Margaret Briggs got into environmental consultancy right out of college when the arena was in its infancy. She worked for HMM Associates for 18 years; it was bought out by Earth Tech, based in Concord, and later became AEcom.
Desiring a return to midsized private consulting, Briggs and six others formed Epsilon in 1997. It was a propitious time – her early-career contacts were also advancing in critical arenas such as the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), and could make decisions on the choice of consultants.
Today, Epsilon, with nearly 50 employees, specializes in environmental analysis, licensing and permitting for large scale development projects in the real estate and energy sectors necessary to secure essential approvals from the BRA and Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) unit. About half of Epsilon’s annual revenue comes from its real estate sector, with the balance coming from its energy and infrastructure practice.
Briggs said the focus of priorities has shifted to banking and insurance concerns, rather than regulatory issues, and that government agencies “are anxious to respond” on these concerns. She said the depression of the central artery in Boston opened up a wealth of development possibilities.
Her experience has made her the “go-to” contact for environmental issues, said her nominator, colleague Ted Barten, Epsilon co-managing principal.
“Peg is the leader and guiding light” for the company’s real estate permitting practice and has successfully completed projects for nearly all of Boston’s leading developers and major institutions, as well as collaborating with many of the area’s leading architects and law firms, he said.
Barten also cites a long list of institutional projects that Briggs has shepherded: Massachusetts General Hospital, the Museum of Fine Arts, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Harvard University.
Among the projects of which she is most proud are the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Fan Pier, the Intercontinental Hotel, redevelopment of the Boston Garden, Seaport Square, Waterside Place, the Christian Science Center and Copley Place Tower.
Her community experience is also comprehensive. In 2011, she became chair of the board of directors of the Environmental Business Council of New England. She served as chair for three years and is currently active as a member of the EBC’s executive committee. In 2005, she was elected to the board of selectmen in Concord, her hometown; subsequently she was elected to a second three-year term and served as the board chair. In 2002, she won the Entrepreneur Award from New England Women in Real Estate (NEWIRE) in recognition of her co-founding of Epsilon. In 1997, she was appointed to the 21-member MEPA Regulations Working Group. She is also a corporator of Middlesex Savings Bank and serves on the board of the Boston Harbor Alliance. She has mentored young women professionals and has established lasting business alliances and friendships with other accomplished women in the field.