LEADERSHIP & STAFF
Brian Dunbar, M.Arch, LEED Fellow
Executive Director & Professor Emeritus
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Brian Dunbar is Executive Director of the Institute for the Built Environment (IBE) and Professor Emeritus at Colorado State University. Professor Dunbar holds two degrees in architecture from the University of Michigan and is a LEED Accredited Professional. Professor Dunbar has taught Interior Design, Construction Management, and Sustainability courses at Colorado State and created the graduate emphasis in sustainable building, professional certification courses in green building, and sustainable design and construction courses offered in Costa Rica and on the island of St. John, USVI.
Through IBE, Brian has guided project work and facilitated design charrettes for the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, American Institute of Architects, cities, numerous school districts, and the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office. Since 2004, Brian has annually been selected as a LEED faculty member by the U.S. Green Building Council. Brian is co-author of “147 Tips on Teaching Sustainability” and his sustainable building teaching and research has been honored and recognized by the AIA, the USGBC-Colorado Chapter, the Colorado Governor, the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, communities, businesses and universities.
Josie Plaut, M.S., LEED AP BD+C
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Josie Plaut is Associate Director for the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University where she guides companies, municipalities and organizations through developing capacity and action plans for sustainability. Josie is a strategic facilitator with a proven track record for guiding teams to realize their visions, goals and strategic priorities. Her recent work spans domestic and international clients across a variety of scales including buildings, master plans and districts, organizational development and municipal programs, among others. She brings a unique combination of subject matter expertise in sustainability, effective facilitation, and systems thinking, resulting in shared purpose, clarity of vision and engagement from project constituents. Josie is a published and cited author on the topics of sustainability, green building, and regeneration and has been a featured speaker at multiple local and national events.
Josie is a Patterson Center Certified StratOp Facilitator, a LEED Accredited Professional since 2004, and holds a degree in Sustainable Enterprise from Fort Lewis College and a Masters of Construction Management with an emphasis in Sustainable Building at Colorado State University. Josie is a founding developer of The LENSES (Living Environments in Natural Social and Economic Systems) Framework, which is a ground breaking system for creating transformational change toward regenerative design and practice. Josie is a member of the board of directors of Fastillium Property Group AB, a Swedish real estate investment company based in Stockholm and serves on the advisory panel to Valeo Groupe based in the United Kingdom.
Jennifer E. Cross, Ph.D.
Director of Research
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Jeni Cross is the Director of Research for the Institute for the Built Environment and Associate Professor of Sociology at Colorado State University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California at Davis. Her areas of expertise include conservation, community development, professional social networks, social norms, and behavior change. Jeni’s passion is applying the tools of social science (theory and research methods) to help communities and organizations create meaningful change. For example, she has created social marketing projects to improve radon mitigation, reduce substance use, and increase energy conservation. Her current research projects focus on how social norms influence energy conservation and how inter-organizational social networks contribute to innovation and sustainability.
Jeni is a talented and sought after lecturer and facilitator. She regularly gives keynote addresses and develops workshops for businesses, non-profits, local government and educational groups. Recently she has spoken about using social network analysis for informing the integrated design process, making organizational transformation for sustainability, and creating social marketing campaigns for conservation. Jeni is dedicated to the land grant mission for service and outreach and is known for her skill at translating social science into practice. She is an engaging speaker, making even highly technical knowledge interesting and useful to a variety of audiences.
Stephanie Barr, M.S., LEED AP BD+C
Senior Projects Manager, Assistant Director Of Operations
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Stephanie leads organizational sustainability projects for real estate investment trusts, school districts, municipalities, and corporations. Her expertise includes sustainable building design, integrative project planning, existing building operations analysis, and corporate sustainability reporting. She is a skilled communicator and public speaker, possessing a unique ability to translate technical information into visually engaging and informative media. Through her research at Colorado State University, she developed and published an organizational change framework specifically for schools called The Whole-School Sustainability Framework, which is now used nationally by the USGBC Center for Green Schools. Stephanie applies this research in organizational change management to sectors beyond the education, assisting organizations in operating in a transparent, accountable, and restorative manner.
Colin Day, M.L.A, LEED Green Associate
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Colin is a Projects Manager for the Institute for the Built Environment focused on district scale projects and initiatives including the Fort Collins EcoDistrict, the Urban Lab, and The Garden at Coors Field. As a Project Manager for the Institute for the Built Environment, Colin’s focus is on civic resilience, district and city scale sustainability solutions. He is a graduate of the Master’s in Landscape Architecture program at Colorado State University, where his focus was on redesigning environmentally compromised landscape for educational and community uses.
He received his bachelor's degree in fine arts from the California College of the Arts, where he focused on painting and drawing. As a longtime resident and student of cities, his interest in urban design and urban scale sustainability and resilience are what eventually led him to the field of Landscape Architecture. While he will continue to have a keen interest in design, his skills in creative problem solving, abstract thinking and client relations, coupled with his passion for sustainable materials, collaborative networks, and environmental health, provide the foundation for Colin’s work at IBE.
Helene (Gotthelf) Lefkowitz, M.S., LEED AP BD+C, GGP
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Helene is a Projects Manager for the Institute for the Built Environment, bringing over nine years of experience in the built environment focused on sustainable design and construction, regenerative guidance tools, LEED project management, transportation planning, and affordable housing. Most recently Helene worked as a LEED Certification Reviewer with the Green Building Certification Institute/U.S. Green Building Council and brings valuable insight to our LEED projects. In addition to IBE project management, Helene mentors student interns, oversees research initiatives, and manages the application of LENSES (Living Environments in Natural, Social, and Economic Systems), a framework for guiding transformational change toward regenerative design and practice. Helene has contributed to the development and application of LENSES since 2008, facilitating teams in systems-thinking and redefining metrics of success towards regenerative solutions that create value across multiple levels. Helene received her B.A. in Geography at University of Texas -Austin and her M.S. in Construction Management with an emphasis in Sustainable Building at Colorado State University. Helene’s thesis focused on Integrated Project Delivery in the greening of the structural steel delivery process. Helene currently serves on the USGBC CO Chapter Education Committee and is an active volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
Jen Schill, LEED Green Associate
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As a Project Manager for the Institute for the Built Environment, Jen supports clients in diverse green building projects and interdisciplinary sustainability and research programming. She also manages IBE’s education strategy and Partner Program. Jen thrives on bringing diverse stakeholders together to transform strategic vision into impactful programming.
Jen’s passions and experience include green building, regeneration, biomimicry, river and land conservation, and ecology. She has held positions that span project management, education, communications, marketing, and fundraising. In addition to her role at IBE, Jen also serves as a project manager at the Biomimicry Institute and as program director of CLEAR. Previously, Jen worked at the U.S. Green Building Council, where she established a digital library of green building best practices and developed LEED education. She has also worn many hats at a land trust and watershed protection organization, worked in an aquatic entomology lab, and provided consulting services to various conservation nonprofits.
Business & Office Operations Coordinator
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Nicole is the Business and Office Operations Coordinator at the Institute for the Built Environment, managing the organization’s finances and human resources, as well as providing general support for events, projects, and foundation development. Though she graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A. in German and a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies, Nicole’s passions lie in helping the public through non-profits -- ranging from food security to affordable housing to equal access to information. Nicole brings with her seven years of experience in non-profit development and administration and is excited to apply her skills at the Institute for the Built Environment.
Katherine Vega, MPH
Katherine Vega is a Program Manager for the Institute for the Built Environment focused on addressing health disparities through built environment interventions and community capacity building. She is a graduate of the Colorado School of Public Health at CSU having earned her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Global Health and Health Disparities. Katie has worked on several projects at IBE including the Fort Collins EcoDistrict initiative, the National Western Center research forum and redevelopment sessions, Denver Water strategic visioning, the CanDo Built Environment Working Group, and presently the Salud Community Health Hub model development in northwest Fort Collins. In her spare time, she is training to become a certified yoga instructor.
As a Los Angeles native, she is greatly interested in learning how smart growth strategies and cross-sector collaboration in communities can improve and systematize population health and wellbeing. As a mixed-race public health professional, she offers a unique lens to IBE project teams often speaking to topics of equity, inclusion, and diversity within communities. Her passion for health equity has led her to develop strong relationships with and to facilitate collaborations among various nonprofits, organizations, and community leaders in Fort Collins. She strives to continue her work in strategic capacity building at IBE to promote the health and wellbeing of Fort Collins community members.
Ellyn Dickmann, Ph.D.
Research Specialist & Adjuct Professor
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Ellyn Dickmann is a Research Specialist for the Institute for the Built Environment. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Colorado State University and former Associate Dean from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She earned her doctorate in Education and Human Resource Studies from Colorado State University. Her areas of expertise include social network analysis, community partnership development, leadership development and coaching, research and evaluation program development, grant writing, strategic planning, development of research centers, and policy analysis.
Ellyn’s passion is designing research studies that bridge theory to practice for communities, businesses, and educational organizations. She is known for her ability to design research methods courses that provide engaging and practical experiences. In addition, she has presented at international research conferences and facilitated the development of a multi-country evaluation framework for a European Union Charter. Her current research interests are diverse and include studies related to using social network analysis to create safe environments and exploring barriers related to creating innovative platforms on campuses.
Brooke Bettolo, MPH
Community Engagement Associate
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Brooke Bettolo is a Community Engagement Associate at the Institute for the Built Environment, focused on building and maintaining relationships within the diverse Fort Collins community in an inclusive, culturally competent way. Brooke received a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Global Health and Health Disparities from the Colorado School of Public Health. She has Bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and Ethnic Studies, with minors in Anthropology and International Development from Colorado State University. Brooke is dedicated to health equity, and ensuring every person has the ability to live a healthy, productive life. In her free time, she enjoys artistic projects including gardening, drawing, painting and more.