Begin Main Content Area

​​​Executive Staff

Ramez Ziadeh   Acting Executive Deputy Secretary
Ramez Ziadeh, P.E.

Ramez started his career with DEP in January of 1994 in the Southwest Regional Office as a Civil Engineer in the Soils and Waterways Section of the Water Management Program.  Since then, he served as the Permitting and Technical Services Chief in the Watershed Management Program in the Southcentral Region, Chief of the Project Inspection Division in the Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands, Director of the Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands, Executive Deputy Secretary of Programs and Acting Secretary during the last 7 months of Governor Wolf’s term.  Ramez is a licensed professional engineer in the States of Pennsylvania and California.  He received his B.S. degree in civil engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993.

Fernando Trevino   Special Deputy Secretary
Environmental Justice
Fernando Treviño

Fernando Treviño is DEP’s Special Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice. His work focuses on ensuring the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people with the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental policies, regulation, and laws; as well as with respect to the identification of environmental issues that affect the most vulnerable communities.

Fernando has focused his entire career on working with vulnerable and underrepresented communities, advocating for immigrants’ rights, and empowering communities of color to have a voice in the political process and government. He joins DEP after having served as Pennsylvania State Director for NDRC and Pennsylvania Director of Constituency Outreach and Partnerships for For Our Future. He also served as Deputy Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs in Philadelphia, where, among other responsibilities, managed the City’s Language Access Program and acted as the Mayor’s liaison to the Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs, Commission on Asian-American Affairs, and other diverse coalitions.

Fernando graduated from the UANL School of Law in Mexico, and received a postgraduate certification on International and Comparative Law at Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law.

IanHarlow   Deputy Secretary
Ian Harlow

Ian comes to DEP from the Department of Labor and Industry, where he served as the Acting Deputy Secretary for Administration, overseeing the Bureaus of Fiscal Management and Administrative Services, PennSERVE, and the Office of Equal Opportunity. In this role he assured effective delivery of support services for the nearly 4,200 employees and managed the department’s $1.4 billion budget. He also served as the Director of the Bureau of Disability Determination for the department, managing and coordinating the processing of disability applications on behalf of the Social Security Administration. 

Prior to joining the Department of Labor and Industry, Ian held several roles in the Pennsylvania Department of State, including as the Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs, where he initiated and conducted internal reviews of processes and procedures to save more than $1.5 million and thousands of worker hours. He also served as the Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs, where he also improved efficiency and customer service for the end users. 

Ian is a graduate of Duquesne University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree, and has received awards and recognitions, including The National Council of Disability Determination Directors Member of the Year Award and the Pennsylvania Excellence in Technology Award.

Michael Braymer   Chief Counsel
Office of Chief Counsel
Michael A. Braymer

Michael Braymer was appointed Chief Counsel to the Department of Environmental Protection effective December, 2023. Prior to that appointment, Mr. Braymer was the Regional Counsel with the Department of Environmental Protection’s Northwest Regional Office. Mr. Braymer started his Commonwealth Career as a summer law school intern with the Department of Environmental Protection in the summers of 2000 and 2001. After graduating law school, Mr. Braymer was also an associate for the Quinn Law Firm, in Erie, PA, where he represented individuals and companies in a wide range of environmental and oil and gas matters. He returned to the Commonwealth as an Assistant Counsel with the Department of Environmental Protection in February 2004. He was promoted to Supervisory Counsel in 2016, and then to Regional Counsel of the Northwest Regional office in January, 2023. In these roles, Mr. Braymer has counseled and represented the Department of Environmental Protection on complex cases of regional and statewide significance. Mr. Braymer served as lead counsel for the Department of Environmental Protection in several cases before the Environmental Hearing Board, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Commonwealth Court, various Courts of Common Pleas, and United States District Court and Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Braymer received his undergraduate degree in History from the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1999 and his Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2002.

Ezra Thrush   Director
Policy Office
Ezra P. Thrush

Ezra P. Thrush, MPA, serves as DEP's Policy Director. Ezra has a widely respected expertise on the Commonwealth’s environmental policy, climate, and conservation issues. His extensive policy knowledge and understanding of on-the-ground issues have effectively advanced environmental progress across the state, all while forming close working relationships with legislators, policymakers, and stakeholders of both major parties as well as federal and municipal officials. Ezra is particularly proud of his background securing clean energy and conservation investments in the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and two iterations of the federal Farm Bill. At the state level, Ezra helped pass legislation to establish the Commonwealth’s new Clean Streams Fund, historic increases for the Growing Greener program, alongside numerous clean energy and climate policies. Ezra holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Shippensburg University. He is an avid outdoorsman and active volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, National Outdoor Leadership School, and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

  Deputy Secretary
Field Operations
John Ryder

John Ryder serves as the Deputy Secretary for Field Operations for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. John has been with the Department since 2000. Previously John served as the Director of the Department’s Bureau of District Oil and Gas Operations. The Bureau oversaw all permitting, inspection, compliance, and enforcement associated with the Oil and Gas industry across Pennsylvania. He has also served as an Environmental Group Manager and Water Quality Specialist Supervisor with the Eastern District Oil and Gas Office where he managed a diverse team of environmental professionals challenged with regulating unconventional oil and gas related exploration activities. Prior to that, John was an Aquatic Biologist for the Department's North Central Field Office where he participated in a wide variety of regulatory, permitting, and vector program work.

John received his B.S. degree in Fisheries Biology from Mansfield University and has also done graduate work at Penn State University. He lives in rural Pennsylvania and enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling with his family.

John Stefanko   Deputy Secretary
Office of Active and Abandoned Mine Operations
John Stefanko

John Stefanko serves as the Deputy Secretary for the Office of Active and Abandoned Mine Operations at DEP. As Deputy Secretary he oversees the bureaus of Mining Programs, Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Mine Safety, and the District Mining Operations.

John has been with the Department since 1987. Prior to his recent appointment John was the Executive Assistant and served as the senior advisor to the previous Deputy Secretary until his retirement in December 2010. He has also served as the Chief of DEP's Division of Contracts, Procurement and Bonding within the Bureau of Office Services, where he managed bidding, awarding and management of the activities of all construction contracts and the procurement of goods and services for the Department. Prior to that, he was a Project Designer for the Department's Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Division of Acid Mine Drainage Abatement, where he reviewed and created engineering designs for departmental mine reclamation, water supply replacements, mine fire control, subsidence control, abandoned mine lands projects and other associated facilities.

John holds an Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, Altoona Campus and Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering Technology from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Kurt Klapkowski  
Deputy Secretary
Office of Oil and Gas Management
Kurt Klapkowski

Kurt Klapkowski serves as the Acting Deputy Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas Management. Prior to accepting this position, Kurt served as the Director of the Bureau of Oil and Gas Planning and Program Management from March 2012 until February 2022. As the Bureau Director, Kurt oversaw coordination of the Department’s development of policy, regulatory, technical guidance and legislative documents relating to oil and gas development, as well as providing on-going education and outreach to the public and regulated communities. The Bureau consists of three Divisions responsible for Subsurface Activities, Surface Activities and Compliance and Information Management, respectively. Each Division works closely with their counterparts in the various District Offices around the Commonwealth.

Prior to joining the Office of Oil and Gas Management, he worked with the Department’s Bureau of Regulatory Counsel for more than 18 years, including service as the counsel to the Oil and Gas Program for four years. Other program clients included Pennsylvania’s Storage Tank program, the Land Recycling Program (brownfields/remediation), the Office of Energy and Technology Deployment, the Division of Hazardous Waste Management, the Division of Nuclear Safety and the Office of Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance. 

Kurt received his J.D. in 1993 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington and Jefferson College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He lives in Camp Hill, PA with his wife and two children.

Ali Tarquino Morris   Deputy Secretary
Waste, Air, Radiation, and Remediation
Ali Tarquino Morris

Ali Tarquino Morris serves as the Acting Deputy Secretary of Environmental Protection’s Office of Waste, Air, Radiation & Remediation for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. She is a mission-driven professional who is dedicated to protecting the environment for all people.
Previously, Ali served as the Director of the Bureau of Waste Management.  As the Bureau Director, Ali oversaw the statewide implementation of Pennsylvania’s statewide hazardous, municipal and residual waste programs, recycling and beneficial use programs, and the waste transportation safety program. Prior to joining the Bureau of Waste Management, she worked in the Department’s Southcentral Regional Office and Bureau of Laboratories.  
Ali graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Mary Washington with a degree in biology/chemistry. She lives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband and four children.

Bevin Buchheister   Deputy Secretary
Office of Water Programs
Bevin Buchheister

Bevin comes to DEP from the National Governor Association in Washington D.C. where she led the Water Policy Learning Network. In that role, she helped Governors advance their priorities by sharing best practices for drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, agricultural water management and funding and financing water projects. She also managed the Federal Facilities Task Force, a group of state regulators working alongside the Department of Energy to clean up legacy nuclear weapons waste dating from WWII and the cold war. She also helped establish the Outdoor Recreation Learning Network that focused on economic development through outdoor recreation, conservation of natural resources, health policy, equity, education and workforce training. Prior to her role with NGA, Bevin was the Maryland Director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative commission that is party to the Chesapeake Bay Agreement and whose members are legislators, agency leaders and citizens from PA, MD and VA. She advanced several pieces of key environmental legislation in this role. Bevin also managed the House Environmental Matters Committee in the Maryland Legislature for several years.

Louie Krak   Coordinator
Infrastructure Implementation
Louie Krak

Louie Krak is a Lancaster County native who spent a decade living, studying, working, and growing in New Haven, Connecticut before returning to the Keystone State. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from Southern Connecticut State University, Louie moved to Harrisburg to pursue a career in public service. Already a longtime veteran of the service industry, Louie transitioned into public sector life as an Administrative Officer in the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Farmland Preservation. During his time there, Louie helped to preserve over 1,200 acres of prime farmland, including the berry farm in his hometown where he worked for a year as a young adult.

Although farmland preservation has numerous environmental benefits, Louie felt drawn to explore the work at the Department of Environmental Protection, where he served as an Executive Policy Specialist focusing on air, energy, and climate change policy. During his tenure in the Policy Office, Louie also worked closely with other programs, including the Office of Oil and Gas Management, Office of Active and Abandoned Mining Operations, and the Bureau of Laboratories. This invaluable policy experience prepared Louie to step into his current role as Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator. He now works strategically with programs across the Department to maximize the historic federal funding opportunities available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 to catalyze clean energy deployment, remediate legacy pollution, and rectify environmental injustices and inequities. 

Abbey Cadden   Coordinator
Infrastructure Implementation
Abbey Cadden

Abbey Cadden joined DEP in 2015 and currently serves as an Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator at DEP. This role is responsible for securing over $5 billion in federal funding for Pennsylvania afforded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. With those funds, Abbey assists local governments, non-profits, businesses, and other entities develop innovative projects that advance clean energy priorities, remediate brownfields, increase manufacturing efficiency, decarbonize the industrial sector, expand clean water and wastewater infrastructure, and more.

Previously, she spent eight years as an Executive Policy Specialist in DEP’s Policy Office overseeing the regulatory and strategic plan development for DEP programs, including Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields, Mining, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, Radiation Protection, Oil and Gas Management, Safe Drinking Water, land use conflicts, and emerging contaminants. Abbey is fascinated by the role government plays in fostering healthy, vibrant, and sustainable communities and hopes to help keep Pennsylvania a lovely place where people choose to live, work, and adventure. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Slippery Rock University and Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from West Chester University.

Taylor Nezat   Director
Legislative Affairs
Taylor Nezat

Taylor Nezat began his time at the Department in 2016, where he was a graduate intern in the policy office. After finishing school, Taylor worked in the nonprofit sector as a Campaign Manager on water quality issues, specifically related to the Chesapeake Bay. He returned to the Department in 2019 as the Department’s Legislative Specialist and became the Legislative Director in August 2022. As the Legislative Director he coordinates the development of legislative initiatives, manages all incoming inquires and communication with the legislature, and works closely with the Governor’s Office on all legislative matters.

Justin Dula   Director
Office of Environmental Justice
Justin Dula

Justin Dula currently serves as the Director for the Office of Environmental Justice at DEP, focusing on outreach to communities facing disproportionate environmental impacts. Justin started with the Office in 2008 as the Eastern Regional Coordinator, which allowed him to work with a variety of communities ranging from historic towns in anthracite coal country to suburban communities near Philadelphia. In 2020, he completed the courses and attained the status a Climate Change Professional (CC-P).

Justin formerly served as the manager of community and regional planning at the Delaware County Planning Department. He has continued to be involved with planning and other issues around the built-environment through being a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). He is the Vice President of the American Planning Association (APA) Pennsylvania Chapter and the Secretary/Treasurer of APA’s LGBTQ and Planning Division, and also serves as the Past Chair of the APA Pennsylvania Southeast Section Council. He is also on the board of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center and the board of the Bywood Community Association, which works to further the neighborhood of Bywood in Upper Darby Township, Delaware County. Justin received his Master of City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts with a focus on International Area Studies from Kalamazoo College.

Malik Boyd   Director
Malik L. Boyd

Malik Boyd brings nearly three decades of experience to the Department of Environmental Protection as a branding, marketing and communications executive, television producer and host, civic leader, and entrepreneur.

Most recently, Malik served as the director of communications for the City of Philadelphia's Register of Wills (ROW). In that position, Malik created the Plan, Prepare, Protect Tour to educate the city residents on wills, probates, and generational wealth. The tour established a constituent engagement model that resulted in thousands of city residents receiving resources to protect their generational wealth. He led crisis communications and hired the first social media director for the ROW, implementing a social media strategy while rebranding all platforms.

Malik also served as the director of publicity and social influence for the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters. He led U.S. media relations and partnership development with national nonprofit organizations, ambassadors and elected officials for the legendary exhibition basketball team, including public relations during the team's Spread Game Tour, in which the Globetrotters saw over 400 activations in 144 cities. Malik is the architect of the organization's Ambassador of Goodwill Award, introduced in 2021 to recognize outstanding community leaders. He also created the Globetrotter's first-ever Historically Black Colleges and Universities partnership with Savannah State University to forge pathways to higher education.

As Managing Partner of Premiere Brand, a full-service branding, marketing, strategy and communications firm based in Philadelphia, Malik brought creative and strategic communications expertise to a broad roster of public and private clients. He oversaw field marketing, product launches, brand strategy, web and program design, and political campaigns.