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  • Advancing Equity and Inclusion in the Built Environment

Advancing Equity and Inclusion in the Built Environment

  • 09 Nov 2021
  • 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Zoom


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:

Registration is closed

Evening Program

Advancing Equity and Inclusion in the Built Environment

Why is advancing equity essential? What tools can you use to advance the cause in your life? What resources can you use to advance equity in your organization? Join USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter for our final evening program of 2021, Advancing Equity & Inclusion in the Built Environment, Tuesday November 9th at 5:30 pm. 

Examine culture and its connections to advancing equity and current examples of how local green building professionals are fostering inclusion, building strong partnerships, and increasing participation in the communities they serve and work with.


  • Equity, Inclusion & Diversity in the Workforce - Richard Reilly 

  • Fostering Inclusion for Future Clean & Renewable Energy Infrastructure - Sylvester Taylor
  • What Happens When Diversity Equity & Inclusion Strategies Work? - Kristol W. Simms


  • Richard Reilly, LEED AP, BPI BA, EP & HHE, BOC, HES Assessor, Energy Program Manager at Missouri Botanical Garden EarthWays Center

Richard Reilly is Energy Programs Manager of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s EarthWays Center. Reilly spent over 30 years in custom residential construction; rising from carpenter to Chief Operating Officer. Currently he trains the green workforce and general public in residential energy efficiency and the best practices of sustainability. He has served on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity St. Louis and presently serves the Dutchtown South Community Corporation Board and Housing Committee. He is also Co-Founder of the Sunflower+ Project: STL, and a Photojournalist with the St. Louis American. Richard has also spoken at national conferences as well as regional and local efforts on the subject of Advancing Equity. He serves on the DEI (Diversity Equity & Inclusion) Advisory Group of the Midwestern Energy Efficiency Alliance, based in Chicago, the Creating Whole Communities Advisory Board in St. Louis. And, facilitates an in-house DEI group at Missouri Botanical Garden.

  • Sylvester Taylor, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection Partnership

Sylvester Taylor, an officer with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and 31-year IBEW electrician, has been tabbed to lead diversity initiatives for the IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection partnership. Taylor was named director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the labor-management partnership which represents more than 5,000 IBEW members and more than 150 electrical contractors signatory to the union. IBEW partners with the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to form the Electrical Connection.

Taylor serves as president of the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus which he helped found in 2004. He is currently the recording secretary for IBEW and chairman of the fire safety and standards commission. Outside of the electrical industry, Taylor serves as treasurer on the Hazelwood School Board and has served on board of the Black Jack Fire Protection District. From 2012 to 2019, Taylor also served as the representative for 80th District in the Missouri House of Representative.

“Sylvester has been a tremendous asset in our outreach to minority communities,” said Doug Martin, executive vice president, St. Louis Chapter NECA. “His work in a mentoring program with the Missouri Division of Youth Services has opened pathways for young people to careers in the electrical industry.”

About a third of the apprentices now being trained at the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center at 2300 Hampton Ave. are minorities. Members of the Electrical Connection provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.

  • Kristol Whatley Simms, Senior Director of Energy Efficiency and Regulatory Policy Implementation, Ameren Illinois

Kristol W. Simms is the senior director of energy efficiency and regulatory policy implementation, for Ameren Illinois. She is leading Ameren Illinois' efforts to implement relevant components of the Clean Equitable Jobs Act as well as leading the development and delivery of the Company's $114M per year, energy efficiency program with a focus on community based programs. Kristol assumed this new role with Ameren in October 2021, and began leading the energy efficiency team in January, 2018 but she has been with Ameren since 2014. She is an experienced attorney with exceptional talent for client advocacy and the development of proactive, innovative solutions to address corporate business needs and concerns.

Kristol most recently worked as corporate counsel for Ameren where she drove strategies to address current and emerging regulatory frameworks and their impact on the business operations of the corporate client. At Ameren Kristol served as lead regulatory lawyer on a number of legal matters for the Ameren Illinois regulatory team. She also led the diversity and pro bono efforts for the Ameren legal team. Kristol is very active in the St. Louis business and legal community. She volunteers as a member of the Missouri Bar's fee dispute resolution committee and is a past president of the Association of Corporate Counsel, St. Louis.

Kristol received her undergraduate degree from Lincoln University, in Jefferson City, Missouri and her juris doctorate degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia. For fun, Kristol loves to travel, read and spend time with her husband Walter and dog Pepper.


  • Investigate tools for continuing a cultural examination of systemic racism and how addressing it connects to advancing equity. 

  • Identify the knowledge and tools needed to begin or continue a personal and organizational analysis of systemic racism and plan for advancing equity in the built environment. 
  • Explore opportunities to foster diversity and inclusion in the transition to clean and renewable energy infrastructure. 
  • Define strategies that can successfully build strong partnerships and increase program participation in diverse communities. 


Submitted for AIA CES credit approval

Eligible for 1 GBCI CE self-reported hour


Tuesday, November 09, 2021

5:30 - 7:00 pm


Virtual event via Zoom.

Registrants will receive login details prior to the event.


FREE for USGBC-MGC Members

FREE for Full-Time Students

$10.00 for Non-Members


Click the “Register” button on the left side of this page.


Share this event using URL, bit.ly/advancingequity12 and tag us @usgbcmogateway or use the hashtag, #greenbuildingsarebtter



Thank you to our event sponsor: 

Faith Group, LLC

QUESTIONS? Contact USGBC-Missouri Gateway staff at fbrandt@mobot.org or (314) 577-0884.


Registration/attendance at, or participation in USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter programs and activities constitutes an agreement by the registrants to allow the organization to use and distribute (both now and in the future) the attendee's image, in photographs, video, and electronic reproductions of such events and activities.


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