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‘North Stars’ Motivate New Board Members

20 Mar 2023 6:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

By Steve Dwyer 

To Joseph Kraycik, environmental-oriented “north stars” keep him both personally and professionally motivated. It’s a vision that will serve BCONE quite well. 

Kraycik, (P.G., CQA), Senior Consulting Geoscientist at Environmental Standards Inc., Valley Forge, PA, was elected to the BCONE Board of Directors last fall, along with Andrea Poinsett, Senior Professional at GEI Consultants, Inc.

Kraycik was raised on the outskirts of Allentown, PA, in a rural area. “The community where I grew up expanded rapidly -- it was an example of growth not well planned, and it epitomized urban sprawl. It’s important to preserve green space while also fostering economic growth. The key is identifying brownfields for re-development over greenfields.”  

For Poinsett, a north star is a recollection of her mother avoiding swimming in the Atlantic Ocean “because she wanted to ‘see her toes,’” says Andrea, referencing pollution-laden waterways, both large and small. 

“It was an experience that drove me. I have always been eager to stay on top of an environmental and sustainability focus and do so by taking a holistic focus on the process. Professionally, we can get very narrow with our focus, so it’s important to be able to look at the larger picture. It’s what I consider vital,” says Poinsett, a Penn State University grad with a Master of Science (M.S.) in Geosciences.

Both new BCONE board members are eager to get started with their service, all to make BCONE even stronger with the unique professional lens they offer for additional perspective. “I’m excited to be part of the BCONE board and share my experiences and successes with others,” Joe says.  

A Robust Wish List 

As a board member, Kraycik is eager to use the platform to foster more effective environmental justice in the redevelopment process, all to identify areas within the BCONE footprint that are in dire need of revitalization and flip the script for the local neighborhood fortunes. 

Using predictive modeling, identifying technology and tapping existing databases can make a clear difference in pinpointing smart neighborhood revitalization, all in the name of best-practices environmental justice. 

“How can we help the urban areas in need obtain state, local and national funding? That’s the question. And then, how do we convert these blighted properties into productive resources? Community involvement is a vital part of the process,” Joe says. 

Kraycik has been involved with BCONE for five years, an introduction that started when Environmental Standards established a corporate membership and encouraged their employees to jump aboard. “We had been collaborating with former board member Brian Clark for years. Eventually, I became a member of the Pennsylvania expansion committee,” he says. 

Kraycik says that BCONE amasses “a pretty expansive footprint, so it’s incumbent to drill down” and establish a way for people to engage with BCONE in ways that make a difference. One way is to schedule smaller state satellite events where people can more easily mingle and interact.   

“It can be intimidating to join a larger group where you see so many people at once,” which makes it hard to have quality networking. “Starting small on the state level with workshops is one solution.” 

On inroads made with the Pennsylvania expansion committee, Kraycik wants to establish better organization representation in western Pennsylvania. He also spoke about the effectiveness of what he calls “Tour and Pour” events—field trips that allow people to see first-hand the compelling results being made within urban redevelopment. Western Pennsylvania communities are one example. 

“The Tour and Pour events have gone very well, so we want to push westward and also move to the north part of the state -- to areas like the Lehigh Valley and Harrisburg,” Joe notes.   

“Sharing our experiences is important. He says that speaking at events and writing blogs are ways to carry this out,” he says. “We also want to drive the group's visibility and show the experience we have to promote and execute responsible and sustainable development: we need to take the lessons we have learned -- good and bad -- and share them with others.”

Kraycik says he’s closely attuned to the mission-critical nature of solid and thorough grant proposals that can resonate with the U.S. EPA when they are doling out grant money. 

“EPA’s focus on grants always seems to shift its priorities from year to year: maybe one year the emphasis is on promoting green space, another year it’s environmental justice or jobs creation. Grants that resonate with EPA are so important -- it’s part of the job description that I am passionate about,” he says.  

BCONE Roots Trace A Decade 

About Poinsett’s affiliation with BCONE, the relationship began as a volunteer in support of NSCW years ago, such as setting up in advance of the event plus day-of obligations. She also provided content to the website on occasion. 

“That volunteering work resonated with me and continues today -- you can get involved in brownfields in so many different areas, as BCONE brings all types of professionals together. I look forward to working with others in BCONE and hope to help connect people through BCONE,” says Andrea.

Andrea has an expansive affinity for “problem-solving and research -- finding that ‘one’ little detail that someone else might have missed. I perform a lot of front-end due diligence and love new green and sustainable technologies -- innovations that have emerged. At GEI, I developed a niche for conducting historical reviews of former brownfield properties through information gathering.” 

“We all talk about all the different aspects of brownfields and how BCONE’s geographic footprint can connect people in the region in all different corners of the brownfields world. I am excited about the expansion areas geographically and also about working to bring other brownfields practitioners together,” she closes. 

Posted March 20, 2023

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