Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced today that Katherine Gajewski has been appointed as the new Director of Sustainability for the City of Philadelphia. Ms. Gajewski replaces Mark Alan Hughes, the City’s first Director of Sustainability, who left the City last month.
“With the Greenworks Philadelphia framework in place, we now turn to its implementation and Katherine is the perfect person to lead this next phase,” said Mayor Nutter. “She has a proven track record of working across government, collaborating with outside partners, and implementing major initiatives in a wide range of policy areas. These are exactly the skills that will help us meet our Greenworks targets.”
Ms. Gajewski will be responsible for the implementation of Greenworks Philadelphia, the City’s sustainability framework unveiled by Mayor Nutter in April 2009. The framework sets goals in five areas — energy, environment, equity, economy and engagement — and encompasses more than 150 achievable, measurable initiatives. Implementation of these initiatives will reduce the city’s vulnerability to rising energy prices, limit its environmental footprint, and reposition its workforce and job development strategies to build upon Philadelphia’s competitive advantages in the emerging green economy.
“It is a great privilege to take on this challenge at a time when environmental conservation, energy security, and the creation of new jobs and technologies have rightly become national priorities,” said Katherine Gajewski. “Achieving Philadelphia’s sustainability goals will require a team effort across government, the Sustainability Advisory Board, the business community, outside organizations, and citizens. We have made incredible progress over the last 18 months and I look forward to helping Philadelphia move to the next level as a leader in sustainability.”
Katherine has experience of working across city departments on a wide range of issues and has led a number of Mayor Nutter’s major projects. She has served as Special Assistant to the Mayor’s Chief of Staff since January 2008 having worked on Mayor Nutter’s election campaign and transition. She was responsible for organizing the annual citywide clean-up, with the first event in April 2008 recognized as the largest single day citywide clean-up in U.S. history.
Former Director of Sustainability Mark Alan Hughes said: “The Mayor has made the perfect choice in Katherine to lead Greenworks where he wants it to be. She will be a steady hand in the hard work of achieving the fifteen ambitious targets the Mayor has set for Philadelphia to great national acclaim. Personally, I could not ask for a better successor.”
At the press conference Mayor Nutter praised the work done by the Sustainability Working Group, a group of city employees throughout city departments working on sustainability issues, and the Sustainability Advisory Board, a group of outside experts co-chaired by Joe Manko and Anne Papageorge, that provides advice and guidance to the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Katherine during the mayoral campaign on developing environmental policy,” said Joe Manko. “Anne and I look forward to working with her to implement the measures contained within Greenworks Philadelphia.”
“With the release of Greenworks Philadelphia, the Director of Sustainability will play a critical role in both coordinating the efforts of city departments to implement the goals set forth, and to engage the public,” said Christine Knapp, a member of the Sustainability Advisory Board and coordinator of the Next Great City initiative. “The Next Great City looks forward to working with Katherine to help make the next great city the greenest city.”
The position of Director of Sustainability is a Cabinet position.
For more information on Greenworks Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia’s sustainability goals please visit www.greenworksphila.org.
Katherine Gajewski has served as Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff in the Mayor’s Office since January 2008.
In this role she managed a number of major citywide projects including the Philly Spring Cleanup which, in its first year, was recognized as the largest citywide clean-up in U.S. history. She worked closely with Mayor Nutter to appoint many Boards and Commissions, identifying candidates, making recommendations to the Mayor, and setting the direction and focus for these entities.
Katherine has also led a number of the Nutter Administration’s community outreach efforts, playing a major role in the public engagement during this year’s budget process. She worked with community organizations across the city to organize eight town hall meetings last year that were attended by thousands of people.
She has served as an advisor to Mayor Nutter, Chief of Staff Clay Armbrister, and senior members of the Nutter Administration on a wide range of policy issues, with a particular focus on sustainability.
Prior to joining the Administration, Katherine worked on the Nutter for Mayor campaign coordinating the sustainability and planning policy teams. She played a key role in Nutter’s transition, coordinating transition teams and searches for senior personnel.
From 2004-2006, Katherine was the Campaign Coordinator for the Breathe Free Philadelphia Alliance, the coalition that led the successful grassroots campaign to pass smoke-free legislation in Philadelphia. She later consulted for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to oversee the implementation of the law – including a comprehensive business outreach and public education campaign – which resulted in compliance levels well exceeding expectations. She also worked as an aide in then Councilman Nutter’s office during 2006.
Before arriving in Philadelphia, Katherine worked for land conservation organizations in Vermont and Seattle. She holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University.