March 2017

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Patricia Gomez, Director of Sustainability, Miami-Dade County

Patricia Gomez comes to the Miami-Dade County Office of Resilience previoulsy known as Office of Sustainability with a varied background and many years of experience working in local government. She started her work with the county in 2001 and has worked in a variety of different departments. An environmental engineer by training, she’s currently pursuing her Ph.D. in industrial engineering. As the Sustainability Program Manager, she works on the mitigation side of the resiliency work in the county.

Her office has two sides, one focused on adaptation and one on mitigation. She’s mostly focused on the mitigation side of work, and works with a Chief Resilience officer on adaptation. She works closely with the City of Miami and City of Miami Beach on projects, including the 100 Resilient Cities project, as Greater Miami and the Beaches. The cities and County are now members of a network sharing ideas and solutions to strengthen their ability to deal successfully with natural and manmade disasters and will receive technical assistance, services and tools to help solve local challenges around transportation, economic equality, sea level rise, aging infrastructure and more. Miami Dade County’s GreenPrint Sustainability Plan also ties into this effort, and updates happening to this plan will be coordinated with the 100 Resilient Cities project.

This year, Patricia is looking forward to working as a participant in the City Energy Project. After being accepted into the program last year, they are currently working on a stakeholder engagement process. She hopes it will inform the County’s development of a policy to help benchmark energy efficiency savings in it’s large buildings. Also in the policy vein, Patricia is working on updating the language around the County’s sustainable buildings program, due to its expansion since its creation in 2007.  In Miami Dade County, all government buildings must meet LEED standards for new construction and renovation.

As she reflects on her time with County, Patricia is proud of what she’s accomplished. Pointedly, she’s excited about her success in the implementation of utility management software. It has helped the county gain a better understanding about how much energy it consumes and how much money it pays for energy to the local utility. When she arrived at the county they didn’t know any of this! Because they have this information, today the Mayor is looking for ways to save on energy – and even looking to solar energy for the solution!  What’s more, the tool has been so useful that this year the County hopes to add water usage to the software and start collecting data.

The 2017 SSDN Annual Meeting is May 3-5, 2017 in Durham, NC. Details about the meeting, accommodations, and travel are now live on the SSDN website and registration is now open. If you plan to attend, please register online before March 31. When making travel plans, you may want to reference the draft agenda, and any other questions can be directed to Meg Jamison. 
Southeast Sustainable Communities Fund

The Southeast Sustainable Communities Fund (SSCF) is a new funding opportunity for local communities in the southeastern United States. Grants will be awarded to local partnerships to advance local government policy, plans, or programs that will create equitable and sustainable energy and/or water system outcomes. Grants are restricted to the states of  Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Applicants do not have to be members of the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN), however grantees are required to work with SSDN in a variety of outreach and educational areas. The 2017 RFP will result in five to seven two-year grants that total $1,500,000.  Annual grant awards will range from $75,000 to $150,000. Funding for year 2 is contingent on first year performance.

KEY DATES - 2017
April 28, 11am -12pm EST - Informational Webinar #1 - register here
June 22, 11am - 12pm EST - Informational Webinar #2 - register here
July 6, by 5pm EST- Letter of Interest (required) due
September 5, by 5pm EST - Grant Application due
October 3 - Award Notifications

For more information please email Fund Manager Maggie Ullman.

SSDN Member Receives 3-STAR Certification: Congratulations to Winston-Salem! Wendell Hardin and his team's efforts to promote sustainability have been recognized by STAR Communities, which has designated the city a 3 STAR Community for national leadership in sustainability. Read the full press release here.
Castro named to Grist 50 list: Congratulations to Chris Castro of Orlando. The Sustainability Director was named to the 2017 Grist 50 list, recognizing his impact and contributions in sustainability in his community, Florida, and beyond - congrats Chris! 
Opportunities + Events:
Job Opportunity, City of Winter Park, FL: Sustainability and Permitting Planner. Job information and application instructions are found here.
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Southeast Sustainability Directors Network
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Southeast Sustainability Directors Network · P.O. Box 27534 · Knoxville, TN 37927 · USA

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