2019 Future Thinker of the Year

This year sees the launch of the NZGBC Future Thinker of the Year award. The search for this young green building advocate has uncovered plenty of significant young thought leaders around the country. The Future Thinker of the Year will have demonstrated environmental knowledge and leadership. This could be from their participation in activities, research, or their work achievements.

We thank this year’s selection panel: Phil Eaton, Greenstone Group; Lloyd Budd, Bayleys Real Estate; Ritva Vilppolla, WSP ANZ Brisbane; Warner Brunton, Mott MacDonald NZ; and Joanne Duggan, NZGBC.

You can view all finalist and shortlisted applicants’ lightning talks here.

On 10 April the finalists presented their vision of a better built environment at the Future Thinker of the Year Awards at University of Auckland, and the winner was announced.

NZGBC Future Thinker of the Year 2019

Kate Boylan, Sustainability Engineer,Tonkin + Taylor; See lightning talk here

We are very proud to announce our first ever NZGBC Future Thinker of the Year, Kate Boylan. Congratulations to all our finalists and shortlisted applicants for their dedication to the sustainable built environment. We are excited to to work with this dynamic group to advance the work of Future Thinkers, creating a strong platform from which to engage with industry and the community.


Priscila Besen, PhD Architecture, University of Auckland; See lightning talk here

Delight M Sedzro, PhD Engineering, AUT University; See lightning talk here

Alice Couchman, Assistant Development Manager, Willis Bond & Co; See lightning talk here


Andrew Ford, Senior Project Manager, RDT Pacific; See lightning talk here

Antoine Tane Fitzgerald, Builder and Sustainable Hemp Development, Tane Contracting; See lightning talk here

Cara Askew, Building Scientist, Beca Ltd; See lightning talk here

Ged Finch, PhD Student, Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington; See lightning talk here

Rohit Gade, Research Scholar PhD, AUT University; See lightning talk here

Sandi Sirikanchai, Master of Building Science, Victoria University of Wellington; See lightning talk here

Sarah Daniell, ESD and Mechanical Engineer, Ecubed Building Workshop; See lightning talk here


  • Finalists present their vision at the Future Thinker of the Year event on 10 April
  • Finalists attend Green Property Summit 2019 on 11 April
  • Winner receives free entry to all NZGBC networking events in 2019
  • Winner receives free entry to two NZGBC training courses of their choosing (subject to entry requirements)
  • Winner gains free entry to SDG Summit 2019 on 2 September
  • Winner will be invited to stand on the selection panel for Future Thinker of the Year 2020 award.

Key dates

Applications due – 28 February
Shortlist announced – 6 March

Lightning Video submissions due – 20 March

Finalists announced - 26 March
Awards night – 10 April

Principal sponsors