Environment Picture

New staffer brings construction experience, law degree to bear on land use and legislature

Tim Fischer’s eclectic background includes Peace Corps, solar energy
Tim Fischer recalls looking beyond the trusses of a home his construction company was building in North Carolina, and seeing 500-home subdivisions sprouting in valleys a half-hour drive from any other sign of civilization.

“I saw, and helped build, these pockets of sprawl, segregated from stores and workplaces, and that’s when I realized there must be a better way,” he said.

Fischer, 32, brings his construction experience as well as a law degree and a native Michigander’s love of the Great Lakes State to his job as Michigan Environmental Council’s newest staffer. As deputy policy director, he will work closely with the legislature, member groups and on the land use issues that are his passion.

A 1993 graduate of Dexter High School, Fischer attended Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina where he earned degrees in history and politics. He also studied European history at Magdalean College, Oxford.

After graduation, Fischer was posted to West Africa where he spent two years as a rural health educator with Peace Corps. He lived in a remote village with no electricity or running water, four hours by truck to the nearest city. Fischer worked on village-scale clean water projects in addition to infant nutrition and AIDS prevention initiatives.

He returned to North Carolina where he ran a construction company specializing in historical renovation—the company’s most notable project was the restoration of the birthplace of noted American novelist Thomas Wolfe.

After the epiphany about the folly of sprawl and disjointed land use, Fischer studied law at Vermont Law School, which specializes in environmental law. He graduated in 2006, and earned a Master’s in Environmental Law a year later. He is a member of the Michigan Bar.

He and a partner also run a fledgling solar energy and energy efficiency business, Mosaic Energy, www.mosaicenergy.net.
Also, Fischer is a commercial bee keeper. He is part of an apicultural tradition that has been passed down through six generations of Fischers in the United States.

His goal at MEC is to use his knowledge of construction, the law and land use principles to help move Michigan toward cost-effective and environmentally sensible land use policies.

“I did not go to law school to work for the environmental law section of a big law firm, as some in my cohort have done. I went to law school to learn the trade to affect directed and strategic change in environmental policy. I am excited to have the opportunity to help advance MEC’s land use goals.”

Tim lives in Webster Township, near Dexter, with his wife Tara, whom he met in the Peace Corps. They have two children: Eva, 2; and Abraham, 11 months.
RELATED TOPICS: land use, transportation policy
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