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Maine Commissioners

Paul Mercer
NEIWPCC Executive Committee Member

Paul Mercer is commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. He started his working career as a marine engineer aboard U.S. merchant vessels. Subsequently, as a principal in two successive engineering firms, Mercer applied his expertise to projects in renewables, solid fuels, and biomass energy systems. In 2008, he joined the staff of his alma mater, the Maine Maritime Academy, where he served in multiple roles, including chair of the Engineering Department and assistant to the academy’s president on sustainability and environmental initiatives.

Michael Kuhns
Representative of Paul Mercer at NEIWPCC Executive Committee and Commission Meetings
Michael Kuhns has worked for Maine DEP for over 20 years in many different capacities including directing programs for air quality, water resource regulation, and pollution prevention. Currently, he is the director of Maine DEP’s Bureau of Water Quality, where he manages and develops legislation related to wastewater issues and water quality monitoring. Previously, as an environmental manager in the private sector, Kuhns worked on sustainability initiatives including energy conservation and efficiency projects. Kuhns is a certified professional engineer and energy manager in Maine. He holds an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa as well as B.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Maine and Zoology from Wesleyan University.

Ricker Hamilton

As commissioner of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services, Ricker Hamilton oversees the largest agency in state government. Before his appointment, he served as acting commissioner of DHHS for three months. Previously, he served as deputy commissioner of programs within Maine DHHS for nearly four years. He has more than 40 years of experience managing programs providing service for children and families, substance use disorders, mental health, sexual assault and domestic violence, aging and disability, and acute psychiatric care. He holds a M.S.W. from Boston College, a B.A. from St. Anselm College, and a certification as a Reserve Law Enforcement Officer from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

Nancy Beardsley
Representative of Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner at NEIWPCC Commission Meetings
After previously serving as the director of Maine’s Drinking Water Program, Nancy Beardsley is the director of the Division of Environmental Health at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Before joining the Maine CDC, she worked for the Maine Geological Survey and Maine DEP in various capacities for 10 years. Beardsley is a member of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators and EPA’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council. She received an M.P.A. from the University of Maine at Orono and a B.S. in Geology from Boston University.

Jane Knapp Sexton

Jane Knapp Sexton has a long career of public service in her two areas of interest—the environment and education. She served first as a member of the Saco River Corridor Commission, then as a member of the Maine legislature and its Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. In her professional life, she was a high school biology teacher and head of the science department. She also served three terms (nine years) on her local school committee and is now a member of Maine’s State Board of Education. Sexton received her M.Ed. from the University of Maine and B.A. from Colby College.

David Van Slyke

Since 1991, David Van Slyke has been an environmental lawyer at Preti Flaherty, one of Maine’s largest law firms. Van Slyke chairs Preti Flaherty’s Environmental Practice Group and co-chairs the Climate Strategy Group. His work is primarily focused on compliance counseling, environmental audits, defense of enforcement actions, project permitting, and environmental risk management. Previously, Van Slyke was an environmental lawyer for EPA and participated at the highest level of the agency’s compliance and policymaking efforts as acting associate enforcement counsel for Superfund and deputy associate enforcement counsel for hazardous waste. Van Slyke is a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law and St. Lawrence University.

Brian Tarbuck

Brian Tarbuck has served the Greater Augusta Utility District as general manager since 2007. He is a member of the Maine Board of Licensure of Water System Operators and a former president of the Maine Water Utilities Association. Tarbuck is a graduate of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.