Phoenix Rising: Arriving at Greenbuild

Submitted by Bill
Valentine, HOK:

First, I want to thank
Jennifer Busch and Contract for allowing one of the more "mature"
folks at Greenbuild to join you all as a guest blogger. I'll try my best to
communicate the "vibe" here and maybe even throw in some facts.

This morning, as I was
driving to the San Francisco airport to catch my flight to Phoenix, I had tears
in my eyes listening to the memorial service for the victims of the tragic
attack at Fort Hood. It was a poignant beginning to my conference experience, and I
couldn't help thinking that the progress we are making at Greenbuild in helping
Americans consume less "stuff" is one important way we can all make
our world a better place.

I ran into several
people I know on the plane. These days Greenbuild feels like a cross between a
family reunion and a boisterous religious revival. There will be tears and cheers at Al
Gore's keynote address tomorrow.

Instead of renting a car
at the Phoenix airport, I took the shuttle to the new light rail system, which
opened almost a year ago. The train took me past the convention center right to
my hotel. It's an amazing system!

At the airport, I got to
see our automated people mover project being constructed. This has officially been named PHX Sky Train. We have worked with
Gannett Fleming on the design of this 1.7-mile-long APM for Stage I. It is designed for
LEED certification and includes three elevated passenger stations. The trains actually will run right over one of the taxiways, which I don't believe has been done before at any airport in the world. When that's finished near the end of 2012,
we'll be able to board the light rail trains right from the heart of the
airport. Our clients here have
been wonderful — they're committed to reducing vehicular traffic out of the
airport. I'm excited about seeing my friend Danny Murphy, Phoenix Aviation
Director, at the dinner HOK is hosting tomorrow night.

This city has long been
known for its sprawl, but it's headed in the right direction environmentally.
My impression of the local Phoenix government is that they follow the European
model of viewing citizens as customers. So their focus is on making life
easier and better for their citizen-customers, which is a wonderful way for a
city to think.

It's 75 degrees, I'm running into all kinds of friends and I couldn't be more thrilled to be at Greenbuild.
The idea of being part of this environmental movement at a time when so much is
at stake in our world — and so much progress being made — is uplifting, to say
the least.

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