Buildings and Places, Environment, INWED, People Spotlight

Our People Spotlight series gives you an inside look at our technical experts around the world. This week, we are highlighting an associate from our Sustainable Economics practice and providing an insight into their inspiration and work.

Anne conducts multiple criteria assessments, triple bottom line analysis, economic impact studies and benefit-cost analysis to help public and private sector clients prioritize investments to improve resilience. Her analysis often encompasses conventional financial metrics as well as broader social and environmental metrics to develop a comprehensive understanding of both short- and long-term value of proposed projects. She couples economic analysis with contextualized and actionable program and policy recommendations to support implementation and equitable outcomes for communities.

Her team’s recent project work has included evaluation of the business case for resilience in the Tampa Bay region, a job impacts study of a proposed bond in New York State that would pay for water quality improvement and other resilience and environmental projects, and an economic assessment of how extreme heat will impact the Phoenix Metro Area.

Prior to joining AECOM, she advised higher education clients on facility asset management and sustainability initiatives, including greenhouse gas quantification. She holds a master’s degree  in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Tell us about what inspired you to join the industry
I have been passionate about environmental activism since high school and knew that I wanted to pursue a career that had some connection to sustainability. In college, I learned about city planning, which opened my eyes to the industry and to AECOM. Effective planning has the potential to both improve people’s lives and decrease environmental degradation. On the Sustainable Economics team, we work to quantify those benefits to encourage better investments. While the challenges of climate change can at times feel insurmountable, I do find our work inspiring and I feel lucky to be able to think about these topics every day!

What is your favorite AECOM project that you’ve worked on and why?

My favorite AECOM project was a benefit-cost analysis for a flood control system in the Two Bridges neighborhood of New York City. This analysis was part of a much larger planning, engineering, and design study led by AECOM that built off our involvement on the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Feasibility Study. The proposed project, called the Brooklyn Bridge-Montgomery Coastal Resilience, is designed to protect thousands of residents, including many who live in affordable housing, and to enhance community access to the waterfront and recreation opportunities. Our Sustainable Economics team worked to better understand how social equity could be accounted for in the benefit-cost analysis using equity weights.

Tell us a story of how your work positively impacted the community

Our recent project in the Tampa Bay region builds off another business case for resilience we conducted in partnership with the Urban Land Institute for four counties in Southeast Florida. In that study, we found that the benefits of investing in adaptation outweighed the costs at a regional scale. That study also included policy recommendations to increase economic resilience, such as through improving climate risk disclosure processes, providing support to small businesses, and developing an occupational roadmap to a greener economy. While there was already an amazing amount of work happening in this region in the realm of improving resilience, the reception to the work was very positive and important efforts have been made since the report’s release related to mitigation and adaptation, such as Broward County’s Climate Change Action Plan.

Share a piece of career advice

A former boss told me to always prioritize people over process. No matter the size of the company, type of industry, or nature of work, remembering to focus on our people helps everything else fall into place.

Anne deBoer

Originally published Mar 16, 2022

Author: Anne deBoer

Anne is a manager of Sustainable Economics based in San Francisco, California.