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We interviewed Maggie Evancho, Staff Archaeologist and co-lead of SWCA’s LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group (ERG), to discuss her environmental consulting career, important changes influenced at SWCA, and why the ERG picked transgender awareness as this year’s Pride Month theme.


Q: Hi, Maggie, thank you so much for sharing your time with us today. Would you like to start by telling us about yourself and your career?

Maggie Evancho, Staff Archaeologist out of our Tucson office.

A: I am originally from Richmond, Virginia. This summer is my 21st anniversary of living in Tucson, Arizona, where I have worked for SWCA’s Tucson office for 19 years. My partner Emily and I have 4 cats, Ziggy, Charlie, Priscilla, and Marty. I never set out to be an archaeologist, but when I moved to Tucson, I decided to go to college utilizing the Federal Pell Grant. My career focus was going to be photography, but after a prerequisite course in southwest prehistory, I was hooked. I started at SWCA’s archaeology lab cleaning artifacts, entering data, preparing collections for curation, and photographing artifacts for reports. This allowed me to find my course as a southwest archaeologist. After working as a field archaeologist for many years, in 2021 I became the archaeology lab manager for the Tucson office and the cultural resources permitting coordinator for our projects in Arizona.


Q: What does leading the LGBTQIA+ ERG mean to you? ​​​​​​

A: My role as an ERG lead has given me the opportunity to bring awareness and enact change for LGBTQIA+ employees at SWCA. It’s been really inspiring to see how many folks come to our monthly meetings. When I first learned about the ERG, I joined an ERG Pride event and realized quickly that this group was the right fit for me. Pride to me is being confident in who I am as an individual and a lesbian and being aware that it wasn’t always easy to be out and proud. The challenges I faced early in life made me who I am today.
I have had the opportunity to develop skills in leading meetings and planning agendas, working with a team to create content and communications, and improving my communication skills as an ERG co-leader. It’s been awesome meeting LGBTQIA+ folks from across the country that work for SWCA.

Maggie’s archaeology career has brought her to varied landscapes throughout the country. (pictured here L-R, North Dakota, Tucson, and Wyoming).


Q: How has the group influenced change at SWCA? 

A: We worked to successfully have honorifics removed from SWCA materials and are proud of SWCA being a leader in how our industry deals with honorifics. We hosted a conversation with a crisis counselor volunteer from the Trevor Project for Pride 2022 and for Pride 2023 we hosted a companywide panel focused on the transgender community, both events were well-attended, and I think folks really got a lot out of them. We continue to be a safe space and resource where new (and existing) employees can find comradery and community.


Q: What goals are you focused on now?

A: We continue to focus on making sure that new and existing employees know that our ERG exists and is a resource for them. We encourage anyone that is interested in joining the LGBTQIA+ ERG to reach out and join us!


Q: As #OneSWCA, how can we be supportive allies to LGBTQIA+ colleagues? 

To be a supportive ally, it’s important to remember that cisgendered and heteronormative people don’t experience the world in the same ways that members of our LGBTQIA+ community do. Traveling to small towns or being alone in the field can be an uncomfortable experience. It’s important for coworkers to be supportive allies, and for project managers and leadership to be sensitive and aware of this reality.


Q: Share your personal connections to the transgender community and explain why affirming and supporting individuals’ rights to live authentically is crucial to you.

Having watched many friends transition over the years, supporting the transgender community is personally important to me because I believe that all people should be free to live their authentic truth. Given the current political climate across our country it is more important than ever to stand up for our transgender colleagues and community. There have been unprecedented attacks on trans folks’ rights and their ability to access gender affirming care, play sports, use restrooms, and in some places even be open about their identity.

I am proud to work for an employer who chooses to support their LGBTQIA+ staff, and value my role as co-lead for the LGBTQIA+ ERG and the work we do to create change and offer a safe space for transgender folks as well as family and friends of trans people.