Environmental Planning Principal

  • Environmental Science Associates (ESA)
  • San Diego, CA, USA
  • Oct 17, 2019
Full time Environmental Planning - NEPA Environmental Science - Engineering Management

Job Description

About the Position: 

ESA is seeking an Environmental Planning Principal to lead our Community Development group in the San Diego office. ESA’s Community Development group focuses on environmental analysis (predominantly CEQA), community planning, and compliance services for a wide range of public and private clients with the overarching goal of supporting and advancing our communities. A dynamic outlook, vision, and strategic approach is necessary in addressing the needs of our clients and markets in the San Diego area. The position will have a strong emphasis on servicing and broadening ESA’s San Diego area clients, which include local agencies and municipalities in addition to private clients. 

The San Diego-based Environmental Planning Principal will lead the office’s environmental planning group and be responsible for its continued advancement and growth in the geographies that the San Diego office serves, including the Inland Empire. Critical responsibilities include client interface, business development and marketing, contract leadership and management, and internal team management and development. Specific responsibilities include: 

  • Lead business development and marketing activities targeting local and regional public agencies and private clients within Southern California.
  • Generate new contracts and task orders from existing clients.
  • Plan, execute, and deliver complex projects in a collaborative environment involving a range of technical specialists, including planners, engineers, and other technical staff.
  • Manage projects from initiation to close and ensure clients’ needs are met—this includes determining project staffing requirements, negotiating scopes of work and budgets, directly managing internal project teams and subconsultants, and meeting schedules and budgets.
  • Manage preparation of detailed studies and environmental documents, oversee and interpret technical analyses, and lead and support a wide range of planning and permitting projects.
  • Perform quality assurance and quality control functions.
  • Mentor and advance the professional development of staff within the group.
  • Have substantial input in the development of the Southern California Community Development business group's business and strategic plans and partner with other leaders in the Southern California region to implement the plan.
  • Promote and ensure collaboration across the disciplines and the firm.
  • Build ESA's reputation with potential new staff (recruitment).
  • Support the business group through the hiring process for new staff, as necessary, to grow the practice meet revenue goals.
  • Be responsible for the financial performance of projects with direct involvement (e.g., roles of Project Manager or Project Director).
  • Address financial and performance issues, as needed. 

The San Diego office currently includes more than 30 specialists and scientists (community planning, biological resources, restoration, cultural and historic resources, environmental hydrology, air quality and climate change, noise, etc.) who have been particularly successful in developing a strong backlog for the office. Contracts include a variety of project and on-call contracts with a wide range of San Diego municipalities, City and County departments, and private entities. The group works in collaboration with the rest of the Southern California region’s staff, a group of 120+. 


The candidate must have deep experience directing and managing CEQA and NEPA analyses for public agency projects. Knowledge of other environmental laws and policies is also required in order to broker ESA’s wide range of services to our public and private clients. An ideal candidate must possess effective problem-solving ability, client interface and management expertise, demonstrated marketing and business development ability, exceptional writing and communication skills, and an ability to ensure performance of internal technical teams and subconsultants. 

Strong knowledge of and experience with a range of environmental disciplines is required, including city planning, environmental, and biological/natural resources within the San Diego region. Experience working with public clients in a private consulting firm is also necessary, particularly public agency clients within the San Diego region. As well, experience with federal, state, regional, and local agencies and knowledge of current issues is essential, particularly in Southern California. 

This role requires the initiative, confidence, and tenacity to uphold ESA’s strong work ethic, to work collaboratively in a multi-disciplinary team environment, and to manage to our fiduciary responsibility as an employee-owned firm. Qualified candidates will have at least a BA/BS in a related discipline and 15+ years of experience, preferably in the environmental consulting industry. A city planning or environmental science background is a plus, although not required. A master’s degree and/or registered professional is desired. The position will be calibrated to a candidate’s level of experience.

ESA is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to a
diverse and inclusive work environment.  (EOE M/V/F/D)

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