Future Thinker of the Year 2020: Meet the Shortlist

27 March 2020

It’s time for our first ever Future Thinker of the Year, Kate Boylan, to pass the torch. Applications for FTOTY 2020 closed earlier this month and we were beyond impressed by the quality of applications. There’s some awesome mahi going on to transform our industry and narrowing down a shortlist was tough. We asked seven to tell us more about themselves and their ideas in a video – now's your chance to meet them and get inspired.  

Four finalists will be decided by our expert panel: Lloyd Budd, Warner Brunton, Te Ari Prendergast, Andrea Davidson, Kate Boylan, and Jennifer Whittle. Stay tuned! A huge thanks to our sponsors Bayleys Real Estate and Mott MacDonald

Future Thinker of the Year 2020 Shortlist. 

Alec Arnold  

Gerard Finch  

Hannah Wu  

Jarred Butler  

Rochelle Kirby 

Sameh Shamout 

Tessa Meyer 

Alec Arnold  

Alec recently graduated from Lincoln University and has been a proud and active member of Future Thinkers for the last three years - regularly attending events in Christchurch and online webinars. Interactions with the NZGBC at events in Christchurch has given Alec “a new perspective of what our build environment means. It gives me the purpose of completing my studies in environmental management to hope to make a difference for the generation to come.” Alec  strives to explore this perspective throughout his studies, in assessments, projects, and practical field experience, whether in business innovation or the agriculture sector.  

Gerard Finch  

Gerard is a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington. His doctoral research looks at how to design building systems to facilitate material reuse and/or high-value recycling in an economically successful manner at the end of the structures useful life and is centred on a series of design-build projects. Gerard’s Master of Architecture thesis research project, ‘X-Frame’, has been recognised nationally at the NZ Wood Timber Design Awards, in the 2018 BEST Design Institute Awards and internationally in the Royal Institute of British Architects Presidents Awards for Research. Prior to undertaking this research Gerard has worked briefly in two medium sized architectural firms in Malaysia, been involved in statistical damage analysis of residential dwellings in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and tutored in the fields of built environmental science, construction, design communication and critical theory. 


Hannah Wu  

Hannah is a civil engineering student at the University of Auckland, where she is specialising in structural engineering this year. Hannah recently completed a 13-week internship at the Sustainable Steel Council (SSC) where she worked on projects to support individual businesses into sustainability and to push sector-wide change. This included collaborating with the NZGBC on resources for SSC members. Hannah is part of the executive committee of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Auckland Students Committee and has recently been appointed as an executive committee member for the Civil Engineering Students Association (CESA), where she is working to challenge the norms and advocate for circular economy teaching in the university. Hannah plans to incorporate sustainable design practices and ways of thinking into her future career and work no matter the profession. 


Jarred Butler 
 

Jarred is a building environmental scientist at the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ) where he assists with researching the environmental, especially carbon, impact of New Zealand buildings and provides industry training on BRANZ’s building life cycle assessment tool, LCAQuick. Jarred graduated with a Master of Building Science with distinction in 2019 with a thesis topic aimed at testing how mould simulation software could be used to assess the effectiveness of mould mitigation strategies in New Zealand homes. Jarred is “deeply committed to reducing the environmental impact of our built environment and enabling it to reach the goals of the Zero Carbon Act,” through improving housing standards in Aotearoa. 

Rochelle Kirby 

Rochelle is a graduate building services engineer at WSP where she is the office lead for the WSP Pathways Auckland Committee. Through WSP Pathways she has organised events for young professionals at WSP in Auckland, including a recent sustainability tech talk about projects that are implementing carbon reducing techniques and how these can be adopted. In 2019 she was selected by Engineering New Zealand and the association of Korean Woman Scientists and Engineers to represent Aotearoa at the Annual Meeting of Asia and Pacific Women in Science and Technology and Young Woman Scientist Camp, and in 2020 she was chosen to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership development programme. Rochelle currently represents WSP as part of The Wonder Project, Engineering New Zealand's free programme for schools, designed to get young Kiwis excited STEM. 

Sameh Shamout 

Sameh is a current PhD student at the University of Auckland, where he is a member of the Future Cities Research Hub. His current PhD research focuses on enhancing the resilience of the built environment, and other research interests include energy efficiency, thermal comfort, passive design solutions, and sustainable materials. Sameh has a passion for social activism and leadership. He is the founder of the New Zealand Centre in the Middle East and North Africa, and JonZ for Sustainable Development; the first Arab-New Zealand initiative started from Jordan aiming to contribute to the development of communities. He is one of the pioneer youth driving the sustainability movement in Jordan. Sameh believes in the value of enhancing social resilience, where he works on building cultural and knowledge bridges between New Zealanders and Arabs. He aims to bring people together and build high-quality academic, professional and research teams. 

Tessa Meyer 

Tessa is a corporate responsibility advisor at Panuku Development Auckland where she leads sustainability solutions across a variety of projects, all of which directly contribute to Auckland’s transition to a climate resilient, healthy and low carbon city. She led the first Green Star - Communities ratings in Aotearoa and Panuku’s world-first volume certification. Tessa has worked on an economic analysis tool to incorporate social, environmental and economic benefits in holistic decision-making regarding community investments and urban development. She has been involved in waste minimisation projects, including a zero-waste town centre strategy and piloting construction waste management targets. Recently she has successfully completed Panuku’s Toitū Envirocare carbonreduce certification with a base-year emissions inventory and management plan and lead internal behaviour change campaigns at Panuku. 


Principal sponsors