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A Message from NESEA's New Board Chair

by Phil Kaplan

Jan 27, 2017

I’m always careful not to call myself a long-time NESEA Member, even though I have been active for over 10 years. It’s kind of like not being considered a real Mainer unless your grandparents were born in the state. I’ve always been so impressed by the stories of those who, four decades ago and in very different times, first cut the NESEA path that we now follow. It’s truly inspiring how our community has been “building energy” for so long.

As the new Chairman of the NESEA Board of Directors, I’m honored to contribute to the organization’s long tradition of advocating for sustainable energy and high-performance buildings. My primary goals are two-fold. One is to oversee the implementation of the soon-to-be-unveiled Strategic Plan. This plan is the result of a tremendous effort by board members and staff, with some critical outside guidance, over the past year. We believe it will create an ambitious, powerful, mission-based pathway to organizational success in the next decade.

The second goal is to work specifically on board engagement and development. As a two-term board member who has attended many board meetings, the one that still stands out most to me is when esteemed NESEA Rockstar Bruce Coldham gave us the rich and often tumultuous history of NESEA’s leadership. His brave guidance as chairman of the board turned the tables on what was a rough patch for NESEA and set the stage for our recent success. No small part of this success has been due to our excellent Executive Director, Jennifer Marrapese. With Jennifer as a reliable constant, this board—which is perhaps the best-composed board that I’ve seen throughout my involvement with NESEA—is poised to do great things for the organization. What Bruce made clear to us is that a strong board and executive director are cornerstones of a strong organization. And a stronger NESEA means a better environment.

As a fellow architect, not only did Bruce inspire me through his practice, but he also encouraged me to get more involved with NESEA years ago. He was the one who first asked me to serve on the board just as he was leaving it, and I will do my best to infuse my efforts with the spirit of his legacy (yes, I know he’s not dead—just retired). I look to 2017 with hope and the knowledge that the current political climate will actually infuse us with renewed energy (pun intended) and clearer focus. NESEA is just the organization to lead the way.

Phil Kaplan

Chairman, NESEA Board of Directors

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Phil Kaplan and his firm, Kaplan Thompson Architects, founded in 2004, have emerged rapidly. His firm's motto, 'Beautiful Sustainable Attainable,' reinforces their commitment to creating vibrant, healthy and durable buildings for all.

His newest venture is BrightBuilt Home, which provides affordable, modular net-zero homes throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

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