CEO | Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Richard Piacentini


Richard Piacentini is the President and CEO of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Since 1994 he has led the Pittsburgh institution from public to private management and is responsible for its green transformation including: the opening of the first LEED® certified visitor’s center in a public garden; the first LEED® certified greenhouse (LEED® Platinum EBOM); the Tropical Forest Conservatory, one of the most energy-efficient conservatories in the world; the Nature Lab, a zero-energy Petal certified modular classroom; the zero-energy and LEED Platinum and WELL Platinum certified Exhibit Staging Center; and the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a net-zero energy and water building and the only building in the world to meet the Living Building Challenge®, LEED® Platinum, WELL® Platinum (the first), SITES™ Platinum (the first), BREEAM Outstanding for Operations and Maintenance (first in U.S.), Fitwel 3 Star and Zero-Energy certifications. 

The sustainability efforts Piacentini initiated at Phipps are based on recognizing the vital connections between people, plants, health, and the planet. This regenerative based way of thinking influences the organization’s actions and programs. 

Piacentini is a past Chair and Treasurer of the Board of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) and now serves as chair of its Advisory Board. He is a member of the Mission and Community Needs Committee for Magee-Womens Hospital, the Pennsylvania One Health Task Force, Biophilic Design Initiative Advisory Board, and the Advisory Committee for the Biophilic Cities Network. He is a Past President and Treasurer of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), and has received ILFI, US Green Building Council (USGBC), and APGA leadership awards.

Piacentini holds a MS in Botany from the University of Connecticut, an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a BS in Pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island. He is a Registered Pharmacist and a WELL® Accredited Professional.