Office of Sustainability welcomes expertise in energy and resource management

The UW–Madison Office of Sustainability strengthened its capacity to advance sustainability across campus with the hire of two staff members in early 2020. Josh Arnold now serves as Campus Energy Advisor, while Travis Blomberg serves as Campus Resource Coordinator.

“The expertise that Josh and Travis each bring is a significant benefit for the institution,” said Missy Nergard, Director of Sustainability. “Their professionalism and long-histories of inclusive, cross-sector partnerships in the private sector are crucial to UW–Madison’s ability to respond with agility to the increasing demands of higher education, to graduate the next generation of problem solvers, and to be an exemplar of operational practice.”

Graduate student Tracy Harvey spoke with Travis and Josh about their new roles, how they came to the field of sustainability, and why their work is important to them.

Josh Arnold, Campus Energy Advisor
  1. Josh Arnold

    Why is sustainability important to you?
    I’m so glad to join the UW–Madison Office of Sustainability as campus energy advisor. Even before the pandemic, we were living in challenging times.  Now, in the Fall of 2020, we are facing multiple, related crises, the climate crisis being one. The causes of these crises are related. The solutions to these crises are also related. Sustainability is important to me because it provides a framework in which we can work towards solutions.

  1. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved in sustainability?
    I’ve always been interested in the interactions between people, communities, and the natural environment. While I work in a “technical” field, I consider myself a “people” person. My education includes a J.D. in Environmental Law from Lewis & Clark Law School and an M.B.A. from Portland State University. I started my sustainability career at the City of Portland, Oregon’s Office of Sustainable Development. At the time I was there, it was like living in a Jane Jacobs book—a first-hand lesson about how place can influence people and co-working and how communities can cultivate intentional places to unlock creativity and collaboration. If you find yourself in Portland at some point, I would recommend you visit Ecotrust’s Natural Capital Center.Throughout the course of my professional career, I’ve had the good fortune of being able to work on a variety of sustainability projects around the world ranging from a green building project in Hong Kong to energy programs in Europe and throughout North America, including with 100% Renewable Madison. I’ve lived in Madison for 15 years and am raising a family in our great town. I have two teenage sons. My partner is a research scientist at the University. I’m aware of my good fortune and privilege of living in Madison in my near west side neighborhood. I am grateful to be able to continue work to advance clean energy and bold climate action close to home with the UW­–Madison Office of Sustainability.
  2. What are you most excited to work on with the Office? What are you most hopeful about in the coming year?
    I am most excited to work with the Office of Sustainability to help UW-Madison achieve its goals in the Second Nature Resilience Commitment. In so doing, we will be addressing many challenging questions—for example, how might we increase the amount of renewable energy for campus while contributing to local economic development and environmental justice goals? How might we respect and nurture social and cultural connections while expanding regenerative ecosystems on campus that clean our water and air? How might we design infrastructure to future-proof campus operations and programs? I don’t have the answers, but I am most hopeful in the coming year that the many diverse voices on campus will take interest in these and other questions to explore possible answers that will comprise our future action.I like to think of the many brilliant people on campus as musicians—and the diverse marketplace of ideas on campus as a glorious symphony. I see my role with the Office of Sustainability to help collect ideas from campus and create actionable strategies to achieve multiple goals. Let’s get going and make some music!If you would like to learn more about my work or have any questions, please feel free to contact me at and connect with me on LinkedIn.
Travis Blomberg, Campus Resource Coordinator
  1. Travis Blomberg headshot

    Why is sustainability important to you?
    It is important because I value making a positive difference in the world. Integrating sustainable principles into real-world applications will ultimately bring about positive change. Some folks call it sustainability; I just call it making smart decisions.

  2. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved in sustainability?
    I grew up in the countryside of Colfax, a small town in West-Central Wisconsin. Being physically immersed in a rural environment, I found a close affinity to traditional environmentalism. As an undergraduate, I studied Environmental Studies at the Nelson Institute at UW–Madison. I also operated a for-profit sports officiating business (and held several other jobs in restaurants and the University) to pay for my education.After taking several sustainable business classes, I decided to focus my career on integrating sustainability into large organizations. As a graduate student teaching assistant, I was fortunate to help teach a course that utilized the UW–Madison campus as a living, learning, laboratory of sustainability. My graduate coursework focused on business, environment, and social responsibility. I also interned with Lands’ End and Cool Choices during my graduate career. At Lands’ End, I worked on a zero-waste campus program and assisted with their involvement with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.After graduate school, I was selected as an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow. My fellowship at Transwestern (a commercial real estate firm) turned into a full-time gig. I worked on several LEED® projects for global manufacturing clients and helped develop a water use rating program for commercial office buildings.After Transwestern, I became the Executive Director of WasteCap Resource Solutions, Inc., a non-profit whose mission is to provide waste reduction assistance to the benefit of business and the environment. Now, I’m fortunate enough to be back at UW–Madison to help the organization meet its sustainability goals.
  3. What are you most exited to work on with the Office? What are you most hopeful about in the coming year?
    I am very excited to work on the campus zero waste goal. It is a daunting task, and I look forward to helping our campus achieve this goal.I am hopeful that the groundswell of support for social issues related to equality, environmental justice, and climate action will help move our society forward. On Wisconsin.