Kathleen ("Katie") McGinty is ninth of ten children, all born and raised in northeast Philadelphia. Her father, John Patrick McGinty, was a Philadelphia police officer and her mother, Alma Berry McGinty, worked as a restaurant hostess. The McGinty's prided themselves on hard work--and on lots of fun and laughter. All of Pennsylvania feels like home to Katie. She and her husband, Karl, and three girls lived in Central Pennsylvania for nearly nine years and worked in nearly every county in her six years as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Katie and her siblings went to Resurrection of Our Lord grade school. Katie went on to be the Valedictorian of her graduating class at St. Hubert's High School. She earned a full scholarship and studied chemistry at St. Joseph's University. Earning top grades and honors there, she set off for the Ivy League. She was awarded a scholarship to study law at Columbia University. From there, Katie secured a judicial clerkship that took her to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. and won the Congressional Fellowship of the American Chemical Society, an honor that enabled her to work on Capitol Hill in the office of then-Senator Al Gore. With her background in science and technology, Katie was passionate about the competitiveness of U.S. high-tech companies in industries like semiconductors and biotechnology, and focused her fellowship year on initiatives to strengthen patent protections, encourage manufacturing, and support science education.
Katie also worked on the reauthorization of the landmark Clean Air Act, and with that work was asked to join the staff of Senator Gore to advise him on the various technology and environmental issues before the U.S. Senate. With this position came an extraordinary opportunity: the largest gathering of heads of state ever to be held was in the planning (the "Rio Earth Summit"), and Mr. Gore was chosen to lead the U.S. Senate Delegation to the proceedings. Katie served as the senior staff person for all of the preparations, including: participating in the negotiation of treaties to be signed at the summit, working with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Senators, and the chief negotiators for the many different countries actively engaged. Katie brought a unique perspective to the work believing that solving environmental problems should be an opportunity for innovation and job growth.
With this deep and broad experience under her belt, in 1993 Katie was asked by the newly elected President of the United States, Bill Clinton, to serve as his Deputy Assistant and then as Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality -- the first woman to head the office that was established in 1969 as part of the first significant piece of national environmental legislation in the country. In this capacity, she worked to reconcile environmental and economic challenges, pushing forward entrepreneurial policies to combat climate change, rebuild dirty and abandoned properties, release more information concerning toxic pollution to affected communities, restore key ecosystems like the California Bay Delta and the Florida Everglades, and build new environmental protections into trade agreements.
Understanding that developing countries were emerging as economic and geopolitical powerhouses, Katie and her husband, Karl Hausker, decided to live and work in India. Serving as a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Tata Energy Research Institute in New Delhi, Katie forged new ties between U.S. and Indian clean energy companies, as well as helped craft an environmental cooperation compact between the governments of the United States and India. Katie and Karl started their family in India, too, with two beautiful little girls from Hyderabad. In 2000, Katie served as an adviser to Mr. Gore during his presidential campaign and as senior policy advisor to the Democratic National Committee. In the spring of 2001, Katie and Karl welcomed their third daughter into their family.
Working with business leaders and investors, Katie developed investment vehicles that encouraged investment in clean technology, and joined Natsource LLC, a company involved in energy and environmental transactions. She served as Vice President for Asset Management at Natsource until 2003 when she was nominated by Governor Edward G. Rendell to become the first woman to lead the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. During her tenure, Katie required substantial cuts in toxic pollution like mercury and tailpipe emissions, while supporting creative new approaches to clean water that preserved open space and encouraged partnerships between farmers and municipal leaders. Katie championed the work of local citizens and community groups by fighting for a renewal of the successful Growing Greener program.
On every issue, Katie worked not only to protect the environment, but also to create jobs. She charged her staff at DEP to see "environmental challenges as economic opportunities in disguise." Her efforts attracted leading clean energy companies to Pennsylvania, bringing a billion dollars in new investment and creating 3,000 new jobs in the state. Katie's innovative approach gained national and international attention, when the state's accomplishments were showcased across the country and around the globe, including in China, Germany, France and Spain. With the initiatives Katie spearheaded, Pennsylvania became number one in the country in wind energy jobs, number two in solar and a pioneer in energy efficiency technology and systems.
Since 2008, Katie has been in the private sector, helping to drive sustainable business development. She is an Operating Partner of Element Partners, a clean technology private equity firm. She has served on the board of directors at NRG Energy, Inc., the largest wholesale power company in the US and owner of extensive renewable energy assets, and Iberdrola USA, a gas and electric utility. She is a director at Thar Energy, a Pittsburgh-based startup company in geothermal energy. At Weston Solutions, an environmental engineering company, she was Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Green Development Group, focused on transit-oriented property redevelopment, energy efficiency, and clean water businesses.
Katie served as an expert on the shale gas advisory task force called for by President Obama and chartered by Department of Energy Secretary Chu, and she led the renewable energy and energy efficiency advisory board to the DOE. She is a DOE "Clean Energy Ambassador." Katie also serves as a Director on the Board of the World Resources Institute, a global nonprofit organization focused on sustainability; she is on the advisory board of the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University, and formerly as Secretary of the Board of Trustees at Saint Joseph's University.
Katie holds honorary Doctorate degrees from Clarion State University, Dickinson, and Muhlenberg colleges. She was named a "Global Leader for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the "Business Leader of the Year" award of the Women's Network for a Sustainable Future; the "Woman of the Year Award" of the Women's Council on Energy and the Environment; the "All the Right Stuff" award of the Apollo Alliance, and the "Ansel Adams" award of the Wilderness Society.
Katie, Karl, and their three daughters reside in Wayne, Chester County, Pennsylvania.