The Greening of Detroit Names Leadership Officers


DETROIT —The Greening of Detroit announces the appointment of new leadership to its 2013 Board of Commissioners.  The are: Keith Cooley, president & CEO, Principia LLC has been named board chair; Bill Burdett, attorney and partner in Boyle Burdett Law Firm will serve as chair-elect.

Cooley is an engineer, strategist and corporate executive focused on ensuring a robust national economic recovery through clean, sustainable “next generation” technology and job creation for underrepresented urban residents. His leadership aligns with The Greening’s vision for tomorrow’s Detroit.  He says he is passionate about clean technology and workforce development, as well as revitalizing the city of Detroit.

“I am looking forward to joining The Greening Board because it will give me an opportunity to work in the neighborhoods, where there is less attention and lots of need,” said Cooley. “It is so important for us to build green infrastructure for the community, educating and engaging residents and volunteers in the process.  I am very excited about the opportunities facing Detroit and I am confident The Greening of Detroit will play an important role in the transformation of the city.”

Cooley previously served as president and CEO of NextEnergy, an accelerator for alternative energy technologies. Prior to his service there, Cooley was director of Michigan’s Department of Labor & Economic Growth. Other career endeavors and accomplishments include his cabinet position in the Granholm administration, CEO of Focus: HOPE and a variety of executive positions at General Motors.

Cooley speaks often on “clean tech” issues around the world, including Toronto, Montreal and Hannover, Germany.  He also served as a Detroit Free Press Green Awards judge for three years, and is affiliated with the Michigan Environmental Council and the Public School Academies of Detroit.  Cooley received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics and a Master of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Cooley and Burdett will further strengthen The Greening of Detroit’s momentum in providing leadership and expertise on land use and green infrastructure opportunities in the city.

Burdett specializes in civil litigation at the state and national level.  He says he is deeply committed to education and the First Amendment and serves as a guest lecturer on those topics.

Active in the Detroit community, Burdett serves on the Boards of the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Scarab Club. He has also held leadership roles on the Board of the Founders Junior Council at the Detroit Institute of Arts and has actively participated with the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, New York. Burdett is committed to building a healthier Detroit.  He is currently renovating a historic building and will open a fresh, local food market in Detroit’s west village neighborhood.

“Green infrastructure is an important element of Detroit’s future,” said Burdett.  “I grew up in Oscoda in the middle of the woods.  I know how important it is to plant trees, make greenways and promote environmental stewardship.  I think The Greening of Detroit adds tremendous value to the city, and I am looking forward to working with such a positive group of people.”

Burdett regularly provides pro bono legal services on First Amendment cases with local legal services organizations. He has been a member of the Supreme Court Historical Society and the Historical Society of Michigan and is a proud political activist.  Burdett received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University.

The Greening of Detroit recently expanded its mission and focus to meet the city’s growing needs in green infrastructure, forestry, urban agriculture and green workforce development.  The organization has grown four-fold in the past five years, with 42 full-time staff members and more than 300 seasonal employees.  The new Board term begins in January 2013. For more information about the organization, visit