Tessa Meyer, a corporate responsibility advisor for Panuku Development Auckland, was awarded 2020 Future Thinker of the Year by the New Zealand Green Building Council.
The competition, now in its second year, rewards a student or young professional who demonstrates environmental leadership with a passion to create more sustainable buildings.
Ms Meyer’s winning presentation addressed the growing importance of decarbonising through community planning and infrastructure with an emphasis on the long term economic benefits.
“I’m ecstatic to receive this recognition. It’s a chance to contribute to the green building industry and help grow our movement at a critical time,” Ms Meyer said.
Finalists included Ph.D. candidate at the School of Architecture Victoria University of Wellington Ged Finch, University of Auckland civil engineering student Hannah Wu and WSP graduate building services engineer Rochelle Kirby.
“I’ve got a lot of admiration and respect for the other finalists and the leadership they’re showing in their respective areas. I’m excited to work with them, our wider cohort and NZGBC to promote the program for our young professionals and students,” Ms Meyer said.
In lieu of a physical awards evening due to the ongoing pandemic, all four finalists presented their ideas online in front of a panel of six judges. Meyer was announced the winner on a livestream after a Q+A session with the finalists.
“The judges really appreciated her attention to the social and cultural aspects of sustainability,” judge and 2019 Future Thinker of the Year Kate Boylan said.
“We also liked that Tessa mentioned building the confidence of young people in our industry, which is exactly what we’d like to achieve.”
Among the topics discussed were how governments should invest as part of a COVID-19 recovery strategy and infrastructure challenges faced during the extended isolation.
“It’s great to see so many bright minds entering the industry and championing green building. We need to embrace and nurture our future thinkers as we transition to low carbon healthy homes and buildings,” New Zealand Green Building Council chief executive Andrew Eagles said.
“Tessa will be a brilliant Future Thinker of the Year and we look forward to working with her more.”