March Blog Series:
March is Women’s History Month, and we’d like to take this opportunity to explore the careers and viewpoints of our hard-working female employees. As a national leader in door, frame, and hardware distribution, as well as security integration, one of our mottos is “Strength in Its People; Strength in Its Industry.” We retain this strong position because of our diverse, talented team. Thank you for your 60+ years of dedication!
March’s blog series has explored Women in Leadership and Women in Sales at LaForce. This week, let’s take a look at a team member whose distinct skill set has given LaForce a sizeable foothold in the sustainable building realm: Laura Waterman, LEED AP BD+C and the Manager of Administrative Support.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is a designation given to a structure if its building components are sustainable and “green.” The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) created the LEED rating system to push businesses to seek original solutions that are better for the environment. Laura’s particular acronym (BD+C) stands for “Building Design and Construction,” which fits perfectly with LaForce’s business model.
How did Laura stumble onto LEED? About ten years ago, Laura’s manager asked her to take on an additional administrative task: processing the LEED requests for the engineering team. This simple request turned out to be much more complex, Laura soon discovered, so she dove into LEED research and developed a process. She became a LEED Green Associate after passing the class, and later took the rigorous LEED Accredited Professional Exam. Now she holds the only LEED accreditation on staff, and loves the challenge of her role. Virtually everything she does with LEED has been self-taught, so Laura has developed into the go-to expert at LaForce.
This accreditation gives her the authority to educate internal teams and external vendors about the technical aspects regarding LEED. Besides completing the LEED submittals, Laura also spends time answering questions from the sales team, the engineering team, and others. She prides herself on finding the correct answer, and being as accurate and consistent as she can on all submittals.
General Contractors (GC’s) often have their own pre-written LEED submittal forms that Laura is responsible for completing. If the forms are not supplied, she will use the LaForce standard LEED spreadsheet she had created for these instances. Prior to submitting the forms, cutsheets, and vendor LEED statements to the GC, she identifies any discrepancies between the project specifications and what will be supplied on the job by tapping into her extensive product knowledge. There are many nuances between the LEED credits and different rating systems, so much of her time preparing a submittal is spent in research and fact-checking.
LEED projects stem from a building owner’s desire to have a LEED certified building, demonstrating their commitment to the environment. These certified
buildings also enjoy long-term cost savings due to the life cycle cost analysis by the General Contractor before or during the construction of the building.
Laura’s LEED involvement also aided LaForce’s membership into USGBC, which gives the company additional resources to use and help promote green building standards.
Laura is constantly learning, growing, and educating others as LaForce’s LEED accredited specialist. Her next challenge will be the new LEED v4, launching this fall. She looks forward to diving into the manual and applying LEED concepts at LaForce for many more years.