Speakers for VX2018

Mel Levine
President
LA Board of Water and Power Commissioners
Biography

Mel Levine

President
LA Board of Water and Power Commissioners
Andy Lipkis
Founder and President
TreePeople
Biography

Andy Lipkis

Founder and President
TreePeople

Andy Lipkis is a practical visionary who began planting trees to rehabilitate smog and fire damaged Los Angeles area forests when he was 15 years old. He founded TreePeople at age 18 and has served as its President since 1973. TreePeople is a guiding light for urban climate resilience around the world. For more than 40 years this organization has created a greener future for Los Angeles by inspiring and activating people, along with their local governments, to plant and care for trees and harvest the rain. Since its founding, TreePeople volunteers have been responsible for the planting of 3 million trees and counting. Its environmental education program reaches more than 200,000 students per year, with millions of children touched over the decades.  With climate change impacts already creating a chronic emergency for American cities, Andy’s work has demonstrated promising new ways for government agencies to collaboratively reshape urban tree canopy and water infrastructure to save lives and grow a more livable future.

Bill Allen
President and CEO
LAEDC
Biography

Bill Allen

President and CEO
LAEDC

Bill Allen is the Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation and its subsidiary, the World Trade Center Los Angeles. Mr. Allen is also Co-Chair of the California Stewardship Network, a Vice Chair of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley and a member of the Board of Directors of the Weingart Foundation, Regional Economic Association Leaders of California Coalition, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs, FilmL.A., Unite L.A., and Sister Cities of Los Angeles.

Active in regional economic development for more than twenty years, Mr. Allen was the first CEO of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley from 1996-2000, and in 2000 was named California’s Civic Entrepreneur of the Year by the California Center for Regional Leadership.

Mr. Allen has served as a trustee of the University of Southern California, chair of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Chair of Film LA, and cochair of the “Shaping Tomorrow” capital campaign for the Valley Presbyterian Hospital, on whose board he served for fifteen years.

Mr. Allen was previously a television network and studio executive with nearly twenty years experience in entertainment production and management, where he supervised the development and production of hundreds of episodes of network, syndicated and cable television, as well as several highly rated TV movies and specials.

A cum laude graduate of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California in 1979, Mr. Allen also received his Masters Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University in 1983.

Robyn Beavers
Investments & Distributed Technologies
Lennar
Biography

Robyn Beavers

Investments & Distributed Technologies
Lennar

Robyn Beavers started her career as an energy efficiency consultant and then moved on to become the founding member of Google’s Green Business & Operations strategy team. In this role she delivered several green strategic programs including the country's largest corporate solar installation at the time, energy efficiency retrofits for Google's global offices, employee incentive programs, and the creation of a large scale renewable energy investment program. While pursuing her MBA, Robyn served as a Fellow for the Department of Energy. In 2011, she joined Vestas Wind Systems where she created WindMade, a global NGO that issues the first global consumer label for brands and products made with wind energy. She then joined DEKA Research & Engineering to commercialize their various distributed water and power technologies. Her most recent corporate involvement has been as Sn VP for NRG Energy. She holds both a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an MBA from Stanford University.

Adam Krantz
CEO
National Association of Water Agencies
Biography

Adam Krantz

CEO
National Association of Water Agencies

Adam Krantz became CEO of NACWA on July 20, 2015.  Before that Mr. Krantz was Managing Director of Government & Public Affairs at the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), where he has worked since May 2001.  Mr. Krantz manages an unparalleled team in Washington, DC, that advocates on behalf of the nation’s public clean water agencies on an array of regulatory, legislative, and legal issues geared toward ensuring sustainable clean water agencies and a move toward the Utility of the Future.

Prior to his position at NACWA, Mr. Krantz was an associate editor/reporter at Inside Washington Publishers where his work focused on covering the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s and Congress’s national water quality initiatives.  Before entering the environmental arena, Mr. Krantz worked as an attorney in the Washington, D.C. law firm, Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin & Oshinsky on litigation matters. 

Mr. Krantz served three years as the President of the Federal Water Quality Association and also served as the first Vice President of the Clean Water America Alliance (now the U.S. Water Alliance). Mr. Krantz is currently a Board Member of the U.S. Water Alliance. Mr. Krantz has degrees from Columbia University in New York City, the American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., and the University of Chicago.  He is a member of both the District of Columbia and Maryland bar.

George Minter
Regional Vice President for External Affairs and Environmental Strategy
Southern California Gas Company
Biography

George Minter

Regional Vice President for External Affairs and Environmental Strategy
Southern California Gas Company

George Minter is Regional Vice President for External Affairs and Environmental Strategy for SoCalGas, the nation’s largest gas utility. He is responsible for the Company’s external affairs, communications, public policy and energy and environmental affairs functions.

Mr. Minter is a long time public policy professional specializing in energy and environmental matters, policy development, communications and political advocacy.

Prior to re-joining the Gas Company as the Senior Director of Policy and Environment, George was Managing Principal for the LA-based public affairs firms Greer/Dailey/Minter and GM Public Affairs from 2000 to 2013. There he managed public policy initiatives and communications programs to approve large energy and land use projects. 

George also served in the capacity as director and manager of a number of other functions for SoCalGas from 1985 – 2000. Prior to his career at the Gas Company, George was a political consultant handling local, state and national political campaigns, responsible for strategy development, campaign management and television and radio production.

George has served as a board member of numerous civic associations and community organizations, including the Central City Assoc., Valley Industry and Commerce Assoc., L.A. Family Housing Corp. (as Board Chair), Coro Foundation, Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal-State LA, Center for the Study of LA at Loyola Marymount University, Campaign to Clear the Air and the California League of Conservation Voters. He was one of the founders of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a federal energy trade association and of the California CCS Coalition, a statewide energy advocacy organization.

He currently serves as Co-Chair of the Energy, Water & Environmental Sustainability Council of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; is a member of the Land Use (GLUE) Council for So Cal Assoc. of Governments (SCAG); and is a member of the Advisory Boards of the CA Alt Fuel Vehicle Coalition of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), and of Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL).

George has been the recipient of several awards and honors, and has been a regular speaker at state and national conferences on energy and environmental policy. He recently was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, from the U.S. Council on Service and Civic Participation.

George is the father of two grown children, married, and lives in Pasadena, California. He is a Phi Beta Kappa and Honors graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.

Mary Nichols
Chair
California Air Resources Board
Biography

Mary Nichols

Chair
California Air Resources Board

Mary D. Nichols is Chair of the California Air Resources Board, a post she has held since 2007.

Nichols has devoted her entire career in public and nonprofit service to advocating for the environment and public health. In addition to her work at the Air Board, she has served as Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Air and Radiation program under President Clinton, Secretary for California's Resources Agency from 1999 to 2003 and Director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Her priorities as chairman include moving ahead on the state's landmark climate change program (AB 32), steering the Board through numerous efforts to curb diesel pollution at ports and continuing to pass regulations aimed at providing cleaner air for Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. She values innovation, partnerships and common-sense approaches to addressing the state's air issues.

Seleta Reynolds
General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Transportation
Biography

Seleta Reynolds

General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Transportation

Seleta Reynolds is General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) appointed by the Administration of Mayor Eric Garcetti. She leads the department as well as day-to-day operations of a multi-faceted organization with an annual budget of $526 million. LADOT’s 2,000 employees are responsible for managing over 6,500 miles of streets, 35,000 parking meters, and the most advanced traffic signal system in the country, with 4,500 traffic lights. The Department serves over 26 million trips each year on DASH buses, the second largest bus service in Los Angeles County; enforces parking laws; and facilitates over 2,000 special events each year. Ms. Reynolds is responsible for implementing Great Streets for Los Angeles, a plan to reduce traffic fatalities, double the number of people riding bikes, and expand access to integrated transportation choices for Angelenos and the region. 

Ms. Reynolds has over 16 years of experience planning, funding, and implementing transportation projects throughout the United States. Prior to accepting her current position, Ms. Reynolds served as a manager in in the Livable Streets sub-division at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, where she led the section responsible for safety, innovation, policy, and coordination for complete streets projects citywide. She oversaw the creation of an implementation plan for Vision Zero, the City’s goal to reach zero traffic deaths. She is a past president of the Association for Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals and serves on the Transportation Research Board Bicycle and Pedestrian Committees and the WalkScore Advisory Board. Ms. Reynolds was on the Steering Committee for NACTO’s Urban Streets Design Guide and the National Safe Routes to School Toolbox.

Ron Galperin
City Controller
City of Los Angeles
Biography

Ron Galperin

City Controller
City of Los Angeles

Ron Galperin serves as Controller of the City of Los Angeles -- working as the watchdog for L.A.'s taxpayers. Controller Galperin oversees a team conducting independent audits, managing the City's payroll and disbursements, preparing reports on the City’s finances, pursuing waste and fraud, providing information about the City's finances and operations online -- and focusing on modernization, management and metrics.

Leading a Data Revolution

As Controller, Galperin launched ControlPanel.LA, the City’s first open data portal -- featuring the City’s checkbook, details on the goods and services the City buys, assets and liabilities, employee compensation, operating indicators and much more. Because of these efforts, L.A. was named the No. 1 Digital City according to the U.S. City Open Data Census. Likewise, Government Technology Magazine recently named Controller Galperin to its list of the Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers of 2015.

Results-Oriented Audits

Under Galperin’s leadership, the Controller’s office has issued numerous financial and performance audits focused on improving the efficiency and accountability of City government -- and on delivering quality City services. Audits conducted by the Controller are helping to improve street services, how the City handles foreclosure properties, cable fees, funds for the arts, management of the City's many special funds, worker's compensation costs, development fees, airport operations -- and much more.

One of the Controller’s priorities has been to make the Dept. of Water and Power more transparent and responsive to ratepayers. He created UtilityPanel.LA, a data portal featuring key financial data about DWP spending and payroll. The Controller’s office conducted audits of the utility’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute and released an Industrial, Economic and Administrative Survey of the DWP, with specific recommendations for structural reforms and creation of performance dashboards.

Background

Prior to his being elected as Controller in 2013, Galperin built a reputation as a leading voice for government reform. He is the first Neighborhood Council member elected to city-wide office in Los Angeles. As an officer of his neighborhood council, he advocated for quality of life improvements and more responsible neighborhood planning. He also developed and taught “L.A. City Government 101” to new neighborhood council members throughout the city and served as a council budget advocate.

Controller Galperin has long promoted cutting waste and developing programs to help businesses create jobs. As Chair of the Los Angeles Commission on Revenue Efficiency, he worked to develop new revenue sources and budget savings to deliver more services to residents and businesses. He also served as President of the City's Quality & Productivity Commission.

Galperin brings to the Controller job more than twenty years of experience as a transactional and litigation attorney and small business owner. He received his J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He lives in West Los Angeles with his husband, Rabbi Zachary Shapiro, and their dog, Daisy.

Michael George
Delta Watermaster
State of California
Biography

Michael George

Delta Watermaster
State of California

Michael Patrick George was appointed to a four-year term as Delta Watermaster beginning in January, 2015.  The position of Delta Watermaster was created by the 2009 Delta Reform legislation.  The Delta Watermaster is an independent officer of the State reporting jointly to the State Water Resources Control Board and the Delta Stewardship Council.  The Watermaster has statutory responsibility for administering water rights within the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta.  Additionally, the Delta Watermaster advises the Board and the Council on related water rights, water quality and water operations in and affecting the Delta, which is, simultaneously, a critical estuarine habitat, a vital agricultural area, and the hub of California’s water infrastructure.

Prior to starting his term, Mr. George was active in western water law and policy as a water lawyer, as the CEO of a publicly traded water resource management company, as a senior executive of an investor owned water company and as an investment banker serving both public and private entities in the water industry.  He is an honors graduate of The University of Notre Dame where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and of the Georgetown University Law Center where he was an editor of Law and Policy in International Business.  Mr. George has lectured on California water resource issues at the University of California San Diego, the University of Southern California and the University of California at Berkeley.  He is a member of the California Bar.

Bob Hertzberg
State Senator
California State Senate
Biography

Bob Hertzberg

State Senator
California State Senate

Robert "Bob" Hertzberg

Robert M. Hertzberg, twice unanimously elected Speaker of the California State Assembly, from 2000 – 2002, is now a State Senator, proudly serving nearly 1 million residents in the San Fernando Valley.  Bob serves on, among others: the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications, and the Committee on Natural Resources and Water, and continues to address the big challenges facing California.

Bob has been an active entrepreneur and leader in global policy on renewable energy.  The Guardian (UK) named him as one of the “50 People Who Could Save the Planet” and his former company won the “World Bank Award, for Lighting Africa,” for a project in Rwanda.

Bob has appeared on CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, BBC, Nightline, and has been featured in articles in The Economist, Fortune Small Business, and Financial Times.  In addition, a solar company he was involved with in Los Angeles won the 2005 Wall Street Journal Innovation of the Year Award in the field of energy.

Bob has been to every VerdeExchange Conference & Expo since the beginning, including two in Toronto, Canada.  He’s thrilled to be back for #9!

Alex Beavers
CEO
Palma Sola Consulting
Biography

Alex Beavers

CEO
Palma Sola Consulting
Nate Lewis
George L. Argyros Professor of Chemistry
California Institute of Technology
Biography

Nate Lewis

George L. Argyros Professor of Chemistry
California Institute of Technology

Dr. Nathan S. Lewis is the George L. Argyros Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology.  Professor Lewis is Principal Investigator of the Beckman Institute Molecular Materials Resource Center. His research interests include artificial photosynthesis and electronic noses. Nate continues to study ways to harness sunlight and generate chemical fuel by splitting water to generate hydrogen. He is developing the electronic nose, which consists of chemically sensitive conducting polymer film capable of detecting and quantifying a broad variety of analytes. Technical details focus on light-induced electron transfer reactions, both at surfaces and in transition metal complexes, surface chemistry and photochemistry of semiconductor/liquid interfaces, novel uses of conducting organic polymers and polymer/conductor composites, and development of sensor arrays that use pattern recognition algorithms to identify odorants, mimicking the mammalian olfaction process.

Martin Adams
LADWP Chief Operating Officer
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Biography

Martin Adams

LADWP Chief Operating Officer
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Martin Adams is the Chief Operating Officer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). With more than 30 years of experience with LADWP, Mr. Adams has worked throughout the Water System and was directly involved with the planning and implementation of sweeping upgrades centered on the removal of open distribution reservoirs and changes in water treatment to meet new water quality regulations. Prior to his current appointment, he spent ten years as the Director of Water Operations in charge of the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the Los Angeles water delivery system, including the historical Los Angeles Aqueduct and other supply sources, pump stations, reservoirs, water treatment, and management of Water System properties. Mr. Adams is a life-long resident of the Los Angeles area, and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

James Villeneuve
Consul General
Canadian Consulate-Los Angeles
Biography

James Villeneuve

Consul General
Canadian Consulate-Los Angeles

James Villeneuve was appointed Consul General of Canada, Los Angeles in February 2014. He is Canada's senior representative in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Villeneuve worked for Anheuser Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewing company and the parent company of Labatt Breweries, for more than 27 years. He started with Labatt in Toronto in sales and marketing and was later transferred to Vancouver, where he was regional director of government affairs for Western Canada.

In 1995, Mr. Villeneuve returned to Toronto to manage Labatt’s rebranding initiative and to run the company’s corporate and sports properties. He later became director of corporate affairs and then vice-president of corporate affairs for Canada. From 2007 to 2009, Mr. Villeneuve worked in Brussels to lead InBev’s global corporate affairs practice. After InBev purchased Anheuser Busch in 2009, Mr. Villeneuve moved to St. Louis to lead the company’s North American corporate affairs department.

Mr. Villeneuve has served on many boards during his career, including the Toronto Economic Development Commission, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the 2008 Toronto Olympic Bid, the Granville Island Trust, the Association of Canadian Advertisers, Carleton University, the Canadian Club, Teach for America, the United Way and the Regional Chamber and Growth Association in St. Louis. He received a Bachelor’s degree from Carleton University in 1985. 

Mr. Villeneuve is married to Kim Walker-Villeneuve and they have two children, Grace and Andrew.

Bob Wieckowski
State Senator, California's 10th District
California State Legislature
Biography

Bob Wieckowski

State Senator, California's 10th District
California State Legislature

Senator Bob Wieckowski was elected on Nov. 4, 2014 and represents the 10th Senate District in the California State Legislature. The district stretches from southern Alameda County into Santa Clara County and shares the member’s focus on job creation, clean technologies, protecting our environment and reducing unnecessary regulations.

Mr. Wieckowski chairs the Environmental Quality Committee and Budget Subcommittee 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation.  He is also a member of the Senate committees on Judiciary; Budget and Fiscal Review; Transportation and Housing; and Ethics.  He was appointed by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon to serve on the Energy and Environment Committee of the Council of State Governments West and in 2017 became the first Californian to chair the committee.

Senator Wieckowski’s district is home to more clean tech companies than any other district in the state.  Whether it’s solar panels, electric vehicles or other breakthrough industries, the 10th Senate District is a major contributor to California’s clean economy.  The Senator is a state leader in advocating for climate adaptation programs and has participated on state and regional panels examining green infrastructure investments.

A strong voice in the Legislature for consumers and low-income earners, he received the “Champion of Justice” Award from the East Bay Community Law Center for fighting against abusive debt collectors and oppressive wage garnishments.  Statewide organizations have selected him Legislator of the Year and the California Judges Association gave him its “Scales of Justice Award” for his steadfast support for increased court funding. Tech America also named him “Legislator of the Year.”

Senator Wieckowski works with state departments and local officials to improve services, increase funding and to provide new opportunities to meet local challenges.  He facilitated the sale of state surplus property to Santa Clara Unified School District to construct a new school campus and provide additional park space, and he passed legislation to modify the terms of another property sale to help increase access to affordable housing.

As a passionate advocate for his community, he has served on numerous boards and commissions, and previously served as Vice Mayor of the City of Fremont.

Mr. Wieckowski is a small business owner and a bankruptcy attorney.  He has helped hundreds of families and seniors persevere through economic hardship, keep their homes and live with dignity.  He received his B.A. from the University of California and his J.D. from Santa Clara University Law School.

Senator Wieckowski lives in Fremont with his wife, Sue.

Ron Nichols
President
Southern California Edison
Biography

Ron Nichols

President
Southern California Edison

Ronald O. Nichols is president of Southern California Edison (SCE). He is responsible for external affairs, compliance, power production and procurement, and other operations. Nichols has more than 35 years of experience in the electric and water utility industry. He has been a strategic and operational advisor to utilities, state and local government, power suppliers and the financial community on complex energy and utility matters throughout the United States, particularly in the West. Previously, Nichols was senior vice president of Regulatory Affairs and Nuclear for SCE, overseeing regulatory policy and affairs, regulatory operations and environmental affairs. Prior to joining SCE in 2014, Nichols served for three years as General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), where he provided leadership for the utility in supplying reliable and competitively priced water and electricity while continuing to maintain and implement environmentally conscious policies and priorities. Previously, Nichols was a managing director at the energy practice of Navigant Consulting, an international consulting organization with over 2,000 employees. From 1980 to 1997, before his position at Navigant, he was a co-founder and Senior Vice President of the energy and water utility consulting firm, Resource Management International, which was headquartered in Sacramento with offices throughout North America and in Europe and Asia. Prior to starting his energy and water utility consulting career in 1980, he held positions with the California Department of Water Resources and the California Energy Commission. Nichols is a graduate of the University of California, Davis with a degree in agricultural economics and business management.

Kazuo Furukawa
Chairman
New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)
Biography

Kazuo Furukawa

Chairman
New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)

Kazuo Furukawa is chairman of NEDO, Japan’s largest public research and development management organization. His role is to guide the organisation towards achieving its twin missions of developing new energy and environmental technologies while increasing Japan’s industrial competitiveness.  Prior to NEDO, Mr. Furukawa worked for Hitachi, Ltd. serving as President and CEO of the diversified industrial conglomerate from 2006 until 2009. He has also served as the President of Information Processing Society of Japan and Vice Chairman of Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation).

Irma Muñoz
Chair
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
Biography

Irma Muñoz

Chair
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

Irma Muñoz is the founder and president of Mujeres de la Tierra (MDLT) – an environmental equity, non-profit focused on healing La Madre Tierra which has benefitted under-resourced neighborhoods of color since 2007.  MDLT believes in the power of one and that community action starts with individual participation and has inspired local women and their children to take ownership of leadership of neighborhood issues and concerns.

Through the organization’s economic empowerment platform, Irma has brought sustainable and green opportunities to marginalized populations, proving that an investment in clean water is an investment in communities. 

Irma Muñoz serves as a member of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board – currently serving as chair of both.

She is known for the development of creative, cultural relevant project to educate and engage members of the family including Telenovelas in the Park, Agua es Vida/Water is Life, La Paletera de Los Angeles and has worked with the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum on urban water parkways.

Stephen Cheung
President
World Trade Center – Los Angeles
Biography

Stephen Cheung

President
World Trade Center – Los Angeles

Stephen Cheung is the President of World Trade Center – Los Angeles (WTC-LA).  The WTC-LA works to support the development of international trade and business opportunities for Southern California companies as the leading international trade association, trade service organization and trade resource in the Los Angeles region. Prior to his current role, Cheung served in various capacities at the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office and the Port of Los Angeles, focusing on policies and programs relating to international trade, ports, airports and clean technology.  A proud Angeleno, Cheung was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Los Angeles where he received both his bachelor’s in Psychobiology and master’s in Social Welfare from UCLA. 

Robert Weisenmiller
Chairman
California Energy Commission
Biography

Robert Weisenmiller

Chairman
California Energy Commission

Chair Robert Weisenmiller was appointed as member and Chair to the California Energy Commission in January 2011 by Governor Jerry Brown and re-appointed in January 2015. He fills the Engineer/Scientist position on the five-member Commission. Commissioner Weisenmiller brings more than 30 years energy experience to the Commission including expertise in electricity and gas markets and California regulatory policies. Chair Weisenmiller has served as an expert witness in more than 100 state and federal regulatory commission proceedings and has authored numerous publications on electricity and natural gas markets.

Before his appointment, Chair Weisenmiller, a co-founder of MRW & Associates, used his expertise to assist businesses, financial institution, regulatory commissions, and public agencies in strategic planning, policy development, analyzing energy markets and regulations, rate design and implications of utility mergers.

Chair Weisenmiller's career also included a previous period of public service with the Energy Commission as Advisor to Commissioner, Manager of the Special Projects Office, and Director of the Office of Policy and Program Evaluation in the period between 1977 and 1982. Chair Weisenmiller holds a Doctorate in Chemistry and a Masters in Energy and Resources from University of California Berkeley and received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Providence College.

Rick Cole
City Manager
City of Santa Monica
Biography

Rick Cole

City Manager
City of Santa Monica

City Manager Rick Cole was appointed City Manager of Santa Monica in June of 2015. Rick joins the city with 30 years of experience in public policy and administration.

Most recently, he served as Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation for the City of Los Angeles where he was responsible for a budget of $8.6 billion and oversaw five city departments with more than 3,000 staff. He also supervised LA's Chief Sustainability, Technology and Data Officers.

Prior to his role at the City of Los Angeles, Mr. Cole spent 15 years as City Manager of two Southern California cities, Ventura and Azusa.  He has been recognized as one of “America's Public Officials of the Year” by Governing Magazine and one of the "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers" by Government Technology Magazine. He has won awards for municipal management excellence from the American Society of Public Administrators and the Municipal Management Association of Southern California, as well as for urban planning leadership from the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Mr. Cole served 12 years on the Pasadena City Council and was Mayor when Pasadena adopted its landmark General Plan, an early model for smart growth. Called "one of Southern California's most visionary planning thinkers" by the Los Angeles Times, he has been an active leader in the International City Managers Association and the City Managers Department of the League of California Cities.

As Santa Monica’s City Manager, Mr. Cole is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the City of Santa Monica, which includes implementation of City Council ordinances and policies, oversight of all City departments and a budget of $564 million.

He received a degree in American Studies from Occidental College in 1978 and earned a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Columbia University in 1979.

RADM Len Hering
Executive Director
Center for Sustainable Energy
Biography

RADM Len Hering

Executive Director
Center for Sustainable Energy

Rear Admiral Len Hering is a prominent military and civilian sustainability leader with a broad background in energy and environmental issues. His passion in sustainability is educating people on the dangers the future holds without taking responsible actions to secure the nation’s energy independence and to preserve water, air quality and other resources. Currently serving as Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy, RADM Hering oversees the mission-driven nonprofit organization as they provide critical and innovative clean energy program design and management, as well as technical advisory services to states and regions. 

Gary Gero
Chief Sustainability Officer
Los Angeles County
Biography

Gary Gero

Chief Sustainability Officer
Los Angeles County

Gary Gero was recently appointed to be the first Chief Sustainability Officer for the County of Los Angeles where his duties include creating a countywide sustainability plan that addresses regional environmental, economic, and social justice issues. Gary previously served for the past 9 years as the President of the Climate Action Reserve, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Los Angeles and operating across North America. He now serves on its Board of Directors. Gary’s career includes nearly 20 years of work in local government, primarily in the City of Los Angeles where he served as Assistant General Manager for the Environmental Affairs Department and at LADWP where he oversaw energy efficiency and renewable programs.

Jim Kelly
Senior VP (Retired)
Southern California Edison
Biography

Jim Kelly

Senior VP (Retired)
Southern California Edison

Jim Kelly retired from Edison International (EIX) on July 1, 2011, after almost 38 years of service with the Company.

Prior to his retirement, Mr. Kelly was the senior vice president of Transmission & Distribution for Southern California Edison, responsible for the operation and maintenance of an electrical grid comprised of over 12,000 miles of transmission and 100,000 miles of distribution lines spread across a 50,000-square-mile service area.

Mr. Kelly was also president of Edison ESI, a subsidiary company that operates one of the largest electrical and mechanical repair facilities in the U.S..

Kelly was previously the vice president of Engineering & Technical Services, responsible for planning, engineering, and designing SCE’s electrical grid, as well as research and development, safety and training. Mr. Kelly was one of the early pioneers of the Smart Grid, developing a roadmap for a smarter, safer, more reliable and more environmentally responsible electric grid. Among many other awards and honors, Jim was selected as the IEEE’s “Leader in Power” in 2009.

Kelly also previously served as the vice president of Regulatory Compliance and Environmental Affairs, and has in-depth experience with environmental regulation, permitting and licensing.

Since his retirement, Jim has advised or directed a number of firms in the energy space. 

Jim earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Long Beach, and a master’s degree from California State Polytechnic University.  He holds teaching credentials in several subjects and has taught at a number of colleges and universities throughout his career.

Liam Denning
Columnist
Bloomberg Gadfly
Biography

Liam Denning

Columnist
Bloomberg Gadfly

Liam Denning is a Bloomberg Gadfly columnist covering energy, mining and commodities. He previously was the editor of the Wall Street Journal's "Heard on the Street" column. Before that, he wrote for the Financial Times' Lex column. He has also worked as an investment banker and consultant.

Evan Birenbaum
Co-Founder and COO
Chai Energy
Biography

Evan Birenbaum

Co-Founder and COO
Chai Energy

As COO for Chai Inc., Evan Birenbaum is responsible for all things related to business strategy and development, energy-market dynamics, customer engagement, disruptive technologies, and day-to-day business operations. Chai is building products that give consumers a simple and mobile way to understand and reduce their energy use by up to 20 percent. Leveraging these consumer products, Chai will provide multiple services for utility companies, including customer engagement, behavioral energy efficiency, and interactive demand response.

Prior to joining Chai, Evan was the program manager for Environmental Strategy and Sustainability at Southern California Edison (SCE), where he was responsible for the development, strategy, and implementation of SCE’s corporate responsibility and sustainability program. He worked with company executives, business managers, regulators, NGO’s, and internal and external stakeholders to identify and prioritize emerging issues in order to address challenges related to climate change, water impact, habitat protection and biodiversity, and energy and water availability. He has been partly responsible for Edison’s charitable contributions in the area of environmental giving. Evan also works with the Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator to develop sustainable jobs in Southern California.

Felicia Marcus
Chair
California State Water Resources Control Board
Biography

Felicia Marcus

Chair
California State Water Resources Control Board

Felicia Marcus was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) for the State of California in 2012, and designated by the Governor as Chair in April of 2013.  The Board implements both federal and state laws regarding drinking water and water quality, and it implements the state’s water rights laws.  The Board sets statewide water quality, drinking water, and water rights policy, hears appeals of local regional board water quality decisions, decides water rights disputes, and provides financial assistance to communities to upgrade water infrastructure. 

Before her appointment to the Water Board, Marcus served in positions in government, the non-profit world, and the private sector.  In government, Felicia served as the Regional Administrator of the U.S. EPA Region IX in the Clinton Administration where she was known for her work in bringing unlikely allies together for environmental progress and for making the agency more responsive to the communities it serves, particularly Indian Tribes, communities of color, local government, and agricultural and business interests. While at USEPA, Felicia worked extensively on the range of environmental issues under EPA’s jurisdiction, most heavily in air quality, Bay-Delta water, tribal, and US-Mexico border issues.

Prior to that, Felicia headed Los Angeles’ Department of Public Works at a time when the City went from garnering lawsuits to garnering national awards for environmental excellence. Felicia came to Public Works after extensive experience as a public interest lawyer and community organizer in Los Angeles, including being a co-founder and general counsel for Heal the Bay. 

In the non-profit world, she was the Western Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national environmental leader in bringing science, law, and policy expertise to solving our world’s pressing environmental and conservation challenges.  Prior to joining NRDC, Felicia was the Executive VP/COO of the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit devoted to conserving land for people.  She also was a private and non-profit sector attorney in Los Angeles.   S

he currently serves or has served in the past on many non-profit boards and Advisory Councils including the Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Leadership Council, Sustainable Conservation, USC-Kesten Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, and the Center for Diversity and the Environment. She is also currently an Obama Administration appointee to the Commission on Environmental Cooperation-Joint Public Advisory Council (US, Mexico, Canada) and was a Schwarzenegger Administration appointee to the Delta Stewardship Council prior to being appointed to the Water Board.

William Funderburk
Vice President
LADWP Board of Commissioners
Biography

William Funderburk

Vice President
LADWP Board of Commissioners

William Funderburk is an environmental lawyer with a keen understanding of the how to deal with the critical issues that our nation faces today.  Since 2013 Mr. Funderburk has served as the Vice President of the Board of Commissioners for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and he has been managing partner in the Los Angeles office of a California business litigation and counseling firm, Castellon & Funderburk LLP, which he co founded in 1999.  Based in Los Angeles, Mr. Funderburk is known for being a visionary when it comes to everything from sustainability to renewables to clean tech to water quality. Mr. Funderburk has been a key force in handling the water crisis in Los Angeles, California and around the Country including playing a lead negotiating role in the historic multiagency settlement of the Owens Lake PM-10 dust control dispute.  He also played a key role as LADWP liaison in finalizing agreements to expand the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.  He has advised clients on drafting environmental legislation and regulations on groundbreaking issues such as reducing lead drinking water in California, establishing net metering for stationary, hydrogen powered fuel cells and counseling early stage companies on renewables, water, air and soil remediation technologies. 

On a national level, William has counseled clients on appearances before Congress and a number of federal councils under the jurisdiction of the White House.  The agencies range from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Departments of Energy, Interior, State, and Defense to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Mr. Funderburk has published various articles regarding California storm water regulations, clean power and distributed generation, Superfund reform and insurance recovery for environmental liabilities. He also speaks as an expert in environmental compliance, having given over 150 speeches in Washington, D.C. and California.

Mr. Funderburk is a member of the California State Bar and District of Columbia Bar.  He graduated from Yale University (B.A. in Engineering and Applied Science) and Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.).  He was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and two daughters.

Akira Chiba
Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles
Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles
Biography

Akira Chiba

Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles
Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles

Akira Chiba assumed the post of Consul General of Japan, Los Angeles, in July, 2016. Born in Tehran, Iran, he is a third-generation career diplomat, after his father and grandfather before him. During his several decades career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), he has spent eight years in China, and the remainder of his overseas postings in Switzerland, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States. The post of Consul General in Los Angeles is his third US tour. During assignments in Tokyo, Chiba has been charged with legal affairs, grant aid and economic cooperation portfolios, in addition to Oceanian regional affairs and several years as MOFA's Assistant Press Secretary to the international media. He has written journal articles on Japan's global relations, and authored numerous texts, many published both in Japanese and Chinese on a wide variety of topics, from Japan-Sino relations to the intricacies of working with the US Congress. He is a graduate of the Law Faculty of Tokyo University, attended Peking University in China, and graduated with an M.A. in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley.

Gene Seroka
Executive Director
Port of Los Angeles
Biography

Gene Seroka

Executive Director
Port of Los Angeles

Dr. Gene Seroka is the Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles, the busiest container port in North America. He was nominated by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on May 27, 2014, and confirmed by the Los Angeles City Council on June 11, 2014.

As Executive Director, Seroka is responsible for managing a more than $1 billion budget, advancing major capital projects, growing trade volumes and promoting innovative, sustainable practices that strengthen the region's economy. His duties involve interacting with a wide range of stakeholders, including Port customers around the globe, industry partners, elected and appointed officials at all levels, harbor area residents and business leaders. He has been appointed to the following national committees at the federal level to enhance the speed and efficiency of cargo movement and supply chain optimization: U.S. Department of Commerce Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness; U.S. Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Port Performance Freight Statistics Working Group; U.S. Maritime Administration Marine Transportation System National Advisory Committee; and Federal Maritime Commission Supply Chain Innovation Team.

Seroka brings more than 28 years of experience in shipping, global logistics and executive management. After several key overseas positions for American President Lines (APL) Limited, he returned to the U.S. in 2010 to become President - Americas for the shipping line in Phoenix where he managed APL's Liner Shipping business, including 1,000 employees, and was responsible for all commercial, port terminal, intermodal, land transportation and labor activities throughout the region.

Seroka joined APL in 1988 as a sales support representative in the company's Cincinnati office after earning an MBA and Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of New Orleans. Over the years, he has held various positions in sales and management with increasing responsibility and high-level assignments all over the world. Throughout his career, he played a key role in global marketing and corporate strategies for APL.

Seroka's first overseas posting was in Shanghai where he served as Director of Sales and Marketing for North and Central China from 1999 to 2003. He then moved to Jakarta where he was President Director of PT APL and APL Logistics in Indonesia for two years before relocating to Singapore in 2005 to become Vice President of APL Logistics' business units in 26 countries in the company's Asia/Middle East and South Asia regions. From 2008 to 2010, he served as Vice President for APL and APL Logistics Emirates LLC in Dubai where he managed APL's business in the Middle East and East Africa Region.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd
President
Western States Petroleum Association
Biography

Catherine Reheis-Boyd

President
Western States Petroleum Association

Catherine Reheis-Boyd is the President of the Western States Petroleum Association and oversees the trade organization’s operations and advocacy in six states. Catherine Reheis-Boyd has been affiliated with WSPA since 1990 and previously was the Association’s Executive Vice President.  She served as Chief Operating Officer and managed WSPA’s personnel as Chief of Staff since 2003.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd has managed a broad range of Association activities, including climate change and low carbon fuels, renewable fuels and alternative energy issues in WSPA’s six states, and beyond those borders into Canada and abroad. Ms. Reheis-Boyd received her bachelor’s of science degree in Natural Resource Management from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and pursued post-graduate studies in environmen­tal engineering at the University of Southern California. 

Bob Foster
Former Chair
California ISO Board of Governors
Biography

Bob Foster

Former Chair
California ISO Board of Governors

Bob Foster's career spans more than 40 years, beginning with his tenure as Chief Consultant to the California State Senate Energy Committee, advancing to division head and Deputy Director of the California Energy Commission, and culminating with his serving as President of Southern California Edison. He has been at the forefront of energy efficiency and renewables; pioneering the first energy standards for buildings in the nation in 1972 and leading Edison's renewable policy for a voluntary 20 percent of its energy portfolio well before it was mandated. He has been one of the leading policy developers in the energy space. He currently serves as a director on the Boards of S Power, Epcor, and TTSI, and sits on the Advisory Board of Philips Electronics. He recently stepped down as Chairman of the California Systems Operator. Bob is married to Nancy Foster his wife of 46 years and has two sons and three Grandchildren. In 1983 he coached the Pacific Little Team from Sacramento to the Little League World Series in Williamsport Penn. He splits his time between Long Beach and La Quinta California.

Michael Picker
President
California Public Utilities Commission
Biography

Michael Picker

President
California Public Utilities Commission

Michael Picker is a Commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Picker was a Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy in the Office of the Governor starting in 2009 and a member of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Board of Directors since 2012. He was a principal at Lincoln Crow Strategic Communications from 2000 to 2009 and a consultant at Kaufman Campaign Consultants from 2000 to 2002. Mr. Picker was deputy treasurer in the Office of the California State Treasurer from 1998 to 1999 and chief of staff to Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna Jr. from 1992 to 1999. He was deputy assistant for toxic substances control in the Office of the Governor from 1981 to 1982 and an organizer at the Campaign for Economic Democracy from 1978 to 1982.

Jonathan Weisgall
Vice President, Government Relations
Berkshire Hathaway Energy
Biography

Jonathan Weisgall

Vice President, Government Relations
Berkshire Hathaway Energy

Jonathan Weisgall is Vice President for Government Relations for Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. He joined CalEnergy (Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s predecessor company) in 1993 as Vice President for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs.

Weisgall also serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies and vice president of the Geothermal Energy Association. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he has taught a seminar on energy issues since 1990 and recently received the Charles Fahy Distinguished Adjunct Professor Award as outstanding adjunct professor of the year. He has also guest lectured on energy issues at Stanford Law School, Haverford, and the Johns Hopkins Environmental Science and Policy Program.

Weisgall graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia College and from Stanford Law School. He previously practiced law in Washington, D.C. at Covington & Burling, has written several law review articles and has published articles in Legal Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, SAIS Review, and The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

 

Abigale Abel
Global Director
GE Ecomagination
Biography

Abigale Abel

Global Director
GE Ecomagination

Abigale (Abby) Abel is the Global Director of GE Ecomagination, a strategic platform for delivering improved economic and environmental returns to GE customers.  Abby’s primary focus is working with partners to identify and scale new commercial solutions.  Prior to her current role, Abby served as the Strategic Marketing Leader for GE’s Renewable Energy business, responsible for leading a global team to provide wind industry analysis and insight to support strategic decision-making. 

Abby holds an M.B.A. & Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) from the University of Michigan as well as a B.A. from Middlebury College.  She lives in San Diego with her husband and daughter.

Rusty Hicks
Executive Secretary-Treasurer
LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
Biography

Rusty Hicks

Executive Secretary-Treasurer
LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Rusty Hicks is the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO (Federation). His election to the post makes him one of the youngest leaders and the first post-9/11 war veteran to lead one of the nation’s largest labor federations. The Federation is comprised of over 300 local unions that represent over 600,000 workers in every sector of our economy.

Dan Richard
Chair
California High Speed Rail Authority
Biography

Dan Richard

Chair
California High Speed Rail Authority

Dan Richard of Piedmont, has been a principal of Dan Richard Advisors since 2010. He was managing partner and co-founder of Heritage Oak Capital Partners, an infrastructure finance firm, from 2007 to 2009 and was senior vice president of public policy and governmental relations at Pacific Gas and Electric Company from 1997 to 2006.

Richard was an elected member of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District from 1992 to 2004, where he served twice as president of the Board. At the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Richard led efforts to secure $4 billion in capital for system rehabilitation projects, the transit system’s expansion to the San Francisco Airport and seismic retrofit programs.

Richard was a principal at Morse, Richard, Weisenmiller & Associates from 1986 to 1996, a firm serving the independent power industry and project finance lending community. He was vice president of Independent Power Corporation from 1983 to 1986. Richard served as Governor Brown’s deputy legal affairs secretary from 1982 to 1983 and deputy assistant for science and technology from 1978 to 1979. He was advisor to the chairman of the California Energy Commission from 1978 to 1982.

Richard began his career at National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he was assistant to the deputy associate administrator from 1972 to 1978. Richard received his Juris Doctor degree from McGeorge School of Law.

Enrique Zaldivar
Director
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation
Biography

Enrique Zaldivar

Director
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation

Enrique was originally appointed Director of the Bureau of Sanitation in 2007 and reappointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti in September 2013. Sanitation oversees the City of Los Angeles Clean Water, Solid Resources and Watershed Protection programs, which combined have a revenue value of over $1.1 billion, with a staff of nearly 3000 employees. LASAN is also the lead environmental department for the City.

Through Sanitation’s efforts, the City has been at forefront of environmental stewardship, from the restoration of Santa Monica Bay, to achieving one of the highest recycling rates among large cities in the world, over 76%, to the implementation of the Low Impact Development (LID) Ordinance for stormwater capture and infiltration. Mayor Garcetti has made environmental sustainability one of the primary pillars of his administration, and LA Sanitation plays a critical role in his initiatives.

The City of Los Angeles has embarked on an ambitious goal of making LA a Zero Waste City, a 90% reduction in landfill disposal by the year 2025.  Resource recovery is at the center of the City’s solid waste management strategy. LASAN has embarked, jointly with LADWP, on the development of the One Water LA Plan to integrate all water-related planning efforts in support of Mayor Garcetti’s Water Executive Directive No. 5.

Enrique serves on the board of several organizations such as the US Water Alliance, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and others. Enrique is a registered civil engineer. He and his wife Brenda, have three children, sons Enrique Jr. and Alonzo, and daughter Carina.

Marcie Edwards
Former General Manager
LADWP
Biography

Marcie Edwards

Former General Manager
LADWP

Marcie L. Edwards is the former General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and was the first woman to lead the nation’s largest municipal utility. 

Coming home to the utility where she previously worked for 24 years, Marcie brought decades of experience in the utility industry to the LADWP top job. She previously ran Anaheim Public Utilities for 13 years then was tapped to serve as Anaheim City Manager in July 2013. A past Governor on the California Independent System Operator Board, Marcie also served as interim CEO of that agency in 2004, and, in that role, assisted in avoiding statewide power outages during the Energy Crisis. 

Andrew McAllister
Commissioner
California Energy Commission
Biography

Andrew McAllister

Commissioner
California Energy Commission

Andrew McAllister was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in May 2012. He fills the Economist Member position on the five-member Commission where four of the five members by law are required to have professional training in specific areas - engineering or physical science, environmental protection, economics, and law. Commissioner McAllister is the lead commissioner on energy efficiency.

Mr. McAllister has over 20 years of technical, programmatic and policy experience in the fields of energy management, efficiency and renewable generation. Before joining the Commission, he worked at the California Center for Sustainable Energy for six years, most recently as managing director and director of policy & strategy.  Previously, he worked with NRECA International Ltd. in the electric sectors of countries in Central and South America, Southeast Asia and Africa on a variety of load management, generation and utility planning projects. He was a project manager at an energy consulting firm and worked as an energy efficiency analyst at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has published on various energy topics in academic, trade, and popular journals.

Andrew studied both engineering sciences and art history at Dartmouth College and holds M.S. and PhD degrees from the Energy & Resources Group at UC Berkeley. He is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer.

Mark Pestrella
Director
Los Angeles County Department of Public Works
Biography

Mark Pestrella

Director
Los Angeles County Department of Public Works

Mark Pestrella is Chief Deputy Director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works. He is responsible for all core business operations of the Department including water resources management, waste management, transportation, public building construction, development services, emergency management, financial management, and human resource management. One of his primary duties is to implement the Department Strategic Plan and initiatives, as well as oversee the application of the County Board of Supervisors' policies and directives.

A native of Southern California, Pestrella attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering with concentrations in structural engineering and water resource management. He is a licensed civil engineer in the State of California and has taught post-graduate classes in Civil Engineering and Land Development Entitlement at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Pestrella is a 29-year veteran of the Department and has held a variety of management positions throughout the Department. Over the last decade, Pestrella has been instrumental in Department leadership development, the adoption of County, State, and Federal policies related to Clean Water Act compliance, integrated water resource management, ecosystem restoration, and infrastructure sustainability.

Pestrella is also an active member of the American Public Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Water Works Association, Association of California Water Agencies, National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies (Board Member), Southern California Water Committee (Chair-Regional Stormwater Task Force), and Urban Water Institute (Board Member).

The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works is the largest public works agency in the United States with over 4,000 employee positions and an annual budget of more than four billion dollars. The Department designs, constructs, operates, and maintains roads, highways, bridges, airports, sewers, and flood control and water conservation facilities, as well as water distribution systems for the County, the Flood Control District, special districts, and contract cities. In addition, the Department provides management services for capital projects and serves as a first responder for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. The Department provides leadership in the countywide transportation system, traffic mitigation efforts, and solid and hazardous waste management planning.

Renata Simril
President and CEO
LA84
Biography

Renata Simril

President and CEO
LA84

Renata Simril is President and CEO of the LA84 Foundation (www.LA84.org).  Formed in 1985, originally as the Amateur Athletic Foundation, the LA84 Foundation (“LA84” or the “Foundation”) is a legacy of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Summer Games.  The LA84 Foundation transforms lives through its investment in youth sport programs, infrastructure, research, and education across eight Counties of Southern California, and is a national leader in elevating the role that sports play in positive youth development.

Ms. Simril is an accomplished civic and private sector trailblazer with more than 20 years of diversified experience with a commitment to leadership and service.  She most recently served as Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff to the Publisher of the Los Angeles Times, where she oversaw staff operations and special projects.  Her earlier career included three seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where she served as Senior Vice President of External Affairs overseeing the restoration of the Dodgers brand and the Dodgers Foundation; and over a decade in real estate development with Jones Lang LaSalle, Forest City Development and LCOR, Inc.  Her public service included stints as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Housing in the Hahn Administration, where she worked to expand rental and affordable housing in Los Angeles, and as a Development Deputy to Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, where she worked to help rebuild communities in South Los Angeles after the 1992 civil unrest.  Ms. Simril began her career in the U.S. Army as a Military Police Officer in the U.S. and Germany. 

Ms. Simril is active in the community outside of LA84 Foundation, currently serving on the Boards of the LA2024 Olympic Bid Committee; Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce;  United Way of Greater Los Angeles; Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission; and Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation; and as a member of the Board of Regents of Loyola Marymount University (LMU).  In 2016, she was named to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s inaugural list of The Los Angeles 500 Most Influential People. 

Ms. Simril is a third generation Angeleno.  She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Loyola Marymount University and a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development from USC.  Ms. Simril resides in Studio City with her husband and two sons.

Katy Young
Deputy for the Environment and Arts
Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
Biography

Katy Young

Deputy for the Environment and Arts
Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl

Katherine (Katy) Young is lead deputy for the environment and arts under Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. Katy is responsible for developing the Third District’s environment, water, and arts policy. Katy previously served as the General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at the Climate Action Reserve, a Los Angeles-based environmental non-profit committed to developing and implementing market-based solutions to climate change.

Katy has also worked as a land use and environmental attorney at Latham & Watkins and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. An alumnus of the CORO fellowship program, Katy now serves on the Southern California CORO Board of Directors and its Executive Committee. Katy is a Los Angeles native and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA from UC Berkeley and received her law degree from UCLA.

Christine Harada
Former Federal Chief Sustainability Officer
White House
Biography

Christine Harada

Former Federal Chief Sustainability Officer
White House
Jerry Meral
Former Deputy Secretary
California Natural Resources Agency
Biography

Jerry Meral

Former Deputy Secretary
California Natural Resources Agency

Gerald Meral, Ph.D. was appointed Natural Resources Agency deputy secretary for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) on Jan. 19, 2011.  Dr. Meral will be charged with guiding completion of the BDCP to restore the Bay-Delta ecosystem and create water supply reliability for California.  In addition, he will also be responsible for the development of any revenue and funding proposals necessary to complete the plan.

Dr. Meral was executive director of the Planning and Conservation League from 1983 to 2003. He previously served as deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources from 1975 to 1983 under Governor Brown, and director of the western water program of the Environmental Defense Fund from 1971 to 1975. Dr. Meral holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan.  He lives in Inverness, Calif. with his wife Barbara.

Harlan Kelly
General Manager
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Biography

Harlan Kelly

General Manager
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. is General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the third largest municipal utility in California, and a Department of the City and County of San Francisco with a workforce of 2,500 employees providing retail drinking water and wastewater services to San Francisco; wholesale water to three Bay Area counties; and green hydroelectric and solar power to San Francisco’s municipal departments.  Mr. Kelly, who previously served as the SFPUC’s Assistant General Manager, Infrastructure, oversees $10 billion in capital programs for water, sewer and power, including the $4.6 billion Water System Improvement Program, the $6.9 billion Sewer System Improvement Program, and the $1.8 billion Hetch Hetchy System Improvement Program.  As an authority on water, sewer and power policy, he is in high demand as a speaker at numerous summits, forums and conferences throughout the country, and has provided expert testimony to the United States Senate on wastewater resource recovery.  His civil engineering career spanning three decades includes his tenure as the City Engineer of San Francisco.  He is on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), as well as the Bay Area Council.  He co-founded the youth internship program Project Pull, which has been in continuous operation since 1995.  His writing and insights are featured in The Value of Water – A Compendium of Essays by Smart CEOs.  He and his wife, attorney and San Francisco City Administrator Naomi M. Kelly, and their two sons, reside in San Francisco.        

Lauren Faber
Chief Sustainability Officer
City of Los Angeles
Biography

Lauren Faber

Chief Sustainability Officer
City of Los Angeles

Lauren Faber is the Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles. In her role as Deputy CSO she is driving the implementation of the Sustainable City pLAn, released in April 2015, which puts forth an actionable vision for transforming LA's environment, economy and equity. Working across every city department, Lauren focuses on strategic integration of the pLAn's pillars in order to reach the City's ambitious climate and clean energy goals, ensure benefits accrue to all communities in LA, and pursue regional and international collaborations. Prior to joining the Garcetti Administration, Lauren served for four years as the West Coast Political Director for the Environmental Defense Fund in San Francisco. At EDF she worked on building successful strategies and constructive partnerships to win support on innovative approaches to protecting and promoting climate, clean energy, land, water and wildlife. In 2010 Lauren was appointed to Assistant Secretary for Climate Change Programs at the California Environmental Protection Agency, where she was dedicated to the design and implementation of California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act. Prior to her work at CalEPA, Lauren served as senior director for Lighthouse Consulting Group in Washington, D.C., where she advised on comprehensive national climate change and energy strategies for domestic and international companies, and non-government organizations, and in particular, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. From 2005-2009 Lauren served at the British Embassy as the Senior Policy Advisor for climate change and energy.

Lauren sits on the Board of the California League of Conservation Voters, is a member of the Catto Fellowship for environmental leadership at the Aspen Institute, and a member of the Truman National Security Project Political Partnership. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Earth Systems and Economics from Stanford University, and Master’s degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University.

Paula Daniels
Co-Founder and Chair
Center for Good Food Purchasing
Biography

Paula Daniels

Co-Founder and Chair
Center for Good Food Purchasing

Paula Daniels is co- founder and Chair of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, a social enterprise non-profit founded in July of 2015 as a national spin off from the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, which Paula founded in 2011.  Paula was also Executive Director of California Central, a USC Villaraigosa Initiative, from April of 2015 to June 2016.  She is a public policy leader in environmental food and water policy, with recognition through academic appointments and other awards.  Some recent examples: September 2016, Resident Fellow of the Bellagio Center of the Rockefeller Foundation; 2015, Pritzker Environment and Sustainability Education Fellow at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability;  2013, Lee Chair in Real Estate Law and Urban Planning;  2012-2013, Stanton Fellowship (awarded by the Durfee Foundation).  She has also had academic appointments at USC, and Vermont Law School.

Building on a successful career as an attorney in civil litigation, she served as a Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner (a fulltime position overseeing the Department of Public Works) and then Senior Advisor to Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles. She has also been a commissioner with the California Coastal Commission, and a gubernatorial appointee on the governing board of the California Bay-Delta Authority.  She was an appointee of Governor Brown to the California Water Commission, and served in his Office of Planning and Research as Senior Fellow for Food Systems, Water and Climate.

Janea A. Scott
Commissioner
California Energy Commission
Biography

Janea A. Scott

Commissioner
California Energy Commission

Janea A. Scott is one of five Commissioners on the California Energy Commission. The Energy Commission is the State's primary energy policy and planning agency. Ms. Scott was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in February 2013 to serve as the Commission's public member. She is the lead Commissioner on transportation and western regional planning, and last year Ms. Scott led the 2014 Integrated Energy Policy Report Update. Ms. Scott serves as the chair of the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative, a public/private organization focused on accelerating the adoption of PEVs to meet California's economic, energy and environmental goals. She is also a member of the U.S. Department of Energy's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee.

Prior to joining the Energy Commission, Ms. Scott worked at the U.S. Department of the Interior in the Office of the Secretary as the Deputy Counselor for Renewable Energy and at Environmental Defense Fund in both the New York and Los Angeles offices as a senior attorney in the climate and air program. Ms. Scott was also an AmeriCorps member working at the San Francisco Urban Service Project from 1996-1997. Ms. Scott earned her J.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder Law School and her M.S. and B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University. 

Daniel Feitelberg
KPMG
Biography

Daniel Feitelberg

KPMG
Minh Le
Former Director
Department of Energy
Biography

Minh Le

Former Director
Department of Energy

Minh was formerly the deputy director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, where he helped manage and balance the portfolio of Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment programs in achieving our national SunShot goals. Prior to his role at the Energy Department, Minh spent his career in industry developing technologies and scaling new technologies to high volume manufacturing. Minh earned his BS and MS degrees from MIT where he held fellowships by the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and the Bose Foundation.

Mark Gold
Associate Vice-Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability
UCLA
Biography

Mark Gold

Associate Vice-Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability
UCLA

Mark is the UCLA Associate Vice-Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability and was recently the Acting Director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.  In his current position, he works to increase interdisciplinary environmental research, and he is leading UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge - with goals of achieving 100% local water supply and 100% renewable energy in Los Angeles County while enhancing biodiversity and human health and wellbeing by 2050. He worked with 28 faculty to develop the Sustainable LA workplan, and there are over 150 faculty that are part of the Sustainable LA research team. 

Also, he was the long-time President of the environmental group, Heal the Bay.

Mark received his Bachelors and Masters in Biology and his doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering from UCLA.  He has worked extensively over the last 29 years in the field of coastal protection, water management, and urban sustainability; he created Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card for the west coast of the U.S., served as vice chair of the Santa Monica Bay Commission for over a decade, helped create Santa Monica’s sustainable city plan – the first in the U.S., and helped co-author numerous California and local government coastal protection, water quality and environmental education bills and ordinances. 

Recently, he led efforts to develop LA County’s first environmental report card and assisted the City of LA on the development of their first ever sustainable city plan.

He is currently leading a research effort on sustainable water management in the city of Los Angeles, and he sits on the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors for the city of Los Angeles, Mayor Garcetti’s Water Cabinet and the Proposition O stormwater bond Citizens Oversight and Advisory Committee.

Steve Berberich
President and CEO
California ISO
Biography

Steve Berberich

President and CEO
California ISO

Steve Berberich is President and Chief Executive Officer at the California Independent System Operator (ISO). 

Mr. Berberich has navigated the ISO through a series of major initiatives, including the world’s most expansive integration of renewable resources into the power grid. His vision for reducing the grid’s reliance on fossil fuels has catalyzed many significant new programs including the nation’s first Energy Imbalance Market, which welcomed several western states into the ISO’s bulk power markets. 

With over 25 years of experience in the utility, consulting, banking and finance sectors, he also holds an undergraduate degree in finance and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Tulsa. 

 

Jim Wunderman
President and CEO
Bay Area Council
Biography

Jim Wunderman

President and CEO
Bay Area Council

Jim Wunderman is President and CEO of the Bay Area Council, a CEO-led public policy and advocacy organization formed in 1945 that works to make the Bay Area the most innovative, globally competitive, and sustainable region in the world. Since becoming CEO in 2004, Wunderman has honed the Council’s regionalist approach to advocacy in key areas that impact the Bay Area’s economy and competitiveness, including: business climate, housing, transportation, workforce, water, energy, communications, education, gender equity and cyber security. In 2015, he was named one of the Top 100 movers and shakers in California politics.

Wunderman has led the Council’s efforts to advocate for billions of dollars in federal, state and regional funding for major transportation projects completed or currently under construction. He has worked to expand the Council’s leadership outside the region, including opening an office in Sacramento and overseas offices in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing, and partnering with the state to reopen the California-China Trade Office. Wunderman positioned the Council to lead in developing an innovative early education program – Talk, Read, Sing -- and partnering with The Clinton Foundation to introduce it nationally. Under his leadership, the Council’s advocacy helped win important statewide education reform through local control funding. Wunderman has continued to play a key role in efforts to achieve consensus-based solutions to California’s water challenges, and is leading the region’s business community in the effort to make sure the economy is a primary driver of planning and regional sustainability efforts.

Prior to his work at the Bay Area Council, Wunderman’s career from 1984 to 2004 was split between both the private and public sectors. He served as Chief of Staff to San Francisco Mayor Frank M. Jordan from 1992-95, following five years of work for Mayor Dianne Feinstein.  From 1997-2004 he served as Senior Vice President for External Affairs at Providian Financial Corporation.  He also served as Vice President and General Manager of two major waste collection, disposal and recycling firms in the Bay Area under its parent, Recology, Inc.

Wunderman has served on numerous Boards and Commissions.  He currently serves on the University of California Business Executive Council, the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) Board, the State of California’s International Trade and Investment Advisory Council, the Too Small to Fail Advisory Council, California-China Trade and Investment Advisory Board, ChinaFisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics, Bridge Housing Board of Directors, Sierra Energy, TMG Partners, the East Bay Zoological Society Foundation, the Chabot Space & Science Center Foundation Leadership Council, the Human Needs Project, Ready Nation Advisory Board, and the SF Bay Restoration Authority.  He also serves on the Transit Sustainability Project Steering Committee, the Clean Energy Working Group, EDA East Bay Economic Development Alliance, the REAL Coalition, and the Super Bowl Host Committee.

Wunderman is a Visiting Professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.  He is a graduate of San Francisco State University, Majoring in Political Science, and received an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Kingsborough College, City University of New York.  He has four children and resides in Contra Costa County. 

Vince Bertoni
Director of Planning
City of Los Angeles
Biography

Vince Bertoni

Director of Planning
City of Los Angeles

Vince Bertoni was recently nominated by Mayor Eric Garcetti to be the next Planning Director for the City of Los Angeles.  He is currently the Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Pasadena and has over 25 years of professional planning experience.  Previously, Vince served as the Deputy Planning Director for the City of Los Angeles and as Planning Director for the cities of Beverly Hills, Santa Clarita, and Malibu.

Vince is a member of the California Planning Roundtable and has held several leadership positions with the California Chapter of the American Planning Association including President, Vice President for Policy & Legislation, Director of the Los Angeles Section, and Co-Chair of the American Planning Association’s 2012 National Planning Conference.  In addition, he has served on the Board of Directors of the League of California Cities and as President of the League’s Planning & Community Development Department.

Vince has been active on statewide legislation; having served on the Housing Element Reform Working Group formed by the State Assembly and Senate and testified before the State Senate on infill real estate development strategies.

Vince has a Bachelor’s Degree in Transportation and Urban Geography from San Diego State University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Mike Wallace
Managing Director
BrownFlynn
Biography

Mike Wallace

Managing Director
BrownFlynn

As Managing Director, Mike is responsible for expanding BrownFlynn’s market penetration across North America, developing new and existing strategic partnerships, providing innovative corporate responsibility and sustainability solutions to clients and helping shape the strategic direction of the Firm. Having helped establish and then direct GRI’s North American operations from 2010 to 2014, Mike was instrumental in driving sustainability reporting across the North American economy.

Mike’s 20 years of international experience in the sustainability field provides BrownFlynn clients and business partners with a global view of the sustainability landscape. Having given expert testimony to the European Commission, U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and the General Services Administration, and having presented on the topic of sustainability and reporting at many of events, Mike’s expertise in the field is highly regarded and valued by a wide range of colleagues and organizations.

Brian Jordan
Vice President
Tetra Tech
Biography

Brian Jordan

Vice President
Tetra Tech

Brian Jordan is a Vice President at Tetra Tech and currently focused on the firm’s smart water initiative. Mr. Jordan recently joined Tetra Tech from MWH Global where he was Director of Global Corporate Development. In this capacity, he was responsible for coordinating and leading a variety of the company’s growth efforts including strategic partnerships and mergers and acquisitions, as well as organic growth initiatives aligned with the company’s strategic plan.

Prior to MWH, Brian was a Senior Vice President at AECOM where he was the executive responsible for profit and loss, sales and marketing efforts, and oversight of strategy and operations for the firm’s water business in a region that extended from the Rocky Mountains to continental Asia. Brian has been active in professional associations throughout his career. He has served on the Board of Directors of the American Water Works Association and been elected, nominated, or appointed to leadership and chair positions for a half-dozen different industry organizations. He is also an active author and public speaker having published or presented several dozen papers. A licensed professional engineer in California, Brian has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, and completed graduate studies in the same field at Virginia Tech.

Dean Wiberg
Manager, Commercial Technology Partnership Office
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Biography

Dean Wiberg

Manager, Commercial Technology Partnership Office
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dean Wiberg is the manager of the Commercial Technology Partnerships Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) with responsibilities to develop business opportunities with non-NASA entities to solve sponsor requirements using JPL technologies and capabilities leading to transfer and commercialization. Before assuming his current role, Dean was a project lead in JPL’s Microdevices laboratory in which he was named in about 15 patents and new technology disclosures. Before joining JPL, Dean held technical, management and business development positions at the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), IBM, Westinghouse, Northrop Grumman, Sarcos Research/University of Utah and was co-founder of a venture funded, high tech materials company.

Dean is on or has served on the board of directors for a number of companies and organizations including the Foothill Municipal Water District, one of the 26 regional Southern California water districts, the Bernard Schreiver chapter of the Air Force Association (AFA) and the Board of Advisors for CleanTech Los Angeles, the City’s business incubator for early stage cleantech companies. He has also been active in local governance having served as the Chairman of a municipal planning commission and an elected City Councilman.

Dean holds a BS in Chemistry and an MS in Chemical Engineering, and has done additional graduate studies in Materials Science and Business Administration. 

Mark Ridley-Thomas
Supervisor, 2nd District
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Biography

Mark Ridley-Thomas

Supervisor, 2nd District
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

Since he was overwhelmingly elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012 and 2016 to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Mark Ridley-Thomas has distinguished himself as a strong advocate for more than two million Second District residents. He presently serves as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, President of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission and a member of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

He has promoted the District’s interests on a variety of fronts, including transportation, job creation and retention, and local hiring. In the area of health policy, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has overseen the construction of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, as well as a network of cutting-edge health care facilities throughout the District. He has facilitated the use of technology and encouraged an integrated approach to wellness that includes mental health care and a prominent role for school-based clinics. His advocacy has helped secure an equitable share of funding for public-private partnership health clinics in underserved areas.

Prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas served the 26th District in the California State Senate where he chaired the Senate’s Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. He served as Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus in 2008 and led the Caucus in unprecedented levels of cooperation and collaboration with counterparts in the Latino and Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucuses.

Mark Ridley-Thomas was first elected to public office in 1991 and served with distinction on the Los Angeles City Council for nearly a dozen years, departing as Council President pro Tempore. He later served two terms in the California State Assembly, where he chaired the Assembly Democratic Caucus. His legislative work addressed a broad range of issues with implications for economic and workforce development, health care, public safety, education, budget accountability, consumer protection and civic participation.

He is widely regarded as the foremost advocate of neighborhood participation in government decision-making. By virtue of his founding of the Empowerment Congress, arguably the region’s most successful 24-year experiment in neighborhood-based civic engagement, he is considered the founder of the Neighborhood Council movement.

Ridley-Thomas’ political career was preceded by a decade of service as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, which followed a brief but successful five-year stint as a high school teacher.

The Supervisor is a graduate of Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles and earned a baccalaureate degree in Social Relations with a minor in Government and a master’s degree in Religious Studies with a concentration in Christian ethics from Immaculate Heart College. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas went on to receive his Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the University of Southern California focusing on Social Criticism and Social Change.

He is married to Avis Ridley-Thomas, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute for Non-Violence in Los Angeles. They are the proud parents of Sinclair and Sebastian, both Morehouse Men. Sinclair recently earned an MBA degree at USC’s Marshall School of Business, works in the investment banking industry, and resides with his wife Shaunicie, an attorney, in San Francisco. Sebastian is a member of the California State Assembly representing the 54th District, which includes Southwest Los Angeles, Culver City, Century City and Westwood.

David Hochschild
Commissioner
California Energy Commission
Biography

David Hochschild

Commissioner
California Energy Commission

David Hochschild was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in February 2013. He fills the environmental position on the five-member Commission where four of the five members by law are required to have professional training in specific areas - engineering or physical science, environmental protection, economics, and law.

Commissioner Hochschild’s career has spanned public service, environmental advocacy and the private sector. He first got involved in the solar energy field in 2001 in San Francisco as a Special Assistant to Mayor Willie Brown where he launched a citywide $100 million initiative to put solar panels on public buildings. He went on to co-found the Vote Solar Initiative, a 60,000-member advocacy organization promoting solar policies at the local, state and federal level. He served as executive director of a national consortium of leading solar manufacturers and worked for five years at Solaria, a solar company in Silicon Valley. In 2007-2008, he served as a commissioner at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

For his work to advance clean energy, Commissioner Hochschild was awarded the Sierra Club’s Trailblazer Award, the American Lung Association’s Clean Air Hero Award and the Department of Energy’s Million Solar Roof True Champion Award. Commissioner Hochschild holds a B.A. degree from Swarthmore College and a Masters of Public Policy degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs.

Quay Hays
Principal and CEO
GROW Holdings LLC
Biography

Quay Hays

Principal and CEO
GROW Holdings LLC

Quay Hays has been on the forefront of renewable energy and “green” development throughout California. 

As principal and CEO of GROW Holdings LLC (Grow Renewable Organic & Water), Mr. Hays is overseeing one of the largest renewable energy-powered environmental projects in the world, the planning and development of a “green” city of 22,000 homes located on 7,200 acres in Central California which incorporates innovations in solar energy, sustainable design, technical integration and 21st century building methodology.

In addition to growing up on construction sites as the son and grandson of real estate developers, Mr. Hays has over 25 years’ experience in real estate, company capitalizations, and marketing. His real estate experiences encompass project management, entitlements, land planning, complex financings, home building, and sales and acquisitions. 

Mr. Hays is the past Chairman of the California Economic Summit’s Regulatory Reform Committee and led the Open Data team in helping the state of California establish its Open Data Policy. Mr. Hays serves on the board of the Palisades Malibu YMCA, The State of the Future Organization, and the Milken Institute’s Central Valley Initiative and is an active supporter of numerous environmental groups including The Sierra Club and NRDC. 

Mr. Hays is the author of the Life’s Golden Rules series of books, including Bottom Lines, The Golden Rules for Executive Success.

Phillip Washington
CEO
LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Biography

Phillip Washington

CEO
LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Phillip A. Washington, formerly of Denver’s Regional Transportation District, was unanimously selected CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) by the Metro Board of Directors on March 12, 2015. 

Washington came to Los Angeles at a time when Metro has five major rail, plus highway projects, under construction – together representing the largest modern public works program in the United States.

In his position as Metro CEO, Washington oversees an agency that transports 1.4 million boarding passengers on an average weekday, riding on a fleet of 2,000 clean-air buses and six rail lines. Metro also is the lead transportation planning and programming agency for Los Angeles County. As such, it is a major construction agency that oversees bus, rail, highway and other mobility related building projects. 

Washington came to Los Angeles from Denver, where he was Assistant General Manager for nearly ten years, prior to being named CEO in 2009.

In Denver, Washington implemented the FasTracks program, one of the largest voter-approved transit expansion programs in the country. He was responsible for a total agency budget appropriation of $2.8 billion and managed more than $5 billion in active transit expansion projects. Under his management, Denver’s West Line Rail was completed under budget and eight months earlier than scheduled and the award-winning Denver Union Station was completed five months ahead of schedule.

Also in Denver, Washington spearheaded implementation of the first-of-its-kind $2.2 billion transit Public-Private Partnership (P3). His emphasis on measuring and managing agency performance led the agency to a nearly 90 percent on-time bus and rail service and 96 percent ADA on-time performance. In 2012, Washington’s emphasis on safety training led to a 40 percent decrease in preventable bus accidents.

Originally from the south side of Chicago – the Chicago Housing Projectsof Altgeld Gardens – Washington is a 24-year veteran of the United States Army where he held the rank of Command Sergeant Major, the highest non-commissioned officer rank an enlisted person can achieve. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Columbia College and an M.A. in Management from Webster University. He is current chair of the American Public Transportation Association.

David Ryu
Los Angeles City Councilmember, 4th District
Los Angeles City Council
Biography

David Ryu

Los Angeles City Councilmember, 4th District
Los Angeles City Council

Los Angeles City Councilmember David E. Ryu represents the 4th Council District which includes the neighborhoods of Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silverlake, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont and a portion of Koreatown. Ryu studied economics at UCLA; Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers; won a prestigious United Nations graduate internship; and was a Netkal Fellow at USC’s School of Social Work.

As Senior Deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Burke, he worked for years on issues like public health, housing, children and family services, transportation and senior services. He helped oversee the County budget and worked for a time as a Special Investigator for the Auditor-Controller, rooting out waste and fraudulent expenditures. Ryu returned to the non-profit world and served as Director of Development and Public Affairs at one of Los Angeles’s largest non-profit health care providers: Kedren Acute Psychiatric Hospital and Community Health Center.

On July 1st, 2015 Ryu became the first Korean American to serve on the LA City Council and only the second Asian American.

Traci Minamide
Chief Operating Officer
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation
Biography

Traci Minamide

Chief Operating Officer
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation

Traci is the Chief Operating Officer for the City of Los Angeles, LA Sanitation, an organization of approximately 3,000 employees with annual revenue of nearly $1 billion.  In this capacity, she assists the Director by maintaining Bureau-wide oversight of operational activities in a program that consists of three core services: wastewater collection, treatment, and water recycling; solids resources; and watershed protection (stormwater).  Her main area of focus is in wastewater treatment, water recycling, and biosolids management where over 450 million gallons a day are collected and treated.

Traci has been with the LA Sanitation for over 25 years and has previously worked with the City’s Department of Water and Power and the Irvine Ranch Water District   serving in other capacities including water planning, industrial pretreatment, and environmental regulations.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, a Master of Science degree in environmental engineering from Loyola Marymount University and certification in Executive Management for State and Local Government from Harvard University.  She is also a licensed professional civil engineer in the State of California and a Board Certified Environmental Engineer.  Traci currently serves as a Board Director for the California Association of Sanitation Agencies and is a member of the State Water Resources Control Board Advisory Panel for Direct Potable Reuse. 

Adel Hagekhalil
Assistant Director
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation
Biography

Adel Hagekhalil

Assistant Director
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation

Adel Hagekhalil, P.E., BCEE is a registered civil engineer with the State of California and a national Board Certified Environmental Engineer.  Adel is currently an Assistant Director with the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Sanitation he is responsible for the Bureau’s wastewater collection system management, storm water and watershed protection program, water quality compliance, and facilities and advance planning.  Adel is leading the City’s effort in green infrastructure and multi-benefit projects and embarking on the City 2040 One Water LA Plan.  Adel led the study group on water resiliency for the President's National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC). Adel is currently a Board member and immediate past president with the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).

Kelli Bernard
Chief Executive, Los Angeles Metro Area
AECOM
Biography

Kelli Bernard

Chief Executive, Los Angeles Metro Area
AECOM

Kelli Bernard is chief executive for the Los Angeles Metro+ region of AECOM, a premier, fully integrated global infrastructure firm headquartered in Los Angeles. With more than 2,000 employees in the Los Angeles and Southern California area, Kelli is responsible for building on AECOM’s strategies to deliver its integrated services to meet the infrastructure and business needs of public and private sector clients.

Kelli has over 20 years of experience in economic development, land use planning, housing, redevelopment and public affairs. She also has in-depth knowledge of public/private partnerships, public finance and infrastructure investment.

Prior to joining AECOM, Kelli served as the deputy mayor of economic development for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. In this role as the city’s top economic advisor, Kelli championed business growth, economic development and job creation in Los Angeles. She managed eight city departments — including the Los Angeles World Airports and the Port of Los Angeles — with combined budgets of more than $6 billion and over 7,000 employees.

Prior to her position as deputy mayor, she was director of economic development at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipality in the United States, where she led the department’s Clean Technology Initiative that culminated in the development of the $40M La Kretz Innovation Campus.

She is a member of the Urban Land Institute and has served as a national urban advisor. Kelli sits on the board the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a leading nonprofit organization working to create urban parks in the city. She is also a memberof the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission.

Kelli holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning from University of California, Los Angeles, and a BA in Sociology from University of California, Berkeley.

Barbara Romero
Deputy Mayor of City Services
City of Los Angeles
Biography

Barbara Romero

Deputy Mayor of City Services
City of Los Angeles

Barbara Romero is the Deputy Mayor of City Services in the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti. She was appointed to this position in March 2015 after serving as a Board of Public Works Commissioner. 

Romero spent a decade working for the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, where she was Chief of Urban Projects and the Watershed Planning Division. As the liaison to local, state, and federal legislators on park planning issues, Romero handled legislative policies and project funding strategies, and managed millions of dollars for urban park projects. She also focused on identifying, developing and implementing multiple park development, restoration, and acquisition projects primarily in urban areas along the Upper Los Angeles River and tributaries.

She currently serves as a Board Member for the Valley Presbyterian Hospital and has previously served on the boards of the Baldwin Hills Conservancy the L.A. River Revitalization Corporation. In addition, she was a member of the Los Angeles Planning Commission and previously worked for the L.A. Conservation Corps and Building Up Los Angeles, where she led an AmeriCorps program to develop school and community gardens and mural projects with high school and college students in East L.A.

Romero grew up in the East L.A. community of Boyle Heights. She holds a B.A. from UCLA.

Linda Griego
Board Member
AECOM
Biography

Linda Griego

Board Member
AECOM

Ms. Griego has served, since 1986, as president and chief executive officer of Griego Enterprises, Inc., a business management company that has overseen several entrepreneurial ventures in Los Angeles.

In 2015, Ms. Griego founded the MLK Health and Wellness Community Development Corp. charged with economic development oversight of LA County’s MLK Medical Campus in Watts.  Ms. Griego has held other civic-related appointments, including deputy mayor of the city of Los Angeles focused on economic development; president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Community Development Bank charged with making loans in the federal economic empowerment zone; and president and chief executive officer of Rebuild LA, the agency created to coordinate a five-year economic recovery following the Los Angeles civil unrest.  

For two decades, she has served on boards of directors of non-profit organizations and government commissions.  She currently serves as a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation; and has served as a trustee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  She also serves on the boards of directors of the Art Center College of Design and the Community Development Technologies Center.  She has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations for twenty years; and was a founding member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.

For more than twenty years, she has served on the boards of corporations. Currently, she serves as a director of CBS Corporation, and a board member of AECOM Technology Corporation and American Funds. She was also a Los Angeles director of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Ms. Griego has maintained strong ties with UCLA since her graduation in 1975 when she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.  She is a former senior fellow of the UCLA School of Public Policy and former chair of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Advisory Board.  She currently serves on the UCLA Women’s Health Center advisory board. In 2008, she received the UCLA Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the university. 

Sara Neff
Senior Vice President
Kilroy Realty Corporation
Biography

Sara Neff

Senior Vice President
Kilroy Realty Corporation

Sara Neff is the Senior Vice President of Sustainability at Kilroy Realty Corporation. In her first four years, she took Kilroy from having no sustainability program to being named the #1 real estate company across all asset classes on sustainability in North America by GRESB, an honor they have now won three times in a row. Since 2010, at Kilroy she has overseen all sustainability initiatives such as the implementation of all energy and water efficiency projects, recycling and green cleaning, LEED certifications, green leasing, and the greening of building standards. She chairs the Board of Directors of USGBC Los Angeles, and is a member of the USGBC National Advisory Council and a member of the Board of Directors of Young Professionals in Energy Los Angeles. Awards include: 2016 ULI 40 under 40; 2016 Bisnow Los Angeles Power Woman; 2015 BOLD Award; USGBC Orange County 2014 Individual Achievement Award; 2013 Northern California Real Estate Women of Influence Rising Star; and Generation BOMA 2011 Professional of the Year. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BS from Stanford University.

Varun Sivaram
Philip D. Reed Fellow
Council on Foreign Relations
Biography

Varun Sivaram

Philip D. Reed Fellow
Council on Foreign Relations

Varun Sivaram is the Philip D. Reed fellow for science and technology at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, a nonresident fellow at the Columbia University Center for Global Energy Policy, and a member of the advisory boards for the Stanford University Woods Institute for the Environment and Precourt Institute for Energy. Forbes named him one of the 30 under 30 in Law and Policy, Grist selected him as one of the top 50 leaders in sustainability, and Klout ranked him as one of the top 5 global thought leaders on solar energy. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Taming the Sun (MIT University Press, February 2018).

Jeff Kightlinger
General Manager
Metropolitan Water District
Biography

Jeff Kightlinger

General Manager
Metropolitan Water District

Jeffrey Kightlinger is general manager for The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. As general manager, he is responsible for implementing the policy directives of the Board, including working with elected officials and member agencies to carry out the Metropolitan's mission. The General Manager reports directly to the Board of Directors and provides leadership and management of the water district's public policies and strategic initiatives, assets and resources, and all administrative, operational, and financial activities for Metropolitan.

Kightlinger was appointed general manager in February 2006. Prior to his appointment as general manager, he was general counsel for Metropolitan. He was responsible for directing Metropolitan's legal staff and consulting attorneys; leading the district's legal strategies in pending and potential litigation; and protecting Metropolitan's interests in all legal matters.

Before becoming general counsel, Kightlinger represented Metropolitan in environmental issues and water right matters. At Metropolitan he worked primarily on Colorado River matters, water rights issues and a number of the district's water transfer and storage programs. Before joining Metropolitan in 1995, he worked in private practice representing numerous public agencies including municipalities, redevelopment agencies and special districts.

Kightlinger earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of California, Berkeley in 1981 and a law degree from the Santa Clara University Law School in 1985.