Awards luncheon celebrates sustainability projects and community champions

About 130 civic and professional leaders attended

Civic leaders and industry professionals from a six-county area participated in the March 6th, 2020 Leadership Awards Luncheon held by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Central Florida region group.

Attendees learned about recent and planned sustainability initiates, then celebrated the best environmental projects and community champions in Central Florida.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer delivers a keynote

Mital Hall, Chair of USGBC Central Florida Region, hosted the event and acknowledged the work of local volunteers and the award sponsorships by  Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., 15 Lightyears, and ecoPreserve, LLC.

Mayors from four Central Florida communities delivered keynotes.

  • Jose Alvarez, Mayor of Kissimmee
  • Frank Cantino, Mayor of Satellite Beach
  • Jerry Demings, Mayor of Orange County
  • Buddy Dyer, Mayor of Orlando

Chris Castro (Director, Office of Sustainability & Resilience, City of Orlando) Courtney Barker (City Manager, City of Satellite Beach) Katrina Locke (Sustainability and Natural Resources Director, Volusia County) Jeff Benavides (Chief Resiliency Officer, Orange County)

A panel of local sustainability and resiliency officers from those communities then discussed the successes and challenges associated with community leadership.

ecoPreserve, LLC was pleased to have participated in two of the projects that earned awards. Both of those involved properties that had earned USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Rise to the Challenge Award

Mayor Jerry Demings (Orange County Government) Mital Hall (Vice President, ecoPreserve) Terry Devitt (Acting Deputy Director, Orange County Convention Center) John Roberts, (Sustainability Coordinator, Orange County Convention Center) Kristy Walson (TLC Engineering) Jeff Benavides (Chief Sustainability and Resiliency Officer, Orange County Government)

The Rise to the Challenge (LEED for Existing Buildings) award was presented to the Orange County Convention Center, which had overcome significant obstacles, yet provided meaningful and sustainable outcomes. The convention center has implemented a whole-campus recycling program.  In 2019, their food waste disposal program diverted over 160 tons of food to a composting facility. Other programs, like their Center-to-Table Gardens, have provided over 170,000 non-GMO plants within the past four years.

Innovative Project Award (Public Sector) recipients

The Innovative Project Award for the public sector went to the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, for the South Airport Automated People Mover Complex at Orlando International Airport. The half-million square foot complex was the first LEED v4 BD+C Certified project in Florida.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)[1] mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated. That transformation will improve the quality of life by enabling an environment that is both environmentally and socially responsible, while being both and prosperous.


Alexa Stone
LEED AP, Sustainable Facility Professional, Envision Sustainability Professional - - Alexa has more than 25 years of experience in sustainable and Smart Cities development. Her strategic planning work has served local, state, and federal government, higher education, and private industry. Alexa founded ecoPreserve in 2009 as a team of 3 and has grown the company to over a dozen of the brightest sustainability and project management professionals in the industry.
Alexa Stone


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