Alumni Advisory Board


The Burke Center’s Alumni Advisory Board helps advise the Center Director on the development of Center programs and serves as a resource for students interested in careers in environmental law.

Geoff Barnes 

Barnes (1973) practiced environmental law with Squire, Patton Boggs, (US) LLP in Cleveland Ohio for almost 45 years.  His practice followed the development of all of the key Federal statutes and covered the full spectrum of environmental law. Over this time he worked with a broad range of public and private entities on transactions and litigation matters before state and federal agencies and courts, and feels fortunate to have participated in some of the most interesting and significant litigation cases of the time. 

William M. Ondrey Gruber

Gruber (1982) currently serves as Director of Law for the City of Shaker Heights. He previously served as an attorney for the City of Cleveland, where he served as Chief of the Environment, Health and Regulatory Compliance Section of the Law Department. Gruber s currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Environmental Council and previously served on numerous boards and advisory committees, including the Sierra Club’s Northeast Ohio Group, among others.

John Heer

Heer (1991) is an attorney at McDonald Hopkins LLC in Cleveland. He has over 28 years of experience practicing corporate, transactional, regulatory and environmental law, including experience with the Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Clean Air Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, the Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Brownfields, waste management, wetlands and stormwater. He spent 5 years in-house with an international appliance manufacturer as their environmental and regulatory counsel and is is also a certified ISO 14001 Environmental Health & Safety Auditor.

Kevin Margolis

Margolis (1989) is Benesch’s Integration partner and a member of the firm's Executive Committee.  He is the former chair of the firm's Real Estate and Environmental practice group. Mr. Margolis’s practice involves managing environmental risk and the environmental aspects of business, commercial lending, and real estate transactions and financing.  He has a particular focus on brownfield redevelopment and environmental issues in real estate and business transactions and he also has developed and implemented nationwide environmental compliance programs, including the preparation of regulatory analyses, ongoing regulatory monitoring, and routine counseling on regulatory issues. In addition, he manages environmental litigation and enforcement matters for many of his clients.

Beth Nagusky

Nagusky (1982) has over 30 years of environmental law experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. She served as Acting Commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, State Energy Director, Director of the Maine Renewable Power Association, and as an attorney with the Natural Resources Council of Maine and Environment Northeast (Acadia Center). After returning to Ohio Beth worked with the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) to secure the nearly one dozen state and federal permits and approvals needed for the Icebreaker Wind Project, a 6 turbine offshore wind demonstration project proposed 8 miles off the coast of Cleveland. Icebreaker will be North America’s first freshwater offshore wind project.

John Obery

Obery (2013) is Legal Counsel, U.S. Operations for Husky Energy, where he manages Husky’s docket of Environmental, Health & Safety matters for its oil refineries in Lima (OH), Toledo (OH), and Superior (WI). John’s environmental practice focuses primarily on regulatory compliance and litigation under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act at the state and federal level. Prior to joining Husky, John worked at a boutique firm in Cleveland (OH) that specializes in environmental law.

Jay Pendergrass

Pendergrass (1979) is Vice President for Programs and Publications at the Environmental Law Institute, a research, education, and publishing not-for-profit in Washington, D.C., where he leads all of the institute’s programmatic work. Pendergrass has has more than 40 years of experience as an environmental and natural resources attorney working in government, private practice, academia, and, for more than 30 years, with ELI.  He has published more than 50 articles and book chapters as well as dozens of research reports on a broad range of legal and policy issues focusing on what works in practice and how to improve the implementation of law. 

Alex Schoch

Schoch (1979) has served is General Counsel for the Railroad Commission of Texas. The Commission has jurisdiction over oil and gas development, pipelines, natural gas utilities, and mining in Texas.  He is involved in environmental regulatory matters associated with energy development, including cutting-edge issues such as induced seismicity potentially associated with hydraulic fracturing operations, as well as flaring of gas that is unconnected to gathering systems. In his prior leadership roles in several leading corporations Schoch handled a wide range of environmental matters, including operational issues in global manufacturing, due diligence in numerous acquisitions, and hazardous materials claims arising out of discontinued operations or various disposal sites.