recent role as Vice President of Housing Development for Aeon, Gina led the financing and development of thousands of Twin Cities affordable housing units.

Gina is recognized locally and nationally for advancing policy initiatives and producing healthy and ultra-high-performance affordable housing. 

Gina was named to Finance and Commerce’s Top Women in Finance (2012 & 2015), and inducted into the Circle of Excellence in 2015. She is a graduate of the Achieving Excellence in Community Development program at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government, and holds a B.S. degree in Housing from the University of Minnesota.
Minnesota


Melissa Coffin

Melissa CoffinOperations Manager, is responsible for leading the development of various research projects, including the Building Products Library of the Pharos system, and work with partnering organizations around the expansion of green building approaches in the affordable housing community. Melissa works with the HBN research team to identify the composition of various building products and materials, and engages with manufacturers to expand HBN’s understanding of industry practices. Melissa also serves as Quality Manager, and is responsible for maintaining the organization’s Quality Management System. Melissa is well versed in the assessment, comparison, and selection of alternative chemicals and materials. She holds degrees in Ecology and Environmental Technology, Environmental Studies, and holds a Master of Arts in the Economic and Social Development of Regions.
Vermont


Tom Lent
Tom Lent, Policy Director, has spent over 35 years working on the environmental impact of buildings, materials, and energy in the private sector and with public interest groups.  He coordinates policy development for the Pharos Project and engage in national standards development.  Tom oversees Pharos rating criteria and the Chemical and Material Library, and provides support in product category development and product scoring review. He recently headed the HPD Collaborative Pilot Committee that developed the Health Product Declaration Standard.  He also co-coordinated development of the Green Guide for Health Care (GGHC), the US Green Building Council's LEED for Healthcare and the Sustainable Bioplastic Guidelines and has co-authored a wide range of studies of the comparative health and environmental impact of floorings, plastics and other building materials.  He also sits on a variety of standards setting committees for indoor air quality and safer materials. Tom has received the following awards: 2012: USGBC National Leadership in Advocacy with Bill Walsh, 2009 - US EPA Association Region IX - Outstanding Achievement for Pharos Project. 2004 - US EPA Association Region IX Outstanding Achievement - For his work in transforming the building materials market.
 

Jim Vallette
Jim ValletteSenior Researcher, has spent his career exposing global environmental issues. Jim’s work has inspired a global ban on the export of toxic waste; shut down toxic waste incinerators in the US and overseas; identified the companies and countries responsible for the ozone hole; curtailed international government finance for oil and coal production; and exposed the smuggling of ozone-depleting chemicals and illegally-harvested fish and timber. Upon joining HBN in 2005, following the devastation of hurricane Katrina, Jim helped to develop a model for rebuilding affordable housing on the Gulf Coast  through healthy modular production. Since 2009, Jim and the HBN research team have been characterizing the contents, hazards, and positive attributes, of all building materials through the Pharos Project. He also founded the Toxic Trade Campaign for Greenpeace International. 

 

 

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