RCE Georgetown - 2020

Sustainable Organization Training: Public Services Leadership in Georgetown County
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Sustainable Organization Training: Public Services Leadership in Georgetown County
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Georgetown
Contributing organization(s) : 
National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR); Coastal Carolina University; Georgetown County Division of Public Services
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Pamela Martin plmartin@coastal.edu;
Organizational Affiliation: 
Coastal Carolina University
Maeve Snyder
Organizational Affiliation: 
National Estuarine Research Reserve
Peg Howell
Organizational Affiliation: 
Howell Consulting and RCE Georgetown community outreach coordinator
Ray Funnye
Organizational Affiliation: 
Director, Public Services, Georgetown County
Format of project: 
Power point and in person training
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Yes, this project links directly to public services creating a new mission and vision aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and creating an organizational culture that fosters sustainability and resilience.
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
United States
Georgetown County, SC
Address of focal point institution for project: 
125 Chanticleer Blvd. Coastal Carolina University Conway, SC 29528
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Georgetown County, South Carolina, is located along the Grand Strand area of the Atlantic Coastline of the United States and is part of the Intracoastal Waterway. It houses part of the UN Man and Biosphere Reserve along the Atlantic Coast and has some of the most pristine waters along it, including the third largest water-basin. The population of the County increased 20.5% between 1990 and 2000 to 60,158. It is predicted to increase by 25% by 2025. The county has a rich history and culture of Gullah Geechee ancestors who were slaves from West Africa. It is now part of a National Heritage Corridor for this unique and diverse population. Compared to all but one of the neighboring counties, Georgetown has lower average income and higher poverty rates that disproportionately affect the African American residents in the county.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Georgetown county is a place of wondrous natural beauty and a special heritage, yet these assets are also filled with challenges. While Georgetown County has some of the most pristine waters along the Atlantic and the third largest water-basin, it also suffers from high risk mercury levels in some of its waterways. The county has higher than national average unemployment rates and higher poverty rates that disproportionately affect the African- American residents. Of the 21 schools in the county, 12 are Title 1, meaning these schools receive free or reduced lunch for 75% or more of their students. Of third grade students, 45% tested below Math at the end of the year and 20% below reading levels. Coupled with coastal sea level rise and flooding, particularly over the past five years, Sustainable and Resilient Organization training for our county Public Services Department (that encompasses Environmental Services, roads, stormwater, capital projects, and the airport) integrate with down scaled climate data and the UN SDGs to their mission, vision, values, and short and long term goals and strategies. In light of the past five years of hurricanes and flooding, and now a pandemic, such resilient planning is the key to bounce back better for the future of all in the county.
April, 2019 to February, 2020
RCE Georgetown was asked to train Public Works leaders in the county in order to align their vision, mission, and strategic plan to the UN SDGs. The UN SDGs are now aligned with the APWA (American Public Works Association) accreditation process, which the county was renewing in 2019. The training included approximately 25 people including the managers of each of the Department’s six divisions, the Crew Chiefs, and Supervisors from:
• Facilities Services
• Public Works
• Engineering & Capital Projects
• Airports
• Environmental Services
• Stormwater
Creating a sustainable and resilient organization involves balanced decision-making that is good for people, the economic well-being of the community and the environment, or “people, prosperity, and planet – the triple bottom line.” The initial scope of the Georgetown County Public Services department’s Sustainable Organization Training™ is focused on building team effectiveness for the near and long term by engaging resilient and sustainable principles and tools. This training aims to help Public Service leaders make decisions that are simultaneously beneficial for residents, development, the community, the environment, quality of life, and more.
The American Public Works Association defines engagement in sustainable development and its practices as “Executing a holistic approach [that] requires involving everyone from the public works director to residents and from across divisions, cities and counties.” Such an approach acknowledges resource scarcity and growing challenges to coastal communities, i.e., flooding and sea level rise, among others. Managing risk and developing a team guided by long-term sustainability principles are the practices of 21st Century resilient communities.
● Public Services of Georgetown County was in the process of renewing their APWA (American Public Works Association) accreditation. The APWA now aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and has a Center for Sustainability. Georgetown County Public Services and its collaboration with RCE Georgetown can be a leader in this area.
● Aligning the Strategic Plan with the UN SDGs and leadership in sustainability training creates a resilient department and county
● This training addressed the Public Services SWOT analysis and links each division’s goals and objectives to the greater mission and vision of the Public Services Department, demonstrating systems-level analysis and organizational change
● Technical tools for building a resilient county through the NOAA Resilience Toolkit will be applied to division objectives, aligning climate data to public works projects, ie, roads, capital improvement projects, environmental services, stormwater, etc.
● Leadership and team building skills will link to building a sustainable and effective organization through application of the Global Compact principles and the UN SDGs
● This training will tie the strategic plan to personnel evaluation and annual reviews to ensure continual growth and improvement
Activities and/or practices employed: 
1. Our RCE team interviewed managers regarding goals, roles, processes, and relationships, as well as knowledge of sustainability and resilience. The survey included aspects of the Sulitest, based on the UN SDGs.
2. We analyzed the data based on team effectiveness, knowledge of sustainable development, and ability to apply that knowledge in their roles.
3. We presented the data to the 25 managers and the Director, Mr. Ray Funnye.
4. We then held a series of 3, three-hour workshops in which we trained Public Services members on organizational effectiveness, climate data applied to their division jobs and responsibilities, and goal setting toward sustainable and resilient long-term planning.
Size of academic audience: 
In addition to short- and long-term planning, a new vision and mission with goals and measurable targets linked to the UN SDGs, the team developed 2 projects: 1) data analysis and management that included new GIS applications and 2) proactive storytelling of their role in creating a resilient county.
Lessons learned: 
1. County employees are understaffed and under resourced, which makes carving out time for planning difficult, yet this is necessary for a resilient future.
2. Measurable targets for evaluation are critical.
3. Integrated, systems level analysis is not common for all and requires education and training.
4. More opportunities to train and work with our local governments provides the building blocks for better, more sustainable and resilient communities and lives for all
Key messages: 
Managing risk and developing a team guided by long-term sustainability principles are the practices of 21st Century resilient communities.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
This project is the result of our 2018-19 climate adaptation student, funded by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), in partnership with the county, municipalities, University of South Carolina, Coastal Carolina University, the Consensus Building Institute, and NERR.
This training was a result of a $100,000 NOAA funded grant on climate adaptation in Georgetown County.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon Team building.jpg (1.63 MB) Team Building Pamela L. Martin
Image icon Pub Ser Training.jpg (1.55 MB) Public Service Training Pamela L. Martin
References and reference materials: 
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level