Zachary first because interested in sustainable development when he discovered the work of a small architecture and design firm in Madrid called Ecosistema Urbano. The concept of urban ecosystems has stuck with him throughout his academic and professional development. Receiving his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Cornell University’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Zachary conducted his undergraduate research in building-integrated vibrational wind energy. The Vibro-Wind project team that he helped lead was selected as part of the New York Times Magazine’s 2010 Year in Ideas. He went on to work at several bio-inspired design tech companies in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. During 5 years in New York he assisted in the development of Solar Ivy, a facade-coupled photovoltaic system designed to look like natural ivy climbing up the side of a building, and an elastic thrust mechanism for underwater vehicles modelled after the undulating propulsion of a Black Ghost Knifefish. Zachary has recently returned to academia to get his PhD in Environmental Design and Planning from Virginia Tech. He is a part of the BioBUILD program in the Department of Building Construction- an interdisciplinary group that applies lessons from nature to improve the built environment. He is based in the college of Architecture and Urban Studies and hopes to teach upon graduation while getting Aihika, his eco-wellness hospitality brand, off the ground.
Fellowships have already taken Zachary around the world, where he has been lucky enough to work as a design intern at an upcycling non-profit in Fortaleza, Brazil, as an industrial design engineer in Yangon, Myanmar, and as an energy consultant on a solar greenhouse project in Germany. Zachary took part in the first annual Lisbon Challenge, a business development incubator based at Beta-i in Portugal. He is proficient in Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Burmese and is learning French, Hindi, and Mandarin. He sees language a crucial tool to connection and the ability to conduct socially oriented research effectively in different parts of the world. Since returning to the states in 2016 Zachary has started applying similar sustainable development methods to help address domestic poverty in Washington, D.C. His deepest ambition is to heal the world by empowering local communities to start solving their own problems through the creative application of technology and ecology in the built environment.