About K&A – Katz & Associates
We inform, educate, facilitate and resolve issues to move projects forward.
Katz & Associates specializes in strategic communication, public involvement and community relations to advance essential projects. Our firm is comprised of nationally recognized facilitation, public outreach and public relations experts in water resources, transportation, environmental planning, private sector development and land use. Our specialists combine their backgrounds in communications, geography, sociology, public affairs, environmental sciences and long-range planning to effectively translate highly technical information into language understandable to a variety of audiences. The majority of our clients are public entities implementing large infrastructure and environmental initiatives. We also work with private developers seeking to entitle and build housing or commercial projects, and with organizations and groups planning major civic or community events.
Founded in 1986, K&A is a certified small and woman-owned business enterprise. We are headquartered in San Diego, with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco and a statewide team of more than 40 professionals. We have supported projects across the U.S. and internationally, working with special districts, municipalities, privately owned utilities, local, state and federal agencies and regional coalitions.
In 2014, K&A began an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) as a mechanism for succession planning and to foster firm growth. Employees who become owners of the firm contribute to strategic decision-making and benefit from the economic growth of the firm.
Strategic Communications Planning
Whether gaining approval for a high profile, controversial project or managing an ongoing effort to enhance utility relations, K&A understands how to develop effective strategies that meet short-and long-term objectives. We work with boards and management teams to prioritize objectives, crystallize key messages and develop targeted communication plans that are measurable and get results.
K&A offers on-site placement of skilled communications practitioners at our client’s workplaces or field offices. Working side by side with our client’s staff, we serve as an extension of the in-house team to ensure community relations and other communication functions are seamlessly integrated in the overall program.
Community Outreach and Public Participation
Organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the many benefits of involving a diverse public in major project and policy issues. We have a superlative track record of building project understanding and increasing project success. At Katz & Associates, we incorporate the International Association for Public Participation’s (IAP2’s) pillars for effective public participation when designing and implementing programs that take into consideration the needs of both agencies and the public. We employ a multi-pronged approach where a range of outreach and public participation methods are used to reach and engage impacted communities and stakeholders. We start with a strategy plan to establish the purpose and objectives for community outreach and public participation, forecast potential issues and concerns, and assess affected neighborhoods and stakeholders who need to be involved. Then we determine the best ways to reach them with appropriate outreach and engagement techniques, which include accommodations for special needs such as language and accessibility. Traditional public participation activities, such as public workshops and advisory groups, are often mixed with pop-up and on-the-street outreach, online engagement and communications, informational materials from fact sheets to videos, walking tours, and community events that partner with local community organizations.
We work with communities that are affected by construction projects, which are often part of major infrastructure improvement programs. Whether it’s a private development or large-scale public works project, we ensure a smooth construction process by establishing two-way, empathetic communication and identifying areas of compromise between residents, businesses and the construction management team.
Getting in front of a crisis is key to ensuring a quick, reasonable resolution for internal and external audiences. We provide immediate crisis management services, including assistance with media inquiries, disseminating information to target audiences and establishing an internal crisis management team efficiently. We also provide proactive services, such as developing crisis communication plans and training spokespeople so they are prepared in advance, should the unthinkable occur.
Media and Presentation Training
An essential component of communication and outreach programs is to have trained spokespeople who feel comfortable speaking to the media or presenting to large groups. K&A conducts interactive and participatory media trainings in half- or full-day sessions including mock interviews and critiques.
Our approach to facilitation is grounded in the principles of clarity of purpose, selection of the appropriate tools, and tailoring the engagement to specific issues and contexts that are involved. Our facilitators are scrupulous in their ethical conduct and ensure that they both act and are perceived as the “honest broker” they are intended to be, and without which, they cannot function effectively in their capacity as a facilitator. Variations on the meeting format, ground rules, objectives, and in the case of advisory groups, the mission, provide the opportunity to “right-size” and tailor meetings of all kinds to match the needs of both the decision makers and the participants.
Graphic & Web Design / Collateral Development
Visual communication is a crucial component of our client’s initiatives. Our creative services team produces visually rich and compelling print and digital collateral that communicate complex ideas to a wide variety of audiences.
Social Media / Online Engagement
Our team works closely with clients to help plan, establish and maintain their social media presence through the development of regular posts and engaging digital content.
Water Reuse Programs
K&A is a national leader in helping utilities raise awareness about the benefits of recycled water and the science and safety of alternative water supplies. Whether for a potable reuse or desalination project, we make the complex understandable, applying research-based outreach and engagement techniques that foster community understanding and support for new local solutions to water supply needs.
Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) / Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)
K&A has decades of experience skillfully designing public participation processes for CEQA and NEPA, most often going above and beyond the basic regulatory requirements to create a truly robust outreach and engagement program. The CEQA and NEPA processes are inherently ideal for broadening public participation. At K&A, we help our clients create more conduits for public participation and present technical information in easy to understand ways, thereby expanding public understanding of a project’s purpose, need and characteristics, as well as increasing opportunities for people to provide meaningful and effective input that can help shape environmental documents and decisions being made.
Environmental contamination can often cause anger, fear and worry in neighboring communities. We know how to communicate about environmental risks and the cleanup of hazardous materials in an accurate and non-alarming way. At Katz & Associates, our experienced practitioners ensure that our clients meet the intent of environmental cleanup regulations by conducting early and meaningful involvement with communities affected by hazardous materials sites. Our knowledge of regulatory processes has been key to tailoring comprehensive communication plans for targeted outreach and engagement with impacted communities.
When risk assessment and risk management decisions must be communicated to the public, it is critical to reach out to community members and stakeholder groups in the right way and at the right time. At Katz & Associates, we understand how to use risk communication techniques to achieve results. We provide training to scientists, experts and managers in general risk communication skills, as well as tailored coaching for specific projects. We also develop outreach materials that help community members and stakeholders understand the issues of concern and their role in responding to them, thereby building trust and educating and empowering them. When the issues and decision-making process are shared openly with community members, they can understand how experts arrived at their conclusions, trust that decisions are being made with their welfare in mind and participate constructively in any risk management responses that are implemented.
Rates / Cost of Service
K&A has a deep understanding of not only the process for rate setting, including Prop. 218 notifications, but also the essential elements that foster community understanding of and acceptance for rate changes.
Community and Transportation Planning
Change is inevitable in communities. But change can generate concerns, anxiety and controversy, resulting in impasses and lost opportunities. We help design and implement public processes that empower community members to take a positive, productive role in shaping project outcomes. Our approach combines innovative public participation strategies with proven conflict resolution and facilitation techniques, allowing for early issue resolution and promoting sustainable decisions.
Resolving stormwater issues, from discharges, TMDLs, and stormwater capture and reuse, often requires the involvement and collaboration of various stakeholder groups. Our skilled facilitators help municipalities, MS4 co-permittees, non-governmental organizations and regulators develop and implement public participation programs that provide opportunities for stakeholders to participate in the formation of policies and regulations, identify opportunities for consensus among divergent views, and enable municipalities to comply with regulations.