A LOVE STORY.
I read that a CEO’s main job is to be the keeper of a company’s vision and story. I didn’t always use the title “CEO” — it seemed too corporate for what I wanted to focus on — but I use it now, mostly to describe my leadership role to those outside our company. Telling you the story of Verdical Group is really personal to me. I suppose because it started out, just me.
The company was founded in my Pasadena, California garage in 2012. I came up with the name “verdical” from “verd,” the Latin root for “green,” and played on the word “vertical,” to describe the positive impact we make on our projects. I had a vision for the team of experts I’d build, but it still felt like I was going out on a limb naming the company a “Group” when it was literally just me on my laptop. My wife Elizabeth and I had a one-year-old baby girl at home, and I couldn’t afford office space right off the bat, so I was relegated to the garage, with no heating or cooling. This was the first Verdical Group world headquarters.
Verdical Group was founded as a direct response to the building industry contributing 40% of global annual carbon emissions to the climate crisis. The industry needed help transforming the way we build in order to stop doing so much damage to the environment. I could see that the built environment needed to function more like the natural environment, with closed loop systems. We needed to reinvent building design and construction if we were going to reverse the trend in atmospheric CO2.
Because there was an enormous business opportunity for transformational change, Verdical Group’s business quickly picked up, and before long there was more than I could do alone. We built out our team to actually reflect the “group” in our name, got office space, and established a culture that reflected our values. We were off to the races growing and building the super green, net zero, and zero carbon future we imagined.
Educating the market has always been a priority. Our team makes an incredible positive impact every day, but in educating thousands of others through our events, we’ve scaled our impact far beyond what we could ever do ourselves. In 2014, I founded the Net Zero Conference to catalyze radical change in the way we build, and the event grew each year into the world’s largest annual net zero event.
Our company is a social enterprise in the truest sense of the word. We’re in business to make a positive impact on people and the environment. Every company has a mission, ours starts with love— that’s what drives us. We love the great outdoors, untamed wild places. And we love people. All people, in the extraordinary diversity of humanity.
We run our business as a force for good. We’re incorporated as a Benefit Corporation with the State of California, a for-profit corporate entity that aligns our mission and values with growth over the long term. This structure legally requires considering our environmental and social impact along with our financial performance, whereas most companies only consider shareholder value.
Verdical Group is also certified as a B Corporation by third party B Lab. We consider the impact of our business decisions on our team members, clients, suppliers, community and the environment. We also give back through the 1% for the Planet program, donating 1% of our total annual revenue, not just profit, to environmental nonprofit organizations.
Beyond our green building project work, Verdical Group is committed to using our platform as an active voice for positive social and environmental change. We use our corporate communication channels to educate, advocate, and amplify critically important issues like antiracism, equity, human rights, democracy and voting, the climate crisis, environmentalism, renewable energy, and decarbonization. We’re pragmatists and know the world is far from perfect, but we’re also eternal optimists. We see challenges like the climate crisis and human inequality and know vast improvements are possible.
We started with humble beginnings back in the garage, but like all love stories, our passion has allowed us to grow. Today we’re a team of engineers, architects, builders, and environmentalists working on some of the highest-profile sustainability projects in the world with visionary institutions like NASA, Google, Johnson & Johnson, LAX, and GE.
As we work, we carry with us the wild places that have shaped us, and an appreciation for the beautiful diversity of humanity we serve. We never forget what we’re here to do — we’re building an equitable net zero future for all people, now.
Founder & CEO