Congratulations to Jonathan Libbon, a senior cultural resources team lead out of our Pittsburgh office, on being named the Lawrence S. Semo Award winner for the second quarter of 2023.
Joining SWCA in 2017, Jon has played a pivotal role in the ongoing triumph of cultural resources within the MWNE Region and the success of SWCA’s Pittsburgh office. With his dedication and commitment to our core values, Jon represents the essence of SWCA’s principles through his willingness to do what is best for our clients, employees, and projects.
Scientific excellence and leadership
An archaeologist by trade, Jon also has experience working with historic buildings and structures, as well as coordinating legal aspects of Section 106. Having spent much of his childhood wandering around the woods at his family’s cabin in northwestern Pennsylvania, Jon developed a keen sense for outdoor work and love for exploration and discovery. He also gained a passion for reading from his mother who was a librarian. “When I found archaeology, it seemed to combine both interests – books and outdoor exploration,” said Jon.
One of Jon’s favorite SWCA projects was working on the Edgecombe Solar Project in North Carolina. Jon and his team had the opportunity to offer a new service line to a developer on an antebellum plantation in eastern North Carolina. “We found archaeological evidence of the antebellum occupation. The opportunity to engage and interact with so much history from a wide period and learn about the experiences of people from that time completely blew my mind,” said Jon.
Jon is always committed to delivering the best project solutions, prioritizing client satisfaction, and upholding regulatory compliance.
One of Jon’s career highlights includes contributing to interesting projects that take him out of his comfort zone all over the country and collaborating with scientists at SWCA. He and his team participate in a monthly meeting where they discuss current and upcoming projects, regional efforts, and challenges they may be facing. “It’s a great time to connect with my peers and it’s something I really look forward to,” said Jon.
Jon embraces continuous learning, readily adapting to new State Historic Preservation Office requirements in diverse geographies and collaborating across offices to help build cultural resources teams by sharing project work and expertise.
Jon’s advice to those pursuing a technical career track is: “Consulting gives you a wonderful opportunity to be a generalist. Take advantage of that. We do not get to choose where our projects are, so we adapt and learn about new regions, cultures, and methodologies. Take advantage of those opportunities and expand your skillset as much as you can. Additionally, get involved with professional societies. The research and opportunities that come out of engaging with scientific organizations have greatly advanced my technical aptitude, and I’m sure will do the same for you.”
The quarterly Lawrence S. Semo Scientific Achievement Award rewards individuals for demonstrating passion, creativity, and scientific excellence in a manner that advances SWCA’s purpose, mission, vision, and values. The award is in honor of Larry Semo, who began working as a biologist for SWCA in Austin in 1993 and transferred to Denver in 1999. A respected and widely published ornithologist and all-around naturalist, Larry had an insatiable desire to learn and a great love for the outdoors until his untimely passing in 2011.