Strengthening communication and stakeholder relationships to meet strategic objectives and regulatory requirements
Engaging and communicating with stakeholders proactively is more critical than ever before. Agencies and project proponents must navigate shifting regulatory requirements and public expectations for stakeholder involvement in their projects. Identifying and addressing risks before they arise is increasingly important.
SWCA has helped clients develop, manage, and implement stakeholder engagement and strategic communications strategies for decades. We provide a full-service offering for all types of clients and every stage of the project lifecycle. Our approach centers on building trust, credibility, and respect between stakeholders and our clients through meaningful engagement and clear communication. We help clients involve stakeholders in the process and incorporate stakeholder issues, concerns, and expectations into project design, planning, and decision making.
Our clients benefit from a team of experienced professional communicators and facilitators with the following skills and capabilities:
- Managing challenging stakeholder relationships and engaging vulnerable communities
- Science communication knowledge and training
- Deep understanding of federal and state regulatory processes (NEPA, CEQA, ESA, NHPA, etc.)
- Custom technology solutions including collaborative mapping, interactive web meetings, virtual open house platform, and 360 visualizations
- Seamless integration with experts and teams across SWCA’s other services
20+Experience in 20+ States
50+Virtual Public Meetings Since 2020
65Local specialists in 21 offices
Public Involvement and Stakeholder Engagement
From infrastructure development to environmental planning, poorly managed stakeholder relationships create risk for projects. “Non-technical risks” are increasingly prevalent and impactful, creating schedule delays, increasing costs, and derailing projects. We support effective stakeholder engagement across the full project lifecycle.
Achieving strategic communication objectives means delivering the right messages to the right audiences through the most advantageous means. We support clients in developing and implementing communications strategies that align with and support their broader organizational goals and objectives.
We are trained in multi-stakeholder facilitation, environmental conflict resolution, and process design for virtual and in-person settings. SWCA facilitators pay attention to and manage dynamics that are often overlooked, help clients anticipate and head off potential risks, and free other team members up to focus on their primary roles. We are deeply experienced in third-party/neutral facilitation that supports meaningful input, constructive dialogue, and collaborative decision-making.
We provide state of the art technology and mapping tools to support outreach and education, interactive web meetings, public input, collaborative planning, and implementation tracking. We help clients select the right technology for their collaboration needs and build on existing templates to create customized tools for each project.
Relevant Case Studies
WHERE THE WATER GOES: PLANNING RESILIENT COASTAL COMMUNITIES IN NORTH CAROLINA
The coastal regions of North Carolina offer thousands of miles of scenic waterfront. Yet, due to the increasing impacts of climate change, these very waterways threaten the livelihood of a coastline dotted with historic towns and millions of residents. Coastal communities are facing intensifying storms, rising sea levels, and high flood risk.
City of Corona Community Wildfire Protection Plan
In July 2021, SWCA released a story map to engage the public in the ongoing Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) process for the City of Corona. The CWPP identifies priority areas where mitigation measures are needed to protect the city from irreplaceable life, property, and critical infrastructure losses because of wildfire.
I THINK WE ALL CAN AGREE: USING ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION TECHNIQUES AT FORT DOUGLAS, UTAH
Environmental conflicts are among the most challenging of public policy disputes. A complex set of differing interests and many stakeholders complicate decision-making and project implementation. Such disputes may arise in regional or national policy debates, during planning and permitting of specific projects, or when facing site specific compliance and enforcement issues.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Community Wildfire Protection Plan
The 2022 Kenai Peninsula Borough (KPB) Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) update provides a peninsula-wide scale of wildfire risk and protection needs, brings together all responsible wildfire management and suppression entities in the planning area to address identified needs, and provides a framework for future planning and implementation of necessary mitigation measures. This CWPP aims to assist in protecting human life and reducing property loss due to wildfire throughout the KPB. This 2022 updated plan was compiled from reports, documents, data, and the original 17 community-level CWPPs produced between 2006 and 2009, as KPB’s first peninsula-wide CWPP.
A TALE OF TWO RIVERS
Rivers are the arteries of our earth’s landscape. Nothing matches a river’s abilities to connect our places and spaces and sustain life in, alongside, and even miles away from its course. How do we manage rivers as functioning, sustainable ecosystems while still supporting human needs? It’s a complicated question without easy answers. One approach is to develop comprehensive management plans (CMPs) that guide land managers and the public. SWCA recently had the opportunity to develop CMPs for segments of two of the West’s most important rivers—the Green and the Colorado.
Meet the Experts
Mark has nearly two decades of experience in public outreach and stakeholder engagement. His expertise in technical planning and facilitation allow him to distill complex topics for a range of audiences and to conduct meaningful outreach in support of project objectives.
Meg is a facilitator and stakeholder engagement specialist with 12 years of experience supporting engagement and collaborative decision-making for a wide range of environmental challenges across the U.S.
Rolf has more than 30 years of public affairs experience in both the public and private sectors, first as an advisor to federal and state local officials and then in public relations for a utility. Consulting since 2008, he has worked on energy infrastructure projects across the U.S.
Sarah has more than 17 years of experience in strategic and conservation planning and has led stakeholder engagement for NEPA and Section 106 consultation. An award-winning presenter, she’s taught hundreds of scientists to write and present more effectively.