Client Team Leader Joe Liebau, Jr. shares his experience securing, managing, and permitting grant-funded infrastructure projects in the article “An Insider’s Guide to Successful Project Funding and Permitting” published by Civil and Structural Engineer Media. It is an honor to have our member insights shared and to be given the opportunity to bring value to new audiences.
As a Client Team Leader with Foth’s Environmental Solutions division, Mr. Liebau develops relationships and guides strategy to solve environmental challenges. Prior to joining Foth, he served as Chief of Staff for the Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago. Mr. Liebau has worked with state/local governments, businesses, elected officials and citizens, to create and give feedback on national environmental and conservation policy. Mr. Liebau also served as Secretary Director of the Department of Natural Resources, Southeast Region, in Milwaukee, supporting operations and permitting, fostering relationships with key external partners. His wealth of experience allows him a comprehensive understanding of the requirements of this work, as well as the knowledge to be successful in project execution and delivery.
By Joe Liebau, Jr.
Infrastructure projects require substantial design and engineering efforts, and therefore have a unique set of challenges, including successful funding and permitting. Environmental regulations can be complex and penalties for non-compliance can be excessive. By taking the right steps to plan for and secure funding—starting with research and alignment with a grantor’s goals—and avoiding pitfalls in the regulatory process, proponents can be better prepared to ensure a successful project.
It is important to stay up to date and frequently apply for available grants, or you may miss out on crucial funding opportunities. Between local, state, federal, and private entities, there are numerous grants available across the environmental spectrum—and the dollars are significant. Be aware of which grants are available so you can maximize your efforts to ensure project success.
Many project proponents quickly craft seemingly accurate applications to save time and money. It is better to allocate the necessary assets to be thorough and comprehensive. To write a successful grant application, it may be helpful to seek expertise that will help position you for success. A partner will often have insight into the information that needs to be included and can ensure it is appropriately tailored to meet the goals of the funding agency and includes the right amount of detail.
After successfully securing funds, it is imperative to manage the grant according to the administrative, financial, and programmatic requirements. Not abiding by these rules puts you at risk of failing audits and being required to return some, or all, of the funding.
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