2017-18 Arkansas Law Review Symposium:
Speaker Biographies

Jenny Ahlen

Jenny Ahlen is the director of supply chain for the Environmental Defense Fund, where she leads the fund’s work on food supply chains, with a specific focus on sustainable agriculture, deforestation and mitigating greenhouse gas impacts. She also directs EDF’s on-site partnership with Walmart, advancing sustainable business practices throughout its operations and supply chain. Previously, Ahlen worked for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, first as the renewable energy programs manager for the Arkansas Energy Office, and then for the Strategic Planning Division, with a focus on energy policy and legislation. She has also analyzed costs and benefits of environmental regulations in the private sector.

Peter Appel

Peter Appel is the Alex W. Smith Professor of Law at the University of Georgia School of Law, where he teaches in the areas of environmental law, natural resources law and property. Appel’s research spans three primary areas: the use of law to promote sustainable commerce, wilderness preservation and the courts, and more traditional doctrinal scholarship in environmental and natural resources law and property. He has served as an instructor to senior members of federal agencies and federal wilderness managers, an attorney with the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a judicial clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Steve Chriss

Steve Chriss is the director of energy and strategy analysis for Walmart, where he is responsible for managing Walmart’s interventions in utility rate-related proceedings and for tracking and managing Walmart’s regulatory and legislative cost exposure from changes in electric and natural gas rates. Since 2007, he has managed interventions in more 300 regulatory dockets. Chriss serves as a witness on behalf of Walmart and has testified in more than 150 rate and policy dockets in 38 states and on legislative matters in two states. His previous experience includes positions at the Oregon Public Utility Commission and Econ One Research, Inc.

David Dana

David Dana is the associate dean for faculty affairs and Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and professor of strategy at Northwestern Kellogg School of Management. He is a leading scholar in the fields of environmental law, property, land use and professional responsibility, and his writings on the Takings Clause and on the ethics of aggregate legal representation have been widely cited. His current scholarly work focuses on a range of topics, including environmental and health risks posed by emerging technologies, climate change adaptation, the foreclosure crisis, and attorney fees and fee alternatives. Before becoming a professor, he was a litigator in both the private and public sectors.

Chisara Ehiemere

Chisara Ehiemere is the business director for Field to Market, where she oversees the development and maintenance of the company’s verification protocols and business plan. She has more than 10 years of experience in sustainable agriculture and an extensive background in supply chain management in other industries. Her previous experience includes program director for Coffee Kids, an organization that partners with young coffee farmers to find financially viable ways to remain in agriculture and vice president of certification at Fair Trade USA, where she created and implemented certification strategies for agricultural supply chains to improve farmer livelihoods, improve environmental outcomes and increase transparency in sourcing.

Monika Ehrman

Monika Ehrman is faculty director of the Oil and Gas, Natural Resources and Energy Center and associate professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Her scholarly interests are in oil and gas real property issues, energy policy and the intersection between law and oil and gas technology. Her classes include Oil and Gas Law, Energy Law, Water Law, International Petroleum Transactions, Property, Oil and Gas Contracts, Oil and Gas Environmental Law and Energy Negotiations. She teaches in the Juris Doctor and graduate programs in the College of Law and in the Executive Energy Management Program at the Price College of Business.

Uché Ewelukwa Ofodile

Uché Ewelukwa Ofodile is the E.J. Ball Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she teaches in the international law and intellectual property fields. She also teaches in the law school’s LL.M. Program in Agriculture and Food Law. Her scholarship focuses on international investment law and arbitration, business and human rights, China-Africa trade and investment relations and the intersection of intellectual property law and human rights. She is an active member of the American Bar Association Section on International Law, the American Society of International Law and the African Society of International Law.

Brian Fugate

Brian Fugate is the Oren Harris Chair in Transportation, chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management and associate professor at the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business. He teaches introductory supply chain management classes, and his research includes the business advantages of sustainability and understanding the supply chain implications for fresh food and food safety. His experience on his family’s pig farm inspired him to initially study agriculture engineering, which eventually led him to a graduate degree in logistics and marketing. He is a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Supply Chain Management.

Josh Galperin

Josh Galperin wears many hats at Yale University. He directs the Environmental Protection Clinic and is a lecturer in law and research scholar in the Law School; directs the Environmental Law and Policy Program and is a lecturer in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; and directs Yale’s dual law-environment degree program with Pace University School of Law and Vermont Law School. His research addresses the law of takings and just compensation, the law and policy of invasive species management and the role of environmentalism and environmental advocacy in policymaking. Galperin has worked for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Vermont General Assembly.

Sara Gosman

Sara Gosman is an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she teaches and writes in the areas of environmental and energy law. Her courses include environmental law, energy law and policy, and natural resources law. In her research, she explores the ways in which uncertainty about risk creates both challenges and opportunities for policy. Her work has recently focused on oil and gas topics: chemical disclosure policies and hydraulic fracturing, and risk-based regulation of oil and gas pipelines. Gosman serves as vice president of the board of directors for the Pipeline Safety Trust.

Kevin Igli

Kevin Igli is senior vice president and chief environmental officer for Tyson Foods, Inc. He has also served as Tyson’s chief environmental officer and vice president for environmental affairs for Willamette Industries, Inc., a leading forest and paper company based in Portland, Oregon. Igli has led the environmental divisions of major packaging and chemical corporations. He is a graduate of Malone College in Canton, Ohio, with a degree in biological sciences. He serves as a member of several professional waste management associations and on the University of Arkansas College of Engineering’s biological and agricultural engineering advisory board.

Jon Johnson

Jonathan “Jon” Johnson is the Walton College Professor of Sustainability in the Department of Management at the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business. His research focuses on corporate governance, social networks within and between organizations and corporate sustainability. He teaches strategic management, organization theory, research methods, sustainability and ethics. Johnson has led several sustainability initiatives at the University of Arkansas. He founded the Applied Sustainability Center, which leads organizations in the retail and consumer goods industries toward sustainable practices that support an economy built around people, planet and profit, and co-founded the Sustainability Consortium, where he currently serves as chairman of the board.

Alice Kaswan

Alice Kaswan is professor and Dean’s Circle Scholar at the University of San Francisco School of Law. She is an expert on climate change and on environmental justice who has written and spoken widely about climate federalism, addressing the appropriate roles of federal, state and local governments in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Her work explores the intersection between environmental justice and climate change policy, with special emphasis on the environmental justice implications of climate adaptation strategies and cap-and-trade programs for greenhouse gases. Kaswan is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a member of the Center for Progressive Reform board of directors.

Lee Paddock

LeRoy C. “Lee” Paddock is an associate dean for environmental law studies and professorial lecturer in law at George Washington University Law School. His work focuses on environmental compliance and enforcement, environmental governance with particular emphasis on integrating the regulatory system with economic and values-based drivers and governance in the context of emerging technologies, environmental justice, public participation and energy efficiency. Paddock has served as director of environmental legal studies at Pace University Law School, a senior consultant for the National Academy of Public Administration and a visiting scholar at the Environmental Law Institute, focusing on clean air act, state-federal relationship, and enforcement issues.

Cassie Phillips

Cassie Phillips is the director of the Private Environmental Governance Initiative for the Environmental Law Institute. She is an expert on sustainability law and policy, voluntary standards and ecolabels, sustainable forestry and global supply chains. She is a lawyer, forester and former business executive with a history of solving complex environmental problems. Her strength is in working through thorny issues with diverse stakeholders, especially in consensus-based forums. Phillips looks for lasting solutions that make a real difference on the ground and aspires to make skills in training, research and problem solving available to lawyers and non- lawyers working in private environmental governance.

Laura Phillips

Laura Phillips is senior vice president of corporate affairs and sustainability at Walmart where she is responsible for partnering with internal and external stakeholders to develop and implement Walmart’s sustainability strategy. Her work is focused on reducing costs in energy and waste, while providing access to products sourced sustainably. Phillips is a founding member of the Walmart Sustainability Network, 2007 Sam M. Walton Entrepreneur award recipient, member and former chair of the President’s Global Council for Women’s Leaders, member of the Bentonville Film Festival advisory board and board member of the alumni council for the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Jeff Rice

Jeff Rice is the vice president of responsible sourcing for Walmart. Before joining Walmart, Jeff served as director of IT systems and strategy for the Sustainability Consortium, a global coalition of organizations from academia, industry and civil society working to develop product sustainability measurement and reporting systems for consumer goods. He continues his involvement with the consortium as co-chair of the IT Standards and Tools working group and through participation in several sector working groups developing measurement and reporting system. He also chairs the Sustainability Measurement working group and sits on the Sustainability Steering Committee of the Consumer Goods Forum.

Tara Righetti

Tara Righetti is an associate professor at the University of Wyoming School of Law, where she teaches classes related to oil and gas, energy and commercial law. Her research interests include split estates, royalty payments, subsurface trespass and energy development on public land. Prior to joining the University of Wyoming, Righetti served in counsel and executive management positions in the oil and gas industry where she represented clients in oil and gas, corporate, securities, commercial, mergers and acquisitions and environmental matters. She is admitted to practice in Texas and California and is a certified professional landman.

Mark Spears

Mark Spears is the former director of sustainable business practices for Disney Consumer Products, where he led Disney’s involvement with The Sustainability Consortium and was the consortium’s first corporate lead director. He retired from the Walt Disney Company after nearly 30 years and now provides sustainability advisory services with an emphasis on strategy, resource identification, collaboration and stakeholder engagement. He serves as an advisory board member for Sustainable Brands and contributes as an advisor and mentor to the social entrepreneurship and innovation and technology programs at the University of Southern California. Spears is a certified public accountant and a former member of the American Arbitration Association.

Stephanie Tai

Stephanie Tai is associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she examines the interactions between environmental and health sciences and administrative law. Her teaching interests include administrative law, environmental law, food systems law, environmental justice, risk regulation, contracts (especially private governance and supply chains) and comparative Asian environmental law. Raised by two chemists, Tai decided to combine their chemistry background with a legal education to improve the use of science in environmental protection. She has served as editor-in-chief of the International Review for Environmental Strategies and a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Ronald Lee Gilman, U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit.

Greg Thoma

Greg Thoma is the Bates Teaching Professor in Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas College of Engineering and senior advisor to the Sustainability Consortium, a joint effort of the University of Arkansas and Arizona State University. His research focuses on the application of chemical engineering principles to find solutions to environmental problems. He is lead investigator for several life cycle initiatives in the food and agriculture sector including studies on fluid milk, cheese, milk delivery systems and is project director for a five-year, $5 million United States Department of Agriculture multi-university project focused on greenhouse gas mitigation for U.S. swine production.

Mike Vandenbergh

Michael Vandenbergh is the David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law and co-director of the Energy, Environment and Land Use Program at Vanderbilt Law School. A leading scholar in environmental and energy law, his research explores the relationship between formal legal regulation and informal social regulation of individual and corporate behavior. His work with Vanderbilt’s Climate Change Research Network involves interdisciplinary teams that focus on the reduction of carbon emissions from the individual and household sector. Vandenbergh’s corporate work explores private environmental governance and the influence of social norms on firm behavior and the ways in which private contracting can enhance or undermine public governance.

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