The City of New Orleans, LA, is dedicated to reducing climate change impacts through ambitious policy and equitable strategic planning. The FUSE Executive Fellow will partner with FUSE Corps to help develop and implement a strategic plan to equitably electrify both the city’s fleet and residents’ vehicles, thereby drastically reducing carbon emissions and improving environmental justice for historically disinvested communities.

ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP 

FUSE Corps is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.

When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.

Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.

PROJECT CONTEXT

Across America, cities are working to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to create new, environmentally friendly economic opportunities that reduce climate risk and improve the long-term health and vitality of their residents. The City of New Orleans, LA, is leading the way with an ambitious Climate Action Plan (nola.gov/climateaction) goal of reducing GHG emissions by 50% by 2035 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Since transportation accounts for 44% of New Orleans’ total GHG pollution, the City is undertaking actions and policies to support transportation electrification, thereby improving air quality, supporting residents that choose to drive electric vehicles (EVs), addressing environmental injustices historically imposed on low-income communities of color, and promoting economic development.

Under this plan, New Orleans is working to transition 75% of the city’s fleet to low- or no-emission vehicles by 2035. The plan also set the goal that 40% of passenger and light-duty vehicles be electric by 2035 while working to ensure that equitable and accessible charging infrastructure is available. This will require developing policies to support the expansion of electric charging infrastructure to support EVs across the city and transitioning the municipal fleet to EVs, as well as incentivizing and supporting the shift to EVs for individual residents. This work will also prioritize engaging and facilitating vehicle electrification in low-wealth communities and communities of color that have historically been excluded from or harmed by policy decisions and resultantly see disproportionate impacts from GHG emissions.

New Orleans will partner with FUSE Corps to help develop and implement a strategic plan to equitably electrify both the city’s fleet and residents’ vehicles, thereby drastically reducing carbon emissions and improving environmental justice for historically disinvested communities. The FUSE Executive Fellow will: conduct a listening tour of EV infrastructure needs and stakeholder insights; research successful program models; assist in developing an EV Strategic Plan; and act as a liaison between the city, community stakeholders, consultants, and private partners during program implementation. This work will help support the city’s goal of decreasing GHG emissions while ultimately addressing disparities and promoting environmental justice for historically disinvested communities.

PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.

Beginning in May 2023, the FUSE Executive Fellow will work with city, community, and private stakeholders to research, recommend and implement a strategy to reach New Orleans’s vehicle electrification goals by 2050. Ultimately, this will help New Orleans reach carbon neutrality, so its residents enjoy cleaner air, healthy homes, and safe and easy-to-use transportation options.

The Executive Fellow will begin by conducting a listening tour with relevant stakeholders to collect information about current EV infrastructure, current and projected demand for transportation electrification, public-private partnerships, community needs and perceptions, regional plans or policies that may influence decisions and direction, and ideas about new EV infrastructure charging sites, investments, programs, and incentives. The Executive Fellow will center vulnerable communities in this listening tour to identify EV strategies that will prioritize high-risk, historically disinvested communities who are most impacted. The Executive Fellow will also research similar, successful programs nationwide. 

The Executive Fellow will use the collected information to assist City partners in designing an effective Vehicle Electrification Strategic Plan. This will include developing policies and strategies to support the expansion of charging stations around the city to increase the accessibility and convenience of EVs, enabling third-party companies to provide charging and requiring new developments to be “charge-ready,” incentive and innovation strategies to support residents purchasing affordable and accessible EV models, marketing and outreach strategies to educate consumers on the need and benefits of switching to EVs, methods to evaluate electric grid resiliency for optimal performance, and strategies to maintain collaboration during implementation.

The Executive Fellow will establish clear frameworks and mechanisms for implementing and tracking goals, programs, and policies resulting from the new Strategic Plan. They will then work to begin program implementation by collaborating closely with city and community stakeholders to prioritize projects based on the community’s need to prioritize addressing legacies of inequity throughout New Orleans.

The Executive Fellow will also work to establish clear strategies for long-term implementation, including identifying long-term funding opportunities and marketing/communication strategies to ensure sustainable implementation of the new plan.

By April 2024, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:

  • Conduct a thorough review of the current landscape- Conduct a listening tour to become familiar with the city’s current electric transportation infrastructure needs and actions; engage with all relevant stakeholders, including other departments and public agencies, staff members, private business, and community members to better understand their perspectives, priorities, and concerns about electrification; review national and local models for EV transition to identify successful strategies.
  • Form a comprehensive strategic plan and implementation framework – Assist with developing a strategic plan for City fleet and private vehicle electrification, ensuring community needs, perspectives, and equity for historically disinvested communities are centered in all strategies; determine overall objectives and methodology for goal-setting, evaluating, reporting, and initiating EV transition; establish a timeline for implementation aligned with the city’s carbon neutralization goals; identify and implement city procurement policies; identify funding opportunities and a communications plan for successful program implementation.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Greg Nichols, Deputy Chief Resilience Officer, Office of Resilience and Sustainability, City of New Orleans, LA
  • Project Supervisor – Dan Jatres, Infrastructure Projects Administrator, Office of Resilience and Sustainability, City of New Orleans, LA

QUALIFICATIONS

In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in transportation and/or energy policy, public administration, policy drafting, and stakeholder engagement is strongly preferred for this project.

  • Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
  • Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
  • Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
  • Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
  • Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing and excels in both active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
  • Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
  • Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.

FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.