Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is Brook Byers?
What is sustainability?
When did the BBISS start?
How can I work with BBISS?
Who do I contact?

Who is Brook Byers?

Brook Byers is a founding member of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He was raised in Atlanta and is an alumnus of Georgia Tech (Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, 1968). Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers is a venture capital firm in Menlo Park, CA.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is an oft used and defined term. In the context that it applies to the BBISS, its origins are mostly frequently linked to the Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, 1987 (or by its more common name the Brundtland Report). There, sustainable development was defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Since then, sustainability has been defined and redefined numerous times to emphasize (or de-emphasize) or otherwise more deeply describe one or more aspects of the term. Here in the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, we have adopted our own simplified definition of sustainability as a guide for all our work. If we are to live sustainably, we must create an anthrosphere that exists within the means of nature. That is, within the anthrosphere – the place where humans live – we must use only those resources that nature can provide and generate only those wastes that nature can assimilate.

When did the BBISS start?

Perhaps the person most responsible for introducing the concept of sustainability to Georgia Tech was Dr. Jean-Lou Chameau. During his time at Georgia Tech serving first as the Chair of the School of Civil Engineering in the early 1990s, and later as the Vice-Provost for Research, Dean of the College of Engineering, and finally Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs before leaving to become the 8th President of the California Institute of Technology , Chameau was a champion for sustainability and led the charge for the creation of the Center for Sustainable Technology in 1992. With the strong support of alumnus Ray Anderson, founder and former Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Interface, Inc. Chameau was the force behind sustainability being adopted as a guiding principle in Georgia Tech’s strategic plan in 1995. As sustainability continued to grow at Georgia Tech, the CST was renamed the Institute for Sustainable Technology and Development in 1999 and the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems in 2009.

How can I work with BBISS?

BBISS is continuously looking for more and better ways in which to form collaborative relationships with and between others. We’re all about “big picture” and “teamwork.” What are you doing now and how do you think you fit into the larger landscape? Talk to us. If we can help make a connection, we will. And if we can’t, chances are we know someone who can.

Who do I contact?

  • For matters related to BBISS programs, strategy, or management: Michael Chang
  • For matters related to BBISS administration (including travel), general information, to schedule a meeting, or to contact Professor Crittenden: Susan Ryan
  • For matters related to BBISS communications including the website, BBISS history, and subscribing or unsubscribing to the ISS listserv: Brent Verrill