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ECOS Founders Award

The ECOS Founders Award recognizes former ECOS members who provided outstanding service to ECOS while a member. The award began at our 10th Anniversary Meeting in 2003.

Founders Awardees, 2010

Bob Varney (New Hampshire)

Bob was one of the nation's longest-serving state environmental commissioners. As Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services for 12 years, he was appointed by three governors of both political parties. Bob was an active member of ECOS for many years. He served as ECOS president, vice-president and secretary-treasurer during the late 1990s and has attended ECOS meetings as a state commissioner and an alumni member. He has testified in Congress on behalf of NGA and ECOS. Along with Bob Shinn of New Jersey, Bob successfully proposed the first climate change resolution at an ECOS meeting in the mid-1990's. He also helped organize the first national meeting bringing together state commissioners and environmental justice leaders in an effort to improve communication and coordination on EJ issues throughout the country.

Founders Awardees, 2009

Arleen O'Donnell (Massachusetts)

The ECOS Founders Award is presented to a former member whose contributions helped make ECOS an effective voice for the states. Arleen was one of the representatives from Massachusetts from 2004-2007, and became the main member in 2005. In 2006-2007 she was the Chair of the Cross Media Committee. During her tenure, the committee created the ECOS/Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission Forum and began work on emerging contaminants, which is still an issue of concern today. Much of Arleen's work at ECOS centered on mercury and state-EPA relations. She took over the Quicksilver Caucus Leadership in late 2004 in time for the Spring Meeting and left at the end of December 2007. In addition, she led the State Review Framework Element 13 Flexibility Effort for the states either in the Planning or Compliance Committees or both and on TRI and performance measurement in Cross-Media from about 2004 on. She took leadership or was very vocal on these issues for the states. Arleen was one of the key proponents on the Element 13 in the State Review Framework discussion. She also contributed numerous articles for ECOStates on topics including the Massachusetts Environmental Results Program and TMDLs and mercury.

Founders Awardees, 2008

Ron Hammerschmidt (Kansas)

Ron Hammerschmidt, former Director of Environment at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment was active in ECOS from its earliest days. During his membership in ECOS Ron served in every leadership position including serving as its President from 2002 to 2003 and as ECOS Past-President for three terms. Additionally, Ron served as Chair of the ECOS Waste Committee, Chair of the Quicksilver Caucus and President of ERIS. During a time of significant transition and commissioner turnover, Ron was a steadying influence for the organization. Ron possesses a rare combination of extraordinary technical and policy expertise and many state commissioners relied and continue to rely on Ron's excellent counsel regarding issues in their own states.

Founders Awardees, 2007

Chris Jones (Ohio)

Chris is the only ECOS member ever to serve more than one year as President, having assumed the duty when he was vice-president and then later elected to his own term. During his term as President, Chris emphasized continuity of membership involvement, as the greatest turnover in members in our association's history was occurring. At the same time, he sought to increase our association's impact with Congress, when he conducted our first briefing to Hill staff. Chris sought and obtained more contact with the White House via the Council on Environmental Quality as well. Prior to his service as an officer, Chris served on the Executive Committee from 1999-2001. Chris was the Director of the Ohio EPA from 1999-2004. Chris continues to attend ECOS meeting as an alumnus.

Lang Marsh (Oregon)

Between 1995 and 2000, Lang was Director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Prior to his service to Oregon, he was commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. There he held a variety of positions with that agency beginning in 1973, including General Counsel and Executive Deputy Commissioner. For ECOS, Lang was the chair of both the Water Committee (96 and 97) and the Planning Committee (99 and 2000). In this latter capacity, Lang promoted children's health issues onto ECOS' agenda, and worked on reform of core measures reporting. He also served on the Executive Committee and continues to attend ECOS meetings as an alumnus.

Brent Bradford (Utah)

Brent served as the UDEQ representative to ECOS from its creation in 1993 until he retired in 2003. As an ECOS leader, Brent worked tirelessly to advance the standing of states as partners and co-regulators with EPA. He was instrumental in drafting the May 17, 1995, ECOS-EPA Joint Commitment to Reform Oversight and Create a National Environmental Performance Partnership System, also known as the NEPPS Agreement. His vision and passion for the new system resulted in the Utah Department of Environmental Quality entering into the nation's first ever Performance Partnership Grant (PPG) with EPA. Brent also helped draft the Core Performance Measures under NEPPS and advocated for joint strategic planning between states and EPA in what he termed the National Environmental Services Delivery System. Brent also vigorously pursued reporting burden reduction. This led him to initiate dialogue between states and EPA on respectful use of data which ultimately led to the creation of the ECOS-EPA Data Management Work Group, a group which produced the Vision and Operating Principles that are still in effect today. He served as the Region 8 representative to the ECOS Executive Committee and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the ECOS Planning Committee.

Founders Awardee, 2006

Dennis Treacy (Virginia)

Dennis served as the Commonwealth of Virginia's ECOS Commissioner from 1998 through 2001. Dennis made significant contributions in many areas of ECOS: he served as the Chair of the Cross Media Committee, as a member of the Executive Committee (as both the Primary and Alternate for Region III), and he was involved in several of the workgroups and forums. (Dennis still talks fondly and with great pride about his service on the "Committee on Committees!") While he was Chair of the Cross Media Committee, Dennis was instrumental in broadening ECOS' involvement in the promotion of innovation. He helped to organize the first-ever workshop on innovation, which was one of the first opportunities for state Commissioners and program managers to engage in frank discussions with senior managers of EPA and representatives of the regulated community about the necessity for developing a process to allow for regulatory flexibility for innovations. This workshop led to the creation of the Innovations Agreement Team, the precursor to the current Cross Media Committee (CMC)/EPA Innovation Action Council (IAC). Dennis focused considerable attention on promoting participation of all states in the "Innovations Agreement" with EPA. Working in conjunction with the ECOS Regulatory Innovations Work Group, Dennis led the development of the many of ECOS policies on innovation including the "Once In, Always In" Resolution (No. 00-12). He also encouraged finding solutions to environmental problems through the formation of partnerships and forward-looking initiatives such Environmental Management Systems and Pollution Prevention. After leaving public service in 2001, Dennis was one of the founding members of the ECOS Alumni Association, where he serves as the unofficial leader of the group.

Founders Awardees, 2005

Tom Looby (Colorado)

Long before his "retirement" days, Tom worked for state and local governments for 25 years, and served as the Director of Colorado's environmental agency for 10 years. He was the first Vice-President of ECOS in 1993, and later served as President and Past President. He was also chair of the Planning Committee for three years. Tom worked tirelessly to help ECOS come into being, dealing with all of the minutiae and administrative hurdles that must be addressed in any new organization as well as the bigger issues associated with developing working relationships with the NGA, other environmental associations, and, most importantly, USEPA. Tom was President when ECOS hired its first Executive Director, Robbie Roberts. Tom has remained active in ECOS since leaving state government service.

Executive Director's Notes: Our next two awardees honor the efforts of one of the key projects that ECOS has undertaken. This is a project that emphasizes the best in cooperation between the states and EPA, and we often cite it as a model in the state-EPA relationship. I speak of the work that EPA and the States are doing on information management. Our awardees are Dana Bisbee of New Hampshire and Kim Nelson of Pennsylvania.

Dana Bisbee (New Hampshire)

Dana served as the Assistant Commissioner and Acting Commissioner of New Hampshire's environmental agency for 7 years. His primary work with ECOS was as the Chair of the Data Management Workgroup, which he chaired for three years.

Kimberly Nelson (Pennsylvania)

Kim was the Executive Deputy Secretary with the Pennsylvania environmental agency and member of ECOS' Data Management Workgroup. Kim routinely hosted workshops for other states to come to her state for "hands-on" learning using the latest information technology. These workshops served as catalysts for many states in the development and proliferation of modernized state environmental information systems across the nation. In 2001 Kim was appointed Assistant Administrator/Chief Information Officer for US EPA's Office of Environmental Information. While at EPA, Kim has continued her commitment to data reforms. Through her efforts states have been received $84 million in supplemental support for modernizing data management capabilities.

They were both instrumental in the development of the Exchange Network. Kim worked on this both as a member of the ECOS work group and as an EPA official. Dana led the effort for ECOS and the states. The Exchange Network is the joint framework states are implementing with EPA to move state environmental data to EPA's national databases. The network was designed to help address state and EPA data problems with cost, standards, reliability, security, analysis, and integration across media. We still have a way to go, but our successes lay with the leadership these two people have provided.

Founders Awardees, 2004

Lewis Shaw (South Carolina)

Lewis Shaw was a member of ECOS from its inception until his retirement from state service in 2003.Shaw served on the ECOS Executive Committee, and was elected by the membership as Secretary/Treasurer and Vice-President. In 1999 Shaw was elected President. He also hosted a Spring ECOS meeting in Charleston, SC and chaired the Compliance Committee for one year. In addition, he served on the Board of the Environmental Research Institute of the States (ERIS), including serving as its President. Mr. Shaw's impact on the role of the states in protecting public health and the environment through ECOS cannot be measured simply by examining the administrative positions that he held with this organization. Mr. Shaw routinely went "above and beyond" when it came to assisting and mentoring new environmental commissioners, and in working on projects of either regional or national significance.

Robbie Roberts (South Dakota and ECOS)

It seems unnecessary to summarize Roberts' contributions to ECOS, as they were numerous and profound. However, the award is for service to ECOS while a member, and in that regard we can add to adjectives describing his contributions the word "unique." In short, Robbie was the commissioner that led the effort to get ECOS organized in the first place. After we found a similar interest from Kathy Prosser, he teamed up with her and there were two advocates, and so on until the December 1993 meeting (which he chaired) that led to the formation. The organizing body present gave him the distinction of being the only "Past President" that never served as the President.

George Meyer (Wisconsin)

Meyer was one of the persons present at the founding meeting of ECOS in December 1993. He served on the Executive Committee, and as Secretary-Treasurer, Vice-President, President (in 2000-2001), and Past President. He was the chair of the Air Committee for three years. He hosted the largest ECOS Spring Meeting in Madison, WI.

Meyer is perhaps best remembered for his work on mercury. He was the first ECOS member to bring this to the association's attention, when he introduced a resolution asking for the federal government not to sell its surplus mercury in the international marketplace. While President, George created the Quicksilver Caucus, the first formal partnership ECOS had with its sister media associations. George's style was gentle and non-confrontational and he was a very effective consensus-builder. His mercury legacy remains as one of the issues in which ECOS is a leader.

Mark Coleman (Oklahoma)

Mark served on ECOS' Executive Committee and as Chair of the Compliance Committee for four years. During his years with ECOS he was universally recognized as the expert on compliance matters, tracing such expertise at least to the famous 1986 memorandum of understanding between EPA and the states. Mark led many discussions between EPA and the states, and was an unflagging champion of the right of a state to run its own compliance and enforcement program once a program had been delegated. He was also well known for pointed and common sense remarks during plenary sessions, a champion for "customer service" and an advocate for management issues such as the impact of retirements on our agencies.

Founders Awardees, 2003

Kathy Prosser (Indiana)

Kathy Prosser served as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management from 1989-1996. Kathy was one of the main drivers for the formation of the Environmental Council of States in the early 1990s. Her tireless efforts to stress the advantages and benefits of such an organization with her peers across the country led to the establishment of ECOS in the mid-1990s. Kathy also worked with the other state environmental associations for air, water and land to help integrate a new environmental directors' organization into the federal and state landscape.Kathy served as ECOS' first President from 1993-1994, and then as Past President in '94-95. She remained active in ECOS until her departure from Indiana in 1996. She was recognized as one of the public officials of the year by the Council of State Governments in 1996.

Mary Gade (Illinois)

Mary Gade of Illinois served as the Illinois EPA Director for eight years, from 1991-1999. Mary was one of the founders of the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) and served as the initial Secretary-Treasurer, and then Vice President, and President of this organization. As the third President of ECOS, Mary was the first President to preside over ECOS once it had a staff. Much time was devoted to securing resources for the organization and helping create ECOS' first office.In addition, she served as Chair of the Ozone Transport Assessment Group (OTAG), a 37-member organization of states charged with studying the phenomena of ozone transport and recommending solutions to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Mary continued her service to ECOS as an alumni through an appointment to the ERIS Board.

Harold Reheis (Georgia)

Harold Reheis was the ECOS member from Georgia from 1991 until his retirement in mid-2003. In addition to several terms on the Executive Committee, Harold served as the Air Committee chair, and later the Water Committee chair in the 1990s and as the ECOS Secretary-Treasurer, Vice-President and President during 1994-1995, 1995-1996, and 1996-1997 respectively. In 1995, he hosted ECOS' second Annual Meeting in Savannah, Georgia. As Secretary-Treasurer, he and his staff led the effort to incorporate ECOS. While President, Harold led the effort to create the Environmental Research Institute of the States (ERIS), and worked to preside over ECOS' first Spring Meeting in 1997. Harold also served on the ERIS Board.

Bob Shinn (New Jersey)

Bob was the ECOS member from New Jersey from 1994 through 2001. Bob served as the ECOS Secretary-Treasurer, Vice-President, and was President during '97-'98. He served as the ERIS President during '98-'99.Bob served during a very active growth period for both ECOS and ERIS. During this time, he brought the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) on board. Bob led ECOS through tough discussions about which direction it would take during a time in which the committees, workgroups and forums were sorting their authorities out. He also was an early advocate for climate change issues, and chaired ECOS' workgroup on that issue. Bob has remained active with ECOS as an alumnus.