Ken Simonson

Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Economist

Kenneth D. Simonson has been chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, the leading national construction trade association, since 2001. He provides insight into the economy and what it implies for construction and related industries through frequent media interviews, presentations and The Data DIGest, his weekly one-page e-newsletter that goes to 47,000 subscribers.
Ken has 40 years of experience analyzing, advocating and communicating about economic and tax issues. Before joining AGC, he was senior economic advisor in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. Earlier, he was vice president and chief economist for the American Trucking Association. He also worked with the President’s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and an economic consulting firm.
Ken is the 2012-13 president of the National Association for Business Economics, a 2,400 member professional organization for people who use economics in their jobs. He was president of the National Economists Club, now the largest NABE chapter, in 2000. He is co-director of the Tax Economists Forum, a professional meeting group he co-founded in 1982; a former board member of the National Tax Association and Community Tax Aid; and a current board member of the Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington.
Ken has a BA in economics from the University of Chicago, an MA from Northwestern University, and he has taken advanced graduate courses at the Université de Paris, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown universities.


Francesco Biasioli

Sustainability and Construction Materials: Myths, Facts and Fallacies

A civil engineer until his retirement in 2009, he was research professor of building materials and structural engineering at the Department of Structural, Geotechnical Building and Engineering, Polytechnic of Turin, Italy. An expert in concrete, reinforced concrete and earthquake engineering matters, since 1975 he has been involved on standards and codes assessment, evaluation and implementation, and training of professionals. He is the author of several publications on concrete-related issues and of books on the design of concrete structures, including Eurocodes 2 – Design of Concrete Structures and 8 – Design of Structures for Earthquake Resistance.
Since 1974 he has served on many European technical committees and is a member of CEN Committees TC104 - Concrete and TC250/SC2 - Eurocodes. Currently, he is involved in the working group charged with revising Eurocode 2. Since 1997 he has been secretary general of the European Ready Mixed Concrete Organisation which is based in Brussels.


Kirsten Ritchie

Information Transparency: A Roadmap to Improving Health and Reducing Carbon in our Built Environment

Kirsten Ritchie is a principal and director of sustainable design for Gensler, a global architecture and design firm. A recognized expert in sustainability rating systems (including LEED and CHPS), Kirsten has also played a pivotal role in the development of numerous building product standards such as SCS Indoor Advantage(TM), Floorscore®, level(TM), NSF sustainable flooring standards (140 and 332) and the newly released Health Product Declaration (HPD). She is also actively involved in the development and implementation of sustainability standards and guidelines at the organizational level, focused on improving the environmental performance and occupant well-being of global real estate portfolios and large mixed use developments. She will share with our group her expert insights into the future of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPDs) and their specific impact on the construction and concrete industries.
Ms. Ritchie is a LEED® AP+ (O+M) and a licensed professional engineer. She holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a master of science in civil engineering from California State University, San Jose. She serves on the Board of Directors and Material and Resources Technical Advisory Group (MR-TAG) of the US Green Building Council. She is also an advisor to the Ecological Building Network, the Health Product Collaborative and the Responsible Purchasing Network.