- Full nameSusan Hedman
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- Please list your University and school/program.School:La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin–Madison
- Please enter the degree awarded by your school.Degree:MA in Public Policy and Administration
- Current PositionCurrent Position:Region 5 Administrator
- OrganizationOrganization:U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
As Region 5 administrator, Susan Hedman directs EPA's operations in the Great Lakes region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and works with 35 federally recognized tribal governments. She leads a team of more than 1,000 scientists, engineers, lawyers, environmental specialists and administrative staff in the Region 5 office.
Since the president appointed Hedman to the EPA in 2010, the Region 5 office has led the response to the Enbridge oil pipeline spill on the Kalamazoo River (one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history); accelerated cleanup of the Fox River (one of the world's largest environmental dredging projects); forced disinfection of wastewater discharged into the Chicago River (Chicago was the only major city that did not disinfect); cleaned up the largest number of brownfield and Superfund sites of any EPA region in the country; and led the nation in Clean Air and Clean Water enforcement.
Hedman is in the forefront of efforts to restore, protect and clean up the Great Lakes – she is EPA's Great Lakes National Program manager and is the leader of the multiagency Great Lakes Regional Working Group.
"I have the privilege of leading 16 federal agencies that are working together to implement the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative," says Hedman. "Since 2010, the initiative has provided $1.7 billion to fund more than 2,000 projects across the Great Lakes basin to clean up areas of concern, combat invasive species, reduce runoff that contributes to algal blooms and to restore habitat to protect native species."
Hedman also led the U.S. delegation that negotiated the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement with Canada. It governs actions by the two nations to protect the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the lakes, which make up the world's largest fresh surface water system. The 2012 agreement includes new annexes relating to climate change impacts, invasive species, and protection of native species and habitat.
At the EPA and in her earlier positions, Hedman says the skills she learned at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have been essential. "Strong quantitative and communication skills have been important in every single job that I have had," she says, "and they are essential in what I look for in job applicants. In my current position, management and budgeting skills are also critical."
Before accepting the president's appointment to the EPA, Hedman was environmental counsel and senior assistant attorney general in the Illinois Attorney General's office, where she focused on litigation and legislation relating to environmental protection, energy efficiency, renewable energy, carbon capture technology and associated consumer issues.
From 2000-04 Hedman was chief legal officer for the Geneva-based United Nations Compensation Commission tribunal that handled claims for environmental damage from the oil fires in Kuwait and releases of oil in the Persian Gulf, as well as the costs of de-mining and disposal of unexploded ordnance from the 1990 Gulf War.
Hedman earlier worked as an attorney at the Environmental Law and Poverty Center in Chicago, and taught at Northland College in northern Wisconsin and at the University of Maryland's schools of law and public affairs. In addition to her master's degree in public administration, she has a Ph.D. from the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and a law degree from the Law School, both at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.
Read more: http://www.lafollette.wisc.edu/news/hedman