Energy spotlight: Todd Normane
Todd Normane was bitten by the environmental bug early, seeing the impact of heavy industry on his hometown in northern New Jersey.
It pushed him to pursue a career in environmental law that led him first to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, followed by jobs at a law firm and two large energy producers.
“I really did believe I could do more working with the companies, and I found that to be true with BP and Talisman,” Normane said. “I was able to influence and direct things from the inside to help achieve compliance and achieve a better result. Of course, you have to achieve a business outcome. It can be done in a responsible way.”
He hopes to help more companies navigate the environmental and regulatory landscape in a new role. Downtown law firm Cohen & Grigsby recently hired Normane, 49, to expand its energy practice as its new director.
“It's really about introducing Cohen & Grigsby into the energy space. They had done some work in the area, but not with this focus,” he said.
Normane's experience with the energy sector began 25 years ago. After receiving a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and law and environmental degrees from Vermont Law School, he spent five years handling enforcement cases in his home state.
“Going into the DEP there was really an extension of my education,” he said.
Ten years at oil and gas company BP took him to Los Angeles, where he became manager of the West Coast office. He joined gas producer Talisman in 2010 when the company opened an office in Pittsburgh's North Hills as part of its push into the Marcellus shale.
Spanish oil company Repsol's purchase of Talisman last year brought up the possibility of being relocated from Pittsburgh for Normane, who was a vice president and general counsel for the company.
“We were looking to stay in the area. We like it a lot,” said Normane, who lives in Marshall with his wife, Emily Skopov, and their children, Austen and Wyatt.
The opening at Cohen & Grigsby “presented a good opportunity to work with a well-known firm and build on that,” he said.
The practice will focus on all aspects of energy, including business deals, new technology issues and shale gas work. Although drilling activity has dropped with low gas prices, Normane expects the industry to resume its pace.
“There's so much going on as far as new regulations,” he said. “Regardless of commodity price, that's the work that goes on. It's going to become more complicated as new regulations come out.”