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Project Management Approach

As project manager and lead neutral, Sam Imperati will be fully engaged in personally providing the requested services and managing the other persons working on the project. Sam is a natural leader and visionary; he is an expert at designing and managing challenging processes.

We will excel at working with all relevant stakeholders to develop a viable work plan in order to meet your deadlines. We are “quick studies” and never take on more projects than we can handle, as this is a disservice to everyone and contrary to our professional standards. Additionally, we will work seven days a week to produce a quality, timely product. Because we are small and local, your work will be a major focus during its duration. Finally, we have all of the resources necessary to support our projects.

ICM takes full responsibility for its work. We consult with a wide variety of clients and always meet or surpass their expectations. We are very dedicated and believe strongly in the work of the public sector. We keep our eye on the bottom line and are always on the lookout for increasing efficiency and lowering costs.

The neutral plays an important role and “fit” is critical. Objective neutrals do not impose their substantive opinions on the group, but provide process guidance and direction. We have a unique blend of substantive experience and collaborative skills to help facilitate and mediate productive outcomes.

Overall, our approach is practical, focused, interactive, and high-energy. We are not “touchy-feely” or “legalistic.” We use humor to dissipate tension and promote understanding. We use straight talk, uncover hidden agendas, and get the job done in a timely fashion. We are especially experienced in dealing with time pressured, polarized dynamics that require creative, practical solutions.





Comprehensive, strategic, environmental and economic planning

Below is a representative but not exhaustive list, of some of ICM’s projects of local, regional or state-wide significance over the last ten years:

1)      West Hayden Island (2010 – 2012)

2)      Portland N/NE Quadrant Plan and ODOT I-5 Freeway/Rose Quarter Planning (2010 –    2012)

3)      Airport Futures: Charting a Course for PDX (2007- 2010)

4)      Oregon Consensus Exempt Groundwater Well Policy Consensus Work Group (2008-      2009)

5)      Human Health-Related Scope of Practice Process Advisory Group (2008-2009)

6)      Oregon Dairy Air Quality Task Force (2008)

7)      Mercury Rule Fiscal Impact Advisory Committee (2006)

8)      Governor’s Vehicle Emissions Workgroup (2005)

9)      Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association Summit (2006)

10)    South Corridor and Delta Park-Lombard Workforce Diversity Discussion Group (2003-    2005)

11)    Air Quality Strategy – Columbia River Gorge (2003-2009)

12)    Portland Public Schools – District, Unions, City, County, and Portland Business                Alliance (2003)

13)    Bi-State Governors’ I-5 Task Force (2001-2002)


Meeting facilitation for planning and policy developmen We combine classic facilitation and planning with the results-oriented tools of mediation to help diverse groups reach consensus in a focused exploration of the financial cost-benefits, regulatory landscape, and stakeholder impacts.  Because of ICM’s extensive experience in the intersection of business, public policy, politics, strategic planning, science, and law, we have successfully developed an approach and organizational infrastructure that enables us to be a nimble, effective, responsive facilitation team.
We have a unique blend of substantive experience and collaborative skills to help facilitate productive outcomes.  ICM regularly works with multi-disciplinary teams, designing processes that accommodate various work styles and differing agency cultures, while delivering easily understood products that reflect everyone’s best efforts. 

ICM maintains and implements best practices by monitoring developments in the field and constantly retooling our methods based on feedback from our clients.  Sam Imperati lectures frequently around the country on cutting-edge facilitation, consensus building, and mediation practices.  


Create welcoming environment where committee members and the public are heard and valued

The consultant plays an important role and “fit” is critical.  Objective consultants do not impose their substantive opinions on the group, but provide process guidance and direction.  We design processes where the goal is “resolution,” not just “settlement,” where people walk away equally unhappy!

We establish and maintain an environment where the participants can explore rather than debate issues. Because of our skills in relationship building and transparency, we earn the trust of and maintain relationships with sponsors and stakeholders. We strongly believe this improves collegiality and the likelihood of an ultimate consensus.

We use humor to dissipate tension, promote understanding, and help the group and sponsors navigate the intersection of logic and emotion where most of these processes are conducted.  We use realistic agendas that mix presentation with discussion, and we do not meet unless there are clear deliverables for the group.

We actively promote positive relationships and reliable, useful communication between meetings help keep members engaged.  This involves going to the stakeholders, not always asking them to come “downtown.”

When asked to help form a group, we are diligent in ensuring broad representation of interests are at the table and have the resources to participate meaningfully. 


Ability to listen, synthesize and articulate the interests, issues and ideas that emerge from all sources and help others do the same

Our approach is practical, focused, interactive, and high-energy.  We are not “touchy-feely” or “legalistic.”  We use straight talk to uncover hidden agendas. We are especially experienced in dealing with time pressured, polarized dynamics that require creative, practical solutions. 

We use our mediation skills and techniques when working with stakeholders and the general public. Our years of experience have shown the most important skill is listening. We model good communication to enhance group dynamics. We highlight the difference in outcomes when one listens for agreement, as opposed to listening for disagreement.

The ICM team is friendly and approachable.  We are always available to stakeholders and sponsors.


Ability to help groups work through and beyond conflicts and disagreements

As advocates for effective and transparent processes, we provide and model a sense of realistic optimism that there is a solution for most every problem when persons of good faith commit to an exploration – not a debate.

One major differentiator between us and our colleagues is our active mediation practice, which gives us the experience to break impasses.  This is where we shine.


Ability to design and alter the process as it moves forward

Despite best efforts and tedious planning, even the best-designed process has to be adjusted in “real time” once the project is up and running.  There is usually a crisis of confidence during the early stages that must be managed promptly and respectfully.  We are particularly adept at solving such crises and charting a new course with the fully informed consent of the sponsors and stakeholders. 

We do not back away when the inevitable problems surface.  In fact, we meaningfully engage. We excel in “Designing on the Fly.” 

We also build in rigorous evaluation processes at every stage of the processes we conduct, and incorporate the feedback from the evaluation processes to ensure each process is as effective and efficient as possible, again, always adjusting in “real time.”


Prepare agendas and written and/or graphic summaries of issues, agreements, unresolved issues, and participant recommendations

ICM is highly skilled at creating clear and practical documents for collaborative processes. Please see the Airport Futures website “Document Library,” for numerous examples. 


Every process requires a different treatment, depending upon the group’s charge and goals. We are adept at synthesizing large amounts of information into user-friendly discussion tools.  We work with individuals with varying comfort levels with digital information. We successfully tailor our communications to meet everyone’s needs. 


Execute green meeting best practices 

ICM keeps abreast of new technologies and methods to help us run a sustainable business and practice We utilize on-line tools for scheduling and member surveys.  We consult groups like the Green Meetings Industry Council for tips and suggestions. See:




 Conduct conflict resolution

At times, project teams can experience difficult interrelationships with moments of tension and anxiety that impact morale and productivity.

Occasionally, we have played role of de-facto project manager and have learned the hard way when taking on that role is most effective and when it is not. It can help to balance authority and responsibility when there are multiple agencies with competing missions at the sponsor’s table.  It can also lead to concerns about impartiality.  We recommend that there be strong agency project management, so we ICM can focus on the sponsor – stakeholder dynamics.

We believe our record of regularly being rehired by clients is the best evidence that ICM meets and exceeds project goals and resolves conflict constructively. 


Facilitate meetings, workshops, and other public gatherings that may include various public agencies and diverse organizations, groups and individuals    

ICM has facilitated countless meetings and events, and has a proven record of effectiveness.  We always meet project deadlines. We keep our eyes on the daily tasks, as well as the big picture to ensure they each lead to desired outcomes.

We have worked in and around public agencies in Oregon for over a decade, and have significant experience with bringing diverse groups together for small negotiations, large scale events, and everything in between. To move discussions forward, more than just a commitment to good process is needed.  Our team can:

  • Provide a well-organized, efficient processes and meetings,

  • Deeply engage to provide strategic advice and planning,

  • Provide a venue for a fair, transparent process with clear ground rules where all perspectives are heard,

  • Ensure mutual understanding of the various perspective,

  • Find resolution that is acceptable to all parties, and

Where that is not possible, clearly explain to the ultimate decision-makers the roadblocks and options so they can make fully informed decisions.


Submit all reports, billing statements, and work products electronically and in sustainable hard copy format

ICM has worked efficiently and effectively with governmental agencies for years. We team with the staff to ensure our billing statements provide sufficient detail and budget monitoring.

We adhere to green meeting practices, we provide hard copies of all reports and documents on recycled materials and double-sided, as appropriate.


Adequate resources are available to perform the work for this project

We are hard-working, diligent, and readily available to perform work during the full duration of our contracts.  We never commit to more clients than we can handle, as this is a disservice to everyone and contrary to our professional standards. 

ICM is fully available to start work now. We are winding down our other projects and are welcoming additional challenges.  


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