Speaker Bios

 

David Bookbinder is Chief Counsel at the Niskanen Center, a libertarian think tank in Washington, DC, where he focuses on issues of federal carbon taxation, climate nuisance litigation, and the abuse of eminent domain by oil and gas pipeline companies. Mr. Bookbinder began practicing law at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, handling securities, mergers and acquisitions, product liability, white-collar criminal, intellectual property and other matters. In the public interest sphere, Mr. Bookbinder has litigated dozens of cases under all of the major environmental statutes including, as Sierra Club’s Chief Climate Counsel, initiating and managing Massachusetts v. EPA. Dealing with Congress and federal agencies, Mr. Bookbinder helped lead efforts on both global warming legislation and greenhouse gas regulation under the Clean Air Act, and has testified in front of House and Senate committees on these issues (and may be the only person ever invited by both Barbara Boxer and James Inhofe). He has also advised states as to their greenhouse gas regulatory authority. Mr. Bookbinder was trained at Princeton University (summa cum laude) and the University of Chicago Law School.

Bill Byrd is president of RCP Inc., a professional engineering and regulatory consulting company that serves the energy pipeline industry. He has bachelors and masters degrees in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and is a registered professional engineer in 4 states. His monthly newsletter on pipeline safety regulatory developments is received by more than 7,000 people. He is currently the Chair of the International Pipeline Conference, and has been on the Board of the Pipeline Research Council International and chaired both the Safety Engineering and Risk Analysis Division and the Pipeline Systems Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He has published numerous peer-reviewed papers and speaks frequently on pipeline safety topics. He also posts occasionally on the SafePipelines newsgroup. Perhaps you know him as Bill.

Patty Cronheim is the Outreach Coordinator for ReThink Energy NJ, a campaign that informs and empowers New Jersey citizens and decision-makers about the need for a swift transition to home-grown, efficient and renewable energy, and reduced use of fossil fuels. ReThink Energy NJ works with researchers, economists, lawyers and scientists to find workable solutions to create NJ’s clean energy future. Patty also works as a consultant on various fossil fuel projects around the state. She has Masters of Science degrees in nutrition and physiology from Columbia University and has worked as a musician and eating disorder therapist. She has been involved throughout her life with environmental preservation issues. Her work full time on gas pipeline issues started just 5 years ago when the PennEast pipeline proposed to route through her community. Patty volunteers her time leading Hopewell Township Citizens Against the PennEast Pipeline, chairing the Hopewell Township Pipeline Task Force, and serving on the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance Sandy Justice Round Table, Climate Advisory Committee for NJ Sustainable Business Council, and of the the board of trustees of the Watershed Institute.

John DeLeeuw is a 787 Dreamliner pilot for American Airlines (AA), and served recently as the Senior Manager of Flight Safety at American Airlines for over five years. He addressed several safety data assurance programs such as Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA), Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), and Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA) as integral elements within the Safety Management System (SMS) at AA. Prior to his management position at American Airlines, John was the Deputy Chairman of the National Safety Committee at the Allied Pilots Association (APA). He implemented several safety initiatives benefiting the 15,000+ American Airlines pilots, and secured assistance during incidents and accidents for AA crew members throughout the world. Prior to flying at American Airlines, John was a C-130 Evaluator and Instructor Pilot in the United States Air Force. He participated in Desert Storm and numerous classified Special Operations throughout the world, flying HALO airdrops and insertions/extractions in combat and covert operations. John has flying experience with several commercial aircraft: Boeing 787, MD-80, Boeing 727. He has amassed 17000+ accident and incident free flight hours. John is also currently a SMS instructor at the University of Southern California’s Aviation Safety and Security School.

Senator Andrew E. Dinniman is recognized as a leader in education and an advocate for communities and families through three decades in public service. That vision and leadership led to his 2006 election and reelection in 2008, 2012, and 2016 to the Pennsylvania Senate, representing Pennsylvania’s 19th District. Prior to serving in the legislature, Senator Dinniman served for 15 years as a Chester County Commissioner, making him the longest-serving commissioner in county history. As Commissioner, Andy demonstrated a true commitment to the future of Chester County by taking on some of the region’s most difficult issues. He worked to found the Safe Harbor Homeless Shelter, the Chester County Gleaning Project and served as one of the principal architects of Landscapes, the county’s award-winning open space plan. Before being elected county commissioner in 1991, Senator Dinniman served on the Downingtown Area School Board and the West Whiteland Municipal Authority. A teacher, West Chester University professor and community leader, he has been honored by numerous education, business, environmental, veterans’ and service groups: Temple University’s College of Education, Pennsylvania Bio, the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the YMCA of the Brandywine Valley and the ARC of Pennsylvania.

Maureen Droessler is the Director of Research at GTI, a research, development, and training organization in the Chicago area that addresses global energy and environmental challenges by developing technology-based solutions for consumers, industry, and the government. Her primary role is outsourced to Operations Technology Development, a not-for-profit corporation, led by 25 members who serve over 50 million natural gas consumers in North America. OTD as it is known, identifies, selects, funds, and oversees research projects that improve the safety, reliability, efficiency, and sustainability of the natural gas system. As the Vice President of Operations, she manages the day to day business of the organization while working closely with the members to address their needs and provide benefits to their customers. Maureen has a BS in Chemistry from North Carolina State University, a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, and a MBA from DePaul University. She is an active member of the Women’s Energy Network, Chicago Chapter.

Howard “Skip” Elliott was sworn in as the Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on October 30, 2017. Elliott joins PHMSA following his retirement from CSX Transportation, where he served as Vice President of Public Safety, Health, Environment, and Security. Elliott’s portfolio at CSX included hazardous materials, transportation safety, homeland security, railroad policing, crisis management, environmental compliance and operations, occupational health management, and continuity of business operations. Elliott has more than 40 years of experience in the boardroom, on Capitol Hill, and in state houses and city halls and is a leading advocate in developing and implementing computer-based tools to assist emergency response officials, first responders, and homeland security personnel. Elliott has earned honors from a number of institutions and is a recipient of the Association of American Railroads’ (AAR) prestigious Holden-Proefrock award for lifetime achievement in hazardous materials transportation safety. Elliott has served on the AAR’s Risk Management Working Committee and its Security Committee, and is a member of the American Society of Industrial Security and the FBI-DHS Domestic Security Alliance Council. Skip Elliott earned a double major in English and Forensic Studies at Indiana University, and a Master of Science from Columbia Southern University.

Thomas “Tom” Finch has been a Western Region Community Liaison, formerly a Community Assistance and Technical Services (CATS) Manager, for PHMSA’s Office of Pipeline Safety out of Lakewood, CO, since August 20, 2009. From 2002 until August 20, 2009, Tom was the State Liaison Representative (SLR). His role in the OPS focuses on enhancing communications with Stakeholders including the Western Region States Pipeline Safety Programs. Tom attended the Colorado School of Mines from 1964-1968 majoring in Petroleum Engineering. He has 45 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Prior to October 1999, he was employed by Cathodic Protection Services, working mainly in the cathodic protection of well casings and pipelines. In 1994, Tom was one of the five founders of the Four Corners Oil & Gas Conference in Farmington, NM. Mr. Finch has completed the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) Cathodic Protection (CP) Level 1 through Level 3 courses. He joined PHMSA’s Office of Pipeline Safety on October 12, 1999.

Allen Fore, Vice President, Public Affairs for Kinder Morgan, Inc., has more than 25 years of experience in law, government and public affairs at the local, state, and national levels. At Kinder Morgan, Mr. Fore manages corporate public affairs, government relations, and community relations activities for existing company assets and major expansion projects throughout the United States. Prior to joining Kinder Morgan, Mr. Fore was a Senior Vice President at Fleishman-Hillard, an international communications company. Mr. Fore has served as an Assistant Attorney General of Illinois and as general counsel to the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Mr. Fore served as a Judge Advocate General in the Illinois Army National Guard and US Army Reserve, honorably discharged with the rank of Captain. Mr. Fore was also elected and served as an alderman on the Belvidere, IL City Council. Mr. Fore received his B.A. from Eureka College and a Juris Doctor degree from Valparaiso University.

Mark Hereth is a managing director of the Blacksmith Group / P-PIC which has served the energy pipeline industry since 2002. Prior to starting P-PIC, he worked for Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co. (HSB) for 23 years. During the first 14 years of that time, Mark worked for Radian Corporation an engineering subsidiary, and in 1993 he joined the parent company of HSB and ran HSB’s worldwide Chemical, Oil and Gas Insurance Operations for five years. He testified to Congress during Pipeline Safety Reauthorization in 2002. He has worked for the senior leadership of PG&E, El Paso Corporation, Olympic Pipeline and Colonial Pipeline following major pipeline accidents, by leading independent investigations and proposing long-term plans, and also serves senior executives in companies working to achieve proactive measurable improvement in pipeline safety performance. He is Chairman of the Board of the INGAA Foundation. He also served as the technical lead in developing API’s Safety Management Systems Recommended Practice for Pipelines. He was appointed in 2016 to serve on PHMSA’s Voluntary Information Sharing Advisory Committee. He also taught at the Northwestern University Transportation Center. He has an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Ohio University.

Megan Herzog is a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Environmental Protection Division in the Energy & Environment Bureau of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.  Since joining the bureau, she has participated in litigation and advocacy involving state and federal air, climate, energy, and natural resources laws.  Prior to joining the bureau, Megan worked as a Staff Attorney at the Boston, MA office of the Conservation Law Foundation, in CLF’s Energy and Ocean Conservation Programs. Megan was previously the Emmett/Frankel Fellow at UCLA’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, where she focused on climate and clean energy law and policy matters. She has published on a variety of environmental law topics, including climate change adaptation and federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Megan received a J.D. from Stanford Law School, where she was Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Stanford Journal of Law, Science & Policy. She received an M.S. in Environment and Resources from Stanford University, and a B.S., magna cum laude, from Mount Holyoke College.

Chris Hoidal has been a Senior Technical Advisor for PHMSA’s Policy and Programs Office for the past year after serving for 19 years as the Western Region Director. As Director, the Western Region carried out and administered the federal/state pipeline safety program for the twelve western states. Chris’ current duties are focused on regulatory reform, special permits, and utilizing new technologies to enhance public safety. Chris has worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation since 1990, and the Office of Pipeline Safety since 1993. He has had the opportunity to work both in the DC headquarters and in field offices in Anchorage, Alaska and Denver, Colorado. Prior to government service, Chris worked as a licensed consulting geotechnical engineer in Colorado, Maryland, DC, and Virginia from 1982 until 1990. He has his BS in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Nevada, and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Colorado.

Jennifer Homendy was appointed to the National Transportation Safety Board by President Trump, confirmed by the Senate, and sworn in on August 20, 2018. Homendy previously served as the Democratic Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, which is under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the U.S. House of Representatives. where she was extensively involved in the legislative process and led the Committee’s oversight investigations of the Enbridge pipeline spill in Marshall, Michigan, and the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Most recently she led a multimodal review of the Department of Transportation’s drug and alcohol testing program, identifying several safety gaps in the program. Prior to joining the House Subcommittee on Railroad, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials in 2004, Homendy held positions with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, the American Iron and Steel Institute, and the National Federation of Independent Business. Homendy is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and certified by the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications on Core HazMat Operations and Missions-Specific PPE and Product Control.

David Kane is pretty good at reading charts, graphs, and balance sheets. One part executive, 1 part social entrepreneur, 1 part traveler, 2 parts science research geek, and 3 parts parent; he sometimes wonders: “Too many parts?” His equestrian wife also thinks he’s not too shabby at riding horses and handling livestock. After 15 years as a regulatory and policy consultant to oil, gas and mining; and 14 years as a research wildlife biologist for federal and state agencies, and the Denver Zoological Foundation in Mongolia, David founded WindHorse Strategic Initiatives (WSI) in 2009. WSI’s mission is devoted exclusively to collaborating with Indigenous communities in the U.S. and abroad to protect and preserve their sovereignty and independence. His experience includes leading environmental, health and safety regulatory compliance, government affairs, policy analysis, risk management, master community planning, and natural and cultural resource field research programs. David received his B.S. in wildlife conservation and management from the University of Wyoming, and suffered his doctoral work in conservation biology and international relations at the University of Denver. He avoided law school, though perhaps shouldn’t have. His commitment is also to serving on several community non-profit boards of directors where he resides near Boulder, CO.

James Kelly joined the U.S. DOT PHMSA Office of Pipeline Safety in 2016 as a Community Liaison. In this capacity, he promotes public safety and environmental protection, responds to public inquiries, and provides presentations to various stakeholders promoting pipeline safety at various forums. James serves on several work groups/committees to include the CGA Technology Committee, Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Team, and Florida Pipeline Emergency Responders Initiative (PERI) Steering Committee. Before joining PHMSA, James worked for the U.S. Department of Defense where he served as a Lead Electronics Engineer. James led and managed engineering programs on the aircraft survivability equipment readiness team. He investigated and resolved technical challenges for aircraft transportation and fueling systems. Previously, James provided engineering, logistics and program management expertise at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aviation Division and Marine Corps Systems Command. He currently serves in the U.S. Naval Reserve Program as an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer. James holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Electronics Engineering from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and a Masters of Science in Engineering Management from the University of South Florida.

Erin Kurilla joined APGA as the Director for Operations & Safety in the fall of 2017 and was promoted to Vice President in August 2018. Erin works on pipeline safety advocacy issues and addressing member operations challenges. She supports the APGA Operations & Safety Committee and its task groups. Erin works closely with APGA’s members, federal and state regulators and other stakeholders to improve the safety and reliability of the nation’s pipeline infrastructure through sound regulations. Erin holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters of Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University.

Osamu Kumasaka is a trained facilitator and project administrator at the Consensus Building Institute (CBI). CBI is a nonprofit organization with offices around the world that helps leaders collaborate to solve complex social, environmental, and economic challenges. CBI staff are experts in facilitation, dispute resolution, capacity building, citizen engagement, and organizational strategy and development. Osamu previously worked for Renewable Northwest conducting energy policy research.

Bill Lowry is a Community Liaison in Houston, Texas, for the US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and has worked for PHMSA for the past 18 years. Prior to working at PHMSA, Bill had experience working for state regulatory agencies and in the pipeline and oil industry. Work responsibilities have included engineering, construction and inspection of pipelines both onshore and offshore. Bill has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in business administration. Bill is a NACE certified Cathodic Protection Technologist, Senior Internal Corrosion Technologist and Pipeline Corrosion Integrity Management Technologist.

Alan Mayberry is the Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety, within the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and serves as the senior career official for pipeline safety oversight. Previously, Alan served as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy and Programs, leading PHMSA’s development of comprehensive oversight programs including regulatory development, engineering and research, state grants, federal enforcement and the Training and Qualifications Division. Prior to August 2013, Alan was the Deputy Associate Administrator for Field operations overseeing US pipeline safety oversight through PHMSA’s five regional offices. Alan has over 34 years of experience in the energy industry, divided between pipeline operations and design engineering. In 2006, Alan first joined PHMSA’s Office of Pipeline Safety in a senior engineering role in the Engineering and Emergency Support Division. Alan was appointed Director of the group in 2008. In his role as PHMSA’s technical lead, Alan was responsible for supporting programs and the regional offices on nationwide pipeline issues to ensure uniform policies. Additionally, Alan led the agency’s response to major pipeline incidents. Alan is a Civil Engineering graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is also a registered professional engineer.

Dr. Christie Murray is the Director of Outreach and Engagement in the Office of Pipeline Safety at the U.S. DOT/Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in Washington D.C. She joined PHMSA in 2010. In this capacity, Christie leads and directs the execution of various pipeline safety programs such as damage prevention, 811, public awareness, community liaison services, national pipeline mapping systems, the voluntary information-sharing system working group, and other outreach initiatives. Christie also has a strong background in engineering, operations, acquisitions, and communications.

Rebekah Sale is Executive Director of the Property Rights and Pipeline Center (PRPC), created in 2017, which works to end eminent domain for the siting of oil and gas pipelines. Rebekah began her career as a staff member for Earth Day 1990 in Central Park and then served as Associate Campaigns Director for the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). She created the role of Public Event Recycling Coordinator at GrowNYC and then led the Broadway theater industry*s greening efforts by growing the Broadway Green Alliance from a committee to a thriving organization while doubling membership. Rebekah is a graduate of Cornell University and is a third-generation native New Yorker.

Christina Sames is the Vice President of Operations & Engineering Services for the American Gas Association. In this role, she works with stakeholders to improve safety, reliability, and efficiency through sound regulation and legislation, best practices programs, peer-to-peer reviews, forums to exchange information, and the development of a wide range of publications. Christina’s team is responsible for pipeline safety, natural gas physical and cybersecurity, integrity management, and executing operations and engineering initiatives related to distribution, intrastate transmission and underground storage. Christina leads AGA’s efforts on safety culture, Commitment to Enhancing Safety, Executive Leadership Safety Summit, and is on the Advisory Boards of the Eversource Energy Center, Cross Bore Safety Association, and API Emergency Response. Prior to joining AGA, Christina worked for Pipeline Research Council International and spent 12 years with DOT’s Office of Pipeline Safety. She holds a B.S. in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University.

John Stoody represents the interests of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) and its member companies on an industry-wide basis before Congress, its committees and individual members. Mr. Stoody leads pipeline safety improvement programs and U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulatory issues at AOPL. He also leads AOPL’s public relations efforts and serves as AOPL’s primary media relations contact. Mr. Stoody came to AOPL with 20 years of Washington legislative and policy experience. He spent 13 years as a U.S. Senate aide, serving as Legislative Director for U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Counsel for U.S. Senator Kit Bond and Majority Staff Director of the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. Previously, he served 7 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including time as an attorney-advisor in EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. He began his federal government service as a Presidential Management Fellow at EPA and the White House Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Stoody has a B.S. in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an M.G.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from George Mason University School of Law.

Adam Wellstead is an Associate Professor of Public Policy, Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University. He joined the Department of Social Sciences in 2011 after a 15 year career with Canadian federal government. His background in policy and public management will contribute to the research and teaching in the Environmental Policy Program. His research interests include investigating multi-level governance arrangements in the natural resource sector, measuring policy capacity and evidence based policy-making, policy mechanisms, and theories of the policy process. His main areas of interest include Canadian Energy and Environmental Issues, Climate Change Adaptation, Oil Sands Development, Forest Policy, and Canadian history. He enjoys developing and conducting (primarily online) surveys and undertaking structural equation modeling using LISREL. Dr Wellstead received his PhD in Renewable Resources from the University of Alberta in 2006.

Carl Weimer is the Executive Director of the Pipeline Safety Trust. In that capacity he has served as a member of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association’s External Advisory Panel, and the governor appointed Washington Citizen Committee on Pipeline Safety. Carl has been called upon to testify to the U.S. House and Senate multiple times, as a witness by the National Transportation Safety Board, and was honored in 2015 as a Champion of Change by the White House for his pipeline safety efforts. He has organized eleven national pipeline safety conferences, pushed for stronger pipeline safety legislation on the national and state level, and regularly serves as an independent source of pipeline safety information for news media, local government, and citizens around the country. Carl was elected in 2005 and again in 2009 and 2013 to the Whatcom County Council, where he served as chairman for four of those years. He has a degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Education from the University of Michigan, as well a degree in Industrial Electronics Technology from Peninsula College.

Jessica Wentz is a staff attorney at Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. Her work spans a variety of topics related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable development, and environmental justice. Much of her research focuses on how existing U.S. laws — such as the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act — can be used to address the causes and impacts of climate change. She has also written on the nexus between climate change and human rights law. In addition to her scholarship, Jessica maintains online resources such as the Climate Deregulation Tracker.

Ian Woods is a Community Liaison for the Office of Pipeline Safety, Eastern Region where he was previously an Inspector and pipeline incident Investigator. Ian served 23 years active duty military service, 2 years US Army, and then 21 years with the US Coast Guard as a Marine Safety and Security specialist, retiring as Chief Warrant Officer in 2010. From 1990 to 1995 he performed search and rescue/law enforcement operations in Alaska and the Great Lakes. In 1996, Ian performed Marine Environmental Response operations providing enforcement and emergency response to commercial and non-commercial regulated oil and hazardous material facilities in the Ports of Philadelphia and New York. As a National Strike Force Response Supervisor in 2001, Ian branched into “All-hazard” emergency response operations involving oil, hazmat, radiological, and chem/biological agents. He completed his USCG career in Philadelphia as a Marine Inspector and Federal Investigator. After leaving the Coast Guard, Ian joined DHS/FEMA as a senior watch analyst until 2013 when he choose to volunteer for an Organic Farming pilot program for disabled veterans, co-developed by Delaware Valley University and the Rodale Institute of Kutztown, PA.