February 7, 2017 at 1:31 pm

CLJC Features Business Alum | Damschroder Protects Environment at EPA

Bill Damschroder is a 1985 graduate of the Ohio University College of Business and a 1988 graduate of the Ohio State University College of Law.

Bill Damschroder

Bill Damschroder

Damschroder was admitted to practice in Ohio in 1988. The majority of his legal career has been in public service, at the Ohio Supreme Court, Ohio Department of Commerce, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and, since June 2016, the Ohio EPA. He is currently the Supervising Attorney for the Division of Environmental Response and Revitalization at the EPA.

What brought you to Ohio University?

I was first exposed to Ohio University through my older brother, followed by an older sister. I got comfortable with Athens and Ohio University while visiting them, including the obligatory “Sibs Weekend” experience. When it was my time to pick a school, no other place interested me like OHIO, and I was comfortable from the day I set foot on campus.

What is your current occupation? Explain what you do in a typical day.

I work for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, as a supervising attorney in our legal section. I am responsible for legal issues in the Division of Environmental Response and Revitalization. My daily work is to deal with the legal issues associated with the clean-up of properties suffering from some type of hazardous waste contamination. Sometimes those clean-up efforts are voluntary, and sometimes they are the result of state enforcement actions, but, either way, we work with land owners, responsible parties, lawyers and environmental consultants to ensure that the property in question is protective of human health and the environment.

How did you become interested in that field? Was there a particular topic or field of law that got you interested in it in the first place?

It was totally by accident! I have worked in various agencies of state government over my career and in a previous job I met the current director of the OEPA. Last June his Chief Legal Counsel called me and asked if I would come work at OEPA. They thought my background as a government lawyer and my experience with natural resource legal issues would be a good fit here at OEPA.

What’s your favorite part of your position? What are you passionate about?

Working with land owner or other interested party to develop a plan for taking a contaminated piece of property and getting it cleaned-up and returned to some type of productive use. The passion comes from finding ways to make this clean-up happen, while making sure that the public is safe and the environment is protected, both now and for the long term.

How did your Ohio University experience prepare you for law school and shape your career path?

It made me a more disciplined thinker, by exposing me to different methods of analytical problem solving, whether in taking business classes or reviewing governmental action in political science classes.

What do you think most important things you did as an undergrad to get you prepared for law school?

Reading and staying abreast of current events and the issues of the day. It helps to give some context to how things fit together on a larger scale. Law school is also very much about “learning how to learn,” meaning how to apply disciplined thinking to problem solving, and how to find the answers to questions and use them persuasively.

Do you have any advice for students interested in law?

Be curious and open to receiving all types of information. Get comfortable with the idea of understanding all sides of an issue, and learn to be capable of articulating multiple viewpoints.

What is your favorite Ohio University memory?

So many it is impossible to pick! One favorite would be sharing a house on North Congress with three buddies and having all the fun that comes with off campus living, from the parties, to cooking family sized meals, to searching the couch cushions looking for enough money to buy spaghetti sauce! Or it could be meeting my wife at the Junction at the beginning of my senior year, and spending that whole year hanging together with all of our close friends. Or maybe attending all of the green fests and spring fest each year. Or descending on the bar in the old student union on the first warm day of spring to skip class and sit on the outside patio drinking beer. Hmmmm…I’m sensing a pattern of events that revolve around social activities!

Anything else you would like to share?

I urge you to cultivate you friendships and relationships while you are at Ohio University, and work hard to make them last when you move on. Wherever you land, find those groups of alumni who can help make your path easier. I have never regretted being a Bobcat, and I do not know anyone else who has either. I am sure you love this place too. Carry your love for Ohio University with you wherever you go!

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