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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, 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.

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.

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.

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 Healthy Living Science
Nneka Leiba

Nneka joined the science team at the Environmental Working Group in 2006. She currently leads EWG's Healthy Living Science team to translate complicated scientific topics, particularly ones dealing with the effects of everyday chemical exposures on our health, into easily accessible tips and advice.

Over the years, she has become an expert in a wide range of issues, including the safety of ingredients in cosmetics and other consumer products, and drinking water quality.

Nneka has appeared on CNN and CBS Evening News, as well as other national and local television stations, talking about consumer exposures to toxic chemicals. She has been quoted in a wide range of publications including Time Magazine, Yahoo News and The Huffington Post. In 2009 she was named a “Green Game Changer” by O Magazine for her unique research at EWG.

She earned graduate degrees in zoology and public health from the University of the West Indies and Johns Hopkins University, respectively. 


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

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.

Vice President and Editor in Chief
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.

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.

Special Projects Manager
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.

Research 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.

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.

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.

Manager Foundations Relations
Nicole Ferox

Nicole works in the Online Engagement and Fundraising department, writing and managing content for EWG's grant funders. Nicole has spent the bulk of her career as a web copywriter and digital marketing specialist. She is also the co-founder of a regional parenting magazine. Nicole has a BS in Psychology and an MBA from Washington State University.

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. 

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.