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Valerie Brader is the CEO of Rivenoak Consulting and a co-owner of Rivenoak Law, PC, where her professional life revolves around navigating the intersection of business and government, primarily in the energy and environmental spaces.
Professor Brader has a reputation as a change agent in both the private and public sectors who can dive into complex and novel problems and forge creative and practical solutions. She spent seven years in the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder, including serving as a cabinet member as head of the Michigan Agency for Energy, where she played a pivotal role in the passage of comprehensive, bipartisan energy reform legislation in 2016. She also served as a key member of Governor Snyder's legal team, including as the point person on the Detroit bankruptcy (the largest municipal bankruptcy in history), negotiating deals for new power plants in the Upper Peninsula, and securing a long-term water source for Flint in 2017.
Before joining the Snyder administration, Professor Brader was a partner at Bodman PLC, practicing primarily environmental and corporate law. At Bodman, she had strong success in assisting new or expanding businesses from incorporation to securing permits and tax credits. She also assisted two judges of the federal court with overseeing the environmental compliance of a large public utility under the "Special Master" rule. Professor Brader previously worked as the career law clerk for The Hon. John Feikens of the Eastern District of Michigan, as an environmental and business process consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense, and for Idaho Governor Phil Batt on environmental and natural resource issues.
A Rhodes Scholar and published author in both the legal and scientific presses, Professor Brader received her AB,
magna cum laude, in government from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, her master's degrees from the University of Oxford (an MSc in environmental change and management and an MSt in historical studies), and a JD,
magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center.
Professor Brader has been recognized throughout her career for her leadership, including by the Joyce Ivy Foundation as its Leader of the Year, by
Crain's Detroit Business as one of the "40 under 40" in Metro Detroit, by
Michigan Lawyer's Weekly as a "rising star," and by Michigan's Conservative Energy Forum as a Clean Energy Champion. In college, Professor Brader was the inaugural recipient of the Harvard College Women's Leadership Award and in law school, was a winner of the Pacific Legal Foundation's national writing competition. On a volunteer basis, she also has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, the Women's Caring Program (secretary), the Harvard Club of Eastern Michigan (president), and Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (vice president).
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