Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
Board for Professional Soil Scientists, Wetland Professionals, and Geologists
Regulations for the Geology Certification Program [18 VAC 145 ‑ 40]
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8/17/23  2:36 pm
Commenter: Matthew Holbrook

Real Estate Development needs the CPG certification

Dear Executive Director Nosbisch,

I am writing to you to express my strong support for the the Commonwealth's Certified Professional Geologist program. I serve as Regional Partner for St. John Properties where I oversee our portfolio of more than 1,500,000 square feet of commercial real estate in Virginia and a development pipeline of another 1,500,000 square feet to be built in the next few years. I am also on the Executive Committee for Loudoun County, VA's Economic Development Advisory Commission. St. John Properties is one of the largest and most respected privately-held commercial real estate firms in the Mid-Atlantic. Several years ago we were recognized as the National Developer of the Year by our premier industry organization, NAIOP, and the U.S. Green Building Association holds us as one of the Nation's Top 5 developers/owners of LEED-certified buildings, LEED being the main U.S.  designation for environmentally sustainable buildings.  Upon completion of our buildings, we lease them to a wide variety of businesses that provide the Commonwealth with substantial new tax base, jobs, economic diversity, and small business opportunities.  We hold Virginia's Certified Professional Geologist (CPG) certification in high regard and it is widely recognized as a respected industry credential similar to being a Certified Public Accountant or Professional Engineer.  The CPG designation can only be obtained through accomplishment in study, relevant experience, and a rigorous board examination.  It is a mark of expertise and credibility that is respected by fellow developers, lenders, investors, and insurers.  Their confidence in the CPG designation encourages confidence in more investment into Virginia which promotes statewide economic development. As we develop our projects, we rely heavily on professionals with Virginia's CPG certification including all geotechnical and environmental matters. The certification tells us that these professionals understand Virginia's unique geology and environment, and that they have the expertise to guide us toward delivering projects that are high-quality, safe, and environmentally sustainable.

I understand the value of this certification better than most because I am Virginia CPG. After obtaining a university degree in Geology and several years of relevant work experience, I obtained my CPG certification more than 20 years ago. Although my career has evolved into leading a commercial real estate company, I attribute my success and that of my firm to the teams of professionals including Certified Professional Geologists. I respect and appreciate efforts to streamline government and eliminate unnecessary/unfair bureaucracy that limits business. I encourage close evaluation of other licensure/certification programs in Virginia that have limited impacts on public health, life, property, or the environment. But the CPG certification is not one of those and its place in protecting our health, safety, property, and environment cannot be overstated. For these reasons, I implore you to protect Virginia's  CPG certification as a valuable contributor to what make the Commonwealth great.   


Matthew F. Holbrook, CPG

Regional Partner

St. John Properties, Inc. 

CPG No. 2801001511


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