It’s been crazy busy the last few weeks. Over the last month I’ve had the privilege of visiting with our teams and clients in The Villages, Florida, the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board, North Hudson Sewerage Authority, and Lehigh County Authority. In the midst of it all, CH2M HILL held a Women’s Leadership Summit, which brought together about 150 of our most talented women for a couple of days of learning and fellowship. It was a truly inspirational event, coinciding with International Women’s Day. My only regret is that not all of our great women could be there but we know the lessons of the Summit will ripple through the company and will make us stronger.

This month, we’re launching CH2M HILL’s new Foundation. Last year CEO Lee McIntire did me the honor of asking that I chair the company’s Foundation Board, and we’ve been working hard for over a year to “reboot” the organization. CH2M HILL has been a generous corporate citizen since its earliest days. We are known for our compassion and empathy, and for “giving back” to the communities where we live and work. We’ve also had longstanding strategic partnerships with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that align to our company’s mission and values, like Engineer’s Week, Engineers Without Borders and Water For People. Our new colleagues from the former Halcrow also have a philanthropic legacy in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

We are lucky that our forbears had the wisdom to establish a bona fide non-profit organization (known in the US as a 501(c)3 organization), which gives us a purely philanthropic giving channel. Over the last year, we have revised and modernized the Foundation’s by-laws and charter, and have reconstituted the Board of Directors to better represent our diverse and global business. We have focused the Foundation’s mission around three key program areas: environmental stewardship, Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) education, and employee engagement. Check out the new Foundation website for more details on all of those areas, and for profiles of our new Board members, all CH2M HILL employees. In the coming months, we’ll be soliciting grant applications from organizations that meet our criteria. At the same time, we’ll be developing a long-term Strategic Plan to look at ways we can magnify our impact.

Finally, April is Sustainability Month at CH2M HILL. Earth Day is April 22 but one day wasn’t enough to celebrate our commitment to Sustainability. Each week there’s a different topic an internal discussion board on our company intranet, where we’ve already had some great ideas surfacing from all over the world. In my own Operations Management Business Group, we’ve helped our clients divert 3,611 tons of waste, reused 9.9 billion gallons of beneficial effluent, and saved 16.4 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. That’s a US$3.4 million in forecasted savings and cost avoidance during the next 4 years for our clients and our company. What we do for each client really adds up.
Kudos to Lindsay Ritter, Catherine McCullough and our project Sustainability Champions for all their efforts. Happy Earth Day!