Judith Grunau

WASH Grant Manager
Joined EMI: May 2021

Professional Training & Experience

  • Bachelor of Architecture | Virginia Tech | 2000
  • Legacy LEED AP BD+C
  • Cold Regions Engineering Course | University of Washington | 2009

Judith’s first day of work after graduating from Virginia Tech’s school of Architecture, she held a surveyor’s rod on a small plot of land south of New Dehli, India as an intern for EMI’s office there. In the 20+ years since, Judith has designed and managed healthcare, elderly care, commercial, educational, and residential projects in Virginia and Alaska.

Since moving to Alaska in 2008, her main area of focus has been designing healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate housing, primarily for Alaska’s rural Indigenous communities through her work at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center. On her last day of work, before taking a break to raise children, she was wrapped in her parka on the back of a snow machine crossing the frozen river between the Village of Newtok and their new relocation site, Merktarvik.

Five years and one pandemic later, she continues to build relationships across Alaskan communities as EMI’s WASH Grants Manager where she oversees and develops WASH projects performed with Indigineous communities and partner organizations.


Judith lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her husband, Bruno, who she met while Appalachian Clogging in Virginia. They live with their awesome children, Annabelle (2012), Russell (2015), and their Mackenzie River husky, Sable (2017), in the net-zero ready house they designed. They love the place they live and try to get out and enjoy it in every season and squeeze in all the traditional Appalachian music playing they can between adventuring.