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Local Leaders Recognized at the 2020 Central Florida Leadership Awards

Coffee-style chat with government leaders.
Coffee-style chat with government leaders.
Four local Florida mayors attended the Community Leadership Awards.
Four local Florida mayors attended the Community Leadership Awards.
JACKSONVILLE, FL — In a time of social, economic, and environmental upheaval, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) took a moment to celebrate and honor its local USGBC Florida community for the progress it has made toward a healthy, equitable, and prosperous future. The Central Florida chapter honored several leaders in the community during its 2020 Leadership Awards, with over 100 community members attending the event.
An Emphasis on Local Governments
This year’s discussions focused on local governments. The organization is looking to improve quality of life while experiencing massive population growth, and create an inclusive community that provides affordable housing, multimodal transportation, and high-performance buildings. Florida is taking steps to secure a carbon-neutral future, connected communities, and infrastructure upgrades.

The main goal of the Community Leader Awards was to have local governments communicate and discuss the diversity of efforts in the region. The region includes six counties and 88 municipalities with over 3 million residents, including mid- to small-sized cities — both coastal and inland.

Special Guests
The event kicked off with four Central Florida mayors discussing the importance of sustainability and green building. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, City of Orlando Mayor Bubby Dyer, City of Kissimmee Mayor Jose Alvarez, and City of Satellite Beach’s Mayor Frank Cantino all joined the dialogue for this celebration.

Commissioner Sean Parks of Lake County Florida, who is also the Chair of East Central Florida Regional Planning Council (ECRPC), discussed the importance of collaboration between USGBC and ECRPC’s newly formed Resiliency Collaborative, providing joint training opportunities to local governments in the region.

Following Commissioner Parks' speech was a coffee-style chat among government sustainability and resiliency leaders, featuring Jeff Benavides (Chief Resiliency Office, Orange County), Courtney Barker (City Manager, City of Satellite Beach), Katrina Locke (Sustainability and Natural Resources Director, Volusia County), and Chris Castro (Director, Office of Sustainability & Resilience, City of Orlando). Discussions focused on the importance of public-private partnership efforts to advance sustainability programs, the future of green buildings, and exciting, yet challenging, projects.

Awards Ceremony
The event concluded with a celebration awards ceremony highlighting 11 local and national leaders and projects, with the winner of the Briones scholarship announced. Working with partners and friends, USGBC Central Florida honors Vince Briones, who was instrumental in the Central Florida green building movement. Briones passed away in 2017, and leaves behind a legacy among friends and colleagues. An annual scholarship has been created in his name to benefit students at the University of Central Florida who exemplify Briones' passion for green buildings, and his desire to educate others to help transform the building industry around sustainability.

The following people and projects were the winners of this year's Community Leadership Awards:

  • Community Champion - City of Orlando Fire Station #2
  • Rise to the Challenge (LEED EB) - Orange County Convention Center North-South Building
  • Innovative Project Award (Private) - Seacoast (First Green Bank)
  • Innovative Project Award (Public) - Orlando International Airport's South Airport Automated People Mover Complex
  • Climate Champion - NeoCity Academy
  • Exceptional Implementation Project Award - Brevard County Schools’ Sustainable Weed Removal Program
  • Most Successful Community Engagement - City of Cape Canaveral Municipal Complex
  • Vince Briones Scholarship - Emma Roehrig
  • Community Leader (Person) - Marc Clinch, Osceola County Schools
  • Community Leader (Organization) - IDEAS for US
  • City of Excellence Award - City of Orlando
  • Volunteer of the Year - John Constantinide

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