Judy Bearup, Office Manager & Personal Assistant to the President, contributes significantly to this organization. She serves as telephone system administrator; plans and coordinates internal and external meetings and events; assists President Chris Kolb with scheduling, correspondence and other matters; and provides human resources management support, among other efforts. Judy spent years working for the Michigan State Senate and House of Representatives and brings strong administrative, clerical and organizational skills to her position. An avid gardener, she completed the Master Gardening Program at Michigan State University and also studied at Lansing Community College and Davenport College
Policy Director James Clift coordinates our work on clean energy, air quality, water protection, public health, and open government, among other issues. He also coordinates the residential ratepayer intervention work before the Michigan Public Service Commission. A graduate of Central Michigan University and Wayne State University Law School, James has taught or lectured at schools across the state including the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Oakland University, Wayne State University and Central Michigan University. Before coming to the council, James worked at the Michigan Senate and served as a Policy Director, where he supervised a 12-member policy staff and was primarily responsible for environmental protection issues.
MEC's Director of Finance and Development, Andy Draheim, lives in East Lansing with his wife, Shanna, their son, Joe, and twin daughters, Jillian and Abbie. After graduating from Manistee High School and Michigan State University's James Madison College, Andy worked on two local political campaigns in Michigan before earning a master's degree in American history from Indiana University. In 1995, Andy began a nine-year career with Common Cause, a citizens' lobby dedicated to fair, open and accountable government. He served Common Cause in a variety of capacities, including volunteer coordinator, grassroots organizer, policy analyst, lobbyist, foundation relations director and organizational development specialist. In August 2004, Andy and his family returned to Michigan after living in San Francisco for almost four years. He also represents the organization on the Michigan Campaign Finance Network Board of Directors.
Elizabeth Fedorchuk, Communications Specialist, joined us in 2004 after a career in publications and information technology communications at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Elizabeth is responsible for information technology services at MEC and provides editorial services for MEC publications. She loves exploring Michigan's beaches and nature trails with her husband Matt and their two children.
Tim Fischer, Deputy Policy Director, joined MEC at the end of 2007. A Michigan native, he works closely with the legislature and member groups on the land use issues that are his passion. After earning degrees in history and politics from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina, Tim spent two years as a rural health educator with the Peace Corps. He returned to North Carolina, where he ran a construction company specializing in historical renovation. Later, Tim studied environmental law at Vermont Law School. He graduated in 2006 and earned a Master’s in Environmental Law a year later. Tim is a member of the Michigan Bar.
David Gard, energy program director, coordinates MEC's work to develop, adopt and implement forward-looking policies to safely and affordably meet our energy needs. His work is driven in large part by the significant health and economic risks of Michigan's dependence on fossil fuels. Prior to joining MEC, David completed the Erb Institute MBA/MS Program at the University of Michigan, worked as a design engineer, and served in the U.S. Navy. He grew up in Cincinnati, OH and has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University.
Brad Garmon is the Director of Conservation and Emerging Issues at MEC, where he has worked since moving to Michigan in 2001. Brad holds degrees in Earth Science and Geospatial Analysis, and a master's degree in English. In addition to policy work on natural resources protection, land conservation, economic development and Smart Growth issues across Michigan, he is a member of the Michigan Sense of Place Council, the Michigan Environmental Advisory Council, the national Growth Management Leadership Alliance and the People And Land Leadership Council. He was appointed by Governor Snyder to the Michigan State Parks and Recreation Blue Ribbon Panel in 2011.
Chris Kolb assumed the presidency of the Michigan Environmental Council on Jan. 1, 2009. An environmental champion in the legislature and a veteran of the environmental management field, Kolb was one of the legislature’s most consistent and vigorous defenders of clean water, clean air and public health during his six years as State Representative from the 53rd District. He was instrumental in important environmental legislation, including joint planning commissions, land bank authorities, lead poisoning prevention for children, regulation of dangerous polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs), establishment of a fund to help clean up leaking underground storage tanks, and numerous land use initiatives.
Kate Madigan works out of Traverse City, representing MEC in northern Michigan. She specializes in energy policy and assists MEC's communications and energy teams with research, writing, and advocacy. Kate joined MEC in 2005 as the Deputy Policy Director based in Lansing. In this role she worked closely with MEC member groups and Michigan's elected officials to strengthen our state's environmental protections. Prior to joining MEC, Kate worked for three years for Environment America as its safe foods advocate in Los Angeles and then as an advocate for Environment Michigan in Lansing. A Michigan native, Kate holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and the Environment and a master's degree in management from the School for International Training in Vermont. Kate lives with her husband Ross and their two children in Traverse City.
Ahmina Maxey is the Community Outreach Coordinator with the Zero Waste Detroit (ZWD) coalition. She advocates to increase recycling participation in the City of Detroit, and divert waste from the Detroit incinerator. The long-term goal of ZWD is the expansion of Detroit's curbside recycling program citywide. Ahmina has experience working in the environmental justice field, having worked as an Associate Director at the East Michigan Environmental Action Council for four years. In her work at EMEAC, her responsibilities included health and environmental justice policy, advocacy, and outreach work. She has worked with City Council members on measures to improve Detroit’s air quality, leading to the passage of numerous laws protecting the environment and health of Detroiters. Ahmina is a graduate of the University of Michigan, earning her Bachelor of Science in the Program in the Environment in 2007.
Hugh McDiarmid joined MEC in 2006 as Communications Director after a 22-year career as a journalist in Michigan, where he specialized in reporting environmental issues. Hugh grew up in East Lansing and graduated from Albion College. He has worked as a reporter and editor at the Roscommon Herald-News, the Grand Rapids-area Advance Newspapers and for 10 years at the Detroit Free Press. Since 2003, he covered environmental issues almost exclusively for the Free Press – reporting on a wide range of issues, ranging from sulfide mining in the Upper Peninsula to Dow Chemical Co.’s dioxin pollution in the Tittabawassee River valley. He was part of a team that produced an award-winning series on childhood lead poisoning in 2003. Hugh is married to wife Karen and has two adult children.
Health Policy Director Tina Reynolds has extensive experience in the law and state public policy development. She holds a law degree from Wayne State University and a bachelor’s degree in natural resources from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan. She has worked as a law clerk, as an environmental policy analyst for the Michigan House of Representatives, as a legislative assistant for the 53rd House District (Ann Arbor) and most recently as legal counsel for the 18th State Senate District (Washtenaw County). Working closely with MEC’s policy experts during her time at the legislature, Reynolds came to appreciate the organization’s approach. “The people at MEC were intelligent and committed and I wanted to be a part of the team,” said Reynolds. “When the opportunity to work specifically on health care issues came up, it seemed a perfect fit. Protecting people, especially vulnerable children, from exposure to dangerous toxics, and improving health outcomes is important and rewarding work.” Reynolds grew up in Keego Harbor, MI. She lives in East Lansing with her husband Walt and their three children, Logan, Paige, and Gywn.
Sandra Turner-Handy works primarily from MEC's Detroit office, helping connect the numerous people and organizations working to improve the quality of life and environmental conditions for citizens in Southeast Michigan. Turner-Handy, a Cass Technical High School graduate with a B.S. in psychology from Wayne State University, is a lifelong Detroiter. Most recently, she was chief of staff for State Sen. Hansen Clarke. A widowed mother of six, Turner-Handy has spent decades involved in civic and charitable causes throughout the city, working to rebuild the city and encourage economic development while improving conditions for residents. As MEC's Community Outreach Director, she bridges the gap between urban environmental and justice issues and policy initiatives in the state legislature.
Kathryn Gray, Transportation for Michigan Coordinator
Kathryn Gray joined MEC in April 2012 as Coordinator for the Transportation for Michigan coalition. Trans4M is a statewide coalition working to create a stronger Michigan through transportation policy reform that will revitalize Michigan’s cities and towns, reconnect its people to opportunity, and spark a healthier economy.Kathryn grew up in Jackson, MI and earned a social relations and policy degree from Michigan State University, James Madison College of Public Affairs, and holds a Masters in Public Administration from Grand Valley State University. Prior to joining Trans4M, Kathryn worked as Public Policy Specialist for Disability Network/Lakeshore advocating for people with disabilities, including strengthening local public transit systems and educating communities on the benefits of Complete Streets. Throughout undergrad, Kathryn interned for Dykema Gossett as a Governmental Relations intern and for Consumers Energy as Governmental Affairs intern. Additionally, she served on Case Hall Government for her residence hall and as a Resident Mentor at Michigan State University. Kathryn currently resides in Holland with her husband.
Jeremy Emmi, RE-AMP Coordinator
Jeremy has spent the majority of his life in the Midwest, raised in Michigan's "Thumb" region. Interested in nature and the environment at an early age, Jeremy worked briefly as a botanist after receiving his degree in Botany and Plant Pathology from MSU. He then moved to Oregon for four years to pursue a law degree, focusing on environmental and natural resources law at Lewis and Clark Law School. After law school, Jeremy moved back to his native Michigan, where he became the executive director of the Michigan Nature Association, a statewide land trust, as the sole staff member. Jeremy remained in that position for almost a decade, building the organization's capacity to better meet the conservation needs of Michigan. Jeremy observed over the years how climate change has affected land preservation work in the Midwest, from a fairly dramatic change in bloom times of native wildflowers and increases in invasive species populations to increases in traumatic weather events. He determined that decades of efforts to protect native habitats in the Midwest could be undone because of climate change's effects and that without a considerable effort to fight climate change, the natural human-built worlds would increasingly suffer. MEC's role in RE-AMP's innovative and holistic model attracted Jeremy as being the most effective path to making real progress on global warming in the Midwest. In his new role as RE-AMP Coordinator, Jeremy will work to build on the great successes of MEC and utilize RE-AMP's unique structure to help enable our member groups to increase the rate of progress on reducing regional global warming emissions.
Anusuya Das, RE-AMP Associate
RE-AMP Social Media Coordinator and Networking Associate Anusuya Das assists RE-AMP Coordinator Jeremy Emmi with event management, grant writing, fundraising and reporting, in addition to other RE-AMP Media Center and Learning and Progress tasks. She earned a master's degree in environmental journalism from Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism in May 2010. She also holds bachelors and masters degrees in English literature from the University of Delhi, India. After graduating from MSU, Anusuya interned at a custom publishing agency in Chicago where she wrote articles on social media, technology and journalism, in addition to a feature article on biomimicry. She has also interned at two nonprofit organizations, including Michigan Nature Association where she wrote newsletter articles on invasive plants and endangered species in Michigan. Before joining MSU, Anusuya wrote for two magazines in India. Anusuya was born and raised in New Delhi—the capital city of India. She came to the United States in August 2008 to pursue further studies. While she lives in East Lansing, Michigan, she often visits her family and friends in Chicago where she spent a year after finishing journalism school.