Walk along the corner of Polk Street and Golden Gate Avenue and there lies one of the most sustainable buildings in the country. The SFPUC’s headquarters at 525 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco has earned its reputation as one of the greenest buildings, receiving LEED Platinum honors in 2013. From saving 800,000 gallons of drinking water each year through the Living Machine to using rainwater to irrigate plants around the building, the SFPUC sets a high standard when it comes to long term resiliency.
So, who manages to keep this green building running? Meet Darrell Andrews, Chief Engineer at the SFPUC. Starting out as an apprentice and working his way up to become Chief Engineer, Andrews knows the ins and outs of the SFPUC headquarters. As one of very few black engineers in the utilities industry, Andrews reflects on what Black History Month means to him. “Black History Month Black History Month is American History all in one and it means to me never forgetting our forefathers. Never forgetting those who fought for us to be here.”
Andrews understands the importance of diversifying our workforce to reflect the communities that the SFPUC serves. As the utilities industry faces an aging workforce, it’s important that the next generation of environmental stewards knows the job opportunities available to them.
“I want to be an inspiration to young men and women of color. So, when they see someone doing the work that I’m doing, in the capacity that I have, with the same background as they have, they can get that inspiration,” says Andrews. “Normally these roles aren’t diverse. So, the possibility of them joining the workforce and advancing their careers becomes more of a reality.”