Executive Director and VP of Innovation
As GBA’s Executive Director, Dr. Aurora Sharrard leads the organization in achieving its mission of inspiring the creation of healthy, high performing places for everyone through leadership that connects knowledge, transformative ideas, and collaborative action.
A GBA staff member since 2007, Aurora continues to drive organizational innovation while advancing GBA’s strategic plan, programs, staff, and stakeholder relationships. A nationally recognized green building expert, Aurora has served GBA under several titles, always providing innovative solutions, and strategic thinking, and real world application.
In her GBA tenure, Aurora notably co-founded the Pittsburgh 2030 District, wherein buildings in Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland aspire towards measured high performance of 50% reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by the year 2030, cementing Pittsburgh as a national leader in healthy and high performing places. She also provides broad and deep technical support to innumerable local green building projects, most notably the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Phipps Conservatory Center for Sustainable Landscapes, and Lower Hill Redevelopment.
Aurora has also developed a wide variety of GBA programs, including creating DASH: Database for Analyzing Sustainable and High Performance Buildings — a web-based software program that seeks to improve evidence-based decision-making in the high performance building marketplace.
Aurora created and implemented GBA’s Product Innovation Grant program, which awarded $1.2 million to 24 recipients over 4 years to support the commercialization of innovative green building products. For GBA’s Green Building Products Initiative, Aurora focused on green labels, certifications, and life cycle assessment. From 2008 through 2011, she also convened and facilitated the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative (PCI) leading completion of two Pittsburgh Climate Action Plans and one citywide greenhouse gas inventory, while convening the Higher Education Climate Consortium. Still an integral PCI Partner, Aurora is helping guide the third versions of Pittsburgh’s greenhouse gas inventory and climate and resiliency action plan.
Dr. Sharrard brings both pragmatic and innovative solutions and ideas to projects, organizations communities, and people aspiring to achieve more. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, Aurora developed experience in the design and construction industry, working for several years as a geotechnical engineer, as well for design, survey, and construction firms.
Education, Boards, and Awards
Aurora serves on the Board of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, the Board of Directors for Pittsburgh Green Innovators, and the Advisory Team for the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership She is also a Science and Engineering Ambassador for The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine — and serves on several other local and national committees.
Aurora has a M.S. and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering with an Emphasis in Green Design from Carnegie Mellon University; she also holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Tulane University.
Aurora was a finalist for the 2015 Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Young Professional Award finalist, is a Leadership Pittsburgh XXIX alumna, and a recipient of the BusinessWomen First Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times, the 40 Under 40 Pennsylvania Environmental Leaders Award, and the Recent Alumnus Award from Carnegie Mellon University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.