The new sustainability manager for the city of Columbia was announced in a Tuesday release. Eric Hempel started July 26.

Barbara Buffaloe, who formerly held the position, was hired to be the city’s first sustainability manager in 2010. She held the role for 11 years before leaving in May.

Buffaloe left to be more available to her parents, as the pandemic made it harder to visit them, the Missourian has reported. Since her announcement, the city has been looking for someone to become the new sustainability manager.

Hempel has worked for the city since 2012, according to the release. He worked as a housing specialist, energy educator and environmental program coordinator.

Before working for the city, Hempel worked as an energy auditor at Central Missouri Community Action and as an environmental specialist for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Hempel is now responsible for implementing the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, which Buffaloe helped create. He will also direct short-term and long-range plans and prepare the sustainability office's annual budget based on the city's goals and growth objectives.

  • My name is Gracie Smith. I'm a reporter at the Missourian, studying photojournalism. Call me in the newsroom at (573) 882 5720.

  • Molly Hart is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. She has previously reported on state government. She can be reached at

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