New city Director of Sustainability and Environment hired

On July 16, 2014, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

somervillelogoOliver Sellers-Garcia has taken the position of Director of Sustainability and Environment for the city’s Office of Sustainability and Environment as of July 1, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced today.

Sellers-Garcia has a distinguished background in developing sustainability plans for cities, institutions and non-profits, while effectively communicating the facts about climate change and leading discussions about sustainability planning. He most recently served as project manager at the environmental consulting firm CDM Smith, where he led interdisciplinary teams that developed planning studies and engagement programs on sustainability, urban development and climate change for municipal, institutional and non-profit clients. Among the projects he undertook were helping the City of Salem develop a climate change vulnerability and adaptation plan; helping create Asheville, North Carolina’s plan to reduce the city’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; and supporting Logan Airport’s projects on sustainable planning and design.

Prior to taking on the project manager role, Sellers-Garcia served as an urban planner with CDM Smith, which included leading public meetings, stakeholder outreach and focus groups in English and Spanish. A Somerville resident, Sellers-Garcia holds a bachelor’s degree in urban studies and French from Columbia University and a master’s in city planning and certificate in urban design from MIT.

“As the Director of Sustainability and Environment, Mr. Sellers-Garcia will play a critical role in the City reaching our ambitious 2050 net zero carbon emissions target, looking at solutions inside our city boundary, as well as our role in curbing emissions around the globe,” said Mayor Curtatone. “Cities are collectively responsible for over 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions across the planet. If each city sweats the small, local stuff, we can make a big global change. Our investments in sustainability are not only better for the planet and our health, but for our taxpayers’ wallets, saving the City millions in energy costs. Mr. Sellers-Garcia brings impressive experience to Somerville that will propel our efforts around sustainability.”

“The role of a sustainability director is to be a teacher and advocate, a strategic thinker, and a technical resource for city officials, municipal departments, residents, and stakeholders. After working with many cities across the country and the world, I have learned that sustainability is as much about communication and management as it is about the environment,” Sellers-Garcia said. “Embracing sustainability saves money and increases efficiency. Climate change forecasts are based on complicated modeling, but we can make this information understandable and usable for our city. The City of Somerville’s excellent management and growth potential provide tremendous opportunity for sustainable development—as well as the need for a careful use of resources and a prudent response to climate change. I am excited to contribute to this effort in my hometown.”

Mayor Curtatone established the Office of Sustainability in Environment in 2006, committing Somerville to action designed to reduce energy use and harmful carbon emissions, and promote best practices for a sustainable city. Six years ago, the city invested over $7 million in energy efficiency and clean energy projects in Somerville city buildings, and over four years, the city’s energy performance contract with Honeywell International has saved Somerville over $2 million in energy costs. As a designated Massachusetts Green Community, the city updated its building code to require a 20 percent higher energy efficiency standard for all new construction, and has committed to higher fuel efficiency standards for its vehicle fleet. Also, the Somerville Residential Energy Efficiency Program launched in 2011, and since then 500 energy audits have been conducted and more than 65 direct grants have been awarded to residents for energy efficiency upgrades.

~City of Somerville


14 Responses to “New city Director of Sustainability and Environment hired”

  1. meme says:

    ” by The News Staff”? No another press release by the city, no reporting done.

    Anyone interested, here is her thesis

  2. ritepride says:

    Another of joe’s “created positions” that the taxpayers cannot afford. If it is wasteful it is joe. Let’s fill real positions and eliminate the hack positions. When I become mayor I will review all positions for legitimacy and roll back salaries of the “chosen” and ask for their resumes to review if they serve legitimate positions.

  3. Wally says:

    Rite: does that mean you’re running for mayor?

  4. A. Moore says:

    ritepride can’t run for mayor. He would want to help the elderly, the homeless, the disabled and vets. We just can’t have that kind of thing going on here.

  5. ritepride says:

    Oops Wally a froodian slip o the tongue. I have not yet made a commitment but if I do the mayorial salary will be $50k annual and some others will be cut down to proper size so essential services for the citizens can be improved and not raise taxes. Unfortunately it will only happen if all the people vote and the election is monitored…after all this is Somerville the most corruptible city in the northeast.

  6. JAR says:

    Hmmm. Lotta words in that second paragraph.


  7. ritepride says:

    Er Wally that was a Froodian slip o da tongue. However who knows what the future holds?

  8. JAR says:

    “…helping create Asheville, North Carolina’s plan to reduce the city’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; …”

    This MAY open the door to proper light timing on Highland Ave. to reduce deceleration, idling and acceleration of vehicles. The gasoline used to keep a vehicle idling for 1 minute could propel that vehicle forward 1/2 mile.

    I hope the new Director of Sustainability and Environment knows this.


  9. Karl Jung says:

    “Froodian” huh? The Somerville genius quotient never stops to amaze me…

  10. ritepride says:

    Well Karl I did not think I would have to explain this but then again there are people of certain status that need to have it.

    Froodian, not to be confused with Freudian slip, is from my Great Uncle Platypus Froodian, who at times would slip comments of his future dreams after being at the local pub imbibing on a few.

    Poor guy his longtime love only wanted a platonic relationship and he said it would be a cold day in hell that he would dress up as Pluto. Ya getting the drift here Karl?

  11. Karl Jung says:

    My uncle Clint Clever knew your uncle and said he was an idiot :)

  12. Scott Godzilla says:

    When I become mayor, I’ll flatten Somerville. :-)

  13. ritepride says:

    Karl, well naturally your uncle would say that. The reason he did was because my Uncle Platypus would not buy the used Pluto suit from your uncle. TICLOL

  14. PixiePocahontas says:

    Hey Karl,

    I’m certain your uncle knew his nephew was the true idiot along with the majority of ST readers.

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