Gary practices within Butler Snow’s Regulatory and Government group. Gary’s experience as an engineer and attorney in both the public and private sectors provides him with a unique perspective when advising clients on a myriad of complex environmental issues.  ​

Biography – View PDF Bio

Narrative Bio

Gary Rikard’s environmental experience extends for almost 30 years and includes both private and public sector experiences as an engineer and as an attorney. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, Rikard worked as an engineer at MDEQ for several years. Thereafter, he obtained his law degree and returned to MDEQ in the Legal Division, where he worked for nearly three years before leaving to begin private practice. He returned to public sector service in the summer of 2014 as Executive Director of MDEQ, where he led the agency through the settlement of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill case – the largest environmental damage settlement in U. S. history. Rikard’s key role in ensuring Mississippi natural resources were made whole after the oil spill were evidenced by his service as Mississippi’s Natural Resource Trustee, the Governor’s representative on the Restore Council and the primary state contact concerning the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Federation. Additionally, during his tenure at MDEQ, Rikard oversaw a restructuring of the agency that ensured it became more efficient and effective in protecting human health and the environment. Rikard left MDEQ in 2020 and returned to Butler Snow where he resumed his environmental law practice, assisting clients across all media.

Rikard uses both his engineering and legal training to find creative solutions for clients facing complex regulatory issues. He is admitted to the Mississippi and Tennessee State Bars, as well as the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.


Bar Admissions

  • Mississippi, 1995
  • Tennessee, 2010
  • U.S. District Courts
    • Mississippi: Northern, Southern
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
    • 5th Circuit
    • District of Columbia Circuit


  • Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, Joint Force Headquarters, Mississippi Army National Guard, Retired
  • Environmental Engineer, Air and Water Divisions, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
  • Senior Attorney, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
  • Executive Director, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, 2014-2020
  • Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Environment
  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Environmental Law, 2022

Education & Honors

  • University of Mississippi, J.D., 1994
    • Special Projects Editor, Mississippi Law Journal
    • Moot Court Board
  • Christian Brothers University, B.S., Civil Engineering, cum laude, 1991
    • Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society


  • Significant experience in the negotiation of complex environmental enforcement and permitting cases on both the state and federal levels, including:
    • Clean Air Act: represent clients in obtaining air construction and operating permits, including Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit and Title V permits
    • Clean Water Act: advise clients on permitting and compliance with NPDES, Pre-treatment and stormwater permits
    • RCRA: assist clients in meeting RCRA regulatory compliance requirements and obtaining RCRA and HSWA/Corrective Action permits
    • CERCLA: advise clients on liability issues, including Superfund settlements
    • Solid Waste: assist clients in obtaining all variety of solid waste permits, from rubbish facilities to Subtitle D landfill, including advice on managing the Mississippi Solid Waste Planning Act
    • EPCRA: advise clients on Tier II and Section 313 compliance
  • Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (2014-2020)