Nov 18, 2010

Retired Gen. Colin Powell Opens Up Greenbuild 2010

Attendance for this year's event expected to set record

The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Greenbuild International Conference & Expo officially started Wednesday in Chicago as retired Gen. Colin Powell addressed a crowd of 10,000 in the opening keynote hall with a message of leadership and optimism for the future.

Powell presented the Greenbuild 2010 opening keynote address at a plenary session that also included a discussion between political pundits Mary Matalin and James Carville and remarks from USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi.

“Leadership has to be passionate. Each person involved must believe they have a purpose,” Powell said.

Powell’s address focused on the traits of a strong leader and of the role that everyone plays in redefining the future. As of Wednesday morning, more than 25,000 attendees from 112 countries had registered to attend education sessions, view the world’s largest green building exhibit hall, attend networking events and continue to fuel the tremendous growth of the green building industry.

“The leadership of the green building community is at the heart of Greenbuild,” said Fedrizzi. “This year is all about Generation Green: Redefining Our Future, and today, I see that we are collectively the most important catalysts for the change that will result in the greatest consumer, cultural and market revolution in America. Together we deliver through the built environment immediate and measurable improvements in our overall quality of life.”

Following Powell’s remarks, Matalin and Carville, who are married but often espouse opposing political views, shared their takes on the state of politics following the recent elections. Their insights shared a common theme: Despite what seems to be a fractured electorate, the American people are united in their concern about issues like energy and the economy, and industries like green building that are based on collaboration and driven by solutions. In addition to providing their analyses, Matalin and Carville took questions from audience members.

Greenbuild 2010 continues through Friday, when the Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and author and environmental pioneer Paul Hawken will keynote the closing plenary. During the week, attendees will participate in nearly 200 education sessions, including a Residential Summit focused on green homebuilding. Attendance appears to be on track to surpass last year’s 27,373 attendees and set a new record as the largest Greenbuild since the show started in Austin in 2002.