L. Ashley McLain, AICP

President and CEO, Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting, Inc.

Ashley has been a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) practitioner for 20+ years and in the environmental field since 1991. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1990 and her Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning (MSCRP) from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin in 1997. In the 90s she worked at the Natural Resources Defense Council (New York, San Francisco), Lower Colorado River Authority (Austin), and at the United Nations Environment Program (Paris, France). She has been assessing the impacts of infrastructure projects against the backdrop of NEPA ever since.  She was a Principal at an Austin environmental firm where she worked for 10 years before launching Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting, Inc. (CMEC) in 2007 with business partners Larry Cox and Lorie Cox. CMEC is a WBE/HUB/DBE certified woman-owned small business.

CMEC has grown to ~50 environmental professionals in the Austin, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Tulsa and Oklahoma City offices, ranging from planners to biologists, wetland scientists, archaeologists, historians and GIS specialists assessing transportation, transit, water/wastewater, transmission and other public, private, and design-build development projects in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. CMEC supports major clients such as Texas and Oklahoma Departments of Transportation, large electric power cooperatives, the City of Austin, Travis County and entities throughout the Southwest.

Ashley is a frequent guest speaker on environmental justice issues and census data analysis at the Community and Regional Planning graduate program at the UT Austin.  She often participates as a Small Business Owner/Environmental Consultant panelist at events hosted by Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), UT Austin, and Girlsmart.

Ashley completed serving a two-year term (2016-2018) as the WTS International Southwest Region liaison for the Heart of Texas (HOT) Chapter. She previously served as Chair of the Recognitions and Professional Development Committees for HOT Chapter between 2008 and 2012. She was selected to participate in the WTS Women’s Business Owners Roundtable at the national conference in 2017 and 2018. In 2010, CMEC was named Employer of the Year by WTS – HOT Chapter and she was named Woman of the Year by the chapter in 2017.  

Ashley has two busy sons: Beckett (15) is a sophomore at Liberal Arts & Science Academy high school in Austin and Corbin (18) is a freshman at Stanford University. Her husband, J.C. Schmeil, AIA LEED AP attended Stanford University and UT Architecture School and is in private practice. In her “free” time, Ashley enjoys supporting her kids’ schools and sports teams in volunteer roles, reading fiction (the book club she founded is more than 20 years old), yoga, and traveling.