collin buckner

Emergency Response Planner

We are happy to announce that Collin Buckner has joined our Emergency Preparedness team as an Emergency Response Planner! As a former TED Talk participant, we feel confident he will be an excellent presenter! Collin relocated to Massachusetts from Mobile, Alabama where he worked as an NOAA contractor supporting the NOAA Disaster Preparedness Program in preparedness, training, research, and response efforts while seated at NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center. 

Prior to working in Alabama, Collin spent nearly a year on Cape Cod as part of the Barnstable County AmeriCorps working with the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREP) and the Town of Falmouth Marine and Environmental Services. Little did he know that meeting Carl Simons, Senior Emergency Response Manager with HW, during his time with BCREP would lead to a planner opportunity at HW!

Collin earned a B.A. in Integrated Studies from Miami University in Ohio. His work will be primarily supporting our Emergency Preparedness team with water security projects.

When Collin is not working, he enjoys exercising in the gym, trail running, riding his bike along the Cape Cod Canal or Cape Cod Rail Trail, hanging out with his dog Arlen and reading Malcolm Gladwell! Welcome, Collin!

 

Brian graves

GIS Manager

We are thrilled to have a new GIS guru on board and are equally enthusiastic about adding another Brian to the team (this brings us up to five!)  Brian earned a B.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Conservation from UMass, Amherst, and is currently working on a M.S. in User-Centered Design, from Brandeis University. Brian’s technical expertise in GIS, photography, graphics, mushroom inoculation, and permaculture is sure to be popular with staff and clients.

Brian grew up sailing in Buzzards Bay and likes to spend his free time on the water and relaxing with his family (three daughters) and his dog Shelley, a Cavalier King Charles, and their nine chickens! Welcome, Brian – we are delighted that you have joined the team!

 

  

 

veronica seward-aponte, e.i.t.

Environmental Engineer

Veronica Seward-Aponte has joined our environmental site assessment and remediation team as an Environmental Engineer. A recent Carnegie Mellon University graduate, Veronica earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 2019 and soon after, a M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, with a concentration in Climate Change Adaptation. Her experience mapping wildfires in California, building hydrological rain garden models in NYC, evaluating plastic bag environmental impacts, and creating carbon footprint trackers make her an ideal HW’er!  

Veronica is already busy working in the field collecting soil and groundwater samples and conducting site assessments of properties to determine if there are any hazardous materials concerns that could impact future development. When she is not working, Veronica can be found watching her favorite EPL football (soccer) team Manchester United or playing billiards. During her time at college, she taught a student course for the Pool Club and is also a tournament champion! Veronica is glad she convinced her 18-year-old cat, Goody to make the cross-country trip to the east coast as she is a warm and welcome reminder of home, and an excellent remote office companion.

  

 

jeff polidor

Survey, GIS Technician

Jeff started out with HW as an intern with our survey and engineering group over a year ago! Today we are happy to announce that he has joined our survey team full-time as a Survey-GIS technician working mainly out of our Sandwich, MA office.

Jeff earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science in 2020 from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has a Certificate in Geographical Information Sciences and Technology. His technical experience as a Geographic Data Analyst and Web Developer will be valuable to both our staff and clients. He looks forward to using spatial data to make positive environmental and socioeconomic changes. In his spare time, Jeff enjoys playing guitar in his band and seeing other groups perform live!

Welcome Jeff to HW!

  

 

lena porell

Staff Planner

Lena Porell has joined our planning team as a Staff Planner. Lena has a Master of Science Degree in Urban Planning with a concentration in Community Development and Affordable Housing from the University of Arizona. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Studies, with a concentration in International Development and Education with a regional specialization in Africa from American University. Lena has experience with community engagement, graphic design, and GIS. She is currently working on the Reading Open Space Recreation Plan. In her spare time, Lena enjoys hiking, biking, and basically anything that will get her outside! She also loves to experiment with film photography and watercolor painting.

Welcome, Lena to the Providence, planning team!

  

 

green stormwater infrastructure

For Boston Parks & Recreation Department

 

Introduction

HW and our teaming partner, Brown Richardson and Rowe, are honored to have collaborated with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD) on the creation of the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Design and Implementation Guide. This team effort included invaluable contributions from the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) and the Trust for Public Land (TPL). We thank BPRD staff for their time, resources, and dedication to this document.

 

GSI in Boston Parks

Considered the city’s first GSI project, Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace park system passes through many Boston neighborhoods. Olmsted’s brilliant stormwater management system has connected people to nature for over 100 years and serves as a prime example of the importance of incorporating GSI into parks and vice versa.

The types of properties managed by the BPRD are diverse and vary by scale, use, age, and surrounding contexts and communities. They also represent many things to those communities such as places to gather, play, exercise, recreate, and connect with nature. Such an assorted set of public spaces creates challenges as well as opportunities to create multi-functional parks.

 

5-Steps to a multi-functional park

Based upon information gathered from other municipal agencies throughout the country, the Guide uses a five-step process to assist BPRD staff, partnering city agencies, and park consultants, with the design, implementation, and maintenance of GSI. This will create more resilient, multi-functional parks that maximize benefits to park users and the environment.  

Key steps that help accomplish this goal include: defining and re-defining GSI objectives, identifying the park contexts, understanding the site and the benefits and maintenance requirements of various GSI practices, and leveraging partnerships.

 
 
Collaborative Process

We worked closely with BPRD staff, using information from BWSC and TPL, to prioritize GSI implementation in parks in every neighborhood.  GSI can help reach city-wide environmental and equity goals by improving climate resiliency and livability and health through promoting rainwater reuse and recharge, adapting to increased flooding, reducing urban heat islands, connecting people to nature, increasing green spaces, and improving drainage, water and air quality, and habitat value in parks all over Boston!

 

Click here for an example of a practice page outlining considerations for designing GSI in parks.

  

  

  

 

 

 

HW Providence wins cnu charter award

 

The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) has awarded Horsley Witten Group, a Charter Award for A Strategic Vision for Panama City’s Historic Downtown and its Waterfront.

The Strategic Vision is a community plan which will direct future growth while also preserving the city’s history, culture, natural, and built assets. The project is part of the recovery from Hurricane Michael, which devastated the city in 2018. Ten cornerstone ideas span infrastructure, mobility, economic development, sustainability, and quality of life objectives.

HW staff led the resilient infrastructure plan elements, including coastal adaptability planning, sustainable urban design, and green stormwater infrastructure. Congratulations Jon Ford, P.E. and Ellen Biegert, RLA!

Learn more about the project here.

 

Project Partners: Dover, Kohl & Partners (lead), City of Panama City, Hagerty Consulting, Hall Planning & Engineering, Partners for Economic Solutions.

  Before and After: Homes Facing McKenzie Park

  Before and After: Harrison Avenue

Before and After: Harrison Avenue

  

 
 

All graphics by Dover, Kohl & Partners 

improving water quality in our local community

Town of Sandwich, MA

Rich Claytor, P.E., President and Sam Jensen, P.E., Engineer for the Town of Sandwich were featured in an August 11 U.S. EPA Soak Up the Rain New England Series webinar entitled Clean Water on the Cape: Green Infrastructure in Sandwich and Yarmouth, MA.

The goal of the Sandwich project is to reclassify the harbor as fully approved for shellfishing. To achieve this, the Town and HW staff launched a multi-year Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration effort funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and CPR FY19 and FY20 grants.

The project led to the design, permitting, and installation of multiple bioretention and linear swale systems along the Town Neck Beach parking lot and Boardwalk Road, as well as three underground infiltration chambers, and four porous pavement and sand filter systems in the surrounding neighborhoods. These stormwater systems not only target bacteria in stormwater runoff from nearby parking lots, roads, and driveways, but also treat nitrogen and other stormwater pollutants, and reduce flooding.

EPA’s Soak Up the Rain is a stormwater public outreach and education program to raise awareness about the costly impacts of polluted stormwater runoff and encourage compliance with stormwater rules and requirements through nature-based solutions such as green infrastructure and low impact development.

Project Partners & Funding: Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project, Town of Sandwich, USDA, CZM, Cape Cod Conservation District, State of MA

Image provided by USGS

 Image provided by USGS

   Image provided by USGS

  

 

landscape Architect

Providence, RI

2020 Blog post by Jonathan Ford, P.E., Sr. Engineer
Nathan Kelly, AICP, Principal

“Landscape architecture is not just one thing in particular, it’s a little bit of everything. You need to be thinking about people, nature, art, creativity, and design.”

Ellen’s been working with our team for about a year now and we’ve been sharing office space in  Providence since day 1—now we are working from home in adjacent Providence neighborhoods.  We’ve collaborated on a  range of design projects, and we are struck by her remarkable versatility, the inquisitive nature of her approach to her work, and her creative talents as a designer.

Her contributions have included conceptual design at various scales of community building and landscape architecture, illustrations for regulatory documents, detailed site grading, and drainage design, and more. Over the course of the year, Ellen has been able to transition effortlessly between projects focused on landscape design, civil engineering, and regulatory reform. We appreciate her ability to effectively (and cheerfully!) communicate with colleagues and clients.

With all this versatility, Ellen’s training and passion lie in the field of landscape architecture. Her passion for the work doesn’t stem from just one aspect, but the mix of elements that go into designing special places. As she explains, “Landscape architecture is not just one thing, in particular, it’s a little bit of everything. You need to be thinking about people, nature, art, creativity, and design.” This eyes-wide-open inquisitive approach to landscape design has proven valuable and equips Ellen with the background and information needed to produce effective and unique design results.

One of Ellen’s talents that made us particularly excited to bring her on board is her talent in visual arts. Ellen is an accomplished illustrator and artist, with drawings that range from traditional landscapes to fantastic creatures to complex statements about our relationship with nature. Her creativity and ability to communicate through drawing quickly and confidently, layered with the more analytical component of landscape architecture, gives her work its own signature.

Another important source of inspiration for Ellen is her connection with nature and wild places. Having hiked the entirety of the Appalachian Trail, Ellen is no stranger to the outdoors and feels these sorts of experiences are incredibly important to our lives. Her work reflects a respect for natural processes and the idea that, in the work of landscape architecture, no space is truly designed outside of nature.

Like many of us at HW, Ellen likes the diversity of work we take on and is attracted to “interesting challenges.” In Chattanooga, where we partnered with Dover Kohl to create a master plan for a 112-acre brownfield site on the banks of the Tennessee River, Ellen helped design parks and open spaces for the new neighborhoods. She also assisted with adding stormwater management best practices and helped to create a system of urban eco-canals. The project is advancing towards construction and will be a showpiece for innovative infrastructure design within a new vibrant, artistic neighborhood. Closer to home, Ellen’s been helping to design urban trails, pocket parks, and kayak launch for the Woonasquatucket Greenway in Providence. True to form, her work blends an analytical and creative approach to provide a practical yet engaging design. Moving forward, Ellen brings so much to the evolution of our landscape architecture practice here at HW. As we continue to explore ecological opportunities in our design work, we look forward to her creative contributions!


Read Ellen’s RIASLA blog post – “More Meadows” Post RIASLA

 

 

Staff scientist

Sandwich, MA

Sarah started her career after graduation from Saint Anselm College working for the State of New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services conducting inspections, collecting samples, and database management. Earlier this year, she helped to facilitate a few emergency preparedness events across the country.  Sarah loves her work, Cape Cod beaches, and her bulldog, Gator.

 

“My mentor at HW, Gemma Kite, made me feel like a part of the team, day 1”

   Sarah is working for one of our largest clients, the U.S. EPA. The EPA works with private consultants like us to train water utilities on many subjects, most notably emergency preparedness training. This is perhaps one of the most complicated services to talk about here at Horsley Witten Group (acronyms abound!). Everyone understands we provide engineering, design, planning, and science services, but environmental consulting or training is a bit difficult to explain. We are hoping this conversation with Sarah helps clarify this important sector of our business.

 

“… after looking through the website and social media, [HW] sounded like a place I would love to work. It didn’t hurt that the main office was located on Cape Cod, which was a place I had always wanted to live…”

HW:  Sarah, you must like to travel as earlier this year you made a trip out west to California and Utah before that. Tell us what you did.

Sarah: I had the unique opportunity to travel with Tom Noble, Associate Principal to both Santa Rosa and Vacaville, California which is about an hour north of San Francisco to help facilitate an EPA-sponsored, 2-day workshop for the water sector on public safety power shutoffs, (PSPS) events.

 

  

HW: That sounds like a great destination. What was the training like?

Sarah:  It was a wonderful trip. Yes, I was able to go across the Golden Gate Bridge and drive through some amazing areas like “wine country.” The workshops were important as California suffers from wildfires that can sometimes be inadvertently caused by sparking power lines. Therefore, when the conditions are right in California for a wildfire to start (e.g., dry, high winds), electric utilities will proactively shut down sections of their power grid. This inevitably affects the water and wastewater utilities who need to continue operating by switching over to alternate power, like generators. For this process to go smoothly, water utilities need to have standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place for preparing and responding to PSPS events as soon as they are notified by the electric utility that one is coming. It was our job to assist EPA in helping water utilities share lessons learned and best practices from past training events so that SOPs can be developed to help all water utilities, especially those who have not been affected by a PSPS yet.

 

HW:  This sounds especially important Sarah. What do the utility staff members take away from the training exercises?

Sarah: The participants learned about the importance of coordinating and communicating with electric utilities and building relationships. The workshop also allowed them time to listen to presentations from other water utilities and electric companies about their experiences with PSPS events. They also got the opportunity to brainstorm what should be included in an SOP for PSPS events. Specifically, from these workshops, we are compiling the best practices gathered from the exercise participants and will be turning them into SOP templates that we will send back to the water utilities for their review and use. Another important component of these events was the opportunity for participants to network with one another and exchange contact information.

 

HW:  What was your role in the training?

Sarah: I acted as a scribe during presentations and supported the small group breakout sessions by serving as a facilitator and by taking notes and recording participant comments. When I got back to the office in Massachusetts, I summarized the presentations. I also took all the notes from the participants and compiled them into one document. We are currently in the process of organizing this document and turning it into a template PSPS SOP that utilities can then customize for their unique circumstances. As more and more PSPS events occur, the utilities will have an opportunity to learn and reflect and of course take more training, share their experiences, and update their plans and SOPs accordingly.

 

HW: Did you receive feedback and if so, anything you can share with us?

“The format of the meeting was excellent. The speakers had relevant and informative presentations. The facilitators were great. Participation was really greatly appreciated.”  

 

HW:  What did you take away from this experience and what do you look forward to doing in the future?

Sarah: I enjoyed working with Tom very much. He is a confident and knowledgeable presenter. I also learned a lot from the presentations and was proud to be part of the training team. I hope to refine my skills and learn more as the years go by so I can lead training and see more of the country as I love to travel! I never thought I would have this unique opportunity and I am so glad I found HW and can work to advance my career in this ever-changing and exciting area of emergency preparedness training!

 

HW:  Thanks for sharing your experience, Sarah. By the way, how did you hear of HW? Happy one-year work anniversary!

Sarah: I went to a Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference in Portsmouth, NH in April of 2019 (a year ago, wow!) and saw a presentation given by Geoff Glover and Brian Laverriere on the living shoreline project HW completed in Kingston, MA. I was really interested in the project, so I decided to research more about what HW does and some of the other projects they had completed. After looking through the website and social media, it sounded like a place I would love to work. It didn’t hurt that the main office was located on Cape Cod, which was a place I had always wanted to live. So, I reached out to Geoff and Brian about the potential of working for HW someday, and shortly after a “staff scientist” position was posted. And here I am!

We are glad you are here Sarah! Thanks for the interview!

Learn more about our emergency preparedness training services.