Meet Team Verdis: Grace Thomas
Grace (she/her) is passionate about helping communities of all kinds, including neighborhoods, municipalities, and businesses, prepare to thrive in the face of the climate crisis with sustainable and resilient solutions. Grace uses her expertise in project management, transportation demand management (TDM), waste diversion, and project facilitation to lead a variety of projects.
Grace has helped lead sustainability and climate resiliency planning and implementation processes for several clients including the Metropolitan Utilities District, the Dallas Zoo, and Black Hills State University. At the University of Nebraska Medical Center, she has helped run and improve the TravelSmart active commuting program and improve recycling using her TRUE Zero Waste certification. Grace’s expert Technology of Participation facilitation skills are essential in a variety of projects, including assisting the University of California, East Bay, in creating the framework for a Center on Climate, Health, and Sustainable Futures.
Grace is an expert in TDM and has helped ideate, design, and implement many active transportation programs. Grace played a key role in the design and analysis of a mobility study of Omaha’s Downtown and Midtown areas, surveying 8,500 individuals about their current and potential commuting modes. Most recently, she has lead an effort with MAPA to recruit and survey employers across Omaha and Council Bluffs, providing tangible ways to reduce employees’ single-occupancy vehicle trips.
Grace volunteers for the Omaha Missing Middle Housing Campaign, serves as the Vice President of Mode Shift Omaha, and is the president of the Hanscom Park Neighborhood Association. Her Gallup Strengths are Arranger, Harmony, Empathy, Learner, and Input.
Something I’ve learned at Verdis: It is hard to pick just one, but maybe the most important lesson is to not make assumptions and leave biases at the door. This ranges from first impressions of people (some who I thought wouldn’t be interested in the environment and ended up being incredible allies) to assumptions about an organization’s carbon footprint and their key areas of opportunity. It’s why collecting detailed data and getting face time with our clients are both so essential.
My favorite days always include: My favorite days always include really great food (probably Oasis Falafel or homemade pizza), time spent being of service to my community, and are chock-full of friends and neighbors.
My favorite memory at Verdis: Probably my first-ever team retreat! I was fresh out of college, so getting paid to think about really big ideas and help plan our company’s future was so exciting and felt like a dream come true. Daniel did a headstand at one point, we had food delivered, it was the best day!
One skill that everyone should learn: Everyone should learn how to facilitate a conversation and conduct an efficient meeting! It sounds cheesy, but I’ve been able to leverage my facilitation skills not just at work but in conversations with friends and family. Communication is more productive when people feel their time is being valued. The world needs more facilitators!