Public Involvement

R&M offers public involvement and public education services that function integrally within the context of R&M’s planning and design projects, but can also proceed independently. R&M’s public involvement specialists are trained and experienced in communicating complex and often controversial projects, tailoring presentations to specific audiences, including community groups and decision-makers. Recognizing that each audience, in each geographic area, learns differently, we use a variety of communication tools to facilitate understanding of issues. R&M tailors and plans public outreach around the important and unique traditions of Alaskan sport and subsistence hunting/fishing/gathering seasons, as well as school schedules, local regulatory body meetings and legislative sessions. R&M takes pride in effectively communicating technical concepts through the use of graphic communication tools to communities, elected officials and other decision-makers.

Group Manager: Planning

Van Le

read Van's bio

Van Le is a Certified Public Involvement Specialist through the International Association for Public Participation and is experienced in effective and open communication style for a diverse set of stakeholders in Alaska. She has proven leadership for planning and executing public outreach campaigns and for communicating project objectives, capital improvement funding and project milestones to residents, agencies, business stakeholders, community groups, municipal staff and elected officials. Van also specializes in Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) public outreach methods and permitting and has presented at the local, regional and state level on CSS implementation. Van holds a M.S. in Environmental Science from Alaska Pacific University and a B.A. in Urban Geography from the University of British Columbia.

As an improvement/expansion project for this revenue-generating industrial harbor in Seward, public support is generally strong. However, with many key stakeholders from Alaska and other states, extensive regulatory permitting requirements, and the mix of private and public user groups and interested parties, this project benefited from various local presentations, briefings, and public meetings drawing crowds of more than 100. The scope of the project has expanded from what was considered when public involvement began in 2011, and R&M continues to assist the City in shepherding the project forward with the input of key stakeholders.
Recognizing that no one method of public outreach is suitable for every project, R&M’s public involvement team is adept at assessing what methods of public outreach to employ and when, to advance projects towards completion. R&M’s public involvement specialists were a part of a multi-discipline team that was instrumental in facilitating a Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) when other methods were unsuccessful at reaching public consensus on alternatives for the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. As a result of the team’s facilitation work, the CAC became project champions and the community-driven alternative is moving towards final design approval and pre-construction.
Using Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) as a guideline for the public outreach efforts, the West Dimond Boulevard Upgrade project is a case study of community involvement success for outreach to residents, agencies and decision-makers early and at each project milestone. CSS public outreach methods facilitated a partnership that has helped resurrect the project for funding priority after several years of funding constraints saw the project schedule put on hold. R&M’s public involvement specialists have expertise in the MOA’s CSS public involvement methods and permitting to seamlessly expedite the project towards approval and eventual construction.