Sophia Bromfield believes that environmentally friendly design is going to be a factor that influences every company's real estate decisions in the future.
She'd like to be at the forefront of this trend, so she's enhancing her background in sustainability during her studies in Georgia Tech's Evening MBA Program.
"I'd like to combine strategy, sustainability, and construction design," says Bromfield, who earned her master's in architecture at Tech in 2010. "The MBA degree will open more doors for me."
During her architecture studies, Bromfield earned her LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accreditation. She's since worked on office buildings that won LEED certification for being "green."
After earning her MS in architecture at Tech, Bromfield worked as a junior architect for Stanley, Love-Stanley, P.C. before shifting her career into project management in design and construction services (first at Studley, now at LCG-CI).
Wave of the Future
Bromfield says there's a big push for those in her industry to understand sustainability (business practices that minimize harm to the environment) through LEED accreditation. "Through LEED, you're trained to be a consultant to advise builders and developers on how to make buildings green," she says.
"I believe that sustainability should be ingrained into our culture," she says. "I think in the future, it won't really be an option. There are going to be more requirements and mandates. Corporate clients are already demanding greener approaches."
Bromfield, who began her MBA studies in spring 2012 with a goal of finishing in 2.5 years, says she learned a lot by taking the Business Strategies for Sustainability course taught by operations management professor Beril Toktay.
"It was really interesting, covering a vast amount of information," Bromfield says. "The guest speakers from companies such as Interface and Coca-Coca were the best I've had any in MBA class so far. It was great hearing how different companies approach sustainability."
She especially enjoyed participating in the innovation tournament that was part of the course. Through the competition, students generated business-model or product ideas that would have a positive environmental or social impact.
Bromfield's concept, which made it to the final round, was for a nonprofit organization called The Greenhouse that would provide sustainable emergency housing for natural disaster victims.
"These sustainable shelters, sturdier than tents, would be made out of recyclable materials so that they don't become trash," says the native of Miami, Florida. "They would be great for the disaster victim as well as for the environment. Their design includes cross ventilation for cooling and insulated materials for heat, so that in the event that it's impossible to generate power, the dwelling would still be comfortable."