31. Sadhu Johnston

Acting City Manager

31-Age: 41 | 2014: #14Now that Vancouver’s bureaucratic overlord, Penny Ballem, has left the building, Johnston—hired from Richard Daley’s Chicago administration in 2009 to drive Mayor Gregor Robertson’s green agenda here—is at the helm as acting city manager.While Ballem handled the high-profile political and money files, Johnston tackled the longer-term projects: managing the city’s emergency-response plan; overseeing the overall infrastructure plan; and, of course, transforming Vancouver into the greenest city in the universe. That won’t be achieved solely through idealism and policy; it starts with understanding the business case for new environmental standards and innovations.Johnston—a woodworking aficionado who hand-crafted his own canoe—is the go-to guy for companies scouting Vancouver for a place to pilot new products and projects because he understands both the theory and the practice. His name isn’t widely known in the city, but in the global green-cities movement he’s viewed as an influencer. And though he has said that he doesn’t want the city manager post, he wouldn’t be the first acting executive who grew into the permanent gig.

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