Charles  Yoe Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Charles Yoe

Professor of Economics
Notre Dame of Maryland University

I am a teacher at heart, my passion is learning, yours and mine. My primary interests are all things risk. Recently, I’ve been assisting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in its transition to enterprise risk management, assessing the risk of Asian carp to the Great Lakes, assisting State agencies with Maryland’s fracking decision, identifying dietary supplement combinations risky to our national defense, and helping transform water resources planning in the US through risk-informed planning.


After limping away from an early career as an ironworker my primary employment the last several decades has been with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as an economist, planner and project manager and as a Professor of Economics at Notre Dame of Maryland University. For the last 25 years or so I have also worked as a private and independent consultant in risk analysis, planning and economics.

Making decisions under the ubiquitous conditions of uncertainty has managed to provide a very exciting focus for my professional career. I love stepping not a complex or even a complicated situation, defining the decision context and finding a way through the uncertainty to a preferred course of action. Risk analysis and planning both provide such opportunities in abundance and it has been a lot of fun to work with so many people over the years on such a wide variety of problems and opportunities.

My professional work has enabled me to work on many dozens of risk assessment projects primarily in food safety, international trade and natural and environmental resources, including natural and anthropogenic disasters. Most of this work has been quantitative risk assessment, although my qualitative risk assessment experience stretches back over 20 years as well. In recent years there has been growing interest in how to organize for and do risk management and this has been a growing part of my work experience.

In addition to doing risk assessment and assisting in risk management issues I have designed, developed and delivered made-to-order risk analysis training programs in over two dozen countries. Some of my clients include Taiwan FDA, Honk Kong Center for Food Safety, Honk Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, FSANZ, Australian Dairy Industry, Mexico’s Federal Commission for Protection from Sanitary Risks, BIOTEC (Thailand), Croatian Food Agency, National Food Institute of Thailand, and African regional trade organizations including CEMAC, WAEMU, COMESA, and SADC. Since the 1990’s I have trained well over 1,000 US government employees from USDA, FDA, USACE, EPA, and other agencies.

In the past few months some of the things keeping me busy include helping the Army Corps of Engineers develop and apply a risk analysis model for the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study. Congress directed USACE to conduct a study to determine the range of options and technologies available to prevent aquatic nuisance species (ANS) from transferring through aquatic pathways from one basin to another. Together we developed a sophisticated qualitative risk assessment and risk management methodology that will enable the Corps to advise Congress on how to manage the ANS risk.

I have been collaborating with a team from JIFSAN and the University of Maryland to design and develop a program to train three levels of food service workers in all the healthcare facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs in food safety and food defense methods. This program has been in partial response to post 911 efforts to build the Nation’s food defense capacity.

During the last several months I have been fortunate enough to have been instrumental in designing and implementing the USACE SMART Planning initiative to modernize water resources planning across the Nation. This effort has enabled me to assist in introducing a risk-informed planning process to the Corps that will save the Nation millions of dollars in the cost of completing feasibility studies. The most recent efforts have included flood and coastal storm risk management, ecosystem restoration and deep draft navigation issues in places like the Skagit and Blanchard watersheds, Charleston Harbor, Arctic deep draft port study, and the Texas coast from Sabine to Galveston.

In addition to these public agency efforts I have been able to work with private companies on a wide variety of issues from TQM and vulnerability assessments to specific risk assessments on everything from power generation, risk-based budgeting, financial analysis, and continuity of business plans. Developing a common sense approach to recognizing and addressing uncertainty in decision making through the tools of risk analysis has provided me a rich array of experiences. Adapting concepts from water resource management to food safety and vice versa, for example, expands the perspectives, techniques and methodologies available to the benefit of my clients. Being able to then take these experiences into the classroom for my students has gifted me with the best of all possible worlds professionally.


    Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland
    BS in Economics, University of Maryland
    MPS in Policy Science, University of Maryland Baltimore County
    MS in Water Resources Policy, Colorado State University

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Natural resource planning, especially risk-integrated planning
    Risk analysis
    Risk assessment
    Risk management
    Food safety risk analysis
    Food defense
    Economic analysis

Personal Interests

    Mountains and mountain stuff
    Boxers, mostly fawns but some brindles
    Hometown sports teams
    Rolling Stones
    Craft beers



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Principles of Risk Analysis: Decision Making Under Uncertainty, Second Edition - 1st Edition book cover



Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study-Brandon Road

By: Charles Yoe

The GLMRIS Report, released in January 2014, described alternatives to prevent aquatic interbasin transfer of ANS between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. Based on an agency assessment informed by public input following release of the GLMRIS Report, the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) concluded that a formal evaluation of potential control options and technologies near Brandon Road Lock and Dam to prevent the movement of ANS from the Mississippi River Basin to the Great Lakes Basin was an appropriate next step.

USACE Supports NDMU Online Post-Graduate Certificate in Risk Management

By: Charles Yoe

NDMU's successful online post-graduate certificate in risk management has been supported by the U.S.Army Corps of Engineers. Since the program's inception USACE has supported the program by providing an entire cohort each year the program has been offered. Here is a part of one of the graduating classes celebrating their accomplishment at USACE headquarters.

NDMU Launches Online Master of Science in Risk Management

By: Charles Yoe

Business interruption, market developments, cyber incidents, natural catastrophes, changes in legislation and regulation, macroeconomic developments, fire and explosion, political risks and violence, loss of reputation or brand value, changing budget priorities, and new technologies are but a few of the reasons why organizations around the globe brace themselves against an era of greater uncertainty. Expand your career advancement potential with the online M.S. in Risk Management degree from Notre Dame of Maryland University. Whether you have experience in business, government, education, non-governmental organizations or non-profits, this program employs a diverse curriculum to enhance your risk analysis skills, regardless of your professional experience. As a student, you’ll explore an original curriculum founded on principles of risk analysis with an outstanding faculty of educators who have years of experience in the field. You will develop expertise in the essentials of risk management, risk assessment and risk communication as you build viable skills for decision-making under uncertainty that are crucial for leadership positions.

Dietary Supplements Risk

By: Charles Yoe

Dr. Yoe is serving on a USP Dietary Supplements Expert Panel that is evaluating the risks of multi-ingredient dietary supplements for the Department of Defense. Dr. Yoe's role has been to help develop a risk-based approach to the evaluation of these MIDS.

Strategic Planning

By: Charles Yoe

Notre Dame of Maryland University has taken an initiative uncommon for higher education. It has formed a University Planning Council, which will combine the long term focus of strategic planning with the immediacy of both the annual budgeting process and the enrollment management plan. The integration of these three key components is recognized as a desirable and innovative initiative that is still rarely practiced in higher education. Dr. Yoe is the co-chair of this Council with the CFO Deanna McCormick and he is responsible for the strategic planning and integration processes.

Fracking Risks

By: Charles Yoe

Dr. Yoe has been supporting and advising the State of Maryland's efforts to introduce the use of risk assessment in shaping its Marcellus Shale Drilling policies. He has also been active in advising stakeholder groups, including the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, in producing a risk assessment to identify hydrualic fracturing risks in the State of Maryland. His efforts to get the government agencies and stakeholder groups to collaborate on their conduct of these two different risk assessments could provide a workable model of cooperation for other states grappling with resource issues.

Food Safety Risk Analysis

By: Charles Yoe

In the summer of 2012 Dr. Yoe spent time in Taipei conducting food safety risk analysis training designed specifically for 30 of Taiwan Food and Drug Administration's food scientists and regulators. His course included risk management and risk assessment techniques. Early in 2013 he provided introductory training in risk management, risk assessment and risk communication for 15 members of Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. In the summer of 2013 he will be training an international group of food safety experts in the JIFSAN Summer Integrated Program.

Aquatic Nuisance Species Risk Assessment

By: Charles Yoe

Congress authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct the Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) from one basin to the other. Dr. Yoe has been the USACE risk consultant guiding their risk assessment and their SMART planning process. Here are a few fast facts about the risk assessment:

  • 254 ANS organisms identified
  • 39 identified as organisms of potential concern
  • 14 ANS are Medium or High risk in Focus Area 1 (CAWS)
  • 5 pathways in Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS)
  • 18 pathways in Focus Area 2 (non-CAWS).

The scope and magnitude of the problem produced a daunting assessment challenge, especially when scientific data on these species was often limited. Beginning with the simple risk model:

Risk = Probability x Consequence

We decomposed the sequence of events necessary for the establishment of an ANS as well as the categories of consequences that could occur with establishment. This necessary chain of events is summarized below:

Probability of spread to new waterways = P(path) x P(arrival) x P(passage) x P(colonizes) X P(spreads)  

Consequence of spread to new waterways = Economics + Environmental + Political + Other
Each element of the probability and consequences was rated a High, Medium, Low, or No risk potential based onthe best available evidence. The uncertainty associated with each rating was also rated and the element ratings were aggregated into an overall risk potential.  Risk control measures were identified and their risk reduction potential was evaluated based on their effectiveness in reducing one or more qualitiatve risk potential ratings for the nine risk elements.

SMART Planning

By: Charles Yoe

On February 8, 2012 Major General Michael Walsh, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, issued a memorandum that would transform the way the U.S. government conducted water resource and related land resource planning studies. He identified five imperatives that would change the Corps planning process and corporate culture:

  1. Reaffirm Federal and Corps interest and role in resolving the problem
  2. Ensure resources needed are identified and available
  3. Recognize for most studies, there is no single “best plan”
  4. Manage appropriate level of detail and acknowledge uncertainty
  5. Ensure vertical integration throughout the study.
SMART planning is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Risk-informed, and Timely. It restores a focus on making good planning decisions under conditions of uncertainty rather than to lose one's way doing analysis. Using sharply focused decision management plans (DMP) and risk registers (RR) to manage the risks associated with decision making under uncertainty planning proceeds more quickly and cost effectively with no sacrifice in the quality of decision making. It has been my pleasure to participate in the development of this new planning approach from the beginning and to have developed the format of both the DMP and RR to better integrate planning and risk management.
Dr. Yoe authored an article about this process found in the September, 2014 Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management entitled "Transforming Water Resources Planning through SMART Planning."



Natural Resources Planning Book

By: Charles Yoe


  • Highlights various principles and standards that ensure better planning outcomes
  • Presents the practical details of going from problem and opportunity identification through the selection of the best plan
  • Emphasizes evidence gathering and risk analysis as an ongoing iterative strategy to reduce uncertainty
  • Provides a detailed treatment of each of five planning steps and two ongoing processes
  • Includes methods for evaluating and comparing possible solutions
  • Features extensive illustrations, boxed text/sidebar enhancements, lists, examples, and anecdotes 


This is an exciting time for natural resources planning. There are amazing technologies available to planners and a wide and growing array of resources, problems, and opportunities that need attention. Private and public interests are taking up these issues all over the world and at all levels of involvement. At the same time, inefficient planning policies and procedures can threaten the art of successful planning. 

Demonstrating how to put effective planning theory into practice, Introduction to Natural Resource Planning introduces an iterative planning process with five steps and two ongoing processes. Suitable for any type of planning setting, the book describes each step of the planning process in extensive practical detail. Comprising field-tested strategies woven into a comprehensive and complete protocol, the book explores:


  • Planners and the planning process
  • Establishing the decision context, gathering evidence, plan formulation, and evaluating, comparing, and selecting plans
  • The importance of public involvement
  • Telling your story so that people understand and care about it
  • Dealing effectively with uncertainty as part of the planning process
  • Scenario planning when uncertainty obscures the future
  • Economics for planners: cost estimates and economic analysis
  • Fast planning and getting the most out of your planning process
  • Practical tips from experienced natural resource planners 

Natural resources planning involves solving complex problems. Fascinating new issues continue to emerge as we seek to identify and preserve natural DNA, struggle with invasive and nonindigenous species, and worry about the well-being of native and managed pollinators. Meanwhile, we continue to struggle with familiar problems like water quality, developing resources for wise uses, loss of habitat, and floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. This volume will empower both experienced and new planners to plan more effectively for solutions to preserve and manage our natural resources.