Faces & Names

Foundation for Building – Albuquerque Environmental Awareness

Jim Folkman

Jim Folkman | President

Jim has over 40 years of experience in the real estate development and construction industries, and was Executive Vice President of the Home Builders Association in Albuquerque for 21 years. He has been with the Foundation for Building since its inception in 1999, and helped create several of the first residential green building programs in the country.

He has a B.A. in psychology from the University of New Mexico and a Master's Degree from the Executive Program at UNM’s Anderson School of Business, and sits on numerous not-for-profit boards of directors.


Rick Rennie

Rick Rennie | Vice President

Rick has extensive experience in both the real estate and construction industries, along with a widely-recognized gift for marketing and branding, which a large number of businesses and organizations have benefitted over the years.

Under contract with the McCune Foundation since 2008, Rick has been the Asset Manager for the Historic District Improvement Company, which has been a leader in the revitalization of Downtown Albuquerque. Rick has been the chair of the Albuquerque Downtown Action Team, and is currently a member of the Advisory Committee for 516 Arts and the Core Vision Team for Albuquerque Heading Home, a leader in initiatives to help the homeless. Rick is also the Executive Director for the Albuquerque 2030 District and was the creative force behind the Alvarado Urban Farm, a non-profit community farm located in the heart of downtown Albuquerque. In his spare time, Rick was instrumental in the creation of the Arts and Culture District and Innovation District in the Downtown Albuquerque.

Steve Hale

Steve Hale | Treasurer

Steve has been a green custom home builder and remodeler since 1986, and is president of Hale & Sun Construction Inc.

A founding member of the Build Green NM program, he is now director of the statewide certification program for high performance energy-efficient homes.

He is a member and past president of the Home Builders Association in Albuquerque, sitting on the Green Build Council and the Remodelers Council, as well as the NM HBA Board of Directors.

He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Green Builder Coalition, a Master Composter with the local Extension Office - “I love to play in the dirt” - and a member of the Consensus Committee to develop ICC-700 National Green Building Standards.

Lora Vassar

Lora Vassar | Secretary

Lora Vassar began her construction career in 1986, in her hometown of Los Angeles. After moving to Albuquerque in 1993, she finished her bachelor’s degree in architecture at the University of New Mexico, and has been exclusive to the remodeling world since.

Lora opened Arch Design in 2010, after working at Remodel Inc. for 11 years.

She is involved in the Home Builders Association at the local, state and national levels; serves on the Remodelers Council Board; and is a member and former chair of the Green Build Council. She has received multiple awards for her remodeling projects and was named in 2013 as the HBA's Associate Member of the Year.

Betty Valdez

Betty Valdez | Board Member

Betty, the Director of Bernalillo County Housing since 2007, has worked in the housing field for more than 25 years.

Prior to her current position, she was Senior Deputy Director at Fannie Mae’s New Mexico Community Business Partnership Office.

Betty has been involved in multiple community programs, including a workforce housing initiative in Santa Fe and the Hibernian House in Albuquerque, a multi-family apartment project for low-income seniors.

She serves as a board member for several local not-for-profits, including FFL, where she has served 11 years.

She is passionate about social, economic and housing issues statewide.

Autumn Gray

Autumn Gray | Director of Communications

Autumn is a communications consultant with an extensive journalism background. She worked nationwide for 17 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, most recently at the Albuquerque Journal. While there, she served as a liaison with the business community and initiated comprehensive coverage of the residential real estate market.

She has since capitalized on her business and journalism experience to open her agency, Autumn Gray Communications, and serves as an independent contractor for the Foundation For Building.

She holds bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and journalism from Southern Methodist University and attended the University of Texas School of Law.