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.
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Human Resources and Compensation
Gray, Catherine Moreton, J.D.—Senior Managing Editor
Bruce, Stephen, Ph.D.—Editor
Carsen, Jennifer, J.D.—Senior Legal Editor
Blazejak, Melissa—Senior Web Content Coordinator, Editor
Ceplenski, Chris—Managing Editor, News
Duke, Celeste—Senior Editor
Farrell, Joan, J.D.—Senior Legal Editor
Jones Holly, J.D.—Legal Editor
McDermott, Nancy R., J.D.—Legal Editor
McKnight, Sharon L., CCP, SPHR—Senior Editor, Compensation.BLR.com
Prince, Susan, J.D.—Legal Editor
Slaughter, David, J.D.—Senior Legal Editor
McGovern Tornone, Kate—Editor
Mayo, Virginia—Group Publisher
Weber, Mary—Group Publisher
Simpkins, Jean—Associate Group Publisher
Carney, Jason—Associate Editor
Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Compliance
Czepiel, Amanda, J.D.—Senior Managing Editor
Dickinson, Liz, J.D.—Legal Editor
Ellington, Ana—Legal Editor
Fagan, Tim—Senior Legal Editor
Galt, David—Senior Legal Editor
Remmel, Emily, J.D.—Legal Editor
Scace, Emily—Senior Safety Editor
Hunt, Heather—Production Editor
Human Resources and Compensation
Catherine Moreton Gray J.D.is the Senior Managing Editor for Human Resources and Compensation. Ms. Gray has over 20 years combined experience in HR management and as a management-side labor and employment attorney. Her HR experience includes recruiting, employee relations and communications, affirmative action, and compensation. As an attorney, Ms. Gray regularly counseled employers on issues such as complying with federal and state wage and hour laws, accommodating employees with disabilities, complying with federal and state laws requiring paid sick leave and family and medical leave, and union avoidance and labor relations. She represented employers in government audits, before administrative agencies, and in federal and state courts on matters including discrimination, wrongful discharge, sexual harassment, affirmative action compliance, unfair labor practices, and wage and hour violations. Ms. Gray has also written articles on developing employment law issues, and developed and presented training for clients. Ms. Gray received her law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in the State of Connecticut and before the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Celeste Duke 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 SHRM-CP, BLR’s Managing Editor, Media, is an award-winning writer and editor who has been following and clarifying developments in the HR field for 20 years. Currently the editor of the 250,000 subscriber HR Daily Advisor, the most-read HR publication in the US, and the THRIVE HR Magazine. 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, webinars, CDs, and more. He is the host of BLR’s podcast, HR Works, and has been named a Top 25 HR Influencer.
Melissa Blazejak is a Senior 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.
Jennifer Carsen, J.D. is a Senior Legal Editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications, focusing on benefits compliance. In the past, she served as the managing editor of California Employer Resources (CER), BLR’s California-specific division, overseeing the content of CER’s print and online publications and coordinating live events and webinars for both BLR and CER. Before joining CER in 2005, Ms. Carsen was a Legal Editor at CCH, Inc. and practiced in the Labor & Employment Department at Sidley & Austin, LLP in Chicago. She received her law degree from the New York University School of Law and her B.A. from Williams College. She is a member of the New Hampshire Bar Association.
Chris Ceplenski is Managing Editor, News. He has managed several BLR products related to employment law and human resources including newsletters, manuals and websites. He has authored hundreds of articles that have appeared on HR.BLR.com and produced dynamic content such as podcasts, videos, infographics and slideshows. Prior to joining BLR in 1999, he worked as an editor for a book producer and literary agency and as a college writing instructor. He 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 Senior Legal Editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications. Ms. Farrell writes extensively on the topics of workplace discrimination, unlawful harassment, retaliation, and reasonable accommodation. She is the editor of the ADA Compliance Guide and the Encyclopedia of Prewritten Personnel Policies. Before coming to BLR, Ms. Farrell worked as in-house counsel for a multistate employer where she represented management in administrative matters and provided counseling on employment practices.
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.
Nancy R. McDermott, J.D. is a legal editor with more than 17 years’ experience as a legal writer and editor. She writes and edits the federal Personnel Advisor manual and several state Personnel Advisor manuals and newsletters and is responsible for the design, development, and data maintenance of the Personnel Advisor HR website. She has also worked as a Court Watch Research Analyst for Texas Watch, a grass-roots organization, and for the Texas Legal Services Center, conducting legal research. Nancy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and her law degree from Vermont Law School.
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 15 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 and Master of Science in Law from Vermont Law School.
David A. Slaughter, J.D. is a Senior Legal Editor for BLR’s Thompson HR products, focusing on benefits compliance. Before coming to BLR, he served as editor of Thompson Information Services’ (TIS) HIPAA guides, along with other writing and editing duties related to TIS’ HR/benefits offerings. Mr. Slaughter received his law degree from the University of Virginia and his B.A. from Dartmouth College. He is an associate member of the Virginia State Bar.
Kate McGovern Tornone is an editor at BLR. She has almost 10 years’ experience covering a variety of employment law topics and currently writes for HR.ComplianceExpert.com and HR.BLR.com. Before coming to BLR, she served as editor of Thompson Information Services’ ADA and FLSA publications, co-authored the Guide to the ADA Amendments Act, and published several special reports. She graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., with a B.A. in media studies.
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
Amanda Czepiel, J.D., is the Senior Managing Editor of BLR’s environment, health and safety 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 educator 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 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, J.D. 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 Senior Legal Editor for BLR’s environmental publications, focusing primarily on air quality and chemical management 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.
David Galt is Senior Legal 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 J. Remmel, M.S., J.D., is an Environmental Legal Editor for BLR’s environmental publication team. Remmel focuses on stormwater regulations, NPDES permitting, CERCLA, USTs/ASTs, and brownfields. She presents webinars and teaches a one-day environmental bootcamp on USTs for compliance managers. Before joining BLR®, she clerked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Boston and the Environmental and Natural Resources Legal Clinic in Vermont. She holds a JD and Certificate in Water Law from Vermont Law School. While in law school, Remmel was the editor-in-chief of the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. In addition, she received a BS and MS in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma, where she researched freshwater ecology and invasive species. Ms. Remmel is also an adjunct instructor at the University of Oklahoma where she teaches Introduction to Water Resources Law to undergraduates. She is a member of the American Bar Association as well as the New Hampshire Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in New Hampshire.
Emily Scace is a Senior Editor for BLR’s safety publications. She oversees the day-to-day operations of Safety.BLR.com; writes and edits news articles, training content, regulatory analysis, and other materials about workplace safety; manages content for BLR’s OSHA Compliance Advisor and Cal/OSHA Compliance Advisor newsletters; works on BLR’s TRAC360 Chemical Lists product; and more. Prior to joining BLR, she worked as an editor in the audiobook publishing industry. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Psychology from Northwestern University.
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 Connecticut State University, and her M.A. in English from Worcester State University.
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.