Environmental Services Director

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Environmental Services Director | City of Fort Collins, CO | Fort Collins, CO

The Community

The City of Fort Collins sits nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains alongside the banks of the Cache La Poudre River. At 5,000 feet in elevation, residents enjoy a moderate, four-season climate, with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. With 174,800 residents, Fort Collins is Colorado’s fourth-largest city and spans 57 square miles. With the 20-year growth projection, the City of Fort Collins is expected to reach 255,000 residents.

The first people who hunted in this region arrived approximately 11,000 years ago, and Northern Colorado remains an integral part of the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute Nations. European-American trappers and traders arrived by the early 1800s but rarely established permanent settlements. Gold and silver discoveries in the Colorado mountains in the mid-1800s and the prospect of land for farming and ranching attracted people from eastern cities and across the globe to the Colorado Territory, including what would become the town of Fort Collins; an agricultural colony that emerged from its founding days as a military fort. The expansion included the sugar beet industry’s growth, which brought new residents whose descendants still live here today, including Mexican-American families from southern Colorado, New Mexico, and northern Mexico, as well as Germans from Russia. Since 1879, Fort Collins has been the home of the state’s land grant institution, Colorado State University, which currently enrolls 34,000 students. Along with the university, the city’s major high-tech and manufacturing companies and breweries attract new residents from all over the country and world. The community’s overall social diversity continues to grow.

There are abundant outdoor recreation opportunities available to the many residents who enjoy healthy lifestyles. The nearby Horsetooth Reservoir is a key attraction, as is the Cache La Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway. The Downtown district provides many venues for live music, shopping, dining, and nightlife within the city. Fort Collins is widely considered the Craft Beer Capital of Colorado. The City has a strong appreciation for arts, culture, and entertainment. Various national organizations and magazines recognize Fort Collins as one of the best places to live in the nation.

The Organization

The City of Fort Collins is a home rule city with a Council-Manager form of government. The City Council is comprised of six District Councilmembers who are elected for four-year terms and a Mayor who is elected at-large for a two-year term. All elected officials are non-partisan. The City Council appoints the City Manager, City Attorney, and the Chief Judge. The City Manager has overall responsibility for all other City employees. Fort Collins directly provides a full slate of municipal services, including operating its own electric, water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities. The City of Fort Collins, at the direction of City Council and voters, is moving forward with building and implementing high-speed next-generation broadband to the entire community with expected completion in 2021. Fire protection is provided by the Poudre Fire Authority (PFA). The City operates with a biennial budget and provides funding for municipal operations, including approximately 2,500 employees.

The City of Fort Collins aspires to provide world-class services to the community while cultivating an outstanding organizational culture for its employees. In order to achieve our vision, both internal and external services are data-informed and implemented according to organizational values. The City develops resiliency and sustainability through organization-wide systems and processes that ensure consistent employee work practices and alignment across service areas. The City places a high value on public input and strives to include community members as fellow problem solvers whenever possible. Residents can expect to receive exceptional service, have the opportunity to engage with decision-makers, provide input regarding the allocation of City resources, and have access to government information in a timely and transparent manner.

Environmental Services

Protecting and enhancing the environment is a core value in Fort Collins, and the community’s leadership on environmental stewardship and conservation reinforces that core value. For decades, the City of Fort Collins has led the way in innovative and sustainable environmental programs. The City adopted its first Open Space Plan in 1974, created the Natural Areas Program in 1992, and established its first climate action goals in 1999. Additional examples include a strong Energy Policy, a Nature in the City program, Cache la Poudre River and watershed restoration, Transit Master Plan, a robust network of bike paths, waste reduction programs, air quality and emissions policies, climate action planning, sustainable purchasing practices, and green building standards. The City has set some of the most aspirational climate goals in the country, including carbon neutrality by 2050 and achieving 100% renewable electricity in 2030.

The Environmental Services Department is an integral part of the Sustainability Services Area. Originally organized in 2012, Sustainability Services was created to increase collaboration with the Fort Collins community in pursuit of innovative alliances and deeper integrated investment in our economic, environmental, and social triple bottom line. In addition to Environmental Services, the service area also includes the Departments of Social Sustainability and Economic Health.

The vision of the Environmental Services Department is to promote, protect, and enhance a healthy and sustainable environment. Environmental Services supports our community’s values and adopted policy goals by offering programs and services that improve indoor and outdoor air quality, implement climate action and resilience planning and reporting, increase recycling and waste diversion, coordinate municipal sustainability activities, undertake environmental data management, and participate in strategic municipal and community efforts.

With an FY2021 budget of $2M, the Environmental Services Department has a talented and dedicated staff of 15 full-time and seven part-time employees. Environmental Services is comprised of three program areas: Air Quality, Climate Action (which includes Municipal Sustainability), and Waste Reduction and Recycling. In addition to providing community education and engagement on environmental programs and developing policy, Environmental Services manages the City’s Timberline Recycling Center and provides compliance and enforcement support for several environmental ordinances.

Community priorities inform strategies designed to meet our community needs and our environmental goals at the same time, allowing us to have a greater impact overall. Many City departments work to support the environmental health of Fort Collins, and the Environmental Services Department plays one of the leading roles in that effort. Specifically, Environmental Services contributes to and has active goals in several strategic plans, including the City Plan (comprehensive land use plan), Municipal Sustainability and Adaptation Plan, Air Quality Plan, and Our Climate Future. Specifically, Our Climate Future is an update to three community environmental plans, including our Climate Action Plan, Energy Policy, and Road to Zero Waste Plan. Centered in equity and leading with race, Our Climate Future aligns strategies designed to support shared leadership and partnership with the community, equity, and resilience, as well as greenhouse gas mitigation, energy conservation, and waste reduction.

The Opportunity

The Fort Collins Environmental Services Director is uniquely positioned to shape the future of Fort Collins’ healthy and sustainable environment. The Director provides leadership to the many programs and services that pursue Council policies on sustainability, air quality, climate, waste reduction, community engagement, and meaningful performance measurement. The Environmental Services Director is responsible for environmental sustainability strategic planning and reporting and effectively leads the preparation of short-term and long-term plans. The Director develops and manages the department’s biennial budget and coordinates the development and implementation of specific, measurable outcomes associated with the City’s Budgeting for Outcomes process and City Council Work Plan.

With a demonstrated commitment to employee well-being and thoughtful financial and environmental stewardship, the Environmental Services Director leads and supports a diverse staff of passionate and talented employees. This position directly manages the Air Quality Program Manager, Climate Program Manager, Waste Reduction & Recycling Program Manager, and Senior Administrative Support and provides leadership to a highly engaged team responsible for environmental programs, communications, and policy development and implementation.

The Environmental Services Director reports to and supports the Chief Sustainability Officer and actively collaborates with the Social Sustainability and Economic Health and Redevelopment Department Directors and their staff on the establishment, oversight, and implementation of interdepartmental projects and the integration of triple bottom line sustainability. As needed, the Environmental Services Director acts on behalf of the Chief Sustainability Officer, representing the Sustainability Services Area with the Executive Leadership Team. The Director represents the Environmental Services Department and City to community groups, public forums, City Council, and other boards or commissions. The Director also coordinates all public communication relating to environmental sustainability.

First Year Priorities

  • Quickly gain an understanding of our challenges, engage our partners, and actively problem solve to identify innovative solutions, acknowledging that although Fort Collins has made good progress in many areas of environmental sustainability, there is still significant work to accomplish to meet our 2030 environmental goals.
  • Embrace shared leadership with colleagues in the Sustainability Services Area. Ensure internal connectivity between Social Sustainability and Economic Health, support joint goals, and identify opportunities for continued collaboration to meet our community’s growing sustainability needs.
  • Through a people-centered approach, recognize that environmental gains must be balanced with economic and social well-being. With this in mind, bring a holistic, strategic perspective and strong leadership to the implementation of our various sustainability and environmental plans, including Our Climate Future and Municipal Sustainability and Adaptation Plan.
  • With a continued focus on the triple bottom line, further define and prioritize Environmental Services projects and initiatives. Centered in equity and leading with race, and supporting resilience, consider the proper timing, resources, and community support to bring reality to these initiatives.
  • Actively champion and support the City’s ongoing efforts to lead with equity in our processes. Collaborate with colleagues in Social Sustainability to ensure our actions equitably promote, protect, and enhance a healthy, sustainable, and resilient environment.
  • Champion and support the City’s efforts to build and implement economic recovery plans and support community economic health through strategies that recognize business and non-profit needs while also addressing environmental goals.
  • Encourage continued collaboration with other city departments. Consult as needed, partner when appropriate, and recognize the connections to facilitate greater efficiencies and reduce redundancies.

The Successful Candidate

The Environmental Services Director is deeply committed to environmental stewardship, sustainability, and resilience. The successful candidate exemplifies servant leadership, embraces our commitment to equity and inclusion, and supports our triple-bottom-line approach by assessing economic, environmental, and social impacts to drive decisions. The Environmental Services Director brings their own set of diverse experiences that add value and perspective while promoting equitable solutions that address our ambitious community goals.

Through a balanced approach, the Environmental Services Director supports innovation while creating a safe, healthy, and supportive culture. The ideal candidate is a highly effective leader known for building trust and empowering employees. A natural convener and collaborator, the successful candidate recognizes the importance of relationships and partnerships at all levels and navigates political and multi-sector relationships with ease. The Environmental Services Director is an effective communicator and active listener who values the diversity of thought and experiences of others to deliver solutions and achieve desired results. Hearing, balancing, and respecting a variety of views during the decision-making process, while moving forward, will be key.

The Environmental Services Director embodies our core values and adapts with the dynamic evolution of our community. The successful candidate is a strategic, systems thinker who easily sees the big picture and long-term vision for the City and uses information to anticipate internal and external needs. In addition, the Director naturally sees the interdependencies between Environmental Services, Social Sustainability, Economic Health and proactively supports a people-centered, integrated approach to problem-solving. Remaining grounded in equity, the successful candidate proactively collaborates to put people, their communities, and community priorities at the center of our work.

Total Compensation

The City of Fort Collins offers a competitive comprehensive benefits package, which includes a market competitive salary of $110,000 – $125,000. Other benefits include medical, dental, vision, life, and short- and long-term disability insurance. Additionally, the City of Fort Collins offers other benefits, including 401(a) and a 457 deferred compensation plan with an employer contribution, optional Health Savings Account, Flexible Spending Accounts, and relocation assistance for the successful out of area finalist.


The Environmental Services Director is subject to residency requirements under the City’s Charter (Article IV, Section3), which require the incumbent to reside at the time of appointment and throughout employment in this classification within five (5) miles of the City limits as measured by a straight line connecting the parcel of property upon which the residence is situated to the nearest boundary line of the City. City limits and the Urban Growth Area /Growth Management Area can be found on FCMaps.


At least five years of progressively responsible environmental services related experience and a bachelor’s degree in engineering, ecology, environmental planning, natural resources management, sustainability, environmental, or related field. Advanced knowledge of natural resources management and environmental sustainability is essential, as is a demonstrated cultural competency to effectively collaborate and develop meaningful relationships with people of diverse identities, perspectives, and cultural backgrounds. Prior policy and program development experience highly desired. Knowledge of the private sector and/or public-private partnerships is beneficial. A master’s degree in natural resources management, environmental science, or environmental management is encouraged. An equivalent combination of experience and education that enable success as the Environmental Services Director will be considered.

Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they are able to perform every task in the job description. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and that candidate may be one who comes from a less traditional background. The City will consider any equivalent combination of knowledge, skills, education and experience to meet minimum qualifications. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and skill set for the role.

How to Apply

The City of Fort Collins is deeply committed to high-quality public service and cultivating an outstanding culture for its employees. As a high-performing government, Fort Collins attracts and employs diverse and competitive talent, retains its workforce through development and growth opportunities, and promotes intelligent risk-taking to address increasingly complex challenges.

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Please apply no later than April 18, 2021.


Heather Gantz | Manager, Executive Search | hgantz@thenovakconsultinggroup.com

The City of Fort Collins is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity at all levels of its workforce. Applicants selected as finalists for this position will be subject to a criminal history/credit/ driver’s license check prior to the interview. Under the Colorado Open Records Act, information from your application or resume may be subject to public disclosure.

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