Q & A with Alumna Ann Farr

Alumna Ann Farr graduated from the School of Marine Affairs in 1982 and is now an Environmental Manager/State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Responsible Official for two major port projects on the Columbia River. We had a chance to catch up with Ann and hear about her job, her time at SMA, and advice she has for current SMEA students.

Can you give us a brief description of what you do?

For 30 years, I’ve had my own consulting business providing assistance in environmental permitting and compliance to the Pacific Northwest port and maritime industry. For the last several years, I have been serving also as the SEPA responsible official for two major port projects on the Columbia River. I assure that environmental review and permitting processes for major capital projects meet federal, state, and local regulatory requirements. I advise port and maritime clients regarding environmental policy and compliance matters, including water quality, aquatic habitat, toxic cleanup, and greenhouse gas issues.

What do you like best about your job?

The challenge and variety of a multidisciplinary career. A flexible work schedule.

How did SMA (now SMEA) help you prepare?

I came from a strong scientific background but SMA added the legal training and policy tools to wrangle with complex environmental issues.

If you had one piece of advice for current SMEA students, what would it be?

Don’t overlook ports, the maritime industry, and commercial redevelopment as career sectors. My experience includes major cleanups and habitat enhancements at numerous sites in Puget Sound that were successfully accomplished through port redevelopment and modernization. Starting my own business in 1987 allowed me to balance work and family at a time when few women worked in the maritime industry, and even fewer were self-employed. Although it can be a tough road, I encourage SMEA grads to be entrepreneurial and invent their own career paths.


If you are a SMEA alum who would like to share what you’re doing, you can do so through our Alumni Update, we’d love to hear from you! You can also update your information via the UW Alumni Services site http://www.washington.edu/alumni/services/update/