My name is Jenny McMinn and I graduated from UWaterloo with a BES in 2003 and a BArch in 2005.
In 2007 I joined Halsall Associates and helped develop the company’s Green Building group into one of Canada’s largest and most widely-respected Green teams. Halsall is a national building engineering company with a passion for sustainability. I love the challenge of presenting my team’s detailed technical solutions in the most engaging and practical way. To quote T.S. Eliott: “In the annals of innovation, new ideas are only part of the equation. Execution is just as important.”
As I now lead Halsall’s Green Building team in the GTA, most of my days are currently filled with management responsibilities. This includes interacting with clients and prospective clients, and managing the business financials, people and production. That being said, I love working on projects as well. I am fortunate to be working on several leading edge sustainability projects, including TD Centre Energy Management, California High Speed Rail, and the Pan AM Athletes’ Village.
I help organizations integrate sustainability into their core business and was recently appointed into the City of Toronto’s Design Review Panel as a Sustainability Advisor. I am so excited to advocate for sustainability and its successful implementation in Toronto. The panel is a great forum to provide input, review and give advice to the designers and developers who are shaping Toronto. I am so lucky to be able to see all of these projects early in design, to be in a position to ask the tough questions, and to encourage all teams to bring forward design that includes a focus on energy performance, low impact materials, and occupant comfort and well-being.
Thinking back to my days at UWaterloo, the design studio was one of the more difficult yet impactful experiences of my life. The sometimes grueling studio atmosphere taught me about hard work and discipline. I also learned the value of working alongside others who are at the top of their game and committed to excellence. In that kind of team, I learned – albeit slowly – how not to be intimidated by others’ genius but instead to draw inspiration from it. Studio, and specifically critiques, also taught me how important it is to be able to clearly articulate concepts and to have confidence in presenting them. I use all these skills daily in my work, and I’m always looking to get even better at these essential attributes.