Global Director of Resilience, AECOM
Josh Sawislak is the global director of resilience for the infrastructure services firm AECOM. In this role, he works across the entire enterprise of AECOM’s offerings in planning, design, construction, finance, operations, and development to help develop and leverage resilient strategies projects and clients to address issues such as sustainability, climate change, disaster preparedness, and enterprise risk management. He provides thought leadership and strategic advice to corporations, national governments, municipalities, NGOs, and international organizations across the globe on issues related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, and the implementation of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement. In 2015, he served as a speaker at the first US-China Climate Leaders’ Summit in preparation for the global climate negotiations in Paris in 2015 (COP-21) and led AECOM’s delegation to Paris. He also spoke at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and gave lectures and participated in symposia in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceana. He also serves as a subject matter expert for the Rockefeller Foundation on infrastructure and community resilience and sustainable development and a member of their Resilience Advisory Council.
Prior to rejoining AECOM, he served in the Obama Administration, most recently as the Associate Director for Climate Preparedness at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he developed U.S. federal policy on climate adaptation and resilience and worked with foreign governments and international organization on multilateral and bilateral efforts. He also served as a senior advisor to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) focused on infrastructure and resilience at HUD and across government. He led the development of the infrastructure recommendations for President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. In this role he was directly involved in the development of the Rebuild by Design competition co-sponsored by HUD and the Rockefeller Foundation and the development of the federal Infrastructure Resilience Guidelines. On the Sandy Task Force he worked closely with federal, state, and local officials as well as private owners and operators of infrastructure systems such as power and communications to direct over $25 billion in federal funding for infrastructure recovery and resilience in the impacted region and well as national policy changes.
Mr. Sawislak previously led a consultancy working with a range of companies from global corporations to startup technology entities. He provided advice and strategy on resilience, continuity, market capture, and risk management. His previous public service included an appointment as the Chief Emergency Response and Recovery Officer for the U.S. General Services Administration. As GSA’s representative on White House committees, he was responsible for GSA support to other agencies in preparation and response to natural disasters other emergencies. Mr. Sawislak also served in state government, but spent most of his career in the private sector. He worked on signature projects such as Boston’s Big Dig, NYC’s Second Ave. Subway, and EPA’s Superfund Program. He is an environmental and transportation planner and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and serves on the boards of directors for the National Institute of Coastal and Harbor Infrastructure and evacuteer.org and is an advisor to several other organizations and programs in support of resilience and sustainability.