Building Operators Join the Ranks of LEED Professionals

The Local 32BJ Training Fund recently announced that two union members were trained and accredited as LEED AP O+M Professionals—a first! In recent years, the union has trained and accredited 32 members as LEED Green Associates, but training for the AP exam is new for the program.

Receiving accreditation were John Karras (below, left), a resident manager of a multifamily building in Westchester, and Michael Cooblall (right), an assistant property manager at a multifamily building in Manhattan. They qualified for SEIU’s AP training after taking a series of courses and achieving BPI Multifamily Building Operator and Multifamily Building Analyst certifications, as well as GPRO O&M certificates. 

“I pursued the LEED AP O+M accreditation to better understand the entire LEED process and how it contributes to sustainability and the planet. I am also hoping I can use this knowledge to educate others in my field,” Cooblall shared.

Local 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country, with more than 163,000 members in eight states and Washington, DC. About 70,000 union members are located in New York City and Long Island. Union members work in commercial and residential buildings and in a range of roles, from building operators to supers and security officers.

The 32BJ Training Fund is a joint labor and management program that is overseen by Local 32BJ SEIU and the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, the organization that represents building owners and management companies in collective bargaining with the union. The Fund offers over 150 industry courses at no cost to eligible union members. The training program’s Green Building courses began in 2005 and have greatly expanded in the last several years to offer a series of courses for workers in both residential and commercial buildings.

Linda Nelson, the Director of the 32BJ Training Fund, explained that many union members are ambitiously pursuing opportunities in LEED buildings because they are excited to learn and apply LEED concepts in conventional buildings.

“We hope that our Green Building training program can become the foundation for a truly integrated approach to operating green buildings, especially LEED-certified buildings,” Nelson said. “We’d like to see LEED trained building operators working with LEED architects, designers and the building trades.” 

About the author

Urban Green Council
Dedicated to transforming buildings for a sustainable future.