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Thomas Karston

Ph.D., Lead Financial Analyst

Thomas Karston

Dr. Karston has over 25 years of practicing applied public sector financial analysis and project appraisal work, including for the US federal government, the State of Washington and the Province of British Columbia. He leads all financial and market analysis at Vikek. His experience includes conducting rates studies, benefit-cost evaluation and project financial performance of new programs. 

He has previously served as an economics professor for six years at Ohio Wesleyan and Western Washington Universities, teaching economics and public finance. He also served as a vice president in the finance division of First Interstate Bank of Washington, where he managed the financial analysis group, responsible for budgeting, forecasting, evaluating new programs and risk management. Later as director of capital budgeting for the province of British Columbia, he was responsible for advising senior elected ministers of the government on the allocation about $2 billion per year in new infrastructure projects, regarding almost all areas of government, such as environmental management, highways, schools, hospitals and criminal justice.

Relevant Project Experience

Financial Performance Management System, King County SWD, DNRP, WA: 2010 -2012 

Developed a set of financial metrics for solid waste division operations, based on hard data regularly produced by the organization, and which has not been used by senior management since it was implemented in 2012. A summary of the system was published in the leading trade journal for solid waste administrators: Measuring Up. MSW Management, April 2010. A practical approach to performance measurement in an Enterprise Fund, adjusting for costs that senior management cannot control. http://www.mswmanagement.com/may-2010/waste-management-financial.aspx

Solid Waste Transfer and Waste Export Plan, King County SWD, DNRP, WA, WA: 2007- 2011

This plan provided the blueprint for the future of the County’s solid waste management system and provided recommendations that will guide the County as it prepared for the solid waste system for waste export. After many internal studies and interaction with external advisory committees, won approval for a major rebuilding of its four largest transfer stations. This was to be financed entirely by bond funding, and for this purpose Dr. Karston developed a 9-year debt structuring program, which optimized the funds required with the construction timing, and which was very well received by the Division’s outside advisory committees. This approach included the use of “short term bond anticipation notes”, which ended up saving the Division about 4 million dollars in the first two years of the construction program.  The system developed for this purpose was also published in the leading trade journal for solid waste administrators: How to Save Substantial Interest Expense. MSW Management, Nov/Dec 2011.  Explains the merits and mechanics of using short-term Bond Anticipation Notes in a steep yield curve environment. http://www.mswmanagement.com/november-december-2011/management-interest-expense.aspx.

Selected publications and studies

Karston, Thomas, (2010). Measuring Up. A practical approach to performance measurement in an Enterprise Fund, adjusting for costs that senior management cannot control.  MSW Management, April 2010. 

Karston, Thomas, (2008). Can You Afford to Recycle? An analysis of the high value of MRF activity at urban transfer stations, and the financial consequences for recycling as it affects the timing of transition from landfills to external rail exporting. MSW Management.

Karston, Thomas, (2007). A Practical Solid Waste Rate Development Model, Description of a set of economic and financial models developed to optimize the rate-setting process, and results, for public or private solid waste management organizations in North America, and in virtually any cultural or economic setting, MSW Management July 2007 [lead article].

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