Matt Werner, Project Manager of the Month, on Helping Communities Recover from and Build Resilience to Disasters

Tetra Tech CEO Dan Batrack created our Project Manager (PM) of the Month award to honor PMs who demonstrate excellence in supporting our clients and perform projects to the highest standards of quality and fiscal discipline.

“Matt has proven to be highly capable of managing multiple complex projects with dozens of staff.”

– Jonathan Burgiel, Unit President

Matt Werner is Tetra Tech’s May 2022 PM of the Month. He uses his financial and public assistance expertise to support clients in their COVID-19 disaster and financial recovery efforts. He has more than 10 years of U.S. local, state, and federal experience, including project development, reimbursement requests, and audit readiness for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance, the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

“Matt has proven to be highly capable of managing multiple complex projects with dozens of staff,” said Jonathan Burgiel, Unit President. “His work with disaster recovery staff for Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the City of Philadelphia has been exceptional, and we expect them to be long-term clients for years to come.”

Matt has built a consistent reputation for growing his projects and swiftly adapting to and navigating changes in federal guidance or client teams. His clients and teams enjoy working with him as he keeps everyone focused on solutions to issues commonly encountered in disaster recovery financial documentation.

Prior to joining Tetra Tech, Matt held multiple positions with FEMA, including coordinating disaster response and recovery activities across multiple states for FEMA Region 3’s Public Assistance Branch. His background also includes infrastructure program management for the City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management.

At Tetra Tech, Matt uses his technical knowledge and experience to successfully manage three vastly different and complex major regional projects. Matt has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Villanova University and a Master of Science in Global Politics from the London School of Economics. He is based in our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, office.

“Thank you so much for the nomination. I have had the pleasure of working with many very talented individuals and great clients here at Tetra Tech,” said Matt. “I truly appreciate the support from my team members and, in particular, from the Tetra Tech Disaster Recovery leadership who have helped me succeed. I am excited for our future together as we support Tetra Tech’s continued leadership in disaster recovery.”

We talked with Matt about how his work is helping communities navigate the path to long-term recovery and resilience from disasters.

How is your work helping communities recover and build resilience from disasters, including the COVID-19 pandemic?

We help communities by supporting their local and state governments through the complex, multifaceted process of obtaining funding from U.S. federal grant programs that help with recovery and future resilience. With our assistance, communities can more easily receive vital funding needed to support the costs of removing debris, restoring public infrastructure, and running essential community services impeded by disasters. Our work also helps communities receive program assistance in preparing measures to protect against damage and other adverse impacts caused by future disasters.

For the COVID-19 pandemic specifically, federal funding also provided support for public health and essential workers, rental and utility payment assistance, and expanded broadband internet access. This funding helped individuals and families stay healthy, keep their homes and jobs, and continue pursuing their educational goals throughout the pandemic. By helping local and state governments access this funding, we help make recovery possible for vulnerable communities that may not have regained and maintained economic stability without aid.

What is your approach to building strong project teams?

I am committed to investing in the growth of my team members. One of my approaches is to give them clear and frequent feedback focused on solutions and successes, rather than remaining stuck on any problems. While it’s important to communicate the issues and challenges we face together in our projects, it’s just as valuable to celebrate successes throughout the process. This helps motivate team members by helping them understand how they can play to their strengths and work at their highest potential to support our clients.

How do you build and maintain positive client relationships on complex projects?

For every project, I take pride in building a strong rapport with my clients to best understand their needs. I proactively manage scope, schedule, and budget and regularly communicate with my clients to confirm tasks and challenges according to the terms of the contract. I also regularly present clients with our teams’ most cost-effective, highest quality solutions that not only satisfy the terms of a contract, but also best support clients in meeting their short- and long-term recovery goals.