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Governing Council Today: Kevin Preister, Incoming NAPA Treasurer

Hi, I’m Kevin Preister and I’m the new treasurer for NAPA. My goal during my tenure is to do as well as outgoing treasurer John Massad; John did tremendous work to develop protocols for budget development and reimbursements that will make my job so much easier.

I want to either thank or blame Leni Bohren for soliciting my involvement in NAPA’s Governing Council. Seriously, it truly is an honor. As a practicing anthropologist for over 30 years, my interest is to give back to my work community and to “grow the field” for younger professionals.

I direct a nonprofit called the Center for Social Ecology and Public Policy, based on the premise that public policy should be an outgrowth of how people actually live their lives, their routines and daily practices and the cultural dimensions of community that make life meaningful (www.jkagroup.com). Our goal is to optimize the social, economic and ecological benefits of change initiatives of our government and corporate clients.

It continually amazes me that organizations typically do not take time to “learn community first” before announcing a new pipeline, literacy program, or climate change policy. Ours is a profession ripe for great contributions in the 21st Century as cultural diversity and the mixing of global populations becomes ever more commonplace. I look forward to interacting more with NAPA members in the coming months in collegial discussions about common issues.

As an example of my work, my outfit just launched a training curriculum in Social Ecology with the International Right of Way Association, the industry’s educational association of 10,000 members who develop rights-of-way for utilities, transportation, and pipeline projects around the globe. Here is the text of how IRWA marketed our program to its members:

You are invited to attend
IRWA’s newest course!

For any right of way project to succeed, it’s essential to get 
citizen ownership from those who will be impacted by your project.

 Introducing IRWA Course 225: Social Ecology – Listening to Community

Techniques for creating harmony and positive community engagement in right of way acquisition project management

The key to nurturing citizen ownership is to engage the community in a dialogue – before your project is set in stone. By listening to the needs, wants and fears of individuals impacted by your project, you can create a positive relationship built on open communication and mutual trust.  People who are being honestly listened to, respected and asked for their input and opinions are not likely to form resistance groups or boycott your project. That’s because they will feel that you are both working on the same team!

This course will show you how to gain authentic support for your project by using a unique cultural awareness perspective.

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Once again, I look forward to working with NAPA and to hearing from all of you!

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