:: Board Bios

Michael B. Cook is GIC’s Board Chair. He has 41 years of federal service, including 33 years as an executive at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He introduced many innovations into federal programs, including environmental management systems, asset management, security planning, and new technologies. Mr. Cook directed long-term cleanup of hazardous waste sites in EPA's multi-billion dollar Superfund program, and managed EPA’s program for emergency response to oil and hazardous chemical spills. He directed EPA programs to issue permits to control several hundred thousand municipal and industrial wastewater discharges, and administered billions of dollars of financial and technical assistance for municipal sewage treatment plants.

Mr. Cook directed EPA's drinking water program to manage issuance and implementation of numerous regulations to ensure high quality of drinking water for the nation, and represented EPA during Congressional reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act. He directed the writing and implementation of regulations governing transport, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste and represented EPA during reauthorization of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Cook served as a Foreign Service Officer in the counterinsurgency program in Vietnam, and as consul in Northeast Thailand. While on loan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, he helped three cities plan and implement the Model Cities program and he served as President Nixon's representative for long term recovery from Hurricane Camille on the Gulf Coast.

Mr. Cook’s community work includes volunteer efforts to assist the Vietnamese Resettlement Association to provide health and social services to low income minorities with limited English in Northern Virginia. He serves on the Board of three other nonprofit organizations, including the U.S. Water Alliance.  Mr. Cook is married with two sons and four grandchildren and is an Ironman triathlete. He has a Bachelor of Philosophy in politics from Oxford University, and attended Princeton University’s graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Mr. Cook also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Swarthmore College. He is a Rhodes Scholar and received the Distinguished Executive Award presented by President Reagan, and EPA's gold, silver and bronze medals and Distinguished Career Service Award.

Chris French is the Board's Vice Chair. Having worked on stormwater and watershed management issues for nearly two decades, Mr. French brings an extensive background from both the public and private sectors. In addition to his most recent position as the regional regulatory manager for Contech Engineered Solutions, he has previously held positions with government agencies such as the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and non-governmental agencies such as the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, Mr. French served on committees and advisory boards of several national and community-based organizations, including his former position as the government affairs and regulatory committee chair for the Stormwater Equipment and Manufacturer’s Association.

Rick Roth is GIC’s Board Secretary. He is a professor of geospatial science at Radford University. His academic interests include sustainable communities, green infrastructure planning, rivers, and watersheds. He has taken a leadership role with a number of local and regional environmental and conservation organizations, including Friends of the New River, Friends of the Rivers of Virginia, the New River Watershed Roundtable, the New River Valley Environmental Coalition, the Radford University Environmental Center, and the Radford University Green Team. Dr. Roth received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Virginia (1972) and a Master of Planning Degree in Urban and Regional Planning (1989) and a Ph.D. in Environmental Design and Planning from Virginia Tech (1993).

Cindi Johnson is the board’s treasurer and has had a long history with GIC, having served as its professional accountant for several years on a part-time basis. She also volunteered for the company and has donated funds for the GIC’s healing gardens at the Richmond Veterans hospital. She is a highly skilled accountant with decades of experience, especially in the public sector. Cindi lived in New England for many years and graduated from Bryant College with B.S. in accounting. She enjoys photography and horseback riding and resides on her family farm near Staunton, VA.

Karl E. Bren is an at-large member of GIC’s Board. He is President of GreenVisions Consulting. GreenVisions provides consulting services relating to the application of green building and sustainable design, especially in single and multifamily affordable housing. He is also a nationally known conference speaker and conducts workshops on green building and sustainable design. He is a LEED Accredited Professional with the US Green Building Council and has been involved with green building and sustainable development for over ten years. Mr. Bren has played a leading role in many sustainable design and green building efforts. Mr. Bren also is the founder and past President of the Virginia Sustainable Building Network (formerly the Virginia Housing and the Environment Network).

Mr. Bren has served on numerous boards including the James River Green Building Council and the Better Housing Coalition, a progressive nonprofit community development corporation committed to green building and sustainable design. He is also a board member of the Virginia Conservation Network. He has received many acknowledgements and awards for his work, such as the 2007 Ukrops Visionary Leadership Award winner given by the Leadership Metro Richmond organization. While serving as Nonprofit Affairs Director with the Virginia Housing Development Authority, the agency became one of the first housing finance agencies in the country to integrate green building principles as part of their programs. For more information on GreenVisions, visit www.green-visions.com or www.earthcraftvirginia.org.

Mr. Bren is married and lives in Henrico County, Virginia. He holds a Master of Urban Affairs degree from Virginia Tech and has served as adjunct faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond, where he teaches courses on housing and the built environment with a focus on green building and sustainable design.

Dr. Nisha Botchwey is an at-large member of GIC’s Board. She specializes in community development with an emphasis on health and the built environment.  She is an Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  Previously she taught at the University of Virginia where she developed Healthy Communities, a graduate seminar exploring the connections between the built environment and health. Dr. Botchwey also co-organized the Department's 2004 Spring Symposium, "Healthy Communities, Healthy People: Exploring the Relationship between Public Health and the Built Environment" as well as the 2008 and 2009 UVA Sustainability Symposia focusing on climate change and health. 

Dr. Botchwey has published and researched widely, and currently focuses on topics including health and the built environment, public engagement methodologies, faith-based and secular organizations, and health equity.  She is co-author of Health Impact Assessment in the USA (in press), convener of a national expert panel on interdisciplinary workforce training between the public health and community design fields, and author of numerous articles.  Dr. Botchwey has won distinctions including an NSF Advance Woman of Excellence Faculty Award, a Hesburgh Award Teaching Fellowship from Georgia Tech, and a Rockefeller-Penn Fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing. She also serves on the Advisory Board to the Director of the Centers of Disease Control Prevention and is co-Director of the National Academy of Environmental Design's Research Committee.

Dr. has an A.B., from Harvard University and both an M.C.P, and Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Botchwey is married with two children and lives in Georgia.

Andrea Wortzel is an at-large member of GIC’s Board. She is Of Counsel in the Richmond office of Troutman Sanders LLP. Ms. Wortzel’s practice focuses on water quantity and water quality issues, including water rights, water supply planning, and water withdrawal permitting, as well as discharge permitting and TMDL development and implementation. Beyond her water practice, Ms. Wortzel advises clients on endangered species issues, environmental compliance and audit programs and environmental enforcement defense. Ms. Wortzel also regularly counsels clients on legislative and regulatory strategies to promote her clients’ objectives.

Ms. Wortzel holds a Bachelor of Arts from the College of William and Mary and a Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond and is active in the Virginia Chapter of the American Water Works Association and the Environmental Law Sections of the Virginia State Bar and Richmond Bar Associations, and the Environment, Energy and Resources Section of the American Bar Association. She resides with her family in Richmond, Virginia.

Ralph Jones is an at-large member of the GIC’s board and he is the managing director of Cadmus which he co-founded 1983. He is an expert in federal and state drinking water programs and their operations, the functioning of drinking water systems and the administrative challenges systems face, and protecting the public from waterborne contaminants. In recent years he has focused more on asset management and financing options for water and wastewater infrastructure. This change in emphasis led to his increased involvement in water conservation and water reuse, since integrated water management plans may reduce the scope of infrastructure investment.

Before co-founding Cadmus, Dr. Jones worked at Abt Associates Inc., Contract Research Corporation, and Westat. He was an instructor and assistant professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and from 1968 to 1976 was a research associate at the Joint Center for Urban Studies of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.