Scrapbook Photo 07/15/24 - 152 New Stories - REAL Environmental & Conservation Leadership In PA:
Jim Seif Receives Lifetime Achievement Award, Manko, Gold Wins Sustainability Award

The PA Bar Association Environmental and Energy Law Section Thursday recognized former DEP Secretary and EPA Region III Administrator Jim Seif with its Lifetime Achievement Award.  The Section also recognized Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox with its first Law Office Sustainability Award.

Lifetime Achievement Award - Jim Seif

Jim Seif started his career in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pittsburgh, prosecuting some of the earliest environmental cases of the modern era. After that, he served as Chief of the Legal Branch at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Philadelphia, and then rejoined the U.S. Justice Department in the Criminal Division.

He later served as administrative assistant to Gov. Dick Thornburgh and then regional administrator of the EPA’s six-state office in Philadelphia. Following that work, he joined the environmental practice at the law firm of Dechert Price and Rhoads.

From 1995 to 2001 he was appointed by Gov. Tom Ridge to serve as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. He later became vice president for Corporate Relations at PPL, Inc., and is now Principal of Ridge Global’s Energy Consulting Services Practice.

Seif also serves as Chair of the BioChem Technologies, Inc.'s Board, and is on the Advisory Committee of the Dick Thornburgh Legacy Project at the University of Pittsburgh. He has a political science degree from Yale University and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court and in Pennsylvania.

Among the awards received by Seif during his service at DEP were: 1998 Government Award-Water Resources Association, 1999 Government Award-PA Recreation and Park Society, 1999 Leader-Of-The-Year Award-PA Chemical Industry Council, Fox-Calhoun Award-PA Environmental Council, 2000 Small Business Advocate Award-Small Business Development Centers and 2000 Lifetime Award for Public Service from the National Academy of Public Administration for his 30-year career in state and federal government.

During his time as Secretary of DEP, the agency, its staff and partners won more national and international awards for its new and innovative programs than any state environmental agency in history. 

DEP programs and initiatives were recognized by such diverse groups as the Council of State Governments (6 times), Ford Foundation-Harvard University Innovative Programs (twice), the United Nations Environment Programme Honour Roll of 500, Resources for the Future, Regional Emmy Awards (2), President’s Council on Sustainable Development, Renew America and the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (green buildings).

Terry Bossert, last year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and who served with Seif as Chief Counsel at DEP, introduced the Award and called Seif, “one of the key, thinkers, innovators and doers in the environmental field over the last couple decades.”

“It’s not what positions you hold, it’s what you do with the positions when you have them,” said Bossert.  “Whether you agreed or disagreed with what Jim’s goals were or what his agenda was, he always had a plan, a way to get there and a plan to make everything work out right.”

Bossert listed many of Seif’s accomplishments during his time at DEP, some, like brownfields redevelopment, he started to talk about before anyone else he noted.  He also listed the Growing Greener Watershed Restoration Program, the 21st Century Environment Commission, the first LEED certified state office building, the Green Government Council to “green” government operations, the Regulatory Basics Initiative, bringing DEP into the Internet age and improving communication about DEP policies and regulations with the public and other levels of government.

“A lot of the initiatives we take for granted now, are really initiatives started by Jim Seif,” said Bossert.

In accepting the Award, Seif said the thing that makes this award so special to him is that “when your friends and colleagues think well of you, it’s the best.  And it really is.”

He noted there have been many positive changes in the environmental law community over the years saying when he first began his career government and business environmental attorneys hardly mixed in professional organizations.  He said now there is a mix of professionals young and old, public and private and an important inclusion-- women.

Seif included several personal observations in his remarks about his father Charles who inspired him to be a lawyer.  He said at home they talked about things around their dining room table-- the pride of being in a learned profession and continuing to learn.  His mother Dorothy, he said, enrolled him in the “College of Curiosity” about nature and all things.  She was a scientist and a teacher and lived to be 98 and never stopped teaching and learning.

He concluded by saying, the Award could be said to be career cap, but quickly added, his career is not over, but his remarks were.

Click Here to watch a video of Seif’s remarks.

Law Office Sustainability Award - Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox

The Bala Cynwyd-based law firm of Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP is the winner of the PBA Environmental and Energy Law Section first annual Law Office Sustainability Award.

Philip L. Hinerman, Fox Rothschild, introduced the Award and explained the Environment and Energy Law Section established the award in 2014 to honor a participant in the Pennsylvania Lawyers United for Sustainability Program (PLUS) excelling in a substantial sustainability program or project.

The PLUS Program guidelines were developed with input from the PBA Law Practice Management Office and offer suggestions and provide specific examples to program participants on how to make their law practices more sustainable.

The guidelines cover five separate areas: energy savings, paper reduction, recycling and waste reduction, transportation and sustainable purchasing.

A special presentation outlined the steps taken by Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox to improve its sustainability in moving to a new office space.  Among other initiatives, the law firm--

-- Reduced water use by 32 percent by installing low-flow plumbing fixtures;

-- Reduced energy use by 21 percent by installing high efficiency lighting;

-- Purchased renewable energy credits for 50 percent of the electricity it uses;

-- 95 percent of the construction debris resulting from the remodeling was not landfilled;

-- Glass walls in outer offices allow natural light into interior office spaces reducing lighting costs;

-- Purchased Energy Star-compliant computer equipment;

-- Vending machines have occupancy sensors to reduce lighting or functions when no one is in the office; and

-- Reused and refurbished office equipment from the old office space for use in the new one.

Accepting the Sustainability Award for Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox were attorney Brenda Gotanda and Office Manager John Kirk.

Click Here to watch a video of the Award presentation.

For more information, visit the PA Bar Association Environmental and Energy Law Section webpage.


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