SMC’s newest Leader in Stormwater is the author of Lancaster County’s first Integrated Water Resources Plan, developer of nationally recognized initiatives in Lancaster County; was involved in drafting the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement; and is the former President, Board Member, and Stoneroller at the Chesapeake Stormwater Network – Mary Gattis, Principal and Owner of Mary Gattis, LLC.
Mary’s stormwater career began while working as Sr. Environmental Planner with Lancaster County Planning. While drafting the first Integrated Water Resources Plan, she worked closely with leaders in the stormwater industry and once she dipped her toe in the water, she was hooked! Mary loved the challenge of finding ways to protect the environment and accommodate growth through stormwater policy. She also enjoyed the technical and regulatory aspects of the work, applying her problem solving and consensus building skills.
Next, Mary had a substantial impact serving as staff to the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Local Government Advisory Committee, and Director of Local Government Programs at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. After 6 yrs of work and travel throughout the Bay watershed, she took a sabbatical at which time the City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania asked her to do consulting work for their Stormwater Bureau. This re-opened a door to working as an independent consultant, something she had done during other phases of her career.
As a consultant, Mary says no two days are the same – writing a community engagement plan or a grant; working with engineers on a plan update; facilitating strategic planning sessions; or working with local artists on educating the community about stormwater. Mary works in planning, policy, and public education, which allows her to work on natural systems and infrastructure and says both areas are important and must work together. Mary says the stormwater industry has always practiced creative problem solving, resulting in tremendous evolution of the industry over the 20+ yrs of her career, and this gives her hope.
Looking over her career, Mary calls out David Hirschman as someone who has inspired her with his grace, humility and sense of purpose. Mary met Dave when the Center for Watershed Protection came to Lancaster to conduct stormwater retrofit assessments and teach others to do the same – a strong camaraderie developed almost instantly. Mary is also inspired by a project she has been involved in called “River Connections” – using art produced by people of color to raise awareness and share stories about the community’s connections to the Conestoga River (pictured).
Mary grew up in Nashville, TN and moved to Lancaster, PA in the 1990s where she’s grown to love small town life and appreciate the nature the county provides. She also cherishes her annual camping trips in the Adirondack mountains. Mary enjoys gardening, cooking and making music with friends, and is also a member of the Lancaster Water Week Planning Team.