Executive Director

Timothy Male

I’m Tim.  Son of an Army veteran-turned-engineer who never went to college and a hospice nurse who put herself through college after getting me through it. Four brothers. Yale University. Science PhD. German Marshall Memorial Fellow. Former staff at White House CEQ. Former elected city official who led passage of the first 16 years and upvoting age in America. Thirteen years at conservation non-profits and convinced there are new and more effective ways to help save the planet. I’m a practical optimist, an ENFP on the Myers Briggs test, and always willing to help if you ask or just cheer you on.

Tim founded the Environmental Policy Innovation Center in 2017.  Prior to launching this startup, he served as an Associate Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Vice President for Conservation Policy at Defenders of Wildlife, Director at National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Co-Director of agriculture policy at Environmental Defense Fund.  He holds degrees in science from Yale University and the University of Hawaii.  His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Science magazine and a diversity of peer-reviewed journals. He has received a Marshall Memorial Fellowship and AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship (declined).  He also ran for office and won, serving three terms as a city councilmember and leading the successful effort for that city to become the first in the country to lower its voting age to 16.


Director for Biodiversity

Ya-Wei (Jake) Li

I’m Jake. A childhood menagerie of pet snakes, turtles, and fish led me to wildlife conservation. Law degree from Cornell, where I moonlighted in conservation biology and herpetology. Represented the regulated community as an environmental lawyer, then grew the endangered species policy program at a major nonprofit, Defenders of Wildlife. Over a decade later, after sitting on both sides of the table, I’m convinced there are much better ways to engage the public and the private sector at saving endangered species.

Jake specializes in endangered species law, policy, and science. He leads the Innovation Center’s biodiversity program, which focuses on developing innovative strategies to conserve imperiled species. This work includes nearly every aspect of the Endangered Species Act, especially consultations, recovery planning, and funding.

Jake’s approach emphasizes the use of data science to yield evidence-based approaches to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the Act and other wildlife conservation programs. He then uses this knowledge to develop pragmatic, innovative solutions for wildlife and the regulated community. He works closely with other conservation organizations, federal and state agencies, scientists, congressional offices, and the regulated community to find novel solutions to complex or contentious endangered species issues.

From 2010 - 2018, Jake held various positions at Defenders of Wildlife, including as Vice President of Endangered Species Conservation and the Director of the Center for Conservation Innovation. In those roles, Jake oversaw the organization’s endangered species innovation, geographic information system, and science programs. Before joining Defenders, Jake practiced environmental law at Latham & Watkins, LLP. There, he worked on regulatory counseling and litigation relating to endangered species, air and water contaminants, pesticides, chemical regulation, environmental assessments, and renewable energy.

Jake holds a B.S. from Drexel University and a J.D. from Cornell University Law School. At Cornell, Jake also completed graduate coursework in conservation biology and herpetology. He is licensed to practice law in D.C.

Phoebe Higgins headshot-web

Director of Markets

Phoebe Higgins

I’m Phoebe. I grew up in Montana where I fell in love with mountains, nature and winter. A passion for social justice led me to community organizing in Minneapolis and San Francisco, and an MBA in social entrepreneurship. Combining my interests in food systems and finance I ran a loan program for commercial fishermen engaged in sustainable fishing at EDF. I’m fired up to expand conservation and social prosperity through work on markets and finance. I’m a travel and language enthusiast, and after time in Italy, I learned how to make more than 20 styles of Italian pasta by hand.

Phoebe joined Environmental Policy Innovation Center after nearly 10 years at Environmental Defense Fund, where she directed the California Fisheries Fund, an award-winning $3.5-million revolving loan fund financing sustainable commercial fishing on the US West Coast. Her work focused on lending to commercial fishing operations to improve their business efficiency while reducing environmental impact, as well as financing California’s first fishing quota banks. Phoebe also worked on sustainable fisheries finance strategy together with teams in Mexico, Chile, the Philippines and South Pacific Islands. She has served as an impact advisor to entrepreneurs participating in seafood business plan competitions.

Prior to EDF, Phoebe was the Sustainable Programs Director at a community bank in Oakland, California. She holds a BA in Russian Studies from Carleton College and a Green MBA in Sustainable Entrepreneurship from Dominican University of California.



Bartlett Durand

Bartlett is a lawyer, son of a lawyer, grandson of a professor and a cotton baron, and great-grandson of a Saint. Through extensive training in law, aikido, mediation, buddhism, and cooperative business, Bartlett has developed a specialized skill set in finding and resolving knotty problems through shared exploration of common goals. He gained brief national attention as “The Zen Butcher,” through the development of a farmer-focused organic meat processor in Wisconsin. He works with EPIC through the Sand County Foundation, on our collaboration to expand partnerships between producers and towns in the Midwest to achieve water quality goals.  

Bartlett joins the Environmental Policy Innovation Center to facilitate agreements that allow municipalities and utilities to achieve water quality goals by working with farmers and agriculture groups on a watershed basis.  Working through the Sand County Foundation in collaboration with EPIC, Bartlett’s work is focused on developing documents that local government and state agencies can use to reach agreements that create enough certainty for cities to invest and sufficient clarity for regulators that water quality goals will be met in the future.  Bartlett is a creative attorney and businessman with over twenty years of high level achievements. His professional background encompasses a broad range of practical legal experience, including academic research, complex litigation, mediation, transactional work and extensive contract work focused on business outcomes. He has started three successful businesses: an artisanal farm-based cheese line from his family’s dairy; a USDA-inspected meat processing business; and a retail butcher shop, The Conscious Carnivore. 

Sri headshot

Director of Water

Sridhar Vedachalam

I’m Sri.  I grew up in India and left work as a construction engineer to come to the US for graduate studies in engineering. A chance encounter with an environmental activist on a trip back home and volunteering at an on-campus international NGO led me to environmental studies and then a career in water policy and governance. A decade later, I am still convinced that solving water challenges requires using interdisciplinary scientific approaches, people skills, and collaboration to deliver better access to safer water and a healthier environment.

Dr. Sridhar Vedachalam leads the water program at the Environmental Policy Innovation Center. His work has addressed national water issues such as affordability, aging infrastructure, extreme weather impacts, financing, and non-point source pollution.  Dr. Vedachalam’s work is often cited by national, state, and local policymakers. Dr. Vedachalam is also the Editor for Urban Water at the Global Water Forum, a resource for evidence-based, accessible, and open-access articles on freshwater governance. He brings water policy experience from his years in academia, government, and the non-profit sector. He holds a PhD from The Ohio State University.


Deputy Director of Water

Maureen Cunningham

I’m Maureen. After working and studying around the world, I’m back where I started: upstate New York. A graduate of the Yale School of the Environment and American University and a local elected official, I’m focused on helping organizations grow and communities participate in the pursuit of greater social and environmental justice. I believe that water should be clean, accessible and affordable, and I’m committed to creating the partnerships, policies, and creative solutions to make that happen. For me, it starts with the water I dream about - beautiful Adirondack lakes and the mighty Hudson River - and ends with clean water for all.

With a background in community-based natural resource policy and management, Maureen joined Environmental Policy Innovation Center in 2020. Prior to this, she served as Senior Director for Clean Water at Environmental Advocates NY, where she championed statewide clean water legislation and policies. Maureen also served as Executive Director of the Hudson River Watershed Alliance for several years, strengthening the capacity of dozens of grassroots groups and municipalities to protect their streams and water resources. Before moving back to New York, she worked for Rare in Washington, DC, where she led international initiatives linking community-based ecotourism projects and social marketing strategies to conservation.

Maureen holds a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of the Environment and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from The American University School of International Service. Based in Upstate New York with her husband and two sons, Maureen serves as an elected Town Councilmember in her town of 35,000 outside of Albany. She also serves as a Board Member for SEE Turtles, a globally-focused organization to protect endangered sea turtles through ecotourism, and a founding Board Member of El Triunfo Conservation Foundation, an NGO supporting biodiversity conservation in El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve in Chiapas, Mexico.


Senior Advisor for Water

Katy Hansen

I’m Katy. I love water. I grew up swimming in the lakes and skiing in the mountains around Bozeman, Montana. My commitment to improving equity in local service provision motivated me to traverse disciplines and more distant lands. After studying engineering and economics as an undergrad, I worked on water and sanitation projects in Kenya, Israel, and South Africa. I’m wrapping up my PhD in Environmental Policy and excited to tackle water equity issues in the United States.

Katy works to improve equity in local public service provision. As a Senior Advisor for Water at EPIC, she focuses on the allocation of federal financial assistance for water and wastewater infrastructure. She is completing her PhD in Environmental Policy at Duke University. Her dissertation traces how political, economic, and bureaucratic constraints produce wide variation in local public service provision. At Duke, Katy led projects to digitize over 500 maps of water service areas for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and improve access to sanitation in rural Alabama with the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice. She also worked at the Environmental Finance Center at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Prior to her PhD, Katy worked at the Association for Water and Rural Development in South Africa and the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel on transboundary water management projects. She holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Montana State University and a MSc in Water Science, Policy, and Management from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.


Conservation & Environmental Markets Fellow

Kavita Kapur Macleod

I’m Kavita. I developed a love for the outdoors and protected places through a childhood spent around the mountains and coasts of New England. My degrees (and my Red Sox allegiance) come from Boston, studying international development and environmental economics. I have worked across environmental sectors: endangered species conservation, pollution prevention and regulation, water economics and regulation, and forestry conservation and policy. I focus on all things related to data tech and economics and how they can speed the pace and efficacy of conservation. Swimmer.  Sailor.  I love the ocean and jump in whenever I can.  I can't be around horses enough.

Kavita has over a decade of environmental consulting experience conducting analysis around environmental policy issues and integrating economic, scientific, and policy considerations for public, private, and NGO institutions both domestically and internationally. Kavita has managed and conducted regulatory, economic, and technical analysis and support for a variety of clients, including the World Bank, the Jane Goodall Foundation, the US EPA, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the US Coast Guard. Kavita holds a BA in International Relations/Minor in Art History from Tufts University and an MPP from Harvard University, where she studied environmental economics, science, and policy.

Joya Banerjee

Senior Advisor for Water

Joya Banerjee

Joya provides strategic counsel to social change leaders and organizations, with a particular focus on breaking down silos, building field capacity, and developing new partnerships. Joya led the Environment Program at the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation where she developed a ten-year grantmaking portfolio designed to advance a more sustainable, equitable water system that can meet the needs of people and nature and adapt to the stressors of climate change. She is also a Senior Fellow with the US Water Alliance.

Before her work in philanthropy, Joya was an attorney at Latham & Watkins and worked for the City of New York. She is a board member for the newly formed state California Water Data Consortium, the San Francisco-based 826 Valencia, and the Center for Diversity and the Environment. Joya also serves on the OpenET and Stanford Water in the West advisory boards. Joya enjoys climbing trees and building driftwood forts with her two boys.

Advisory Board

The Innovation Center is privileged to have the expertise and support of our Advisory Board, made up of individuals with enormous and diverse expertise in conservation, finance, business, and law.

Adam Davis

Adam serves as managing partner of Ecosystem Investment Partners and has over thirty years experience in owning and running businesses that align economic incentives with environmental outcomes.  He has focused specifically on mechanisms that enable land-based offsets and the financial value of natural systems since the late 1990s and is one of the national leaders in this investment space.

Cristina Mormorunni

Cristina Mormorunni

Cristina is the founder and managing director of TERRAMAR consulting group. She has worked in the non-profit arena for over twenty years and has developed and led numerous conservation campaigns for international and national NGOs. She also has extensive experience designing and evaluating investment strategies for philanthropic organizations and family foundations.



Leigh Whelpton

Leigh leads the Conservation Finance Network’s (CFN) effort to expand the use of innovative funding and financing strategies. Leigh has spearheaded the development of new trainings and workshops supporting a growing number of public, private, and nonprofit professionals focused on conservation finance.

Brenda web

Brenda Mallory

Brenda is the Executive Director and Senior Counsel for the Conservation Litigation Project, a project created to protect the environmental and conservation values on public lands.  During the Obama Administration, Brenda served as the General Counsel for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She also previously served as Acting General Counsel and the Principal Deputy General Counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as a director at an environmental law firm.

Steve Quarles

Steve is a Partner at Nossaman LLP specializing on federal wildlife law, including the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Steve has served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, as Deputy Under Secretary of the Department of the Interior, and represented the Ford Foundation in Brazil.

Kevin McAleese

Kevin McAleese

Kevin is President of the Sand County Foundation, an entrepreneurial non-profit supporting voluntary conservation on working lands through ethics, science, and incentives. He led a 10-year program to enhance regeneration of eastern forests and founded the Cooperative Sagebrush Initiative.


Egorov, Olya - Headshot

I'm Michael, a Water Communications Fellow at EPIC. I'm also the COO and co-founder of an environmentally focused tech start-up, Aabix Corporation, based out of Ithaca, NY. Additionally, I also work as a community manager and digital organizer for agencies based out of Denver and Washington, DC. Prior to working in community organizing and business, I worked as a project manager in the disaster recovery field, focusing on the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. It was through my work in disaster recovery that I gained an initial interest in environmental policy. I am a graduate of LSU with a BA in History.

I’m Hannah, a Spring intern with EPIC. I am currently a junior at Cornell University participating in the Cornell in Washington program. I am a Environment and Sustainability major with minors in Public Policy, Climate Change, and Community Food Systems. Through my coursework and my participation in the Alternative Spring Breaks program on campus, I developed a keen interest in the intersection of sustainable agricultural systems and environmental policies within the United States food system. I look forward to applying this background to support EPIC's environmental conservation work in the upcoming weeks! After graduation, I plan to continue working in this field by attending graduate school for environmental policy and management.

I am Alex, Water Policy Intern at EPIC working with the Sandy County Foundation. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor of Arts degree in economics at the University of California, Davis. While studying economics, I have worked as research assistant on a project in the Philippines that focused on measuring the effects on poverty by increasing the flow of information. I have also worked as a tutor for the economics department specializing in upper division microeconomics courses. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career that focuses on
economic development that is environmentally sustainable.

I am Olya, Water Policy Intern for Spring 2021 at EPIC. I am a sophomore at the University of California, Davis. I am a Political Science - Public Service major and an Environmental Policy, Analysis, and Planning minor. After graduation, I plan on attending law school to study environmental law. I developed an interest in environmental law after taking a few environmental policy-oriented courses at my university. I look forward to exploring different means of encouraging the private sector to participate in conservation, as well as researching modern technology that seeks to improve water conditions across the country.

I'm Mengna, a Water Policy Intern at EPIC. I'm currently a fourth year student at the University of California, Davis studying Political Science - Public Service and Statistics. Having grown up in California where the water debate is so controversial, I began developing an interest in ways to maintain water quality and allow for the accessibility of clean water. I look forward to exploring different methods for evaluating policies and developing solutions for providing clean, affordable water to underserved communities.

I'm Jessie, Water Policy Fellow at EPIC. My master's in environmental policy and engineering led to projects that have spanned regional planning for wetlands restoration, urban planning for climate change resilience, water quality and access in refugee camps and large-scale watershed evaluations and monitoring through satellite imagery. When I'm not sitting at a computer thinking about water, you can find me swimming (or ice skating!) in the lake I live nearby in Massachusetts, or bouldering in the woods nearby.

Govind Sawhney

I am Govind S. Sawhney, a third-year economics major at University of California, Riverside. I will be working as a Water Policy Intern for EPIC in spring 2021. I plan to use economic principles to tackle the water quality and infrastructure problems. After graduating, unless I decide to pursue graduate school for economics, I plan to work in a finance-economics based role where I can use my knowledge to better assist and educate other people.

I’m Xixi, a Water Policy Intern at EPIC for Spring 2021. I am currently a third-year at UC San Diego majoring in Political Science – Data Analytics and minoring in Economics and Chinese Studies. A research opportunity with a Ph.D. student on deforestation in Brazil sparked my interest in environmental research and policy analysis, and I wanted to continue to pursue these topics at EPIC. I’m especially passionate about data analysis and machine learning which I wish to apply when researching different topics on water policy.

I’m Bailey, a Conservation Markets intern at EPIC. I’m a senior working towards a BA in history at the University of California, Santa Cruz. UCSC’s beautiful campus helped me cultivate a love for nature and the outdoors. To complement my history studies, I’ve also taken several courses on environmental science and policy and helped campaign to put a conservation scholar on the Santa Cruz City Council. I look forward to researching the history of environmental issues and legislation and exploring the interplay between economic incentives and conservation outcomes.


People who have helped grow our organization. 

Christopher Berven
Former Water Policy Fellow (Winter 2021)

Randall Dobkin
Former Water Policy Intern (Winter 2021)

Aaron Dickinson
Former Research Fellow (Fall 2020)

Benji Weaver
Former Conservation Markets Intern (Fall 2020)

William Nicholas
Former Water Data Fellow (Summer 2020)

Angus McLean
Former Endangered Species Data & Policy Fellow (Summer 2019)

Teresa Gonzalez
Former Water Policy Intern (Summer 2020)

Hunter Sapienza
Former Endangered Species Science & Policy Intern (Winter 2021)

Pranav Moudgalya
Former Water Policy Intern (Winter 2021)

Roxana Lagunas
Former Conservation Markets Intern (Winter 2021)

Angie Gutierrez
Former Web & Digital Media Fellow (Fall 2020)

Coral Richardson
Former Water Policy Intern (Fall 2020)

Matt Kirchoff
Former Water Policy Fellow (Summer 2019)

Ruby Stanmeyer
Former Chesapeake Conservation Finance Fellow (Summer 2020)