Dubuque Appoints Sustainable Community Coordinator

Exciting news out of Dubuque:

Dubuque City Manager Michael Van Milligen has appointed Sheila Samuelson to the new City position of Sustainable Community Coordinator. She will begin her employment on January 19, 2009. “I was very pleased with the high caliber of candidates for the position,” said Van Milligen. “Sheila’s experience, education, skills, and commitment to sustainability proved to be the right fit for Dubuque.”

As Sustainable Community Coordinator for Dubuque, Samuelson will be responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining the City’s sustainability plan and programs. Sustainability is defined as a Dubuque’s ability to meet the environmental, economic, and social equity needs of today without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The City of Dubuque has adopted a three-part approach to sustainability to create policies and programs that address economic prosperity, environmental integrity, and social cultural vibrancy. When all three components are addressed, the result is a community that is viable, livable, and equitable.

“I am excited to work closely with City departments, community groups, businesses, and individuals to help Dubuque continue on a path toward sustainability, and become a model community that represents cultural vibrancy, social equity, economic viability, and environmental health,” said Samuelson.

Samuelson, an Iowa native, has a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Iowa and will receive her MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco in December of this year. Her MBA studies have focused on environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable business models.

Her sustainability consulting experience includes work for the San Francisco Department of the Environment Green Business Certification Program and for Architecture for Humanity, also in San Francisco. Samuelson’s professional experience includes work with the Green Purchasing Institute in Berkeley, Calif., where she helped local and regional governments adopt and implement green procurement policies and programs. She also worked for Century Farm Harvest Heat in Iowa City where she researched and wrote a non-fiction book on biomass as a local source of renewable fuel for heating homes and businesses.

Samuelson also spent 10 weeks in Greensburg, Kan., following a tornado that destroyed 95 percent of the town in 2007. She worked closely with local, state and federal agencies, and on a grassroots level with local citizens, to work toward a sustainable recovery effort. Samuelson was also a board member for The James Gang, the non-profit organization in Iowa City under which she founded and directed Earth Expo, a now-annual sustainability festival in Iowa City.

I’ll look forward to hearing more about Samuelson’s work in Dubuque. If any Bleeding Heartland readers are in the area, feel free to post a diary or send me an e-mail when something interesting is going on.

The city has posted more information about the “Sustainable Dubuque” program on its website.

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