Written by:
Elaine Genest

Tareq Fayyad

Owner, Trillium Sustainability

Education and Community Outreach Program Manager, Dirt Corps


Tareq uses their expertise to help people and organizations adopt more sustainable practices and facilitates job training for people interested in pursuing green careers.

Q: Describe the personal and professional experience that led you to your current role.

A: Before transitioning to the environmental field, I worked in telecommunications for twelve years. I was drawn to environmental work and decided it was time to make a change toward a more fulfilling career that would allow me to make a positive impact on the climate crisis. Even though my background is in tech, I realized I wanted to put my skills and interests towards a larger goal that aligns with my passions.

Since I had no prior experience, I started volunteering outdoors and working in my own yard to gauge if this kind of work was a fit for me. Eventually, I decided to take the next step to continue building experience and translate it into a career. I joined a training program offered by Dirt Corps, a Seattle-based organization that creates access to green careers for all people, working towards a healthy environment, engaged communities, and a sustainable economy in the region.

Now, I’m an instructor for that same program. Every week, we focus on a new subject or a theme so students can be exposed to different projects or types of work they can do. The goal is to help them get practical experience and discover new job possibilities in the green sector. I also run a venture called Trillium Sustainability (Trillium), where I consult with people and organizations about how we can change the culture of consumption and heal our relationship with land and environment.

Tareq leading a nature walk through Seward Park in Seattle, WA.

Photograph courtesy of Hannah Letinich

Q: What does the day-to-day work of your position look like?

A: My role at Dirt Corps is multifaceted. I facilitate community outreach events and build community around urban forest stewardship. A significant part of my job is focused on educating and empowering individuals through practical, hands-on experiences in the field, which not only develops their skills but also fosters a deeper understanding and commitment to environmental sustainability.

With Trillium, I help clients become more environmentally aware and offer practical solutions to help them cultivate mindfulness around consumption in their daily lives. My work involves creating and sharing educational content across social media and blogs and working directly with clients to conduct environmental impact assessments and create customized sustainability plans. This could mean helping them design a yard that’s inviting to wildlife or giving them ideas to reduce their plastic consumption.

“Being part of a community of like-minded people is huge! It feels like I’m working with my friends every day, even though I might be meeting someone for the first time.”

– Tareq Fayyad

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: The most rewarding aspect is the direct community engagement and the opportunity to educate and empower people to engage with environmental sustainability—either through a green job or in the way they live at home. Being part of a community of like-minded people is huge! It feels like I’m working with my friends every day, even though I might be meeting someone for the first time.

Seeing my impact in real-time, especially when conducting workshops or planting trees, also brings a sense of fulfillment. I enjoy the blend of outdoor activities and strategic planning across both of my jobs.

Q: What do you find most challenging about your job?

A: The most challenging aspect for me is navigating the financial realities of working in the environmental sector. Despite the critical importance of this work, it often comes with the challenge of being underpaid. Working for an employer on the side allows me to stay in the field by supplementing my income. Although I hope green jobs command the level of pay that better aligns with the value they provide to our community, taking an entrepreneurial approach is the path I chose to fill the gap. Luckily, It helped me get more aligned with my purpose and to come up with a unique and much-needed offering.

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© Kevin Arnold