The City of Bellingham has hired Seth Vidaña as its first-ever Climate and Energy Manager. He begins in the position on Feb. 18.
Vidaña has worked to create a more sustainable community and reduce energy consumption at Western Washington University since 2008, most recently as Director of the Office of Sustainability. Vidaña will work in the City's Public Works Natural Resources Division offices in the Federal Building in downtown Bellingham.
Renee LaCroix, Assistant Public Works Director, Natural Resources, said Vidaña consistently ranked as a top candidate throughout the extensive selection process.
“We are pleased to welcome Seth," said LaCroix. “His collaborative style, his proven leadership and his strong skill set position us well in our effort to achieve the ambitious goals of our Climate Action Protection Plan."
Bellingham City Council approved funding for the new position in its 2019-2020 biennial budget, recognizing the need for additional staff as the City works toward reducing municipal and community greenhouse gas emissions.
While at WWU, Vidaña has been a leader in the university's Sustainable Communities Partnership to incorporate sustainability into campus operations and academics and was founder and co-chair of Washington State Higher Education Sustainability Consortium, in addition to managing Western's Office of Sustainability with its aims to integrate sustainability, carbons emissions reductions, energy conservation, and waste reduction campus-wide.
About Public Works
Bellingham's Public Works (PW) department includes Engineering, Operations and Natural Resources. The department delivers and maintains services used daily. Recent achievements for PW:
- Reducing municipal emissions by approximately 30% via the Post Point Resource Recovery project;
- Purchasing five electric vehicles, 15 hybrid vehicles (with more on the way) and six electric bikes for the municipal fleet;
- Purchasing renewable wind power for municipal operations via the Green Direct program;
- Developing active transportation policies to support a variety of transportation devices;
- Completing 52% of the bicycle improvement projects in the city's Bicycle Master Plan;
- Launching the “All In for Climate" educational campaign and hosting the first Climate Action Week; and
- Planting an average of 50,000 trees per year in restoration sites.