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.
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.
As Development and Communications Associate, Andy McGlashen helps to share the story of MEC’s work with the public, decision makers and the organization’s generous supporters. He earned a master’s degree in environmental journalism from Michigan State University and has experience both as a reporter and in media relations. Born and raised in Davison, Michigan, Andy lives in East Lansing with his wife, Katy. His favorite pastime is fly-fishing northern Michigan's trout streams.
Kajal Ravani, Special Programs Associate, joined MEC after spending the summer of 2013 as a Fellow for the Transportation for Michigan (Trans4M) coalition. She spends her time bouncing between Trans4M projects and assisting with MEC's financial operations and LEED certification. She is a proud Spartan in her last semester at MSU's James Madison College studying social relations and policy. A born and raised Michigander, Kajal is passionate about staying here after graduation to be a part of Michigan's urban renewal. She spent a summer as the communications intern for the Michigan Suburbs Alliance and currently serves as a Resident Advisor on campus.
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.
Dan Sommerville joined MEC in January 2013 as a Fellow for the Transportation for Michigan (Trans4M) coalition. He is now a Policy Associate focusing primarily on transportation policy. Dan grew up in Plymouth, Michigan, and graduated from James Madison College at Michigan State University with a BA in International Relations, specializing in environmental policy. Before joining MEC and Trans4M, Dan interned on a state representative’s re-election campaign. While a student at Michigan State, Dan served three years on staff at Michigan State University Model United Nations, where he co-founded Red Cedar Model United Nations. He has also served on staff at United Nations Association’s Global Classrooms International Model United Nations in New York City, worked as a student caller at Michigan State University Greenline, and interned at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.
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.