Ken Myers has spent his career helping corporations address the government’s demands for environmental health and safety. Now he aims to clean up the political process in his home state of Pennsylvania. Myers, an attorney at High Swartz in Norristown, has been named to the board of directors of the state’s Common Cause organization, a public-interest advocacy group.
At MIT, Myers studied electrical engineering but took plenty of accounting and economics courses. He also served as the track commissioner for the model railroad club. “We had this wonderful layout in the old Building 20,” he recalls. “On Friday afternoons I would clean the tracks, the same way you would clean your silverware before a holiday dinner.” In addition, he served as business manager at the campus radio station and enjoyed sailing on the Charles.
After earning his JD at Harvard, he began practicing utility regulation law at the Philadelphia firm Morgan Lewis. When the first big Earth Day celebration took place in 1970, the company decided it was time to prepare for environmental cases. Myers was tapped to coauthor custom manuals for clients and ultimately helped write the first 50-state Environmental Spill Reporting Handbook. He was also a contributing author of the industry standard Environmental Law Practice Guide.
Since then, Myers has litigated all kinds of environmental cases. “I’ve been in the bottom of a hard-rock mine to see how groundwater moves, and I’ve been at the top of a coke oven battery to figure out how bad the smoke is,” he says. “I have advised Fortune 500 and larger companies about whether they are going in the right direction or not. Usually, the best way to handle an environmental case is not to fight to the death, because the government does not die. If you possibly can, you reach an honorable midcourse.”
Myers would give the same advice to politicians on both sides of the aisle. Over the years he has served on both Republican and Democratic committees. “The two-party system is the most valuable thing we have going for us,” he says. “I take every opportunity to advance it.”
In addition to his Common Cause work, Myers recently chaired the Water Resource Association of the Delaware River Basin, a nonprofit watchdog agency, and he organizes education programs on election law and civil rights. He and his wife, Susan, who went to Brandeis, have been married since 1962 and enjoy travel, having visited 61 countries. They have three children and five grandchildren.