News

Deborah Flint
Submitted on January 18, 2016 - 5pm

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.

Harlan Kelly
Submitted on January 18, 2016 - 5pm

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.

Gary Hildebrand
Submitted on January 18, 2016 - 5pm

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
Submitted on January 18, 2016 - 2pm

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.

Kathleen Wynne
Submitted on November 4, 2015 - 3pm

On November 3, VerdeXchange Institute co-hosted Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, welcoming her to LACI's La Kretz Innovation Campus for a conversation with CARB's Mayor Nichols and former California ISO Chair Bob Foster, moderated by Waterloo Innovation Summit Chair David Fransen. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti opened the program. Here, VX News presents edited excerpts from the conversation.

Joe Edmiston
Submitted on October 19, 2015 - 1pm

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Founding Executive Director Joe Edmiston is among the original champions of the LA River, who long understood it as an opportunity for green space rather than simply a concretized channel. Now, Edmiston expresses his support for Frank Gehry joining these ongoing efforts. Edmiston also comments on the California drought and its impacts on parkland.

Jeff Kightlinger
Submitted on October 19, 2015 - 12pm

Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, updates VX News readers on a new initiative through MWD and the LA County Sanitation Districts: a demonstration project that could lead to one of the largest recycled-water projects on the West Coast. Kightlinger notes that, despite this endeavor and other efforts to utilize local water, Southern California will continue to rely on imported water. He touches on progress at the Delta to increase reliability of that supply.

Michael George
Submitted on October 15, 2015 - 10am

California’s four-year drought has brought a tangle of interests, conflicts, and questions regarding state water practices to the fore. At the intersection of these issues, and perhaps uniquely equipped to address them, is Delta Watermaster Michael George. Here, George delivers a comprehensive overview of the matters he oversees in the Delta: the adjudication of water rights, urban versus agricultural water interests, the environmental challenges of water distribution, and the pros, cons, and future of Governor Brown’s tunnel plan. Finally, in light of so many recent local and state initiatives regarding water use, George considers which goals are actually achievable.

Rob Katherman
Submitted on October 15, 2015 - 10am

In the Southland, the Water Replenishment District of Southern California has an important ongoing task: to monitor and replenish the region’s supply of groundwater. Robert Katherman has served on the WRD Board for more than 10 years, overseeing the regulation of groundwater pumping and the collection of water for replenishment—which now requires increasing recycling and storm-water capture in order to decrease importation. He updates VX News on the strides made with WRD’s Water Independence Now Plan, as well as what still needs to be done.

David Fransen
Submitted on October 15, 2015 - 10am

Formerly Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles, David Fransen has frequently joined VerdeXchange to discuss the commercialization of clean technology and to consider the close trade relationships between California and Canadian provinces. Now, Fransen returns to VX News as chair of the annual Waterloo Innovation Summit in Ontario, which occurred in September. Fransen recaps the summit and outlines Ontario’s rapidly growing innovation ecosystem.

Cole Hershkowitz
Submitted on October 12, 2015 - 11am

Chai Energy, Inc. is a Los Angeles-based startup reimagining the "Internet of Things" space. Chai CEO Cole Hershkowitz spoke with VX News about the company's remarkable growth since he sat on a VerdeXchange 2015 plenary panel in January. He highlights Chai's focus on data interpretation, noting that the company begins by looking at the problems people encounter with their devices in the home. Helping resolve those issues, Hershkowitz explains, results in reduced energy consumption and savings for customers.

Ricahrd Kauffman
Submitted on October 12, 2015 - 11am

Richard Kauffman is leading New York State's ambitious effort to transform energy delivery. As chair of energy & finance for Governor Cuomo and chair of the board at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Kauffman is deeply involved in reforming regulations, as well as "changing the paradigm" of how government supports renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. VX News sat down with him to glean lessons learned that can inform related efforts in California and across the nation.

Mayor Eric Garcetti
Submitted on October 12, 2015 - 11am

Mayor Eric Garcetti and Governor Jerry Brown welcomed mayors and governors from across China and the United States to Los Angeles in September to sign the US-China Climate Leaders Declaration. The document focuses on the role of sub-national governments in setting ambitious climate-change goals and then meeting those targets. Here, VX News presents edited excerpts from a press event at the US-China Climate Leaders Summit, featuring a collection of US mayors and Governor Brown.

Adel Hagekhalil
Submitted on July 14, 2015 - 4pm

City of LA Bureau of Sanitation Assistant Director Adel Hagekhalil recently became president of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. VX News presents remarks he made in Rhode Island as he assumed the new position, expressing thanks and outlining his main objectives for NACWA going forward.

Austin Beutner
Submitted on June 23, 2015 - 11am

Los Angeles Times Publisher Austin Beutner and California Governor Jerry Brown engaged this month in a dialogue about the state's drought and climate-change challenges to come during "Water in the West," held at USC. Brown delves into an explanation of the Bay Delta tunnels and the challenges of water governance in California. VX News offers edited selections from the event, beginning with an introduction by USC President Dr. C.L. Max Nikias.

Phillip Washington
Submitted on June 23, 2015 - 10am

Phillip Washington was appointed CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in March, coming west from Denver's Regional Transportation District. At the June meeting of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation Board of Governors, Washington explains five mega-trends in transportation, then articulates his goals for Metro in the context of these national shifts. He emphasizes the need for public-private partnerships in the context of shrinking federal funds for major infrastructure. VX presents an edited transcript of these remarks, with an introduction by LAEDC President and CEO Bill Allen.

Pope Francis
Submitted on June 23, 2015 - 10am

Last week, Pope Francis joined a long line of his predecessors by issuing new Catholic teachings on a contemporary subject. The 184-page encyclical, called “Laudato Si’” or “Praise Be To You: On Care for Our Common Home” called on people across the world to address the serious threat of climate change. Pope Francis intertwines religious texts and science, making the case for anthropogenic warming as well as other harms caused to the planet by humans. In these excerpts selected by VerdeXchange News, Pope Francis urges nations to join together through international agreements, transforming their economies to prevent further destruction.

Maryanne Weiss
Submitted on June 23, 2015 - 10am

Maryanne Weiss, president of Gustare Ltd. and CEO of VerdeXchange Arizona, has penned an op-ed on the importance of a sustainable economic relationship between Arizona and Mexico. She argues that collaboration and productive teamwork are necessary for the growth of the region. Weiss points out that two G20 nations sharing a border surely offers an opportunity for collective endeavors, around climate and otherwise, that must not be missed. To learn more about VX Arizona, visit www.vxaz.com.

Cathy Zoi
Submitted on May 27, 2015 - 1pm

VX News presents an edited transcript of the panel “Peak Oil and Green Energy: Both Fossils?” from the Milken Institute’s Global Conference, April 26-29 in Santa Monica. Moderated by Greg Dalton, host of the podcast ClimateOne, the panel features Ian Wright, CEO of Wrightspeed and co-founder of Tesla; Cathy Zoi, director of the Energy Transformation Collaborative at Stanford and incoming CEO of SunEdison’s Rural Electric Company; and Scott Jacobs, CEO and co-founder of Generate Capital. They discuss the death of the “peak oil” issue, the challenges facing the popularization of clean energy technology, and whether the renewable energy industry really needs a technological breakthrough—or just a change in the way it does business.

David Heurtel
Submitted on May 27, 2015 - 1pm

David Heurtel is Québec’s first Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, and the Fight Against Climate Change. After over a year of overseeing this comprehensive mission, Heurtel spoke with VX News about the growing movement of subnational entities collaborating across countries in order to build an international green economy. In particular, he comments on the thriving cap-and-trade relationship between Québec and California that accommodates the needs of the two very different regions, as well as lessons learned about how to implement a successful cap-and-trade system. He also explains why in Québec, environmental action transcends politics.