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AECOM energy expert Dana Al-Qadi helps transform Los Angeles

AECOM energy expert Dana Al-Qadi helps transform Los Angeles

 April 23, 2024

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AECOM's Transforming Los Angeles series delves into the people, projects and initiatives that are shaping the future of Los Angeles.

Meet Dana Al-Qadi, D.Eng, PE, a Vice President at AECOM and Director of the company's Energy practice in the United States.

Dana's technical experience includes decarbonization, electrification, resilience and program management. She is a licensed civil engineer and graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) where she completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering and received her doctoral degree from the George Washington University where her dissertation focused on urban water system resilience.

Hear from Dana about the intricacies of creating interconnected infrastructure that delivers social value for a more cohesive, inclusive and sustainable urban environment.

Working on transportation decarbonizations projects 

When Dana first joined AECOM, she worked as an engineer in the Water team. It was Dana's first job in the industry after graduate school and she worked on water treatment plants, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliance, and vulnerability assessments. Soon after, Dana started to expand her work to sustainability and resilience projects and transportation decarbonization projects across the United States.  

Today, Dana leads AECOM’s Energy practice across the western United States and is active in AECOM's strategy and growth around transportation decarbonization.

"This role is exciting for me because many states in the western US, particularly states like California, are on the cutting edge of key energy initiatives, such as grid modernization, renewables, and decarbonization. I have enjoyed the diversity of my career journey thus far and am especially grateful to the wonderful mentorship I have received along the way. It has made such opportunities possible and allowed me to shape my career in a way that is very meaningful for me on both a personal and professional level," explains Dana.

Delivering the goals of the Los Angeles Olympic Games

AECOM has a long history of supporting the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which includes London 2012, Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020, and now Los Angeles 2028 (LA28). Dana is proud to be working on the energy advisory and planning strategy for LA28, to ensure that the City of Los Angeles can deliver the Games more sustainably with decarbonization and resilience goals at the forefront.

"LA28 represents a particularly poignant moment in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Memorial Coliseum will be the first venue in the history of the Games to have been used in three Olympic Games (1932, 1984 and 2028). LA is also relying on existing infrastructure, providing an opportunity to evaluate opportunities for meaningful and long-term sustainability initiatives. In doing so, it also represents a microcosm of similar journeys other cities all over the world will find themselves on as they work to achieve decarbonization goals by leveraging their existing infrastructure," explains Dana.

"The Games is also driven by clear goals to positively impact the broader Los Angeles community, with a particular emphasis on supporting disadvantaged communities, the need for inclusive access and meaningful legacy. The work with LA28 has been especially meaningful to me as it represents the ways in which energy advisory and planning are vital components of addressing real challenges faced by communities. I take pride in our team and the role that AECOM has in working with partners all over the city to ensure that the Games is something our Los Angeles community will be proud of," continues Dana.

Implementing cleaner, greener energy sources 

Dana explains that the LA100 initiative is propelling Los Angeles towards cleaner, greener, and more sustainable energy sources by reflecting the city’s deep commitment to investing in renewable energy.

"By setting ambitious targets and milestones, LA100 is providing a measurable way to achieve goals related to decarbonization and grid modernization. As one of the first plans of its kind in the U.S, it stands out as a groundbreaking study that provides a blueprint for how to assess the impact such transitions can have on local jobs, the economy and equity," describes Dana.

"As we consider the transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy, one of the important focus areas is to ensure that the benefits are widespread and inclusive. As a study, LA100 is intentional about strategies to improve action and promote participation in programs aimed at advancing the clean energy transition. The commitment to meaningful actions and partnerships is a significant aspect of the LA100 initiative and it’s enabling AECOM to support our LA community, which resonates strongly with our own ESG strategy, Sustainable Legacies and improving social outcomes in the communities in which we work," adds Dana.

Experiencing innovations in the energy industry

When asked about the sustainability-led innovations she's seeing in the energy industry, Dana explains: "The energy industry is full of innovation. Gone are the days when infrastructure projects were solely defined by a single discipline. Today, many infrastructure projects recognize the need to be multidisciplinary, with energy often serving as the foundational cornerstone for the success of the entire project. The big driver behind this transition is the need to address decarbonization, requiring fundamental shifts in how we address core infrastructure components such as buildings, mobility, and our grid system." This enables AECOM to reimagine how infrastructure systems interact with one another. Dana cites the example of commercial equipment that can combine both bidirectional EV charging and solar energy conversion and then be fully integrated into home battery storage to be used as a distributed energy resource (DER) represents how creative the energy sector can be and how technology is evolving to meet the interdisciplinary and holistic needs of the moment regarding infrastructure. At the core of this is a commitment to innovations within AECOM's grid system to ensure that as electrification continues to increase, AECOM ensures that its system can meet demand.

"We are seeing the energy industry increasingly embracing digital advancements to expedite the energy transition and enhance sustainable solutions. This includes the integration of tools like digital twins, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) networks, data analysis, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles. All of these digital innovations contribute to a faster and more effective realization of net zero goals and are largely driven by the energy industry," explains Dana. 

Join talented women like Dana on innovative projects at AECOM 

AECOM women like Dana use their skills and experiences to uplift communities and improve people’s lives.

Discover the many exciting job opportunities with AECOM.


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