Julia Kavuma


My name is Julia Kavuma. I'm from Toronto. I work at Smith + Andersen Consulting Engineering where I am a Project Manager.

What sustainability, energy, and community issues are important to you?

Of the issues that keep me up at night, the ones that get me out of bed in the morning are related to infrastructure. What infrastructure do we need to support the sustainable densification of cities? Transit. Affordable housing. Electricity. Internet. How do we build the infrastructure to support these systems in living, rapidly growing cities? If we build it, will they come? Moreover, how do we build the infrastructure for these sustainably? How can we implement these systems to lift people out of poverty? How do we transfer knowledge and experience from more developed areas of the world to places that are developing, and vice versa? What is the most effective role that I can play in all of this?

What exciting projects/research are you working on now?

I work in the construction industry, so I find it pretty cool to see projects come to life, from idea, to drawings, to a finished, occupied building, whether it's a quick office renovation or a state of the art hospital. Currently the most exciting projects that I am currently working on, as part of a large team of engineers and architects, are to revitalize the main train station in downtown Toronto, Canada. It is the busiest public transportation hub in the country, and sits at the centre of the city's commuter rail systems. Combine this with the fact that the station must operate at capacity every single day, and is a designated heritage structure, there is never a dull moment on this project portfolio.

What are your plans for the next five years?

Over the next five years I plan to develop my experience in implementing big projects by working on the teams that will design, plan and deliver these projects. I plan to continue working on sustainability and energy related projects both in Canada, and as the opportunity arises, abroad.

What made you want to apply to SISE?

The cat references. In all seriousness, I think this is a great opportunity to focus my career on energy in a very tangible way. I am particularly excited to attend SISE as the 2019 theme of implementation represents a longtime area of personal and professional development. I can't wait to to learn from and collaborate with everyone who is participating in the program this year to practice strategies to overcome the array of very real hurdles that separate ideas from living, breathing, "I use this everyday" results. In applying I wanted to learn from people with different experiences and perspectives how they approach the sustainability challenges that they face.

What are you most looking forward to doing in Chicago?

In no particular order, I am excited to eat deep dish pizza, see the Obama's residence, get to know people who call Chicago home, eat Garretts Chicago mix, learn from my peers and instructors at SISE, take an architecture boat tour, ride the L-train, and walk the 606.

Do you like Cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?

Yes I like cats, though I prefer plants as pets.