The team is compromised of individuals dedicated to providing the latest information on Green development in the city of Chicago. If you’re trying to figure out just what goes into a green building project, has the answer. Biographies

Wendy Berger Shapiro, principal of WBS Equities, LLC, is co-founder and co-publisher of Wendy has been working on green and sustainable developments for the last 3 years. She is currently working as a Fee Developer and Project Manager on what will be, upon completion, the first LEED® Platinum cold storage food distribution facility in the United States. The building will include the use of solar, solar thermal, grey water, LED lighting, wind energy, rainwater re-use, a green roof and many other sustainable and ecologically responsible technologies. The project is being built in the City of Chicago. Wendy’s commitment to green building led to her involvement with and a shift in the focus of her real estate development activities.

Over the last 24 years Wendy has been involved in the real estate business as a lender, property manager, broker and consultant, as well as an investor. WBS Equities, LLC is certified through the City of Chicago as a Woman-owned Business Enterprise (WBE). Aside from her experience in the real estate field, Wendy spent nine years working with technology startups. Wendy was employee number 11 and Director of the Enterprise Planning at Orbitz. Prior to Orbitz, Wendy co-founded and was COO of Neoglyphics Media Corporation, one of the country’s first web site development firms.

Wendy earned her MBA in Finance and Real Estate from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. She received a B.S., cum laude, in Finance and Marketing from Syracuse University. Wendy is a recent graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program, a two-year study program founded and funded by Les Wexner, Founder and CEO of Limited Brands. Wendy is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, The Standard Club and the USGBC Chicago Chapter.

Wendy has served on the Board of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Chicago (2001 – 2007, 2009 – present), The United Jewish Communities National Young Leadership Cabinet (1998 – 2004), and the Hillel Governing Commission (1996 – Present). She currently serves on the JUF Real Estate Leadership Committee, is helping to create an Executive and Professional Women’s Networking Group and the Leadership and Development Committee, all within the Jewish United Fund of Chicago.  Wendy is a very active volunteer for several charitable organizations including the Bottomless Closet and the Marwen Foundation.  She has completed 26 Olympic distance triathlons.

Erik Olsen is founder and co-publisher of GreenBean. The site was originally launched as a blog for the Chicago Green building community during Erik’s time as Green Projects Administrator for the Chicago Department of Buildings, where he launched and managed the nationally-recognized Green Permit Program. Erik is now a project leader for Transsolar Climate Engineering. Transsolar works collaboratively with clients, architects, and other engineers worldwide to develop and validate low-energy, architecturally integrated indoor climate and energy concepts.

Erik is a graduate of both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University and a licensed Professional Engineer in Illinois. He has served on the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greening the Codes Committee and the U.S. Green Building Council Chicago Chapter board of directors.

Rosie Powers is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing a bachelor’s degree in News-Editorial Journalism with a minor in Earth, Society and the Environment. She currently works as the managing editor for online for the Daily Illini, the UI campus independent student newspaper, and previously worked as a reporter for the publication for 3 years.

She has interned as a copy editor for the Daily Herald and has worked as a web/multimedia intern for WGN-TV and NBC in Chicago. She started copy editing for Green Bean her freshman year at UI and now is immersed in Green Bean as Editor. She hopes to add ideas to Green Bean with the intent of having a lasting impact on the green community of Chicago while promoting sustainable thinking in city residents.

Rosie wants pursue her career using her love of digital and online multimedia journalism to promote awareness of sustainability throughout society.

Kareeshma Ali is an Urban Designer and Architectural Designer with a strong interest in community development, neighborhood design, and affordable housing under an overarching umbrella of sustainable public architecture. Kareeshma has been involved with several non-profit organizations, working on various pro-bono projects. Most recently, Kareeshma has been involved as a Design Team Member for the Last Four Miles project for the Burnham Centennial Celebration. In addition, Kareeshma is also committed to working on pro-bono projects as a member of Architecture for Humanity. By serving as Communications Manager for GreenBean Chicago, Kareeshma hopes to help spread the message, of the importance of sustainable design, to the masses.

Kareeshma is currently earning a Post-Professional Certificate in Alternative Design at Archeworks. She holds a Master of Architecture, Master of Urban & Regional Planning, and Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a LEED® Accredited Professional and is working towards licensure in Urban Planning and Architecture.

Kelly Dilbeck works as an associate broker at WBS Equities, LLC, working with tenants in search of office and retail space, and landlords seeking to fill their spaces with good tenants. Her involvement in sustainability, as it pertains to development, grew out of her work with Wendy Berger Shapiro. Kelly personalizes her interest in sustainability with “junk-to-art” recycling projects. She has taken steps to reduce her impact on the environment by participating in her neighborhood’s informal sharing program and never shies away from buying “previously-owned” items.

She serves as a volunteer coordinator and copy editor.

Garratt Hasenstab is a Principal with Verdigris Group, a Chicago-based group of real estate-related entities that have established an international reputation for excellence in Green Building Consulting & LEED Certification Management, Sustainable Enterprise Consulting and Real Estate Brokerage Services.

Hasenstab is a US Green Building Council LEED®-Accredited Professional with a specialty in Building Design & Construction, and has also earned the USGBC’s designation of LEED for Homes Green Rater thus elevating his development consulting expertise in sustainable development, energy efficiency and renewable energy. Additionally, he holds the role of Director of Sustainable Solutions with Verdigris Group’s Sustainable Enterprise Consulting division.

Upon earning his MBA with emphases in Finance and Sustainability, Hasenstab was hired by an internationally recognized development consulting firm working abroad as a Development Consultant building expertise in feasibility analysis, strategic market analysis, site selection, regulatory approval, land acquisition and project management. During his time abroad, Hasenstab also co-founded an international Real Estate Investment Trust focused on the acquisition and management of distressed residential multi-family development projects.

In the years leading up to his current role with Verdigris Group, Hasenstab developed a comprehensive expertise in property brokerage through years of experience managing transactions across the spectrum of property types including agricultural, commercial/retail, raw land, health care, educational, single-family and condominium residential, and multi-family residential developments.

Additionally, Hasenstab has served as both Executive Director of a Green Building non-profit organization as well as Planning & Development Commissioner on the county scale of State Government. He holds an MBA with honors from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business Administration, and an MBA emphasis in Sustainability from the Central American Institute of Business Administration (INCAE). He graduated with a BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Jason La Fleur, LEED AP
Jason is President of Eco Achievers, and director of curriculum development. Jason also chairs the US Green Building Council (USGBC) Illinois Chapter’s Residential Green Building committee, helping develop residential green building programs and partnerships throughout the USGBC-IL Chapter.

Additionally, he works for the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability, a LEED for Homes service provider, helping project teams in Illinois and Wisconsin build LEED Certified homes, and hosts monthly tours of LEED homes and frequent workshops. Jason is also an instructor for the Illinois Solar Energy Association, holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois, and has over ten years of project management and curriculum development experience for educational programs. Learn more at

April Hughes is a Project manager and Designer at Farr Associates. Identified by the New York Times as “the most prominent of the city’s growing cadre of ecologically sensitive architects” and by the Chicago Tribune as “a leader in the anti-sprawl movement,” Farr Associates is widely regarded as one of the most sustainable planning and architecture firms in the country.

April has extensive LEED-NC experience, has completed one LEED-CS Silver Pilot, one in-progress design for Chicago’s first Zero-Net Energy single family residence (a LEED-Homes Platinum Pilot) and one in-progress LEED-CI Gold-Level designed project. She was a finalist in the national USGBC Emerging Green Builders Design Competition (2003), and a finalist in AIA Chicago’s ReThink/ReDesign/ReCycle Competition (2004). April was also involved in the design of Chicago’s first greywater system for a single-family residence, and one of the first variable volume vent hood for a restaurant kitchen in the City.

April holds a Bachlor’s of Architecture from the University of Kansas, is a LEED® Accredited Professional, and Associate Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the USGBC Chicago Chapter.

Claire Woolley is an environmental specialist with over 14 years experience. She began her career as a practicing environmental attorney in New Zealand and London. An interest in renewable energy and energy efficiency led Claire to begin working for the Chicago Department of Environment, where she played an integral part in establishing the award-winning Chicago Waste to Profit Network. Claire currently provides green consultancy services and develops green opportunities for a private equity company, which serves a range of commercial clients.

Claire holds a Bachelor’s of Laws, a Master’s of Arts (Applied) in Environmental Studies, and is a LEED® Accredited Professional.

Heather Hootman has worked on sustainable architecture and urban design projects in Chicago, Massachusetts and Germany. Before joining the architectural world, she worked as an energy and air pollution policy analyst at Argonne National Laboratory. Lessons from that research, combined with her interest in architecture and urban design, form the underpinnings of her interest in sustainable architecture.

Heather holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Environmental Studies from Grinnell College and a Master’s in Architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

John Herbst is an architectural photographer living in Chicago, Illinois. John began his career photographing commercial real estate in Chicago and across the United States for a private company. Currently, his clients include architects, interior designers, contractors, and residential and commercial real estate companies.

John holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. You can view samples of Johns work at:

Katherine Darnstadt is Founder of LATENT DESIGN, a full service design firm focused on restricted budget projects, pro-bono design services to non-profits, and affordable housing develop-design-build for infill urban projects. Katherine is active with the Chicago Chapter of Architecture for Humanity and has completed several pro-bono projects with them, including the design of a community center and library for approximately 20,000 people in Kumasi, Ghana.

Katherine holds a Bachelor’s of Architecture, cum laude, from Illinois Institute of Technology and has taken courses in Paris and at the University of Copenhagen. She is a LEED® Accredited Professional and a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). She currently serves as Co-Chair of the USGBC Chicago Emerging Green Builders Committee (EGB) and as the USGBC Heartland Regional Representative for the Emerging Green Builders.

Susan Turner is an architect and project manager for Bailey Edward Architecture in Chicago. A self-proclaimed “brick-kisser,” Susan has practiced architecture on three continents and in four countries for over 25 years. Due to her passion for and expertise in preservation and project management, Susan has lectured internationally on both subjects. For five years, she also wrote a column on the preservation of materials for Heritage Canada Magazine. She has served as Vice-President of Heritage Winnipeg, and has served on the Winnipeg Historic Buildings review committee and the Board of Dalnavert National Historic Sites.

Susan holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Manitoba and both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s of Architecture, with distinction, from the Technical University of Nova Scotia. Susan is a Project Management Professional with the Project Management Institute, is a LEED Accredited Professional and is a licensed architect in Illinois and Michigan.

William Olson is an urbanologist and freelance journalist. His writings have appeared in the International Journal of Economic Development, the Chicago Tribune, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and on He is presently working as a research analyst with a real estate market consulting firm in Schaumburg, Illinois.

William holds a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master’s of Public Administration from Governors State University, and a Master of Science in Urban Studies from the Levin College at Cleveland State University.

Urbanologist and author of Right on Time (2010), William Olson has had his writings appear in numerous online publications, the Chicago Tribune, Times of Northwest Indiana, and Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Sharon Hoyer is a freelance writer covering sustainability, culture and the arts in Chicago. She has contributed to and and writes a bi-weekly column on local environmental issues for

Sharon holds degrees in English and Music and is continuing her less formal education in gardening and bicycle maintenance.

Paul Selman is a licensed Professional Engineer in all 50 states. He has broad experience in a variety of industries including manufacturing, transportation, power and HVAC system design. Paul is the founder of Selman And Associates (, an engineering, consulting and design firm offering services in traditional and environmentally considerate construction projects.

Paul holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master’s of Business Administration from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.

Hans Fedderke was one of the first licensed Illinois Realtors in Northeast Illinois to earn the LEED® AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional) designation. Currently, Hans works with Helios Sustainable Development, a Chicago-based development and brokerage company focused on eco-friendly residential properties. He is a real estate design and development consultant with over five years experience in residential single-family and multi-family properties. The scale of his projects range from master subdivision design to condominium remodels.

Hans holds a Bachelor’s from Boston University and a Master’s of Science in Historic Preservation Architecture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is active with the USGBC Chicago Chapter and serves on the Residential Green Building Committee.

Alexander Nikolich is the owner and managing principal of IDC Green Solutions, a LEED®/Commissioning consulting firm in Chicago. He specializes in LEED® certification process requirements, building systems commissioning for new construction, LEED®-EB® and retro-commissioning for existing buildings, and computer-generated building energy modeling. He has approximately eight years of experience with MEP design. He has completed six projects which have earned LEED® Certification and is involved in 13 more projects that are LEED®-registered and anticipate Certification.

Alex has a background in mechanical engineering, including mechanical (HVAC&R) and lighting systems design, from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a LEED® Accredited Professional and is certified as a Qualified Commissioning Process Provider by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Alex also volunteers as a Green Consultant to Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Neighborhood Development for Chicago’s 2nd Ward.

Kate Yoshida currently works at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Office of Sustainability as a program coordinator. Prior to her stint as a homemaker, Kate worked as a commercial real estate underwriter and documentation analyst at a large commercial bank.

Kate holds a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy from UIC, with concentrations in environmental planning and economic development. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Science in General Studies in economics from Northwestern University.

David Eldridge is a Project Manager at Grumman/Butkus Associates in Evanston, Illinois. Past projects have included design of high performance buildings, investment grade energy audits and utility procurement, with a specialty in modeling of building energy consumption.

David holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Illinois and a professional member of ASHRAE, IBPSA and the USGBC Chicago Chapter.

Mike Russo became interested in renewable energy after attending the Midwest Renewable Energy Festival in 2006 and 2007. Since then, Mike has helped build and install solar and wind energy systems in the United States and on Andros Island in the Bahamas. Mike currently works for Solar Services Inc. of Niles installing solar hot air and water systems for buildings in and around the Chicagoland area.

Mike has completed the course work for the Associate’s Degree in Alternative Energy and Fuel Cells program at Hocking Technical College in Nelsonville, OH and is awaiting graduation.

Amanda Cornish is a senior Print Journalism student at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Selma Haveric is a freshman majoring in news/editorial journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She attended Hinsdale Central High School where she developed an interest in writing and volunteer work.