Director of Sustainability at HDR: Michaella Wittmann

Michaella Wittmann is the Director of Sustainability for HDR and leads the Office of Sustainability, which oversees the integration of sustainability into HDR’s projects, as well as our own day-to-day business practices. She is A LEED Fellow and Envision Sustainability Professional.

Michaella Wittmann – Commitment & Contributions

Michaella grew up in Omaha and had a passion for the environment and specifically the ocean very early.  She was encouraged by her dad to pursue engineering and marine science did so at the University of San Diego.  After college Michaella did some informational interviews, one with HDR where she is today.

Influential Mentors

Michaella has had many mentors, one that stood out is Ray Anderson, the founder of Interface Carpet.  He changed his whole company and set aggressive sustainability goals. He would give career and career advancement advice.  Michaella took to heart a lot of the things he did and said.

“I have many mentors as you might imagine, some of them were well known.” – Michaella Wittmann

Proudest Achievements

Michaella is has fond memories of and is very proud of the Pentagon project.  HDR was responsible for the underground extension to the Pentagon that was the remote delivery facility. It was a LEED pilot project.  There was a second project on the Metro Entrance Facility that Michaella has personal memories from 9/11 and had the honor of being part of the team that rebuilt that ledge in a years time.  

“I was humbled and honored to be a part of that institution and sustainability very early on..” – Michaella Wittmann

Inspiration and What’s Next?

HDR has an annual sustainability summit and they invite outside speaker in and they had a local coffee roaster who is setting some aggressive zero waste goals among other inspiring points.  Michaella also pointed to other games created by staff helped jazz up the employees of HDR to think outside the box.

“Absolutely looking outside the architecture engineer community often brings ideas we wouldn’t have thought of.” – Michaella Wittmann


Think outside the box, read opinions other than your own, go to conferences and ask people that are doing things in the industry that are really cool.  Connect with people and look for opportunities.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge things you are told and challenge yourself.”-Michaella Wittmann

Michaella suggests the following books:

There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk

To hear more about Michaella’s journey, download and listen to the episode!

Learn more about Michaella Wittmann:


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