The mission of the Department of Sustainability, also known as SustainPVD, is to create an equitable, low-carbon, and climate resilient future for Providence. With leadership from the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee, the city has prioritized centering racial equity in this work, demonstrated by the launch of the Equity in Sustainability Initiative in 2016 and the release of the Climate Justice Plan in 2019. The city’s first comprehensive sustainability action plan, Sustainable Providence, was released in 2014. The Office is advised by a community-led group, the Sustainability Commission, which holds monthly public meetings. Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest SustainPVD news.
Kevin Proft, Interim Director of Sustainability
Kevin Proft has a long history of work in the field of sustainability. Upon moving to Providence in 2011, Kevin began working with ecoRI News as an environmental writer and helped the organization start Providence’s first curbside compost collection service. Kevin earned a Masters in Environmental Science and Management from URI in 2018, with a focus on community planning. He worked as a planner for Middletown and Woonsocket from 2018-2022, centering sustainability and equity in his work. Kevin is looking forward to working with his colleagues in the sustainability office and the city’s community groups to advance projects that make a tangible difference in people’s lives, especially in frontline communities that are most impacted by climate change and associated pollution. Kevin is a husband and dad and enjoys building Legos with his son.
David Ruggiero, Energy Manager
David has a long and diverse background in energy management. Over the past 20 years he has been involved in a wide range of innovative green building projects and programs ranging from ENERGY STAR to Passive House to the DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge. He has worked as a LEED Accredited Professional, a Certified Energy Auditor, and as a consultant with a focus on energy-efficiency and renewable energy. He also served as an advisor on the 2009, Massachusetts Net Zero Energy Building Task Force and managed a residential Zero Energy Challenge for Eversource and National Grid. Most recently, and before coming to Providence, he managed the energy portfolios and green initiative for 3 Massachusetts municipalities. He holds a degree for Northeastern University in Public Administration and studied sustainability and energy system at the Boston Architectural College.
David lives in Massachusetts. He is an avid cyclist and gardener and is active in several suburban sustainability organizations. He is a town meeting member and chairs the town’s Sustainability Commission. Through his work on the commission, he has launched several community-wide energy efficiency and sustainability initiative that help address environmental justice and global warming issues.
Elder González Trejo, Sustainability Policy Associate (Climate Justice)
Elder González Trejo, who hails from Guatemala, grew up immersed in the rich and diverse communities of Providence. Elder was an inquisitive child with a strong connection to nature. His growing interest led him to the University of Rhode Island where he earned a B.S. in Environmental Science with a focus in Wildlife Conservation. He was later awarded the Coastal and Environmental Fellowship for his research on the effects of habitat loss and its impact on the declining Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) population.
In 2014 he traveled to rural Guatemala and participated in a humanitarian mission to reduce disease transmission as a result of the feral canine population. When granted the opportunity to continue his work as a Wildlife Biologist, Elder relocated across the country and settled in California. He credits his time spent in the Bay Area for his decision to integrate his environmental work with his growing passion for social justice.
Since his return, he’s been active in serving his community as a member of various social and environmental equity boards/commissions, through his work as Director of Community Programs for the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council and now as our Sustainability Policy Associate of the Department of Sustainability for the City of Providence.
Julia Dearden, Fiscal & Communications Coordinator
Julia grew up outside Philadelphia, went back to school two years ago and graduated from Rhode Island College with her BS in Public Health and also holds a BA in Communications from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Julia’s enthusiasm for wanting to work in environmental health and sustainability came from her strong interest in health equity and witnessing her Dad love his work in environmental science.
Ten years ago, Julia moved to Rhode Island with her now husband and grew to feel like the ocean state was home. Prior to working in sustainability, she got to meet most of Providence managing the Seven Stars Bakery on Broadway and building a statewide wholesale market for Knead Doughnuts. Julia is a proud dog mom who loves weightlifting, playing vinyl records, bird watching, watching all the sports, and spending as much time with her family and friends as possible!
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