Construction Reporter’s Environmental Writer Tami Brunk Brings Visibility to Southwest Green Design
Industry: Commerical Building
Tami Brunk covers green design projects and architects across the southwest. Topics include the 2030 Challenge, Living Building Challenge, and LEED Platinum projects.
Southwestern United States (PRUnderground) July 31st, 2014
As a committed environmentalist and co-founder of an organization dedicated to sustainable practices Tami Brunk’s interest in the construction business may at first glance seem surprising.
But the journalist who first started writing for the Construction Reporter in 2008 sees no dichotomy between her two interests.
“As I see it, the construction industry has tremendous power to impact the health of our planet and future generations,” says Brunk, who co-founded and previously directed the Albuquerque-based Querencia Green, an organization dedicated to connecting neighbors to “green their streets.”
“As an environmental writer I enjoy profiling and bringing attention to firms, individuals, builders, and initiatives transforming our built environment so that it reduces our energy, water, and materials footprint,” continues Brunk, “and even, in some cases, restoring habitat, growing food, recycling water and generating renewable energy.”
Those two themes, writing and an abiding care for the planet, have animated the entirety of Brunk’s career.
In 2000 Brunk returned to her native state of Missouri to work as coordinator for the Bonne Femme Watershed Partnership in Columbia, Missouri organizing community members to find solutions to water quality challenges in the Bonne Femme Watershed area—an area that was becoming rapidly urbanized.
In the spring of 2004 while working toward a Masters degree in Environmental Writing, she served as the editor of the prestigious Camus—The Nature of the West, a quarterly journal published by the University of Montana, before working at the Summertown, Tennessee-based Global Village Institute, and completing the permaculture design certification, solar design, natural building and eco-village design coursework there.
“My dream is that green, regenerative design and construction becomes the norm, and the tools, knowledge, and resources to support it are available to every firm, at every scale,” says Brunk.
“In many ways, I think that is our natural direction, the direction that supports life and abundance for us all,” Brunk adds.
In her years covering the construction industry—she started out as a freelancer for the Construction Reporter in the depths of the Great Recession—Brunk says she has been greatly impressed by what she describes as the “tenacity and resilience shown by those who’ve made it through these years intact.”
“I saw that what helped firms make it through was unrelenting integrity, a deep commitment to building and nourishing relationships, and willingness to adapt.”
Continues Brunk: “Many I’ve interviewed have said something along the lines of ‘I knew it (the bubble) was too good to last.’ The construction community has had the most intimate experience with the boom years and the collapse and I’ve seen a kind of maturity emerge from that experience, a deeper understanding of what is essential.”
As she has written in-depth stories and profiles on any variety and number of construction and construction-related companies in the last six years, Brunk says the experience for her has been both educational and enlightening.
“Whether I am interviewing a small family-owned construction business or architect I always come away with respect and admiration for the person I’m interviewing. I know there is a hidden gem in there, and there always is,” says Brunk.
“The secret talents or ‘super powers’ people possess, or simply the jewels of profound wisdom that just come out of nowhere—I always learn a lot,” Brunk adds, noting; “I find, too, that nearly everyone I interview ‘gets’ that cultivation and tending to relationships is the first priority for success.”
About Construction Reporter
Founded in 1949 to provide New Mexico contractors with local project information, Construction Reporter has grown steadily in size and coverage area, today serving the commercial construction industry throughout the Southwest. Our mission is to help our customers succeed by delivering reliable, comprehensive, up-to-the-minute information on projects in planning and out for bid in New Mexico and the surrounding states. We are passionate about helping our member companies grow by delivering the most bidding opportunities, the most efficient bidding tools, and the most industry exposure of any news service in the region.