Northampton Names First Director of New Climate Action And Project Administration Department


Photo: City of Northampton

Source: Office of the Mayor of Northampton

Editor’s note: The Town of Amherst has a sustainability coordinator but does not have an office or department of sustainability or climate action.

Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra announced on September 15 that she has selected Northampton resident Carole Collins as the city’s very first Director of the Climate Action and Project Administration (CAPA) Department.

In 2021, Northampton unveiled its Sustainable Northampton Comprehensive Plan – Resilience and Regeneration Plan, setting ambitious targets: carbon neutrality for city operations by 2030 and citywide net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The plan underscores the responsibility to ensure a sustainable community for future generations, promoting resource efficiency and innovative consumption patterns.

To achieve these goals, Mayor Sciarra established the CAPA Department, streamlining efforts from the Office of Planning and Sustainability for strategic climate goals, the Central Services Department for environmentally-focused projects via the Energy and Sustainability Officer, and the Office of the Auditor for sustainable procurement efforts led by the Chief Procurement Officer. These functions now comprise the new Climate Action and Project Administration Department.

“I am extremely excited on two fronts: the official launch of the CAPA Department and the addition of Carole Collins to our team,” said Mayor Sciarra. “Carole is the ideal leader to guide Northampton toward a more sustainable future.”

A resident of Leeds, Collins brings decades of experience in the fields of green architecture and sustainable land use planning. Since 2010, she has worked for the City of Greenfield and for the past nine years, she served as the Director of Greenfield’s Department of Energy and Sustainability, the only such department in western Massachusetts. She led Greenfield to be among the first to achieve several milestones in the Commonwealth, including shepherding Massachusetts’ first Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) project, utilizing municipal aggregation to pursue a clean energy agenda, decarbonizing six municipal buildings, installing a gifted solar array to achieve net zero energy on the DPW office building and sustaining a 25% reduction in municipal-wide energy consumption since 2016.

Collins shared, “I am thrilled and honored to join the newly created CAPA Department to work toward the carbon neutrality goals laid out in the city’s 2021 Sustainable Northampton Comprehensive Plan – Resilience and Regeneration Plan. This new department is a tremendous opportunity for Northampton to continue to be a leader in mitigating climate change, and I look forward to what we can achieve together. I am very excited to work in and for the city I have called home for most of my adult life.”

Collins earned a Bachelor’s in Ecological Building Design from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Master’s in Resource Management and Administration focused on Sustainable Development from Antioch University New England. She has been a LEED Accredited Professional for New Construction and Major Renovations since January 2008. Collins is originally from Bay Shore, New York.

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