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Small Business Assistance team

The Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP) serves as a free advisory and non-regulatory resource to small business owners throughout the state. Through the program, Small Business Program specialists work as liaisons between small businesses and state (DNR) and federal (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) regulators. The staff creates "plain language" publications; answers compliance questions; responds to written and verbal regulatory inquiries; coordinates occasional environmental compliance workshops; and directs businesses to other pertinent technical assistance providers.

The SBEAP reaches thousands of small businesses each year through meetings, speaking engagements, workshops and publications. The program currently offers many different fact sheets, rule summaries, record keeping, reporting forms and other tools designed to make environmental compliance easier for Wisconsin businesses. The majority of this information is always available on the SBEAP web pages.

National Recognition

In May 2020, DNR's Small Business Environmental Assistance Program staff, Lisa Ashenbrenner Hunt and Renee Lesjak Bashel, were awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator's Award for Outstanding Accomplishments by a Small Business Trade Association or State Small Business Environmental Assistance Provider in Providing Technical Assistance to the Small Business Community.

The Wisconsin SBEAP was selected for this award, one of EPA's 30th Annual Small Business Program Awards, to recognize their outstanding contributions in Fiscal Year 2019. Wisconsin's program was nominated by Paula Hoag, EPA's Asbestos and Small Business Ombudsman (ASBO), and was selected by a panel of EPA representatives from across the Agency. There are 53 state/territory/district Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs (SBEAP) and/or Small Business Ombudsmen (SBO), created under Section 507 of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

Wisconsin SBEAP staff have a long history of holding leadership roles at the regional and national level for the SBEAP/SBO and their National Steering Committee (NSC), including acting as regional representatives, chairs for multiple subcommittees and as the NSC chair. The following were highlighted in the nomination:

  • Lisa Ashenbrenner Hunt was NSC chair from 2018-2020, leading monthly calls and coordinating with EPA's ASBO. Lisa also chaired the planning committee for the 2020 Annual SBEAP/SBO Training, hosted by EPA.
  • Renee Lesjak Bashel has chaired the Awards subcommittee since 2017, improving the nomination and selection process and providing content for the National SBEAP website. Renee was also NSC chair in 2010-12.
  • Both are past chairs for the Technical Subcommittee.

Learn about EPA's ASBO at Asbestos and Small Business Ombudsman.

Team members

Lisa Ashenbrenner Hunt

Lisa Ashenbrenner Hunt

Lisa Ashenbrenner Hunt is a Small Business Environmental Assistance specialist and has been providing environmental regulatory assistance to small businesses since 2012. She has an academic background specializing in environmental policy and has private sector environmental compliance experience dealing with a wide range of environmental issues. Lisa strongly believes that good environmental stewardship and business success go hand-in-hand and looks forward to working closely with businesses to achieve those goals.

Contact information:
Lisa Ashenbrenner Hunt
Environmental assistance coordinator
608-266-6887

Jennifer Feyerherm

Jennifer Feyerherm

Jennifer Feyerherm began her career at the DNR helping design cross-media tools to help businesses, DNR staff, and the public identify better ways to prevent and manage pollution. Jennifer moved on to apply her skills as an organizer, policy analyst, and strategist for a national nonprofit organization where she worked for over a decade facilitating public involvement; developing advocacy and media strategies; building coalitions; analyzing environmental, health, and economic data; and participating in myriad regulatory processes. Now she is back at the DNR, striving to help small businesses navigate regulatory frameworks while finding solutions that enhance both business success and environmental stewardship.

Contact information:
Jennifer Feyerherm
Environmental assistance coordinator
608-266-5207

Renee Lesjak Bashel

Renee Bashel

Renee Lesjak Bashel is the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program manager. Renee has worked in the environmental field for over 20 years and has Bachelor of Science Degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Over her career Renee has held a variety of roles: for the DNR's Air Program, doing compliance inspections, writing permits, and leading the operation permit team; for the Wisconsin Department of Commerce's Small Business Clean Air Assistance Program, providing technical assistance on air pollution regulations; and for a local consulting firm as a project manager, completing air permit applications and annual reports for air, hazardous waste, Tier 2 and TRI, and conducting environmental compliance assessments. Renee looks forward to coordinating a Small Business Environmental Assistance Program that can now provide assistance on the full range of environmental regulations to small businesses in Wisconsin.

Additional resources