Debra Duerr

Debra is happiest when: she’s working on planning projects with lots of options, lots of stakeholders, and uncertain outcomes that can be shaped so everybody gets some of what they need.

Debra Duerr
Debra Duerr is a community and environmental planner who’s spent the bulk of her career working to integrate public concerns into planning processes to find mutually acceptable solutions to political, social, and environmental issues. She focuses on effective ways to involve regulatory agencies and citizens in complex development programs that affect their jurisdictions and their lives. As a seasoned project manager, public participation is integral to Debra’s work in gaining project approvals and public acceptability.

She has crafted and implemented objectives-based programs to support decision-making, particularly around collaborative planning. Combining her understanding of the client’s technical requirements with information garnered from public contacts, she’s designed trade-off analyses, consensus-building workshops, and decision-support techniques that have been instrumental in having numerous projects valued at more than $1 billion approved and built. Her front-line experience ranges from kitchen-table dialogues with landowners, to facilitating citizen advisory groups, to managing hostile public forums, to crafting public-friendly information content.

Before forming the TPC partnership, Debra spent 25 years with the Fortune 500 consulting firms Dames & Moore, URS Corporation, and HDR as an environmental and public involvement group leader in Chicago, Sacramento, San Diego, Phoenix, and Calgary. An expert in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance, Debra has managed strategic planning, site selection, multidisciplinary impact analysis, and report production for more than 50 controversial, environmentally sensitive projects throughout North America. Consequently, she has exceptional experience in writing ‘approachable’ technical documents. She’s also supported regulatory permitting, design, and construction efforts for dozens of projects. Her technical expertise includes land and natural resource management plans, water resources planning and development, mining, transportation, waste management, military installations and missions, natural gas pipelines, and electric generation and transmission. In the public sector, Debra has worked in the land planning, community development, urban renewal, housing, and transportation arenas for city, county, and tribal governments in Arizona and New York.
Debra is a charter member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), past Board Director of IAP2 USA, local chapter officer, and co-creator of IAP2’s new Professional Certification Program. She’s active in many community volunteer efforts, including HonorHealth’s Institutional Review Board and co-chair of Arizona Forward Association’s Natural Resource Committee.

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