Sue Boyle Isn’t Here
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 09:42 AM
If you are looking for Sue Boyle, you missed her. She’s gone full-time from GEI but is still on-call. She’s gone as executive director of the Licensed Site Remediation Professionals Association.

She might be traveling. Sometimes her Facebook page shows photos of pastry from Vermont or New Hampshire. Sometimes she sends photos of champagne vending machines or talks about Prosecco on tap.

Retirees do that. Of course, she also did that when she was still working. So, what is she doing?

“I’ve said to people I want six months to go cold turkey. I want a page on the calendar with nothing scheduled for every minute. Then I’ll figure it out,” Boyle said.

The first president the LSRPA ever had, the first executive director the LSRPA ever had, and one of the architects of what the LSRPA is has stepped back. She has joined the board of the LSRPA Foundation and has some ideas for its future, as well as that of the LSRPA. But Janice Brogle, as the new executive director of LSRPA, is setting the LSRPA agenda along with Assistant Executive Director Dave Sweeney and Deputy Assistant Director Beverly Entin.

“I can walk away and I know everyone is in good hands,” Boyle said.

Although she is gone, she leaves behind a strong organization and many admirers.

“Sue was a great mentor and advocate.  She saw potential in future leaders and encouraged new people into the fold of the organization.  She had the vision to see what was needed and knew the people in the industry well enough to pull in the right people for the job,” said former LSRPA President Caryn Barnes of Langan.

“She’s not afraid of a difficult conversation; and because I think success is measured in the number of difficult conversations you’re willing to have – I count her as one of the most successful and influential leaders of our industry,” Barnes said.

“I have worked with Sue since 2009 in the LSRPA, moving from committee chair to Board of Trustees member to officer. Sue was always there, advising and guiding me, “ said LSRPA President William Call. “She has been a mentor to so many professionals through the years while guiding the composition of our board and operations.”

“Sue and I often disagreed through the years, and there was some table pounding at times. Just ask her. But Sue always had the best interests of the Association and profession at heart,” Call said. “She will be terribly missed by me personally and the I am sure by all members of the Association.”

Boyle helped form the LSRPA after a 25 year career in New Jersey state government.  Her first job at NJDEP as spill fund administrator – giving money to unintended recipients of pollution – led to a stint as assistant commissioner for site remediation. Her favorite state-service accomplishment was assisting in the  building of the Hazardous Waste Siting Commission from scratch.

“That’s always my favorite thing: to start something. I was also able to do that with the LSRPA,  BCONE, and the NYC Brownfield Partnership, too.  Once they  become more standardized, organizations and programs become less interesting to me,” Boyle said.

When she joined GEI in 2008, the NJDEP was rethinking its site remediation program and a series of stakeholder meetings were underway in preparation for proposed legislation. Boyle encouraged GEI to join the Consultants Coalition, a group of environmental professionals led by Nick DeRose of Langan, that provided a real-world perspective to the stakeholder process.

When the Site Remediation Reform Act became law, the Consultants Coalition created an association to represent the new profession. Boyle became the first president of the Licensed Site Remediation Professionals Association, at least on paper.

“I was a fabulous president,” she said, tongue firmly in cheek.

The decision of who would become the first president of the LSRPA was a question of geography. The group wanted someone who lived in New Jersey on the paperwork to create the association. Sue was one of the few who did.

She knew Nick DeRose wanted to be the first official president and she actually preferred being the association’s executive director, a position she enjoyed in the past. LSRPA hired Sue Boyle under a contract through GEI. Boyle also had a similar arrangement as executive director of the Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE), and with the NYC Brownfield Partnership.  

The three organizations were GEI’s clients; Boyle managed them along with several remediation projects, brownfield redevelopment projects, and business development and mentoring responsibilities.

At its beginning, the LSRPA concentrated on contributing input to NJDEP guidance documents and developing continuing education courses, including the first ethics course. Boyle joined Linda Watson, the LSRPA’s administrative assistant and first staff hire.  

Boyle had the foresight to see what the LSRPA needed to grow.

Boyle brought in Anne Lazo as webmaster, Tiesha Green to provide event and course assistance and creative social media vision and Marianne Leone for the site remediation conference and later to also manage sponsorships. George Nicholas helped run continuing education and was followed by Tina Layre. H&G Public Affairs was brought in to help with communications and Bill Hose was hired as assistant executive director until his retirement.

Sponsorships and events grew. Membership and training grew. Aspiring professionals were brought into the fold.  Committees were formed.  Collaborative relationships with similar-minded organizations were firmly established.   

The LSRPA Foundation was formed and now has awarded more than 50 scholarships to students as well as now offering grants to environmental projects. The LSRPA also now holds the annual Site Remediation Conference for environmental professionals as well as three fundraisers for the Foundation scholarship fund.

The LSRPA now regularly meets with the NJDEP’s site remediation management, attends the Site Remediation Advisory Group meetings, and has monthly meetings with its peer organizations in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  LSRPA also has established and nurtured collaborative relationships with other business, development, and environmental organizations.

Although she has had a lot to say about the association, Boyle never wanted to be an LSRP herself. The qualifications for an LSRP include five years practice as an environmental remediation professional in New Jersey. Boyle’s experience in NJDEP didn’t count. Although a few years ago she met the experience requirements, she didn’t see the point for herself.

“I was nearing the end of my career. It made no sense to me at that point,” Boyle said.

There are still some organizational issues Boyle sees ahead. She wonders if the LSRPA board will go back to having a two-year term for presidents. It’s hard for the president to do much with the current one-year term. She also thinks the LSRPA treasurer should have a longer term.

The LSRPA has reached out to environmental organizations and Boyle thinks that should continue to be a priority. She would like all LSRPs to be members of the association, but realizes that is not likely.

She regrets not giving personal goodbyes to all the LSRPA members, sponsors, staff and volunteers. But she’s still around and available for a cup of coffee and to catch up. And she encourages everyone to donate to the scholarship fund and “create the next generation of environmental professionals.”

On the whole, Boyle is content with the LSRPA’s structure, leadership and direction.

“We are a well-established and well-respected organization at this point,” she said.  “It took a village of volunteers to get to where we are now. But I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.”