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Meet the Team

The Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability (OEPS) is made up of a dedicated staff of sustainability professionals from a range of backgrounds and experience. From engineers and educators, to conservationists and communicators, OEPS staff works to make Tacoma a more environmentally sustainable community for all.

 

 

Jim Parvey

Jim Parvey, PE, LEED AP

Division Manager

 

Jim Parvey has 32 years of experience in civil and environmental engineering. He holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Washington. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Washington and an accredited professional with the United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.  Jim has worked with the state, community groups, and others to develop rehabilitation programs and secure funding for the Murray Morgan and Hylebos moveable bridges. He has worked for both public and private enterprise. His project experience includes the Center for Urban Waters, the Cheney Stadium Renovation, the Hylebos Bridge Rehabilitation, the Murray Morgan Bridge Rehabilitation, and Broadway Local Improvement District. At the City of Tacoma he manages OEPS where he works on improving the city’s overall environmental performance and livability.

 

 

Patrick Babbitt

Patrick Babbitt

Project Specialist

 

Patrick Babbitt has served with OEPS in community engagement and project planning roles since 2014. Originally from Boston, he made his way to the Pacific Northwest through upstate New York, where he attended Skidmore College studying politics, economics, cultural studies, and environmental sustainability. Summertime work on a small family farm that valued community, respect for the land, and good food inspired him to co-lead his campus composting program and co-create a course about sustainable agriculture. Pat works to improve collaboration in the workplace, make sustainability a valued, accessible lifestyle for everyone, and support community members to grow their own food. Outside of work, he just wants to get outside.

 

 

Mike Carey

Mike Carey

Urban Forest Program Manager

 

Mike Carey is the Urban Forest Program Manager. Mike is a certified arborist with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. His studies focused on restoration ecology and architecture. Mike has been working on developing “green infrastructure” for the City’s Environmental Services Department since 2011. As the Urban Forest Program Manager, Mike is responsible for managing programs and developing policy that enhance the City’s tree canopy cover.

 

 

Lauren HeadshotLauren Choi

AmeriCorps Sustainability Specialist

 

Lauren Choi serves as the AmeriCorps Sustainability Specialist, primarily working on sustainability programs and events. She holds a B.A. in Public Policy from New York University, with a minor in Mandarin Chinese. Lauren worked in the field of communications and external relations—most recently with the New York City Department of Education as a Communications Assistant. After years abroad in South Korea and a number of different states, Lauren moved back to Tacoma this year to be closer to family and a community. She enjoys grocery shopping at the farmer’s market on the weekends and spending quality time with loved ones. 


 

 

Jacqueline Fuller

Jacqueline Fuller

EnviroChallenger Educator

 

Jacqueline Fuller has a bachelor's degree with studies in environmental science from the University of Washington Tacoma, a Master-in-Teaching degree from City University, and a 4-12 general science/biology emphasis endorsement from Pacific Lutheran University. Jacqueline has lived in or around Tacoma most of her life. Restoring and preserving the area’s natural resources is important to her, and, to that end, she has volunteered countless hours for many Tacoma environmental organizations. Jacqueline previously served as a 7th and 8th grade science teacher at Stewart Middle School before she started working as an EnviroChallenger in 2006.

   


Ryan Hebert

Ryan Hebert

Urban Forestry Analyst

 

Ryan is an Urban Forestry Analyst, coming to Tacoma after four years of community development and reforestation work in Detroit where he helped plant thousands of trees, install green stormwater infrastructure, and establish the first tree nursery in the city since the late 1980s.  Ryan’s work focuses on growing Tacoma’s tree canopy in an equitable way to reach our 30% canopy goal by 2030 (that’s 105,000 more trees!) He holds an MS in Applied Community & Economic Development from Illinois State University and a BS in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Superior.  Growing up on Lake Michigan in the northwoods of Wisconsin (Go Pack!) and having lived on Lake Superior for a number of years in Duluth, MN, Ryan is excited to be back in a port town on a beautiful body of water. Outside of work you can likely find him out among the trees exploring the PNW, lifting heavy things and putting them down again, or reading a book by a fire with his dog.

 

 

John Inch

John Inch

EnviroChallenger Educator

 

John Inch has a bachelor's degree in outdoor recreation and leisure services, with an emphasis in experiential education and interpretation. John is experienced in environmental education, having worked as a naturalist at Northwest Trek and as a sea kayaking instructor. He started working as an EnviroChallenger in 2006.


  


Beth Jarot

Beth Jarot

Green Building Specialist

 

Beth comes to Tacoma from Iowa with more than 25 years’ experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Most recently she’s served as a community coach with Keep Iowa Beautiful and on the project management team for Viva East Bank!, a coalition established to revitalize three Des Moines, Iowa neighborhoods. Originally from the Chicago area, she graduated from Drake University with a B.S. in Environmental Biology and a Master’s in Public Administration. She lives in the Proctor neighborhood with her golden/bernese mountain dog where she enjoys reading, walking, kayaking and practicing yoga.

 

 

Lisa Headshot

Lisa Kenny

Urban Forestry Project Specialist

Lisa comes to Tacoma with over 5 years of experience in habitat restoration and community engagement in the PNW with entities like Mountains to Sound Greenway, EarthCorps, DirtCorps, King County Parks, Black Farmers Collective/ YES Farm, and more Lisa holds a degree in environmental studies and a capstone in acoustic ecology. It is a rooted value of Lisa’s to uplift and center the voices of communities of color in the larger environmental movement. She is excited to join Tacoma as a Community Trees Program Coordinator (Go Trees!). Her tree-hero is Wangari Maathai. On her off time, Lisa is usually hanging out with her partner and two pitbulls in the mountains, watching WNBA games, or cooking up an elaborate meal to share with others.

 


Sam Lake

Sam Lake

Project Specialist

 

Sam Lake is a Waste Reduction Project Specialist. Her current project focuses on recycling education among apartment and condominium residents. Sam grew up in Tacoma, earned her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Seattle University, and is proud to serve her community. Outside of project development, she enjoys swapping upcycling tips at community events. In her spare time, you can find her drinking coffee with a book or exploring a new park.

  


Gator Lanphear

 

Gator Lanphear

EnviroChallenger Educator

 

Gator is a certificated and endorsed Art teacher in the state of Washington. He attended the Evergreen State College to study Animation and Video Production. After graduating, Gator spent 10 years producing/directing/editing live sports television and pilot shows. Most recently, he was a kindergarten teacher. Gator and his family live on Vashon Island and he commutes on the ferry every day (some days he even rides his E-Bike!). He has a wife, Kimberly, stepson Joshua (15), stepdaughter (14), and The Dragons – 7 year old twins, Scarlett & Leilani. Their island home has 3 dogs, 2 cats, and 5 chickens (and various wonderful wild animals that visit). Gator loves ice hockey, making t-shirts, and donuts!

 

 

Kristi Lynett

Kristi Lynett

Sustainability Officer

 

Kristin Lynett was hired as the City’s first Sustainability Officer in 2009. In this position, she seeks to integrate sustainability and environmental values into City plans, programs and policies. To this end, she has worked with internal and with community partners to develop new programs to encourage positive behavior change and increase resource conservation. Kristin lead the creation of the City’s Environmental Action Plan and continues to monitor our City’s progress on its environmental and sustainability goals. Kristin received a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from Willamette University and a Master's Degree in Environmental Studies from Evergreen State College. She also is LEED AP and a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor. She has lived in Tacoma since 1998 and loves having only a five-mile bus or bike commute to work. She loves to spend time outside in the mountains, garden, and soccer fields with her husband and ten year-old daughter.

 

 

LM Headshot

Leah Michaelsen

Community Relations Officer

 

Leah works primarily on sustainability program and department-wide communication efforts, and strives to make sure that Tacoma residents are informed and engaged in environmental issues affecting the Puget Sound region. Leah holds a M.A. in Communication and Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University and a B.A. in Communication from Washington State University (Go Cougs!). She enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest by way of mountain trails, local curiosities, and craft breweries. Having grown up in eastern Washington, Leah’s fondness for wheat fields and granite coulees is rivaled only by her love for the view of Mount Rainier from Tacoma.

 

 

Perry Spring

Perry Spring

Resource Conservation Specialist

 

Perry Spring is the City’s Resource Conservation Manager focused on the municipal operations goals and targets with the Environmental Action Plan. Perry builds and facilitates teams to conserve resources, realize cost savings, and reduce greenhouse gas emission reductions within City facilities, buildings, fleet vehicles, and commute trips. The imperative of a living future motivates Perry to mitigate climate change in professional career and personal life. With a Bachelor of Science in Ecology from The Evergreen State College as well as Renewable Energy and Commercial Energy Management certificates, Perry applies systems thinking and rigorous analysis to identify and solve underlying challenges to a sustainable future. He advocates for climate action as Chair of South Sound Collaborative for Cascadia Green Building Coalition (ILFI), and as steering committee member for Shift Zero.  With wife and friends, Perry enjoys dancing, music, storytelling, gardening, kayaking, and hiking.

 

 

Janda Volkmer

Janda Volkmer

EnviroHouse Coordinator

 

Janda Volkmer’s position as the EnviroHouse Coordinator entails being a generalist in a wide range of sustainable practices. She welcomes visitors, leads tours, and organizes weekly workshops on a variety of sustainable topics. Janda earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in anthropology and museum management, followed by additional studies in art history and metal sculpture. Previously, Janda has worked in nonprofit management, fundraising, museum exhibit development and marketing. Janda also served as an elected official for 20 years, retiring from politics after her third term as Mayor of the Town of Steilacoom. Her interests include museums, art, music, history, genealogy, creative writing, reading, travel and camping. She collects books, rocks and interesting stories.

  

 

Kate Waind Headshot

Kate Waind

EnviroChallenger Educator

 

Kate joined the EnviroChallenger Team in 2020, with a professional background that includes more than ten years of experience in environmental education and community outreach.  Kate graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!) and an M.A. in Zoology from Miami University. Since graduating Kate has used her passion for the environment to engage people in learning about wildlife, natural resource conservation, and environmental justice. Kate enjoys spending nearly all of her free time in the outdoors.  She loves traveling and experiencing new places through hiking, backpacking, kayaking, biking, and rock climbing.  As a life-long learner, Kate can also be found reading and writing in nature.

 

 

Zoe Headshot

Zoë Whidden

Green Building Program

 

Zoë was born and raised in Mount Vernon and enjoys trips home to visit her family and cat. She lives in Seattle where she attended the University of Washington and earned her degree in Public Health. Zoë Whidden joins the Environmental Services/Office of Environmental Policy & Sustainability and Planning & Development Services under the Green Building program. She will serve as the City’s Healthy & Resilient Housing Associate for the next two years through the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Public Health Associates Program. During her time at UW, Zoë took an interest in the myriad of ways climate change can affect our health and was involved in campus sustainability efforts. In her free time Zoë enjoys being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and taking care of her houseplants.

 

 

Luis HEadshot

Luis Zepeda-Chavez

Sustainability Intern

 

Luis Zepeda has lived his whole life on the Eastside of Tacoma where he has learned to love and care for his community alongside the natural beauty that surrounds us. Luis attended Lincoln High School where he held leadership positions that helped peers engage with the natural wonders and cultural sites the Evergreen State has to offer. Luis earned a bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University in History, with a minor in Sociology. Luis has previously worked and volunteered with a non-profit organization centered around community empowerment based in the Beacon Hill area of Seattle. In his free time he likes to take photos, workout with friends, and is in the process of rekindling his love for learning post-graduation!