NMED Sec. James Kenney Named To 50 Great Engineers By Temple University

NMED Sec. James Kenney

This week, Temple University named the New Mexico Environment Cabinet Secretary James Kenney to their Continu/um spotlight of  50 Temple engineering alumni and faculty who stand out among their peers. The list celebrates the first 50 years of Temple’s College of Engineering which has produced thousands of creative, passionate, and altruistic engineers. Secretary Kenney stands out as one of only a handful of public sector honorees, highlighting a career that began as an intern at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and culminating to his position as Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Environment Department. It also recognizes his people-centric management approach as a key reason for including him on the list.

“Secretary Kenney is an instrumental leader in my administration, driving forward a nationally leading environmental agenda while being an integral member of the state’s COVID response team,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “I congratulate the secretary for receiving this well-deserved recognition and look forward to his continued service to New Mexico.”

“I am honored that Temple University named me as one their 50 great engineers who are making a difference in their respective field,” said Secretary Kenney. “The outstanding education I received at Temple University prepared me for an amazing and rewarding career in public service which has focused exclusively on the protecting public health and the environment.”

“New Mexicans are lucky to have Secretary Kenney leading their Environment Department,” said Temple College of Engineering Dean Keya Sadeghipour. “Temple is proud of the service that James has contributed to New Mexico and the nation over the course of his career.”

Secretary Kenney holds a Masters of Science in Environmental Engineering degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering and Technology from Temple University’s College of Engineering in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Prior to his appointment by Governor Lujan Grisham, Kenney worked at the U.S. EPA for more than 21 years, most recently as senior policy advisor for oil and gas. In that role, he worked with senior agency leadership and designed strategies to support environmentally responsible development of oil and natural gas resources while working with states, tribes, federal agencies, NGOs and industry on regulatory and policy matters. Kenney has also served as a senior environmental engineer at the U.S. EPA, leading both civil and criminal investigations related to the federal and state air, water and hazardous waste laws as well as developing strategic compliance and enforcement efforts related to oil and natural gas exploration. In addition, he served as the Acting Associate Director of the U.S. EPA’s External Civil Rights program which ensures recipients of federal funds, like the State of New Mexico, comply with the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

He has also worked as a senior environmental engineer at Denver-based environmental engineering firm McCoy and Associates and as a consultant at the U.S. Department of Justice on national civil enforcement matters under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Secretary Kenney was nominated by Governor Lujan Grisham and unanimously confirmed by the New Mexico Senate to lead the New Mexico Environment Department in January of 2019.