Carol McKnightPresidentProgram Manager, IAP, AECOMMs. McKnight is a Program Manager in the Impact Assessment and Permitting Department with over 20 years of experience in natural resources permitting and consulting. She is well-versed in the permitting process for projects that impact natural resources, having prepared permit applications required by NEPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state EPA agencies, and other local government agencies, as well as licensing documents for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Ms. McKnight’s years of consulting and advising clients on the regulatory permitting process for new site or expansion developments, natural gas pipeline projects, or other linear projects that may impact surface water and sensitive ecological receptors, provides her with a thorough knowledge of the federal, state and local-level requirements that result in successful project outcomes.
Ms. McKnight graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1991 with a B.A. in History/Biology and Miami University in 1999 with a M.S. in Environmental Science (Biological Conservation). She is a Certified Profession in Erosion & Sediment Control. Ms. McKnight currently serves on the OOGA Environmental Committee and enjoys volunteering with the Crosby Youth Center and Miami Whitewater United Methodist Church. She is also a great animal lover and, with her mother, has saved numerous horses, dogs, and cats.
Lizzette BarrowVice PresidentDepartment Manager, Terracon Consultants, Inc.Lizzette Barrow is Environmental Department Manager for the Terracon Columbus Office. Liz has over 30 years’ experience, mostly in environmental consulting and is a licensed engineer in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati and moved to Kentucky after graduation. Liz moved to Columbus in 2016, transferring from the Louisville, Kentucky area. The Terracon Columbus Environmental Department includes scientists, geologists, and engineers. Liz and her staff manage projects associated with the energy sector, including ecological services, due diligence, site investigations, and environmental regulatory compliance. Liz is married to her husband Mark and has a son who lives in Kentucky, and two step daughters who live in Florida. Liz has family in Cleveland and in the Cincinnati area.
Brooke HarrisonSecretaryEnvironmental Studies and Permitting Project Manager, Burns and McDonnell - OhioMs. Harrison has 18 years’ experience in environmental consulting performing field surveys and managing a variety of natural resource projects involving stream and wetland identification and delineation, terrestrial habitat surveys, threatened and endangered species habitat surveys, avian surveys, mitigation planning and monitoring, and 401/404 project permitting. She also has extensive experience with developing natural resource approaches to meet a variety of client and project needs including residential, commercial, industrial, infrastructure (electric transmission, pipeline, sewer, roadway), parks, government and private property. Ms. Harrison has conducted ecological-related work throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Washington, Nebraska, Alabama and Texas.
Ms. Harrison earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources from The Ohio State University. She is 40hr HAZWOPER certified and is working towards obtaining her Professional Wetland Scientist certification. Brooke can assist with determining if your project requires natural resource surveys and provide guidance on navigating the regulatory landscape.
Sommer L. SheelyTreasurerPartner & Chair of Energy Litigation, Bricker & EcklerSommer L. Sheely serves as Chair of the firm's Energy Litigation practice. She focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, including energy, environmental, and oil and gas litigation; business and partnership disputes; and complex fiduciary litigation.
She serves clients as lead trial counsel before federal and state courts and administrative panels. Over her career, she has served as lead counsel in numerous jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations and mediations. Her cases also often include pursuing and defending against injunctive relief.
Taylor Daniels, EITCommunications & Marketing DirectorEngineer, WilliamsTaylor Daniels is a facility engineer at Williams, supporting operations at a gas processing plant in Kensington OH. In her role, she is responsible for process safety management, tactical project management, and day-to-day operational troubleshooting. Taylor is in Williams’ Engineering Development Program (EDP), spending one year in her current role/location and then rotating through two more yearlong roles within the enterprise. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in December 2020 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and is a registered Engineer-in-Training (EIT) with the Maryland Board for Professional Engineers and Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Taylor grew up in Hyattsville MD, just outside of Washington DC, and currently resides in Canton OH with her two cats, Hamilton and Tara. In her free time, Taylor enjoys working out at Orangetheory Fitness, watching documentaries, and trying out new restaurants.
Kara HerrnsteinProgramming DirectorAttorney, Bricker & EcklerKara Herrnstein is an attorney at Bricker & Eckler LLP. She meets the litigation and appellate needs of a wide range of clients, including oil & gas producers, pipeline companies, renewable energy developers, and industry groups. Throughout her career, she has assisted her clients in their efforts to build Ohio into a major mineral-producing state as well as a growing center of renewable energy investment. Previously, Kara served as a law clerk to the Hon. Alan E. Norris on the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and as a staff attorney at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia. She also served as a law clerk to the Hon. Michael H. Watson on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
Maggie MolnarMembership DirectorEcologist, TRC CompaniesMs. Molnar is a Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) and Ecologist working at TRC. Ms. Molnar specializes in stream and wetland delineations, ecological resource surveys, and waterway permitting for a mix of private and government clients.
Ms. Molnar is also experienced in doing wetland and stream mitigation monitoring, wetland functions and values assessments, vegetation surveys, invasive species management, and threatened and endangered species consultation. She has prepared countless §401 Water Quality Certifications and §404 Individual Permit applications; Level 1 Ohio Isolated Wetland Permit applications, NWP applications, Pre-Construction Notification’s, Ohio EPA Director’s Authorizations, and Permit Determinations for a wide variety of clients. She has extensive field experience in the identification of aquatic and terrestrial plants, aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, and wildlife habitat requirements. Ms. Molnar has done environmental consulting work related to wetlands, waterway permitting, vegetation, and wildlife issues for 7 years throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, and Virginia.
Lynda CooneyCommunity Initiatives DirectorDirector, Energy Practice, Variant PartnersLynda Cooney is the Director of the award-winning energy search team at Variant Partners.
Variant’s Executive Search practice is national in scope, addresses all industry sectors, and specializes in legal and regulatory teams for energy companies. What sets Lynda apart is her genuine interest in each person’s professional and personal motivations. She makes it her job to know who’s who, follow the changes and regulatory challenges, and to keep up with what is important today in the industry. She gets to know people to understand what they are hoping to accomplish and help make the best matches possible. She consults with General Counsels and Regulatory leads about hiring and planning strategies to build the best teams.
She serves as a Board Member of Advancing Women in Energy and is a member of the Energy Bar Association.
Lynda lives in Michigan, where she grew up, with her husband Keith and her son Charles. Lynda holds a Master of Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University and Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University.
Sheryl R. SmithSponsorship DirectorNational Market Director, Environment, Power & Utilities, TRC CompaniesSheryl Smith is the National Market Director, Environment, developing strategies and leading client account teams to diversify services to utility and power slients. She has 35 years of technical, financial and market analysis experience in the development and management of solid waste and power projects. She was formerly an Energy Account Director at AECOM and executed market strategies for growth of regional and national power accounts. She led proposal and project teams in a 22-state region, to support siting and permitting of renewables and transmission and distribution projects, demolition services, MGP remediation and closure design and ground water monitoring for coal ash units working with the client account leads. Her expertise is in the development of business plans to identify new services and customers for public and private sector clients, supported by cash flow modeling to predict profitability. She led benchmark assessments for beneficial reuse of coal ash products for several utilities, evaluating supply, demand, potential end users, cost, transportation, and storage considerations. She has managed similar studies for sourcing of biomass and borrow materials for power projects. Sheryl had her own solid waste consulting firm for 13 years focused on due diligence acquisitions. She provided expert witness testimony on the need and plan consistency for landfills, transfer station and WTE projects in Illinois.
She also projected the potential local economic impact of these projects. Sheryl has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois and a Master of Engineering (Civil) from Cornell. She is a member of the American Coal Ash Association. She enjoys, Jazz concerts and local theater musicals, power walking, working out, yoga, visiting her adult children and spending time with friends. She is on the Advisory Board of Short North Stage in Columbus where she raises money for the live musical productions they showcase there.
Amy LouwersDirector at LargeWilliamsAmy Louwers works at Williams as an Environmental Specialist with a focus on implementation of regulatory compliance in areas of air, water, waste, and remediation in the Ohio operating region. In her current role, Ms. Louwers is responsible for interpreting the applicable federal, state and local environmental regulations; managing, implementing, and improving existing compliance processes; and maintaining relationships with the applicable regulatory agencies. Ms. Louwers is experienced in managing air permit compliance for Title V and minor source facilities, SPCC plan compliance, very small quantity and small quantity hazardous waste generator compliance, EPCRA Tier II reporting, as well as compliance with OSHA safety regulations. She has seven years of environmental, health, and safety experience. Ms. Louwers earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Policy and Management from The Ohio State University. In her spare time, she enjoys camping, hiking, and visiting National Parks.
Jennifer G. NietzDirector at LargeEnvironmental Planner, POWER EngineersMs. Nietz is an environmental planner and Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) with more than 10 years of experience. She specializes in electric utility siting and linear infrastructure projects, and managing associated environmental surveys and permitting throughout Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Ms. Nietz is extremely familiar with National Environmental Policy Act compliance, Clean Water Act permitting, Ohio Power Siting Board filings, and state and local permitting. She leverages her PWS certification and background as a wetland delineator, permitting lead, and project coordinator to move projects forward and exceed client expectations. Ms. Nietz earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Calvin University and her Master of Science in Evolution, Ecology, and Environmental Science from The Ohio State University.
Cynthia Paschke, Principal/OwnerImmediate Past PresidentEnvironmental Biologist, Land Solutions, LLCMs. Cynthia (Cindy) Paschke is an environmental aquatic biologist with 31 years of professional experience. Ms. Paschke has extensive experience providing wetland and ecological services by performing wetland identifications and delineations, ecological habitat assessments, permitting and mitigation monitoring, particularly in Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.
Ms. Paschke has previous experience with wind turbine generation project at a 928-acre property located in Ashtabula County, Ohio. The wind facility proposal included 19 wind turbines generators with nameplate capacity rating between 2.1 megawatts (MW) and 3 MW with an overall generating capacity of 50 MW. Furthermore, Ms. Paschke has performed various tasks for approximately 230 miles of linear midstream pipeline projects including but not limited to wetland delineations, threatened and endangered species assessments, and permitting. Since 2014, Ms. Paschke was the Permitting Lead for five years for the Kinder Morgan Utopia Pipeline Project, that consisted of 151 miles of new build. Due to the complex nature of this project, Ms. Paschke was responsible for coordinating technical and project details with several regulatory agencies including the United States Army Corps of Engineers (2 Districts), United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and other County and local agencies. In 2020, Ms. Paschke started a new company, Land Solutions, LLC providing consulting services in the area of wetland and water resource delineation and permitting, as well as ecological surveys.
Her experience is enhanced by a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science with a minor if aquatic ecology from Allegheny College and a Master of Education degree in natural resources from Gannon University.