Our mission at Waterford is People | Planet | Performance. We believe in a "people" first approach, with the "planet" at the center of our individual and collective work. With those values and priorities in place, we are then able to align our "performance" in support of sustainability outcomes that benefit families, communities, organizations, and the world at large.
What differentiates Waterford is our specialized experience and expertise in sustainability. We have extensive experience successfully coaching and mentoring individuals at all levels, guiding them so they are fully prepared and confident in their ability to effectively manage people, complexity, and change. Read more about our team members Beth Offenbacker, PhD, ACC and Paul Coelus, and meet our Project Partners.
We also partner with our clients to build leadership, critical-thinking, decision-making, and project-management skills among team members and leaders, including an emphasis on the social and emotional intelligence skills necessary for fostering resilience in support of sustainable outcomes.
We emphasize these same skills in our engagement work with stakeholders, building co-design processes that seek to establish and cultivate kinder, more equitable, more just communities. Capacity building and collaboration are cornerstones of our approach to this work.
Our work with sustainability-focused professionals and organizations on these core skills enable them to advance progress on critical sustainability initiatives. That brings our mission of People | Planet | Performance full circle for us.
Work With Us
We understand the dynamic market and industry challenges our sustainability-focused clients are seeking to navigate, and we are proud to be a trusted resource for them.
Our client portfolio includes individuals at all career levels, plus private sector firms (including investor-owned companies), nonprofits, and government agencies. Contact us to learn more about the executive coaching, training and workforce development, strategic/energy transition planning, stakeholder engagement consulting services we provide.
Executive/Leadership Coach and Stakeholder Engagement Consultant
A dynamic executive with 25 years of experience, Beth works with people and organizations to visualize, build, and deliver a greener future, for themselves, their clients, and their communities. Clients report that they appreciate her warmth and savvy as an executive coach and engagement consultant and her specialized knowledge of the "green" sector.
She provides individual and small group coaching for people who are personally committed to a sustainable future. This involves designing a strategy for professional and personal growth, identifying gaps, building a plan, and guiding people in implementing these key elements.
For sustainable-minded organizations, Beth is a valued, solutions-based consultant on workforce development projects as part of building tomorrow's energy workforce. She assesses gaps between market trends/needs and the existing skills within an organization, and she develops workforce plans that guide clients in both growing and acquiring the skillsets necessary for their organization to continue to thrive.
Beth designs and leads equity-focused, inclusive stakeholder engagement programs for clients. This involves engaging people to isolate project gaps or unidentified needs/challenges and co-designing mutually beneficial outcomes. She also facilitates advisory groups and cultivate strategic partnerships that deliver on business objectives.
Current and past clients include people and organizations in clean energy, clean tech, solar, wind, green finance, energy transition, utilities, infrastructure, watersheds, water quality, sewers, stormwater, transit, transportation, land use, infrastructure, regional planning, conservation, parks, forestry, and sustainable & cultural tourism.
Beth has corporate, nonprofit, and public agency experience, and her portfolio includes local, state, regional, national, and international projects. She speaks frequently on green career, green futurism, and green workforce topics.
Her background includes staff positions with professional trade associations, an investor-owned utility, the headquarters of a federal agency, a top-ranked research university, and a small marketing firm. She served as Chief Human Resources Officer for Waterford, as Chief Learning Officer for PublicDecisions, and she is a former university faculty member with 10+ years of teaching and 7+ years of higher education administration experience. Beth has successfully designed and led stakeholder engagement for numerous client projects valued from $50K to $5.6B.
Beth is an expert in stakeholder engagement, designing and implementing engagement programs for numerous land use, infrastructure, transportation, transit, affordable housing, stormwater, sewer, and watersheds projects that sought to bring diverse stakeholders together in support of economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Many of these projects won awards or set new standards for effective stakeholder engagement. See Case Studies section at the bottom of this webpage for more information about the firm's many stakeholder engagement projects.
Beth’s engagement research is international in scope, using inclusive management as a framework for effectively engaging people. The inclusive public engagement framework she developed, using the three cornerstone elements of Information, Relationships, and Stewardship, guides all of her stakeholder engagement projects. Beth's research and extensive experience with leading deliberative dialogues on a community level also inform her stakeholder engagement consulting work. She has taught/co-taught community engagement classes at the graduate level, in addition to teaching engagement skills at small workshops.
Beth also has expertise in workforce development. For example, she co-designed and led a portfolio of workforce development programs for the global nonprofit Leaders in Energy, a 8,500+ member organization of clean energy and sustainability professionals in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. From 2018-2012, she served as the volunteer Director of Training & Development for Leaders in Energy. As a member of the core leadership team, Beth partnered with fellow executives on building and deploying organizational strategy, structure, and management processes in support of capacity-building and mission success.
She is active in building workforce pipelines, such as through her participation in the Virginia Energy Workforce Consortium, and as well mentoring emerging companies as a Sustainability Mentor for Clean Tech Open Northeast. While on the team at the Tree Care Industry Association, Beth recognized a key gap in workforce development in the tree care industry, establishing TCIA's Veterans Initiative, which focused on recruiting military service members who are separating from service or retiring into this skilled trade industry. Beth conducted a detailed analysis of military job codes and cross-walked those specialties to industry positions, and she launched an initiative to network TCIA with military alumni service organizations (AUSA, etc.).
Beth delivers executive/leadership coaching assignments for individual and organizational clients. She coaches team members, supervisors, mid-level managers, senior executives, and firm founders. Beth is an ICF-certified coach and she is certified in several assessment tools that measure individual leadership/management skills and behaviors. Drawing on these tools, client coaching sessions are designed to build on existing strengths and cultivate the necessary skills and behaviors that contribute to role success for the employee.
Beth has an extensive background in human resources. As CHRO for Waterford, Inc., her responsibility included recruiting and retaining employees, and guiding succession planning. She also led talent development, change management, performance management, training and development, and compensation for the company. She has considerable leadership and management experience working in large, decentralized organizations. For example, she has 7+ years of experience in higher education administration experience at Virginia Tech, serving at the program level with the Center for Public Administration and Policy and also at the School level (which provided administrative leadership/management for three academic programs).
At Virginia Tech, she directed recruiting efforts for the Washington Semester Program, leading to a 47% increase over the previous year’s application level and by 92% as compared to three year’s previously. She guided School of Public and International Affairs graduate recruitment initiatives, including initiating a marketing plan, preparing segment messaging, co-developing marketing assets, representing the School at recruiting fairs and events, and managing and fostering connections between prospective students from initial interest to application.
Beth has extensive learning and development credentials, leading in-person, online, and blended classes and workshops. She has 10+ years of teaching experience, designing and delivering classroom instruction as an adjunct/visiting faculty member with the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs and as a professorial lecturer with the American University School of Communications. She also served as Chief Learning Officer with PublicDecisions, a 2009 tech start-up that led the market in online engagement training.
At PublicDecisions, Beth designed and delivered a comprehensive training/learning program that hosted 1,200 attendees from 16 countries at 46 programs using synchronous and asynchronous technologies. She co-led eight online conferences on health, climate change, international planning, deliberation, and engagement topics. She also co-founded the World Town Planning Day Online Conference with the American Planning Association-International Division and eight sponsoring organizations, an award-winning initiative with international visibility.
Beth has designed and led workshops, sessions, and training seminars for community nonprofits, professional conferences, and stakeholder groups, from small groups to sessions with more than 100 participants. She is fluent in delivering classes and programs via live streaming and in blended formats. She also has experience using a range of asynchronous learning tools such as Blackboard and Canvas.
Her experience also includes leading the B2B consulting practice for Waterford, Inc. on people development and stakeholder engagement projects, in addition to managing client service. She directs all client project activities, from initial contact through project completion, with $3.2 million in gross revenue from 1996 to present. She trained and mentored team members in consulting skills, teaching them the steps for effectively working with clients that she designed for the company. Beth draws on her deep skills and experience gained from leading 60+ client projects to date, as a foundation for her training programs and 1:1 executive/leadership coaching with clients.
Education and Professional Service
Beth earned a bachelor's degree in communications at the State University of New York at Brockport and a master's degree in public communications at American University. A graduate of Virginia Tech’s Center for Public Administration and Policy, her doctoral dissertation offers a framework for engagement using inclusive management as a lens, and it draws on research in 12 countries (Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States).
She is past chair of the American Planning Association's International Division. She participates in several "green" or clean energy organizations or initiatives, including Women in Energy and the Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL).
Beth is engaged with a number of human resources/workforce development initiatives and organizations, including leading the Planning Team for the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Roundtable Series for the Virginia Energy Workforce Consortium. She also is an active Toastmaster, with successful experience serving in leadership roles at the individual Club and District levels. Under her leadership, both the club she led (First Edition) and her Area (comprised of four individual TM clubs) received Toastmasters awards for significant member educational achievement, leadership/training completion, and recruiting and retention.
She is an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Associate Accredited Coach and she also received her Coaching Certification from the Co-Active Training Institute. In addition to being a Quantum Endeavors® Licensed Coach, she holds a number of certifications in emotional intelligence from Six Seconds. Beth follows trends and practices in coaching and engagement through her membership in the International Coaching Federation and the International Association for Public Participation (Lifetime Member), and through scholarly and practitioner journals and conferences.
A native of Halfmoon, NY, Beth enjoys being outdoors and especially in the Adirondacks. She is an aspiring beekeeper and she is an active member of her Unitarian Universalist faith community.
Paul J. Coelus
Vice President & CFO
Paul J. Coelus is Waterford's Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He joined the corporation in 2001. As CFO, Paul is responsible for the efficient management and fiscal responsibility of the corporation. He oversees Waterford's compliance with its contractual obligations and as general counsel, he is responsible for the corporation's legal affairs.
A talented and creative individual, Paul serves as day-to-day project manager for Waterford’s client activities and as such works closely with Beth Offenbacker. He is particularly skilled at finding innovative and cost-effective solutions that respond to client needs. His creative flair and artistic abilities have enhanced numerous Waterford client projects.
Clients tell us they appreciate Paul’s thoughtful approach to client work and the thorough nature of his project management skills. Prior to joining Waterford, Paul served in the United States Air Force as a systems acquisition program manager and as a judge advocate ("JAG"). In 2005, Paul was certified as a Public Meeting Facilitator by the National Charrette Institute.
Paul is a graduate of Cornell University (B.S., microbiology) and Boston University (J.D.). He has also done graduate work in intellectual property law, environmental science, and biotechnology, and has instructed in the field of criminal justice. His bar memberships include the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the Court of Federal Claims, and the Virginia Supreme Court. Paul formerly served on the board of the Cornell Club of Washington. He resides in Arlington, Virginia.
Waterford works with a network of associates who provide specialized knowledge and experience based on the needs of your particular project.
These may include but are not limited to, individuals with complementary expertise and experience in human resources, change management, stakeholder engagement, or talent development, or other related focus areas. Where possible, we seek to work with individuals with past experience in your particular field.