Anna Radonich: From part-time scientist to civic leader, she’s tailored a family-friendly career

September 17, 2018

A single mother of two children, Hudson (13) and Esa (11), Anna has spent the past decade transitioning her responsibilities from evaluating chemical data to influencing city development. A challenging path, but unlike many single parents who struggle to meet life’s conflicting demands, Anna thrives—doing what she loves at home and in the office.

 

Family First

Anna has been able to evolve her career in harmony with her kids’ life stages, something she considers an incredibly valuable benefit. She knows that without the support of her team at a firm with so many job options, she probably wouldn’t be where she is today—an environmental planner at Stantec and Planning Commissioner in the City of Lafayette. 

Anna joined SECOR (later acquired by Stantec) when her younger child was still an infant. At the time, despite her excellent education and qualifications, Anna put her family first. She opted for a part-time role supporting environmental remediation and engineering projects. She knew that during this phase of her kids’ lives, they needed her more than she needed a career. 

 

Anna with her two children, Hudson (13) and Esa (11), on the first day of school

 

Discovering new opportunities

As her children became more self-sufficient, Anna was able to focus on her professional career. Enjoying her previous roles but not finding a professional passion, she looked beyond her current role and began supporting other aspects of Stantec’s environmental business. Her curiosity and willingness to work hard led her to the field of environmental planning and permitting work. She found the work rewarding and challenging. The ever-evolving challenges of solving complex problems and soaking up information to devise out-of-the-box solutions is what drove her to invest in this new career path. Recognizing her potential, Stantec’s leadership found a place for her on a new environmental planning team and over time, Anna has reinvented her career and help expand Stantec’s business.

Over time, Anna says she has learned from her successes and learned even more from her failures (although this is a rare occurrence). Striving for excellence, she dedicates time on the job and at home to learn as much as possible about environmental planning, regulations, laws, and the overall CEQA process. Becoming more confident in her abilities, she has earned the opportunity to be involved with larger and more complex projects over time. She now faces stakeholders and agency representatives in stakeholder meetings and public hearings on a regular basis, representing her clients with knowledge and foresight. 

Anna’s personal evolution is one you wish every employee could have. Anna took her new-found knowledge beyond the organization to help our clients and her community. – Trevor

Trevor Macenski works side by side with Anna on a regular basis helping her and Stantec’s clients identify solutions to their environmental and planning challenges. As one of Anna’s many mentors, Trevor recognized her on-going commitment to improving herself through education and research, providing guidance as she focused her passion into an emerging aspect of the environmental planning market. 

Anna has become, along with Trevor, a recognized expert in California’s CEQA streamlining provisions. One of their shared accomplishments was completing the first Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment* (SCEA) in the San Francisco Bay area in Daily City, an emerging industry service. Since then, their team has regularly won projects by offering a streamlined solution instead of proposing the same prescriptive approach as everyone else. This has enabled them to cut the project approval process schedule by as much as a year and reduces the cost by approximately $200,000. 

 

Serving her clients and community

Given Anna’s specialization in streamlining CEQA approval, she has continued to leverage her experience, taking on projects for other Bay Area communities. She helped the City of Oakland streamline their first project, the Aspire ERES Oakland Charter School. Another client, the City of Vacaville Community Development Department, sent a note telling her “thank you for providing such an educational CEQA update. We appreciate the time you spend with us.”

Working through this process has required Anna to spend a lot of time making presentations in public hearings, educating decision-makers throughout the streamline process. This made her realize that to truly foster positive change, she needed to help shape policy.

As a 31-year resident of the rapidly growing City of Lafayette, she recognized what needs to be preserved, and knew she could play an important role in guiding decisions about smart development opportunities in her hometown. When she learned that the City had openings on the planning commission, she figured there was no harm in trying and fearlessly applied. After several rounds of interviews, on May 29th, 2018 Anna was appointed to the Lafayette Planning Commission. [Article in the East Bay Times on Anna’s appointment: Lafayette - Environmental planner, longtime resident named to Planning Commission]

As a specialist in the CEQA process, my input enables the Lafayette Planning Commission to make more informed development decisions. - Anna

Today Anna is a very busy woman. Which she says is ok because she loves what she does. She is a positive force at home, at work, and in council chambers. At Stantec, she is becoming more involved in projects throughout California and is starting to shape the business practice. 


Additional Information on the work Trevor and Anna are doing in the Bay Area:
*The Daly City Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment (SCEA) visit Trevor’s blog -  Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment (SCEA)
To learn more about how we are using the CEQA streamline 
process, visit Trevor’s blog - Turning land-use restrictions into something positive]

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