A chief architect of the U.S. EPA’s Futures Staff, a small entrepreneurial group charged with helping the Agency and its stakeholders anticipate and prevent environmental problems.  The group’s work was recognized by the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, EPA’s Science Advisory Board and the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government.  One of our group’s products, a systems view of the U.S. Energy & Transportation System showing policy levers (e.g., remove subsidies, give tax incentitives), ended up on the wall of then Vice President Al Gore.

  • Recognized by the Governor for contributions to the Maryland Climate Change Commission, including recommendations for building a green economy. Served as agency lead on the Climate Change Insurance Advisory Committee and played a lead role in completing their final report.  The Commission’s work led to numerous actions by Maryland legislation, state agencies and local governments to address climate risks and position Maryland as Climate leader.  For instance, this includes Prince George’s County’s Climate Action Plan, an inititiative spearheaded by Joe’s sister Mary Abe.

Served as a strategic planning consultant for a $2‐million, multi‐year trade and transportation project in the Northern Great Plains.  Toward New Horizons, the final project report articulated key findings, investment opportunities to Congressional and Regional leaders in the U.S. and Canada.  Joe synthesized his work and vision in an article published The Des Moines Register (Sunday, October 21, 2001):  “21 Century Agriculture;  Profitable, high-growth opportunities will abound in the heartland.” 

Helped direct and facilitate Congressional briefings and regional workshops on distributed energy technologies (e.g. microturbines, fuel cells, wind and solar power) to help industry, political leaders and others understand the benefits, challenges and opportunities related to their successful commercialization.  For instance, the regional workshops were designed to train building code inspectors, fire marshals, and utility interconnection engineers on the installation, interconnection and operation of new energy technologies.

  • Successfully implemented the first two years of Maryland’s Coast Smart Construction Program including organizing and running Coast Smart Council meetings, preparing annual reports, coordinating with multiple State agencies, and advancing the Council’s mission to protect State structures from coastal flooding, storm surge and sea level rise.
  • Managed, on behalf of the Coast Smart Council, the development of the Coast Smart Assessment & Certificate to ensure projects coming before the Board of Public Works comply with Coast Smart guidelines
  • Initiated and managed project with M.I.T. and U.S. Geological Survey to develop and conduct a mult-stakeholder, role-play workshop at U.S. Navy-Marine Stadium.  This laid the foundation for what became the Maryland Coast Smart Program.
  • Managed, on behalf of the Coast Smart Council, the development of the Coast Smart Assessment & Certificate to ensure projects coming before the Board of Public Works comply with Coast Smart guidelines.
  • Successfully updated and clarified coastal policies to strengthen and improve Maryland’s use of federal consistency, a management tool for improving federal-state coordination to ensure sustainable management of coastal uses and resources.
  • Developed an online Maryland Consistency Review portal to educate stakeholders and facilitate project reviews and federal-state-industry coordination.
  • Successfully developed an agreement between Maryland and the Department of Defense (DoD) that clarified and streamlined how the Maryland Coastal Program’s federal consistency provision applies to DoD facilities and projects in Maryland. This historic MD-DoD MOU, the first of its kind in the Nation, will likely be used by other states to improve their coordination with DoD. 
  • Helped initiate and develop Mid-Atlantic Federal Consistency Exhange, a forum to support the professional development of state federal consistency staff.
  • A principal agency reviewer for Maryland Clearinghouse, Joe reviewed hundreds of projects to ensure their alignment with MD DNR, Coastal Program and State policies and priorities including enforceable coastal policies, sustainability and climate adaptation.

As Executive Secretary of Maryland’s Coastal and Watershed Resources Advisory Council, I set agenda, managed meetings and engaged Maryland coastal representatives to set help set the direction for the Maryland Coastal Program and help inform and build the capacity of coastal stakeholders.  For instance, Baltimore County first learned of the green school initiative while attending a CWRAC meeting and eventually developed its own program.