We are beyond thrilled that Kim Pexton joined Paladino and Company as regional director in the DC office. She’s such an awesome addition to our team that we want to give our clients, friends, and peers the opportunity to get to know her better through a Q&A.
There’s a good chance you’ll cross paths with Kim in the sustainability realm in future – she’ll be impressed if you already know her dogs’ names.
Kim, tell us about your background and the path that led you to Paladino.
Wow, this could be a long story. I can sum it by saying that my path was not typical. Plain and simple, I was at the right place at the right time. I have a Masters in Architecture and focused on environmental and ecological design. I was working as a project manager for a general contractor. Knowing my educational background, the leaders of that company came to me in 1999 and asked me what the company could do to address green building. I wrote a simple business plan, presented the ideas and was given a green light. That marked the start of career path that I would have never “found.” I created every step, every layer, and every bit of value. I laid ground work for others to follow in that path as I moved through my career.
The opportunity with Paladino represents an even deeper dive into the commitment I have made to positively impacting climate change. I was introduced to Paladino while acting as co-chair of the host committee for Greenbuild 2015, and Rachel Sowards was a co-chair of one of the subcommittees. We worked together for over a year on making Greenbuild 2015 monumental! I had left HITT looking for a greater challenge in my career and was working to build a consulting practice. Just before Greenbuild, I learned that Rachel had been promoted and there was an opening for the regional director. I talked it over with my husband and gave Rachel the okay to put my hat into the ring for the job. There are a number of “green building” consulting practices in the area but none like Paladino. PAL was the only place in which I would consider dropping my budding consulting practice. The abundance versus scarcity mentality is deeper than green building rating systems and PAL was where I wanted to be.
What has surprised you the most since joining Paladino?
The level of commitment to technical excellence is astounding. The passion and drive to promulgate the abundance thinking mission is heartfelt and authentic.
Where do you find inspiration in your work?
I work from the heart. I am committed to preserving the services that the planet provides every human being. Once I had become aware of what we were doing to ourselves I could not turn a blind eye to it. It seemed irresponsible.
What are your predictions for the green building industry in the next five years? 20 years?
Harnessing data has been talked about a great deal in the last several years. The next exciting step is to leverage that data in a way that changes behavior; whether decision making or the human condition. We are mining and extracting the data but the “resource” and connection to an abundance thinking model has yet to be realized. Mapping those resources, connecting it to abundance thinking and channeling it into sustainability platforms that address client needs on a deeper level is reaching a tipping point.
Climate change adaptation, better known as climate change resilience, has been identified by major re-insurance companies as a top three driver in the sustainability movement. Sustainability runs a parallel course to climate change resilience. Awareness of how sustainable actions create more resilient regions, developments, buildings and communities is moving at a very fast pace. Paladino will be working to show those connections through our PLUS framework and abundance philosophies.
What role does sustainability play in your life outside of work? What does it mean to you?
I am an environmentalist. I have taken responsibility for my actions and my part in a healthy world and life. I can remember learning the economic value of recycling aluminum and glass as a teen (never mind that we used the money for beer J). I have not eaten beef since 1988. My life revolves around health of body and surroundings. My husband and I grow our own vegetables, we compost, we shop farmers markets, eat paleo and gluten free. Sustainability is at the core of my life and all that I do.
If you could go back in time to change a human behavior or decision that has affected the environment, what would it be?
Use of natural resources like coal, to power the world and oil to transport us, and the invention of refined sugar.
What do you do in your leisure time?
Hmm, what leisure time? We have combined six children! We are outside whenever possible. Wineries and consignment shops (just about everything in our house has been owned by someone before). Hiking with our two Bernese Mountain dogs (Sadie and Jojo). Lots of sporting events for our faction of kids.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Irish pubs, my dogs, and truly my awesome best friend and husband.
What are you most proud of?
Likely many people say this, but I am so proud of the young men that my kids are becoming. Seeing their care for people and interest in being their best self are the lessons that I, and my husband, have committed to teaching them. My greatest contribution will be seen in the happy and healthy individuals they become.
What is one thing that you wish more people knew about you?
My dad is my most trusted business advisor. He is the reason that I have not been afraid to pave my own way.
Is there anything more you want to know about Kim? Ask away in the comments section below, or connect with her on LinkedIn.