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Regulator to Private Consultant

Regulator to Private Consultant

When Rock Vitale, CEO of Environmental Standards, Inc. (Environmental Standards), first asked Patricia Hickman about her transition from regulator to consultant, she wasn’t sure how to respond. However, that question stuck with her, and as she continued her new role in the consulting world, she developed a perspective.

Ms. Hickman made the move from a long career with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to her current position as a Senior Advisor at Environmental Standards in February of 2018. At the WVDEP, she had held positions in environmental inspection, enforcement, project management, program management, and administration. In her current role as a Senior Advisor, she consults on environmental assessment and remediation projects with Environmental Standards.

Some might expect that working as an environmental regulator is very different from working as an environmental consultant. In some ways that is true. In a regulator role, Ms. Hickman had to enforce regulations that businesses sometimes found difficult, complex, or costly to meet. It could be challenging to enforce compliance with environmental regulations under those circumstances. However, Ms. Hickman would use her inspection or project oversight time to provide information and clear direction to those being regulated. “Not only was it rewarding to educate companies and individuals on the regulations, but it resulted in a cleaner environment through improved compliance.” Said Ms. Hickman.

The same can be said of working as an environmental consultant in the private sector. “With Environmental Standards I can help clients understand environmental issues and work with them to solve problems and meet environmental requirements.”

She has the opportunity to assist clients as a partner instead of being an enforcer. “I am not the scary WVDEP regulator in the uniform. Instead, I am a Senior Advisor providing guidance on the best and most cost-effective ways to comply with environmental regulations.”  As a former regulator, she understands the objectives that the regulators are seeking to achieve, which enables her to help clients navigate a sometimes complex regulatory world. This allows clients to focus on their business goals instead of worrying about how to address environmental concerns. “I still work to improve the environment, but I help businesses continue to achieve their goals at the same time.”

Patricia Hickman

Senior Advisor

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