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Ken Cook

Ken Cook, president and co-founder of Environmental Working Group, is widely recognized as one of the environmental community’s most prominent and influential critics of industrial agriculture, U.S. food and farm policy and the nation’s broken approach to protecting families and children from toxic substances.

Under Cook’s leadership over the past 20 years, EWG has pioneered the use of digital technologies to expose the harms done by misconceived crop subsidies, crop insurance and runaway agricultural pollution. The organization has also empowered American families with easy-to-use, data-driven tools to help reduce their exposure to potentially harmful ingredients in foods, drinking water, cosmetics and other household products. These unique digital resources are searched hundreds of millions times by consumers, journalists and policy makers.

Cook is a widely sought public speaker on these and other environmental health issues and is frequently cited for the outsized impact that his and EWG’s work has had on policy debates in Washington and state and local governments across the country. Highlights include:

• Author and food policy expert Michael Pollan named Cook one of “the world’s 7 most powerful foodies” alongside First Lady Michelle Obama, nutritionist Marion Nestle and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman. In  pre-Thanksgiving column in 2013, Bittman listed EWG among 25 people and organizations for which he was most thankful.

Capitol Hill’s closely read The Hill newspaper regularly lists Cook in its annual roster of Washington’s top lobbyists. In 2013 it said Cook’s “influence spans the country” and called EWG “the tip of the green movement’s spear when it comes to agriculture and food policy.”

• In 2009 Cook was voted the “Ultimate Green Game Changer” by readers of The Huffington Post. As founder Arianna Huffington put it, “EWG is an environmental superhero with a full set of digital tools in its arsenal.” 

• Cook testifies regularly before Congressional committees and has given well-received talks at a variety of venues including the White House, South by Southwest (SXSW), TedX Manhattan and a number of other conferences and universities.

Cook was a principal architect of landmark provisions of the 1985 farm bill that for the first time shifted U.S. farm policy from a narrow focus on maximum crop production to conservation of land, water, wetlands and wildlife. The legislation was widely regarded the most important environmental farm policy reform in decades. He went on to co-found EWG, which created an online database of federal farm subsidy payments and recipients that has generated thousands of stories about the nation’s broken farm policies. A New York Times profile of Cook said the website helped “transform the [2002] farm bill into a question about equity and whether the country’s wealthiest farmers should be paid to grow commodity crops while many smaller family farms receive nothing and are going out of business.” Cook and EWG played a similarly prominent role during the crafting of the 2008 and 2014 farm bills, fighting successfully to add conservation requirements on farms that benefit from federally subsidized crop insurance. 

In the 1990s, EWG’s research was a major factor in the passage of the landmark pesticide reform law, the Food Quality Protection Act. EWG was among the first to draw attention to the health threat posed by the weed-killer atrazine and conducted the first extensive tests for the chemical in tap water in 29 Midwest cities. In the last several years Cook and EWG have been in the forefront of national and state campaigns to require the labeling of foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Cook has addressed food, agriculture and toxics policy in countless media interviews, including with 60 Minutes, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, the Today Show, MSNBC, CNBC, FOX Business News, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, Reuters, The Los Angeles Times and The San Francisco Chronicle. He testifies regularly before House and Senate committees and for the past 20 years has briefed top White House officials and every U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and EPA Administrator on EWG’s research and policy positions.

He has been recognized with multiple awards from health and environmental organizations including Mount Sinai Hospital’s Children’s Environmental Health Center, the U.S. Healthful Food Council and Epidemic Answers.

Cook is a board member of Food Policy Action (and founding chairman), Organic Voices and the Amazon Conservation Team and a former member of the board of the Organic Center. He earned a B.A. in history, B.S. in agriculture and M.S. in soil science at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

He is married to Deb Callahan and lives in northern California with their young son, Callahan. 

California Director of Government Affairs
Bill Allayaud

Bill’s nearly 40-year career in environmental protection includes twenty years with the California Coastal Commission as a planner, permit analyst, and legislative liaison, an urban planner with two cities, director of Sierra Club California, and an analyst for a member of the California State Assembly. He has a B.A. from U.C. Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies and Politics, and a Master's from Cornell University in Regional Planning. His claim to be the only legislative advocate in the country who saw Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Mike Bloomfield, Keith Moon, and Duane Allman live in concert remains unchallenged. 

Director of Communications
Monica Amarelo

Monica has spent her career helping people to better understand science and research and has a long history of translating complex scientific and technical information into easy-to-use language. She directs media strategy for all of EWG’s work, with a particular focus on toxics-related research and TSCA reform. She also manages EWG’s blog properties.

Before joining EWG, Monica spent seven years as communications director of the Federation of American Scientists, where she built a communications and social media department from the ground up and elevated the organization’s national profile.

Before that she supervised the News and Information Office of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Throughout her career she has cultivated relationships with national print, online and broadcast media covering science and health and has advised experts on how to explain their work to a lay audience.

She is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Vice President for Information Technology
Chris Campbell

Chris has led EWG's database operations since its founding in 1993 and is responsible for many successful reports, including the Farm Subsidy Database. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in computer information sciences. A Delaware native and an expert beer brewer, Chris lives with his wife and four children in Northern Virginia.

General Counsel
Thomas Cluderay

Thomas leads EWG’s legal team and oversees all of the organization’s legal matters. He also works with the government affairs team to develop strategies for advancing EWG policy initiatives, represents EWG before lawmakers and other government bodies and provides regulatory and legislative analyses with an emphasis on public health, consumer protection and environmental policy. Thomas earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he currently serves as an adjunct professor of law and co-teaches a course on consumer advocacy. While at law school he served as a law fellow for Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) in the U.S. House of Representatives, interned at the Federal Communications Commission and worked as a summer associate at Kelley Drye & Warren, LLP. Thomas has a B.A. in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is from Charlotte, N.C. He enjoys live music and the outdoors.

Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources
Craig Cox

Craig began his career in conservation by joining the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in 1977 as a field biologist. Since then, he has worked for the National Academy of Sciences, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and as Executive Director of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. He joined EWG in 2008 and leads the organization’s research and advocacy work in agriculture, renewable energy, and climate change. He also directs EWG’s Midwest Office in Ames, Iowa. He has degrees in wildlife ecology and agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota. He is an avid fly fisherman, hunter, and hiker.

Director of Private Sector Engagement
Steve Drace

Steve spent 35 years in publishing, in both Silicon Valley and Hong Kong, at CMP,  International Data Group, and Reed Business Information, where he was publisher of Electronic News and Electronic Business. He was an early pioneer in online publishing as part of the launch team for IDG’s in 1994 and as publisher of a stable of web only developer publications including JavaWorld and LinuxWorld in the mid 90s. He also held executive positions at pure play internet startups including Findlaw and AllBusiness. Steve has a BA in psychology from the University of Missouri, Columbia and holds an MBA in marketing from The Thunderbird School of Global Management. An avid cyclist, he recently garnered the California Triple Crown, awarded to those who complete three double centuries in a single season. He also spends an inordinate amount of time listening to live music at various clubs throughout the San Francisco Bay area.

Vice President of Government Affairs
Scott Faber

Scott Faber leads a team working to improve food and farm legislation, chemicals policy and a host of other issues important to EWG and its supporters. Prior to joining EWG, Scott was vice president for federal affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, where he spearheaded efforts to enact the Food Safety Modernization Act, which sets new food safety standards for food manufacturers and farmers. From 2000 to 2007, he was a food and farm policy campaign manager for the Environmental Defense Fund, leading efforts to reform farm policies in the 2002 and 2008 farm bills. From 1993 to 2000, Scott was a senior director for public policy for American Rivers. A native of Massachusetts, Scott holds a J.D. From Georgetown University Law Center and lives in Washington, D.C.

Sr VP Communications and Strategic Campaigns
Alex Formuzis

Alex came to EWG after 8 years as a senior aide to three members of the United States Senate. Prior to his time on Capitol Hill he was in the public affairs shop of the Clinton Treasury Department, in the policy shop for the NGO Independent Sector, and worked on state and local campaigns in Washington State. Alex was born and raised in the Northwest, spending his youth sailing, hiking and skiing from Southern California to British Columbia. Alex graduated from the University of Montana in 1995 with a B.A. in political science.

Director of Government Affairs
Christine M. Hill

Chris Hill joined EWG in 2015 as the Director of Government Affairs. Prior to EWG, Chris was the Director of Government Relations and Communications for the Maryland Energy Administration in the administration of Gov. Martin O’Malley. She advised the agency’s director on federal, state and local energy and environmental policies.

Before joining the Maryland government, Chris was the Maryland Campaign and Policy Representative for the Sierra Club, where she worked with key legislators, social justice organizations and minority businesses to pass the Maryland Offshore Wind Act of 2013 and other bills.  

Chris has deep roots as a community organizer, working in Appalachia on mountaintop removal coal mining and anti-oppression. 

Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris earned a B.A. in broadcast communications and electronic media from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.

She enjoys fly-fishing, snowboarding, backpacking and rock climbing. 

Deputy Director of Research
Nneka Leiba

Nneka has a passion for the environment and environmental issues. This passion led her to earn several related degrees, including a Master of Philosophy in zoology from the University of the West Indies and a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She joined the EWG team in 2006 and works on many toxics issues, including cosmetics and water quality. She has appeared on CNN and several local television stations talking about consumer exposure to toxic chemicals and has been quoted in a wide range of national publications including TIME, Yahoo News, and Huffington Post. In 2009 she was named a “Green Game Changer” by O Magazine for her unique research for EWG.

Director of Midwest Outreach
Brett Lorenzen

Brett joined the EWG agriculture and natural resources team in 2010, after two decades as a consultant to non-profits and foundations specializing in communications, law, program development, fundraising and management. His clients ranged from small non-profits to major foundations to the United Nations. Being a farm boy at heart, he returned to the Midwest in 2002 to work on clean water and agricultural/land-use reform issues. He also serves as the voluntary chair of the Iowa Council of Trout Unlimited and has held numerous national leadership positions with the organization, and sits on a variety of public and private advisory boards.  Brett holds an undergraduate degree, a J.D. and an LL.M. in international environmental law from the University of Iowa. In his "spare" time you'll find Brett reading, fly fishing, hunting or roaming the prairies and hills of the Driftless region with his dog.

Vice President of Development
Jocelyn Lyle

Jocelyn started her non-profit work with an environmental law firm in Montgomery, Ala., where she focused on environmental justice organizing. Jocelyn manages all of EWG's fundraising efforts – including foundation management, organizing keystone events for the organization and directing the growing online and major gift programs. She graduated from Allegheny College with a dual degree in political science and communication arts. Jocelyn hails from Pittsburgh and can often be seen sporting black and gold. 

Vice President, Finance & Chief Operating Officer
Scott Mallan

Scott moved over to the non-profit sector 15 years ago. After several years working in outsourced accounting for state governments, he switched over to accounting for the food service industry before making the move to non-profits. He earned his degree in business management from the University of South Carolina-Columbia

HCHW Program and Outreach Manager
Meredith McMahon

Meredith McMahon, Program and Outreach Manager, is a nonprofit outreach and development professional. She joined Healthy Child Healthy World in 2013 after several years promoting the arts. She brings to Healthy Child Healthy World a passion for making the world a better place and a keen understanding of the diplomacy and sensitivity required for successful outreach. The Laguna Art Museum, My Hero Project and the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra are a few of the organizations she has worked with in nonprofit marketing, fundraising, and development. Meredith is an accomplished artist and holds a BFA from Loyola Marymount University and a MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. A native of Laguna Beach, Meredith lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two dogs, Nomee the Beagle and Finnegan the Husky.

Director of Spatial Analysis
Soren Rundquist

Soren grew up in northwest Iowa. After graduating from the University of Iowa, he worked various positions with U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. National Park Service and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. He began using geographic information system technology in the National Park Service and did graduate work in this field at Penn State University. He later became a project analyst in the Finance and Markets Division of Thomson Reuters, using GIS data to assess risks in the agriculture and forestry sector. At EWG, Soren uses GIS and remote sensing data better to understand how agricultural landscapes interact with environmental issues throughout the Midwest. Soren enjoys watching college football and spending time with his family.

Editor-in-Chief & Publisher
Elaine Shannon

Elaine Shannon is editor-in-chief and publisher of the Environmental Working Group, which has about 1.6 million subscribers and 9 million unique visitors yearly. She is a former correspondent for Time and Newsweek and author of three books about national security, terrorism, espionage and transnational crime.She has held a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University, one of journalism’s highest honors.  Other awards include the New York State Bar Association Award, the Inter-American Press Association IAPA-Bartolome Mitre Award and the Women in Communications Clarion prize  

Her book, Desperados:  Latin Drug Lords, US Lawmen, and the War America Can't Win, was a New York Times best-seller and basis for the Emmy-winning NBC miniseries, Drug Wars I and Drug Wars II.  Her second book, No Heroes -- Inside the FBI's Secret Counter-Terror Force, with Danny O. Coulson, founder of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team, is now in development for a CBS series.  Her third book, The Spy Next Door -- The Extraordinary Secret Life of Robert Philip Hanssen, the Most Damaging FBI agent in US History, with Ann Blackman, was published in January 2002. In her spare time, she is writing a book on how the international drug trade finances wars and terrorism.''

She has worked as a technical consultant for a number of film and documentary projects dealing with foreign relations, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and forensic science, including Inside Man (2006), The Kingdom (2007) and Public Enemies (2008)

She is a graduate of  Vanderbilt University.  She lives in Washington with her husband, Dan Morgan, a former Washington Post correspondent and author of three books. Their son Shannon Morgan is an investment banker in New York.    

Vice President and Managing Editor
Bill Walker

Bill has more than three decades’ experience as a journalist and activist. He began his career on a small weekly in his home state of Texas and advanced to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where he wrote news and features from across the South. He moved to The Denver Post, roaming the vast reaches of the Rocky Mountain West, then to The Sacramento Bee as national and international correspondent.

His travels exposed him to fragile places under assault from industrial development and communities suffering from corporate exploitation. Determined to fight injustice rather than just write about it, he joined the environmental movement as a press officer for Greenpeace. He coordinated news coverage for dozens of the organization's signature direct actions and headed Greenpeace's national media department before becoming communications director for the California League of Conservation Voters.

In 1996 he opened EWG’s California office, building a team that generated headline-making reports on toxic chemicals, pesticides, water subsidies and more. After 12 years as EWG’s Vice President/West Coast, he opened a consulting practice working with The Story of Stuff, The Breast Cancer Fund, Friends of the Earth and many other groups. In 2015 he rejoined EWG, where he works with scientists and researchers to develop, write and edit reports.  

Bill lives in Berkeley and is raising three teenagers to question authority except when he tells them to clean their rooms. 

Vice President, Digital Strategies
Maura E. Walsh

Maura Walsh is a digital communications expert with 15 years of experience in direct email marketing, content marketing, fundraising and advocacy. She oversees EWG’s digital program, including its websites, grassroots fundraising and advocacy work.

Prior to joining EWG, she was a Senior Vice President at Anne Lewis Strategies, where she worked with clients such as the United Service Organization, EWG, The Clinton Foundation, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and WETA to design and execute record-setting online marketing and fundraising programs. Maura is responsible for developing best-of-breed strategies that are now widely used by nonprofit and political organizations to drive their fundraising and advocacy, including the contribution up-sell and the “$5 ask.” During her tenure, she helped the firm’s clients raise more than $240 million online and convert millions of activists across a wide spectrum of causes.

Prior to joining Anne Lewis Strategies in January 2007, Maura was the director of account management for Plus Three, a technology company that provides website, email and fundraising technologies for nonprofit and political clients.

Maura also served as an Internet strategist for APCO Worldwide, a public affairs and public relations company, and as a senior account manager for Bigfoot Interactive (now Epsilon Interactive), a leading email marketing agency, where she managed direct email campaigns for the company’s top accounts including Capital One, H&R Block and MTV.

Database Analyst
Jose Aguayo

Born and raised in Bolivia, Jose arrived in the United States at age 13. After graduating from Wakefield High School in Virgina, he earned a B.A. in biology and a masters degree in global health from George Mason University. Before joining EWG, Jose worked as an environmental science fellow at the Center for Health, Environment & Justice for more than two years and on projects for the Pan American Health Organization and National Children’s Hospital. He brings to the EWG team a scientific background in biochemistry and an expertise in global public health. In his spare time, Jose enjoys playing and watching soccer, playing the electric bass and supporting higher education as an active member in the board of directors of the organization United for Social Justice (USJ).

Senior Scientist
David Andrews

David is using his background in chemistry and nanotechnology research to investigate environmental health issues. His work focuses on finding ways to change national environmental regulations and government policies to protect public health. During his five years at EWG he has developed comprehensive knowledge of the regulatory processes affecting industrial chemicals, consumer products, cosmetics and nanomaterials. David has conducted more than 100 media interviews on various public health issues and frequently deals with federal agencies and legislative offices. His recent work has included collaborating on designing and building EWG’s consumer databases, highlighting the overuse of confidentiality claims submitted to EPA and organizing a conference for a federal initiative to set priorities for nanotechnology research. He holds a B.A. in chemistry from Wesleyan University (Connecticut) and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Northwestern. He has authored more than 10 scientific publications and holds a patent on quantum interference devices. David enjoys designing and building wooden furniture and traveling with his family.

Executive Assistant to Ken Cook
Katherine Baird

Katherine graduated in 2014 from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in neuroscience, with a research focus in developmental neuroscience. She was drawn to EWG because of the work it has done to ban toxic substances that can potentially disrupt development in the womb and in early childhood. The first time Katherine had ever been in California was the day she moved there to start working for EWG, and she is loving finding new venues for her favorite activities such as attending street festivals and concerts, eating at tiny restaurants and just running around town.

Legislative Attorney
Melanie Benesh

As EWG's Legislative Attorney, Melanie provides legislative and regulatory analysis of federal food, farm and chemical law. Melanie grew up in Omaha and received her B.A. from Marquette University. After college, she worked as a research assistant studying Fair Trade coffee in Chiapas, Mexico, and later as a community organizer for Voces de la Frontera in Milwaukee. She received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2014, where she was an evening student, a Cutler Salzburg Fellow and served on the Georgetown Journal of International Law. She is fluent in Spanish and enjoys running, Cornhusker football and biking to work.

Tech Support Specialist
Stephanie Birch

Stephanie joined EWG as a tech support specialist in 2016. She graduated from Hampton University, where she earned a B.A in journalism. After college, Stephanie began working at Apple, where she acquired her technical background and expertise in customer service. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, knitting, traveling and playing recreational soccer and tennis.

HCHW Editorial Director
Megan Boyle

Megan is a creative communications strategist with a decade of professional experience leading editorial direction. In her most recent role as executive director of university marketing and communications at Pepperdine University, she was responsible for providing the strategic and operational leadership of key marketing and communications initiatives, including editorial strategy, social media, public and media relations, advertising, web, and e-marketing.

Megan earned her master’s degree in English literature from the University of Edinburgh and her bachelor’s degree in English, magna cum laude, from Georgetown University. Megan is active with the Junior League of Los Angeles and the Taproot Foundation. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband Kaz, daughter Tessa, and dog Wrigley.