GTH attendee John O'Brien is a St. Louis native, working for a Chicago firm. Interested in the products and services offered at the expo hall, we caught up with him between the aisles and chatted about some of his goals at GTH.
GTH08: Tell us about Grace Associates.
O'Brien: I'm a project manager for a real estate developer based out of Chicago. Currently, I manage the Blu City Spaces project in Downtown St. Louis. It's a 13-story, residential high rise. It's a rehabbed building. Other than that, I'm out looking for the next project.
GTH08: What's of interest at the conference? What brought you here today?
O'Brien: I'm currently in the process of getting LEED certified, that's what got me the entree with the US Green Building Council. I decided this would be a good thing to attend because we're thinking about doing some similar, high rise projects and we'd like to change a couple things if we replicate that building with some other buildings.
GTH08: What's been of interest to you at the trade show?
O'Brien: I was surprised to see the amount of general contractors here, getting a foothold into sustainable design and green building. That's awesome. There are some very innovative plumbing products that I didn't know were out there, yet. Those are very applicable to what I'm doing.
GTH08: There are still "a-ha" moments then, with products and services that you didn't know about?
O'Brien: Yeah, yeah. There's this innovative pipe that I was talking about that works in new construction and rehabs. It's pretty energy-efficient. There are a couple other ones that I've seen. There's some solar panel design over here that I haven't seen yet, and I'm a newbie to solar panel design. They're using them in ways (and at prices) that I didn't know were possible. That's been interesting.
GTH08: As a St. Louisan, tell us your impressions of the importance of this event and all the people that are coming into town?
O'Brien: Yeah, it's nice to have here. It's quite an honor to be the host city for such a thing. It's nice to be outside the box, a little bit. We can be egocentric in a lot of ways and it's nice to have some people come in to tell us how things are going right in other places.