Marylee Orr has led LEAN for most of its twenty eight years. Marylee didn’t intend to work for the environment. In fact, her background was quite eclectic: she worked with Head Start, in real estate, and later owned an art gallery. Her life changed when her son was born with a respiratory illness that makes it incredibly hard for him to breathe. Marylee found inspiration in her son, and wanted to help people who were less prepared to advocate for themselves and the environment around them.
Orr is one of the co-founders of LEAN, which was formed in 1986. Orr administers the organization’s budget and manages its fundraising efforts through grants and membership development. She coordinates LEANs operations, community serves, board, and staff activities. Orr organizes member groups’ participation in public hearings, coordinates its media strategies on the local, state, and national level, and serves as the environmental community’s voice with local, state, and federal agencies. She organizes events related to issues of LEAN members, coordinates annual conferences for citizens, legislators, and other grass roots organization leaders on topics ranging from health issues to political activism.
Orr was featured in Family Circle Magazine; the Lifetime movie of the week, Taking Back Our Town; and in numerous articles about successful environmental activists. An EPA report credits LEAN and Orr with giving a voice to the people concerned about releases of toxic chemicals from local facilities. Orr attributes her motivation to the constant positive pressure from the members, board, and staff to hold polluting facilities accountable.
Chemist / Technical Director
Committed to protecting the environment and the health and safety of citizens, Wilma Subra started Subra Company in 1981. Subra Company is a chemistry lab and environmental consulting firm in New Iberia, LA. Mrs. Subra provides technical assistance to citizens, across the United States and some foreign countries, concerned with their environment by combining technical research and evaluation.
This information is then presented to community members so that strategies may be developed to address their local struggles. Utilizing the information gained from community involvement, the needs identified are translated into policy changes at the State and Federal level through service on multi-stake holder committees.
She recently completed a seven year term as Vice-Chair of the Environmental Protection Agency National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), a five year term on the National Advisory Committee of the U.S. Representative to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation and a six year term on the EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) where she served as a member of the Cumulative Risk and Impacts Working Group of the NEJAC Council, and chaired the NEJAC Gulf Coast Hurricanes Work Group.
Mrs. Subra holds degrees in Microbiology/Chemistry from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. She received the MacArthur Fellowship “Genius” Award from the MacArthur Foundation for helping ordinary citizens understand, cope with and combat environmental issues in their communities and was one of three finalist in the Environmental Category of the 2004 Volvo for Life Award. Subra was selected in 2011 as one of the ‘Lifetime Remarkable Woman’ and most recently won the 2011 Global Exchange, Human Rights Award for her ongoing work with the BP Oil Spill and the communities affected by it.
Links of interest: http://www.thepromisedland.org/episode/12-wilma-subra http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/20/tony-hayward-bp-oil-spill http://vimeo.com/25090977 http://articles.cnn.com/2010-05-25/health/wilma.subra.enviroment_1_communities-fight-gas-drilling-work?_s=PM:HEALTH http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilma_Subra http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/new-livelihoods/people-we-love-wilma-subra http://cleanhouston.org/heros/subra.htm http://docs.newsbank.com/s/
Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper / Communications Director
Paul, the oldest son of Executive Director Marylee Orr, grew up immersed in the environmental history of Louisiana and LEAN’s work with communities throughout the state. He built LEAN’s first website while still in high school and later earned his Mass Communications degree from Louisiana State University. After college, Paul spent many years directing LEAN’s communications efforts. In this role, Paul pioneered LEAN’s utilization of multi-media communications(online, photography, video, print, etc.) to communicate and elevate environmental concerns in Louisiana.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita Paul produced a pictorial record of the devastation from both storms. He also took on the daunting task of developing and distributing appropriate environmental safety educational material and personal protective gear(PPE) and oversaw the storage and distribution of direct relief supplies.
Paul’s interests and experience led him to expanding his role at LEAN even further and becoming the the official Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper/LMRK. In this capacity, Paul oversees LEAN’s water quality and accountability work within the Mississippi River Basin in Louisiana. He also represents LMRK at all Waterkeeper Alliance functions and hosted the Waterkeeper Alliance’s 2006 annual meeting in New Orleans. During the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Paul closely monitored response activities and the ensuing impact to the coastal wetlands and marshes. Once the spewing oil had been stopped and the well sealed, Paul began sampling activities to document the impact that the oil and chemical dispersants had on aquatic life and coastal vegetation. Paul continues to lead LEAN’s work documenting and reducing pollution within the Lower Mississippi River Basin through the LMRK project. Additionally he continues to play a critical role in LEAN’s communication work.
Michael is the youngest of the multi generational family behind LEAN’s work. While he grew up around the work of LEAN and his mother Marylee, Michael has spent the majority of his career in the for-profit sector. Michael earned a his bachelors degree from Louisiana State University and has extensive experience in project management, personnel training and budget management.With a deep love for the wilds of Louisiana and extensive experience in business management, he has been a welcomed addition to the full-time staff.
Michael has applied his management skills to designing and implementing LEANs communication strategies as well as contributing to LEAN’s overall business development. Currently, Michael is committed to improving LEAN’s internal operations by building the organizational capacity and developing a sustainability plan. He, along with his brother Paul, also conduct field operations for the monitoring and data collection component of LEAN’s work.
Community Liaison, Book-keeper
Jose has been a part of LEAN for over twenty years. She has had a long career working in mental health services for the state while also committing a great deal of her time to helping the internal function of LEAN. Josie handles LEAN’s book-keeping and is an organized and effective communicator. Additionally she puts her skills and experience to use representing LEAN in various communities and conferences where her informed and understanding voice is always needed.
Webmaster and Photographer
As longtime volunteer and consultant, Jeffrey has become an indispensable part of the LEAN Family. While he runs his own business, we at LEAN consider him as staff.
Jeffrey himself, is a peer recognized activist and prize winning photographer who practices what he preaches. He spent many of his first years in Louisiana volunteering with various non-profits groups thus gaining an intimate knowledge of many of the environmental challenges Louisiana faces on a daily basis. Air quality and truly clean water is of paramount importance to Jeffrey and he strongly believes in LEAN’s mission of environmental justice and efforts to get Louisiana’s polluters into compliance with existing regulations.