Michael W. (Mike) McLaughlin has been elected to the Virginia State Bar Environmental Law Section Board of Governors. His four-year term began on July 1. Mike began his career with SCS as a summer intern as a rising sophomore at Virginia Tech. After receiving his civil (environmental) engineering degree, he received his J.D. from Washington & Lee University School of law. He has been with SCS ever since, applying his combination of law, science, and engineering expertise to environmental matters. His knowledge helps businesses and communities protect air, water, and land resources while serving the needs of their clients or constituents.
McLaughlin recalls his early career choices: “It was exciting to work on some of the earliest research projects sponsored by the then-new Environmental Protection Agency. I chose W&L Law because it had Professor Andrew (Uncas) McThenia on its faculty. Uncas was a Virginia State Water Control Board member and taught one of the few environmental law classes in the country. When I told him he was the reason I came to W&L, Uncas apologized and said he would not teach environmental law anymore—the field had too much politics involved. That was an early and important lesson for me.
“Not to worry,” says Mike. “Turner Smith of the Hunton & Williams law firm taught the environmental law class; he was one of the country’s most well-known Clean Air Act attorneys. His knowledge of the subject matter and teaching ability inspired several of us to seek careers in the field.”
Mike is SCS Engineers’ Senior Vice President of Environmental Services. He advises developers, contractors, lenders, and land development professionals on the technical and regulatory requirements for construction on brownfield sites nationwide. Landfill redevelopment is an area of special interest. His combined engineering and legal background provides an unusual perspective on land development where hazardous wastes or other environmental challenges are present.
In addition to his extensive brownfield redevelopment experience in North America, Mike has worked at more than three dozen Superfund National Priorities List sites in 17 states and on scores of regulatory compliance, voluntary cleanup, and remediation projects for commercial, industrial, municipal, and military clients. His work for electric utilities began in 1980 with research on upgrading solid waste management and has evolved to support greenhouse gas mitigation measures and support the transition to renewable energy.
Mike’s new role with the VSB builds on his decades of experience with the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, where he is completing a two-year term as Budget Officer and a member of the Executive Committee.