U.S. Green Building Council Announces Key Leadership Roles

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) announce the appointment of three accomplished industry leaders to its global management team: Sarah Zaleski as Chief Products Officer; Pete Tolsdorf as General Counsel, and Andy Burr as Chief of Staff.

These new leadership hires add more than five decades of collective experience at the forefront of the equitable energy transition to the USGBC and GBCI global management team, enhancing the ability of the organization to lead, evolve, and strengthen the global green building movement in concert with partners and stakeholders.

“Sarah, Pete, and Andy are outstanding additions to our global leadership team as we work to drive the innovation in policy, technology, and practice needed to transform the built environment,” said Peter Templeton, President and CEO, USGBC and GBCI. “Their leadership experience strengthens our ability to deploy proven solutions at the scale needed to address the urgent challenges facing communities worldwide and to accelerate progress towards a sustainable, prosperous, and equitable future for all.”

The appointments come as USGBC marks its 30th anniversary leading the transformation of the building industry at the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo later this month in Washington, D.C.

Sarah Zaleski brings a remarkable record of achievement at the intersection of sustainability, climate, and the built environment at the local, national, and international levels. She has previously served in senior roles at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), most recently directing $550 million in funding for energy improvements to schools and nonprofit facilities. Prior to her time at DOE, she established the City of Baltimore’s Office of Sustainability. In the newly created Chief Products Officer position, Zaleski will work collaboratively with the CEO, boards of directors, and members of the executive team to lead strategy, development, delivery, and optimization of the global portfolio of USGBC and GBCI programs and services, including research, standards, and education.

Pete Tolsdorf is an accomplished legal expert with leadership experience in energy and standard-setting. He previously served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), where he led NEMA’s legal compliance, corporate governance, and legal advocacy. He has held senior legal and policy leadership roles at major trade associations, including the National Association of Manufacturers. Tolsdorf also served as an attorney-advisor at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and as a litigation associate at a large international law firm.

Andy Burr is a sustainability leader and changemaker with experience across business, technology, and real estate. He previously served in leadership capacities at early-stage technology ventures, including Ecountabl, the award-winning ESG startup he co-founded and led as CEO that was acquired by a financial services firm in 2022. Burr served in multiple roles at the DOE from 2014 to 2019, leading commercial buildings policy and launching a major intergovernmental modernization initiative announced by the Obama administration in 2016. Prior to his time in public service, he directed a $20 million special climate project in partnership with U.S. mayors and global philanthropies. He has advised major U.S. presidential campaigns on climate strategy and has been quoted in national media, including The New York Times and USA Today.

Source: U.S. Green Building Council

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