Audra Lew joined the City of Rockville on July 24 as the sustainability program manager in the Department of Public Works. We asked her a few questions to get to know her better and learn more about her role.
Tell us about your job.
It’s very cool! We are installing more electric vehicle charging stations at city facilities to charge our growing EV fleet and expand the charging network available to the community. We are working with Pepco as they provide additional public EV charging stations around town. We are also planning the city’s first solar projects, installing rooftop solar and solar canopies over parking lots on city property to generate and use our own renewable energy.
We are increasing the energy efficiency of city buildings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by upgrading lighting at the Rockville Senior Center and Twinbrook Community Recreation Center with energy-efficient light emitting diode (LED) lighting. We’re doing this with help from Maryland Energy Administration grants and Pepco rebates. Continuing to seek and administer such grants and rebates are part of my new role.
How does your job fit in with the city’s Climate Action Plan?
Rockville’s greenhouse gas emissions are mainly from our energy use in our fleet and our buildings. By taking actions outlined in the Climate Action Plan, such as our EV, solar and energy-efficiency projects, we are saving the city money on utility bills while reducing the city’s carbon footprint. We are walking the talk and providing examples of actions that can be taken to protect our planet, economy and way of life.
What did you do before joining the city?
This is my fourth time as a City of Rockville employee! I was the assistant supervisor at Croydon Creek Nature Center in the early 2000s. Since then, I’ve earned a master’s in environmental science and policy and worked as an outreach specialist at the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin. I spent the last nine years at the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection and Montgomery Parks, doing stormwater management permit compliance, biological monitoring (counting samples of fish and insects in the streams to assess water quality), pollution incident investigation and data analytics.
Is there anything else we should know?
I would encourage everyone to read Rockville’s Climate Action Plan (www.rockvillemd.gov/climate) and follow the progress of the federal Inflation Reduction Act, which invests in clean energy and climate action. These two important tools are guiding us toward solutions to the climate crisis. I am so excited to be working alongside my colleagues and city residents to be part of the solution!