Winter 2016

LA Metro’s CEO Shares Construction Progress with an Eye to Communities

Issue: 
Phil Washington

At the “Transit Oriented Los Angeles 2015” conference hosted by Urban Land Institute-LA in December, VerdeXchange Chairman David Abel moderated a discussion between California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales and Metro CEO Phil Washington. Washington and Morales both emphasized their focus on the positive impacts transit build-out can produce for the communities it touches, if approached with care—and the steps they are taking to meet local needs and incorporate community feedback into plans that are expected to yield a transformative impact on the Southern California region as well as the entire state. They also discussed both the agency and authority’s efforts to protect and bolster local business as rail construction occurs.

Next Steps for Cleaner Goods Movement at the San Pedro Bay Ports

Issue: 
Rick Cameron

The Coalition for Clean Air’s Port and Freight Solutions Symposium in October brought together over 100 port experts, environmental advocates, and government agencies concerned with improving air quality and efficiency through reducing greenhouse-gas emissions at the Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles. Here, VX News presents edited excerpts from a number of panels that took place at the conference. Featured speakers include: California Air Resources Board Commissioner Hector De La Torre, Port of Long Beach Director of Environmental Planning Rick Cameron, ILWU’s Peter Peyton, and SoCalGas Director of Policy and Environment George Minter. These selections highlight promising new technology that could dramatically reduce truck emissions, as well as new initiatives underway at the ports.

VP Joe Biden and Mayor Garcetti Celebrate Innovation at Laci’s Newly Opened La Kretz Facility

Issue: 
Joe Biden

In November, United States Vice President Joe Biden took part in a roundtable discussion at Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s newly opened LA Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown LA’s Arts District. Biden spoke alongside Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LACI CEO Fred Walti. The state-of-the-art facility, owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, supports and grows companies from the very beginning stages. Biden toured the campus, as well as hearing from investors and entrepreneurs launching companies within the incubator. Given the timing of the event, Biden also comments on global events and the need for optimism in the face of terror attacks.

Los Angeles World Airports’ New Leader Advances Airport Priorities & Projects

Issue: 
Deborah Flint

Deborah Flint was nominated over the summer to take on the role of Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director, after Gina Marie Lindsey stepped down from the position. Flint comes to Los Angeles from the Bay Area, where she served as Oakland International Airport Director and oversaw the delivery of the BART Oakland Airport Connector. Flint speaks with VX News about her transition and new priorities regarding LAX’s continued growth and coming connection to rail, as well as LAWA’s ongoing construction and investment plans. She situates LAX as a major economic force in the region, explaining why growth is necessary to both passenger and cargo transport, and the management style she plans to introduce to accompany the airport system’s expansion.

San Francisco PUC Built State-of-the-Art Sustainable Headquarters

Issue: 
Harlan Kelly

In building a new headquarters, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission chose to utilize cutting-edge technologies, materials, and construction techniques, resulting in an extraordinarily sustainable structure that provided a new standard for municipal policy. Harlan Kelly, SFPUC General Manager, shares with VX News how “one of the greenest buildings in the nation” came to be and identifies the innovative sustainability solutions it takes advantage of, including water-recycling and energy-saving capabilities. He notes that although the country’s economic downturn facilitated the project’s timely completion, the cost-savings of such a structure nonetheless makes the case for public agencies to invest in these often-expensive technologies.

LA County Public Works: Preparing for Impacts of El Niño

Issue: 
Gary Hildebrand

With extreme rain forecasted this winter, after years of record-setting drought, Southern California must prepare both to take advantage of the precipitation and to ensure it does not cause harm. Deputy Director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Works Gary Hildebrand spoke with VX News about preparation measures targeted to this year’s El Niño, noting that the agency remains prepared, even in the absence of this storm, for major precipitation events. He highlights storm-water capture, reuse, and infiltration operations that take place year-round, as well as the challenges brought by California’s ongoing drought. Finally, he offers his perspective on the much-contested LA River—explaining his agency’s role in its management, considering its flood-control capabilities, and evaluating proposed changes to its function in the city.

Steve Westly More Bullish Than Ever on Cleantech & Internet of Things

Issue: 
Steve Westly

Steve Westly, former California State Controller and Chief Financial Officer, delivered remarks at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)’s GloSho’15 conference, drawing on his long experience in energy innovation to focus on the remarkable progress of renewable energy technology and commercialization. Here, VX News presents an edited transcript of his address. Westly comments on trends in the sustainability and cleantech markets, such as the dropping costs of renewables and the surge of Internet of Things technologies, offering his perspective on the forces driving these trends and how companies across industries can take advantage of them. Having traced the trajectory of technological and financial innovations aimed at sustainability, he concludes by divulging his predictions for the cleantech market’s future—a future, he argues, centered in California.

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