Kathleen O’Brien, LEED AP and CSBA, is a nationally recognized leader in the field of sustainability, having been in the field as a writer, educator, strategic planner, and project consultant for nearly 30 years. She founded O’Brien & Company in 1991 and, after 20 years of management, has stepped into a new role as Special Projects Consultant that leaves her more time to work on other projects like Emerge. She has won several leadership awards including Kitsap County YWCA Woman of Achievement (2001), Sustainable Seattle’s Outstanding Leadership Award (2006), Kitsap County Earth Day Award for Environmental Leadership (2007), and recognition by the Cascadia Region Green Building Council as a Cascadia Fellow (2008). Most recently Dow Constantine, King County Executive proclaimed September 13, 2011 Kathleen O’Brien Day, and Governor Christine Gregoire and Congressman Jay Inslee recognized her lifetime achievements as a champion of green building. She is a Distinguished Alumna of Antioch University’s Masters Program in Environment and Community and recently earned the Servant Leadership Graduate Certificate through Gonzaga University’s Organizational Leadership Program. Although most of her work has been in the professional realm, her forte is distilling challenging concepts into easily understood language and imagery, so it is no surprise that The Northwest Green Home Primer, published in 2008 and aimed at the layperson has sold thousands of copies.
Emerge is a labor of love, initiated by Kathleen O’Brien as her “legacy” project after nearly 30 years of working as a sustainable building consultant.