Drew Thompson, Resource Recovery Project Manager for King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD), was recently a finalist for the 2022 Energy Leadership JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) Award. The award, given by the Clean Tech Alliance, recognizes those who perform outstanding work to make the energy sector more equitable, support climate justice and diversity in the sector, and foster an inclusive ecosystem.
Drew leads capital projects for the utility and is a huge supporter of recycling valuable resources like water, energy, and organic matter. Drew studied mechanical engineering at the University of Idaho. Previous to his current project management role, he has held titles as both Project Control Engineer and Energy Engineer in WTD’s Resource Recovery section. His life motto is to leave something better than you found it, and he is happy to be making a difference in local government in the county where he grew up.
contributions to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the energy sector
Producing clean water is a very energy-intensive process. WTD uses more than half the energy of all King County government facilities—a government that includes courts, sheriff’s office, Metro Transit, and local services in unincorporated areas—that is a lot of energy! Drew has managed several energy-efficiency projects that helped WTD meet significant energy reduction targets included in King County’s Strategic Climate Action Plan. He also manages the utility’s Carbon and Energy Fund, which funds projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. WTD reduced its normalized energy use by 10% between 2014 and 2021.
Drew is a project manager for WTD’s Sewer Heat Recovery Program, the first program of its type in Washington state. He works with private commercial property owners and developers seeking to recover heat energy from sewer pipes for heating or cooling their buildings. Drew gathers the data they need and leads the approval process for all planning and construction of new projects. A process that ensures equity and social justice is considered as part of the approval of any sewer heat recovery project.
Drew works tirelessly for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at WTD. He is a strong advocate for King County’s equity and social justice initiative (ESJ) and chairs the WTD ESJ Capital Projects Committee. As Chair of this committee, Drew partnered with his colleagues to design and implement 1% for ESJ, a pilot project that brings funding for ESJ efforts to every WTD capital project. Drew has guided work to improve the WTD ESJ SharePoint site, which is a key resource for all WTD employees and has successfully worked with employees from other areas of WTD to review and refine the ESJ processes associated with project management and development. Drew coordinated a training to identify roles and responsibilities for ESJ advocacy on project teams, and changed our utility’s capital project review process to ensure that ESJ is prioritized in decision making at every level.
Drew demonstrated leadership and empathy to WTD co-workers impacted by the civil unrest America experienced in 2020 to help his co-workers heal and move forward. He was instrumental in shaping employee forums on race and racism during that time. He serves on hiring panels to ensure that diversity and equity are considered when WTD brings new team members on board. Drew is a strong proponent of incorporating ESJ into our daily work and regularly contributes to the WTD ESJ Program. Drew is considered a leader within WTD because he consistently demonstrates a sense of positivity and understanding when working with others. While incorporating ESJ principles in our work is the responsibility of all WTD employees, Drew’s leadership and overall support of the WTD ESJ Program is the model for how equity and social justice should live in all public employees.