Plenary and Keynote Speakers

Opening Speaker: Wednesday, October 23rd
Partner and Labor & Employment Attorney, Seyfarth Shaw LLP Chicago IL

Mark Lies specializes in occupational safety and health law, as well as employment discrimination law and personal injury litigation. He represents employers in Federal and State court and before regulatory agencies, specializes in preventing and managing workplace violence. In his OSHA practice, he represents employers in OSHA inspections as well as subsequent OSHA enforcement proceedings. He also counsels employers in developing compliant occupational safety and health programs.

In his employment law practice, he represents employers in defending discrimination complaints under Federal and State employment discrimination laws before regulatory agencies and in court.

He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (1968), and DePaul University School of Law (1974). He was a Commissioned Officer in the United States Naval Reserve from 1968-1974 and is a Vietnam Veteran. He is a frequent author of topical articles on OSHA and employment law related legal issues and a speaker to Professional Associations and Educational Organizations.

Keynote Luncheon Speaker: Wednesday, October 23rd
Research Environmental Engineer

Dr. Victor Medina, P.E., is a Research Environmental Engineer at the Environmental Laboratory of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, located at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Victor is a GS15 level researcher and an established expert in military environmental issues.

He is the Research Team Leader for the Water and Environmental Security Engineering Team (WESET) focused on solving water and environmental problems for the army, other military arms, and Civil issues of Corps of Engineers, and as such, we have a remarkably diverse portfolio of projects. This includes development and testing of mobile water/wastewater treatment projects for military applications, such as chemical/ radiological decontamination wash water and PFAS contaminated water, predictive tools of Toxic Industrial Chemicals for military operations, development of waterless decontamination, and cleanup and remediation of military contaminants. Victor is also the water lead for the new Army Installation Energy and Water Planning, a program designed to increase water resiliency for military installations.

Victor has won several awards including the 2019 ERDC Team of the Year award for Decontamination Effluent Treatment and Excellence in Technology Transfer from the Southeastern Federal Laboratory Consortium.  Medina also holds 4 patents including 2 for the development of novel water treatment membranes made of a graphemes oxide composite.

Keynote Luncheon Speaker: Thursday, October 24th
Wisconsin DNR Secretary-Designee

Secretary Cole had been a member of the Natural Resources Board since 2007, first appointed by Governor Jim Doyle and then re-appointed for another six-year term by Governor Scott Walker in 2013. Secretary Cole served as NRB chair from 2013-14, where he put an emphasis on making board meetings open for citizens to see online.

Previously, Secretary Cole worked in a government setting as a parks superintendent for the city of St. Louis and a resource forester for the Missouri Department of Conservation. He also served as operations chief for the Milwaukee Department of Public Works and earlier the city forester. Most recently, Secretary Cole was the commissioner of the Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services.

Secretary Cole was a proud member of Future Farmers of America in high school and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Science degree in forest management. He supports traditional conservation activities and environmental protection as well as connecting nontraditional audiences with opportunities to get outdoors. Raised on 15 acres in southwestern Michigan, Secretary Cole hunts ducks, geese and pheasants, and enjoys hiking the state park system with his wife, Laura.