Mayor Tom Barrett appointed Matt Howard as the City’s Environmental Sustainability Director in June 2010. Mr. Howard is leading the City's efforts to improve the sustainability of City government operations; promote sustainability as a best practice for area businesses; and work with the community to improve and enhance the City's natural assets and overall livability. Mr. Howard currently oversees a portfolio of programs that has resulted in $134 million in private capital raised or committed; $30 million in economic activity stimulated; an 8:1 return on investment to the tax payer’s dollar; and nearly 1,400 Milwaukee homes and over 180 businesses improved. After chairing the Mayor’s Green Team and leading an 18 month long planning process, Mr. Howard published the city’s first sustainability plan in 2013 – ReFresh Milwaukee. ReFresh Milwaukee outlines a plan of action based on resident input for improving Milwaukee’s sustainability and livability over the next 10 years.
Prior to joining the City of Milwaukee, Mr. Howard spent 11 years with the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, DC working on a variety of national economic issues. Most recently, he created and ran the national Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative (SMI) for the Department that aimed to increase the competitiveness of U.S. industry through the implementation of sustainable manufacturing practices. Mr. Howard turned the SMI into an internationally recognized effort to enhance business competitiveness through implementation of sustainable business practices.
During his time at Commerce, Mr. Howard also advised Commerce's Chief Economist on the Department's first green jobs report, worked with the White House Council on Environmental Quality on implementing the Administration's Green Government directive, and engaged foreign governments and international institutions on environmental sustainability issues of mutual interest. Mr. Howard served two strategic temporary assignments at the request of the Commerce Under Secretary: advising the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) on the role of innovation in the economy and scoping out the role of PTO’s first Chief Economist; and serving on the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means in order to advise on trade and economic development issues.
Mr. Howard currently serves on the Board of Directors for the UW-Milwaukee Industrial Assessment Center and is a Steering Committee Member of Milwaukee’s Green Corridor. He was named by the Milwaukee Business Journal as a 2012 Milwaukee Regional Power Broker and a 2013 Forty Under 40 Winner as a person of influence in the region. He has a B.A. in international economic and cultural affairs from Valparaiso University and an M.A. in international economic and trade policy from The George Washington University and is a LEED accredited professional.