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EC Cleveland Director Shanelle Smith Appointed Cuyahoga County’s 1st Deputy Sustainability Director

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Washington, D.C., February 3, 2015 – Emerald Cities Cleveland Local Director Shanelle Smith will be the inaugural deputy director of Cuyahoga County’s new Department of Sustainability. As head of EC Cleveland since August 2010, Smith was instrumental in building consensus among diverse community and civic leaders around the goals of sustainable economic development and creation of jobs in green building for disadvantaged county residents.

Smith is a member of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s Climate Action Advisory Committee and in October 2011 was named “One to Watch” by the Ohio Environmental Council for her work as a “consensus-builder, bringing environmental, labor and business leaders together with the African-American community.” 

Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC) national President and CEO Denise Fairchild was joined in congratulating Smith by Amy Hanauer, executive director of Policy Matters Ohio, which has housed EC Cleveland since its inception. Hanauer sits on EC Cleveland’s Local Council, which guides the organization’s work.

Heading the new department will be former State Rep. Mike Foley, also a champion of sustainability, community empowerment and equity. Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced the appointments and launched the department today during a news conference at Cuyahoga County Administrative Headquarters in downtown Cleveland.

RENEWing Cuyahoga County
In June 2014, EC Cleveland launched RENEW (Retrofits for ENergy Efficiency Works), a public-private partnership that facilitated $1.9 million in financing of energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to City Hall and other municipal buildings in the nearby City of Seven Hills. RENEW leverages Cleveland’s community benefits agreement to secure apprenticeships for local workers and open up opportunities for local contactors. The program will employ some 40 county residents in living-wage, career-path construction jobs.

During her tenure with EC Cleveland, Smith also encouraged the Cuyahoga County Council to adopt a community benefits policy requiring county-funded projects of $500,000 or more to provide good jobs for local residents.

“The ECC staff and board take great pride in the appointment of EC Cleveland Director Shanelle Smith as Cuyahoga County’s first deputy director of sustainability; and we applaud her unwavering commitment over the past 4-1/2 years to ECC’s mission of greening our cities, building our communities and strengthening our democracy,” said Fairchild.

“Last year, Crain’s Cleveland Business acknowledged Shanelle’s remarkable leadership skills by including her in its ’40 Under 40’ list of accomplished young professionals in Northeast Ohio – a well-deserved accolade,” Fairchild continued. “And we are thrilled about the latest milestone in her short but illustrious career! I am confident that Shanelle will make an effective, dynamic deputy for her new boss, former Rep. Mike Foley, whose support for the environment and equity is equally deep and strong.”

"We've cheered as Shanelle Smith has moved Emerald Cities Cleveland from an idea to a reality, working on the ground with communities all over northeast Ohio to advance conservation and sustainable energy, while creating great jobs for a diverse workforce," said Hanauer. "We cannot wait to see how she does even more to advance conservation, inclusivity and good jobs in her new role with Cuyahoga County."

Smith commented, “This is an amazing opportunity to bring what we built in RENEW to the county's sustainability department. That work has really been the impetus for the county to lead by example, and I am looking forward to building on those best practices to accelerate sustainable economic development for Cuyahoga County. EC Cleveland’s strong Local Council will continue work on behalf of those who have been historically disadvantaged, linking them to emerging economic development projects throughout the county and focusing on community engagement and workforce development.”

Budish said that with the advent of the Department of Sustainability, Cuyahoga County will actively collaborate with local businesses, schools, nonprofits and other local governments “to grow ‘green jobs,’ institutionalize environmentally-sound best practices and, ultimately, minimize Cuyahoga County’s carbon footprint.”

The department will also promote economic development to support businesses that provide environmentally-sustainable goods and services and educate the public about environmentally-sustainable practices.

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