ESA is pleased to announce the promotions of Barbra Calantas, Paul Schlenger, and Sarah Spano.
Calantas now leads the firm’s national Biological Resources and Land Management (BRLM) practice. This group is the largest practice for the firm, accounting for over 30% of its professional consultants. Schlenger and Spano both take on new roles as regional business group directors; Schlenger is leading the Pacific Northwest BRLM group and Spano is leading the Southern California Water group. The promotions reflect ESA’s commitment to fostering talent and expertise within the firm, further enhancing its commitment to an employee-ownership model.
Calantas, previously leading the BRLM group in Southern California, has more than two decades of experience as an environmental consultant and wildlife biologist. Her expertise includes preserve management guidance, Endangered Species Act consultation, wildlife field surveys, and the preparation of various environmental documents. In addition to her excellent work in her subject matter expertise, Calantas is integrally involved in ESA’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) initiatives, including the firm’s Internship Program that engages diverse students from underrepresented groups in the environmental field.
“After a robust search producing several qualified candidates, it was clear that Barbra was the right choice to lead the Biological Resources and Land Management Practice, the largest within the firm and one that is critical to the services we provide clients in all of our markets,” said ESA Senior Vice President and Director of Practices Jim O’Toole. “Barbra is a strong leader and team builder, possessing a clear vision that will shape ESA for the future.”
An experienced fisheries biologist and industry leader in restoration, Schlenger has spent his nearly 25-year career specializing in salmon biology, aquatic ecology, and habitat assessment. In addition to managing teams and leading the growth of the BRLM Practice in the Northwest, he will continue to apply his expertise in watersheds on projects involving restoration, fish passage, protection planning, and prioritizations, as well as habitat restoration design throughout the region. Paul also took a lead role in starting up a mentorship program in the Northwest region to help ESA’s next generation realize their professional goals in partnership with seasoned consultants.
Spano has been with ESA for 12 years and specializes in preparing California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documentation and coordinating environmental reviews for complex water and wastewater projects. Currently serving as the contract manager for several major public water utilities, she is pivotal in managing ESA’s technical and subconsultant teams. Spano also serves as a Trustee for ESA’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
“Barbra, Paul, and Sarah are all highly regarded among their colleagues at ESA, not only for their technical excellence, but also for the people-first approaches they apply to projects and teams,” said Leslie Moulton-Post, President and CEO of ESA. “They each bring a wealth of experience and dedication to their respective roles, and we look forward to their continued contributions within ESA, and for our clients, our industry, and the communities from which we are developing our next generation of environmental leaders.”