Bright Employee: Jordana Vasquez, Project Manager, New Construction


JordanaVasquezWe’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. Each month, you’ll get a chance to meet one of them, understand how they contribute to the organization, and what makes them excited to come to work every day.

Meet Bright Power team member Jordana Vasquez, Project Manager, New Construction.

What are some of the things you like most about working at Bright Power?
I appreciate that Bright Power is an industry leader in building energy performance design and a driver of environmental impact. Each year we have three themes that give our teams a framework for setting short term goals. I’m always excited about learning and participating in these vision-driven themes while being open for the opportunity to innovate in this space. Secondly, with the variety of work that I’ve been exposed to at Bright Power, I feel confident to walk into any room and speak to stakeholders from various levels of seniority and expertise, such as policymakers, real estate developers and designers.

Also, I might be biased, but I think the New Construction’s variety of expertise and passion for sustainability and energy efficiency is really pushing the envelope—pun intended.

What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?
Last year I led an internal meeting for our New Construction department titled ‘Let’s Clear the Air: Materials Toxicity, Considerations, and Politics.’ It touched on many of the different priorities we have set for green certification programs like LEED for Homes and what developers are paying a lot of attention to these days, especially for cutting edge new developments like La Central and 2050 Grand Concourse, among others. There is a new wave of interest for the role sustainability can play in wellbeing, indoor air quality, comfort and health, and developers are looking to us for advice and expertise. The ability to consult on measures that impact people, planet, and profit at once provides the opportunity to be creative and innovative in the field. Because more than ever, what’s good for the environment is also good for business.

What’s something people might not know about you and your role at Bright Power?
In the last ten years, I worked on many facets of the construction and architecture industryfrom working closely with curators and architects managing the installations and breaking-down of artist’s exhibitions; to on-site supervision for the development of interior structures; to resiliency and energy efficiency projects for community development financial institutions. My training as an architect and my various roles prior to joining Bright Power have contributed to my spatial sensibilities, passion, and understanding of the fusion of green, healthy and inclusive environments.

More recently and equally exciting is my new hobby: playing the trumpet. I’ve never met a female trumpet player, so I decided to become one! My goal is to play a decent jam at our 2022 summer retreat. Stay tuned.

We hear you started Alliance for Multicultural People in Sustainability (AMPS) at Bright Power. Tell us more about it, why you started it, and some of your goals.
AMPS is an initiative to encourage diversity within Bright Power, as well as in the construction, sustainability, clean energy, and data industries. It is important to acknowledge that inclusive policies and institutional commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity are integral for any forward -thinking innovative company. And it is important to note that even though these industries have been changing for the better, there is room for improvement, like more representation at the senior and decision-making levels across all industries. I see AMPS as a platform to not only bring awareness but to also highlight Bright Power’s passionate and diverse talent while advocating on behalf of all women and minorities working in these fields.

As of now, we had our first AMPS meeting to brainstorm a set of working goals for 2019. They would fall under these categories:

  1. Attracting and maintaining diversity in construction, sustainability, clean energy, and data.
  2. Ensuring that employees from all backgrounds can thrive and advance in their careers.

You just wrote a blog about the importance of sustainability for the health and wellbeing of underserved communities. What inspired you to write it?
For a long time, I’ve been thinking about how professionals within the built environment form interconnections between their day-to-day work and their impact on urban communities. In dense cities like New York, every major development echoes the intersections of environment, economics, and culture and how these play a factor in redefining a sense of place for areas like the Bronx has always interested me. I intentionally have been spending more time visiting the Bronx and talking to native New Yorkers devoted to energy efficiency and climate change. Through those experiences and working on projects in the Bronx, I felt compelled to write about a story that’s not making front headlines but is just as important as any other life-changing narrative. The article is called Tales of Success of a Healthier, Affordable and Greener NYC: Bronx Edition (you can read it on Bright Power’s website and my personal blog). It talks about how developers, city agencies and community-based organizations are collaborating in NYC to ensure that healthy, cost-effective, sustainable, and affordable housing is recognized and guaranteed as a human right. Creating affordable units is no longer enough for these stakeholders.

I really enjoyed writing this piece because I wrote it from two perspectives: as a consultant providing technical energy efficiency and sustainability services, and as someone who now has a better grasp of the culture and sense of community in the places I worked.

You’re passionate about sustainable urban design outside of work too—tell us about it.
I created a blog in 2015 as a means to facilitate conversations and collaboration around large and small scale sustainability initiatives in a variety of sectors in New York City and abroad. Fast-forward four years, I’ve written, interviewed and photographed champions working on sustainability and social impact projects. I’ve worked with permaculture advocates, coral reef conservationist, eco-hotel visionaries, and recycling/waste management professionals and more. My next big project is to map all the sustainable initiatives happening in New York City and the Dominican Republic (where I grew up) with the end goal to create awareness and promote collaboration within sustainability and social impact. Imagine a Yelp for LEED buildings, resiliency measures, hydroponic farms, community solar farms, passive parks, social responsibility projects, etc.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give a developer before (s)he met with their design team for the first time?
My piece of advice to developers would be to increase the engagement of energy and sustainability consultants for portfolio-wide customized strategies and playbooks that outline desired outcomes from jumpstart. It sets a level of expectations for the developer and their team, and it creates accountability for all parties involved in design and construction. If one solution isn’t enough, then create several scenarios for the different tiers and levels of energy efficiency and cost savings desired. With this level of specificity, consultants can better asses what’s possible or not for the project within that framework, and minimize any negative impacts. This way we can continue to positively impact people and our built environment while providing our clients with cost-efficient solutions that work for them.