Since 1993, Vern has specialized in innovative approaches to project facilitation, internet collaboration and non-traditional approaches to planning and governance issues.
He has a 20-year history of working with a variety of environmental and natural resource statutes, regulations, and programs and the experience of designing and delivering over 1,000 electronic sessions with a wide range of public, private and military leadership teams.
Vern has worked extensively on collaborative approaches to national environmental and resource issues. His clients include The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries, Law Engineering and
Environmental, National Marine Manufacturer’s Association, B.A.S.S., The Centers for Disease Control, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Outdoor Technology Group and state resource Agencies in Oregon, South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana.
Additional corporate experience includes project work with The Centers for Disease Control, Randstad North America Andersen Consulting, BellSouth, NASA, Emory University, Olin Corporation, Kinko’s, Deloitte & Touche, The U.S. Air Force, Turner Broadcasting, and Chick-Fil-A.
Vern is a 1979 Management graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative
April 2013 to present
Provided consulting and facilitation for development of a 3-5 year work plan involving multiple government agencies and private landowners
Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative
April 2012 to Present
Provided design and delivery of a multi-stakeholder, multi-agency strategic planning process for AppLCC resulting in a 3-5 year work plan.
USFWS National Refuge System Inventory & Monitoring Work Plan
Designed and facilitated a collaborative planning process that involved to identify and sequence priorities and dependencies for a first of its kind 5-7 year Inventory and Monitoring work plan.
National Parks Service, U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution
Public Meetings: Coronado National Forest Transportation Planning
Provided process design and a portable interactive decision support network enabling a Citizen’s Advisory Team and a wide variety of stakeholder groups to capture comments on more than 700 proposed road closure alternatives. Highly polarized team feedback was effectively managed using innovative audience response and decision support technology.
U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution: Technology Pilot Project
Designed and delivered a successful pilot project for including remote participants in the National Landscape Conservation Cooperative conference in Denver, CO. Lessons learned have been applied to a variety of LCCs and ECR activities to enable more effective collaboration and participation where participants and stakeholders face travel restrictions.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution
South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative Strategic Planning
September 2011 to Present
Provided design and delivery of a multi-stakeholder, multi-agency strategic planning process for SALCC. The plan was recognized by the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution with an award for effective use of technology for community and stakeholder engagement enabling a high level of transparency, openness and support for process outcomes.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
Strategic Planning, Agency Redesign, Employee Development
August 2010 to Present
Designed and delivered a strategic planning initiative for a 4,5000 person State Agency that included unprecedented levels of participation from front line employees and identification of quick wins to the Executive Committee. The process leveraged online surveys to capture baseline attitudes, values and concerns from employees. Key themes were then extracted and presented in a series of regional listening and validation steps to employees and managers. Participants could speak freely and anonymously using decision support tools, so key information got to the leadership team quickly and unfiltered. The plan was recognized by the Governor for its focus on employee development.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, & Flint River Public Scoping for Water Manual Revision
September 2009 to January 2010
Provided design, project management and facilitation for a public scoping process for updating the master water control manual and individual water plans on the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint river basins.
Key elements include facilitation of community scoping meetings maintenance of a project web portal for information sharing, public comment collection and analysis and use of portable decision support tools for effective capture of comments at public scoping meetings. Over 2,200 comments were received and categorized in this process.
The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions
Public Health Effects of Drought Guide Development
February 2009 to December 2009
Provided process design and facilitation for a multidisciplinary team of over 40 public health decision makers, stakeholders and academics tasked with producing the raw material for the first document of its kind documenting the public health effects of drought.
Provided a project website for password-protected comment on a draft document by workshop participants and invited guests and a portable decision support network that enabled participants to enter comments simultaneously and anonymously dramatically improving the productivity of team writing sessions and enabling a wide range of subject matter expertise to be captured in the finished product.
Florida Manatee Forum
July 2004 to present
Provide process, governance structure and facilitation for regular meetings of organizations most concerned with management and protection of the Florida manatee.
The process has fostered meaningful exchange of perspectives between stakeholders and the agencies charged with federal manatee protection. It has identified and helped correct conflicts between federal and state species protection efforts and provided a central avenue for airing regulatory questions and grievances. Members have reached consensus on a series of consensus on research and monitoring priorities.
While world peace has not broken out, regular communication has reduced misunderstandings between agencies and stakeholders and identified areas of shared concern.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Mississippi Coastal Improvements Project
March 2005 to December 2009
Provided design and facilitation for community meetings across the Mississippi gulf coast to establish scoping preferences for coastal restoration and recovery alternatives.
Designed, deployed and supported a project web portal for updates and comment capture from the general public as well as provided a portable decision support network for effective capture of public comments at over 40 public and technical advisory meetings across the coast. Users reported a high level of satisfaction and belief their comments had been captured accurately and effectively leading to greater confidence in process recommendations.
Over 2,000 stakeholders have participated in this highly interactive process. The process was recognized by the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution with an award for Best Use of Technology for Stakeholder Involvement.
Auburn University, Southern Company
R.L. Harris Dam and Tallapoosa River Adaptive Management Project
May 2000 to present
Provided design, governance structure and facilitation for adaptive management of the Tallapoosa River below R.L. Harris dam. Interactive technology was used effectively to capture stakeholder values and priorities to form a well-understood and well-supported governance foundation for the process.
The process includes lake property owners, scientists, power company managers and river users to address common (and conflicting) concerns of lake and river stakeholders in dam management.
A collaborative approach has been ratified that will rely on data and modeling from this research, and new data as it becomes available, to support change requests for dam operations.
Tennessee Valley Authority
Reservoir Operations Studies
May 2000 to October 2004
|Facilitated public meetings across all watersheds in the TVA system to rate citizen & stakeholder preference for 7 operational plans options. Over 1800 individuals participated in this process.Designed and delivered a project web portal to capture and categorize all comments for preparation of an environmental impact statement. Facilitated public scoping meetings across 21 watersheds in the TVA system to determine stakeholder perceptions of recreation as a priority in managing river operations. Real-time audience polling and decision support tools were leveraged to enable full and free participation of stakeholders at public scoping sessions.The meetings dealt with a high level of suspicious and distrust among many local residents. Dominant personalities attending many public meetings needed to be managed with finesse. A means of effectively capturing input from large numbers of participants was developed that lead to positive ratings by over 95% of session attendees.|
|Texas Parks & WildlifeGovernor’s Future of Hunting StudyJanuary 2002 to May 2002
Facilitated a statewide process of community meetings, web-based surveys, stakeholder meetings to understand citizen issues and perceptions. Online surveys, real-time audience polling and portable decision support tools enabled public meetings to rapidly capture citizen issues and priorities. Over 1,500 stakeholders participated. Key themes were used to develop a strategic plan for the future of hunting in Texas.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service/Bass Anglers & Sportfishing Society
Sportfishing & Boating Partnership Council
May 1994 to December 1998
Facing threats the Clean Water Act, B.A.S.S. took an highly unconventional approach: they invited members of the conservation community they had never spoken to their annual meeting to consider potential common legislative action. Group Solutions facilitated a breakthrough dialogue that ultimately linked over 7,000,000 conservations and anglers in support of the CWA. A portable decision support network enabled a diverse group of stakeholders to idea generate simultaneously and anonymously helping them focus on solutions…not personalities in the room.
The success of this collaboration lead to formation of the sportfishing & boating partnership council and the recreational boating and fishing foundation which has raised over $70 million to promote the “Take Me Fishing” program nationally.