Bill is Professor Emeritus of Biology (Russell Sage College). He is a charter member of the Rensselaer Land Trust (RLT) and served on its board from 1987-2012 in various capacities including being president when it was in the first group of land trusts to be accredited by the LTA. He served as Chairman of the Brunswick Conservation Advisory Council from 1987-1994, and as RLT's representative to the County's EMC from 2007-2012. From 1972-1980 he was a Senior Research Associate at Columbia University's College of Physicians & Surgeons doing research on the causes of autoimmune diseases, receiving the Kermit Osserman Award in 1975 from the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation for his work. From 1967-1972 he conducted research on the effects of DDT on the nervous system of electric eels and also served as a teaching fellow in physiology to medical students at the College of Medicine of the University of Vermont. From 1994-2000 Bill was also a Visiting Scientist (part-time) working with Dr. David Carpenter at the Wadsworth Center (NYS Dept of Health) studying the effects of PCBs on brain function in rats.
In 2000, he took a sabbatical leave from Sage to work with Dr. Daniel Rosen on isolating the gene for ALS. At Sage Bill taught human physiology, comparative animal physiology, genetics, immunology, neurobiology, biostatistics, research methods for undergraduates, and pathophysiology for nurse practitioners.
Bill has a BA in biology from Northeastern, a MS in zoology from UNH, a PhD in Physiology & Biophysics from the College of Medicine at UVM. He has been an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and the Sage College of Albany.
Bill lives on a 90 acre farm in Brunswick with his wife of 52 yrs, has 2 children: Dr. Erik Niemi of Bennington, VT, and Maila Niemi of Troy, NY and 3 grandchildren. He is a life member of Trout Unlimited (Homewaters Chapter 586), Friends of Dyken Pond, Friends of Grafton Lakes, and the Audubon Society. Although he has 4 tractors (2 antique ones and 2 newer ones) he no longer farms, but rents out land to a local farmer, although he does cut his own firewood from his woodlot. He, with his son and brother-in-law built a post & beam barn which on the first floor has a woodworking shop and on the second floor a quilting room which houses a 12' Innova long arm quilting machine and sewing machines, which his wife, Liz (a former OR nurse) uses to make quilts for cancer victims veterans. In his spare time Bill downhill skis with his son & grandchildren during the cold season and fishes with them in the summer. He has installed 40 birdhouses for various species on his property, including 15 wood duck houses in10 duck ponds. 70 of the 90 acres is under a conservation easement with the USDA and the NRCC. A tributary of the Quackenkill runs through his property. Muskrats, beaver, otter, and waterfowl can be found in the wetland portion of his farm.