Operating at the intersection of agriculture, environment, and government policy, Brian brings together people and organizations with differing interests and aligns them toward a common goal. He achieves this by engaging those affected, building coalitions, and providing platforms for their individual and collective voices to be heard.
A principal with K·Coe Isom, Brian leads the firm’s Federal Affairs service area. With a background in environmental law and regulations, he identifies and educates business owners on how to influence and change political systems for a market advantage. Recent successes include:
- Saving US farmers an estimated $5 billion, collectively, by initiating the Farmers for Tax Fairness coalition to oppose changes to cash accounting, resulting in an ag exemption in the House tax reform draft bill.
- Leading an ongoing effort to change tax code to allow thousands of mutual ditch, irrigation, and water companies to access private investment to upgrade aging water infrastructure.
- Helping to form the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition and create a regional air quality strategy, enabling the area to meet ozone standards and retain 25,500 jobs.
- Pulling together a partnership of tribes and dairy farmers to develop a biogas facility and turn dairy manure into 450 kilowatts of power. This effort eliminated a lawsuit threat, increased dairy herd size, and enhanced salmon protection.
- Helping establish a habitat exchange to offset habitat impacts from mineral development by providing incentives to landowner and industry for land and water stewardship.
Brian is a founder of Vela Environmental, a consulting firm supporting long-term business sustainability that became part of K·Coe Isom in 2013. During the past 20 years, he has served as chief of staff, legislative director, and environmental and energy adviser to U.S. Senator Max Baucus. A leader in sustainability, he was awarded the Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and selected as a U.S.-Japan Leadership Foundation Fellow. Brian develops innovative solutions that lead to constructive outcomes, enabling all parties to thrive.
- Certificate in Advanced Environmental Studies, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design
- J.D., environmental and natural resources law, University of Colorado School of Law
- B.S., psychology, philosophy, political science, University of California, Davis
- Wyoming Chapter of the Nature Conservancy: board of trustees
- Fly fishing
- Bird hunting
- Wine collecting
Mentions and articles by Brian