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IBS Speaker Series: Evan Thomas
October 9, 2023 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Title: Valuing Water to Survive Climate Change.
Abstract: Currently, four billion people experience water stress, which means they simply don’t have water sometimes. An additional one billion people do not have access to safe, clean drinking water at all. And, the United Nations projects that water insecurity will displace at least 700 million more people by 2030. And yet, most of the time, there is still plenty of water. The problem is we don’t conserve and protect it, so that water is there when we need it most. Professor Thomas will present a global look at water insecurity, and solutions developed at the University of Colorado Boulder that have reached millions of people with sustainable access to clean water.
Bio: Evan Thomas is the Director of the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering & Resilience, the Global Engineering Residential Academic Program, and the CU Boulder Climate Innovation Collaboratory, and holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is a tenured full Professor jointly appointed in the Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering and the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Departments, and an affiliate faculty in Environmental and Occupational Health at the Colorado School of Public Health. Evan is currently a member of the NASA and USAID SERVIR Applied Sciences Team, a member of the board of the Millennium Water Alliance, and Co-Chair of the ASME Engineering for Global Development Research Committee.
Evan has a PhD in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder, a Masters in Public Health from the Oregon Health and Science University, a MBA in Global Business from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and is a registered Professional Environmental Engineer.
Evan’s technical background is in water and air testing and treatment applied in a range of contexts, from low-resource settings to operational spacecraft. He founded SweetSense Inc. which is supported by USAID and the National Science Foundation to develop and apply satellite connected sensors monitoring drinking water services. Daily, the team is monitoring millions of people’s water supplies across east Africa.
Evan is also the founder and CEO of Virridy a venture-backed company that uses proprietary technology and water and carbon markets expertise to restore watersheds and improve water quality, catalyzed by generating and selling high quality carbon credits. His management team at Virridy led the development and implementation of the first-ever United Nations Clean Development Mechanism and Gold Standard programs earning carbon credits for water treatment, resulting in improved water services for over seven million people in Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Evan’s research has been funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation, the World Bank, USAID, the UN Foundation, the CDC, the United Kingdom Department for International Development, the Gates Foundation, and others.
As Chief Operating Officer of DelAgua Health from 2012-2016, Evan conceived, designed and directed a $25 million dollar public health intervention in Rwanda with the Government of Rwanda. The program reached 350,000 households with cookstoves and 102,000 households with water filters, in over 7,500 villages and 1.6 million people.
Evan was previously an Associate Professor at Portland State University and Oregon Health & Science University from 2010-2018 (asst prof. 2010-2016) founder of the SweetLab, and founding director of GlobalPDX.
Evan was a civil servant at the NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas from 2004-2010. At NASA, Evan was a aerospace engineer working on microgravity fluid management technologies and water recovery systems for spacecraft hardware flying on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station.