Vanessa Keitges, CEO Columbia Green Technologies, Named to President Obama’s Export Council!

September 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Wow, congratulations, Vanessa!  What a coup!


As you can imagine, Columbia Green Technologies, Inc., provider of greenroof systems, is honored by the appointment of Vanessa Keitges to the President’s Export Council, a committee of government and private-sector leaders who advise him on trade and export related issues.


“I am honored and excited to represent the green building industry among these strong business leaders. As CEO of a small business headquartered on the west coast, I believe I bring a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities for exportation of products made in the USA.” ~ Vanessa Keitges, President and CEO of Columbia Green

On Wednesday, September 18, President Obama announced his appointment of the seven new members, including Vanessa, bringing the total up to 26.


Five years after the start of the financial crisis, President Obama believes the U.S.’s economic recovery is well underway although there is more work to do:

“Now, we can still do more when it comes to exports, and thanks in part to new trade deals that I’ve signed as well as obviously really great products and services that you’ve all designed, America now exports more to the rest of the world than ever before.  We’re on track to export even more this year.  Last year, $1 billion in exports supported nearly 50,000 jobs — or 5,000 jobs in the United States.” ~ President Barack Obama on September 19, 2013


President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a meeting with the President’s Export Council, in Room 350 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, Sept. 19, 2013. Seated with the President, from left are: Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker; Council Vice-Chair Ursula Burns, Chairwoman and CEO of Xerox; and and Council Chair Jim McNerney, Jr., President and CEO, The Boeing Company (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“This council provides the President with advice on how to increase trade and grow U.S. exports, and I have no doubt that the new members and their expertise will bolster our efforts to help American business, increase exports and boost our competitiveness abroad.” ~ Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker


Vanessa has a dynamic 10-year global career reflecting optimal performance in the public and private sector in the area of business development, marketing and sales.  She purchased Columbia Green Technologies along with local investors in 2009 and the company is currently experiencing significant growth under her leadership.  From 2005 to 2007, she was Sales Director at Site9 in Portland, Oregon.  Vanessa held various positions at VoteHere Ltd., including European Business Development Manager.  She currently serves on the Oregon Zoo Wildlife Board.  Vanessa received a B.A. in Philosophy from Oregon State University.

It’s no wonder President Obama has selected her to be on his Export Council – the first representative from the State of Oregon to be named!

 “Oregon is a trade dependent state where innovative companies grow and thrive, and I am proud to have Vanessa representing Oregon on the President’s Export Council. Columbia Green is a terrific example of how great, home grown ideas can turn into fast growing companies that export innovative products and services all over the world.” ~ Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber


We, along with all of us in our greenroof and greenwall community, are extremely proud to have someone as knowledgeable and capable as Vanessa Keitges representing our industry.

Vanessa Keitges3

We’ve always know Vanessa was a shooting star – in fact, we asked her to participate in our “Profiles of Women Business Leaders Greening the Way” in this year’s Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2013: Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture, held online live from February 12 through March 13, 2013.  Along with four other mavericks, she shared her successes and challenges along with tips for those of us just starting out – look for this video along with all the others to be shown in late 2014.


“It is official – the World’s largest companies, Obama and almost every department head knows about GREEN ROOFING!!!!  Go Green Roofs!” ~ Vanessa Keitges, personal communications, September 20, 2013.

We are confident Vanessa will represent her company, her state, and our industry to the very best of her abilities.  What a great opportunity to promote living architecture – the honor couldn’t have been offered to a better person!


Happy greening,

~ Linda V.’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: September 14, 2012

September 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on  through our “This Week in Review” video.  Here is the transcript from September 14, 2012 from our daughter,  Anjuli  – click on the photo below to see the video, or here.  Enjoy!

 – Hello, I’m Anjuli Velázquez and welcome to “This Week in Review” for September 14, 2012 on  GreenroofsTV.

–  Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the  J. L. McMillan Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse built in 2011 in Florence, South Carolina.  It is a project of the Federal Recovery Act of 2009, and joins the rankings of one of the largest green roofs in the Southeast United States to date, and actually may be the largest in South Carolina.  An extensive green roof system was selected due to the load constraints of the existing structure.

About 51,000 plugs from Emory Knoll Farms including species of Sedums, Delosperma, Talinum, and Allium were planted in 329 tons of lightweight Stalite-PermaTill growing medium at a 4″ depth.  Staging this project was especially challenging because the courthouse remained open during its construction.  The crane was frequently moved to accommodate employee parking and a few night shifts were necessary to access one side of the building.  Lifting 220 crane bags of growing media to a 5-story roof could have been a logistical nightmare, but the team at Living Roofs, Inc. executed the entire installation with no serious complications.

– To learn more about the J. L. McMillan Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse,  click on our project of the week photo on our  homepage  (or on the above photos).

What’s New Press Release

–  Read about our major news story: Announces Strategic Partnership with the World Green Infrastructure Network (WGIN) for the Second Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2013!

Linda S. Velazquez, Founder & Publisher of  says, “Last year’s groundbreaking Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 was an exciting first in our industry. is very proud of our trendsetting online conference and we’re absolutely delighted to be partnering this year with WGIN, who will bring an even greater international audience to our world stage. 2013’s Virtual Summit alliance with WGIN allows us to optimize resources and promote leading edge information in a multi-lingual format.”

And, Tanya Mueller Garcia, Vice President of   WGIN  says, “The World Green Infrastructure Network is delighted to be co-organizing the 2nd Virtual Summit, a cutting edge event, giving people worldwide the opportunity to learn about green roofs and walls as well as the opportunity to interact with leading trend setters. You will without doubt find valuable information regarding green roofs and walls, from public policies, latest investigations to the most innovative projects. Be a part of the next great Virtual Summit!”  Make sure to read the entire Press Release on our Homepage.

–  Advertiser Press Releases:

–  Skyland USA (rooflite) Introduces the Green Roof Media Calculator.

Vegetal I.D. Introduces Hydropack ®, an optimal solution for Stormwater Management in North America.

–  Sky Gardens Blog

– Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts:  “Don’t Miss the Early Bird Discount for CitiesAlive this September 15!“ and “’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: August 31 and September 7, 2012.”

Guest Blogger

– And don’t miss our latest Guest Post by Dr. Payam Bahrami who writes “CTBUH-IIT Team Wins Grant for Green Wall Façade Research.”

– “Upcoming Events“

–  Don’t forget, September 15th: is the last day for the Early Bird Registration for the 10th Annual CitiesAlive Green Roof & Wall Conference in Chicago!  Take advantage of the $169 savings!

–  September 16th-22nd: is the APLD International Landscape Design Conference, in San Francisco, CA. (Follow on Twitter: @APLD)

–  September 18th-21st: is the 2012 World Green Roof Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Follow on Twitter: @worldgreenroof #worldgreenroof)

–  And September 21st: is the Greenscaped Buildings Semi-Annual Fall Plant Sale & Open House, in San Diego, CA.

– “In the News“

– Christina Williams of Sustainable Business Oregon, talks about “Oregon BEST awards commercialization grants for green roofs, energy storage.”  Last week they announced two commercialization grant awards: one that uses ice slush to store power, and another to fund collaborative research on green roofs.

In 2010, Oregon BEST (the Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center) launched its grant program and is now on their way to awarding $1 million in grants this year.  Applied Exergy Inc. is a startup company working with Oregon State University to create energy storage technology that captures and stores energy as an icy slush and then uses it when needed.  A Portland ecoroof startup, Columbia Green Technologies, whom we’ve reported on before, will use their grant to fund their work with Portland State University researchers to measure and track how ecoroof systems manage stormwater runoff in urban settings.

–  The Staff at the Government of Ontario News reports on “Ontario Completes Ottawa Courthouse Green Roof.”  The courthouse’s new green roof will reduce energy costs, improve air quality and help Ontario meet its long-term energy conservation goals.  It features 60 varieties of plants and helps to protect the building’s structure from the elements of nature.  70,000 square feet of green space total the 26 separate multi-elevated green roofs that all contribute in helping to keep Ottawa’s air clean.

The McGuinty government believes that investing in infrastructure is part of the plan to create jobs for Ontarians and strengthen their economy.  A strong economy protects the services that mean the most to families: health care and education.

– To learn more about these stories and new ones posted daily, go to our  In the News  or  Newslinks  section of our website.

– Send us your green articles, videos and images to  and share your greenroof or greenwall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything  by following us on  Twitter, liking us on  Facebook, being a member of our network on  LinkedIn, and subscribing to our  greenroofsTV channel  on YouTube!

– This has been This Week in Review for September 14, 2012 on  GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velázquez and I’ll see you next week!

*This week’s episode is sponsored by  The Greenroof Directory, brought to you by*

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!

~ Linda V.

Greenroof CEO Vanessa Keitges Named as Female Startup Entrepreneur in Oregon

February 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Great news for women in the marketplace as well as for the greenroof industry!  Vanessa Keitges,  President &  CEO of Columbia Green Technologies, Inc., has been included in a recent shortlist of prominent females promoting startup businesses in the state of Oregon from  Oregon Business.

[The photo previously posted here of Vanessa was removed on March 2, 2012 at the request of Sustainable Business Oregon.]

Based in Portland, Oregon, Columbia Green’s core technologies are focused on vegetative roofs and based on sustainable functions that help manage the quality and quantity of stormwater, energy use, and air and water pollution.  Vanessa purchased the company along with local investors in 2009 and it is currently experiencing significant growth under her leadership.

We met Vanessa a couple of years ago in Atlanta, and were impressed by her friendliness and enthusiasm.  We saw her again in Vancouver, B.C. and most recently at CitiesAlive 2011 in Philadelphia at the end of November/beginning of December.  Firestone,  one of Columbia Green’s major partners, very generously sponsored the Thursday night “After Party” at Con Murphy’s, a local Philly bar.  Great fun was had by all!

Oregon enjoys an increasingly vibrant startup scene and although the state has a long history of women starting small businesses, typically they have been smaller, retail establishments.  But recent trends show women  forming “highly scalable businesses” with a growing number in the tech sectors.    After speaking with Linda Weston – executive director of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network and a pioneering female entrepreneur herself – Linda Baker,  Managing Editor of Oregon Business,  decided to compile a list of “female entrepreneurs and investors who are pushing the start-up scene forward.”

Vanessa Keitges is a sincere and highly energetic and motivated individual who certainly deserves the attention from the Oregon business community – here’s what she said when I asked her how she reacted to the news:

“It is great to be recognized as one of the women powering the startup scene here in Portland. I am humbled to be included with the group of women that are mentioned in the Oregon Business article “Women Help Power Startup Scene” and their stellar experience and reputations.

One of the main themes of this article is that these women are running highly scalable businesses and this certainly resonates with our efforts here at Columbia Green. When we win a new green roof project, our goal is to exceed all customers’ expectations. We don’t just want the first green roof project, we want to prove that we can be a long term partner to our customer. This is one of the major ways that we scale our business.” ~  Vanessa Keitges

To read more and see the entire list of Oregon’s startup women, where the author invites the public to submit more names of “other notable women driving 21st century entrepreneurship” at “Women help power startup scene” from Oregon Business (Sustainable Business Oregon), please contact the publication or Vanessa, see phone number below.

Due to positive growth in the ecoroof industry,  Columbia Green Technologies recently announced the opening of their new website and Boston Regional Headquarters.

Contact Vanessa  Keitges  at:  503.327.8723.

Congratulations, Vanessa!

~ Linda V.