Jimmy Mitchell

Director of Project Solutions, Skanska USA

Jimmy Mitchell, Skanska USA

Role: Project manager for construction of the Living Building at Georgia Tech

Background: After earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at Georgia Tech, Mitchell quickly climbed the rungs at Skanska — a huge Swedish construction company that in recent years has made a big push in Atlanta. Credentialed under LEED AP and BD+C, he was the founding board chair of the Lifecycle Building Center, which salvages construction materials for reuse.

What are the biggest challenges in this Living Building Challenge building? Well, I can tell you that my favorite challenge is incorporating salvage materials into the building. We need to incorporate 10 salvage pieces [under LBC’s Net Positive Waste Imperative], and we’re going to find and incorporate not just a 10 items, but it’s going be 10 items that showcase a great story. Another fun challenge is the geothermal wells. it won’t be a huge problem but it will still be interesting to drill in this tight little area.

Skanska is a global company that has built more than its share of LBC projects. Is its work environment structured differently to address sustainability? I think we’re given more leeway to hit the goal of sustainability and to figure it out for each building, because they’ve been through this so many times before. To some extent, you have to accept that the environmental piece is very good for our brand and for the training of our people, and it’s just something that motivates a lot of people who are attracted to this company because of that sustainable culture. So it may be accepted that we’re not going to make a huge amount of money from a complex project like this, and especially somethign like this Living Building is going to take time. But in the long run it’s good for us. The other thing is that there’s so much expertise around the company, and those people are really interested in sustainability. So you end up in a lot of informal conversations with people like the chief sustainability officer, and that can be very helpful.

On the web: Skanska USA – Atlanta