James M. Harless, PhD, CHMM
Vice President
Environmental Services
Dr. James Harless, PhD., CHMM serves as Project Officer and Senior Consultant for SME. His 39 years of experience have positioned James as a recognized expert in the field of property assessment and due diligence, liability management, and brownfield redevelopment and financing. He provides senior technical and project management in the areas of site investigation and remediation, environmental regulatory compliance, waste management, and litigation support. He has extensive experience in the assessment and remediation of environmentally contaminated sites under Michigan’s Part 201 and the federal CERCLA (Superfund) and RCRA (hazardous waste) Corrective Action programs. Since joining SME in 2003, James has held positions of increasing responsibility leading to his appointment as Vice President and Principal.

James believes his greatest contribution to clients is developing the best strategy for addressing the issue at hand. His philosophy is to look at the big picture, think of as many options as possible, select the best solution for the circumstances, and base decisions on as much information as reasonably possible to collect and absorb. James has a knack for designing and managing the use of multidisciplinary services for large and complex brownfield redevelopment projects. Doing exactly that, solving complex problems and seeing successful conclusions, earned James the 2010 Michigan Environmental Professional of the Year and eight national awards for excellence in brownfield redevelopment! What drives James every day? Continual learning, designing and creating ways to help staff grow and clients overcome their challenges.

James uses his professional experience to contribute to the community by serving as Chair and Secretary of the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority; President of the Alliance of Hazardous Material Professionals; Environmental Council Chair, Geoprofessional Business Association; serving 29 years on the American Chemical Society’s Task Force for Laboratory Environmental, Health and Safety; and Local Planning Committee for the USEPA brownfields 2015 Conference.”


Multidiscipline team resurrects manufacturing plant

A $1 million state brownfield grant helped agri-tool supplier address the vapor intrusion threat and redevelop a closed manufacturing plant to create new headquarters, expand manufacturing operations, and add new jobs in Michigan’s fastest growing county.

Redevelopment Project Brings New Life to City's Urban Core

A former industrial site is revitalized into a highly sought-after residential complex. Lansing Marketplace attracts young professionals to live, work and play in downtown Lansing.