Chief Sustainability Officer of City of San José
Kerrie has a very personal investment in her job – she lives in the City of San José and has never worked anywhere else. For her, it’s more than a role. It’s the commitment of a lifetime.
During a continuously fascinating career, Kerrie Romanow has variously worked in the corporate razzmatazz of the private sector and the evolving governance of the public sector, leading the way on all manner of consulting initiatives in the process. Having crossed the ‘sector divide’ in her working life has certainly provided her with a broad frame of reference, particularly as she plays her part in saving the world.
“This job is the culmination of all my experiences,” says Kerrie. “It lets me combine the money part and the people part, with the actually producing results part – and all on a big scale.”
It’s fair to say that Kerrie is California through and through. Unsurprisingly, her favourite place on the planet is the beach and – when she’s not immersed in the daily routine of solving renewable energy, carbon emission and wastewater conundrums – this is where she’ll be, pondering the next challenge.
Make no mistake; the beach is the perfect reminder to this passionate Chief Sustainability Officer of why she espouses the virtues of sustainability – it is the ultimate symbol of what is at stake.
It is this very real motivation that has enabled Kerrie to bring so many of her fellow San José residents with her. A growing wave of community action has been brought about by Kerrie and her team operating in a city that has welcomed cultural shifts, engendered partnerships and, above all, an honest assessment of the crisis.
When considering her own role, she says: “I think having someone in the organisation tasked with leading and being accountable for our sustainability initiatives is exciting, and I'm proud of our city for moving in that direction. One of the cool things about San José is that we've grown our commitment to sustainability over the last decade.”
Recent years have certainly proved busy for Kerrie, and she can reflect on many incredible success stories. These include ‘San José Clean Energy’ – the local project that provides residents with the option of 100% renewable energy , the South Bay Water Recycling system – providing an increasing number of local homes with clean water and the ongoing development of a biosolids treatment operation.
These initiatives are the lifeblood of a CSO, and Kerrie is no different. She has witnessed a sustainable metropolis rise from the ground while also admiring the good people of San José as they embrace the new lifestyles which are essential if we want a more certain future.
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