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Costa Mesa welcomes new sustainability czar

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Salem Afeworki has been hired as Costa Mesa’s energy and sustainability services manager. She joined the city last week.
(Courtesy of city of Costa Mesa)

Salem Afeworki has joined the city of Costa Mesa as its new energy and sustainability services manager, a position created to help steer the city’s efforts to be “greener” and more energy-efficient.

Afeworki officially started Jan. 7. She previously was principal at Value Sustainability — a firm that specializes in sustainable business practices, clean energy and climate change consulting — and has served on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Sustainability Council and the city of Irvine’s Green Ribbon Environmental Committee.

Her annual salary in Costa Mesa is $108,744, plus benefits, according to the city.

In a statement, Afeworki said she is thankful for the opportunity to join Costa Mesa “to advance local climate action and deliver on the city’s ambitious goals.”

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“I applaud the city’s council members and senior leadership’s vision for making sustainability a priority and for allocating the right resources to make it happen,” she said. “We want the city of Costa Mesa to be a leader in sustainability in Orange County, and I commit to working with diverse stakeholders to develop bold strategies and programs that leave no one behind and create [a] stronger, livable and equitable city for all residents.”

The City Council greenlighted the sustainability position in July, saying the job would have wide-ranging duties such as planning and directing recycling and waste management, developing and administering the city’s environmental sustainability and conservation programs, identifying opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meeting with developers and city staff to bring a green perspective to project design.

“We are very pleased to have Ms. Afeworki join our city team to advance the City Council goals on energy efficiency and sustainability,” Mayor Katrina Foley said in a statement. “This work is critical as we strive to make the city more energy-efficient and deal with the emergency of climate change.”

Afeworki earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communication from the University of Asmara in Eritrea and a master’s in environmental management and auditing, specializing in renewable energy, from Universidad de Leon in Spain.

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