Jonathan Nelson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Jonathan is a Senior Advisor for Technical Assistance and Community Engagement to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox. The Office of Water works to ensure that drinking water is safe, wastewater is safely returned to the environment, and surface waters are properly managed and protected. Prior to joining EPA, Jonathan served as the Policy Director for the Community Water Center. He is a nationally recognized expert on strategies to secure access to safe and affordable drinking water for underserved communities, building resilient drinking water institutions, and growing trust and partnership with frontline community water leaders.
Paul McDonald, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
Paul has served in a wide variety of finance roles for the State of Michigan since 1998, including his current role since 2015. Paul started his career in the Office of Financial Management, where he was responsible for creating the State of Michigan’s financial statements as well as the first financial transparency portal. Before joining EGLE, he served as the chief accountant for the Department of Health and Human Services, responsible for more than $15 billion in revenue and expenditures.
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
Eric serves as the Environmental Manager for the West Unit program management team with the Water Infrastructure Financing Section located within the Finance Division in the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). He supervises staff that administer the State Revolving Fund (SRF) low interest loan programs that include the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), as well as the Stormwater, Asset Management, and Wastewater (SAW) grant/loan program, and other financing and funding programs related to the construction of water pollution control and drinking water projects in Michigan.
Eric has served in a variety of roles with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and EGLE since 2004, including his current role since July of 2021. Eric spent 14 years as a Project Manager, Senior Environmental Quality Analyst, and State Revolving Loan Specialist assisting municipalities across the State of Michigan qualify for and receive over $680 million in loans and grants for the planning, design, and construction of drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure projects.
Jason Cole, Michigan Minority Contractors Association
Jason is the Executive Director of the Michigan Minority Contractors Association (formerly NAMC). He has more than 35 years of experience in commercial development, construction, and real estate industries with expertise in human resources, finance, marketing and sales, commercial real estate, and lending and investment. He works with a number of organizations advocating for minority groups including Real Estate Investor Association Detroit Chapter, National Association Minority Consulting Engineers Detroit Chapter, Detroit Association of Planners, National Association Black Women in Construction Detroit Chapter, National Organization Minority Architects Detroit Chapter, Detroit Association of Realtors, and National Association Black Hotel Owners Operators Development.
Nicholas Leonard, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center
From 2014 to 2016, Nick worked with the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center as an Equal Justice Works fellow. His fellowship project focused on providing transactional legal services to individuals, nonprofit corporations, and for-profit businesses engaged in urban agriculture in Detroit. After transitioning to his role as staff attorney at the conclusion of his fellowship, Nick worked on environmental justice issues in Detroit, with a specific focus on Clean Air Act permitting, hazardous and solid waste management, and local environmental policy. He became the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center’s Executive Director in 2018. In this role, he supervises the Center’s attorneys and coordinates the organization’s legal strategies.
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