The Institute for Market Transformation and the Building Innovation Hub have welcomed two new staff this month. Associate Director Mary Thomas and Associate Director of Building Performance Yolanda Bonner bring many years of experience working with key stakeholders in the DC area building industry, helping people understand the intersection between policies, market forces, construction decisions, and building operations performance. We asked each of them to say a little bit about themselves.
Yolanda Bonner, Associate Director of Building Performance, Building Innovation Hub
Mary Thomas, Associate Director, Building Innovation Hub
What were you doing before you came to the Hub?
I have been in the commercial real estate sector for the last 15 years, managing construction in the Washington, DC area. I worked for Clark Construction where I gained experience in both preconstruction and projection execution, starting my career on the beautiful Arena Stage Performing Arts Center in southwest DC. After Clark I worked for Hines, a global real estate developer, where I spent over a decade managing construction on a range of project types including build-to-suit office (AAMC), tenant office (HSEMA), residential (The Brooks and The Vale), and site civil / mixed-use development (The Parks at Walter Reed). As my role advanced at Hines, I took on more responsibility and learned the importance of managing relationships of all types— contractor, community member, government, tenant, architect, etc.—to foster collaboration and ensure positive outcomes.
Sustainability has always been an interest of mine, I have been a LEED AP BD+C since 2008 and was recognized at Hines for my interest and efforts to promote sustainability within the firm and on my projects, including helping draft the sustainability plan for The Parks at Walter Reed. I look forward to applying my on-the-ground construction management and development experience to support the success of the Hub and help the industry improve building performance for a more sustainable future.
Before coming to IMT, I was the Building Management Specialist for the District’s Department of General Services (DGS). I oversaw the day-to-day maintenance operations of all DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services sites. This included managing small renovation projects and complete build outs. I also supported the procurement division with selecting suitable small CBEs in the District capable of providing proper outside maintenance to the city’s first responders and their dwellings. Prior to DGS, I was the Assistant Director of Facilities for Capstone on Campus Management. I managed the company’s maintenance personnel and outside vendors, as well as the unit’s maintenance budget.
What are you excited about doing here at IMT and the Hub?
I’m excited to wake up every day and know that I am contributing to the global effort to mitigate the effects of climate change by improving building performance, creating healthier, more resilient, more sustainable spaces that people live, work, and play in. I’m excited to be at the intersection of policy and implementation, and have a broad reaching impact across the DC area while making and maintaining personal connections with people in DC working to improve their building performance. I’m excited to do whatever the Hub needs me to do!
I have an extensive background in maintenance and operations: the very things that keep a building operating efficiently from day to day. I am, however, most interested and looking forward to learning more about the decision-making process in the world of sustainability. This process ultimately adds more longevity and life to not only just the building, but also adds value for the owners, managers and investors as well as the individuals that visit and or occupy it on a day-to-day basis be it for work, health visits or any other social setting.
What’s your favorite building and why?
My answer to this question is always changing, and at the moment my favorite building is the Arena Stage Performing Arts Center in Southwest DC. As I start my new job with IMT, I’ve been reflecting on my roots and this was my first project with Clark Construction. It’s a beautiful space both inside and out, and I’ve seen a number of wonderful shows there.
My favorite building is most definitely “One Vanderbilt” in New York, which I have visited twice. It wows me with its beautiful views overlooking the skyline of New York, but I am now more in awe learning about its role in the world of sustainability and building performance.