Our team assisted the Indianapolis Cultural Trail with outreach and publicity surrounding the new Pacers Bikeshare Program. We assisted with numerous public meetings, which included developing posters and surveys to determine ideal locations for Bikeshare stations. Once the Bikeshare Program launched, we identified and researched four target audiences to determine the best outreach venues for each. These included regular newsletters, e-blasts, monthly meeting dates, key seminars, and other important outreach opportunities where people lived and worked. We then assisted the client with surveying three different types of users – 24-hour pass holders, Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA) residents, and annual pass holders. We compiled the survey responses into a final report to aid the Cultural Trail in future outreach and education about the Pacers Bikeshare Program and to cultivate more participation and membership.
- Identified Key audiences like to participate in bikeshare as well as cultivated atypical audiences
- Researched and developed mechanisms to reach key audiences
- Developed comprehensive outreach matrix and venue calendar to guide client’s outreach efforts
- Developed and delivered in-person user surveys to evaluate the program
- Planned, coordinated, and staffed public engagement events
Indianapolis Sustainable Infrastructure Initiative
With the goal of developing and promoting more sustainable solutions for stormwater infrastructure, the City of Indianapolis worked with a team of consultants, including Empower Results, to identify and overcome obstacles that were impacting the adoption of Low Impact Development (LID) projects and principals. We coordinated the activities of the City’s LID Steering Committee, including meeting agendas, materials, presentations, and follow-up. Subcommittee meetings were conducted with several City departments to identify needed ordinance changes and discuss incentive opportunities. We also conducted national research on LID and green infrastructure programs and provided recommendations and program direction to the City. Team members led discussions and facilitated efforts that connected other City initiatives to LID. Primary outcomes included the development of a comprehensive Rain Garden program, specific ordinance language revisions, a complete web resource center, and the roll-out of a master presentation tool that is able to be tailored to a variety of audiences.
- Focused and synthesized diverse input from the LID committee and several department heads
- Developed cross-department LID preparedness checklist
- Prioritized and recommended language changes to key ordinances
- Identified and implemented incentive programs where practicable among existing design review processes
- Developed detailed materials for a comprehensive rain garden program
- Created city-wide, multi-departmental permit process for green infrastructure projects
- Presented to governing boards, partner organizations, & the design community
- Identified and expanded public education opportunities
Restoration of Upland Storage in Wetlands
Researchers from IUPUI and the University of Oregon partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a tool aimed at helping farmers better understand the values of wetlands and assess potential wetland restoration scenarios. Stemming from increased runoff intensities in the Midwest as a result of climate change, the project sought to identify the most suitable arrangement (spatial optimization) of upland wetlands to not only slow runoff but to align with farmers’ own needs and values. The project employed sophisticated real-time computer modeling to generate these wetland arrangements based on detailed profiles submitted by the stakeholders. Our work on the project focused around the overall coordination of stakeholder meetings, consultation with the Principal Investigators on interface elements and usability, and suggested modifications as input was received. Once the tool was in place, we utilized the model output/tool to assess practical implications of siting best management practices (BMP) in certain locations. Evaluation of the tool continued to receive additional NSF funding and the outputs are directing future watershed research and initiatives.
- Reviewed and advised on web interface
- Developed user profile questionnaire and evaluation mechanisms
- Identified and secured appropriate stakeholders to test the web interface
- Facilitated interactive stakeholder meetings to demonstrate and pilot the tool
- Created and conducted online surveys to gather feedback
Wetlands Program Plan
The Indiana Wetland Program Plan (IWPP) is a statewide action plan designed to guide continued wetland conservation and restoration. The vision of the Plan is to advance the understanding of the services and benefits that wetlands provide to the State, to promote the restoration and creation of high quality wetlands throughout the state, and to conserve and protect Indiana’s remaining wetlands. We served as a primary author of the Plan and led the Plan’s stakeholder engagement and public involvement activities. Stakeholder input was then utilized by our team to develop a prioritized seven-year implementation work plan. The IWPP includes priorities, goals, and action items reflecting the opinions and needs of many wetland stakeholders located throughout the state. Input was sought from hundreds of stakeholders including public and private organizations and individual members of the public. We also facilitated the activities of the Plan’s multi-agency Steering Committee that included the Indiana Department of Environment (IDEM), the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S. FWS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA).
- Authored Statewide Wetland Program Plan
- Developed GIS mapping strategy to inventory critical wetland resources and restoration opportunities
- Deployed stakeholder surveys, analyzed findings, and followed-up with participants
- Conducted one-on-one meetings with key conservation partners to identify shared goals and future needs
- Developed comprehensive stakeholder communications matrix and recommended outreach materials to reach target audiences
- Inventoried wide-spread educational materials and identified missing elements needed to meet the Plan’s goals
- Facilitated multi-agency Steering Committee meetings and numerous public input sessions
US 31 Improvement Project
The New US 31 Major Moves Project, one of the largest in INDOT history, elevated sections of US 31 to limited access freeway standards. The project area (Hamilton County) presented unique challenges, as it includes one of the most developed luxury commercial corridors in the state. Additionally, this section of the road passes through several communities with varying development initiatives, historic resources, formal community aesthetics, and beloved recreational amenities. Our staff worked to maximize constructive community involvement opportunities and facilitate discussions with key stakeholders. These discussions were relayed to project designers in order to bring public opinion to bear on the final product. We also served as lead authors and investigators in the original environmental evaluations and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation that initiated the project, as well as the concluding FEIS document that solidified the project several years later. We saw the US 31 Hamilton County project through all of these phases, serving as a trusted resource among the relatively large project team and the public.
- Developed public involvement plans and outreach strategies
- Coordinated large public participation events
- Facilitated committee and targeted stakeholders meetings
- Provided design recommendations for project integration into the community
- Authored DEIS/FEIS documents and fulfilled all NEPA requirements and coordination
- Conducted environmental evaluations & agency coordination across multiple years
So, great staff – yes
Meaningful outcome – definitely
Repeat business – would love to find that “next” project to work on together!
Indy Rezone was the largest overhaul of Indianapolis’ zoning ordinances and development standards since 1969 – an effort aimed at making a more livable, more sustainable city. Our team played a critical role in this initiative by leading the facilitation of dozens of controversial discussions across multiple stakeholder groups and managing the efforts and outcomes of the Steering Committee over a two and half year timeframe. We served a leadership role by engaging focus groups at round tables, technical task forces, and the multi-stakeholder, 30-person Steering Committee. Outreach efforts were aimed at insuring that any ordinance changes had been thoughtfully developed and publically vetted across many groups and neighborhood scenarios. We focused on increasing the public’s understand of topics such as transportation choices; equitable, affordable housing; economic competitiveness; green investment; natural resource protection; and neighborhood invigoration. This understand was then leveraged into meaningful contributions by developing and facilitating diverse public input mechanisms. Indy Rezone will shape Indy’s built environment into the kinds of places people want to work, live and play for the next several decades.
- Overhauled the City’s zoning code to promote livability and sustainability
- Created and implemented strategic communication plan
- Facilitated multi-stakeholder Steering Committee and neighborhood focus groups
- Consulted on technical ordinance content and incentive programs focused on water sustainability
- Planned and executed large-scale public meetings
- Developed public outreach materials and cultivated new and unique venues for input
- Engaged public officials and professional organizations through policy round-tables
- Synthesized public and professional feedback from agencies and organizations to provide critical content to City project staff
City of Indianapolis
Riverfront Fort Wayne
Riverfront Fort Wayne is an initiative that envisions a revitalized downtown riverfront area that is a regional destination offering opportunities to experience nature, recreation, shopping, dining and entertainment in a whole new way. We led the community outreach efforts that resulted in the Riverfront Fort Wayne action plan – a plan that was developed through a process that included extensive community input. The resulting vision for the riverfront plan offers something for everyone, from natural wetlands that allows you to reconnect with nature, to an activity park that encourages people of any age to play, to a promenade that welcomes you to stroll and enjoy shopping and dining along the river. These areas of interest are strengthened by improved pedestrian, trail and vehicular connections from nearby neighborhoods and the downtown which will ensure an ease of accessibility to the riverfront for residents and visitors alike.
- Assisted multi-disciplinary team with concept plans for redevelopment of Fort Wayne’s Riverfront
- Developed stakeholder communication matrix and delivered associated key messages to target audiences
- Implemented diverse public input mechanisms, including programing and content for Envision Center public showroom
- Created unique public engagement events including boat tours and river walks
- Facilitated large-scale public meetings and open houses
- Analyzed public input and provided guidance to the design team
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) commissioned a Feasibility Study for Food Hubs in Indiana. The purpose of the study was to assess the needs of growers and consumers regarding the potential for regional food hubs operating as part of a statewide network to facilitate the marketing and access to specialty crops. We were part of a team of consultants that conducted the study and supplied recommendations for next step programming. The concept of food hubs was not new to Indiana growers of specialty crops, but determining the widely varied needs of these growing across a diverse state was a challenge. We assisted with the communication planning and stakeholder engagement by setting up an outreach matrix and needs inventory, guided by survey input. Producers were surveys at the State Fair, local fairs, and through cooperative partnerships with local grocers and farmers markets. A project website was created and populated by resources collected and organized by our staff. This site is now the primary place for sharing information and organizing efforts across relevant agencies.
- Collaborated with interdisciplinary team to determine the feasibility and infrastructure needs associated with establishing local food hubs
- Assisted agency staff in determining outreach and communication objectives
- Authored stakeholder surveys and press releases
- Developed website content, key messaging for event and survey invitations, and overall tone and brand for project communications
- Explored partnerships with local food stores, co-ops, and other outreach partners
- Developed a framework for local marketing strategies
Upper Tippecanoe River Lakes Strategic Watershed Management Plan
Empower Results led all local steering committee meetings associated with the development of a strategic plan aimed at reducing non-point source pollution to the seven hydrologically connected lakes in the Upper Tippecanoe River chain. Committee members were guided through a series of meetings and activities focused on consensus building, resource consolidation, and the prioritization. These meetings were used to develop an action plan for future environmental and social projects in the watershed. As land-use and water quality issues were identified, subsequent strategies were developed through facilitated discussions with other stakeholders. Customized public outreach events and alternative meeting styles assisted in the translation of technical data and topics to the public throughout the project.
- Educational workshops
- Goals setting and meeting facilitation
- Stakeholder conflict resolution
- Long-range organizational planning
- Development of a GIS and public-friendly graphics
- Synthesis and communication of water quality findings
- Lake management recommendations
IASWCD 5-Year Strategic Plan
Our staff led the IASWCD Board of Directors through a two-day strategic planning retreat. IASWCD needed to develop one cohesive plan that would outline a clear path for future activities and guide all meeting agendas and committee work. We stepped the Board through the various stages of strategic planning in an efficient way, utilizing interactive strategies and tightly facilitated discussions. The various planning stages were separated by team-building activities that led to shared respect, trust, and open communication among Board members.
- Group facilitation
- Strategic Plan development
- Team-building activities
- Problem identification
- Conflict resolution
- Institutional resource assessment
- Management consulting