I write this from Boston as I didn’t have enough time in SF during the last couple of days. Thursday was by far the longest day at the conference for me.

Thursday started off with a session with the Master Speaker Kevin Carroll, titled “Finding Your Red Rubber Ball”. Kevin’s session focused around the impact that one person’s repeated action can have on a multitude of people. Kevin had a rough uprising but there was one object that changed his life forever- a red rubber ball. I cannot possibly do justice to him or his story if I were to attempt to retell it, so I will leave it at that. The two things that stood out the most for me from his presentation were “Don’t talk about it, be about it!” and the idea of avoiding an adult mentality. If we approach life with the idea of “been there, done that, seen that” and etc, we loose the element of surprise and woe that was so fundamental in our evolution as a person. If we aren’t inspired by the little things, life becomes bland, boring and this creates a void that was previously filled by enjoyment.

I followed up Kevin’s presentation with one that had to do with green building research and how that research can be converted into action. This session was based on two groups of students at two different schools who took matters into their own hands in order to make their school more green. Whether it was waterless urinals, more efficient lighting, better use of electricity, it seemed like they were doing it all. This really got me thinking about my own school. To the best of my knowledge we have no sustainability team, the newest renovations to our school aren’t LEED certified, and there isn’t anything encouraging greener living. I’d love to change that, maybe even start up a USGBC student chapter at my school. My only concern would be the time it would require to do something of this magnitude. I’ll keep thinking about it though!

Next up was another session with Kevin Caroll. This session was conference wide, as opposed to being just for the scholarship recipients. He filled the room. It was a bit different of a speech, and again I took a few things away from it. The first is to take a day-just one day- a week and spend it like a kid in a brand new toy store. What I mean is get off your iPhone, iPod, iPad, laptop, blackberry, blueberry, computer whatever, and just look around. You’d be surprised at what you see now, but have never noticed before. Kevin showed us a study in which a huge red ball was placed at the edge of a gas station. Results showed that very few adults noticed it…too many were hunched over reading their texts, emails etc. On the other hand, the study also showed that most kids saw the ball and engaged with it, and even grabbed the attention of the adults so that they would notice it. You may even go as far as saying that adults are corrupted if they can no longer interact with the world at this level. Choose one day a week and just look around. You’ll see so much more.

The next point is one that is much more common. Hard work, trust and belief are usually keys for success. Kevin explained that a lot of his life was developed through the faith that although something might not seem perfect now, it is important to have faith that it is for the best. For example, one of Kevin’s all time dreams was to be in the NBA. Shortly after he got there, he got another job offer and had to decide if he wanted to quit his dream job for another that would bring him closer to his boys and away from the NBA. He quit his job as a physical trainer for the 76ers and joined Nike. Let’s just say he hasn’t looked back since.

After Kevin’s session I spent some time in the expo halls, looking at some up and coming technologies as well as searching around for potential connections. I stopped by every Architectural Service listed in the booth catalogue. I found maybe one or two that were somewhat local to me +/- 3 hours. They were bigger firms, and therefore had multiple offices in the nation. Regardless of whether or not I made key connections, I got an opportunity to practice, and practice is key to success. I’m better than I use to be!

Now on to the fun part! Thursday night we had an event called Greenbuild Celebration. We took a shuttle over to City Hall, had dinner, and conversed with other attendees. This is where I first met Sarah and Pam (I’ll let you know more about them later, they saved me more than once!) Following the social hour in the beyond amazing city hall, we moved to a theater where the band Train was performing. Prior to going to the concert I knew roughly two songs from the band…boy I was blown away! They were great and engaged with the audience. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that I will be downloading some of their music. After the concert social hour continued in the hall with a DJ spinning some oldies as well as tracks of the day. It was a great night, a few of the scholarship awardees got together later on and conversed the night away. It was great.

Good Lord, 950 words later, I think I’m finally done. Pics below are in chronological order of my day. It’s 3 AM on the East Coast (feels weird saying that!), so if there are grammar errors, forgive me! Check back soon for Friday’s (crazy) update.



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