LEGAL PEOPLE

Sommers Schwartz PC is pleased to announce that attorney Neil B. Pioch has been elected to shareholder status. He had previously been an associate.

Pioch is a member of the law firm’s Complex Litigation Group and concentrates in collective and class actions involving wage and hour violations and deceptive sales practices.

He has been recognized as a Super Lawyers Rising Star over several years beginning in 2009.

•            •            •

Dennis Muchmore, who has spent his career helping transform Michigan through roles in the public and private sector, including five years as Gov. Rick Snyder’s chief of staff, will be joining Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn LLP on February 1. He will continue serving the Governor as chief of staff until January 20, as the role is transitioned to Jarrod Agen.

At Honigman, Muchmore will lead the firm’s Government Relations and Regulatory Practice Group. He will tap the talents of its current high-profile attorneys and help mentor and develop the next generation of attorneys, who will become leaders in this practice area. In addition, the firm is expanding its public policy program and creating a faculty of current and previous Honigman attorneys that will provide specialized training opportunities for our attorneys and  clients, as well as legislators, their staff members and employees who serve in leadership roles throughout state government agencies.

Muchmore has been Snyder’s chief of staff since the start of the administration.

“It’s been an honor to serve with Gov. Snyder as we’ve worked to make Michigan the Comeback State,” Muchmore said. “I’m just as excited to enter this next phase with Honigman. Just as there were people who
guided me along the way in my career, I see this as an opportunity to give back and help others prepare to do great things.”

Muchmore is a member of the board of directors of GreenStone Farm Credit Services, and has held a variety of positions in Michigan, including founding the lobbying firm Muchmore, Harrington, Smalley, & Associates, serving as executive director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, vice president of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Oakland University.

He is a member of Pi Alpha Alpha National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration, the American Society of Public Administration, the American Society of Political Consultants and is a Life Member of the NAACP, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Delta Sigma Phi International Fraternity and both the Eastern Illinois University and the Michigan State University alumni associations.

Muchmore earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and recently received the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award. He received a Masters in Public Administration from Michigan State University and continues to serve as a member of its Public Policy Advisory Board. In 1998, he received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the Michigan State University College of Social Science, Public Administration Program.
In addition, three partners in the Honigman State and Local Tax Practice Group will speak to the 650 professionals expected to attend the 25th Annual Ohio Tax Conference. The event is sponsored by the Institute for Professionals in Taxation, the Manufacturers’ Education Council and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and will be held on January 26 and 27 in Columbus, Ohio.

June Summers Haas, a featured speaker, will address U.S. Supreme Court rulings regarding state and local taxes and will serve on a panel discussing best practices in tax administration.

Haas has experience advising clients on a nationwide basis on multistate tax strategies, resolving tax disputes and litigating state tax cases. She is a former Michigan commissioner of revenue who is nationally recognized for her knowledge regarding nexus issues. Haas was named to “The All-Decade State Tax Team” by State Tax Notes.

Haas earned a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and a B.S. from George Mason University.

Lynn A. Gandhi will participate in a panel discussing the top ten state tax cases that will have the most impact on state taxes in 2016. She has experience advising clients nationwide on multistate tax issues, managing audits and litigating state tax controversies.

Gandhi’s practice includes unclaimed property disputes, risk reviews, state tax legislative and lobbying initiatives, incentive assistance and City of Detroit income tax disputes. She was named in the December 2014 State Tax Notes as one of the “best in the profession.” Gandhi also authors a State Tax Notes’ monthly column, “Smitten with the Mitten,” which discusses Michigan tax issues, and is the chair of the Michigan Chamber Tax Policy Committee.

She earned her law degrees from the New York University School of Law and Wayne State University Law along with a B.A. from Kalamazoo College.

Brian T. Quinn will serve on a panel discussing tax requirements for companies doing business in Michigan. He focuses his practice on state and local tax litigation, taxation of online transactions, governmental relations, employee benefits, commercial litigation and appeals.

Quinn resolves and litigates state tax disputes, assisting clients with audits from commencement to resolution. He also counsels clients on all Michigan taxes.

Quinn earned a law degree from Michigan State University College of Law and a B.S. from Wayne State University.

•            •            •

Margaret Baxter, an experienced automotive and international trade professional, has joined Warner, Norcross, & Judd LLP as director of Southeast Michigan operations.

In this new role for the firm, Baxter will develop and help implement business strategies to support the firm’s continued expansion in Southeast Michigan.  Baxter will be based in the firm’s Southfield office and will work closely with attorneys and executive directors in both Southfield and Macomb County, coordinating with practice groups and industry teams to further the growing footprint of Warner Norcross in the region.

Baxter brings 25 years of leadership, business development and commercial trade expertise to her new role with Warner Norcross, including positions at the Original Equipment Suppliers Association or OESA, the Canadian Consulate General and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.

Prior to joining Warner Norcross, Baxter spent 15 years in positions of increasing responsibility with OESA, the leading trade association that represents automotive suppliers. Most recently, she served as senior vice president of operations and international affairs, a key position on the senior management team.

During her tenure at OESA, Baxter helped grow the organization from a start-up with 100 members to more than 450 members that is now recognized as the leading voice for suppliers in the auto industry.  Working closely with association members to establish priorities and execute strategy, she was responsible for developing regulatory and legislative policy, overseeing communications, facilitating OESA’s many councils, leading member recruiting and retention initiatives, managing annual events and other initiatives.

Prior to OESA, Baxter spent seven years as commercial trade officer for the Canadian Consulate General, which provides trade assistance to Canadian companies doing business in the United States.  She worked closely with Canadian companies in the automotive and transportation sectors to identify and market opportunities and develop appropriate market entry strategies.  She also organized trade missions, managed exhibits at national trade shows and coordinated networking and educational programs.

Baxter also worked as a development associate with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the private development agency for the city of Detroit.  In this role, she implemented international investment activities in Detroit, executed trade missions and managed grant proposals.

Active professionally and in the community, Baxter is a member of Inforum and AutomotiveNext. She is a graduate of Leadership Detroit and the 2013 recipient of the Women’s Leadership Award by Vista Maria.
Baxter earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont.

In addition, Douglas A. Dozeman has been elected managing partner of Warner Norcross.

Dozeman will serve a two-year term in his new role.  He will chair the firm’s Management Committee and guide its strategic direction and growth.

With more than 30 years of experience, Dozeman concentrates his practice in complex business litigation and represents businesses and individuals in complex civil litigation matters.  He is a member of the American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan and Grand Rapids Bar Association.  He has also served on the faculty of the Hillman Advocacy Program.  Dozeman serves on the boards of the Hope Housing Commission and the Right Place and is the immediate past chairman of the board of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

Dozeman has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America, Michigan Super Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation and Chambers USA.  He has also been elected a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. 

Michigan Lawyers Weekly named Dozeman its Lawyer of the Year in 2003. He has also been included in the Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers list since 2007 and was named one of the top 50 Michigan Business Super Lawyers in 2015.

Dozeman received his law degree from Wayne State University Law School and earned an undergraduate degree from Calvin College.

•            •            •

Bowman and Brooke is pleased to announce that Nick Even has been named Partner in the firm’s Detroit office.

Even, an ‘03 graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, focuses his practice on personal injury, automobile/trucking negligence, product liability, and consumer warranty defense. He has been recognized by his peers for the past seven consecutive years as a Rising Star by Michigan Super Lawyers and received the Golden Gavel Award from the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel in 2008, where he continues to be an active member. His history with the firm dates back to 1999, when he first joined Bowman and Brooke as a paralegal.

When Even is not defending his clients, he is very involved in his community. He is the CEO and General Counsel for The Frozen Fish Fiasco, a Detroit-area fundraising group which raises money for the Clark Park Coalition, a non-profit organization which operates Clark Park in southwest Detroit and which features the only regulation-sized outdoor ice hockey rink within the city’s confines.

•            •            •

Rain BDM, a business development and marketing consultancy for law firms, is pleased to announce the addition of Traci Gentilozzi to the organization.

Gentilozzi has more than 20 years of combined legal writing and law practice experience, and is known for communicating the intricacies of the law clearly, concisely, and in plain English. Prior to Rain BDM, she spent 14 years with Michigan Lawyers Weekly where she held various roles including publisher and editor. She previously worked as the news and opinion editor at Ohio Lawyers Weekly, an analyst with the Michigan Supreme Court’s State Court Administrative Office, and a writer and editor of opinion digests for the State Bar of Michigan’s e-Journal. She also maintained a solo law practice, focusing on litigation and transactional matters involving real estate, probate, and personal injury.

In 2013, Gentilozzi was honored by the Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists with its first-place “Excellence in Journalism Award.”

Rain BDM’s legal marketing consulting includes strategic planning, content development, website administration, social media training and support, and outsourced marketing management. The company also curates blog content for lawyers by identifying topics and trends, drafting and editing posts, and publishing client-approved material to clients’ websites, social networks, and email newsletters.

The company also provides business development consulting via customized training, one-onone and small group coaching, workshops, and retreats.

“Differentiation in the marketplace is critical for lawyers and law firms, and a thoughtful and well-executed content strategy can set them apart,” commented Gentilozzi. “Law schools don’t teach marketing, and many attorneys lack the time or skill to promote themselves effectively. That’s where we help.”

•            •            •

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce the election of several new member attorneys to the firm’s Detroit and Troy offices, effective January 1, 2016.

Farayha Arrine is a Member in the firm’s Detroit office. She focuses her practice in high-stakes commercial litigation with a focus on banking, financial, and insurance litigation as well as class action defense and eminent domain litigation.

Arrine is experienced in all phases of complex, commercial litigation from managing large-scale electronic discovery and deposing witnesses to motion practice and oral argument in both state and federal court. She has been listed as a “Rising Star” by Michigan Super Lawyers in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

 Arrine is a member of the Defense Research Institute’s Young Lawyers Section, the State Bar of Michigan, and a board member of the Michigan Muslim Bar Association. She served as a federal judicial intern to U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood, Eastern District of Michigan.

Arrine received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

Eric Bergeron is a Member in the firm’s Detroit office. He serves as counsel to lenders in a range of loan transactions, including single-bank and syndicated middle market, asset-based, and international credit
facilities, participations, and intercreditor agreements, among others. He is also counsel to lenders in workouts, loan modifications, and loan sales, including negotiating forbearance agreements and liquidation agreements, disposition of collateral under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, representation in bankruptcy proceedings, and orderly wind-downs of borrower’s operations.

Bergeron has been recognized as a Michigan Super Lawyers “Rising Star.” He received his B.A. from Oakland University and his law degree from the College of William & Mary School of Law.

Steven Hurles is a Member in Dickinson Wright’s Troy office where he focuses his practice on intellectual property, particularly in the area of patent prosecution. He has experience in the mechanical arts with a particular focus on inventions related to the automotive industry. On behalf of the firm’s clients, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to individual inventors, he handles all aspects of patent application preparation and prosecution including responses to office actions, appeals, oppositions, reexaminations and reissue applications.

He also prepares patentability opinions, patent infringement opinions and freedom to operate opinions. He also specializes in patent litigation support and has experience working on cases in the International Trade Commission.

Hurles received his B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and his law degree from Michigan State University College of Law.

Amy Kwiatkowski is a Member in the firm’s Detroit office who focuses her practice on corporate law. She serves as counsel to buyers and sellers in mergers and acquisitions in a variety of industries and provides
counsel to clients regarding general business and corporate planning issues, including business formation, corporate governance and dissolution issues for all entity types.

Kwiatkowski is a member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Business Law Section and the Women Lawyers’ Association of Michigan. She received her B.A. from Michigan State University and her law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

Bryan Schomer is a Member in Dickinson Wright’s Troy office where he focuses his practice in intellectual property and intellectual property litigation. He assists clients in patent application preparation and prosecution worldwide and routinely prepares intellectual property opinions, including patentability opinions, non-infringement opinions, and validity/invalidity opinions. He is a member of the Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association and the American Intellectual Property Association.

Schomer received his B.S. from The Pennsylvania State University, his M.B.A. from Wayne State University, and his law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

Benjamin Sobczak is a Member in the firm’s Troy office where he focuses his practice on commercial & business litigation. He has planned, researched and drafted oppositions to class certification in a multi-million dollar national class action litigation predicated on ERISA notice and appeal right violations and products liability claims. He has also argued cases before the Sixth Circuit of Appeals and tried several one-day trials/evidentiary hearings before various state courts on a wide range of legal issues.

He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Bar Association, the Oakland County Bar Association, and the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association. He is listed in Michigan Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star.”

Sobczak received his B.S. from Western Michigan University and his law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

•            •            •

Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that Dennis J. Levasseur and Nicholas P. Scavone have been elected to the firm’s Executive Committee, a thirteen-member board which guides Bodman’s strategic direction, policies, and business operations.

Levasseur is a senior member of Bodman’s Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group. Scavone is chair of the firm’s Real Estate Practice group. Both are based in Bodman’s Detroit office.

In addition to their service on the Executive Committee, both attorneys will continue to serve in their other current committee roles. Levasseur is a member of the Associate Evaluation and Compensation Committee. Scavone is chair of Bodman’s Housing Committee and a member of the Strategic Planning Committee.

Levasseur focuses his practice on intellectual property litigation, franchise/dealer litigation, complex commercial litigation, and securities litigation and arbitration, in proceedings throughout the United States. He is listed as a Detroit “Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation-Banking & Finance by The Best Lawyers in America. He is also listed in Michigan Super Lawyers under Securities Litigation, in Benchmark Litigation, and as a “Top Lawyer” by DBusiness magazine.

Levasseur is a founder of the Historical Society of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. He is a member of the Executive Board and vice president for legal affairs of the Detroit Historical Society. He is the city attorney for the City of Grosse Pointe Park.

Scavone concentrates his practice in representing financial institutions in complex, secured loans and other financial arrangements involving real estate. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America under Banking and Finance Law and Real Estate Law, Chambers USA under Real Estate, and in Michigan Super Lawyers under Real Estate. 

He is listed as a “Top Lawyer” by DBusiness magazine. Scavone is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the American Bar Association.  He is treasurer of the Real Property Law Section’s leadership council and a member of the Michigan Land Title Standards Committee.

•            •            •

May A. Saad has joined Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss PC as an associate in the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group. Jaffe CEO William Sider made the announcement.

As an associate in the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group, Saad will assist in the representation of real estate clients in connection with acquisitions, sales, financings and leasing.

Prior to joining Jaffe, Saad was an associate at a law firm in Birmingham. where she focused her practice on commercial litigation, and corporate and real estate transactions.  Saad has represented clients in real estate litigation matters, including judicial foreclosure proceedings and actions to enforce interests in real property. Additionally, she has managed complex litigation matters involving breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, and self-dealing associated with the ownership and management of businesses, and in bringing and defending actions for receivership over business entities.

Saad is an active member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Oakland County Bar Association. She currently serves on the board for the Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services. In 2015, Saad was honored to Thomson Reuters’ list of “Michigan Rising Stars.”  She earned her bachelor’s degree in comparative law from Filiere Francophone de Droit in Beirut, Lebanon, and her law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

•            •            •

Edward S. Gusky, an attorney with Kotz, Sangster, Wysocki PC, has been appointed Real Estate Practice Group leader. 

Gusky has been with Kotz Sangster for three years, focusing on all aspects of real estate law, including complex real estate transactions and financing.  He also has experience representing borrowers in connections
with multi-family loans insured by HUD/FHA, closing in excess of $400,000,000.  He has represented borrowers and lenders in sophisticated financial transactions, including multi-family residential properties, assisted living facilities, commercial shopping centers and office buildings in Michigan and throughout the nation. 

He is also a member of the firm’s Lending and Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Corporate Services Practice Groups.  Gusky is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (1998) and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan (1994).  He was named by DBusiness Magazine as a Top Lawyer in Metro Detroit for 2016 and also holds an AV Preeminent Ranking from Martindale Hubbell.  Gusky is licensed to practice in both Michigan and New York.

•            •            •

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced the appointment of Larry Williams to the Wayne County 36th District Court in Detroit.

Williams has been an assistant prosecuting attorney in Wayne County since he began his legal career in 2000. He currently serves in the special victims unit and previously served in the warrants, district courts and juvenile divisions. He is involved in the tutoring program at the Detroit Public Library for K-12 students and has worked with the Wayne County Juvenile Drug Court as an attorney and mentor.

Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Wayne State University Law School. He fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Miriam B. Martin-Clark.

Williams must seek election in Nov. 2016 for a full term.

•            •            •

Plunkett Cooney recently named six attorneys as its newest shareholders.

Michelle R. E. Donovan, Maryanne B. Foster, Marc P. Jerabek, Patrick C. Lannen, and Lauren B. McMillen were unanimously approved by the firm’s Board of Directors as shareholders. The elevation in status was
based on the recommendations of the firm’s Shareholder Evaluation Committee.

Michelle Donovan primarily focuses her practice in litigation involving all aspects of real estate law, including title insurance claims. A member of Plunkett Cooney’s Bloomfield Hills office, Donovan has experience in mortgage foreclosures, probate estate matters and construction lien defense. She is also a licensed title insurance agent.

Donovan is licensed to practice in Michigan’s state and federal courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. She is an adjunct faculty professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. She is a member of the Real Property Section of the State Bar of Michigan, the Macomb County Bar Association, the Legislative Committee of the Michigan Land Title Association and the Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors.
Donovan received her law degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in 1999 and her undergraduate degree from the University of Detroit in 1991.

Maryanne Foster is a member of the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office who practices exclusively in the area of insurance coverage. She has been employed both in house and in private practice, representing and counseling insurance companies for more than 20 years.

Foster has represented and advised insurance companies in insurance coverage matters arising from claims involving bad faith, construction defects, mass torts, environmental liability, defective manufacturing and/or products, asbestos, mold, Chinese drywall, personal and advertising injuries, employers liability and errors and omissions. Foster is admitted to practice in the state courts of Michigan and in the federal courts in Michigan and Indiana. She also has been admitted pro Hac Vice in several other states. She is a member of the Insurance and Indemnity Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and the DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar and the American Bar Association (Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section).

Foster received her law degree from University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 1994 and her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in 1987.

A member of the firm’s Banking, Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights and Commercial Litigation practice groups, Marc Jerabek has experience in financial services, commercial and real estate litigation; creditor’s rights; loan workouts; real estate law, including landlord-tenant, foreclosure, quiet title, boundary disputes, dangerous building proceedings, curing title defects; and collections.

Jerabek represents financial institutions, mortgage servicers, businesses and individuals, helping them achieve the best result when facing legal obstacles and litigation. Selected by Michigan Super Lawyer magazine as a “Rising Star” in Bankruptcy & Creditor / Debtor Rights, he is licensed to practice in the Michigan trial and appellate courts and the U.S. trial and appellate courts in the Sixth Circuit. He is a member of the Oakland County Bar Association and the Oakland County Bar Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and serves as president of the Lakeshore Bar Association.

Jerabek received his law degree from Wayne State University law School in 2004 and his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in 2000.

Patrick Lannen, also a member of the firm’s Banking, Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights and Commercial Litigation practice groups, focuses his practice in all stages of contested financial services liability cases and uniform commercial code disputes.  Lannen has experience in troubled debt restructures, receiverships, workouts, and insolvency proceedings. With a noteworthy litigation record in recent years including more than 150 victories via summary judgment, Lannen is experienced in the federal and state courts in Michigan.

Lannen also counsels businesses and financial institutions in defense of alleged violations of federal and state financial consumer financial protection statutes, and he has extensive experience in litigating for both portfolio lenders, and special servicers of securitized loans, in all segments of the commercial real estate market, with a significant background in multi-family and HUD guaranteed assets.

Lannen is active in the Federal Bar Association and Turnaround Management Association. He received his law degree from University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2009 and his undergraduate degree from
Kalamazoo College in 2006.

Rounding out the list of Plunkett Cooney’s new shareholders is Lauren McMillen, who is a member of the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office. McMillen practices primarily in the area of insurance law, representing several major property and casualty insurance companies in coverage cases throughout the Midwest. Her coverage work includes handling environmental contamination, construction defect and high-exposure product liability claims.

McMillen is a member of the state bars of Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. She is also a member of the DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar and the American and Federal bar associations. McMillen received both her law and undergraduate degrees from Michigan State University in 2007 and 2004, respectively.

•            •            •

Unifying people to give them a more powerful voice is a skill Jeremy Orr brings to his job.

As the new environmental justice coordinator with Wayne State University Law School’s Transnational Environmental Law Clinic, he also will serve as coordinator of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition.

The coalition, founded in 2009, comprises more than 15 organizations and nonprofit entities, including Wayne State University, working to promote fair treatment and involvement of all people with respect to environmental policies in Michigan. Wayne Law’s clinic involves students working with community organizations and the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center in a variety of environmental legal issues, including
environmental justice.

Orr’s new three-year position with Wayne Law is made possible through a $450,000 grant the clinic received last summer from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to “nurture environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant communities in metro Detroit, consistent with sustainable business models, and support initiatives to restore the Great Lakes ecosystem.”

Orr had been working as executive director of the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council and spent nearly three years as the lead community organizer with the Gamaliel Foundation affiliate in Kalamazoo. He earned a master’s degree in criminal justice with a focus on conservation criminology and a bachelor’s degree in public health, both from Michigan State University. Later this year, he expects to earn his law degree from MSU’s College of Law, where he has focused his studies on environmental and natural resources law.

He’s happy to be back, living again in his hometown of Detroit, and to be in a job that allows him to use his legal and advocacy skills to promote environmental justice, which he calls his “passion.”

Orr gained experience with environmental policy and environmental justice as part of the management team of Transportation for Michigan, Board of Directors of the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition, Social Equity Committee of the Michigan Association of Planning and Executive Committee Recruitment Team of the Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter.

He got more interested in the field of environmental justice when he began working on transportation reform in the state.

“All of the stakeholders seemed to work in environmental issues, as well, and I noticed the lack of minority representation in all of the environmental circles,” Orr said. “I wanted to be someone who could help fill that void.”

In the new job, Orr is doing a lot of listening.

“You have to spend time meeting with individuals and stakeholders and take the time to identify the key issues,” Orr said. “All the different people and personalities make it fun for me.”

One of his biggest initial tasks will be to establish the advisory committee to tackle the issues of local air quality.

“Over time, we’ll have the stakeholders, policy people, community associations and residents look into the issues of permitting,” Orr said. “Through the coalition, we’ll work on that, as well, and it could spin into some other issues.”

An important part of the job is to bring people affected by the issues together to join their voices.

“It’s about building power that actually affects real change,” Orr said. “The only way you can do that is through genuine relationships. It can’t just be surface networking. It’s about building trust. That’s what forms organizations that have lasting bonds.”
 

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