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Susan Gulick, Sound Resolutions

Susan Gulick

PHILOSOPHY STATEMENT

Sound Resolutions specializes in building consensus on challenging issues. Founded in 1995 by Susan Gulick, Sound Resolutions has a long history of success in resolving issues that arise between divergent interest groups, between colleagues, or between different agencies. Sound Resolutions’ services include facilitation, project management and environmental policy analysis.

Sound Resolutions works with groups whose members have competing needs and differing values. Through skilled facilitation, Sound Resolutions guides these groups to find common ground and develop a durable consensus. Work products include plans and strategies, legislation, agreements, recommendations, and numerous other documents.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE/RESULTS

Facilitation

Sound Resolutions works with diverse groups to build a durable consensus on controversial issues. Sound Resolutions works to create the optimal group composition. As the facilitation process proceeds, Sound Resolutions provides succinct decision-making tools to assist with consensus-building. Meetings are focused, productive, and enjoyable!

Project Management

Sound Resolutions provides project management services for clients who do not have adequate resources for senior staff. Project management is often provided for multi-agency projects to ensure smooth, coordinated implementation. Sound Resolutions also has a long history of preparing RFPs, managing a fair and efficient consultant selection process, and managing consultant contracts on behalf of clients.

Environmental Policy Analysis

Sound Resolutions has broad knowledge of federal, state and local environmental laws and policies. Sound Resolutions has long-term experience in researching policy options, preparing issue papers, drafting state and local legislation, and briefing elected officials and other policy makers on issues and options. Sound Resolutions understands how to translate technical or complex information into clear and succinct prose. Products are well researched, well written, and readily understood by the reader.

EXPERIENCE / SELECTED PROJECTS

Facilitator, Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council

The Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council was created by the state legislature to advise the Governor and legislature on coastal marine issues. Susan Gulick facilitates the Council. The initial focus was the development and implementation of a Marine Spatial Plan that will protect existing marine activities while identifying appropriate locations for potential new activities, such as renewable energy. Currently the Council is addressing coastal resilience. Susan works to find common ground and build consensus recommendations among the diverse membership of the Council.

Facilitator/Project Manager, Septic System Financing Analysis

Susan Gulick facilitated a large Advisory Committee and managed the analysis of financing options for on-site septic systems in the Puget Sound region.  The analysis assessed financing options to capitalize a regional loan program to fund the repair and replacement of failing septic systems and the development of sustainable funding for local septic management programs.  The analyses and the Advisory Committee’s recommendations were the basis for legislation to address this complex financing challenge.

Facilitator/Project Manager, Spokane County Water Availability Advisory Group

Susan Gulick facilitated a diverse Advisory Group developing recommendations regarding land use and water availability in Spokane County. In the midst of heated controversy, Susan succeeded in guiding the group through the issues and reaching agreement on key recommendations to the County Commissioners. The report prepared by Sound Resolutions has received praise for being a clear and concise explanation of complex challenges facing Spokane County regarding water resources.

Facilitator/Project Manager, Numerous Watershed Planning Groups

Sound Resolutions provided project management and facilitation to numerous watershed planning groups around the state, including watersheds in Jefferson County, Mason County, Thurston County, Skamania County, Spokane County and Chelan County. Susan Gulick coordinated all technical work and facilitated Planning Unit and Technical Committee Meetings. Tasks included preparing the watershed plans and detailed implementation plans, and coordinating actions to implement the watershed plans.

Project Manager/Facilitator, Clallam County Stormwater Management Plan and Work Group

Susan Gulick was the project manager of a large project that included designing and facilitating a stakeholder process to address local stormwater issues; preparing a Comprehensive Stormwater Management Plan, implementing ordinances, and financing options; and preparing a social marketing strategy for stormwater management.

Facilitator/Project Manager: Water Security Plan for the State of Washington

The WA Dept. of Health hired Sound Resolutions to form and facilitate a Water Sector Coordinating Council and to write a statewide Water Sector-Specific Plan for water security. Susan Gulick facilitated the Water Sector Coordinating Council, with truly engaged members from local water utilities, state and federal agencies, and other interests. The outcome was a Water Sector-Specific Plan which has received praise from national organizations and is a model for other states.

Facilitator/Project Manager: Reports to the Legislature for the Washington Department of Health

DOH hired Sound Resolutions to create and facilitate a Work Group to advise the department on a required report to the legislature regarding the Water System Acquisition and Rehabilitation Program. With important input from the Work Group, the report to the legislature was successfully completed and submitted to legislature in 2009. Subsequently, DOH asked Susan Gulick to facilitate another Work Group to assist them with a second report to the legislature regarding issues with small water systems.

Facilitator/Project Manager, Clallam County On-Site Septic Work Group and Financing Model

Clallam County hired Sound Resolutions to create and facilitate a Work Group to advise the County on preparation of a new on-site septic management plan. Susan Gulick worked with Clallam County to recruit members and facilitate the 40 member Work Group. In a very short period of time, the diverse Work Group reached consensus on recommendations to be included in the plan. Sound Resolutions also prepared the final plan which was adopted by the County, as well as an assessment of available financing options and a simple model to calculate long-term funding needs.

CREDENTIALS

Susan Gulick, a trained mediator, founded Sound Resolutions in 1995. Susan has over 25 years of experience resolving complex public policy issues and specializes in environmental policy, facilitation and project management. Susan’s strengths are her ability to listen and understand problems and concerns, analyze the options, and then facilitate the creation of workable solutions and action-oriented results.

Prior to founding Sound Resolutions, Susan served for six years as the senior Environmental Policy Analyst for the Washington State House of Representatives. In this non-partisan position, she drafted bills and amendments, analyzed the impacts of proposed legislation, and facilitated the development of consensus on controversial proposals.

Her experience also includes six years as the Waste Reduction and Recycling Manager for King County, Washington where she managed a staff of over 30 and a budget of over $8 million. Together with her staff, Susan designed and implemented some of the most progressive recycling and hazardous waste programs in the nation.

In 1993, Susan was awarded a fellowship to attend Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Her studies focused on creative approaches to resolving environmental policy disputes.

Susan has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University. She is the recipient of the Kennedy Fellowship from Harvard University, a meritorious award for professional and academic achievement.

SELECTED CLIENTS

State Governments
  • State of Washington
  • State of California
  • State of Hawaii
Local Governments
  • Clallam County
  • Island County
  • Jefferson County
  • King County
  • Mason County
  • City of Mercer Island
  • City of Seattle
  • Skamania County
  • Snohomish County
  • Spokane County
Other
  • Numerous Watershed Planning Groups
  • The Russell Family Foundation
  • Spokane County Conservation District
  • Woodland Park Zoo
  • Camano Island Watershed Implementation Committee
  • Joint Committee for Watershed Planning on Hood Canal
  • Governor’s Sustainable Washington Advisory Panel
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