The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) was formed in 1976 to support comprehensive floodplain management, encouraging wise use of the nation’s floodplains and related water resources. Steady increase in membership, the addition of an annual conference, and growing relationships with federal agencies advanced by a growing interest in Congress continued to move the association forward.
In 1999 the ASFPM Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) Program was initiated. The program grew from member interest in developing a professional certification in the field. The program aims to advance the knowledge of floodplain managers, enhance the floodplain management profession, and provide a common basis of understanding flood and flood loss reduction approaches. The certification process involves an exam and Continuing Education Credit requirements every two years to maintain certification.
Today, expanded to an association with more than 10,000 members, ASFPM operates with a mission “to promote education, policies and activities that mitigate current and future losses, costs and human suffering caused by flooding, and to protect the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains – all without causing adverse impacts.”
A Certified Floodpain Manager's Experience
This summer the Certified Floodplain Manager Program turned 20! Our Environmental Business Development Leader, Kari Mackenbach, CFM, BCES, ENV SP, was a part of the inaugural certification group. In honor of this occasion we sat down with Kari to learn more about the certification and how it has impacted her career.
Why did you become interested in floodplain management?
Kari Mackenbach, CFM, BCES, ENV SP (KM) – I started off as a local floodplain manager for Licking County, Ohio under Jerry Brems who was the Director of Planning at the time. In 1998, I left the public sector world and became a consultant at FMSM (now Stantec). Consulting suited me because it let me have the positive impact I was looking for on the environment and it let me blossom into a promoter of more sustainable alternatives when it comes to developing our lands. Anyone who knows me, knows I am passionate about the environment and the sound uses of our floodplains.
Why did you become a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM)? What about the certification stood out to you?
KM – As a professional that works with mostly engineers, this certification appealed to me because it was a differentiator for my profession.
How has your CFM certification helped your career?
KM – Keeping my certification is critical to me because it helps to define me professionally and sets me apart from the engineering community who I work with hand and hand.
Have you relied on your certification during any notable project experiences?
KM – I lean on my skills in floodplain management daily but one of my most successful projects coupled green infrastructure with floodplain management, my two favorite subjects! The Cuyahoga Falls Green Infrastructure Park was the first large scale project to utilize green infrastructure to mitigate flooding and it’s in several publications as a success story. I was the Project Manager on this effort and I am very proud of this project.
What advice do you have to anyone new to the floodplain management field or who is contemplating certification?
KM – Being a CFM provides you with a status within your profession whether you are a planner, engineer or public official that not all your peers will have. It demonstrates a commitment to the profession of floodplain management and it’s a respected certification across the Country and the World.