Outstanding Public Lands Professional Awards - 2013

Manager/Managerial - Administrative Category

Scott Florence
Presentation of award (l to r): Ray Suazo, BLM State Director; Scott Florence; and Beau McClure, PLF Vice President for Operations.

SCOTT FLORENCE’S OUTSTANDING managerial and leadership performance during the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Northern Arizona Proposed Mineral Withdrawal and Public Land Order exemplify the managerial qualities deserving of the Outstanding Public Lands Professional Award for Managers.

The Proposed Withdrawal and EIS involved one million acres.  The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Arizona Strip District managed 650,000 of those acres and the U.S. Forest Service managed 350,000 acres.  These public lands are located on the north and south side of the Grand Canyon National Park.  The project was extremely political, complex, and viewed with intense public interest, especially in light of the mixed perceptions of the potential resources and water impacts from uranium mining in the Arizona Strip.  Completion was a top priority for the Department of the Interior and the BLM.

To manage the project, two levels of management oversight were created.  The first, the Executive Oversight Team, included executive level management of five federal agencies: Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.  This group handled high-level coordination.

The second, the Management Oversight Team, was made up of field-level managers providing day-to-day management oversight with Scott Florence serving as its chairman.

Scott worked with representatives of local governments in southern Utah and in northern Arizona.  As well, he assured tribal consultation with six interested tribes in the region.

Scott raised the bar on interagency leadership and coordination throughout the life of the project and took the initiative to make sure field level activities were well integrated with the Executive Oversight Team.  Scott kept the withdrawal as his top priority, modeling effective leadership throughout the various communication and coordination efforts needed to bring the project to a successful conclusion.  In addition, Scott set clear project objectives and held the entire group accountable to assure the team met its goals.  Scott handled the conflicts and disagreements in a professional way, ensuring the agency partners were heard and recognized for their contributions.

Scott was seen as the ultimate collaborative and consultative leader, a great convener – always drawing all participants into the conversation and always very respectful of everyone’s ideas and recommendations.  He demonstrated his ability to lead and manage a very complex project under incredible political and social pressure and project timeframes.  In the end, he effectively delivered a product to inform the Secretary’s decision whether to withdraw or nor withdraw the subject public land from mineral entry.

Scott Florence has demonstrated the managerial skills deserving of the Public Lands Foundation’s Outstanding Public Land Professional Award for Managers for 2013.