The Resource rss

Helping communities and businesses access compliance, technical and financial assistance for their environmental needs.

Jon Bernstein currently serves as the Assistant Chief of Ohio EPA’s Office of Financial Assistance (OFA) within the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance. Jon oversees staff working within Ohio’s two state revolving fund loan programs, the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund and the Water Supply Revolving Loan Account, along with the wastewater compliance assistance unit. Jon has worked as a project engineer, engineering supervisor, and loans and grants manager in OFA. Jon began his time with the Agency as an environmental specialist in the Division of Surface Water’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation NPDES permitting program.

Jon earned a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Ohio University in 2007. He holds a professional engineering license and a Geographic Information Systems Certificate.

How long have you worked for Ohio EPA?

13 years.

What excites you the most about the work that you do or your field of study?

DEFA’s Office of Financial Assistance is in a position to actually see the results of the improvements we fund on a monthly basis. It is easier to realize the impact you’re making when you can see physical improvements made to aging infrastructure or new infrastructure for unsewered areas or areas without access to clean drinking water.

Favorite memory or accomplishment with the Agency or related to your field?

Change is difficult and takes time, but we have been systematically making improvements to OFA’s processes and procedures. Some expected improvements end up being duds, but it is exciting when something dramatically changes the nature of your work. Electronic signature is something DEFA had been testing prior to working remotely due to Covid-19. We went live immediately, and the efficiencies of the new workflow are amazing. I’m happy to see eSignature being implemented across the Agency and it was great being at the ground floor when it all started.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

I love traveling and I’ve been all over the world. I have a soft spot for beach vacations and it’s something I’d typically been doing with my family on an annual basis.

Who inspires you?

I recently read the book Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. Ernest Shackleton led an Antarctic expedition during the early 1900s in which the ship wrecked. The leadership and dedication by Shackleton in leading the group to safety was amazing and it’s quite hard to imagine emulating what he accomplished in those incredibly difficult conditions.

Dan Sowry currently serves as the Assistant Chief of Ohio EPA’s Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention (OCAPP) within the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance. Dan oversees Ohio EPA's sustainability program, recycling and litter prevention grant program, pollution prevention program, compliance assistance program, Ohio Materials Marketplace program and encouraging environmental excellence program. Prior to this, Dan worked as the supervisor in OCAPP's compliance assistance program, as the central district office OCAPP representative, and as a hazardous waste technical assistance representative in Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental Response and Revitalization. He started his Ohio EPA career in the Division of Air Pollution Control’s Mobile Sources Section where he led the state’s vehicle emission anti-tampering program.

Dan earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental biology in 1996 and has more than 20 years of experience working at Ohio EPA.

How long have you worked for Ohio EPA?

20+ years.

What excites you the most about the work that you do or your field of study?

Being part of a dedicated and diverse team of environmentally and sustainability minded experts where our sole mission is to provide environmental and financial assistance to Ohio’s businesses, communities, and other organizations.

Favorite memory or accomplishment with the Agency or related to your field?

Ohio EPA has a strong interest in promoting the circular economy and was the first state in the nation to provide an active online platform allowing Ohio’s businesses and organizations to connect and find reuse and recycling solutions for waste and by-products materials. This free platform is called the Ohio Materials Marketplace. To date, this platform has successfully diverted millions of pounds of materials that were otherwise destined for disposal, saved Ohio’s organizations nearly a quarter of a million dollars and reduced hundreds of metric tons of CO2.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

Landscaping and ornamental tree propagation.

Who inspires you?

Ohio Department of Health’s former director, Dr. Acton.