2023 Fall Speakers
North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
Division of Air Quality
Mike Abraczinskas is currently the Director of the North Carolina Division of Air Quality (DAQ) and has worked for DAQ for 24 years & 3 months as of October 1, 2023. Mike worked in 7 different positions in DAQ prior to being named Director in March of 2017.
He graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Meteorology and a Minor in Environmental Science.; is certified as an Engineer-In-Training (EIT); and is a graduate of the North Carolina Public Managers Program.
Mike is a leader in the air quality management field and is active in national and regional organizations comprised of State and Local Air Quality Agencies.
Mike just finished his term as President of the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) – a national, non-profit organization representing 51 state and local air pollution control agencies. He now serves as immediate Past President of that organization.
And, in 2023, Mike is serving as President of the Carolinas Air Pollution Control Association (CAPCA).
Mike likes to golf, garden, and be outdoors.
Ruth Albright earned a degree in Chemical Engineering from Clemson University in May 1986 and is a licensed professional engineer in multiple states. She began her career with The Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan in May 1986 and was transferred to South Carolina in 1990 as the Environmental Operations Manager for DowBrands to manage the environmental operations at facilities located in South Carolina, Texas, and Minnesota. In 1996, she joined the predecessor to SynTerra and has worked in the consulting business for almost 28 years. In her consulting career she has worked with diverse industries such as chemical manufacturing operations, pulp and paper facilities, automotive suppliers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and many other industries. She has worked on air emission inventories, off-site air impact modeling, ambient air sampling, solid waste processing facilities, hazardous waste compliance, wastewater construction permitting, wastewater operations troubleshooting, toxic substances control act related matters, and many other diverse environmental regulatory programs. Ruth is on the CAPCA Board and has been engaged with CAPCA since about 1992.
George Bandy Jr.
Chief Sustainability Officer of Darling Fibers
George Bandy, Jr., is a global leader in environmental sustainability, circular economy, and social responsibility. He has been responsible for executing the comprehensive concepts and practices of sustainability for multinational corporations and NGO’s like Interface, Mohawk Industries, Amazon and USGBC. He proactively identifies opportunities to position environmental, economic, and socially responsible solutions for both the organizations and their customers so that, together, they can demonstrate the type of sustainability leadership that will result in a brighter future for all.
George is currently supporting Darling Fibers (formerly Fiber Industries), by creating and executing a climate friendly sustainable strategy for the US fiber manufacturer known for cutting-edge and innovative market leading solutions for the fabric, garment, and fashion industry. Bandy has more than 25 years of experience in the sustainability field, he continues to pioneer and lead business to reach its short-term and long-term sustainability goals.
Vice President of Regulatory Affairs
American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufactures
Leslie Bellas is an environmental lawyer who has worked domestically and internationally. After seven years in private practice, Leslie spent ten years at the Department of Justice's Environmental Enforcement Section. Leslie was an executive at two trade associations before moving to the Middle East, where she advised the government of Abu Dhabi on environmental policy and regulation. Leslie worked for a renewable fuel company before joining AFPM.
J.A ”Tony” Blanton
Qualified Stack Testing Individual (QSTI)
President & Technical Director
Integrity Air Monitoring, Inc.
Tony received a BS in Biology from UNCC and began working at Environmental Testing, Inc. in 1989. Tony started a stack testing group for a regional engineering firm in 1991 and co-founded Integrity Air Monitoring, Inc. in 2003. Tony has been an active member of CAPCA for over 30 years and this will be his fifth time presenting at CAPCA. Tony is a Qualified Stacking Testing Individual (QSTI) Groups 1,2,3 and 4 as recognized by the Source Evaluation Society. Tony currently serves as President and Technical Director.
James Boylan, Ph.D.
Chief, Air Protection Branch
Georgia Environmental Protection Division
James Boylan has worked at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division since 2002 and is currently the Chief of the Air Protection Branch. He has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, a M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Georgia Tech. He was appointed to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) by the EPA Administrator in 2017 and re-appointed in 2020. He was actively involved in the 2020 review of the PM and ozone NAAQS as well as the recent PM and ozone NAAQS reconsiderations.
Technical Sales Consultant
Bartlett Environmental Controls
Technical sales consultant for the Carolinas since January 2022. Concentrating in Air pollution control devices and CEMS.
To quote the Saturday Night Live - Brian Fellows skit - "Nick is not a formally trained CEMS expert. Just an enthusiastic young man with a 5th grade education and love for sampling things"
Air Quality Manager
Georgia-Pacific Environmental Affairs
Katie Cooper is an Air Quality Manager with the Georgia-Pacific air permitting team and resides in the Charlotte, NC area. Georgia-Pacific's air permitting team works in 34 states and all 10 EPA regions to support more than 120 manufacturing operations that make pulp & paper, towel & tissue consumer products, corrugated packaging, gypsum, and wood products. Katie has 22 years of professional experience in air dispersion modeling, air permitting and air compliance.
Karen Aldridge Crawford is owner/member in KLAC Law Firm, Columbia, S.C, where she practices in the areas of environmental law and litigation, toxic torts, mass tort, workplace safety and other regulatory/administrative law. In 1997, the Institute of Professional Environmental Practice recognized her as a Qualified Environmental Professional, a distinction awarded after over 15 years of experience and examination on a technical environmental project.
She is a Past President of CAPCA, has been named in Chambers USA’s America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2014-2023), SC Super Lawyers (2010, 2012-2023), Best Lawyers in America® for many years and was named Best Lawyers' 2012 Columbia, S.C., Litigation – Environmental Lawyer of the Year. Karen was named to Who’s Who Legal - Environment for the past several years and was inducted into American College of Environmental Law (ACOEL) in 2008, in the first invited class. She currently serves as Vice President of ACOEL Foundation. Karen has worked with many of you over the years in NCCBI and the SC Chamber of Commerce environmental committees.
She has been an active member of the Section of Litigation, Section of Environmental Energy & Resources and Law Practice Management Section for over 30 years, and in Litigation Section Leadership for many of those years, serving as Co-Chair of the Environmental and Energy Litigation Committee, Co-Chair of the Professional Development Committee and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Mass Torts Committee.
Director Environmental Services
Jason Ericson is a Director in the Environmental Services team at Dominion Energy. He leads the Company's Environmental Justice, Air Permitting and Offshore Wind Permitting teams. Jason has been with Dominion since 2010 in a range of roles supporting environmental permitting and compliance for energy projects.
Prior to joining Dominion, Jason worked for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Conservation and Recreation on water quality programs. He is a proud graduate of James Madison University (B.S. Geology) and the University of New Hampshire (M.S. Hydrology).
Eastern Regional Sales Manager
Teledyne Monitor Labs, Inc.
-Penn State University Graduate B.S. Biology (1983)
-30+ Years with Teledyne in various sales related roles covering territories throughout North America.
-Prior experience as a manufacturers representative selling environmental and process instrumentation throughout the Mid-Atlantic states.
-Based out of Western Pennsylvania
- A.J. Golding is an environmental consultant at ALL4, located in the Raleigh, N.C. office.
- A.J. has an Environmental Science degree from Appalachian State University.
- Before joining ALL4, he spent over 4 years as an environmental engineer in the pulp & paper industry.
- A.J.'s technical expertise consists of air permitting and compliance, waste management, hazardous materials, water quality, compliance auditing, EHS, and ISO 14001 and Environmental Management Systems.
Weston Solutions, Inc.
-Has worked for Weston for over 20 years.
-Began as the report writer but has been the quality manager for the last 10
-Enjoys spending time with her family especially her new grandson
-Fun fact: Natalie is a certified gymnastics judge
Attainment Planning Branch Supervisor
NC Department of Environmental Quality
Tammy Manning has worked for the division for 30 years and is currently the Attainment Planning Branch Supervisor for North Carolina Division of Air Quality's (NCDAQ) Planning Section. The Attainment Planning Branch is responsible for submittal of nonpoint, nonroad, onroad and events emission inventories, developing state implementation plans, transportation conformity, air quality forecasting and photochemical grid modeling. From November 2008 until February 2023, she has served as Statewide Point Source Emission Inventory Coordinator and was responsible for submitting NC's point source emission inventory to EPA. Prior to this position, she collected ambient monitoring data, conducted compliance inspections, responded to citizen complaints and helped develop the emission inventory system (AERO) for NCDAQ. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from NC State University.
South Carolina Ports Authority
Mark Messersmith has served as the Environmental Manager for the South Carolina Ports Authority since 2017. He is a biologist with about 20 years of experience in environmental management, environmental impact assessments for largescale projects, and project management. He is a Certified Environmental Manager and is responsible for environmental permitting aspects related to large scale construction projects, as well as operational aspects for all facilities operated by SC Ports Authority. He has secured numerous grants for equipment upgrades and infrastructure improvement projects. Mr. Messersmith is also responsible for overseeing the dredging and dredge material disposal program for the SCPA. Mr. Messersmith earned a B.S. in Biology from Old Dominion University in 2001, and a M.S. in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston in 2007.
Regional Sales Manager
• Sean Myrick is the Southeast Sales Manager for M&C TechGroup where has worked for the past 2 years.
• Prior to joining M&C, Mr. Myrick worked for a systems integrator for 20 years where he held positions of Systems Engineer, Service Department Manager, Testing Department Manager, and eventually Director, CEMS Operations.
• Sean was certified QI Group 5, but let it lapse when he found out how fun it was to stack test.
• Sean has a broad knowledge of analyzer technologies from multiple vendors and strong understanding of applicable EPA regulations.
Keriema Smith Newman
Acting Director of the Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division – Region 4
Keriema Newman has 24 years of environmental protection experience as both a state and federal regulator. Keriema is currently serving on a Detail as the Acting Director of the Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. Before moving to the Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division where she has served as the Deputy Director since 2020, she worked as the Chief of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Corrective Active Section in the Land, Chemicals and Redevelopment Division. Keriema began her career at EPA Region 4 in 2006 as a Superfund Remedial Project Manager in the Superfund and Emergency Management Division where she worked for 10 years. Keriema has served in multiple leadership roles while at EPA including the White House Council for Strong Cities, Strong Communities and as the Acting Director of the Office of Superfund Public Affairs and Outreach. Over the years, Keriema has gained a broad knowledge of environmental regulations including Clean Air Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation Liability Act, Clean Water Act, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Toxics Substances Control Act. Keriema received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Caroline Novy is a managing consultant with ERM in Atlanta, GA. Caroline focuses on air quality permitting, environmental compliance, and environmental auditing for various industries. Prior to joining ERM, she spent several years in the pulp and paper industry where she oversaw air compliance and wastewater compliance at different facilities. Caroline attended the University of Mississippi where she got a bachelor’s degree in biology and the University of South Alabama where she obtained a master’s degree in environmental toxicology.
Asher Spiller is from Durham, North Carolina. He attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After working in private practice for a year, he served as law clerk to the Honorable James A Wynn Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Since 2015, he has worked in the Environmental Division of the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, where he represents the State of North Carolina and Department of Environmental Quality in state and federal courts in cases involving implementation of air quality and water quality laws.
Rhonda Banks Thompson, P.E.
Chief, Bureau of Air Quality
South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC)
Rhonda Thompson has been with SC DHEC’s Bureau of Air Quality for over 33 years. She has been the Chief of the Bureau of Air Quality since April 2016. Prior to becoming Bureau Chief, she served as Assistant Bureau Chief for 9 years.
At the regional and national level, Rhonda currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA), Board Member and past chair of the Southeastern States Air Resource Managers (SESARM), and Vice President and Program Committee Chair of the Carolinas Air Pollution Control Association (CAPCA) Board of Directors. At the state level, she represents SCDHEC as a member of the Interagency Electric Vehicle Working Group.
Rhonda has a B.S. Degree in Engineering from the University of South Carolina, and she is a Registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) in South Carolina.
Anthony G. Toney
Acting Director, Air and Radiation Division
USEPA, Region 4
Anthony Toney began his career with EPA in 1991 as a member of the former Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, currently the Air and Radiation Division.
Tony transitioned to his current position of Deputy Director, Air and Radiation Division in January 2022.
Currently, he is serving as the Acting Director of the Air and Radiation Division in Region 4.
Prior to coming to EPA, he worked with the Georgia Power Company's Plant E.I. Hatch Nuclear Facility for 7 years. He has a BS in Chemistry and a Master's in Public Administration.