Our DC office is quickly growing, and our latest addition is Michelle Dusseau Diller, who joined our team as senior technical manager.
Michelle’s impressive resume and credentials (her name is followed by PE, PMP, LEED AP BD+C, GGP, ENV SP – wow!) adds depth to our already experienced team.
What is your background in sustainability? How did you come to find Paladino?
The common thread throughout my career has been striving to make the world a better place. My interest sparked in protecting the environment when I passed through the Diag at the University of Michigan on the 20th anniversary of Earth Day.
I decided to pursue a master’s degree and landed at Indiana University’s combined school of Public and Environmental Affairs, which further ignited my desire to serve and protect the environment. My husband’s education took us to Pensacola, Florida where I worked for the Department of Environmental Protection for 10 years and became well-versed in regulatory requirements and compliance. My love for design, specifically stormwater retrofit projects, led me into private consulting with HDR, where I started out managing the drainage section in Pensacola. I started supporting sustainable design efforts and LEED certification for the federal architecture group, and soon after I was in DC doing sustainable design support full time.
The opportunity with Paladino offers a chance to deepen my sustainable design work, as well as begin to share my experience and knowledge with the highly skilled, passionate professionals already working here.
Where do you find inspiration in your work?
Through my desire to protect the innocents – children and animals – and provide them with the ability to continue on into the future. I don’t understand how anyone living in a first world country could ignore a single opportunity to positively impact the planet, doing what they can, in whatever role they play on this big blue marble, to make the world a better place.
What direction do you think green building is headed? Where do you see the industry in 10 years?
Many owners, operators, designers, and builders have realized that there is opportunity beyond mere code compliance. Happily, many of the easily achievable improvements have become standard practice. The industry is acknowledging the importance of resilient design and its link to sustainability; the most efficient building is more valuable to the owner and the community if it is resilient to the changing climate.
A sustainable building may also need to serve its community in both its original intended role and in the face of disaster. The symbiosis between these two concepts will get stronger in the next 10 years. Paladino is already educating clients on how to maximize those synergies, and the demand for that knowledge and experience is on the rise.
What role does sustainability play in your life outside of work? What does it mean to you?
Our family strives to reduce our environmental footprint through practice and action – we recycle; eat lower on the food chain; keep the thermostat low/high depending on the season; and combine errands to reduce car miles. We also do smaller things such as not pushing the automatic open button and taking the stairs. Our actions send a message to the next generation, and these practices and actions are now second nature to our son. Passing along the planet to the future generations, in at least no worse shape from our actions, is a core value for us.
What is one positive impact you feel sustainability will support most in the world?
The sustainability movement reminds people that their actions have an impact – on themselves as well as their surroundings and the planet. Our connection to nature was lost during the Industrial Age; cultures that lived with the land were eradicated, and taking what one wanted without thought of the consequences to the now or the future became the norm. Sustainability and the abundance mindset are shifting that thinking back towards living with, rather than living off of the planet.
What do you do in your leisure time?
When we are not involved in a school or activities with our son, we are outdoors, taking in the cultural opportunities in the greater DC area, traveling, or cheering on the University of Michigan. We get out in our kayaks as much as possible, bike the local trails, and hike the local nature parks. We are frozen custard aficionados, frequenting the Dairy Godmother in Del Ray. We are Olympic junkies and have attended the Winter Games in both Salt Lake City and Vancouver. I love travel; The Galapagos, Iceland, and New Zealand are at the top of my wishlist right now, having been able to visit Paris last fall. Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup!
What are three things you can’t live without?
My family, outdoor time, and chocolate.
What are you most proud of?
Making my parents proud. Becoming the strong, caring, confident, passionate person they raised me to be.
Is there anything more you want to know about Michelle? Ask away in the comments section below, or email her.