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. 

Heidi B. (Goldstein) Friedman

Friedman is a partner at Thompson Hine LLP in Cleveland. She has over 24 years of experience practicing environmental, health and safety counseling in business, regulatory and legislative matters, with an emphasis on environmental and toxic tort litigation, environmental enforcement actions, site remediation, product stewardship and environmental regulations compliance. Friedman is currently a Fellow of The American College of Environmental Lawyers. She is also a founder and past chair of Thompson Hine’s nationally recognized Spotlight on Women® program, which seeks to support, retain and promote the firm’s women lawyers and to connect and champion professional women outside the firm, one of the first such programs developed by a law firm.

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.

Andre Monette

Monette (2006) is a partner with the law firm of Best Best & Krieger LLP in Washington DC. Andre serves as the managing partner of the firm’s DC office and represents clients on a range of environmental issues including the Clean Water Act, water supply and water rights. Andre also works extensively on matters involving infrastructure funding for large scale water supply projects. Andre’s clients include farmers, cities, water utilities and investment funds, and. he serves as the partner in charge of the firm’s Government Relations Practice Group. Andre is also the current chair of the International Bar Association Water Law Committee, and has lectured extensively in the U.S. and internationally on matters involving water supply, water quality and infrastructure development and financing.

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, DC., 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. 

Christy Rideout Schirra

Schirra (2011) is a partner at Bricker & Eckler, LLP in Columbus, Ohio. Schirra counsels clients on environmental and regulatory issues involving compliance, due diligence, contract negotiation, permitting, enforcement, and litigation. This includes assisting clients with matters pertaining to the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, hazardous and solid waste regulation under CERCLA and RCRA, underground storage tank regulations, and the Clean Air Act. Schirra has successfully represented clients in both state and federal court, and at administrative hearings, trial court, and appellate court proceedings. Before joining Bricker, Schirra served as an assistant attorney general with the Environmental Enforcement Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, representing Ohio EPA on matters relating to water pollution control and drinking and ground water laws and rules. Schirra also worked as a legal extern with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5 Office of Regional Counsel, and with the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio.

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.

Emily Seidman

Seidman (2009) is the Assistant General Counsel for Visibility, Interstate Transport, and Stratospheric Ozone in U.S. EPA's Office of General Counsel and has been at attorney at EPA since January 2016.  Although her current practice focuses on Clean Air Act implementation, before joining EPA, Seidman had a broad practice ranging from volunteering at the Environmental Law Institute to working in environmental law practice areas at law firms in Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, DC.  While in private practice, Seidman's practice included litigation and compliance and regulatory counseling for nearly all the major environmental law statutes.

Lisa D. Sutton

Sutton (1994) is Vice President and Chief Counsel for Regulatory Matters at the Eaton Corporation, where she is responsible for Eaton’s Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) and Trade, Antitrust and Government Contracts (TAG) legal functions.  Her responsibilities include regulatory compliance, government enforcement actions and negotiation, acquisitions and divestitures, litigation, real estate, and support of company sustainability, product compliance, and related corporate governance and financial matters. Prior to joining Eaton, Sutton was an associate with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey (now Squire Patton Boggs).