Rob brings a career’s worth of environmental, climate, and energy expertise to advance clean energy solutions for Pennsylvania. As Senior Director for Energy and Climate, he analyzes and provides expert comments and testimony on legislation and regulations. He works with regulatory agencies and clean energy industry experts on climate and energy issues across the Commonwealth. Rob speaks extensively throughout Pennsylvania to students, community groups, and other organizations on climate and energy issues.
Rob has also provided testimony to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the White House and co-authored a chapter on federal climate policy in the 2nd edition of the book "Climate Change and US Law".
Rob previously spent nearly 22 years with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). He calculated and predicted emissions from factories, vehicles, and off-road equipment. That led to predicting concentrations of air pollutants for the Bureau of Air Quality using computer models. For several years, Rob was the primary forecaster for southcentral and Lehigh valley regions of Pennsylvania, deciding if days meet the parameters for air quality action days. He served as an executive policy specialist in DEP’s policy office advising the governor’s office and department executive staff on a variety of environmental and public health issues.
While working for DEP, Rob attended Widener Commonwealth Law School in the evenings. He graduated cum laude, earned certificates in both environmental law and administrative/constitutional law through Widener’s Law and Government Institute. He is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania.
Rob worked in software development and systems administration. While serving in the U.S. Army Reserve, he commanded a combat engineer company and earned the U.S. Army Parachutist Badge jumping out of airplanes.
Rob is an avid hiker, serving on the board of directors of the Keystone Trails Association; he volunteers as a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol—the US Air Force auxiliary; and he is also a certified scuba diver who has dived on shipwrecks in the Atlantic. Traveling extensively with his wife, Juliet, they are sure to get a few hikes in during their journeys.
Jay manages PennFuture's internal operations, implementing and overseeing the administrative, human resources, institutional, and financial functions of the organization. He works closely with the President/CEO and the Vice-President/Chief of Staff as well as the Board of Directors to ensure that PennFuture’s operations are efficient and effective.
Jay earned a M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.A. in political science from SUNY Buffalo. Prior to assuming his current role, Jay served for many years as PennFuture’s Director of Outreach. He started his career as a professor at Temple University and, before joining PennFuture, worked with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) directing legislative advocacy programs, political mobilization campaigns, and fundraising efforts for its Pennsylvania state affiliate.
As a world traveler, Jay camped in the Sahara, paddled the Ganges, hiked in Europe, trekked in Asia, got lost in the Middle-East, and wandered in South America, taking note of the human impact on the planet throughout his journeys.
Emma is a Staff Attorney in PennFuture’s Philadelphia office.
Emma’s work in Philadelphia focuses on water and water quality issues in Philadelphia and throughout the Delaware River Basin. Prior to joining PennFuture, Emma was an Associate Attorney at Spiegel & McDiarmid, LLP in Washington, D.C., where she worked on a wide range of energy issues in the public interest, including clean energy policy research and ensuring fairness to ratepayers across the country.
Emma received her B.A. in Geology from Mount Holyoke College, and graduated from Georgetown University. Originally from northern Vermont, Emma spent years visiting family in the Philadelphia region, and enjoys exploring Pennsylvania by cycling, hiking, and kayaking.
M. Travis DiNicola is a champion of mission-based nonprofits. Originally from Pennsylvania, most of his professional career has taken place in Indianapolis, where he served as the executive director of Indy Reads, an adult literacy organization, and the founder of Indy Reads Books, a nonprofit bookstore and community arts center.
He was also the co-host and producer of The Art of the Matter, a weekly arts talk show on WFYI public radio in Indianapolis, where he broadcast more than 2,000 interviews with artists, writers, and performers. Most recently, he served as the director of development for the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.
In addition, DiNicola has served on a number of nonprofit boards and committees. He is currently on the board of the Art Association of Harrisburg, Theatre Harrisburg’s Arts Awards Committee, the advisory board of WITF, and a member of the Harrisburg Rotary. He graduated from the Leadership Harrisburg’s Executive Leadership Series and previously served on the board of the Mount Gretna School of Art.
DiNicola received both his B.A. in Theatre with a dance minor and an M.S. in Art Education from Penn State. While at Penn State, he was recognized in 1996 for the Best Graduate Research in the Arts & Humanities for creating the original website for the Palmer Museum of Art. He and his wife, Michelle, like to kayak on the Susquehanna, where he fishes while she takes photographs. They have seven cats.
Karen has been a community advocate for 30+ years. She has a steady and undeniable reputation for working to improve the quality of life for youth, neighbors and seniors.
Prior to working for PennFuture, Karen was a candidate for State Representative, a Committeeperson and the former District Office Director for retired PA State Representative James Roebuck. It was through these roles that she gained her skill and knowledge of building relationships between political officials and bridging the gap between community organizations and residents of Philadelphia.
Karen is most fond of her work around organization and coordinating student mentorship programs within the public school system of Philadelphia, being a Board Member and volunteer with the senior advocacy group Helping Hands Ministry, Inc., campaign and event coordination with The Friends of Jim Roebuck, being an Infant Mortality Review Team Member for the Philadelphia Morgue, being a Board Member and Volunteer for the former West Philadelphia Childcare Networks and being on the Board of Managers, Executive Producer, and Co-Host and Community News Producer of a community news radio show called The Shed Kitchen.
Karen is a graduate of Temple University and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications.
She enjoys experiencing the creative and performing arts with her family.
Emily is PennFuture's Director of Civic Engagement. In this role, Emily is helping to create a new non-partisan voter registration program for PennFuture, which will be active in the counties of Monroe, Northampton, Lehigh, Dauphin, York, Lancaster, and Luzerne.
Before joining PennFuture, Emily worked for STEP Inc. as Program Manager for STEP AmeriCorps, a national service program. During her time there, she helped create new partnerships within the community and managed state and federal policies and procedures regarding the AmeriCorps program.
She’s been a candidate for elected office and for a number of years managed field operations for the last U.S. Census in 13 north-central Pennsylvania counties. Emily is an active member of the Williamsport Junior League, a board member at the Community Theatre League, Chair of the Outreach Committee and Co-Organizer for TedX Williamsport.
Emily believes that every person has a voice. Her mission is to help underserved populations take a stand for themselves, their neighborhoods, their communities, and their environment. One voice, one choice begins change. Be that change.
Tim Hayes is the Upper Bucks County Field Coordinator for PennFuture. He earned a bachelor's degree in History with a minor in Criminal Justice from Temple University, and he is currently pursuing his masters degree in Public Administration at West Chester University.
Tim previously served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard for six years as a Fire Control Specialist. He has volunteered and interned for numerous political campaigns on the local, county, state and national level. Tim currently serves on his community's borough council, and he is passionate about advocating for social equity and sustainability opportunities for people across the Commonwealth.
Tim was born and raised in Bucks County, and he likes to visit its various parks and hiking trails, as well as trying new restaurants, exercising, and watching the Eagles.
Miah Hornyak is the Lower Bucks County Field Coordinator with PennFuture. She has lived in Pennsylvania her whole life and has long been an advocate for environmental justice and public health.
Prior to joining the PennFuture team, Miah worked on a congressional campaign and for a variety of nonprofits. She received a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy from Lehigh University as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh.
In her free time, Miah enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, and playing with her dog.
Abby is Vice President of Legal and Policy at PennFuture. As Vice President, Abby is responsible for integrating PennFuture's legal, regulatory, and policy activities in furtherance of the organization's mission of protecting Pennsylvania's air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations.
In her role as an attorney based out of PennFuture's Poconos office, her work focuses on water quality and watershed protection, special protection waters, and stormwater management. Abby also works on the issues related to the petrochemical and fracking industries that are threatening the health of Pennsylvania's people and environment.
Prior to joining PennFuture, Abby was a Staff Attorney at Riverkeeper, where her work focused on civil litigation and administrative enforcement actions targeted at safeguarding the water quality and ecological integrity of the Hudson River and its tributaries. Before that, Abby worked as an environmental attorney in New York City and Cheyenne, Wyoming. She has written about and presented on a variety of environmental issues including the regulation and legal challenges of Marcellus Shale development in New York, energy leases for private property owners in Western States, and the Superfund cleanup of the Hudson River.
Abby earned a B.A. from Cornell University, where she was a member of the nationally-ranked Division I Women’s Lacrosse team. She received her J.D. and Certificate of Environmental Law from Pace University School of Law, cum laude, being presented with the prestigious Henry M. Feldschuh Environmental Law Award upon graduation for her leadership in and dedication to environmental law.
Abby is on the Editorial Board for the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Natural Resources & Environment publication. She is a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program (Eastern Regional Network, 2020) and a 2012 graduate of the New York City Environmental Law Leadership Institute (NYCELLI).
When not working to protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources, Abby enjoys being outdoors and exploring them with her family.
Angela is a Staff Attorney in PennFuture’s Pittsburgh office.
As Staff Attorney, Angela works on improving air quality in Western Pennsylvania and challenging the petrochemical and fracking industries. Prior to joining PennFuture, Angela was an Associate Attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charleston, South Carolina, where her work focused on litigation and advocacy targeting regional environmental issues such as coastal resilience, protection of wetlands, and offshore drilling. Before that, Angela worked as an environmental attorney in Pittsburgh and clerked in Baltimore for the Honorable William D. Quarles, Jr., U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Maryland.
Angela received her B.A. from the College of William and Mary and graduated magna cum laude from the George Washington University Law School. Originally from Pittsburgh, Angela enjoys hiking and kayaking in Pennsylvania’s great outdoors.
As the Campaign Manager for the Delaware River Basin, Donna oversees the work and coordination of PennFuture’s campaigns to advocate for clean water protections within the region. This work includes developing, managing, and leading campaigns that support special protection waters and Pennsylvania’s stream redesignation process.
Donna also represents PennFuture as the State Lead for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed in Pennsylvania by convening partners to work on watershed issues.
Previously, Donna served as the Upper Bucks Field Coordinator for the Field Team, which is part of PennFuture’s strategic partnership with Conservation Voters of PA. In that role, she engaged with the community to identify and mobilize around local environmental issues.
Donna holds a B.A. in Political Science and Writing from Moravian College and a M.A. in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College, where she focused her studies on the history of social movements.
Inspired by her academic studies to become an intentional agent of social and environmental justice, Donna completed two terms of service with the Student Conservation Association in Utah and California, one term with the California Conservation Corps in that backcountry of Yosemite National Park, and served for one year as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Winooski, Vermont, supporting the local refugee resettlement program for New Americans.
She also spent fifteen years in the outdoor recreation and environmental education industries, immersed in the waterways of the Delaware River Watershed.
Donna has been an active volunteer for the Sierra Club and PennFuture in the Lehigh Valley. Her perspective as a volunteer and her love of service deeply informs her advocacy. As a Campaign Manager, she will continue to work towards a more equitable and sustainable Pennsylvania.
In her spare time, Donna gets her kicks whitewater kayaking, backpacking, knitting, and reading dystopian literature.
As a Campaign Manager at PennFuture, Michael oversees the work and coordination of PennFuture's campaigns to advocate for clean water protections within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This work includes developing, managing, and leading the Choose Clean Water Coalition that advocates critical clean water policy and funding.
Previously, Michael served as Field Manager PennFuture, working with citizens to play a more active role in conservation policy. He recruited, trained, and managed volunteers in southcentral Pennsylvania to advocate for environmental issues. He also developed and fostered relationships with watershed and conservation organizations.
Prior to joining PennFuture, Michael was a Field Organizer with For Our Future, where he recruited, trained, and managed a team of canvassers in Dauphin, York, and Cumberland counties.
Michael has a bachelor's degree in political science from Lock Haven University. While at Lock Haven University, he was Vice President of his environmental club, Speaker of his student government’s senate, and interned at the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.
Michael enjoys playing and watching soccer, fiddling with computers, listening to podcasts, biking on trails, and all things Star Wars.
Adam is the Campaign Manager for clean water and climate advocacy in the Philadelphia office. In this role he also manages the Keep Philly Green + Water Clean campaign and issues related to the development of a green economy in Philadelphia.
Prior to joining PennFuture, Adam served in various roles for Pennsylvania state Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, most recently as his Chief of Staff. As a consultant, he has supported nonprofit organizations and political campaigns through strategic planning, communications campaigns, and events. Adam has worked to engage communities to better understand their needs and help promote change.
Adam holds a B.A. in Print Journalism and History from Hofstra University. He also holds a M.A. in European History from the University of Rochester.
A native of Ontario, New York, Adam enjoys walking through Philadelphia, Yankees baseball, board games, and spending quality time with his fiancée and stepson.
Serving as the Lehigh Valley Field Coordinator, Maria is responsible for identifying, engaging, and mobilizing a strong base within the community to bring about change and awareness on environmental issues. In recruiting, training, and managing volunteers we will bring about a more energy efficient and sustainable Lehigh Valley.
Maria completed her undergraduate degree at DeSales University in Political Science and then went on to complete her Master’s Degree in Political Science and Public Policy at Lehigh University. After college, Maria utilized her degree as a Field Organizer for several high-profile local and national campaigns, where Maria gained valuable insight and first-hand experience of the political system, and how to mobilize and inspire a community to help her candidate achieve success. In the last several months, Maria began to transition out of the campaign world into government work and served as a census field manager for the U.S. Federal Census Bureau.
Maria attributes a good deal of her achievements to the educational foundation she received during her time at DeSales. However, it was the support Maria received from her mentors and professors that has inspired her most meaningful work as an adjunct professor at Northampton Community College and a volunteer catechist at Sacred Heart Regional Church. It has become Maria’s lifelong mission to improve and better the lives of others and inspire them to pursue their own goals. Whether that be through environmental awareness, education, policy, or politics, Maria truly believe that is her calling.
In her spare time Maria enjoys running, hiking, boxing, reading, and watching documentaries.
Jessica is a Senior Attorney at PennFuture. Jessica is based out of Philadelphia, and her work focuses on water quality and watershed protection as well as the creation and protection of green space for all. Jessica also works on issues related to the petrochemical and fracking industries that threaten our health and environment across Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining PennFuture, Jessica was an Assistant United States Attorney with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. She also worked as an environmental lawyer in private practice, where she primarily focused on clean water issues, and as an Assistant Regional Counsel for the Environmental Protection Agency in its Mid-Atlantic office, bringing administrative enforcement actions under federal hazardous waste and toxic chemical regulations. In 2010, she served as an assistant counsel to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. Jessica clerked for the Honorable Louis H. Pollak on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Honorable Robert B. Kugler on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Jessica has an undergraduate degree in environmental studies from Brown University and graduated magna cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center. Jessica enjoys hiking, spending time in her community garden, and exploring Philadelphia’s many urban parks with her children.
Annie currently serves as the Campaign Coordinator for the ReImagine Appalachia campaign, a coalition with groups from West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to create a blueprint to reduce greenhouse gases via the creation of good paying union jobs. She also works as the state lead for the Climate Action Campaign, a coalition of national climate, conservation, and progressive groups, state and local partners, and key allies working to protect clean air and promote action to limit climate change.
Annie previously worked as PennFuture’s Western PA Outreach Coordinator, working with the Breathe Project to reduce air pollution in the region. Her work involved community and coalition outreach around stormwater management, renewable energy, environmental enforcement, and sound environmental policy.
Prior to joining PennFuture, Annie was a policy intern for American Forests and the environmental legislative intern for the office of Senator Robert Casey, Jr.
She earned an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree from American University (AU), majoring in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government (CLEG) with a minor in Spanish.
Annie, a Pittsburgh native, enjoys hiking, reading, and embroidery in her spare time.
Based in Philadelphia, Matthew oversees all internal operations and programs to ensure that PennFuture is advancing the organization’s mission and strategic plan. He is a spokesperson for the organization and assists the president and CEO on all matters, including fundraising, public policy, advocacy, key relationships, external communications, and partnerships. Stepp leads and manages PennFuture’s senior staff on issues of strategy, coordination, and execution and previously served as PennFuture's Director of Policy.
Prior to joining PennFuture, Matthew served as the director of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation’s Center for Clean Energy Innovation (CCEI) in Washington, D.C., where he managed and directed high-profile energy and climate policy initiatives at the state, national, and international level. He has testified before Congress and his work has appeared in numerous national and state news and media outlets.
Matthew was also a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Fellow at the National Academies of Science, where he worked with the Transportation Research Board to analyze light duty vehicle energy reduction policy strategies. He also served as fellow at the Breakthrough Institute, where he focused on clean energy innovation policy opportunities, and participated in the inaugural Millennial Trains Project.
Matthew holds a B.Sc. in Meteorology from Millersville University as well as a M.Sc. in Science, Technology, and Public Policy from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is a professional member of the American Meteorological Society.
Matthew was born and raised in Philadelphia and is an avid home brewer, amateur genealogist, and sports geek. His favorite band of all time is Pearl Jam.
Based in PennFuture’s Harrisburg office, Ezra Thrush leads and develops the organization's policy initiatives and is its liaison with elected officials in both Harrisburg and Washington D.C. In this role, Ezra manages all legislative and executive branch relationships as well as public policy decisions and processes for PennFuture.
As a member of the senior leadership team, Thrush serves as PennFuture’s chief lobbyist and external voice on policy positions, strategy, and relationships with decision makers at the local, state, and federal levels of government. Ezra also represents PennFuture on the Steering Committee of the Choose Clean Water Coalition.
Prior to serving as Director of Policy, Ezra worked as PennFuture’s Campaign Manager for Watershed Advocacy and state lead for the Choose Clean Water Coalition, where he led high-impact outreach and communications campaigns around clean water issues affecting Pennsylvania’s environment and communities in the Susquehanna and Potomac River basins., Thrush focused on the Commonwealth’s waters, providing oversight and support of Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay plan and the state’s Watershed Implementation Plan. Ezra has worked extensively on state and federal issues, including stormwater management, clean water funding, agriculture, forest retention, the Farm Bill, climate change, and water infrastructure, among others.
Prior to joining PennFuture, Thrush served as the Advocacy and Coalition Coordinator at South Central Community Action Programs, working on criminal justice reform and human services policy issues. He also has served in previous roles in legislative and policy work on state environmental funding, public lands, and the Clean Power Plan, donor development, research and teaching, and program management at the New Birth of Freedom Council of Boy Scouts of America, Shippensburg University, and Sierra Club – Pennsylvania Chapter.
Ezra holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration with concentrations in public policy and nonprofit management in addition to Bachelor’s degrees in History and Political Science from Shippensburg University. He continues to write and speak in academic circles and his interests include stakeholder collaboration and public-private partnerships, collective governance, public participation, and solutions-oriented environmental policy.
Thrush enjoys volunteering as an instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, the National Camping School, and local Boy Scouts camps. He is a proud member of the American Society for Public Administration and Pi Alpha Alpha, the global honor society for public affairs and administration. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association.
Ezra takes extra joy in hiking and traveling with friends in the outdoors, visiting family throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Broadway, Baltimore Orioles baseball, and spending quality time with his nephews.
As the Campaign Manager for Clean Water Advocacy, Jenny oversees PennFuture’s work in the Lake Erie Watershed. She leads the Our Water, Our Future campaign, focused on sound policy solutions to improve water quality and ensure the health of Northwestern PA ecosystems and communities.
Prior to joining PennFuture, Jenny served as the Crawford County Assistant Planning Director of Community Development, where she managed state and federal grant programs, largely focused on the implementation of pandemic relief funds. As an AmeriCorps VISTA, she also built capacity and secured funding to increase supports for rural communities impacted by the opioid epidemic.
Jenny earned a bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College, majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in history. A native of the Finger Lakes Region of NY, she enjoys canoeing, hiking, and spending time with her fiancé and two rescue dogs.
Jude Yardsley (they/them/theirs) is PennFuture’s Administrative Manager, based in Harrisburg. In addition to handling administration and facility management within the Central office, Jude provides support to the President/CEO and Executive Vice President/COS. They also support Human Resources and Development efforts, as well as serving as staff liaison to the Board of Directors.
Prior to joining PennFuture, Jude worked in the Harrisburg hospitality and small business industry for 8 years, where they occupied customer-facing administrative roles and management positions. Jude has been focused on creating equitable and worker-focused business environments in the redeveloped Midtown district, putting down roots, and learning how to be a good neighbor.
Ellen oversees the statewide grant program and works closely with staff to manage our grants process. She also serves as a staff liaison to PennFuture’s board of directors.
Ellen has worked for numerous conservation organizations including the National Wildlife Federation, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, and has held a number of positions with the National Audubon Society. She brings a wealth of experience working for nonprofit conservation organizations and has extensive experience in both development and communications work.
A native of Rochester, New York, she attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and holds a bachelor's degree in Art and Art History from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.