Sustainability by its very definition can and, when done right, should cut across all types of people, projects and organizations. Drawing from my 35-year career in government, private sector and non-profit organizations and my engineering as well as legal education, I will share a handful of success and non-success stories that reinforce this notion. This includes stories derived from working at every organizational level from entry-level professional and technical specialist to chief executive and board member. The stories will also shed light on the ever-present challenges associated with overcoming resistance to change, addressing a future and its needs that will be very different from today and yesterday, and the inclusion of as many key stakeholders and perspectives as is practicable to achieve fully sustainable and equitable outcomes without undermining the ability to work within scope, schedule and funding realities.
Tom Lewis is WSP USA’s senior executive in charge of Climate, Resilience & Sustainability for WSP USA which is also inclusive of the professional consulting firm’s emergency management practice and Future Ready TM innovation program. Prior to its acquisition by WSP, Tom served as president of Louis Berger U.S. and a corporate board member, and prior to that as its lead executive on environment, emergency management, sustainability, and climate resilience working across the U.S. as well as globally. Tom has also served on a variety of boards and committees promoting sustainable and resilient infrastructure specifically including the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure, Resilience First, and the Zofnass Program’s Sustainable Infrastructure Advisory Board at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Tom holds both a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from University of Connecticut and a JD with focus on environmental law/regulation from Rutgers Law School. He is a licensed professional engineer (PE) and passed the bar in multiple states.