Ganesan, 34, has one of the toughest jobs in Washington. As the liaison between the EPA administrator's office and Congress, state governors, and mayors, he represents the agency that Republicans most love to hate. It wasn't too hard at the beginning. "But the work changed quite dramatically in the second half of the first term," he says—after Republicans took over the House and made EPA a top political target. Ganesan expects tough going as the agency finalizes climate-change regulations. Knowing what's in store, Ganesan relies on humor and long-standing relationships on the Hill, forged during his years working on environmental issues for the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., to smooth the way. "The basis of this discussion is relationships. You have to put aside the adversarial portrayals of how these things work. I take my job completely seriously, but humor and being lighthearted about interactions is the only thing that can get you there," he says. Ganesan grew up in Boxborough, Mass., and majored in economics at the University of Massachusetts. After graduating, he spent a year on Wall Street and left for Washington, where he earned a master's in public administration from George Washington University. Before working for Lautenberg, he was at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the Calvert Group.