What was your most recent job prior to joining the Indiana Chamber in 1997?
The program I was most involved in just before I left Cinergy (now Duke Energy) involved looking for ways that a large power company could be a better environmental steward.
You’re constantly “on the go.” Describe some of the things that keep you busy.
Not only is there activity at the Statehouse during the legislative session – which is very intense – but regulatory activities are continuing to take place.
I work with a number of regulatory bodies (Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, etc.); the goal is to have input and influence on any rules and regulations that preserve and protect our environment while allowing us to grow our economy.
What is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about the environment?
Our environment today in Indiana and in the United States is cleaner than it was before our grandparents were born. At the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency continues to make environmental standards more and more restrictive, so people have the impression that we’re not meeting water quality or air quality standards, when in fact, we’re much cleaner than we’ve been in a long, long time.
How do you stay motivated?
I play racquetball three times a week. I’ve won three national titles, and many regional and state titles. My son and I just won a state championship in doubles. I think that competitiveness translates into the energy I bring to my job at the Chamber and wanting to have a high-value return for what I do.
Talk about a top priority related to the current legislative session.
We have tremendous water resources in several areas of the state, but we don’t have a water policy. Last year, the Chamber – along with allies – was able to get a bill passed that directs the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to gather data from water companies.
This year, there’s a bill authored by Rep. Steve Stemler to direct the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to identify underground aquifers in Indiana and their pumping capabilities, which is an important piece of the puzzle when you’re developing a water policy. That’s a major issue we’re working on.