In Spotlights

Principal – Alter Consulting Engineers

Shannon Allison has worked in the sustainable building industry for 15 years and is a partner at Alter Consulting Engineers, which she recently founded with two other industry professionals. At Alter, she focuses on the design of efficient architectural, mechanical, and plumbing building systems. Her experience ranges from higher education to civic and community sectors with an expertise in market rate, affordable net zero energy consuming buildings. Allison’s education is in architectural engineering, naturally allowing for an integrated approach to building design.

What is the educational and career path that led to your current career?

My passion for environmentalism initially started me down an educational path toward marine biology, but quickly transitioned to the building design industry. After receiving my degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Wyoming, I moved back to my home town of Oakland, California. There I worked for Mechanical Design Studio, a consulting firm in Walnut Creek, before joining Rumsey Engineers, a founding firm of Integral Group. I recently left Integral Group to start Alter Consulting Engineers.

What environmental issues are of most concern to you?  

The magnitude at which plastics have been incorporated into our everyday lives is very concerning to me. It seems that if people think plastics can and are being recycled, then they are OK to use. But plastics aren’t always recycled, even when they technically can be. I have also been seeing more and more useless pieces of one time use plastics, mostly related to consumer goods. Then there are items made from plastic that do not last as long because they are made from plastic, ending up in the landfill quicker. The plastic problem is so wide spread, it’s a daunting issue to even think about which is why it is the most concerning to me. It seems the most out of control with minimal movement behind changing it.

How did you become interested in environmental work? 

I first became interested in environmental work in high school after taking a marine biology class. From there I pursued marine biology at Humboldt State University before ultimately switching to architectural engineering. However, I didn’t become really passionate about environmental work until I started working at Rumsey Engineers in Oakland. Every person that I worked with at Rumsey was so passionate about sustainable living, it inspired me to evaluate every part of my life to find ways to reduce my footprint as much as possible. Now, it’s a part of my thought process in life and work.   

Want to connect with Shannon? You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.