Accomplished project manager and environmental planner brings 20 years of professional experience to new role
DENVER (Nov. 11, 2021) – HNTB has hired Lisa Sakata as environmental practice lead and associate vice president. A skilled project manager with more than 20 years of experience in environmental planning and analysis within the transportation, energy and recreation sectors, Sakata will help build and grow the environmental practice at HNTB’s Denver office and across its Northwest Division. She will work with key HNTB clients including Colorado Department of Transportation, Denver’s Regional Transportation District, the City and County of Denver, and Denver International Airport. She will also work closely with HNTB’s Salt Lake City office and key clients in Utah, including Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Transit Authority.
Sakata is qualified in leading large, multi-disciplinary teams on complex projects with challenging regulatory requirements and resource issues. She has completed numerous projects that comply with National Environmental Policy Act, California Environmental Quality Act, Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Act, as well as other state and local mandates. She also has background in conflict resolution and is adept at networking with decision-makers, developing strategic partnerships, and managing client relationships.
“Lisa brings to HNTB a depth of expertise in environmental laws and business development across the western U.S.,” said Reza Akhavan, PE, HNTB vice president and transportation practice leader in Colorado. “Her firm grasp of environmental policies along with her business savvy in the areas of market research, analysis and evaluating growth strategies will help HNTB establish deeper relationships with new and existing clients in Denver, Salt Lake City and across the U.S.”
Prior to HNTB, Sakata was managing director of environment and planning and the Mountain West transportation sector lead at a global consulting and technology services company. In this role, she worked with transportation departments in California, Colorado, Texas and Utah. She served as the environmental lead for the California High-Speed Rail San Jose to Merced project section, which is a project that will improve mobility and reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the state, improving air quality for all. While on this project, Sakata was involved in extensive analysis and outreach to disadvantaged populations, including collaboration on improvements to address impacts resulting from the project. She also managed numerous complex NEPA projects for federal and commercial developments in the energy and recreation industries.
“I am thrilled to join HNTB, which is renowned for its commitment to technical excellence, sophisticated culture, and industry-leading business approach,” said Sakata. “I’m excited to grow the environmental practice in the Denver region that I call home. I look forward expanding our teams in Denver and Utah and working with our clients in these communities to deliver innovative projects that meet evolving community and environmental needs, including greenhouse gas emission reduction, transit equity and involving historically underrepresented communities in the decision-making process.”
Sakata holds a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University. She maintains affiliations with transportation groups including the Transportation Research Board, American Public Transportation Association, and WTS Colorado.