Karen Kelley, a water resources expert and our R&D coordinator; Andrea Sewall, a licensed site professional and leader of our environmental services group; and Joe Kowalczyk, a construction professional and construction quality manager, share solid strategies to help you foster an innovative culture no matter what the future holds.
Q: Let's start with regulations. In times of transition and rapid change, how can clients continue to innovate and what are some of the best ways to navigate through the uncertainty?
With such a sweeping overhaul of environmental and infrastructure policies following the recent administration changes in Washington, DC, it is no secret that regulations are changing. And though uncertainty is always a challenge, our experts believe that times of change can inspire innovative solutions.
“The underlining problems that affect our communities—things like providing clean drinking water, safely disposing of waste and protecting human health—aren’t going away,” says water reclamation expert and CDM Smith’s research and development coordinator Karen Kelley, PE. “We can’t stop addressing these issues just because we don’t know what the regulations are going to look like.” But through an improved understanding of how our systems work, we will be better positioned to make swift decisions and targeted uses of funding. “Now is the time for utilities and private companies to dig into their systems, connect their data sources, and truly understand what assets they have and how they are performing,” urges Kelley. No matter what the future holds, having a deep understanding of your system and its performance will best prepare you for meeting any future regulations. It will also enable you to capitalize on system efficiencies that may bring cost savings.
Staying informed about policy changes and understanding their implications, though increasingly difficult, is another way to help minimize challenges and provide the best value for your investment. “Following the process—from the President’s recommendations to Congress’ ultimate approval or denial—is one of the best ways clients can manage their uncertainty,” says CDM Smith’s environmental services manager Andrea Sewall, LSP. The good news is that regulatory reform often breeds a new wave of innovative thinking. And by finding new ways to promote sustainability, Sewall says we will be able to “combat increasing regulations, regardless of what happens in Washington, DC.”