Mr. Hunter Merritt is a Social Scientist in the Collaboration and Public Participation Center of Expertise (CPCX) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Institute for Water Resources (IWR). His work includes facilitation, public participation, and conflict resolution for some of the Nation’s toughest water resources challenges.
Hunter began his USACE career in 2009 as a Public Affairs specialist in the USACE Sacramento District, focused on community relations and engagement. In 2011, he moved to the district’s Planning Division, Water Resources Branch, where he improved relationships between agencies, worked toward increased public participation and engagement as well as plan formulation for flood risk management, ecosystem restoration, navigation, and recreation projects.
Through the IWR CPCX, Merritt provides direct support to districts and coordinates the efforts of the Public Involvement Specialist Cadre on all types of initiatives. Most recently, his facilitation skills have helped the agency pivot public involvement to a virtual space, using several available collaborative technologies and techniques to conduct virtual public meetings and charrettes. He has more than 30 years of experience and training in facilitation, mediation, and conflict resolution, and he has helped more than two dozen studies and projects across the nation to actualize the missions of USACE Civil Works Transformation.
In addition to the facilitation work through CPCX, Hunter is also a trainer for several classes in USACE (Planning Associates, Regulatory Strong Leaders) and has years of experience teaching all levels of the Leadership Development Program (LDP). He a graduate of the South Pacific Division’s Regional LDP Level III (2014), where he addressed enterprise-wide issues of Knowledge Management and Knowledge Transfer. Hunter is a part-time lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration at California State University Sacramento, where he has more than 17 years’ experience teaching undergraduate courses in leadership and group development and a graduate course in recreation policy.
He is also currently an Associate Board member of the American River Natural History Association, which manages the Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Sacramento, California. Hunter received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and a Master of Science in Recreation Administration from California State University Sacramento. He lives in Sacramento with his wife Lori and two children, Eben and Sunny. For leisure, he enjoys playing music, whitewater kayaking, skiing and hiking.