Jim Chidester was in the right place at the right time on the right project, and it has changed the course of his career.
"I had the fortune to work on one of the first LEED buildings in the state," Chidester says, referring to the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design-certified Commons Building at Camp Aldersgate in west Little Rock. He was working for ICE Inc. Consulting Engineers and was the mechanical engineer of record who designed the building's air-conditioning and plumbing systems.
ICE later merged with Crafton Tull Sparks of Rogers, and Chidester set up his "one-man shop" specializing in energy efficiency, a growing industry he sees as a win-win for the environment and for the economy.
Chidester is the statewide chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council. "When the [green] movement — and I hesitate to call it that — first started, there was a lot of talk about it being a fad. But it's beyond that; it's really taken root," he says. As evidence: The federal government and the U.S. military are requiring new construction to meet LEED standards "and even Wal-Mart has gotten on board."
Chidester also is a member of the Little Rock Civitan Club and a coach in the Upward Basketball program.