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About Douglas Herring & Associates’ Principal


When I was in grade school, I was enrolled part-time in a special independent study program, which taught me to organize my time and work independently. Given that early experience, ultimately running my own business seemed nearly inevitable, or at the least, a good fit for my strengths and predilections.

I became an avid backpacker in early adulthood, often taking a half-dozen trips or more per year in the Sierras, California coastal ranges, or occasionally further afield. My love for these intimate experiences of the wilderness naturally led to my concern for the preservation of the natural environment and a growing desire to work in a field that contributed to this goal. Working on the day-to-day implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act for close to 30 years has allowed me to make a difference, however incremental, in the beautiful environment of California, and has been an exceptionally satisfying way to make a living.

Protection of the environment is closely tied to long- and short-term planning, which has long been a strong interest of mine. I obtained a degree in urban geography from the University of Michigan to gain analytical tools related to the built environment, later expanding on my analytical skill set by obtaining a Master of Public Policy degree from the Goldman School of Public Policy (previously Graduate School of Public Policy) at the University of California at Berkeley (after being diverted from a Master's degree in urban planning). I have subsequently become certified as a planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

Another significant influence in my life that continues to inform my perceptions and values 30 years later was my service as a volunteer for two stints in the Peace Corps. I served in Morocco (1981-83) as a vocational educator working with teenage boys, a tremendously rewarding job, and in Thailand (1983-84) working with the Thai government in malaria control, focusing on public outreach and training of Thai volunteers. Living in two very disparate cultures showed me in direct and personal ways that many of our cultural norms, often widely accepted as absolutes, are in fact relative, and we are bound by a common humanity much more profound than the surface differences that often become a basis for conflicts. I believe these experiences have contributed to my ability to empathize with the multiple agendas and viewpoints that often meet over development conflicts.

Personal Interests

Since adolescence I have been passionate about music, and have always integrated it into my life in varying ways. I played rock, folk, and classical guitar earlier in my life, but have had a dream for decades of playing piano, a desire finally put into action about ten years ago. I have been diligently, if slowly, learning to play jazz (and some classical music) ever since. I have been an avid jazz fan ever since I happened to hear Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" in 1973, and I relish living in an area that supports a world-class jazz venue (Yoshi's) and many other opportunities to hear great jazz. My interests span a wide range of early and contemporary jazz traditions, with John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Bill Evans among my favorite artists.

(For anyone with a similar interest in jazz, Robert Middleton, an excellent marketing consultant, has put together a wonderful list of jazz albums, including some very good suggestions for how to get started with a collection. His list, which includes most of my favorite albums and artists, and many more, can be viewed here.)

Being visually oriented, photography has been a cherished hobby since my Peace Corps days. Prior to starting Douglas Herring & Associates I had more time to spend on this hobby, and I had shows of my work around the Bay Area. I also sold my photo cards to card shops and bookstores and won a variety of photography contests, including a first prize in Natural History magazine's 90th Anniversary contest. My winning photo was given a full-page spread in the magazine and displayed for a time at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Eventually I'll create a photography website, but in the meantime, to see a limited selection of my photos, click here:

About the Associates

I have been cultivating the professional relationships I draw on to assist me in providing full-service environmental review to my clients for the past 25+ years. I have always gravitated to the technical and other professionals who embody my own work values: thoroughness, high-quality work, reliability, responsiveness, flexibility, reasonable cost, and enjoyable to work with. Through 25 years of collaborations, I have learned who to avoid and who to turn to when I need to assemble an experienced, professional team. Over time, I have developed strong, dependable relationships with biologists, geologists, hydrologists, air quality specialists, noise specialists, archaeologists, architectural historians, traffic engineers, transportation planners, and more. These relationships are always with individuals, whether they’re employed in large consulting firms or independent sole practitioners. In most cases, these individuals have 20 to 30 years of valuable experience in their professions. This kind of expertise is invaluable! Although DHA frequently competes with larger firms with considerably more in-house resources, they rarely bring the same degree of professional experience across the board to the substantive work of a project.

If you'd like to get more details about procuring the services of DHA, please follow this link to our Contact Us page.

Doug is responsive to the client and very knowledgeable with respect to the legal aspects of CEQA, but he is also familiar with the planning process, zoning, general plans, and the requirement on how they abide to the evaluation of the project. He has both the planning background and the ability to function in a staff role, as well as technical knowledge and competence of CEQA processes. . . Doug tells you the schedule . . . and meets the schedule."

Adolph Martinelli
Former Director of Alameda County Community Development Agency
Hayward, CA

"We hired Doug to prepare an environmental impact report for a permit for a gravel mining operation in Pleasanton, and we were very happy with the results. He was fair all the way through, and up front on everything that needed to be done. He hired the right people we needed to get the job done, including traffic consultants, biologists, and hydrologists, and we were very happy with the people he brought in."

Don Kahler, Vice-President
Rhodes & Jamieson
Pleasanton, CA

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Photography by Doug Herring
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