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Our Editorial Team

BLR® has been an acknowledged authority in covering state as well as federal law for over three decades. Our award-winning in-house legal and editorial team produces the best-in-class products and services our customers depend on day in and day out.

Media Inquiries – Call 800-727-5257 ext. 2184 and ask for Amanda Hurlburt

Human Resources and Compensation

Trainor, Patricia, J.D., SPHR—Vice President, HR and Compensation Markets; Contact ptrainor@blr.com
Blackburn, Celeste—Senior Editor
Bruce, Stephen, Ph.D.—Editor
Blazejak, Melissa—Web Content Coordinator, Editor
Ceplenski, Chris—Managing Editor, SEO Content
Farrell, Joan, J.D.—Legal Editor
Jones Holly, J.D.—Legal Editor
McKnight, Sharon L., CCP, SPHR—Sr. Editor, Compensation.BLR.com
Prince, Susan, J.D.—Legal Editor
Quayle, Elaine—Editor
Schoenfeld, Susan, J.D.—Sr. Legal Editor
Webb-Ayer, Jessica, J.D.—Legal Editor

Legal/Politics

Mayo, Virginia—Group Publisher
Weber, Mary—Group Publisher
Simpkins, Jean—Associate Group Publisher
Cromer, Ed—Editor
Pachciarz, Angela—Editor
Carney, Jason—Associate Editor

Occupational Safety and Health Compliance

Keating, Ed—VP Environmental, Health & Safety Markets
Galt, David—Managing Editor, Safety; Contact: dgalt@blr.com
Clark, Emily—Safety Editor
Ellington, Ana—Legal Editor

Environmental Compliance

Czepiel, Amanda, J.D.—Managing Editor—Environmental
Dickinson, Liz, J.D.—Legal Editor
Fagan, Tim—Legal Editor
Topping, Amanda—Editor

Employee Training

Forrister, Brad—Vice President of Training and Legal
Cretella, Peggy—Training Managing Editor
Hunt, Heather—Production Editor

 

Human Resources and Compensation

Patricia M. Trainor, Vice President of BLR’s HR and Compensation Markets, has been with BLR since 2006, serving first as a legal editor and later as managing editor. Before joining BLR, Trainor represented employers and school districts in labor and employment matters in state and federal court, before the EEOC, and before the Illinois Human Rights Commission. Ms. Trainor received her law degree magna cum laude from Loyola University Law School in Chicago. She also has a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication from San Diego State University. Ms. Trainor is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the national Human Resources Certification Institute. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Association, and the Illinois Bar Association, and she is admitted to practice in Connecticut and Illinois.

Celeste Blackburn is a Senior Editor with Business & Legal Resources. She manages a number of publications for BLR, including 50 Employment Laws in 50 States, HR Insight, and HR Hero Line. She has written about human resources for a variety of publications, and has written and edited a series of white papers covering employment trends and developments. Before coming to BLR, she was the business editor for The Daily Herald in Columbia, Tennessee. Celeste earned her bachelor’s degree from David Lipscomb University and a master’s from Middle Tennessee State University, where she also taught writing.

Stephen D. Bruce, Ph.D. PHR is an award-winning writer and editor, who has been following and clarifying developments in the HR field for 20 years. Currently the editor/writer of the 250,000 subscriber HR Daily Advisor, the most-read HR publication in the US, he has written many books (Seven Secrets of Managers Who Avoid Employee Lawsuits, Face to Face: Every Manager's Guide to Better Interviewing, Best Practices for HR Managers), newsletters (HR Manager's Legal Reporter), plus training materials, videos, CDs, and more.

Melissa Blazejak is a Web Content Editor at BLR. She has written articles for HR.BLR.com and the HR Daily Advisor websites and is responsible for the day-to-day management of HR.BLR.com and HRLaws.com. She has been at BLR since 2014. She graduated with a BA of Science, specializing in Communication, from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2008. Most recently, she graduated in 2014 with a MS of Educational Technology.

Chris Ceplenski is Managing Editor, SEO Content. Mr. Ceplenski also manages BLR’s human resources, employment law, and compensation and benefits newsletter content. He has authored hundreds of articles that have appeared in BLR print and on HR.BLR.com. Prior to joining BLR in 1999, Mr. Ceplenski worked as an editor for a book producer and literary agency and as a college writing instructor. Mr. Ceplenski received his B.A. from Eastern Connecticut State University and an M.A. in English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Joan S. Farrell, J.D., is a Legal Editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications. Ms. Farrell has over 10 years’ combined experience in employment law and human resources management. She worked as in-house counsel for an employer that had subsidiaries in several states. Her experience includes representing management in administrative matters and discrimination claims, and providing counseling on employment practices. Ms. Farrell received her law degree from Pace University School of Law.

Holly K. Jones, J.D., is a Legal Editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications. She understands the existing and emerging needs and challenges of human resources professionals thanks to several years of experience managing, writing, and editing key legal and compliance publications for BLR. Prior to joining BLR, Ms. Jones worked for the Tennessee Legislature's Office of Legal Services. She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in English Rhetoric and Writing, Political Science, and Psychology from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she also received a 2001 Citation for Extraordinary Academic Achievement. She received her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School and is licensed to practice law in Tennessee.

Sharon L. McKnight, CCP, SPHR draws from more than 20 years of management experience, including 6 years as a director of human resources, to develop compensation administration tools and write about compensation issues. Her experience in both operational and HR management provides her with a practical approach to providing online resources that address the challenges facing compensation and human resource professionals. She is co-author of Mastering HR: Onboarding and served as editor for Compensation 101: Introduction to Compensation and Benefits and for How to create Job Descriptions: Maintain Compliance and Help Employees Excel. She achieved certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Human Resources Certification Institute in 2007 and as a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) by the WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals in 2014. She attended Middle Tennessee State University and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, the Middle Tennessee Chapter of SHRM, and WorldatWork.

Susan E. Prince, J.D., is a Legal Editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications. Ms. Prince has over 10 years of experience as an attorney and writer in the field of human resources and has published numerous articles on a variety of human resources and employment law topics, including compensation, benefits, workers’ compensation, discrimination, work/life issues, termination, and military leave. Ms. Prince has also served as an expert on several audio conferences and webinars discussing various wage and hour issues. Before starting her career in publishing, Ms. Prince practiced law for several years in the insurance industry. Ms. Prince received her law degree from Vermont Law School.

Elaine Quayle is an Editor and has over 30 years’ experience in publishing, including positions with the New York Times Magazine Group and publishers of scholarly texts and banking publications. She has been at BLR since 1994 and works on a variety of products including newsletters, book supplements, special reports, and articles for HR.BLR.com. A graduate of Cedar Crest College, Elaine also attended the Fairfield University Graduate School of Communications and holds a Human Resources Certificate from Gateway Community College.

Susan Schoenfeld, J.D., is a Senior Legal Editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications. Ms. Schoenfeld has practiced in the area of employment litigation and counseling, covering topics such as disability discrimination, wrongful discharge, and sexual harassment. She provided training and counseling to corporate clients and litigated cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals, state court, and at the U.S. Department of Labor. Prior to private practice, Ms. Schoenfeld was an attorney with the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in Washington, D.C., where she advised federal agencies, drafted regulations, conducted inspector training courses, and litigated cases for DOL. Ms. Schoenfeld received her undergraduate degree, cum laude, with honors, from Union College, and her law degree from the National Law Center at George Washington University.

Jessica Webb-Ayer, J.D., is a Legal Editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications. She has written and edited countless publications on labor and employment law and is the editor of the Benefits Compliance Advisor online newsletter and the benefits manual — Benefits Compliance: Strategies for Plans, Programs & Policies. Ms. Webb-Ayer has also worked on various Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and workers’ compensation/safety products. She graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Psychology from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, and graduated cum laude with a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville, Tennessee. Ms. Webb-Ayer is licensed to practice law in Tennessee.

Legal/Politics

Virginia Mayo joined M. Lee Smith Publishers, a division of BLR®, after working as a seasonal staff attorney for the Tennessee Legislature. In her capacity as group publisher (Legal), she oversees the production of several CLE live events and audio conferences/webinars in Tennessee and Alabama, as well as an annual two-track workers’ compensation seminar for Tennessee attorneys and employers. She also serves as editor of Tennessee Attorneys Memo, a weekly newsletter summarizing appellate court decisions, new laws, and other legal developments in Tennessee. She serves as co-editor of the Tennessee Workers’ Comp Reporter, a monthly publication for Tennessee employers. She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Lipscomb University and her J.D. from the Nashville School of Law, where she was a member of the Cooper’s Inn Honor Society. In 2011, she received the "Head of the Class" award, an annual award given by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development for outstanding service to its Workers’ Compensation Division.

Mary Weber is Group Publisher for Directories and Legislation Services. She oversees staff in the research and production of Tennessee Attorneys Directory, Tennessee Government Officials Directory and Bankers Association Directories for Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Minnesota and South Dakota. Ms. Weber oversees the staff of the Tennessee Legislation Service, a daily legislative bill tracking service covering the Tennessee general assembly. She also serves as programming coordinator for Tennessee Legislation Service Online. Ms. Weber holds a B.S. in Business from Indiana State University. She recently celebrated her 25th anniversary with M. Lee Smith Publishers, a division of BLR.

Jean Simpkins is associate group publisher (Legal) with M. Lee Smith Publishers, a division of BLR. In that capacity, she produces several CLE live events and audio conferences/webinars for Tennessee and Alabama attorneys, as well as an annual two-track workers’ compensation seminar for Tennessee attorneys and employers. She also serves as associate editor of Tennessee Attorneys Memo, a weekly newsletter summarizing appellate court decisions, new laws, and other legal developments in Tennessee. She serves as co-editor of the Tennessee Workers’ Comp Reporter, a monthly publication for Tennessee employers. She received her B.A., summa cum laude, from Lipscomb University and her J.D. from the Nashville School of Law. In 2011, she received the "Head of the Class" award, an annual award given by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development for outstanding service to its Workers’ Compensation Division.

Ed Cromer is editor of The Tennessee Journal, a weekly, nonpartisan newsletter for political insiders. He is also group publisher/politics. He tracks, forecasts, and analyzes Tennessee political developments and issues in state government. Mr. Cromer is a former political reporter for The Tennessean. He also served as senior political writer, editorial writer, and political editor for the Nashville Banner. He holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt University.

Angela Pachciarz is Editor of Tennessee Legislation Service (TLS), a legislative bill tracking service for lobbyists, government agencies, and other interested parties. Ms. Pachciarz manages the TLS staff and typically covers the Finance committees and the State and Local Government committees of the general assembly for the bill tracking service. Ms. Pachciarz also compiles and edits the three main publications for the bill tracking service: Daily Update, Weekly Calendar, and the Comprehensive Memo. These reports are sent to the TLS customer base to keep subscribers updated on bill introductions, new bill status and calendar changes. Ms. Pachciarz served for six years as Managing Editor and three years as Capitol Hill Reporter before taking on the Editor position. She is also Editor of the Tennessee Attorneys Directory. Ms. Pachciarz holds a B.A. from Lipscomb University and a M.A. from Middle Tennessee State University.

Jason Carney is an attorney and has experience in the fields of government, courts, probation, and construction. He trains customers, covers various committees and floor sessions on Capitol Hill, summarizes legislation, and compiles weekly calendars. He is editor of the Tennessee Government Officials Directory. He also teaches Continuing Legal Education courses for attorneys concerning the General Assembly including topics on bill drafting, bill tracking, and legislative research.

Environment, Health, and Safety

Ed Keating, VP Environmental, Health & Safety Markets, is an information industry executive with more than two decades of experience as both an internal manager and a consultant. He has led marketing, product management and sales organizations at both start-up and established information companies. He has helped numerous companies enter unfamiliar markets and launch new products by enhancing product processes and organizational effectiveness. He received his BA in Russian Studies at Hamilton College and his MBA from Northwestern University.

David Galt is the Managing Editor/Safety at BLR. Dave manages all content for the Safety.BLR.com online portal and other regulatory compliance and training products to help businesses comply with OSHA and state workplace safety and health rules. He writes feature articles and white papers about business and workplace safety. Dave also speaks regularly at national and regional conferences including ASSE, AHMP, and NAEP about promoting the business value of EHS. Before joining BLR in 2001, he spent 15 years in the environmental regulatory field as a lobbyist and policy analyst. Dave serves on the National Environmental, Safety and Health Training Association (NESHTA) Board of Directors, and is a member of the Board of Certified Safety Professional’s (BCSP) Certified Environmental Trainer (CET) Committee. He earned his master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 1997.

Emily Clark is a Safety Editor at BLR, where she oversees the day-to-day operations of Safety.BLR.com, writes and edits news articles, manages content for BLR’s OSHA Compliance Advisor newsletter, and more. Prior to joining BLR, she spent three years as an editor in the publishing industry, adapting print books of all genres to be recorded as audiobooks. She graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Northwestern University, where she received her B.A. in English Literature and Psychology.

Amanda Czepiel, J.D., is the Managing Editor of BLR’s environmental publications, and has been with BLR since 2007. Before joining BLR, Ms. Czepiel clerked in the Environmental Enforcement Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and with the Connecticut Fund for the Environment in New Haven, Connecticut. Prior to attending law school, she worked as an environmental educator and naturalist for the National Park Service and for the Hawthorne Valley Farm Visiting Students Program. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts in Food Studies from the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She is a member of the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Women Environmental Professionals and the American Bar Association, and is admitted to practice in Connecticut.

Elizabeth M. Dickinson is a Legal Editor for BLR’s environmental publications, focusing primarily on hazardous waste related topics. Ms Dickinson has covered environmental developments since 1994. Before joining BLR, she was an associate in the law firm Cummings & Lockwood and an attorney at Aetna Life and Casualty, both in Hartford, Connecticut.  She received a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University and her Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she was an Articles Editor of the Connecticut Law Review. Ms. Dickinson is a member of the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Women Environmental Professionals and the Connecticut Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in Connecticut.

Ana-Mari Ellington is a Legal Editor for BLR’s safety publications, and has been with BLR since 2002. She writes federal and state regulatory summaries, develops compliance and educational materials for safety programs, and writes white papers and news articles about workplace safety. Ms. Ellington has also written numerous publications on environmental management topics, such as sustainability. In addition, Ms. Ellington, who is bilingual, manages the development of all Spanish-language materials at BLR, ensuring translation accuracy and consistency. She received her bachelor of arts in English and Spanish philology (linguistics) from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Ana is a member of the National Association of Environmental Managers (NAEM), the Connecticut Environmental Forum, the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Women Environmental Professionals, the Society of Environmental Journalists, and the American Translators Association.

Timothy P. Fagan is a Legal Editor for BLR’s environmental publications, focusing primarily on air quality related topics. Mr. Fagan has covered environmental developments with BLR since 2000. Before joining BLR, he spent 5 years in environmental consulting and was responsible for air quality permitting and compliance for a broad range of industries in both the private and public sector. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Villanova University and a Master’s degree in environmental engineering from the Pennsylvania State University.  He is a member of the Air and Waste Management Association.

Amanda Topping is an Environmental Editor at BLR, where she oversees news-related operations, including producing, editing, and updating news and media content of the Enviro.BLR.com website. She also manages the content for BLR’s Environmental Manager’s Compliance Advisor and Environmental Compliance newsletters. She previously worked as Copy Chief for an online magazine in conjunction with Worcester State University. She received her B.A. in English with a minor in writing from Eastern State University, and is currently writing a thesis to complete her M.A. in English from Worcester State University.

Training

Brad Forrister joined M. Lee Smith Publishers in 1980 in the days of typewriters and index cards and guided the company’s transition to online information products. He led the teams that created HRhero.com, HRLaws.com, the online Tennessee Legislation Service, and other online products. He also produced the award-winning Danger Zones line of employment law video training products for supervisors and employees and helped guide the creation of TrainingToday.com. With a background in law, broadcasting, and journalism, he heads the company’s online learning and legal divisions. He serves on the boards of the National Online Legislation Association and Blackbird Theater, a professional theater company in Nashville.

Peggy Cretella is Training Managing Editor and has been with BLR since 1993. She has developed various training products in print, electronic, video, and online format and has developed products for the EHS field, as well as Human Resources. She has trained on a variety of topics, such as office ergonomics, back safety, emergency preparedness, and building evacuation. She is an active member of the American Society of Training and Development.


Heather Hunt is a Production Editor for BLR where she has worked on training products since 2002. She has over 15 years’ experience writing and editing business training materials in a variety of formats, including newsletters, booklets, posters, PowerPoint sessions, special reports, and guidebooks. For BLR, she works on a wide variety of topics, including OSHA-required training and compliance, diversity training and antidiscrimination laws, sexual harassment recognition and prevention, Social Security and Medicare, wellness programs, and building effective training programs for adult learners. She produces BLR's Training Daily Advisor.