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, Amazon Conservation Team, Marin County Bicycle Coalition 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 joined EWG in 2009 after a 30-plus year career in environmental protection including 20 years with the California Coastal Commission as a planner 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 Bachelor's 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 environmental advocate in the country who saw Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Mike Bloomfield, Keith Moon and Duane Allman live in concert remains unchallenged.

Senior 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.

Senior Scientist
David Andrews Ph.D.

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.

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.

Research & Database Analyst
Carla Burns

Carla joins EWG’s research team as an analyst with a focus on toxics research. After graduating from the University of Rochester with a B.S. in earth and environmental science, she joined the Peace Corps. Carla was an agroforestry extension agent in Senegal, where she worked alongside farmers to implement sustainable agriculture and forestry practices. She also holds an M.S. in environmental science with a focus on ecotoxicology from American University. Carla brings several years of nonprofit data analysis and project management experience to EWG’s research team. Outside of work, Carla enjoys exploring cuisines, learning new styles of dance and being outdoors.

Joel Cahalan

Joel has worn many hats in his life, including founder of a worker-owned bicycle shop,  organic farmer, finish carpenter and energy-efficiency consultant. They all have the common thread of environmental focus. Now he puts his programming skills to work helping design and build code that powers EWG. He enjoys contributing to Open Source Software and learning new programming languages and frameworks. In his spare time he likes to go mountain biking or hiking. He lives in Rockville, Md., with his partner and son.

Executive Assistant to President
Alisha Cahlan

Alisha Cahlan graduated from Williams College with a degree that she created, environmental psychology – how humans relate to the natural environment – then worked as an environmental educator for a national park and school district in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since then, she has coordinated and managed programs in sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, STEAM and sustainability consulting. She graduated from the University of Nevada – Reno with an M.B.A. in renewable energy. Her thesis project focused on empowering the community with the knowledge and tools to engage in sustainable actions called the Reno Sustainability Center. In her free time, she enjoys practicing and teaching yoga, reiki and herbalism. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two trained therapy dogs and is on a mission to visit as many Korean restaurants as possible (it’s the favorite food of all four of them).

Administrative Assistant
Asia Cain

Asia joins our operations team as an administrative assistant. She hails from Florida, and received her B.A. in Political Science from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and her M.A. in Global Sustainability from the University of South Florida, in Tampa. During college, Asia served as a sustainability intern at Agri Aware, an Irish agriculture and food educational organization, in Dublin, and helped develop a climate change curriculum. In 2016, she joined the Peace Corps as a community development volunteer in Morocco, where she taught English, led environmental camps, and encouraged gender equality. In her free time, she advocates for eco-friendly practices, tries out new Thai restaurants, and travels.

VP, 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.

Senior Advisor
Donald Carr

A South Dakota native, Don has worked on and off for EWG since 2007, helping to reform policy and raise awareness on food, farming and environmental issues. He’s also written on a wide range of topics for Grist, FERN, Politico, the Washington DC City Paper, Civil Eats and the Huffington Post. Prior to EWG, Don worked in rural politics as a Communications Director for the Democratic National Committee.

Senior Full Stack Web Developer
Dean Clark

Since the mid-1990s, Dean has been developing websites focused on many different subjects, including music, automobiles and news. He is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Project Manager
Robert Coleman

Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Rob graduated from George Mason University with a B.S. in Public Administration. After graduation he interned at Food Policy Action prior to joining EWG. Rob is huge fan of the New York Giants, the Washington Nationals and, of course, his alma mater, the George Mason Patriots. Rob also enjoys cooking and experimenting with new and different ingredients.

Senior VP, 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 Minneapolis, Minn. He has degrees in wildlife ecology and agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota. He is an avid fly fisherman, hunter, and hiker.

Human Resources Manager
Brett Dorow

An Ohio native, Brett earned a B.S. in Public Policy Management at the University of Akron and a Masters in Public Administration at Kent State University. After working in human resources for several years at a regional grocery store, Brett migrated from northeast Ohio to Columbus. He spent 12 years as the human resources manager for a local credit union there. During that time, Brett was active in the local chapter of the Society for Human Research Management, serving on its board of directors and as government affairs manager and treasurer. He recently relocated to the Washington D.C. area to take his position at EWG. Brett enjoys genealogy and stamp collecting as well as traveling. He’s hoping to get to Istanbul, Rome and St. Petersburg soon. 

Digital Marketing Manager
Casey Dumasius

Casey began her career in energy trading, but her interest in mission-driven organizations led her to the nonprofit sector. She has several years of experience in digital strategy, marketing and fundraising for local and international nonprofits. Her curiosity about the impact of the environment on our health drew her to EWG. She holds a B.A. in communications from the University of Michigan and an M.P.A. in nonprofit management from American University. A Michigan native, Casey grew up on a small island in Lake Erie and loves being out on the water. Casey also enjoys cooking with friends, attempting adventure sports, live music and exploring the culinary scene around D.C.

Science Analyst
Sydney Evans

Before joining EWG’s research team, Sydney worked as an environmental health specialist at a local health department in Indiana. While there, she was awarded the Indiana Environmental Health Association’s Rookie of the Year award for her work in her community. She has co-authored two peer-reviewed journal articles and served as a guest lecturer for Indiana University’s environmental health classes. She holds a B.A. in chemistry from the University of Virginia and an M.P.H. in environmental health from Indiana University Bloomington. Originally from Yorktown, Va., she is happy to be back on the East Coast. When she’s not working, she spends her time traveling, painting ocean scenes, and reading on the couch with her retired racing greyhound.

Senior VP, Government Affairs
Scott Faber

Scott Faber is EWG’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs. Prior to joining EWG, Scott led efforts to modernize food safety law for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and led campaigns for the Environmental Defense Fund. He has frequently testified before Congress on food, farm, energy, water, and chemical policy issues. Scott holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he is an Adjunct Professor.

Senior Foundations Manager & Senior Children’s Health Editor
Nicole Ferox

Nicole first found EWG in 2005 as a new mom searching for information to protect her children’s health. In 2011, she transitioned out of a career in digital marketing and came to work for EWG as the organization’s grants manager. In 2018, she helped launch EWG’s new children’s health initiative and now acts as the program’s senior editor. Prior to EWG, Nicole was the digital marketing director for a web design and online advertising agency in Portland, Oregon and was the co-founder of a regional parenting magazine. Nicole has a BS in Psychology and an MBA from Washington State University. She now lives with her two children on a little island near Seattle.

Senior Graphic Designer
Tiffany Follin

Tiffany graduated from George Mason University with a BFA in graphic design. Before coming to EWG, she worked as a graphic designer and art teacher for Young Rembrandts. Her passions for environmental issues, as well as for great design, led her to EWG. Born in Germany and raised in England, she enjoys traveling and trying new types of food. 

When not at work she can often be found swing dancing, reading and creating art. 

Senior 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.

Thomas Galligan

Originally from Annapolis, Md., Thomas is happy to be back in the D.C. area after many years away. While earning his B.S. in dairy science at Virginia Tech, Thomas developed an interest in understanding the connections among human activities, ecosystem health and public health. This led him to earn his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the Medical University of South Carolina, where he studied the effects of environmental contaminants on alligators and bottlenose dolphins. Thomas returned to Virginia Tech for a postdoctoral position, during which he investigated links between ecosystem degradation and reproductive health in the hellbender salamander, in addition to teaching undergraduate physiology. In 2019, he joined the Healthy Living team as a toxicologist. He is excited to use his passion for the environment and public health to support EWG’s mission. In his spare time, Thomas enjoys cooking, reading and exploring the outdoors – especially hiking and snowboarding – with his wife, Emma, and their dog, Ninja.

Staff Accountant
Bridgette Garner

A D.C. native, Bridgette graduated from Trinity Washington University with a B.S. in accounting. Bridgette’s accounting career began at a small credit union. After a few years of working in the private and public sector Bridgette moved over to the non-profit sector.  Prior to joining EWG she worked as a staff accountant for the Association of Science-Technology Centers. In her free time she enjoys long walks, traveling, yoga, cooking and spending time with her loved ones. 

Senior Research & Database Analyst
Samara Geller

A native New Yorker and former chef, Samara left restaurant kitchens behind to delve into toxics reduction advocacy and pursue her education in environmental health science and policy. In addition to an Associated of Applied Science degree in culinary arts, she holds a B.S. in conservation and resource studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Samara is passionate about her work on the growth and development of EWG’s online consumer guides and databases, from cleaning products to cosmetics, in order to raise awareness and influence progressive, market-level change. Out of the office, she can be spotted skiing, cooking, catering for friends and family and dabbling in the fine art of buying and selling antiques and vintage collectibles. 

Communications Director
Sarah Graddy

Sarah has more than 15 years of experience as a science communicator telling compelling stories about natural resources and environmental issues. At EWG, she leads media relations and strategy on water, agriculture and natural resources.

Like many other native Floridians, her passion for the natural world – especially anything water related – was inspired by a childhood spent traipsing through the swamp in her backyard, swimming in natural springs and surviving countless interactions with alligators and poisonous snakes. 

As evident from her B.A. in English with a concentration in film studies from the University of Florida and M.A. in public art studies from the University of Southern California, Sarah loves art, film and pretty much all things artsy fartsy. 

She also spends a lot of time cooking, reading, going to storytelling events (and occasionally performing), eating butter, obsessing about scuba diving and drag queens (but not at the same time), biking around D.C. and collecting music.

Email: sarah <at> ewg <dot> org

Direct phone: (202) 939-9141