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Virginia Tech Center of Excellence for Environmental Management
Virginia Tech Center of Excellence for Environmental Management

Virginia Tech Center of Excellence for Environmental Management

ESMS Institute - Logo
2016 FTA Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) Institute for transit agencies
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is offering Round 5 of Environmental and Sustainability Management Systems (ESMS) training and technical assistance for transit agencies. This training will be conducted by Virginia Tech faculty. The FTA ESMS Institute is a unique, in-depth, two-year training program for transit agencies interested in developing and implementing an ESMS using the ISO 14001:2015 Standard. More detailed information on the FTA Institute may be found at: fta.pdf.

Each selected agency will identify a Core Team of five members to attend the workshop. This team will consist of the following positions chosen as being crucial to your success:

  • Senior Executive
  • Management Representative
  • Environmental Champion
  • Operations Manager/Superintendent
  • Administrative/Executive Assistant.

Teams may choose to add additional members to the Core Team as class space permits.

The Institute is taught by faculty from Virginia Tech and is held at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Roanoke, Virginia. The format includes a baseline environmental review; three, two and one-half day workshops; and gap and final audits.

Workshop Dates:
Workshop 1 – May 16-19, 2016
Workshop 2 – August 8-11, 2016
Workshop 3 – October 31- November 3, 2016

FTA ESMS Institute Schedule:

Baseline Environmental Review
Virginia Tech ESMS faculty will visit your transit facility for one day to observe environmental practices at your chosen baseline facility. During the site visit, faculty will meet with your ESMS team to prepare them for the upcoming ESMS workshops. Faculty will also provide a debriefing of their observations at the end of the day and will prepare a written assessment of those environmental observations within two weeks of the baseline visit.

Team Conference Calls
Virginia Tech ESMS faculty will schedule a one-hour conference call with your team to review progress and to offer coaching. These conference calls will be scheduled prior to workshops 2 and 3.

Workshop 1 - May 16-19, 2016

Your five member ESMS team will begin learning how ISO 14001:2015 can help you manage your facility’s environmental impacts efficiently and improve environmental stewardship across your entire organization. During Workshop 1 your team will be given a complete overview of the new ISO 14001:2015 standard and will then focus on the following ISO 14001:2015 clauses:

  • Context of the Organization - understanding the organization and its context; understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties; and determining the scope of the environmental management system.
  • Leadership - leadership and commitment; environmental policy; and organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities.
  • Planning - actions to address risks and opportunities; environmental aspects; compliance obligations; planning action; and environmental objectives and planning to achieve them.

Teams will be provided opportunities during the workshop to begin work on the scope of their ESMS and complete assignments for each clause. Teams will also be quizzed on each clause to ensure they understand the material being taught.

Workshop 2 – August 8-11, 2016

Your ESMS team will focus on two additional ISO 14001:2015 clauses during Workshop 2. Teams will continue to be given opportunities to complete homework assignments during the workshop and also be quizzed on the clauses after they are taught. Teams will be instructed on how to prepare a case study for their facility. Focus of Workshop 2 will be on the following ISO 14001:2015 clauses:

  • Support - resources; competence; awareness; communication (both internal and external); creating and updating documented information; and control of documented information.
  • Operation - operational planning and control and emergency preparedness and response.

Workshop 3 – October 31- November 3, 2016

The final workshop covers the two remaining ISO 14001:2015 clauses. Teams will be given opportunities to prepare various documents that will be part of their ESMS and will be quizzed on the final two clauses. Clauses taught during Workshop 3 are:

  • Performance evaluation - monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation; evaluation of compliance; internal audit, and management review.
  • Improvement - nonconformity and corrective action; and continual improvement.

Teams will be briefed on what they need to do to prepare for the gap and final audit portions of the Institute. Gap audit dates will be selected.

Gap Audit
Approximately three months after Workshop 3, Virginia Tech faculty will conduct a one-day, on-site gap audit by a trained ISO auditor.

Final Audit
Approximately three months after the gap audit, Virginia Tech faculty will conduct a final audit consisting of one-day site review and one-half day document review by a trained ISO auditor.

If you are a transit agency and wish to participate in this round of FTA’s ESMS Institute, application must be made through the Federal Transit Administration. Please contact Antoinette Quagliata at (202) 366-4265 or at for questions and information.

Application material may be obtained by following:

Contact: COTA | 540-767-6114 |