The Importance of Public Engagement
John Konkus, Senior Manager Strategic Development + Government Affairs, AECOM
In 2018 the U.S. EPA set out to address PFAS head-on and launched its PFAS Action Plan.
Foremost in the Plan was the Agency's promise to begin the regulatory process, with
simultaneous emphasis on addressing public concerns. In his past role as Deputy Associate
Administrator for the EPA's Office of Public Affairs, the presenter helped develop and
execute EPA’s public engagement campaign with a commitment to engage openly with the
public at events with communities impacted by PFAS. EPA coordinated closely with the
states and local communities to plan the PFAS Community Engagement events, starting with
a major public summit in Washington D.C. Continuing across six states, EPA voluntarily held
public engagement sessions where government scientists and leaders shared their
knowledge of PFAS impacts on communities and public health, and to listen to citizens’
concerns. This presentation will discuss best practices and lessons learned regarding PFAS
John is a the senior manager for strategic development and government affairs in AECOM’s Tallahassee office. He has worked in Washington, DC; New York; and Florida since 1999, and has managed many governmental and political offices and developed and implemented many influential public relations campaigns. His decades of experience, strong work ethic, attention to detail, team-building, and organizational skills, combined with a vision for the future make him a top communicator and executive manager. He most recently served as deputy associate administrator at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and served as a top advisor to two members of the President’s cabinet. John led the successful communications efforts during the Senate confirmation process for both of President Trump’s EPA Administrator nominees. He was the communications director for environmental policy and the EPA on the 2016/17 Presidential Transition. Prior to joining the Trump Administration, John worked as a highly respected consultant serving clients in various fields including government, politics, and business.