Environmental Science Associates (ESA) – Community Planning Program Manager

ESA, an employee owned company, is seeking a senior level planner with 10 or more years of experience to lead our Northern California Community Planning Group. The person filling this position may be located in our Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco or Petaluma office. The position will provide guidance and technical oversight of the community planning team and projects, and contribute to ESA’s legacy of innovation, creativity, quality service and best practices. Typical projects include general plans, specific plans, master plans, downtown plans, zoning codes, housing plans, local coastal programs, resilience programs and related planning and environmental studies. The candidate must demonstrate a successful track record of team building, project management and proactive business development, and will be responsible for facilitating the growth of the Community Planning Group. The position will report to ESA’s Northern California Community Development Director and will participate as a member of the Community Development Leadership Team.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Lead the growth, profitability and direction of the Northern California Community Planning Group including contribution to/implementation of the business plan and performance goals.
  • Provide technical leadership on complex and emerging planning and related issues promoting leading edge innovation, creativity, and best practices.
  • Serve as project manager and/or director on major projects, directing teams to ensure that all work meets ESA’s expectations for quality, financial performance and technical excellence.
  • Develop and implement a marketing strategy to grow planning services throughout Northern California including coordination with other ESA regions and practices to cross sell services.
  • Foster client relationships and leads, carry out marketing initiatives, manage and/or direct preparation of proposals, and win work.
  • Maintain a high degree of visibility in relevant professional organizations including actively representing ESA at conferences and professional events.
  • Supervise and mentor planning staff including career development, technical growth, workload allocation, performance reviews and goal setting.
  • Identify staffing needs and lead staff recruitment, including candidate identification, interviews, hiring and retention.
  • Contribute to a positive and collaborative work environment that promotes growth and success for all ESA employee owners.

Abilities and Skills

The ability to lead and grow a team; establish and implement business strategy; facilitate a strong work culture; mentor and direct staff; organize and manage project teams; effectively problem solve; nurture productive client relationships; identify, pursue and capture work; operate collaboratively in a fast paced multi-disciplinary team environment; and exhibit excellent writing and verbal communication skills.


Bachelor or Master’s degree with major course work in a planning, urban design, community development, environmental science or a related field.

10+ years of work experience in community planning, including prior management responsibilities.

A high level of expertise in the principles and practices of community planning and related land use issues, a working knowledge of planning and zoning laws, and familiarity with environmental, sustainability and resilience issues and regulations. Urban design skills and experience are a plus.

Demonstrated leadership capabilities and a successful track record of supervision, project management, delivery of high quality products, and business development.

About ESA

Environmental Science Associates (ESA) is an environmental science, planning, and design consulting firm committed to the principles of sound science, technical excellence, integrity, and the promotion of outstanding decision making and sustainability. As a 100-percent employee-owned company with offices located in California, Washington, Oregon and Florida, continuing to meet the needs of our clients as well as the strategic aspirations of our employee-owners requires that we look to add the very best professional talent throughout our practices and offices. Specializing in project planning, environmental analysis and assessment, natural and cultural resources management, environmental restoration and design, and regulatory compliance, ESA’s scientists, historians, planners, designers, and technical specialists provide critical thinking and in-depth analysis to guide successful policy development, project planning, and the creation of enduring multi-objective solutions. Joining ESA means becoming part of a family of environmental professionals for whom every day involves growing your career, learning, creativity, fun, and the satisfaction knowing that you’ve contributed to outstanding iconic projects, improved environmental stewardship, and a more sustainable future for our communities and wild places.


ESA is owned entirely by our employees, creating a unique ownership culture rooted in a commitment to do work that matters, technical excellence, outstanding client service, professional development, and life-long learning. ESA’s comprehensive compensation and benefits program reflects our commitment to our employees. Our benefits include: 401(k) Salary Deferral Plan with company match program, Employee Stock Ownership Plan, medical and dental insurance vision care, paid vacation, sick leave, 9 paid holidays, group term life insurance, short-term and long-term disability insurance, commuter/transit incentives, healthcare and daycare Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), tuition reimbursement assistance, performance bonus plan, and employee referral bonus program. 

How to Apply

If you are interested in applying to become an employee-owner at ESA, please visit the ESA Careers page at www.esassoc.com or follow the link below:

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At ESA, we value diversity and inclusion. Collaborating with colleagues from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives leads to better solutions and opportunities for everyone. We celebrate the differences—age, color, physical ability, ethnicity, family or ​marital status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, language, national origin, race, religion, veteran status, and other characteristics—that make each of us unique. ESA’s culture is built on mutual respect, recognizing that the collective sum of our individual differences and life experiences fosters our continued success and achievement, for our employee-owners and our clients. ​

ESA is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment. (EOE M/V/F/D)