GHD cultivates environmental planning efforts in California

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11 July 2013

One of the world’s leading engineering, architecture and environmental consulting companies, GHD, continues on its growth trajectory in support of sustainability and environmental projects with the addition of John Steere, an environmental and urban planner in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. John’s 28 years of experience and impressive project portfolio will now be complemented by GHD’s network of 8500 professionals across the globe to provide enhanced services to environmental, municipal and federal agencies in the region. John will lead the environmental planning group in GHD’s San Francisco and Santa Rosa operations.

As the San Francisco Bay Area’s environmental needs and regulations have evolved, John has contributed to supporting this continued development. He is known for his leadership role in the award-winning Los Vaqueros Watershed Resource Management Plan (RMP) in the 1990s for Contra Costa County Water District (CCWD). At that time, there was little precedent for natural resources plans and the 18,500-acre project area was one of the largest in Northern California.

John’s work as Project Manager and lead author of the Bay Trail’s Implementation Strategy and its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) paved the way for the 400+ mile trail now being built around the perimeter of the San Francisco Bay. His work resulted in a robust report that was swiftly approved and used as the basis from which the majority of the project has now been constructed.

A history of focus and structure

After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in Visual and Environmental Studies and Psychology, John went on to receive a joint masters in City Planning and Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Commenting on his chosen academic and career path, he offers, “My passion has always been to cultivate a sense of place and a greater harmony between urban development and nature.”

John takes a multidisciplinary approach in all his work, and is well versed in watershed management planning processes, California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Protection Act regulations, and aquatic and riparian habitat restoration practices. John is adept in facilitating public involvement and stakeholder group activities to resolve conflicts and provide substantial consensus among members.

Beyond the profession

Mirroring the spirit of his professional work, John has been active in applying green planning principles in his community work, as a founding board director of Liveable Berkeley, a smart growth advocacy organization, and as president of Berkeley Partners for Parks, an umbrella organization for civic and environmental improvements. In addition, he has led creek revegetation projects around the East Bay and co-led the planning and installation of Halcyon Commons, a community-based park, converted from a parking lot in his neighbourhood.

Why GHD?

When searching for a firm to join, John found that his philanthropic spirit aligned perfectly with GHD’s commitment to making a difference in the communities they serve. On his decision to join GHD, John remarked, “I have been impressed with how the GHD culture couples a commitment to professional excellence with a sense of community and humanity. This is reflected in how it gives back to the community, whether it’s cleaning up the local waterways or giving to food banks. GHD takes its role as a corporate citizen seriously and encourages staff to do so. It’s fulfilling to be a part of an organization that sees itself as contributing to the community’s wellbeing.”

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