Executive Director
North Texas Chapter Green Building Council
• Volunteer at organizations like the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC has chapters in most large metropolitan areas. The American Institute of Architecture is also a good place to find information.
• Updates in building code will drive new jobs in green building. Cities are adopting stricter building green building codes. Many cities now require LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) ratings for new city-owned construction projects.
• The ability to find the ROI (Return on Investment) for a project is a very valuable skill in the green building industry.
The U.S Green Building Council is a national non-profit organization that works to promote sustainability in how buildings are designed, built, and operated. The North Texas chapter of the (USGBC) is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is led by Executive Director Jonathan Kraatz.
Executive Director
Scenic Houston
• Green tech is a growth industry in Houston. The petrochemical industry is heavily invested in alternative forms of energy and will continue to create green jobs with research facilities in Houston.
• Business in Houston is recognizing the economic value of trees, green landscaping and clean air. Businesses want to locate in a clean attractive environment and this will create new jobs.
• Look to the Houston Green Scene (houstongreenscene.org) for networking opportunities.
Groups like Scenic Houston represent a unique niche in the environmental movement. Scenic Houston incorporates more business support than most green movement organizations. With lax zoning law and strong free enterprise support, Houston developed a concrete and billboard freeway landscape that was both unattractive and unhealthy.

As executive director of Scenic Houston, Anne Culver leads an organization that has improved and beautified Houston with trees and landscaping. With the exception of the billboard industry, Houston businesses are recognizing the economic value of landscaping, trees, and controlled use of signage. Attractive places attract new business, better employees, and more jobs.

Green jobs in Houston will continue to be centered around the petrochemical (oil) industry. After ecological disasters like the BP Gulf oil spill, petrochemical companies need the positive press that investment in green industry creates. Energy companies will need to transition to new and hopefully greener forms of energy as oil supplies dwindle. This should substantially drive the growth of green technologies and green jobs in Houston.
Vice President Of Operations
Galveston Bay Foundation
• Local Formal Education Opportunities: Texas A&M at Galveston has a reputable marine biology program, and the University of Houston-Clear Lake offers degree programs in environmental sciences and environmental management.
• Local Networking Opportunities: The Texas Association of Environmental Professionals (TAEP.org) is a great organization to become involved with for networking opportunities and job leads.
• Local Volunteer Opportunities: The Galveston Bay Foundation offers a variety of volunteer opportunities-from habitat restoration to administrative work-that support work in this field.
Courtney Smith, Vice President of Operations, explained that the Galveston Bay Foundation performs many important services for the Galveston Bay community, including ecological preservation and restoration, environmental education, and advocacy work. With over 3,000 acres conserved and many more with successful habitat restoration accomplished by the Galveston Bay Foundation, this organization has a profound impact on the Galveston Bay ecological community. The Foundation works with many state and federal agencies, including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency. In her position as Vice President of Operations, Courtney works on grant writing, contract management, and reporting. Writing and communications are vital to non-profit organizations, especially to organizations like the Galveston Bay Foundation that depend on public participation and philanthropy for support.
Communications Director
Air Alliance Houston
• Develop a solid understanding of the local, state, and federal political processes to prepare yourself for a career with an environmental lobbying organization.
• Volunteer! Environmental organizations including Air Alliance Houston always need volunteers.
• Follow your passion.
If you have been through Houston, Texas, even briefly, then you have probably benefited from the work of Air Alliance Houston. The Air Alliance has worked since 1988 to prevent and eliminate smog in Houston. Air Alliance employees like Communications Director Shae Cottar work to educate the public, lobby local politicians, and occasionally file lawsuits in pursuit of the Alliance's mission. Air Alliance Houston is currently working to create a coalition of Gulf Coast groups that can work together to better spread awareness of environmental problems. With the abundance of the petrochemical industry in the Houston metropolitan area, dedicated environmental professionals are greatly needed.
Vice President For Communications And Government Affairs
EDP Renewables
• As an industry leader, EDP Renewables employs a team of over 300. While smaller companies look for wind energy generalists, to a degree, job openings at EDP Renewables consist mostly of technical positions.
• Current openings call for a high level of expertise. Core competencies among the companies team members span operations, transmission, integration, science, and engineering.
• EDP Renewables offers internships as opportunities arise. Internships provide an excellent footing for a career in the energy sector. Visit the company website for more information.
EDP Renewables is a leading renewable energy company, bringing hundreds of megawatts of clean energy online around the country every year. Around 200 megawatts were produced this year, despite a down economy, with an additional 200 megawatts projected for the upcoming year. Vice President for Communications and Government Affairs Roby Roberts said that when it comes to making clean energy a competitive player in the overall energy market, EDP renewable is a leader. "We are very active in the industry. We have a robust policy and regulatory group, which is extremely important, and we're active with regional clean energy advocates."

EDP Renewables was an early supporter of green business practices, as their Houston office demonstrated, being the first LEED-CI Silver rated project in the city. "We believe in walking the talk," Roberts said, "We want to be as consistent as we can to promote the values that define us." Houston has a consolidated energy presence, and companies like EDP Renewables provide a competitive job market for green collar professionals.
General Manager
Citizen's Environmental Coalition
• Citizen's Environmental Coalition (CEC) regularly updates a well maintained jobs board where environmental professionals can seek out employment opportunities.
• The calendar of meet-ups on CEC's website is a great place to look for events that offer networking opportunities for environmental professionals. CEC's annual Synergy Awards is a who's-who of environmentalists in the Houston area.
• The CEC website houses an extensive archive of information for members of the environmental community looking to gain command of local issuses. In addition, the CEC newsletter provides regular updates on current issues and policy news.
For over 40 years Citizen's Environmental Coalition has been facilitating the collaborative efforts of the Houston environmental community, searching for a productive middle ground between planning and action through building community awereness of local issues and stimulating discussion. "We're a very active community, and we're getting a lot attention as of late, nationally," said General Manager Katie Molina, citing Mayor Annise D. Parker's sustainability credentials, as well as the reputation that city officials have earned for their environmentally friendly positions.

Molina noted Houston's size as a major port, its car-driven setting, and its history as an energy hub as challenges that the environmental community is working to overcome. "More agencies are more concerned than ever before," Molina said. The need for a coordinated plan between organizations has given rise to an event called Visions for a Greener Houston 2012, where the environmental community will work together to create a list of actionable goals across several
interest areas that the group feels can be reached by the end of the year. This is a collaborative effort for the immediate term, an effort to picture where they would like to see themselves by the end of just one year. "We want to bring the larger community into the conversation," Molina said, "All of the fire passion, and desire sometimes splinters the efficacy of environmental groups."

On a positive note, Molina said that funding for non-profit work in the city remains strong due to the old core of established energy money that has remained steady despite sparse economic times. Emerging environmental professionals looking to gather experience have a number of organizations to choose from that offer volunteer and internship opportunities, depending upon their area of expertise. Houston is also home to a well-respected green building program at the University of Houston School of Architecture and an environmental studies major at the University of St. Thomas. Environmental professionals can use the CEC website as a central clearinghouse for all of the area's environmental resources: www.cechouston.org.
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