2011 Board of Directors:
Board members receive no compensation for their position
Gayle Borst, President
Company/Organization: Owner, Stewardship, Inc.
Years as a Board member: 3+
Gayle was a founding member of the Sustainable Building Coalition, DBL’s predecessor organization, and has been actively involved in the organizations for nearly 20 years. She has served as the program coordinator for the monthly public presentations for most of those years, and more recently has been the educational coordinator for workshops, classes and special presentations.
Professionally, Gayle is a consulting architect for sustainable design and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) commercial/municipal sector projects through her firm Stewardship, Inc., which she founded in 1991. Drawing upon her undergraduate degree in biology, her emphasis has been on site/building/climate relationships, with particular interest in Permaculture, low-impact site development and site-responsive design.
After helping build a cob (earthen construction of clay, sand and straw) cottage during a workshop in California in 1994, Gayle became a passionate believer in the “deep green” advantages of natural building over conventional building materials and methods. Since then she has studied, designed, built, and taught about cob and many other natural building techniques.
Gayle also serves as volunteer Executive Director of DBL.
Ken McKenzie-Grant, Vice President
Company/Organizations: Owner-Arborist, Sunlife Services Company / Co-founder, and currently Producer & Senior Member, Program Committee: KO.OP Radio (Texas Educational Community Broadcasting Corp., Inc.)
Years as a Board member: 3+
Birth into a highly mobile military family (both parents were native Texans) allowed for Ken’s early exposure to several geographical settings (Texas, California and Spain), as well as to ways that various cultures function within those environments. While living in upstate New York, his photo coverage of Earth Day activism led to co-founding an “Ecology Club” in 1970, and to UT Austin coursework split between natural sciences and modern media communications. Concurrent employment then – - (DJ-ing pop music nightly, with days spent trimming trees), established an Austin lifestyle that continues today.
Ken carried Austin’s enthusiasm for recycling (and a disdain for nuclear energy) to Houston’s Pacifica FM Radio when he began producing and hosting ‘Embrace the Earth’ in 1979, with a format update of that environmental talk magazine for Austin commercial station KFON-AM in 1990. Current efforts to discuss such topics are heard locally every week on KO.OP’s “Shades of Green” FM radio hour, as the program includes Renewable Energy technology and policy, organic health, food and the Permaculture community, with the business of Green & Natural Building – to include non-profit Design~Build~Live.
Family ties keep Ken busy between tree jobs and radio shows, with occasional participation in American Indian ceremonies, and as a traditional ‘Gourd’ Dancer at regional powwow gatherings. Given growing local interest in the building styles (strawbale, cob and cordwood) that utilize recycled materials, he still enjoys providing promotional as well as practical logistics support for various tours, events and projects.
Other positions Ken holds include Chair, Entertainment Cmte. for the Austin Powwow and American Indian Heritage Festival, among others.
Yvonne Hansen, Vice President
Years as a Board member: 3+
Yvonne began teaching art in one- and two-room schoolhouses in Wisconsin, then taught art in Saudi Arabia, and California, after earning a PhD in Education. She has also has taught classes and special sessions at ACC, in classrooms at IBM, and was a professor at Park University (when it was Park College). A prolific artist, she’s exhibited in galleries in Arabia, Palo Alto and San Mateo.
Yvonne has been a fixture of the organization for more than a decade, and was organizing events & volunteers back when the Sustainable Building Coalition merged with the Straw Bale Association of Texas, which later became Design~Build~Live. The ‘Clipboard Lady’ is an indispensable part of planning and implementation of DBL’s core mission.
Michele Hallahan, Treasurer
Company/Organization: President, Eco-Logic
Years as a Board member: 2+
Michele moved to Austin 6 years ago and calls it home. Originally from Ireland, Michele worked in ISO management standards for 5 years before arriving in Texas, where she held the position of Environmental Specialist for 3 years at University of Texas at Austin. In that time, Michele spearheaded many sustainability programs at UT Austin, such as the Green ‘Horns staff sustainability group and the Waller Creek Clean up project. She also expanded the outreach program of the UT Sustainability Network. She now is an independent sustainability consultant involved in standards writing and converting businesses to lean, green practices. She was a member of the national STARS Technical committee (steering committee for sustainability for the American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education) while working at UT Austin.
Michele also worked with the internationally renowned ecological designer, Dr. John Todd, on Living MachineTM technology in California in the 1990s. She studied under Jay Baldwin (former editor of Whole Earth magazine) in CA. She is LEED accredited and works part-time with the environmental certification group Green Seal. Michele was the vice chairwoman of the board of the Texas Solar Energy Society from 2006 – 2007. She currently is the Treasurer of Sunflower co-op and sits on the board of Design-Build-Live. She established Eco-Logic, a sustainability consultancy, in 2008.
Michele is a master sushi-chef, accomplished pianist and yoga devotee (not all at the same time). She can also sing “How much is the Doggy in the Window” backwards, if asked nicely.
Lauren Rochell, Secretary
Years as a Board member: <1
Company/Organization: Austin Outdoor Design
Lauren received her Masters of Architecture from UT in 2009 and began her architectural career building a straw bale farmhouse in Northern Italy. Since then, she has worked in California, Brazil and Mexico designing, implementing and researching natural buildings and landscapes.
Among her many notable natural building experiences is her work under the respected straw bale designers, Daniel Smith and Associates Architects in Berkeley, CA. Lauren’s tasks there included the compilation of a LEED Gold certification submittal, work on various residential projects and production of a straw bale construction handbook.
Multi-talented Lauren not only has design and natural building experience but also has carpentry, welding and pottery making skills. She led volunteers in building a Habitat for Humanity residence in North Carolina, lectured on Straw bale construction in Brazil, and made roadway improvements in a disadvantaged community in Brazil, to name just a few of her world-wide activities.
Lauren has been active with many DBL natural building projects and now coordinates and helps instruct our workshops. Outside of DBL, she is a full-time designer in Austin, continuing to address sustainability from an anthropological perspective.
Years as a Board member: 1+
Scott is a fifth generation Austinite! His daytime job for the past 23 years has been at 3M, where he is a Technical Service Engineer for the Communication Markets Division. Prior to that he built custom homes and cedar and wrought iron fencing. He also owned and operated a commercial and residential service company for over four years.
Scott has a passion for the outdoors and a strong interest in sustainable building and sustainable living. His introduction to building with natural materials began with attending Strawbale Association of Texas (SBAT) monthly presentations. The kindness and caring of the people there along with common interests was contagious enough to soon have Scott volunteering. In 1996 he became the Program Coordinator and ran monthly meetings for several years.
More recently Scott became a LEED Accredited Professional in order to expand his capabilities at Design Build Live and 3M. Today he is active as a Board Member of DBL and is Chair of the Education Committee.
Scott loves spending time with his kids, and he heads outdoors whenever he can. His love of the natural world led him to volunteer with Girl and Boy Scouts, where can encourage his kids and others to participate in outdoor activities. Scott recently started playing the fiddle… when he finds crumbs of spare time.
Years as a Board member: <1
Company/Organization: Thangmaker Construction
Brad landed in Austin less than two years ago but has always considered this beautiful city a home of sorts. Born in England, raised primarily in Bermuda, and bouncing around the globe ever since, his Austin-based family has acted as the center of gravity for decades. Growing up in a Bermudan house which depended solely on rain water caught by a whitewashed stone slab roof, and spending most of his childhood marveling at the ecological riches of coral reefs, Brad developed a love for sustainable living at an early age.
Brad has dedicated his adult life to experiential education and youth empowerment. First as an environmental/adventure educator, designing and executing wilderness-based curriculum in the beautiful Smokey Mountains of eastern Tennessee. He then moved to Bellingham, Washington where he was a ‘homelessness prevention specialist’ in the region’s only homeless teen shelter and played an instrumental role in designing and developing an adjunct drop-in resource and life-skills training center.
Brad developed his innate love of building through a combination of intermittent work in conventional construction and disaster relief efforts during his South American travels. These experiences led him to a passionate, eco-savvy approach to housing and construction as keystone social justice issues. Brad made his first contact with Natural Building as a lifestyle and profession during a two week stint at Oregon’s Cob Cottage Co. and has been pursuing his vision of health and justice in housing ever since.
As a professional Natural Builder and Plasterer working with Austin’s own legendary Frank Meyer, Brad has had the opportunity to get his hands dirty on projects ranging from the historic restoration of earthen buildings in Castle Hill to natural plaster gigs at high profile event venues and low-key hill country homesteads.
DBL represents a perfect combination of his love for experiential education and his passion for sustainable building. Through his new role Brad hopes to focus his energies and enthusiasm on the development of meaningful community and the construction of spaces which nurture its growth.