Every day is Earth Day here at Sound Transit. We live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and transit helps keep it that way.
Sound Transit's definition of sustainability extends past the environmental aspect. For us, it's about people, planet and prosperity.
Taking action and reflecting on the work necessary to create a more socially, environmentally and racially just world is being sustainable.
For Jennifer Lemus, sustainability is really about what we leave our children.
"It is a privilege and a blessing to be able to enjoy the beauty, majesty and life-giving elements that Mother Earth intended for us, and we have to keep that for our future generations and make whatever small, or large, changes we can make," she said.
Lemus is Sound Transit's Deputy Director of Community Engagement, and has been with the agency for 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose as a public communications specialist.
And she is this month's "Inside Sound Transit" guest - where we introduce you to the people working to make it easier to get to where you live, work and play!
Lemus has played a major role in engaging our community as we build out the regional transit system - with 40 miles of light rail on the way in the next three years, and more to come.
By building transit options that increase access and opportunity, take cars off roads and reduce emissions, Sound Transit is making a difference for our planet and its people - one our employees are proud to be part of.
Now on to the questions!
Q: What do you tell your friends you do for work?
A: My job is a really hard thing to say in a few words like I’m a doctor or lawyer or a teacher, but I basically tell them that when Sound Transit embarks on a large, capital infrastructure project like a light rail extension, we work with the public, major stakeholders, community groups/organizations, and anyone who is interested at all phases of the lifecycle of a project. We ensure that there is awareness of our projects and let people know what decisions they can be a part of - as well as how they can reach us when an issue arises.
Q: What’s your passion outside of your job?
A: My family! I think this time together over the past year has really solidified our bond and I loved being a part of their schooling, eating three meals a day together (with that, I guess cooking has become a passion as well), and this togetherness has been such a blessing - even though I'm ready for them to go back to school!
Q: What attracted you to work at Sound Transit?
A: My husband I decided to move away from Silicon Valley and looked for places out of state in which transit properties were building light rail, as both of us worked on light rail extensions (me in outreach and him in construction management). Our choices were Phoenix (too hot), Denver (too cold) and Seattle (just right). Sound Transit at that time was on the smaller side, and was building its first ever light rail line. I was so excited to be part of that newness and enthusiasm, but also felt that I could bring a perspective of having worked at a larger operating agency.
Q: How do you get to work?
A: I live in Bothell, and I am a proud Route 522 rider and I’m excited that come October 2, I will be a Link rider for the first time as my bus will connect to light rail. I have never been able to commute by train, so I’m super excited.
Q: What three things would you take with you to a desert island (besides food and water)?
A: Matches, sunscreen (I’m super pale and burn so easily!), and a manicure kit (it’s my thing, even on an island in the middle of nowhere, still have to have nice nails!) and my family, of course. Oh, that was four, but I’ll break the rules.