We’d like you to meet Brian App! Brian is a natural resource management specialist with nearly 20 years of experience working in the environmental sector. From flipping through the pages of National Geographic to building more water-secure communities in Africa, he shares some of the highlights of his development journey. Brian is one reason #DevelopmentWorksHere.
1. Can you tell us about your background in natural resources management and what draws you to development work?
I came to development work because of an interest in the environment and wildlife. Growing up on Long Island, New York, we did not have much in the way of wildlife, but I was always fascinated by Africa’s megafauna and was an avid reader of National Geographic magazine, which gave me a window into some of the work that I’m engaged in now. At the time, I wouldn’t have imagined that I would eventually be combatting wildlife crime in southern Africa. When I went to college, I studied business. It was only after graduation and meeting my wife that we decided to join the Peace Corps, which set the direction my life has taken since.
After working for the Peace Corps as an agroforestry volunteer in Cameroon, I completed my master’s degree in international natural resource management from the School of Forestry at the University of Montana. I then joined Chemonics, where I’ve worked in various roles, including two stints as a deputy chief of party – once for an agricultural program in Ghana and once for a Botswana-based regional environmental program, which increased access to safe drinking water and protected the Okavango River Basin’s ecosystem.
I am now a director for Chemonics’ East and Southern Africa regional business unit focusing on the environmental sector. My portfolio includes a regional watershed management program and a regional combatting wildlife crime program, both based out of South Africa. Looking at the work itself, I find it not only satisfying that I can contribute to wildlife conservation, while supporting nearby communities, but also interesting to travel and to meet and live among people from other places. I get to see things that many people only dream about seeing.