Adrienne Farrar Houël is president and CEO of Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, Inc. (GBCE), a nonprofit community development corporation founded in 2007. GBCE develops nonprofit sustainability enterprises to create jobs for disadvantaged area residents; assists small and minority businesses to develop green products and programs; researches trends in green business development; has trained and placed low- and moderate-income residents in green jobs; and advocates for more green economy jobs in the Bridgeport area and throughout the state of Connecticut.
Ms. Houël is a Bridgeport area native with extensive international executive experience in France, Russia, and Ireland in real estate development, construction, and marketing. In 2002 she returned to the United States and initiated a career in community economic development. In her most recent capacities, Ms. Houël has designed, funded, and operated workforce development training programs; worked on curriculum design and delivery of business development courses for U.S. HUD-financed Resident Owned Businesses for Connecticut housing authorities; conducted studies concerning affordable housing as well as funded and developed affordable housing projects; and created GBCE and three nonprofit sustainability enterprises under its umbrella.
GBCE uses its expertise to create economic opportunity by developing “triple bottom line” businesses that include environmental sustainability; social good by training and hiring disadvantaged, low-income residents, enabling them to become economically self-sufficient; and economic and community development for distressed urban neighborhoods. The first Green Team contracting enterprise was developed in 2009 with expertise in the areas of weatherization/energy conservation, environmental remediation, and deconstruction/reuse/recycling. In June 2012, GBCE opened Park City Green, a mattress deconstruction and materials recycling division; and in July 2013, Next Chapter Books was created to recycle and reuse old books. Today, Park City Green employs 20 to 26 individuals from Bridgeport’s Second Chance community in its growing enterprise, recycling more than 115,000 units since the implementation of the state’s mattress recycling law in 2015.
Ms. Houël participated in the City of Bridgeport’s BGreen 2020 Initiative from its inception in 2008. She is immediate past chair of the City of Bridgeport’s Energy Improvement District and, in 2015, served as chair to the Community Advisory Committee negotiating a community benefits agreement with the owner of the Bridgeport Harbor Coal plant, which will result in the closure of the last coal plant in Connecticut in 2020.
Since 2003, Ms. Houël has been a trustee of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and has served as secretary, vice chair and member of the legislative policy committee. In the interest of preserving and developing an important African American historic site in Bridgeport, Ms. Houël served on the founding board of the Mary and Eliza Freeman Foundation for History and Community, and through the Green Team, realized in 2012 the initial phases of preserving the structures for future redevelopment. This year, she was appointed to the board of directors of Yale New Haven Health System, Bridgeport Hospital.
Ms. Houël was co-chair of the 2013 Governor’s Task Force on Modernizing Recycling in Connecticut and, at the same time, served on the Green Jobs Committee, a joint committee of Connecticut’s Department of Labor and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. In 2016, she was appointed to serve on Connecticut’s Energy Efficiency Board by Deputy Commissioner Katie Dykes of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. In 2017, Ms. Houël was appointed to a second term on the New and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee of the US Department of Agriculture, representing the interests of nonprofit organizations promoting urban agriculture and its role in economic development.
Ms. Farrar Houël earned her MBA at Harvard Business School and resides with her family in Bridgeport, Connecticut.