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A Home for Environmental Stewardship

Apr 22, 2021

My career as a professional environmental planner was already underway in 1989 when a transformative moment alerted me to what I actually wanted to be when I grew up.

That moment came at my first ever National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) conference. I was presenting on an innovative public involvement program I was supporting while working in the public sector. I was so thoroughly impressed by the other speakers and presenters in attendance, that I signed on to become a NAEP member myself. I attended their annual conference in 1990, and from there, my involvement with the organization grew.  I helped co-found NAEP’s Northwest Chapter and immediately became the chapter’s representative to the NAEP’s Board of Directors. To this day, I continue to hold leadership positions at the local and national level and have the honor of being one of only a small handful of individuals to be named a NAEP Fellow in the organization’s 46-year history. 

On this Earth Day, I wanted to celebrate and recognize the organization that has helped to shape my career by providing a home for my environmental stewardship. The NAEP has also been influential by allowing me to network with and learn from many of the industry’s key policy makers. 

NAEP is THE multidisciplinary environmental professional association “dedicated to developing the highest standards of ethics and proficiency in environmental professions.” Additionally, “NAEP members consist of public and private sector professionals who promote excellence in decision making in light of the environmental, social, and economic impacts of those decisions.” 

Over the course of my more than 35-year career, I have been involved in the environmental planning elements of high-profile transportation projects ranging from highways and bridges, to freight and passenger rail. My expertise – especially as it relates to conducting studies that meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – has been well informed thanks to my involvement with the NAEP. 
Career-changing connections I have made thanks to NAEP include, Dr. Lynton Caldwell, author of NEPA, Dan Mandelker, one of the nation’s top NEPA legal attorneys and authors, and Dinah Bear, former chief counsel for the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). These individuals, and many more, always made themselves available to me if I had questions about implementing NEPA regulations on the transportation projects I was working on. 

Thanks to this guidance, I’m able to help mentor others within the organization and at STV. I also have been called on to help shape environmental policy and have provided advice to the White House CEQ. 

With a new administration in Washington, NAEP is currently addressing several issues that are crucial to our industry and my work at STV. These include greenhouse gas emissions policy and properly addressing climate change. NAEP leadership is also closely looking at the ramifications of some new NEPA regulations issued by the Trump administration last Fall. Beyond policy, last summer, NAEP put out a very good Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) statement and DEI resources library which led to me moderating a national NAEP webinar on “Multiple Approaches for Improving DEI within the Environmental Professions.” 

The upcoming Leadership webinar I am moderating on April 29 also has a DEI focus. It will feature STV’s, Ali Mir, ENV SP, vice president and West Region Planning Director, who is serving as a speaker and is very passionate about DEI. 

Next month, I will be speaking at the NAEP 2021 Virtual Conference which is being held from May 17-20. We’re very excited about this year’s Virtual Conference as we have teamed up with the Transportation Research Board’s Committee on Environmental Analysis and Ecology to develop a great set of programming and networking opportunities.

It’s opportunities like these, and more, that grew out of that one presentation to NAEP in 1989. My long-standing involvement with the organization has certainly had a huge impact on my career and has in turn allowed me to better serve my clients, support and mentor my colleagues, and be a steward for a greener, healthier planet.  

Ron Deverman, CEP, is an STV vice president and national environmental planning leader. Based in Chicago, he is one of the country’s premier project manager for conducting studies under NEPA requirements, as well as other federal regulations. He is a Past President of NAEP and NAEP’s Illinois chapter IAEP. For more information about NAEP, visit