Michael Harstone


Michael is a Principal at Compass with fourteen years experience designing and facilitating scientific review committees and public planning processes.

Michael is a practitioner, trainer and researcher in Structured Decision Making in the field of multiparty resource management. He has a passion for complex public planning assignments (and impact assessments) that involve uncertain science, diverse values, hard to quantify socio-economic and cultural effects, cumulative effects, incorporating local and traditional ecological knowledge, and tight timelines to get the work done.

Michael brings a practical and unique skill set to his work based on his decision analysis, professional engineering, and planning background. He holds a Masters of Science (Planning) in Environment and Natural Resources and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering, both degrees from the University of British Columbia. He worked as a professional engineer working in water management for ten years prior to his planning career.

Describe what you do in five words or less:

Untangle messy and contentious problems; Structure and facilitate smarter decisions.

What do the letters after your name mean?

I wasted a bunch of time finding the right job.

What was your first job?

Bagging, buggies and dairy coolers at Safeway.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known 10 years ago?

You can learn a lot quicker from your mistakes than your successes.

What is something most people don’t know about you (but will now)?

I have a deep appreciation for the art of ‘sarcasm’. (Editor’s note: I think most of us know and appreciate that Michael).

What truly blows your mind?

5,000 vertical feet of untracked powdery wilderness.


Because it is pure magic!