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Sustaining Our City Through the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge

Today we discussed again the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge. The mission of this program is to reduce energy and water consumption in buildings by 20% by the year 2020. In a joint effort between Central Atlanta Progress, the City of Atlanta and many other local partners, Atlanta was one of the first cities to sign on to the Better Buildings Initiative.

Lauren Dufort/Central Atlanta Progress

Lauren Dufort’s sustainability expertise has come from over 5 years of promoting and improving sustainability efforts in her professional endeavors. During her time employed at Cousins Properties, Inc., Lauren specialized in researching sustainability opportunities and applying various USGBC LEED rating systems to multiple property types, including office, retail, industrial, and multi-familyproperties. While at WorkingBuildings, Lauren provided LEED project management and carbon emissions inventory management for both public and private organizations with large real estate portfolios. In her current role as the Director of Sustainability at Central Atlanta Progress, Lauren develops andimplements various sustainability programs through collaboration with the City of Atlanta and the Downtown business community. Such initiatives include the Downtown GreenSource program and the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge.

Jeffrey Portman/AMC, Inc.

Jeffrey L. Portman is President and Chief Operating Officer of AMC, Inc., the world’s largest trade mart/trade show organization and parent company of AmericasMart Atlanta, the nation’s largest wholesale home/gift/apparel marketplace.

Portman leads the daily operation of these Atlanta-based businesses, which annually bring tens of thousands of visitors to the city, generating more than $478 million in direct economic impact, and making Atlanta the wholesale/retail trading capital of the United States.

Portman’s career spans more than 35 years in commercial real estate development and management, including his leadership of the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) as general manager from June 1986 through July 1994, at which point he was appointed Executive Vice President of AMC, Inc.  His election as AMC president and chief operating officer followed in February 2001.

He subsequently has led AMC and AmericasMart Atlanta through a period of growth unprecedented in the companies’ 53-year history, commencing with the rebranding of the former Atlanta Market Center as AmericasMart Atlanta in 1996, and continuing with expansion of its global business base, most recently advanced in the opening of the celebrated Building 2 WestWing in January 2009.

A native Atlantan, Portman is consistently named among the Top 100 most influential people in the U.S. home furnishings industry, and comments regularly in national and international home, gift and apparel trade media.  Portman was named Atlanta Citizen of the Year by the Atlanta Police Foundation, with Mayor Franklin bestowing the honor.  He serves on the Executive Committee of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and on the Board of The Lovett School, his alma mater.

Portman did undergraduate work at Mercer University and Georgia State University and post-graduate study at Harvard in Cambridge.

Scott Hitch/Burr & Forman, LLP

Scott practices in Burr & Forman’s Environmental group and works with clients in all aspects of environmental law. Scott counsels clients on business strategy, regulatory compliance, permitting, policy, transactions and resolution of disputes. Scott’s services include: land conservation, historic preservation, brownfield redevelopment, environmental remediation, corporate responsibility/sustainability and recycling and regulation of wastes. He also consults with corporations in dealing with resource allocation and regulation such as water quality and its environmental impact, air quality, greenhouse gas, climate changes and energy sources. Scott’s environmental services also include dealing with commercial real estate transactions and the entire sustainable building process.

Prior to joining Burr & Forman, he practiced at national and regional law firms and had his own law practice. Scott’s environmental law background also includes previous law clerk experience at the U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental & Natural Resource Division, Environmental Enforcement Section and the Georgia Land Trust Service Center. Scott is a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional and has been named a “Georgia Rising Star” by Super Lawyers for three consecutive years in environmental law. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Land Conservation Center and Georgia Wetlands and Streams Trust Fund, and has served on the Stakeholder Committee for the City of Atlanta Sustainable Building Ordinance and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Environmental Conference Steering Committee.

Aside from Scott’s professional leadership, he is involved in a variety of community organizations including: Board of Directors for Keep Roswell Beautiful, Vice President on the Board of Trustees for the River Eves Education Foundation, Inc., and President of the International Board of Directors for the Center for Mediation, Peace and the Resolution of Conflict, Inc.

Scott received both his B.S., in ecology, and J.D. from the University of Georgia where he served as President of the Environmental Law Section in law school