Speakers

Joel Levin
Vice President, Business Development
Climate Action Reserve
Biography

Joel Levin

Vice President, Business Development
Climate Action Reserve

As the Climate Action Reserve’s Vice President of Business Development, Joel Levin is responsible for strategic development of the Reserve and has overseen its development from inception to its current status as the recognized environmental standard for carbon offset projects in the United States. He is the Reserve’s primary liaison to the business community and is a frequent and popular speaker on the Reserve’s programs and other climate change topics.

Joel has served as staff to the California Market Advisory Committee and the California Climate Action Team. Prior to working at the Reserve, Joel worked at Feeva Wireless in Berkeley and APX in Santa Clara. He has also served on the Capitol Hill staff of Senator Timothy E. Wirth (D-Colorado).

Joel holds an M.B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in International Economics from the Johns Hopkins University.

Michael Dieden
Founder
Creative Housing Associates
Biography

Michael Dieden

Founder
Creative Housing Associates

Founded in 1997 as an alternative approach to traditional real estate development, Creative Housing Associates LLC. (CHA) is a neighborhood and transit-oriented builder. The company models itself after the historic concept of the town builder – a partner to the community and facilitator for growth and maturity in alignment with local values. Since its inception, the company has focused on building small-town downtowns near transit stations, to encourage accessibility to diverse, vibrant neighborhoods, while decreasing car use. Specifically, CHA regularly teams up with municipalities and transportation agencies in order to bring forth some of California’s most respected and tasteful civic revitalizations. In 2006, the company’s Mission Meridian Village, in South Pasadena won several coveted awards including the Congress for the New Urbanism’s Charter Award, and Best Transit Oriented Project by the Urban Land Institute. 

Currently, CHA is competing for the development rights of several TOD parcels in Southern California, including Solana Beach and Rancho Cucamonga, and in the process of developing an mixed-use, affordable housing project in Watts, Los Angeles.

Rafael Spears
Director, Commercial Systems
Aerospace, Corp.
Biography

Rafael Spears

Director, Commercial Systems
Aerospace, Corp.

Mr. Spears leads the Commercial Programs directorate and executes the corporation's commercial space portfolio mission assurance model for space assets while leading all business development efforts as well as building new program office operational relationships within incumbent government, international and domestic commercial new space markets. Increasing the impact and value of Aerospace’s commercial offerings, Mr. Spears develops and implements a service directorate strategy around Aerospace’s exquisite test, characterization and evaluation capabilities, as well as physical sciences laboratories and subject matter experts from across the corporation. Mr. Spears also leads the Aerospace Corporation's Science and Technology Grants Line of Business integrating the space enterprises technology development road map with the Aerospace Corporation's Principle Investigators to develop and licenses innovative technology integral to DoD, Civil and Commercial Space customers

Suzanne Witt
‎Marketing Development Manager and Corporate Responsibility Officer
Chubb Insurance
Biography

Suzanne Witt

‎Marketing Development Manager and Corporate Responsibility Officer
Chubb Insurance
Laura Genao
Managing Director, Regulatory Affairs
Southern California Edison
Biography

Laura Genao

Managing Director, Regulatory Affairs
Southern California Edison

Laura Genao is the Managing Director of State Regulatory Affairs for Southern California Edison. In that role, she leads the company’s San Francisco office, which advocates on issues pending before the CPUC, including rates, transmission siting, safety, and procurement policy.  Prior to taking the position in San Francisco, Laura was based in the company’s Rosemead office and was the manager of Regulatory and Legislative Matters in the Renewable and Alternative Power group. There she coordinated the development of the company’s policies with regard to renewable electricity and alternative power.  An attorney by training, Laura began her career at Southern California Edison as a regulatory attorney working on issues such as long-term procurement planning, issues surrounding cost recovery for new generation, cost of capital, and development of a regulatory framework for greenhouse gas emissions reductions. 

Laura received her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and an undergraduate degree in History and Literature from Harvard College. Before becoming an attorney, Laura was a member of Teach for America, where she taught middle and high school English, Spanish, and Journalism in Pasadena, California. She also spent a few years as a newspaper reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she was part of a team of reporters nominated for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize.

Mark Kirby
President & CEO
Canada Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Association
Biography

Mark Kirby

President & CEO
Canada Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Association

Mark Kirby, President and CEO, is a seasoned chemicals and clean technology executive with a decade of experience in the hydrogen and fuel cell sector. Mr. Kirby has held leadership positions at Ballard Power Systems, where he managed the $100 million divesture of the company’s automotive fuel cell business to Daimler and Ford, as well as Questair Technologies.

Formerly President and CEO of Fortress Advanced Bioproducts, the biotechnology division of Fortress Global Enterprises, Mr. Kirby laid the groundwork for a Canadian biorefinery demonstration project with over $30 million of government support. He also co-founded S2G Biochemicals where he was responsible for raising millions in government and private funding support while developing strategic partnerships to position the company’s technology for commercialization. In addition, Mr. Kirby was responsible for integrating acquisitions and growing new global business for a $100 million division of Praxair.

Mr. Kirby currently serves as a member of the board of directors at HTEC. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of British Columbia.

Rick Cameron
Director of Environmental Planning
Port of Long Beach
Biography

Rick Cameron

Director of Environmental Planning
Port of Long Beach

Richard D. “Rick” Cameron is the Managing Director of Planning and Environmental Affairs for the Port of Long Beach, California, named to the post in January 2014 by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, governing body for the Port. 

Mr. Cameron joined the Port in 1996 as an Environmental Specialist, was promoted to Manager of Environmental Planning and named Director of the newly-created Division of Environmental Planning in 2007 before being appointed Managing Director after the retirement of 23-year Port veteran, Dr. Robert Kanter. 

As Managing Director, he oversees the Planning and Environmental Affairs Bureau that includes Environmental Planning, Master Planning, and Transportation Planning. 

As Director of Environmental Planning, he led the Division most directly responsible for the Port’s signature environmental program, the Green Port Policy, and the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan. Under the Green Port Policy, the Division coordinates programs to improve air, water and soil quality, preserve wildlife habitat and integrate sustainability into Port practices. 

Early in his Port career, as an Environmental Specialist, he worked in the areas of water quality, air quality, and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documentation. Prior experience included management of various environmental programs for the Port of Los Angeles and other clients as a Project Manager for Essentia Management Services. 

Mr. Cameron has a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is a resident of Manhattan Beach.

Colleen Quinn
Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy
ChargePoint
Biography

Colleen Quinn

Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy
ChargePoint

Colleen Quinn is a seasoned executive leader and government strategist with 30 years’ experience in government, business and non-profit sectors. She has served in the highest level government and political appointed positions, as well as a senior corporate officer and senior non-profit management and advocacy roles. These include California Governor Jerry Brown, the Partnership for New York City, Insight Communications, Pacific Telesis and the Revlon Foundation. Colleen has a B.A. from UC Berkeley and a JD from the University of California, Hastings College of Law and participated as a CORO Fellow in Los Angeles.

Colleen has led ChargePoint’s regulatory and government market development activities since 2010. She leads the Company’s advocacy issues at the Federal, State and Local arenas. Ms. Quinn serves on many organizations and stakeholder groups in the Electric Vehicle Industry including: Executive Committee of the California Plug In Electric Vehicle Collaborative; Founder and Chair of the Electric Vehicle Charging Association; Executive Committee and Board member of the Electric Drive Transportation Association; Gubernatorial appointee the Massachusetts ZEV Commission; Maryland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council; Chair of the National Electric Manufacturers Association EV Charging Government Relations committee. Ms. Quinn represented ChargePoint at COP 21 in Paris accepting the United Nations Momentum for Change Award.

Peter Beattie
Premier (Former)
Queensland, Australia
Biography

Peter Beattie

Premier (Former)
Queensland, Australia
Wes Marstaller
Chief Financial Officer
Avalon Battery
Biography

Wes Marstaller

Chief Financial Officer
Avalon Battery

Wes is the CFO of Avalon Battery, a leading developer and manufacturer of Vanadium Flow Batteries. At Avalon Wes works with renewable energy developers, investors, lenders, industrial businesses and others to deploy stationary energy storage projects. 

Wes has spent 14 years investing in and developing sustainable infrastructure and real estate. As a Vice President in the Macquarie Group, Wes completed over $2bn of financing in the infrastructure and renewable energy industries, investing in projects throughout North America and Europe. Wes also served as COO of Rennie, one of the leading players in sustainable, transit oriented real estate development in the Pacific Northwest. 

Wes has a Masters degree in Finance from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France and a Bachelors of Commerce degree from McGill University. 

John Simpson
Program Director, Water Resources Division
Marine Corps Installations West/ Marine Corps Base
Biography

John Simpson

Program Director, Water Resources Division
Marine Corps Installations West/ Marine Corps Base

John is the Water Resources Program Director for Marine Corps Installations West and the General Manager of Camp Pendleton’s Water Resources District. He is focused on the fact that the Water Security of the Dept of the Navy’s installations in the southwest equals their Mission Security which in-turn equates to National Security.

Prior to coming to Camp Pendleton, John was a Program Manager at the US General Services Administration in Washington, DC, where he founded the Facilities Management Institute (FMI.gov) - a cloud based institute developed to implement the Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act.

Prior to GSA, John was a Principal at Rocky Mountain Institute where he was the Water Practice Leader working on projects in China, Singapore, Colorado and the six cities of the Salinas Valley.

Prior to that, he spent 20 years in the US Navy - serving in the Submarine Force, Naval Diving and Salvage Community and the Civil Engineer Corps (Seabees).

John is a registered Professional Civil Engineer, and is a Doctoral Candidate in the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California, after earning his Masters degree from Stanford University and his Bachelors degree from the University of South Carolina – both in Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

Aura Vasquez
Commissioner
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Biography

Aura Vasquez

Commissioner
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Ms. Aura Vasquez was appointed to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners by Mayor Eric Garcetti and confirmed by the Los Angeles City Council on May 3, 2017. Her term continues through June 30, 2020.  Ms. Vasquez is an organizer, advocate, and activist for environmental and social justice issues with more than 10 years of experience in New York, Washington D.C, and California. A native of Colombia, she brings her experiences as a Latina immigrant, woman of color and successful environmental leader to many issues concerning frontline communities.

Ms. Vasquez is the Climate Justice Director for the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) where she oversees the 14 organizations that carry out CPD’s national climate justice efforts. She also represents CPD on national committees such as the Ready for 100% campaign, the People's Climate March, and the U.S. Climate Action Network. 

Since moving to California to continue her career in advocacy, policy, and social change, Ms. Vasquez has advocated for state and federal immigrant rights with the PICO Network, helped spearhead the ban of single use plastic bags in Los Angeles, pass the California Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act (SB 350), and establish the Feed-in Tariff Initiative – the largest rooftop solar program in the country. As an organizer with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, Ms. Vasquez was instrumental in securing an announcement by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to make Los Angeles the largest U.S. city to go coal-free by 2025. Ms. Vasquez also serves as board member of the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters.

Through her appointment on the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, Ms. Vasquez will focus on policies that make the municipal utility more equitable, inclusive and sustainable.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Lehman College in New York City and recently graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education’s Leadership, Organizing and Action program.

Ms. Vasquez is a thorough world traveler and enjoys learning about diverse cultures. Growing up, she trained as a professional dancer and to this day continues to dance and appreciates music and arts festivals.

Jonathan Carley
Vice-President, Business Development
CO2 Solutions
Biography

Jonathan Carley

Vice-President, Business Development
CO2 Solutions

Mr. Carley was appointed Vice-President, Business Development of CO2 Solutions on October 30, 2008.  He joined the Company as Director, Business Development, in May 2008, to lead the Company's efforts to secure deployment, partnership and licensing arrangements for its technology.  Mr. Carley's career spans more than 15 years of progressive experience in the areas of business development, corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions.  Prior to joining CO2 Solution, Mr. Carley was Director, Development & Projects for Permolex International, L.P. a leading North American biofuels producer.  Mr. Carley also spent several years in the venture capital industry with an Ontario-based private equity fund focused on active investments in renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and information technology.

Based in Quebec City, Canada, CO2 Solutions is commercializing a biocatalytic platform for the efficient capture, sequestration and reuse of carbon dioxide from power plants, oil refineries and other large sources of carbon emissions.  CO2 Solutions’ process is an industrial lung which utilizes the powerful enzyme catalyst carbonic anhydrase which is responsible for the efficient management of CO2 in living systems.  Supported by the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta and several major energy companies, the technology is undergoing scale-up for the low-cost reduction of petroleum production emissions in the Alberta oil sands. 

Phillip Isenberg
Chair
Delta Stewardship Council
Biography

Phillip Isenberg

Chair
Delta Stewardship Council

Chair of the Delta Stewardship Council.  Previously, he served as a Sacramento City Council member from 1971-1974, Mayor of Sacramento from 1975-1982 and as a member of the California State Assembly representing portions of Sacramento, Contra Costa and San Joaquin Counties from 1982 to 1996.  His state legislative district contained major parts of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  His subject area focus as an elected official included land use planning, water and resource issues, state budget and fiscal matters, redevelopment reform and healthcare issues.

Isenberg holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law and a Bachelor of Art in Social Science and Government from California State University, Sacramento. He was in private practice and also served as President of Isenberg-O’Haren Government Relations from 2004 to February 2010.  He is currently an inactive member of the California State Bar.

Isenberg served as chair of the California Marine Life Protection Act Blue Ribbon Task Force from 2004 to 2006 and served as chairman of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force from 2007 to 2008.  The recommendations of the Delta Vision Task Force provided much of the structure of the major water/Delta policy changes adopted by the legislature in 2009 and signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger.

He was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to a six year term on the Delta Stewardship Council, and elected Chair of the Council by his colleagues.

Jacob Atalla
Vice President of Sustainability
KB Homes
Biography

Jacob Atalla

Vice President of Sustainability
KB Homes

Educated as an architect, Jacob has over 25 years of technology and green building experience. He developed KB Home’s “Double Zero” homes.  These ground-breaking homes are designed to produce as much energy as they’re expected to consume, and include energy storage.  At the same time, they recycle greywater, eliminating the need for fresh water in landscape irrigation.  Other recent projects include launching nearly 100 solar-powered communities, and building over 150 LEED certified homes.  Previously, Jacob developed KB Home’s Energy Performance Guide, which provides KB homeowners with information on the relative energy efficiency and estimated gas and electricity costs.

Jacob serves on the board of directors for Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET).  He also serves on the technical committee for Leading Builders of America, and on the advisory board for TecHome Builder.  In recent years he chaired Orange County’s Urban Land Institute’s Sustainable Communities Council. 

Jeff Guido
Director, Special Programs
Planet
Biography

Jeff Guido

Director, Special Programs
Planet

Jeff Guido is the Director, Special Programs for Planet, leading cross-functional teams in incubating future space missions, improving the company’s operational space systems and maturing business processes. Leveraging an earlier career in the USAF, Jeff acts as a conduit for management ideas and methods to flow between DoD space and Silicon Valley. A subscriber to servant leadership, Jeff believes that through nurturing healthy and trusting environments for teams, no matter if they are operational military units or highly technical engineering teams, any group can achieve ambitious goals. At Planet, Jeff guided a cross-functional team that improved the productivity and reliability of the SkySat constellation driving imagery throughput up by 10x over a 12-month period. While at Google, Jeff led a 14-person operations team in automating the operations of the largest ever high-resolution satellite constellation, ending the 24-hour operations cycle and achieving “light’s out” operations at night. In his Air Force career, Jeff led satellite sub-system development programs, operated the US’s most secure satellite communication system, and executed rocket tests for missile defense programs. Jeff has his bachelors and masters in Electrical Engineering.

Guanbin Zhang
Commercial Consul
Chinese Consulate, Los Angeles
Biography

Guanbin Zhang

Commercial Consul
Chinese Consulate, Los Angeles

Guanbin Zhang joined the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles in February 2012. In his current capacity as a Commercial Consul, Zhang observes trade issues, serves and provides guidance for Chinese companies in Southern California, promotes investments and exhibitions between China and the Consulate area of Southern California, Hawaii, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Prior to his appointment as Commercial Consul in LA, Mr. Zhang worked in the Department of Foreign Trade of Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM). As Vice Director of his sub-section, Mr. Zhang was in charge of import policy on some important industrial products and foreign trade structural adjustment.

Mr. Zhang received his Ph.D. in economics from China Central University of Finance and Economics, and his Master in International Trade from the China Agricultural University.

Terry Tamminen
CEO
Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Biography

Terry Tamminen

CEO
Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

Terry has deep international expertise in business, agriculture, education, public policy and the environment. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and later Cabinet Secretary, the Chief Policy Advisor to the Governor, where Terry was the architect of many groundbreaking sustainability policies, including California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the Hydrogen Highway Network, and the Million Solar Roofs initiative. In 2010 Terry co-founded the R20 Regions of Climate Action, a public-private partnership bringing together subnational governments, businesses, financial markets, NGOs, and academia to implement measurable, large-scale, low-carbon and climate resilient economic development projects that can simultaneously solve the climate crisis and build a sustainable global economy. Since 2007 he has provided advice to Pegasus Capital Advisors and numerous global businesses on sustainability and “green” investing. In 2016, Terry joined the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation as CEO. An accomplished author, Terry’s books include “Cracking the Carbon Code: The Keys to Sustainable Profits in the New Economy” (Palgrave Macmillan). In 2011, Terry was one of six finalists for the Zayed Future Energy Prize and The Guardian ranked Terry No. 1 in its “Top 50 People Who Can Save the Planet.”

Nate Baguio
Vice President of Sales, USA
The Lion Electric Co.
Biography

Nate Baguio

Vice President of Sales, USA
The Lion Electric Co.

Nate Baguio has been working in the transportation industry for over 30 years. His career has taken him from behind the wheel of a school bus to launching the largest deployment of heavy-duty electric vehicles in North America.

In 1990 he started in the student transportation industry managing operations for Ryder Student Transportation Services. In this position he had overall responsibility for the startup and deployment of school bus operations across the State of California. His time in operations was highlighted by the management of over 330 employees and the management of over 300 school bus routes for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Baguio spent time working on various transit projects in Los Angeles County. He was part of the team that opened segment three of the Redline subway to 500,000 riders on opening weekend and worked to complete an $800-Million, 14-mile segment of light rail from Los Angeles to Pasadena (first segment of the Metro Gold Line). He was part of the team that designed and implemented a comprehensive safety project along the Metro Blue Line corridor in response to 16 fatalities in a single year. The first year of project implementation had an immediate impact with zero fatalities that year.

He returned to school transportation in 2005 as Senior Director of Business Development for First Student, Inc., the largest school bus operator in North America. In this role he worked with school districts across the country to renew their contracted service or start new contracted school bus service. He led efforts that resulted in new contracted service across the U.S. and placed over 1,000 new school buses in service of various types and from most of the major OEMs for these new contracts.

Currently, he is working to electrify the transportation industry as Vice President of Sales for one of the nation’s leading EV manufacturers, The Lion Electric Co. Since joining Lion in 2018, he has helped position Lion as the leader in electric school bus deployments across North America. Baguio leads the electric bus sales division for Lion in the U.S. and electric truck deployments in the State of California. 

Baguio is proud to not only provide a healthy breathing environment to students, drivers, technicians and communities, but to help educate the industry on the favorable economics of operating zero emission, electric medium and heavy-duty vehicles.”

Jean-Yves Benoit
Director of the Carbon Market
Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development
Biography

Jean-Yves Benoit

Director of the Carbon Market
Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development

Mr. Jean-Yves Benoit graduated with honors from Montréal University and received a Master of science in Economics.  He worked for many years in the private sector before joining Quebec’s Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wild Life and Parks in 2006.   Jean-Yves represents the government of Québec in the Western Climate Initiative and is a member of the WCI Board of Directors. 

For the last several years Mr. Benoit has been working on the establishment of a cap-and-trade carbon market in Quebec.  This market will be a key driver for Quebec to achieve the targeted 20% reduction in GHG levels by 2020. 

Because of their mutual commitment to the reduction of greenhouse gasses, Quebec and California have agreed to work to link their two markets in 2013.  Mr. Benoit is the director of the Carbon Market Division leading the team that is responsible for both developing and implementing Quebec’s cap and trade system as well as linking Quebec’s market with that of Califoria.

Charles Herbertson
Director & City Engineer
Culver City Department of Public Works
Biography

Charles Herbertson

Director & City Engineer
Culver City Department of Public Works


 

Mickey Kantor
Partner, Mayer Brown LLP
Former US Secretary of Commerce
Biography

Mickey Kantor

Partner, Mayer Brown LLP
Former US Secretary of Commerce

Mickey Kantor concentrates his practice on corporate and financial international transactions. He has extensive experience in market access issues, as well as the expansion of client activities in foreign markets through trade, direct investment, joint ventures, and strategic business alliances.

Prior to joining Mayer Brown, Mickey was the United States Secretary of Commerce (1996-1997) and the United States Trade Representative (1993-1996). He has been called “arguably the finest trade negotiator in the world” (Chambers Global 2006) and is said to be “blessed with fantastic political insights and connections” (Chambers USA2007).

He was recognized in The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers-Trade & Customs 2009. Among them any awards and honors he has received are the following: the Order of the Southern Cross Award by The Government of Brazil, 2001, the William O. Douglas Award by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the Thomas Jefferson Distinguished Public Service Medal from the Center for the Study of the Presidency, the Albert Schweitzer Leadership Award from the Hugh O'Brien Youth Foundation, and Elihu Root Distinguished Lecturer, Council on Foreign Relations.

Marqueece Harris-Dawson
City Councilmember
City of Los Angeles
Biography

Marqueece Harris-Dawson

City Councilmember
City of Los Angeles
Mike Hopkins
CEO
Ice Energy
Biography

Mike Hopkins

CEO
Ice Energy

Mike Hopkins is the CEO of Ice Energy (www.ice-energy.com). Ice Energy is the leading provider of thermal energy storage for the grid, with its award winning Ice Bear system deployed in more than 40 utility service territories. Ice Energy’s most recent win was an award of 16 contracts from Southern California Edison for 25.6 MW of thermal energy storage capacity.

Prior to joining Ice Energy, Mike practiced law for 18 years as a partner with Bennett Jones LLP, a pre-eminent Canadian law firm recognized internationally as a leader in the fields of energy and climate change. He specialized in the development and financing of power projects around the world, served on the firm's Executive Committee and led their Utilities Group, International Group and Independent Power Group. Mike left Bennett Jones at the end of 2002 to lead the workout of a private data center developer that resulted in its sale. After the sale of that company, Mike co-founded a geomatics company and assisted several other startups.

Mike is a member of the Board of Chancellors of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, a member of the Board of Chancellors and Past Chairman of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Canada, a member of the Board of Trustees and Past Chairman of William Sansum Diabetes Center, a member of the Board of Directors of Integrated Marine Education and Research Expeditions and a member of the Board of Directors of Orthoshop Geomatics Limited, a spin-off of the geomatics company he co-founded. He holds a BA and a law degree from the University of Ottawa, an MA (Law & Economics) from the University of Miami and an MBA from the University of Alberta.

Eva Pauly-Bowles
International Sales Director
Ciel & Terre
Biography

Eva Pauly-Bowles

International Sales Director
Ciel & Terre

Eva Pauly-Bowles, born in Poitiers France, graduated in 2010 with a double MBA, MSc in Business management from the Bordeaux (KEDGE) Business School in France and the Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow, UK.

She initially worked for a French gas and energy company, Europlasma developing new biogas renewables known as CHO Power. In June 2010, she Joined Ciel et Terre group developing floating PV projects in over 10 countries including the largest worldwide floating PV power plant grid connected in Japan. 

She started the Japanese subsidiary, Ciel et Terre Japan in Tokyo, and was their Representative Director from June 2013 to December 2014 developing an autonomous Japanese team. Thereafter she accompanied the UK subsidiary in developing Floating Solar UK ltd, which developed 11 MWp of floating PV projects within a year.

Since February 2016, she has been managing the new US subsidiary group, Ciel et Terre USA Inc, which is fully dedicated to the US market. With more than 7 years of experience in the specialized field of floating solar, she has provided technical and financial expertise to the achievements of more than 85 MWp of grid connected floating PV plants worldwide, and more than 200 MWp worldwide of floating PV projects under development.

Damon Nagami
Senior Attorney
Natural Resources Defense Council
Biography

Damon Nagami

Senior Attorney
Natural Resources Defense Council

Damon Nagami is a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the director of NRDC’s Southern California Ecosystems Project. He works to protect parkland and open space and advocates for sustainable land use planning in southern California.

Damon’s recent projects include working to stop a controversial toll road from paving over San Onofre State Beach, implementing the historic Tejon Ranch conservation and land use agreement, protecting communities from the impacts of expanded oil drilling and hydraulic fracturing in Baldwin Hills and throughout California, and advocating for urban parks and the revitalization of the Los Angeles River.

Prior to joining NRDC, Damon practiced environmental law at Bingham McCutchen LLP, specializing in contaminated property litigation, Clean Air Act compliance, and litigation under various environmental laws including CERCLA and the Clean Water Act. Damon earned his J.D. at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and his undergraduate degree in environmental sciences at U.C. Berkeley.

Damon’s blog can be found at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dnagami/.

Gary Doer
Ambassador
Canadian Embassy to the United States
Biography

Gary Doer

Ambassador
Canadian Embassy to the United States
Gary Horvat
Vice President, e-Mobility
Navistar, Inc.
Biography

Gary Horvat

Vice President, e-Mobility
Navistar, Inc.

Navistar Vice President of eMobility Gary Horvat has over 35 years of experience in the automotive industry, with an educational background in both industrial and manufacturing engineering, including a Ph.D. in industrial engineering. Gary started his career at Eaton Corporation working on Heavy Duty Truck Axles and Transmissions.  The majority of his career was at General Motors where he was responsible for the engine controls on the third-generation small block V8 and as assistant chief engineer, launched the 3900 V6 Engine, winning the Popular Mechanics “Breakthrough” Award.  Gary’s last position at GM was as Executive Director of engineering operations, managing powertrain global development, testing and validation facilities. After his GM career he was Vice President of Product Development at Fisker Automotive as well as Vice President of Powertrain at DENSO International. Gary was the CTO at Proterra from 2015 through 2018.  At Proterra, Horvat was responsible for all engineering and technology development for that company’s electric bus product line. Accomplishments included setting a world record of 1101.2 miles for the longest range of any electric vehicle on one charge.  At Navistar, Horvat is responsible for augmenting and aligning Navistar’s eMobility team in all commercial, technical, and implementation activities for Navistar’s various product lines.

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.

Jared Ficker
Partner
Axiom Advisors
Biography

Jared Ficker

Partner
Axiom Advisors
Christian Felske
Technical Specialist - Processing, Research & Regulatory
Waste Management Services, City of Edmonton
Biography

Christian Felske

Technical Specialist - Processing, Research & Regulatory
Waste Management Services, City of Edmonton

 Christian received his Civil Engineering Diploma and his Ph.D. in Solid Waste Management from the University of Essen in Germany. Prior to moving to Canada, he was a project engineer with the AGR mbH in Essen, Germany from 1999 to 2003. During that time he was involved in the design and operation of several landfills, composting plants and anaerobic digestion/waste to energy facilities in the Ruhr Region in Germany. From 2003 to 2009 Christian worked as a Research Scientist in the Waste Management Technologies program at the Alberta Research Council during which he lead several landfill gas biofiltration/ bioreactor and waste to energy projects. In his current role with WMS of the City of Edmonton Christian is responsible for overseeing the Branch’s processing activities, interactions with regulators, and for providing technical and scientific expertise through the Branch’s Research & Development activities. Christian is also managing the Advanced Energy Research Facility which houses a pilot municipal solid waste gasifier and waste-to-biofuel process based on Enerkem technology.

Clare DeBriere*
Chair
Urban Land Institute - Los Angeles
Biography

Clare DeBriere*

Chair
Urban Land Institute - Los Angeles
Clare De Briere is a native Angeleno and has spent her career creating special places for the citizens and visitors of Los Angeles.
 
Clare joined The Ratkovich Company as a summer intern in 1991 after graduating from UCLA and worked her way through property management, leasing, construction, financing and development management while earning her graduate degree at USC's prestigious Lusk Center for Real Estate. In her career with the company she has overseen the acquisition, entitlement, planning, development and/or disposition of millions of square feet from The Wiltern Theatre, 5900 Wilshire, 800 Wilshire, The Alhambra, The Hercules Campus in Playa Vista and, most recently, The Bloc in downtown Los Angeles.  Clare retired from the Company after 26 years, the last decade of which she spent as its Chief Operating Office and Executive Vice President.  She remains affiliated with the Company through its Advisory Board.
 
Clare and her husband, Chef Christopher Barnett, have started a new company, C+C Ventures, a Los Angeles based experience company to develop places that inspire creativity, curiosity and delight whether through a wonderful neighborhood restaurant or a fantastic renovated work or living space.
 
Clare is an active member of the Urban Land Institute serving on the National Advisory Committee for Building Healthy Places and Building Healthy Corridors, and on the Los Angeles District Council'€™s Executive Committee and Advisory Board.  She has served on a ULI Advisory Panel in the City of Denver and on a local Technical Assistance Panel for the Huntington Hospital and Cal Poly Pomona. She has been named on the Los Angeles Business Journal's Women Making a Difference list and has been on the Real Estate - Southern California's Women of Influence list every year since 2003. Clare is also on the Advisory Board of the UCLA History Department; and served on the Executive Committee of the Board of the Los Angeles Conservancy.
Harry Chandler
Chair
River LA
Biography

Harry Chandler

Chair
River LA
Dan Sturges
Transport Designer
Biography

Dan Sturges

Transport Designer

Dan Sturges is a leading transportation designer, entrepreneur, and educator. Early in Dan’s career, he designed and commercialized the first Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV), and led the charge to create a new “right-sized” vehicle category for local trip needs. In 1998, Dan launched the first New Mobility program in North America, while working with the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC-Davis, focusing on the future of smart multi-mobility systems. Since then, Dan has spent several decades focusing on the future of urban mobility and working for a diverse number of companies / organizations that includes: Southern California Metropolitan Planning Organizations (SCAG, SANDAG, SBCCOG). He has supported General Motors, Ford, Daimler, Nissan Future Lab, Disney, Segway, V-Ride, Fehr & Peers, NRDC and Rocky Mountain Institute, among others. Dan was named one of 40 top designers in the U.S. by ID Magazine, and served on the Transportation Research Board for 10 years as a member of the New Public Transportation committee.

Fiona Ma
State Treasurer
California
Biography

Fiona Ma

State Treasurer
California

Fiona Ma is an American politician and Certified Public Accountant. She was elected California State Treasurer on November 6, 2018 with more votes than any other candidate for Treasurer in the state's history and will be inaugurated on January 7, 2019. She served as a member of the California Board of Equalization since 2015 representing the 2nd district which covers 23 counties in California and a population of approximately 9.5 million people, Ma served in the California State Assembly (2006–2012) and on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (2002–2006).

A member of the Democratic Party, Ma was the first Asian American woman to serve as California Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore, the second highest ranking office in the California Assembly. Ma is also only the second Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to be elected to the Board of Equalization.[9] She was selected as Chairperson of the California Board of Equalization in 2016, ordered three external audits of the agency, and helped lead the biggest reforms for accountability and efficiency in that agency’s history.
Eiji Ohira
Director General, Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Group
Japan New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)
Biography

Eiji Ohira

Director General, Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Group
Japan New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)

Eiji Ohira is the Director General of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)’s Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Group within the Advanced Battery and Hydrogen Technology Department. In this capacity, he is responsible the overall strategy, execution and coordination of NEDO’s research, development and demonstration project on fuel cell and hydrogen.

He has also coordinated fuel cell and hydrogen activities with international stakeholders, through International Energy Agency’s Technology Collaboration Program (IEA TCP: Advanced Fuel Cell & Hydrogen), and International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE).

He joined the NEDO in 1992, just after graduation from the Tokyo University of Science. He served as a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997-1998.

Before taking up the current position in April 2013, he served in several positions, including Representative at NEDO Asian Representative Office, Director of the Energy Storage Technology Division.

Jeffrey Chernick
CEO & Co-Founder
RideAmigos
Biography

Jeffrey Chernick

CEO & Co-Founder
RideAmigos

Jeffrey Chernick is the CEO and Co-Founder of RideAmigos, a global leader in Transportation Demand Management software, which works with local governments across 3 counties to eliminate traffic and increase air quality. RideAmigos develops multi-modal transportation solutions, providing regional commuter networks, multi-modal travel dashboards, ridesharing, certified transportation commute surveys, trip trackers, reward systems, and GIS reporting tools. He has been featured on FOX, NBC, ABC, NY1, New York Post, Newsday, and the LA Times. Jeffrey is also the Director of the teen foster mentorship program M4, and the drummer of electro band, Story of the Running Wolf.

Melanie Nutter
former Director
San Francisco Department of Environment
Biography

Melanie Nutter

former Director
San Francisco Department of Environment

Melanie Nutter is the Principal of Nutter Consulting and provides sustainability and smart cities strategy development and implementation for cities, foundations and companies. Prior to this role, Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Melanie as the Director of the San Francisco Department of Environment where she continued to serve for Mayor Edwin Lee through February 2014.

Nutter led the Department, which helps all San Francisco residents and businesses take an active role in protecting the urban environment, develops "first in the nation" policy initiatives, conducts outreach and education on sustainable practices, and runs innovative environmental programs including on zero waste, green building, climate and energy, toxics reduction and clean transportation. 

During her tenure, San Francisco achieved an 80% waste diversion rate, reduced its carbon emissions to 14.5% below 1990 levels and was named the Greenest City in North America by Siemens and the Economist Intelligence Unit. Under Nutter’s leadership, the Department expanded its focus on community outreach and engagement, released an updated Climate Action Strategy, launched a citywide adaptation effort and started a biodiversity program. Nutter also championed smart city strategies to help the City meet its sustainability goals. 

From 2005-2010, Nutter served as the Deputy District Director for the U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, where she helped managed the Speaker’s district office and advised on local policy issues.

Nutter is a frequent speaker on urban sustainability and smart cities, having presented at TEDx, South by Southwest Eco, the Urban Environmental Accords Summit, GreenBiz’s VERGE conference, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the Smart Cities World Congress, among other events. She has been featured as a contributor on CNN.com and the Today Show.

Pierre-Luc Desgagné
Vice-President Public and Governmental Affairs
Hydro Quebec
Biography

Pierre-Luc Desgagné

Vice-President Public and Governmental Affairs
Hydro Quebec

A native of Québec, Mr. Desgagné holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Université Laval. He has been a member of the Québec Bar since 1992, the year in which he joined the Montréal law firm Grondin, Poudrier, Bernier, where he specialized in commercial and civil litigation. 

In 1996, he joined the Québec government, working for the Ministère de la Métropole. In the fall of 1997, he moved to the Office of the Premier of Québec, where he became Deputy Chief of Staff.

After joining Hydro-Québec in 2001, Mr. Desgagné held several management positions in Public Affairs, Environment and Government Affairs. In 2007, he was named Senior Director – Strategic Planning, a position he held until his appointment in May 2013 as Vice President – Public and Government Affairs. In this capacity, he is also responsible for coordinating Hydro-Québec’s initiatives related to the electrification of transportation, including roll-out of the Electric Circuit. 

In 2007, Mr. Desgagné received the Arista award from the Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal for his achievements in the Young Québec Manager category.

 Actively involved in the community, he is vice-president of the 2011–2016 Fondation Hôpital Pierre-Boucher fundraising campaign and vice-chairman of the board of the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec. Mr. Desgagné also serves on the board of the Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain and sits on the Board of Directors of TM4, a Hydro-Québec subsidiary which develops and manufactures electric motors. 

Kimberly Kupiecki
Senior Vice President; Group Lead, Cleantech
Edelman
Biography

Kimberly Kupiecki

Senior Vice President; Group Lead, Cleantech
Edelman
Richard VanSant
President and CEO
UV Pure
Biography

Richard VanSant

President and CEO
UV Pure

Rick is President and CEO of UV Pure Technologies, a Canadian environmental technology company that develops and manufactures advanced UV water disinfection technology. It has an installed base of over 14,000 applications in North America, LATAM and ASEAN countries, and the EU. 

UV Pure is a global award winner: Frost and Sullivan Best Practices, an Artemis Project Top 50 Company; Going Green Global 200, and the Canadian Drinking Water Association award for innovation. 

An aerospace version of UV Pure’s technology was chosen by Boeing onboard its new 787 Dreamliners. 

Rick is a Director of WaterTAP, Ontario’s Water Technology Acceleration Project.

Prior to UV Pure, Rick founded several public and private companies and was a member and Director of the Young Presidents’ Organization, in Toronto.

He has a degree in Astro-geophysics from Colgate University, a Masters of Education from St. Lawrence University, and is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business’ Institute of Corporate Directors program. 

Sohinaz Sotoudeh
Director of Power Marketing
EDF Renewables North America
Biography

Sohinaz Sotoudeh

Director of Power Marketing
EDF Renewables North America

For the last 5 years, Sohinaz has served as Director of Power Marketing in the Valuation and Transactions Team at EDF Renewables, one of the nation’s leading renewables developer. In this position, she is the commercial deal lead for contract negotiation, acquisitions, divestures and all aspects of power marketing for North American renewables and battery projects for the company. Previously, Sohinaz served as vice president of Business Development for Ogin-New Dimension Energy Company, a start-up wind development company where she was in charge of wind development strategy and acquisitions. She also served as board member on the board of CALWEA for two terms.

Sohinaz started her career at GE Capital's Equity Capital Group where she was in charge of capital investment in energy technology start-up companies for GE. She has a BA in Economics from Tufts University and an MBA with Honors from Columbia Business School. Sohinaz currently lives in Los Angeles with her two children.

Abigale Abel
Affiliate
CityFi
Biography

Abigale Abel

Affiliate
CityFi

Abigale (Abby) Abel is a strategy and marketing professional with extensive corporate experience developing and delivering on clean energy growth strategies.

As a Cityfi Senior Associate, Abby has worked on standing-up the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance, a statewide platform designed to accelerate the adoption of innovative technology and practices to enhance the quality of life for all Coloradans. She has also served as a Strategic Advisor to the City of Aurora Smart City Strategic Planning process, and supported the roll-out of a mobility data platform to cities nationwide. 

Prior to joining Cityfi, Abby led commercial partnerships for GE Ecomagination, a cross-GE innovation platform to identify and test new technology and commercial solutions to environmental challenges. Abby also served as the Chief Marketing Officer for GE’s Renewable Energy business where her team led market analysis and strategic planning. 

Abby’s strengths are applying clear thinking, creative problem solving and a collaborative leadership style to uncover and deliver on unique marketopportunities. She is passionate about linking innovation to the urban environment in support of cleaner, more equitable and resilient communities.

Abby holds a Master of Business and Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan.  She lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two children.

Masahiko Takei
Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Biography

Masahiko Takei

Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

Masahiko Takei is a career official of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), assigned to the Los Angeles Consulate General of Japan as the Consul leading infrastructure and transportation issues.  A civil engineer by training, Takei has tackled issues as varied as highway planning and construction management, airport planning, enhancing bicycle infrastructure, and the challenging task of creating seawalls to mitigate disaster risk in tsunami-prone Japan.  Takei is a graduate of the Engineering Department of Hokkaido University.    

Jane Duke
Consul General
Consul General of Australia in Los Angeles
Biography

Jane Duke

Consul General
Consul General of Australia in Los Angeles

Ms Duke was appointed Australian Consul-General Los Angeles in August 2020. Ms Duke is an experienced senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). She was most recently Australia’s Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta, Indonesia, and has served overseas as Deputy High Commissioner, Malaysia, and as Counsellor (Immigration) at Australia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

In Canberra, Ms Duke has served as Assistant Secretary, South East Asia Regional Branch, Canada and Latin America Branch, and Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe Branch. Ms Duke has also held senior positions in the immigration portfolio.

Ms Duke holds a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) degree and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the Australian National University and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Technology Sydney. 

Josh Richman
Vice President of Business Development
Bloom Energy
Biography

Josh Richman

Vice President of Business Development
Bloom Energy

Josh Richman is the Vice President of Business Development for Bloom Energy Corporation where his responsibilities include market development, strategic partnerships, and legislative and regulatory affairs. Before joining Bloom, Josh was an associate at Greenrock Capital, a private equity fund focused exclusively on clean energy investments. Prior to his work in the energy sector, Josh spent six years in the political arena serving as Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s Political Director and as a senior member of the Richard Gephardt for President campaign. 

Josh graduated with honors from Brown University and received his MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. While at Stanford, Josh co-founded the GSB Energy Club and worked at Technology Partners, a Silicon Valley cleantech venture capital firm. Josh served on the board of the Clean Tech Advisory Council for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, and on the Sunnyvale Mayor’s Green Ribbon Sustainability Taskforce.

Gregory Nelson
Captain
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Biography

Gregory Nelson

Captain
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

Captain Gregory Nelson is a 34-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He currently commands the Bureau of Labor Relations and Compliance, and is the Department’s Sustainability Project Manager. He is leading a number of initiatives to enhance the Sheriff’s Department’s operational and fiscal sustainability and resiliency. Captain Nelson holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from California State University, Long Beach and a Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School, and is a member of the State Bar of California and the Federal Bar of the Central District of California. 

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.

Terra Carver
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Humboldt County Growers Alliance
Biography

Terra Carver

Co-Founder and Executive Director
Humboldt County Growers Alliance

Terra J. Carver has been involved in Humboldt County’s cannabis community for over a decade.  After her first few years of farming, she began studying Sustainable Agriculture at College of Redwoods to gain a deeper understanding of best management practices and responsible land stewardship. Currently, Terra is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance (HCGA) a local trade association with over 250 members. The mission of HCGA is to “Preserve, protect and enhance Humboldt County’s world-renowned cannabis industry.” Terra also served on the Board of Directors for California Growers Association and chaired their Policy Committee from late 2016-2019.

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. 

Clare Fox
Executive Director
Los Angeles Food Policy Council
Biography

Clare Fox

Executive Director
Los Angeles Food Policy Council

Clare Fox has served as Executive Director of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC) since 2015.  In this role, she supports and collaborates with a large network of public, private, non-profit and community leaders to catalyze policy and systems change for a sustainable and fair food system. Clare joined the staff of the LA Food Policy Council in 2011, eventually serving as the Director of Policy and Innovation. Since then, she has led numerous programs and legislative wins leading to improved access to healthy food for low-income residents, improved conditions for food workers, and improved coordination among food agencies and stakeholders. Previously, she created and led a food access investment program at the City of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA-LA), piloted in South Los Angeles in partnership with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and a coalition of community-based organizations and residents. In her first career, she was a radio producer at National Public Radio and Youth Radio, where she taught radio and media production to young people throughout Los Angeles – from Boyle Heights to Inglewood. She currently serves on Mayor Garcetti’s Los Angeles Promise Zone Leadership Council, the Board of Directors for LA Compost, chair of the women’s committee of CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice), and was a founding board member of Critical Mass Dance Company. She has a bachelors of arts in Critical Social Thought from Mount Holyoke College, a Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA and all her work is informed by a lifelong commitment to social and racial justice.

Cisco DeVries
President
Renewable Funding LLC
Biography

Cisco DeVries

President
Renewable Funding LLC

Cisco DeVries is President of Renewable Funding, which designs, administers and finances clean energy programs.

Renewable Funding provides innovative solutions to state and local governments – as well as private sector clients – in the United States and internationally.  The firm creates new approaches, administers all aspects of energy programs, builds technology systems to simplify program and consumer engagement, and delivers financing for energy improvements.  Renewable Funding has provided services to over 200 state and local governments, including the California Energy Commission and Public Utilities Commission, Los Angeles County, the City of Seattle, the U.S. Department of Energy, ICLEI, the City of Melbourne (Australia) and many others. 

Previously, as Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Berkeley, he envisioned and led the initial development of BerkeleyFIRST, the model for Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) programs, which allow property owners to pay for solar installations and energy efficiency projects as a line item on their property tax bill. DeVries also served as an appointee in the administration of President Bill Clinton, serving as an aide to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and the U.S. Secretary of Energy.   

Carl Zichella
Director of Western Transmission
Natural Resources Defense Council
Biography

Carl Zichella

Director of Western Transmission
Natural Resources Defense Council

Carl Zichella is the director for western transmission for NRDC. He is the organization’s lead staff for western U.S. renewable energy transmission siting and serves on a nationwide team working on renewable energy development issues.   In this role he works with stakeholders from environmental organizations, renewable energy development and transmission industries, local, state and national governments, regulatory agencies and the public to find renewable energy transmission solutions that accelerate renewable energy development while respecting wildlife and land conservation efforts.

Before joining NRDC he was the director for western U.S. renewable projects for the Sierra Club.  He served in leadership capacities on the Sierra Club staff for 23 years.

Mr. Zichella is a former director of the Climate Action Reserve, founding steering committee member of the California Apollo Alliance, a director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology (CEERT), environmental representative on the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI), environmental representative to the Western Governor’ Association Renewable Energy Zone identification process, environmental representative for the Western Electricity Coordinating Council’s Transmission Expansion Planning Policy Committee, and was a founding director of the American Wilderness Coalition. 

He lives in Davis, California with his wife Sarah and their dogs Lambchop and Dudley.

Deven Upadhyay
Biography

Deven Upadhyay

Deven Upadhyay is the manager of the Water Resource Management Group at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He is responsible for managing the district’s planning activities and policy guideline development related to Metropolitan’s water supply plans and integrated resources plans. He also oversees the development and implementation of Metropolitan’s resources programs for conservation, local resources projects and groundwater recovery and conjunctive use programs. In addition, he directs the management and negotiations of resource contracts related to the State Water Project and Colorado River deliveries as well as water transfers and purchases.

Upadhyay began his career with Metropolitan in 1995 as a resource specialist in the Planning and Resources Department. In 2005 he left Metropolitan to work for the Municipal Water District of Orange County as a principle on policy issues. In 2008 he returned to Metropolitan as the manager of the Budget and Financial Planning Section in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, where he managed Metropolitan’s annual budget process. He also handled the district’s process for administering rates and charges and managed business continuity and financial planning.

An avid tennis player and a devoted Angel’s baseball fan, Upadhyay earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from California State University, Fullerton and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of La Verne.

Debra Gerod
President
American Institute of Architects, California
Biography

Debra Gerod

President
American Institute of Architects, California

Debra Gerod, FAIA, LEED AP, is a partner of Gruen Associates, an 80-person planning, landscape and architectural firm headquartered in Los Angeles. Debra’s specialty is the collaborative design and delivery of complex, public-use projects. These projects include large-scale, significant civic and cultural projects such as courthouses, embassies, performing arts centers, museums, libraries, transportation projects, parks and streetscapes. Current projects include the adaptive re-use of the historic Tower Theater for Apple, the renovation of Pershing Square, the Audrey Irmas Pavilion at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and Metro’s Airport Metro Connector/96th Street Station.

Currently serving as the 2020 President for AIA|California, Debra is also a past president of AIA|Los Angeles. Debra volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and Heal the Bay and was a long-time board member for the ACE Mentor Program of Los Angeles. Debra was elevated to a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2013.

 

Jerry Callahan
CEO
ISI Technology
Biography

Jerry Callahan

CEO
ISI Technology

Jerry grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and studied naval architecture at MIT and Stevens Institute of Technology. He began his career as a civil engineer at the second largest dredging and marine construction company in the world, and rose to General Superintendent (COO) 7 years later. After that, he began a series of business “turnarounds”, including some “fast track” plant relocations. He also started up a few companies, such as Blue Rhino Propane Cylinder Exchange, and National Packaging Solutions Group. He has been a principal in a private equity group, has run several portfolio companies for private equity firms, and has also provided a broad range of management consulting from strategy development to M &A advisory services. Along the way he received an MBA from the University of Chicago. Jerry has recently patented and developed the world’s first fully electronic water heater, and as the CEO of ISI Technology (www.isitechnology.com), is focused on commercializing this technology in 2014.

Jerry enjoys competitive sailboat racing, cycling, and many other outdoor activities. He is an active member of WPO and CEO, and lives on Sullivan’s Island, SC. He and his wife Susie have a daughter who graduated from Tufts and is a research analyst in Cambridge, MA, and a son who graduated from University of South Carolina and works in the marine construction business.

Melani Smith
Senior Director, Transit Oriented Communities
LA Metro
Biography

Melani Smith

Senior Director, Transit Oriented Communities
LA Metro

Melani Smith is a Senior Director in LA Metro’s Transit Oriented Communities planning group, where she focuses on integrating sustainable and healthy urban design, first/last mile connections and equitable access for all, into Metro mobility corridor projects in LA County.  She led Metro’s team preparing a TOD Strategic Implementation Plan for the 12 station areas that have been identified along the future West Santa Ana Branch transit corridor through southeast Los Angeles County. She is now developing a multi-year implementation program for the Plan, through which Metro will continue to support West Santa Ana Branch cities in undertaking strategic, coordinated, and sustainable transit supportive planning and placemaking in their station areas.

Much of her career prior to Metro has focused on building and leading led vision-driven urban design and planning practices in Southern California.  She has done this in her many years as CEO/President and Principal at Meléndrez (now RELM Studio) in downtown Los Angeles, and as Director of Governmental Services at The Planning Center (now Placeworks), in Costa Mesa, CA. Her professional life started in marketing for professional services firms focusing on transforming the built environment, including six years at Arup in Los Angeles.

She is an active ULI and Los Angeles Advisory Board member, and in 2017 was appointed a member of the Institute’s first national Health Leaders cohort, working to build cross-disciplinary partnerships and communities of practice around health and the built environment. She is also an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Price School of Policy at the University of Southern California, in the sustainable land use concentration.

Melani is a fourth generation Los Angeleno, with a B.A. in History from UCLA, and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from UC Irvine.

Paul Silvern
Partner
HR&A Advisors
Biography

Paul Silvern

Partner
HR&A Advisors

Paul J. Silvern draws on over 25 years of experience to serve as the Partner in charge of HR&A’s Los Angeles area office.

In his time with HR&A, he has directed the analysis of major regional airport expansion plans, military base conversions, television and film studio expansions, hotels, office parks, high-rise office buildings, industrial developments, shopping centers, hospital complexes, university campus expansions, urban residential developments, mixed-use developments, and a wide range of planning initiatives. His work includes:

  • A 5.2 million square foot Specific Plan to guide future academic facility, housing and commercial development at the University of Southern California’s University Park campus;

  • Redevelopment of the Hollywood Park Racetrack in Inglewood into a major mixed-use development including 3,000 housing units, regional retail, office and public uses;

  • Two iterations of $3 billion Specific Plans to redevelop the NBC Universal entertainment studio, office, retail, theme park and hotel complex in Los Angeles;

  • The addition of two new theme parks at Disneyland in Anaheim, California;

  • 2.4 million sf hotel, office and retail redevelopment of the Wilshire Grand, the first new high-rise office building to be built in downtown Los Angeles in over 20 years;

  • The Keck Graduate School for Applied Life Sciences, the seventh member of the Consortium of The Claremont Colleges;

  • Reconstruction of Saint John’s Hospital and Health Center in Santa Monica, in the wake of severe building damage caused by the 1994 Northridge earthquake;

  • Three new high-rise office buildings, and a 400-unit high-rise multi-family residential development in Century City, one of the most prestigious commercial office locations in Los Angeles;

  • 10 million square feet of new commercial and residential development around Union Station in the City of Los Angeles;

  • The Red Building (400,000 sf), the final phase of the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood;

  • The 6.6 million s.f. Coyote Valley Research Park in San Jose, on behalf of a developer and business consortium including Cisco Systems, Inc.; and

  • Master Plans and redevelopment alternatives for Los Angeles International Airport, O’Hare International Airport, and San Diego International Airport.

Paul also has extensive experience in all aspects of housing policy and housing development, ranging from design of municipal regulatory programs to design and administration of affordable housing production programs and real estate advisory work on major private housing developments.

Paul’s clients include major development organizations as well as numerous local governments, redevelopment agencies, institutions and metropolitan planning organizations.

Paul earned a Masters Degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles and received a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies, with Honors from the University of Illinois, Urbana.

Robert Grant
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Social Impact
Cruise
Biography

Robert Grant

Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Social Impact
Cruise

As the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Social Impact at Cruise, Robert spearheads Cruise’s legislative, regulatory, and policy priorities throughout the United States and abroad. Robert joined Cruise after spending more than 20 years working in and with governments, having held leadership positions in the United States Senate, the Department of Treasury, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Most recently, Robert led the global policy efforts for the self-driving startup, Aurora Innovation, and was a policy executive at the ridesharing company, Lyft. Robert earned his B.A. from the University of Virginia and his J.D. from Tulane University School of Law. He resides in Menlo Park, California, with his wife Colleen, four sons, and their Irish setter, Rosie.

Traci Minamide
Chief Operating Officer
Los Angeles Sanitation & Environment
Biography

Traci Minamide

Chief Operating Officer
Los Angeles Sanitation & Environment

Traci is the Chief Operating Officer for the City of Los Angeles , 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. 

John "Woody" Wodraska
President
Wodraska Partners, Inc.
Biography

John "Woody" Wodraska

President
Wodraska Partners, Inc.

Woody Wodraska is a veteran of the water industry and started his professional career with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). He was then recruited to serve as the CEO of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). Wodraska has worked in a variety of positions in the private sector of the water industry.  This included Azurix, a subsidiary of ENRON and a stint with large to mid-sized Architectural & Engineering Consulting firms, specializing in water.  Presently he is President of Wodraska Partners, a small firm specializing in providing comprehensive problem solving strategies for public and private entities in the water industry.

Frank Gehry
Founder and Partner
Gehry Partners
Biography

Frank Gehry

Founder and Partner
Gehry Partners

Raised in Toronto, Canada, Frank Gehry moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1947.  Mr. Gehry received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California in 1954, and he studied City Planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. In subsequent years, Mr. Gehry has built an architectural career that has spanned over five decades and produced public and private buildings in America, Europe and Asia.  His work has earned Mr. Gehry several of the most significant awards in the architectural field, including the Pritzker Prize.

Notable projects include Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California; Eight Spruce Street Residential Tower located in New York City; Opus Hong Kong Residential; Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, France; the Biomuseo in Panama; and the Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building for the University of Technology, in Sydney, Australia. Current projects include: King Street Development in Toronto, Ontario; Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia; Battersea Power Station Development, London, United Kingdom; Grand Avenue Development, Los Angeles, California; Facebook Campuses in New York City, Seattle, London and Dublin; Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; and the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C. Projects under construction include the LUMA / Parc des Ateliers in Arles, France; Divan Orchestra in Berlin, Germany; the Ohr O. Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi, and the West Campus for Facebook in Menlo Park, California.

Photo: dbox

Gideon Kracov
Board Member
California Air Resources Board
Biography

Gideon Kracov

Board Member
California Air Resources Board

Gideon Kracov is a lawyer in Los Angeles, where he represents clients in environmental and land use cases. His practice includes high-stakes litigation and complex regulatory matters. Mr. Kracov has worked for diverse business, labor and non-profit clients, and as a government lawyer. He served for more than fifteen years as General Counsel of the California Waste and Recycling Association, a trade organization including leading recycling and waste management companies. 

Mr. Kracov was appointed to the California Air Resources Board by Governor Gavin Newsom in December 2020. He also serves as the Governor’s appointee to the South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board responsible for improving air quality in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The region is home to more than 17 million people.

Previously, Mr. Kracov served as a Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney where he counseled the Departments of Planning and Sanitation. Before his public sector work, Mr. Kracov practiced at Rose, Klein & Marias LLP, a trial law firm. There he handled toxic tort and environmental matters that helped shape these areas of the law. Mr. Kracov started his legal career at the prominent Los Angeles firm Weston, Benshoof LLP (now Alston & Bird LLP), where his practice involved environmental tort defense for Fortune 500 clients.

Mr. Kracov is the former Chair of the State Bar of California Environmental Law Section Executive Committee. Elected by his peers, he led education and program activities on behalf of the Section's 2,500+ environmental lawyer members. From 2015 to 2018, he served as a Governor's appointee and Chair of the California Mining and Geology Board that oversees the state's interests in seismic hazards, mineral resources and mine reclamation. He also chaired the California Department of Toxic Substances Control Independent Review Panel tasked with recommending improvements to the agency's permitting, enforcement, outreach and fiscal management. From 2007 to 2011, Mr. Kracovserved as Vice-Chair of the Los Angeles Proposition O Bond Committee administering $500 million to protect the city’s rivers and beaches.

Mr. Kracov teaches land use law and regulation at Loyola Law School. In 2019, he coached the Loyola Law School team to first place in the 20th Annual California Lawyers Association Environmental Law Student Negotiation Competition.

He received his Juris Doctorate and Environmental Law Certificate from the University of California Berkeley Law School in 1995, and graduated from the University of California Berkeley with high honors in 1992.

In 2001, Mr. Kracov was one of the "emerging leaders from the United States" selected for a German Marshall Fund Memorial Fellowship to foster transatlantic relationships among "those capable of affecting real and lasting change.”

Deana Carrillo
Executive Director
California Alternative Energy & Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA)
Biography

Deana Carrillo

Executive Director
California Alternative Energy & Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA)

Deana Carrillo is the Executive Director of the California Alternative Energy & Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) – housed in the State Treasurer’s Office – which provides financial assistance for facilities needed to develop and commercialize advanced transportation and alternative energy technologies that conserve energy, reduce air pollution, and promote economic development and job creation.  She earned her Master’s degree in Public Policy at UCLA, where she concentrated on regional economic development and urban poverty issues, and her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at UC Santa Cruz.

She has over 17 years’ experience working on California policy and fiscal issues.  Prior to joining CAEATFA, Deana oversaw a brownfield cleanup financing program and a sustainable communities grant and loan program for the State.  Previously, she spent several years working on California policy issues as Director of Outreach and Special Initiatives for State Treasurer Phil Angelides.  Ms. Carrillo also served as a policy analyst for the California Budget Project, focusing on the California budget and workforce development issues.  

Karen Hamberg
Vice President, Industry and Government Relations
Westport Fuel Systems
Biography

Karen Hamberg

Vice President, Industry and Government Relations
Westport Fuel Systems

Ms. Hamberg joined Westport in 2001 and was appointed Vice President, Sustainable Energy Futures in 2012 and Vice-President, Strategy in 2013.  Westport Fuel Systems engineers, manufactures, and supplies advanced clean-burning engines, systems, and components that enable the deployment of low-carbon fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), hydrogen, and renewable natural gas (RNG).  Headquartered in Vancouver, Westport Fuel Systems serves customers in more than 70 countries with leading global transportation brands. Karen’s current portfolio includes responsibilities for Corporate Strategy, Market and Competitive Intelligence, Sustainability and Environmental Performance, and Government and Regulatory Affairs.

Ms. Hamberg holds a Master of Arts degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba.  Karen is also Chair of the Board of Directors of Calstart in Pasadena, California, an organization accelerating the growth of a clean transportation technologies industry and a Board Member of the Van Horne Institute at the University of Calgary. Karen was named to Canada’s Clean 50™ in 2017 for her contributions to advance sustainability in the transportation sector.  She is currently serving on the Government of Canada’s Economic Strategy Table on Clean Technology tasked with driving transformative innovation and clean growth across all business sectors of the economy.

An active volunteer, Karen is also Vice-Chair of the United Way of the Lower Mainland’s Campaign Cabinet for 2018 leading the organization’s annual fundraising campaign. 

Katie Sloan
Director of eMobility
SCE
Biography

Katie Sloan

Director of eMobility
SCE
Jerry Meral
Former Deputy Secretary
California Natural Resources Agency
Biography

Jerry Meral

Former Deputy Secretary
California Natural Resources Agency

Dr. Gerald (Jerry) Meral is the director of the California Water Program at the Natural Heritage Institute.  He works on funding for California water, Delta infrastructure, and a variety of other California water programs.  He formerly served as Deputy Director of the California Department of Water Resources, Deputy Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, Executive Director of the Planning and Conservation Director, and Staff Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund.  He has placed 9 initiatives on the California statewide ballot, and has been involved in many statewide ballot measures affecting California water, parks, wildlife, health, and transportation.  He has a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley.  He serves as the campaign director of the Water Supply and Water Quality Initiative Bond Act of November 2018 campaign.

Sunita Satyapal
Director, Fuel Cell Technologies Office, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
U.S. Department of Energy
Biography

Sunita Satyapal

Director, Fuel Cell Technologies Office, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
U.S. Department of Energy

Sunita Satyapal is the Director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. She has been responsible for roughly $100 million per year in hydrogen and fuel cell research, development and demonstration activities and has over two and a half decades of experience across academia, industry and government. In addition to managing research, business development, and international collaborations in various roles, she managed programs and staff at United Technologies and was a visiting professor at Vassar College.

She joined DOE in 2003 serving first as hydrogen storage lead and then chief engineer, and has been the Director since 2010. She has numerous publications, including in Scientific American, 10 patents, and a number of recognitions including a Presidential Rank Award. She received her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Columbia University and did her postdoctoral work in Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University. 

A.G. Kawamura
Founder and Chair
Solutions from the Land
Biography

A.G. Kawamura

Founder and Chair
Solutions from the Land

A.G. Kawamura is third generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County. He is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010). He is co-chair of Solutions From the Land, a non-profit organization that collaborates with farmers, ranchers, foresters and stakeholders to implement climate smart land management practices and strategies.

He currently serves on several boards and committees including: The Ag Advisory Committee for the AGree Initiative; the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR), a policy arm of the National Academy of Sciences’ Natural Resource Council; Ag Advisory Committee for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; American Farmland Trust; The 25x’25 Alliance, a national alliance of renewable energy stakeholders; External Advisory Board for the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) at U.C. Davis. He is a former chairman and current board member of Western Growers.

As a progressive urban farmer, A.G. has a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of Southern California. Through his company, Orange County Produce, LLC, he is engaged in building an exciting, interactive 21st century 100 acre agricultural showcase at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.

A.G. was elected to the board in 1994, and served as chairman in 2002.

Martin Hermann
CEO & Founder
8minutenergy
Biography

Martin Hermann

CEO & Founder
8minutenergy

Martin is a serial entrepreneur with 26 years of experience in the solar, clean-tech and high-tech industries, who has closed business transactions in excess of $5.3B. He founded 8minutenergy, which is now among the largest independent developers of solar PV in the U.S. with a portfolio of more than 5,500 MWs and a track record of 1,500 MWs in executed PPAs.

Martin also developed a 100 MW solar PV module manufacturing plant as Chief Strategy Officer with Advent Solar. Prior to his engagement in renewables, he owned a semiconductor tools company for 10 years, which he sold to Intel in 2001. For six years after the acquisition, Martin served on the executive management team with Intel’s wireless business group.

Michelle Sim
Commercial Development Manager
SoCalGas
Biography

Michelle Sim

Commercial Development Manager
SoCalGas

Michelle Sim is Commercial Development Manager at SoCalGas, primarily focused on hydrogen. She joined the Sempra utilities in 2013 and have served in various business and policy development roles in clean transportation, residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Prior to joining SoCalGas, Michelle worked at a global A&E firm, Parsons, working primarily on department of defense contracts related to facility asset management, renewable technologies, and zero net energy strategies.

Michelle received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and earned her Certified Energy Manager certificate from the Association of Energy Engineers. Michelle served a two-year term in 2016 appointed by the then-U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz to the Department of Energy’s Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee. She has also served as the chair of the San Joaquin Valley Natural Gas Partnership and a steering committee member of the California Natural Gas Partnership. Michelle also serves as a Board Member of the Asian American Professionals Association (AAPA).

Bill Bogaard
Mayor
City of Pasadena
Biography

Bill Bogaard

Mayor
City of Pasadena

Bill Bogaard is the in his fourth term as Mayor of Pasadena, after taking office in 1999 as the City’s first directly elected mayor.  The subsequent time has been an active period in the City’s history, including the arrival of the Gold Line light rail system; development of new housing; construction of a new convention center; establishment of new arts institutions; and reform of the public schools.  He serves as chair of Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative, a technology enterprise incubator, and the Pasadena Emergency Services Council.  He is a member of the Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority, and is President of the League of California Cities.

Mayor Bogaard graduated from Loyola Marymount University and the Michigan Law School.  He practiced law in Los Angeles, and then joined the First Interstate Bancorp until its merger with Wells Fargo & Co. in the late 1990’s.

Joe Galliani
Chair
South Bay Clean Power
Biography

Joe Galliani

Chair
South Bay Clean Power

Joe is Chair of the South Bay Clean Power initiative where he works full time to bring Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) to the 20 cities of the South Bay and West Side Los Angeles County and other eligible cities in L.A. County. Joe worked with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to pass a resolution to explore CCA options and to fund a feasibility study. Joe is working to launch California’s largest Community Choice Power program by partnering South Bay Clean Power with areas like Long Beach and L.A. County.

Joe is the Organizer of the South Bay Los Angeles 350 Climate Action Group.  Joe was the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Public Affairs for EcoMedia.  Additionally, Joe has served on a number of environmental non-profits in the South Bay.

 

 

Hope Boonshaft
Executive Vice President, General Manager LA Office
Gibraltar Associates
Biography

Hope Boonshaft

Executive Vice President, General Manager LA Office
Gibraltar Associates
Ken Alston
Chief of Staff
New Nexus Energy
Biography

Ken Alston

Chief of Staff
New Nexus Energy

Ken Alston is Chief of Staff at New Energy Nexus. He also serves as Investment Manager at CalCEF Ventures.

Prior to these roles, Ken worked from 2012-2016 in the Obama Administration, first at the White House and then as Special Advisor to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy. His past experience also includes investment firms Penta Group and Investor’s Circle, battery startup Simbol Materials, and strategy consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton. Ken is also a board member of Clean Energy Works.

He holds a BA from the University of Virginia and an MBA and MS from Stanford University.

Carter Rubin
Mobility and Climate Advocate
Natural Resources Defense Council
Biography

Carter Rubin

Mobility and Climate Advocate
Natural Resources Defense Council

As the Mobility and Climate Advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council, I'm driven to make California's communities more sustainable, livable, and equitable by improving our transportation systems. 

I previously served in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's administration as Senior Program Manager on the Great Streets Initiative, which seeks to create vibrant community places along Los Angeles's commercial corridors.

As a resident of Santa Monica, I serve on the board of directors of the Santa Monica Pier Corporation, and have previously served as an appointed member of the Santa Monica Planning and Housing Commissions.

Born and raised on the Westside of Los Angeles, I'm committed to improving the region's quality of life by improving the delivery of public services and by tackling its persistent land use and transportation challenges. I'm passionate about our regional transportation investments and want to ensure that their full promise is delivered to Angelenos. To me that means incorporating the expanding rail system into the urban fabric with a suite of transportation choices and land uses that support vibrant, safe and healthy communities.

I am a founding board member of the California Streets Initiative, the non-profit publisher of Streetsblog LA, SF and California, which connect community leaders and activists to information about sustainable transportation and livable communities.

Tom Buttgenbach
President & Co-Founder
8minutenergy
Biography

Tom Buttgenbach

President & Co-Founder
8minutenergy

Tom is president and co-founder of 8minutenergy. He brings over 20 years of executive management experience in large-scale project development, solar and utility power markets, land entitlement, M&A, capital structuring and finance. Tom has led transactions totaling over $5 billion in power purchase agreements and project finance deals.

Prior to co-founding 8minutenergy, Tom was a successful entrepreneur, real estate developer, and project manager for McKinsey & Company in Europe and the U.S. He earned his Ph.D. in physics and astronomy from the California Institute of Technology (CalTech).

Denny Zane
Executive Director
Move LA
Biography

Denny Zane

Executive Director
Move LA

Denny Zane is founder and Executive Director of Move LA, an organization that coalesces environmental, labor, business, faith, senior and community leaders and organizations to support development of a robust transit system, reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and development of affordable housing near transit in Los Angeles County.  Move LA initiated the campaigns and built coalitions that championed Measure R, approved by more than 2/3 of voters in 2008, and Measure M, approved by more than 2/3 of voters in 2016, in Los Angeles County.  Together these measures will generate over $120 B for transportation investments over 40 years, almost 70% of which will be invested in transit system development and operations creating the most extensive transit system development and modernizations in North America.  Zane and Move LA also initiated discussions with LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas that led to Measure H, approved by voters in LA County in 2017 to raise $300 M/yr. for affordable housing and services for homeless persons. 

Move LA continues its efforts developing strategies for building affordable housing near transit in Los Angeles County, including restoration of redevelopment authority for cities in California, and developing strategies to address the need for reductions of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and regional transit modernization in Southern California.

Mike Levin
Congressman, California's 49th District
US House of Representatives
Biography

Mike Levin

Congressman, California's 49th District
US House of Representatives

For the last two decades, Mike has been involved in a variety of local, state and federal political campaigns and community organizations.

Mike is a passionate believer in clean energy and has over a decade of experience in the industry, helping to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable power generation and transportation options. Mike has served for several years on the board of the Center for Sustainable Energy, based in San Diego, and co-founded Sustain OC in Orange County. For his work in clean energy, Mike was named to the OC METRO 40 under 40.

Mike sits on the board of the Center for Sustainable Energy, and is also a co-founder and board member of CleanTech OC, Orange County’s clean technology trade association, where he served as the initial executive director.

Previously, he was part of the management team at a venture-funded clean tech startup.  Prior to industry, Mike worked as an attorney at Bryan Cave LLP, where he assisted clients with environmental and energy regulatory compliance, project development, and government advocacy.

Mike lives in San Juan Capistrano with his wife, Chrissy, a graduate of the University of Arizona and Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and their two children, ages 6 and 4.

Sam Polk
Founder and Executive Director
Groceryships
Biography

Sam Polk

Founder and Executive Director
Groceryships

Sam Polk is the founder and Executive Director of Groceryships, a Los Angeles non-profit working at the intersection of poverty and obesity, and co-founder of Harvest, a for-profit social enterprise that sells fresh, healthy ready-to-eat meals affordable for all ($3.50 in low-income areas, $7 in higher income areas). Prior to becoming a social entrepreneur, Sam was a hedge fund trader on Wall Street. Sam’s memoir, For The Love of Money, will be published in July 2016 by Scribner. His writing has been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, CNBC.com, and The Huffington Post. Sam has been featured on The Today Show, Morning Joe, CNN, Tavis Smiley, NPR, and more. He is a graduate of Columbia University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. 

Andrea Redford
Chief Business Development Officer
Enerkem
Biography

Andrea Redford

Chief Business Development Officer
Enerkem
Phil Huber
Partner
Marstel-Day
Biography

Phil Huber

Partner
Marstel-Day

Mr. Huber has more than 40 years of military, federal government civil service, and private sector consulting experience. As a partner of Marstel-Day, Mr. Huber is responsible for the firm’s Sustainment Program portfolio. The portfolio includes a wide range of issue identification and problem solving associated with encroachment analysis, comprehensive planning, interaction with stakeholders, and understanding and influencing of state and federal legislation and regulations. Mr. Huber has worked on many projects that produce strategies, policies, decision support tools, training modules, and comprehensive plans, and he has conducted and facilitated many encroachment partnering and management workshops throughout the United States. He supports projects for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.

Mr. Huber’s military career spanned 30 years in both active and reserve status. His major deployments were to Viet Nam, Saudi-Arabia/Kuwait, and Bosnia. He retired as a colonel. Concurrent with his military career, he completed 28 years of federal civil service in a wide variety of environmental positions, culminating as the Assistant for Environmental Quality, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (DASA) for Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health (ESOH). Mr. Huber’s assignments included managing two Army installation environmental programs, working on the environmental staffs of two Army major commands (one in Europe), and managing worldwide general support programs as a staff member for the U.S. Army Environmental Center. He has extensive experience in working multiple environmental challenges associated with DoD’s encroachment issues and integrating environmental considerations into various DoD business processes such as installation management, logistics, acquisition, training and education, and military training and operations. Mr. Huber’s last civil assignment was as an information technology specialist supporting the Air Force’s Chief Information Officer.

Mr. Huber has a BS in forest science from Pennsylvania State University, PA; an MBA from Jacksonville State University, AL; and an MA in national resourcing from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Washington, DC.

Amanda Von Almen
Green Building Program Manager
Salesforce
Biography

Amanda Von Almen

Green Building Program Manager
Salesforce

Amanda von Almen is the green building program manager for Salesforce.

Pierre Fitzgibbon
Minister of Economy and Innovation
National Assembly of Québec
Biography

Pierre Fitzgibbon

Minister of Economy and Innovation
National Assembly of Québec

Pierre Fitzgibbon was born in Montréal. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Montréal (HEC) and is a Quebec Chartered Professional Accountant.

Before becoming involved in politics, Mr. Fitzgibbon served as managing partner at Walter Capital Partners, a private equity Firm, between 2015 and 2018.

From 2007 to 2014, Mr. Fitzgibbon assumed the role of president and chief executive officer at Atrium Innovations, a company that develops, manufactures and markets value-added products for the health and nutrition industry.

From 2002 to 2007, he put his skills to work at National Bank Group, where he occupied the position of vice-chairman of National Bank Financial, where he mainly acted as head of investment banking and corporate finance services. He was also senior vice president of finance, technology and corporate affairs at National Bank of Canada.

Previously, Mr. Fitzgibbon also held executive positions in finance, as well as in company and business development at Télésystème Mobiles International, Chase Capital Partners Hong Kong, Domtar and Peerless Carpet Corporation. He began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in auditing and consulting services.

Over the last few years, Mr. Fitzgibbon has served on several boards of directors, including that of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, WSP, Héroux-Devtek, TC Transcontinental, Cycle Capital Management, Neptune Technologies, Lumenpulse and Arianne Phosphate.

This committed businessman is involved in his community and in several organizations, including until recently, the Fondation du Dr Julien.

 
David Peterson
Director, Fleet Solutions
ChargePoint, Inc.
Biography

David Peterson

Director, Fleet Solutions
ChargePoint, Inc.
David leads ChargePoint’s Fleet Solutions team focused on developing market-leading products and services for managing and operating light, medium and heavy-duty electric vehicle fleets. 
 
David joined ChargePoint from Nissan where he led electric vehicle market development and charging infrastructure strategy. Prior to Nissan, David was an investment analyst based in Shanghai providing M&A advisory for Benelux-China joint ventures, as well as a project finance consultant to governments and private clients across Asia and the Middle East. 
Tori Kjer
Los Angeles Program Director
The Trust for Public Land
Biography

Tori Kjer

Los Angeles Program Director
The Trust for Public Land

Tori Kjer, PLA, is the Program Director for the Trust for Public Land’s Los Angeles Program. She oversees the wide range of urban park and land protection projects implemented by The Trust for Public Land throughout Los Angeles County. Tori holds a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture from CSU Pomona.

Coby Skye
Assistant Deputy Director
Los Angeles County Public Works
Biography

Coby Skye

Assistant Deputy Director
Los Angeles County Public Works

Coby Skye is an Assistant Deputy Director at Los Angeles County Public Works, overseeing the Environmental Programs Division.  Mr. Skye is a registered Civil Engineer in the State of California, and received a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering from Polytechnic University as well as a Masters in Public Administration from California State University at Long Beach.  Mr. Skye provides insight and direction for solid waste management policies in Los Angeles County and is responsible for administering a variety of waste reduction and recycling programs and initiatives.  He is passionate about environmental preservation, and volunteers with various environmental organizations.

Patrick Holland
Principal Engineer
Los Angeles County Department of Public Works
Biography

Patrick Holland

Principal Engineer
Los Angeles County Department of Public Works

Patrick Holland joined Los Angeles County Department of Public Works in 2003. He has been a registered Professional Engineer in the State of California since 2006. Patrick is an Assistant Division Head of the Environmental Programs Division where he oversees multiple teams involved with waste collection, waste diversion programs, legislation and policy development, and education/outreach.  Patrick spent several years working in stormwater management where he focused on increasing flood protection, expanding water conservation, and improving water quality. Patrick currently serves on the Board for the California Product Stewardship Council.  Patrick holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Utah State University and a Masters in Business Administration from California State University Long Beach. 

Doug Campbell
Principal Advisor
Southern California Edison
Biography

Doug Campbell

Principal Advisor
Southern California Edison

Doug Campbell retired from Edison International (EIX) on January 18, 2016, after almost 19 years with the company.  EIX is the parent company of Southern California Edison, a regulated electric utility, and Edison Mission Group, an independent power company.  Mr. Campbell has over 30 years of experience in the utility and telecommunications industries in marketing, product development and engineering.

Prior to Edison, Mr. Campbell served as a Principal Manager in Edison’s Advanced Technology Organization which monitors, identifies, tests, and evaluates technologies that support SCE efforts to maintain a safe, reliable, affordable, and secure electric grid while empowering the customer with more options and greater control to manage their energy use.  Prior to Advanced Technology, Mr. Campbell was involved in overseeing Edison’s Energy Education Centers and lead development of the Smart Energy Experience, an immersive and interactive exhibit that allows visitors to experience the benefits of the smart grid, energy efficiency and renewable generation.  He was also involved in development and delivery of demand side management and sustainability programs for new construction.

Campbell previously worked for Itron, Inc. where he was responsible for development of automated meter reading solutions for the gas industry, expanding the product line and increasing market penetration.  He has also worked for EF Johnson and Ericsson where he was responsible for development of radio communication solutions for the utility and public safety markets.

Campbell has also previously served as Vice Chair of the Irwindale Chamber of commerce and as a trustee on the board for the Pacific Clinics Foundation. 

Naomi Kelly
City Administrator
City and County of San Francisco
Biography

Naomi Kelly

City Administrator
City and County of San Francisco

Naomi Maria Kelly is San Francisco’s City Administrator, the highest-ranking non-elected official of San Francisco City and County government.  In this capacity, Ms. Kelly oversees the General Services Agency consisting of 25 departments, divisions, and programs that include the Public Works Department, Department of Technology, Office of Contract Administration/Purchasing, Real Estate, County Clerk, Fleet Management, Convention Facilities, Animal Care and Control, Medical Examiner, and Treasure Island.  She is responsible for a 2,700-strong workforce, and an annual budget of nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars.

Ms. Kelly is strongly committed to strengthening the local economy; ensuring the efficacy of government services; increasing the City’s safety and resiliency; and optimizing the City’s capital planning and infrastructure.  Since her appointment and re-appointment by Mayor Edwin Lee in 2012 and 2017, her accomplishments include:

  • The appointment of City and County leaders such as:  Public Works Department Director; Director of Real Estate; Chief Information Officer and Department of Technology Director; Mayor’s Office on Disability Director; Animal Care and Control Director; City Hall Events Director; Treasure Island Director; Contract Monitoring Division Director; Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement Director, Office of Short Term Rentals Director; Purchaser; Chief Medical Examiner, Deputy City Administrator, and Chief Resilience Officer; 
  • The launching or absorbing of new programs such as:  Committee on Information Technology (COIT); Office of Short Term Rentals; Contract Monitoring Division; and Earthquake Safety Improvement Program / Office of Resilience and Recovery; 
  • The creation of a Budget and Planning team to improve budgeting, financial management, policy analysis, and program evaluation, and to utilize financial models for citywide work order programs and the elimination of structural deficits;
  • Service on numerous boards and committees including:
  • Capital Planning Committee:  As Chair of this Committee, Ms. Kelly oversees  a $35 billion, 10-year capital plan for the long-term safety, accessibility and modernization of San Francisco’s public infrastructure and facilities; sea level rise planning, and securing bond approvals in the areas of public health and transportation;
  • Committee on Information and Technology (COIT):  As Chair, Ms. Kelly oversees 5-year communication technology (ICT) plans, budgets and projects for all City departments;
  • Workforce Investment San Francisco (WISF) Board:  WISF is responsible for creating strategic workforce connections among industry, business, labor, educational institutions, and community based organizations to serve the needs of workers and employers in the region, and to support the City’s vision for economic competitiveness;
  • SF Community Investment Fund (SFCIF) Board:  SFCIF is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation that serves as a community development entity to apply for a new market tax credits allocation from the U.S. Treasury to help underserved communities, and provide private capital investment to projects that may not otherwise be completed; and
  • Mayor’s “Our Children, Our Families” Council: The Council is responsible for developing a five-year plan to coordinate available resources and services for data-sharing between the City and schools to better serve families, children and youth in the City.  The Council will also create, maintain and make available an inventory of all citywide services for children and youth, including state and federally funded programs.
  • Oversight and management of major private-public partnerships such as the celebration of the San Francisco City Hall Centennial, and the Bay Area Women’s Summit;
  • Coordination of efforts to re-envision San Francisco’s public housing policy by conducting various stakeholders’ meetings to identify the challenges and issues facing public housing, and make recommendations to help improve the Housing Authority;
  • Strategic direction and management of initiatives in the areas of public housing, community benefits, local business development, earthquake safety and disaster preparedness, Local Hiring Ordinance, Digital Services, and renewable diesel;
  • Oversight and management of Moscone Convention Facilities expansion, new Medical Examiner’s Office building, Animal Care Shelter, Central Shop relocation, and 1500 Mission Street project;
  • Authorization of same-sex marriage license issuances at San Francisco City Hall in late June 2013 just hours after a federal appeals court cleared the way for the State of California to lift a 4.5 year freeze;
  • Facilitation of major program accomplishments, such as: 
  • Treasure Island development: completed first land transfer, new ramps, Naval remediation, increased commercial leasing and business activity, readied Yerba Buena Island for new construction;
  • Convention Facilities:  renegotiated contract with significantly improved terms to increase revenue, transparency, and capital contribution;
  • Fleet (3 fleets of multiple vehicles and more than 500 users):  expanded use of telematics, and launched Vehicle on Demand System (VoDS). 

Prior to her City Administrator position, Ms. Kelly was appointed City Purchaser and Director of the Office of Contract Administration by Mayor Gavin Newsom.  She previously served as Special Assistant in the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, and the Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs, under Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.  She also served as the City’s Executive Director of the Taxicab Commission. 

Ms. Kelly, a native San Franciscan, is the first woman and African American to serve as City Administrator of the City and County of San Francisco.  She received her undergraduate and law degrees, respectively, from New York University, and the University of San Francisco.  Ms. Kelly is a member of the California State Bar.  She and her husband, Harlan L. Kelly, Jr., General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and their two sons reside in San Francisco.  

Daniel Breton
Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Transport Electrification
National Assembly of Québec
Biography

Daniel Breton

Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Transport Electrification
National Assembly of Québec

Born in Montréal on June 18, 1962

Daniel Breton is a member of the Québec National Assembly. He has been elected as Member for Sainte-Marie–Saint-Jacques in the general election held on September 4, 2012. He’s currently Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier of Quebec for Transport Electrification since May 2013. He was previously Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks. Over the past 20 years, Mr. Breton has been engaged in a number of major issues of interest to Québec related to transportation, energy, natural resources and climate change. Social activist and community leader, he has been the first green car columnist in Canada, the spokesperson and co-founder of the Québec/Kyoto Coalition, as well as Co-founder of the Green Party of Québec, back in 2001.

Daniel’s studied International Relations and Communications at Université du Québec à Montréal, where he was competing on the ski racing team. From 85-88, he was a professional wind surfer, which gave him the opportunity to travel around the world.

John Fenton
Chief Executive Officer
Southern California Regional Rail Authority
Biography

John Fenton

Chief Executive Officer
Southern California Regional Rail Authority

Throughout his career, John Fenton has built a reputation as a leader who gets results. His ability to motivate people and align teams around his vision of operational excellence has resulted in measurable improvements in safety, productivity, and financial well-being in organizations.  Through his exceptional relationship-building skills with key stakeholders, and his expertise in the transportation industry, Fenton has been able to successfully introduce new efficiencies and deliver measurable results in domestic and international markets.

John Fenton joined Metrolink as its CEO in April 2010. Fenton’s commitment to excellence in service, efficiency, transparency and fiscal responsibility has brought substantial changes to the railroad, including enhancing the safety culture, improving equipment utilization and capitalization, and instituting a fuel conservation program that has improved emissions and saved millions. Under Fenton’s short tenure, Metrolink has launched the nation’s safest fleet of passenger rail cars, and progressed with its accelerated strategy to have Positive Train Control operational in advance of the 2015 federal deadline. 

Prior to joining Metrolink, Fenton was an Operating Partner with CIH Capital Partners, a full service investment bank. He previously served as President and CEO of OmniTRAX, Inc., Denver-based short line railroad transportation services company. His railroad experience is extensive, including posts as General Manager and Vice President of the Canadian National Railway, Canada's largest freight railroad; Vice President of the Kansas City Southern Railway; an executive with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, which later became part of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway; and as a manager at Union Pacific Railroad. 

John Fenton has a Master’s Of Science in Systems Management (MSSM) from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Transportation management from Indiana University, Bloomington. Fenton lives in Pasadena with his wife of 33 years, Monica.

Norihiko Saeki
Executive Director
JETRO Los Angeles
Biography

Norihiko Saeki

Executive Director
JETRO Los Angeles
Executive Director, JETRO Los AngelesNorihiko Saeki serves as the Executive Director of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Los Angeles and coordinates the collaborations between the U.S. and Japanese Industries in the area of innovation, entertainment and investment. Norihiko extensively tries to contribute to solve the social issues in California and the U.S. by forefront and user-oriented technology with Japanese industries.  In this capacity, he is responsible for the overall strategy and execution on innovation policy and the industries collaboration especially in hydrogen energy, water, smart cities, vehicle, aerospace and health care. Norihiko also serves as a Special Advisor to Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and his task is to recommend the policy options as well as promote collaboration at the governmental level. He joined the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan in 2001 and has been in charge of various high-tech areas, such as aerospace, metals & materials, bio, health care and information technology.  He received his law bachelor degree from University of Tokyo in 2000 and served as a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins University SAIS in 2009-2010. He lives and enjoys his life with his wife and daughter in Playa Vista, L.A. as known as “Silicon Beach.”
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.

Jim McDermott
Co-Founder and Managing Director
Rusheen Capital Management
Biography

Jim McDermott

Co-Founder and Managing Director
Rusheen Capital Management

Prior to co-founding RCM, Jim has started, invested in and run numerous companies. These include: US Renewables Group (Founder & Managing Partner), Stamps.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:STMP – Founder), Spoke Software, Inc. (Founder & CEO), Archive, Inc. (Founder & CEO – sold to Cyclone Commerce), NanoH2O, Inc. (Founder & Board Member – sold to LG Chemical), SolarReserve (Founder & Board Member), Fulcrum Bioenergy, Inc. (Founder & Board Member), Common Assets (Founder & Board Member – sold to NASDAQ:SCTY), SET Technology (Board Member) and OH Energy, Inc. (Founder & Board Member). Jim holds a BA in Philosophy from Colorado College and an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA.

Tim Romer
Managing Director
Goldman Sachs
Biography

Tim Romer

Managing Director
Goldman Sachs

Tim is head of the Western Region Public Sector and Infrastructure (PSI) Banking Group and a member of the PSI National Operating Committee. He joined Goldman Sachs in 2003 in Los Angeles and was named managing director in 2004. 

Tim has more than 30 years of experience in infrastructure finance, project finance, public private partnerships and government finance throughout the United States with a specific focus on the 13 Western states. He provides a diverse background in various forms of infrastructure and government financing, completing projects that cover a broad range of assets, including surface transportation, transit, power, renewable energy, water, sewer, toll roads, schools, real estate and general government, among other financings needs. Tim has financed over $75 billion in projects, using various financing vehicles and credit structures, including taxable, tax-exempt securitizations, revenue bonds, GO bonds, lease financings and SPV project financings. He has been actively involved in public private partnerships and government privatizations efforts, including the first and largest US transit P3 and various US military privatization efforts. Tim has also been active in providing both sell side and buy side advisory services in connection with infrastructure projects. 

Prior to joining the firm, Tim was a managing director and co-head of Merrill Lynch’s Western Region Public Finance Group and a managing director in Bank of America Securities’ Real Estate Secured Finance Group. He also spent three years as chief financial officer of Adexa, Inc., a privately held supply chain software company. 

Tim earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA, with honors, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on the board of the South Bay Lacrosse Association and is active with various local charities in the Los Angeles area. 

Matt Wartian
Regional Global Practice Manager
Burns & McDonnell
Biography

Matt Wartian

Regional Global Practice Manager
Burns & McDonnell
Judy Johnson
Vice President, Client Accounts Manager
Jacobs
Biography

Judy Johnson

Vice President, Client Accounts Manager
Jacobs
Paul Clark
Director
Climate Change & Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC)
Biography

Paul Clark

Director
Climate Change & Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC)
Mark Fillinger
Director of Development
First Solar
Biography

Mark Fillinger

Director of Development
First Solar

Mr. Fillinger is responsible for developing First Solar’s utility-scale solar projects and leading the origination team in the US. A 20+-year energy industry executive, Mr. Fillinger has extensive experience with siting, permitting, financing and negotiating all project related contracts.

Prior to First Solar, Mr. Fillinger worked with NextLight and OptiSolar where he led both development and project finance activities where he developed the company’s power purchase agreement offering, negotiating and closing the first $40 million of projects developed under this structure. While at the California Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority, he developed a third party PV acquisition program for State agencies. Mr. Fillinger also worked at Enron North America, where he served as Director of Power Origination. Mr. Fillinger holds a B.S in Energy Economics from the University of California, Davis and an M.B.A in Finance from Columbia University.

Barbara Romero
Executive Director
LA Sanitation & Environment
Biography

Barbara Romero

Executive Director
LA Sanitation & Environment

Barbara Romero is Executive Director of LA City Sanitation & Environment having served as Deputy Mayor of City Services in the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti since 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.

Jessie Buckmaster
Sustainability Manager
Hathaway Dinwiddie
Biography

Jessie Buckmaster

Sustainability Manager
Hathaway Dinwiddie

Jessie Buckmaster is Sustainability Manager at Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company with almost 10 years’ experience in commercial construction. She provides sustainability expertise and consultation for Hathaway Dinwiddie’s projects from preconstruction through certification. Jessie has worked on numerous LEED projects, and is currently working on a project pursuing Living Building Challenge certification. Her specialty is in evaluating healthy building materials after spending nearly 4 years researching Red List compliant products. She loves providing training and sustainability education. Jessie is an active member of USGBC and ILFI, and she was Co-Facilitator for the Living Building Challenge Los Angeles Collaborative in 2016. 

Nancy Ryan
Deputy Executive Director
California Public Utilities Commission
Biography

Nancy Ryan

Deputy Executive Director
California Public Utilities Commission
Hiromu Nishimura
Infrastructure Systems Department Manager, Business Development Department, Global Water Systems
Hitachi
Biography

Hiromu Nishimura

Infrastructure Systems Department Manager, Business Development Department, Global Water Systems
Hitachi

Hiromu Nishimura joined Hitachi in 2011, after working for thirty years at the Mitsubishi Corporation. Active in the water industry since 1998, Mr. Nishimura is an expert on business development for water projects and the management of private water companies. He served on the Board of Directors of the Manila Water Company from 2001 to 2009 and is a current member of the Board of Directors of the Malé Water and Sewerage Company.

Mr. Nishimura brings the expertise of Hitachi’s innovative Remix Water technology. An integrated sweater desalinization and sewage treatment system, Remix consumes about 36% less water and 40% less energy than conventional desalinization plants, presenting opportunities for water and energy efficiency improvements of crucial importance to California’s drought-affected water supply. 

Diana Limón
Training Director
Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute
Biography

Diana Limón

Training Director
Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute

Diana Limon is the Training Director at the Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute (NZP ETI), the largest labor-management electrical apprenticeship program in the United States.  The NZP ETI was designed to be a state of the art facility using a set of comprehensive strategies transforming the way the facility uses, produces, stores, and monitors energy while training apprentices and advanced skilled journey level courses in the electrical industry.  The NZP ETI is a showcase of innovation in integrated sustainable energy technology and training.

Diana started her career as an apprentice in Los Angeles in 1995.  Upon completion of her apprenticeship, she began teaching the electrical apprenticeship and supervising work as a foreman and general foreman out in the field.   She served on the staff of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 11’s Staff for fifteen years.  She received her BA in Labor Studies from the National Labor College and M.P.A. from the University of Baltimore.     

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.

Dr. Zeynep Erdal
Los Angeles Regional Business Line Leader for Water
AECOM
Biography

Dr. Zeynep Erdal

Los Angeles Regional Business Line Leader for Water
AECOM

Dr. Zeynep Erdal, PE is a water industry executive, technology developer and project manager with over 20 years of hands-on experience in business development and implementation of water reclamation, resource recovery, water recycling, and advanced technologies, organics-to-energy systems, energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste solids treatment and handling, greenhouse gases, renewable energy, as well as regulatory and policy issues, resource recovery, and sustainable solutions metrics and implementation through process development, piloting, modeling and design. She has led policy development and advocacy to further solutions dealing with climate change resiliency and carbon management issues. She holds leadership positions on advisory boards in collaboration with public and private representatives, research and technical practice committees. Her extensive project development and implementation experience covers development, design, construction and commissioning of water and energy projects.

As the Los Angeles Regional Business Line Leader for Water, Dr. Erdal is currently responsible for the marketing, development and execution of AECOM Water projects, and manages the Water Business P&L in LA Metro region covering Southern California, Las Vegas and Hawaii.

Paul Schultz
Director, Power External Energy Resources
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
Biography

Paul Schultz

Director, Power External Energy Resources
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
Gene Rodrigues
Director of Energy Efficiency
Southern California Edison
Biography

Gene Rodrigues

Director of Energy Efficiency
Southern California Edison

Gene Rodrigues is the Director of Customer Energy Efficiency and Solar for Southern California Edison Company. In this capacity, Gene oversees SCE’s portfolio of Energy Efficiency, Low Income Energy Efficiency, Low Income Rate Assistance, California Solar Initiative and Self Generation Incentive programs.  SCE is a national leader in helping customers to save energy, money and the environment through its award-winning energy efficiency programs. 

In addition to his duties at SCE, Gene serves as chairman of the board of directors for the Consortium for Energy Efficiency.  He also serves on the boards of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the China-US Energy Efficiency Alliance.  Gene is a member of the executive leadership group for the U.S. DOE/EPA-sponsored State Energy Efficiency Action Network, the strategy committee for EEI's Institute for Energy Efficiency, and the steering committee for the Alliance to Save Energy's Global Action Network for Energy Efficiency Education.

David Alexander
Director of Information Security
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Biography

David Alexander

Director of Information Security
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

David Alexander is the Director of Information Security at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest municipal utility. He continues to evolve a comprehensive Information Security Program. With over 20 years of IT and power operations experience, Mr. Alexander has levied his extensive technical and business operation experience to apply sound IT Security practices while meeting the demanding business requirements of the power industry. He is also responsible for the development and coordination of LADWP’s strategic and tactical IT security planning initiatives to reduce risks, respond to incidents, and limit exposure to liability that may result in financial and image loss to the utility.

Frederuck O. Terrell
Vice Chairman
Credit Suisse
Biography

Frederuck O. Terrell

Vice Chairman
Credit Suisse
Deanna Haines
Director, Policy & Environmental Strategy
Southern California Gas Company; San Diego Gas & Electric
Biography

Deanna Haines

Director, Policy & Environmental Strategy
Southern California Gas Company; San Diego Gas & Electric

Deanna Haines has worked for the Utilities since 1988 and has held various leadership positions primarily in the engineering and environmental areas. Currently, Deanna leads the Utilities’ Policy & Environmental Strategy area to support sensible and balanced policies that are consistent with the primary directive of the Utilities to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy. Before Deanna’s current position, she was the Director of Gas Engineering overseeing the engineering standards, training and research programs related to the design, operation and construction of the gas infrastructure.  In her engineering role, Deanna developed the Utilities’ first Risk Assessment Mitigation Phase (RAMP) filing on Climate Adaptation & Resiliency for the gas infrastructure.  Prior to leading the Engineering department, she was the Director of Environmental Services responsible for permitting major projects and developing and implementing policies and programs to drive environmental stewardship and support operations with environmental compliance requirements.

Ms. Haines has served on several scientific committees, including the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Best Available Control Technology Scientific Review Committee (BACT SRC) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Industrial Combustion Coordinated Rulemaking (ICCR) Committee. She further served on the American Gas Association’s Distribution, Transmission and Engineering and Environmental Committees. Ms. Haines is on the College of Engineering, Computer Science & Technology Dean’s Advisory Board for Cal State Los Angeles.  She currently serves on the Board of the American Cancer Society. 

Ken Alex
Director
California Office of Planning and Research
Biography

Ken Alex

Director
California Office of Planning and Research
Dean Florez
Board Member
California Air Resources Board
Biography

Dean Florez

Board Member
California Air Resources Board

Dean Florez is a proven leader in the air quality arena having served as the past Chairman of the California Senate Select Committee on Air Quality. While in the Senate, he authored a series of ground-breaking anti-pollution laws focused on the San Joaquin Valley's dirty air and repealed the agriculture industry's historic exemption from air operating permits that had lasted for 63 years.

Sen. Florez served in the California Assembly from 1998 to 2002 and in the Senate from 2002 to 2010, representing the Central Valley including Bakersfield, Fresno and 18 other cities. Sen. Florez is now President and CEO of Balance Public Relations which specializes in education and technology.

Senator Florez also served as the Senate's appointee to the Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education and served as President of the Twenty Million Minds Foundation. Florez is a thought leader on higher education issues and has been a featured speaker at the New York Times and White House.

A former investment banker, Sen. Florez received his MBA from Harvard in 1993. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from UCLA, where he also served as Student Body President.

David Patterson
Chief Engineer, Mobile Emissions Certification and Regulatory Affairs
Mitsubishi Motors
Biography

David Patterson

Chief Engineer, Mobile Emissions Certification and Regulatory Affairs
Mitsubishi Motors

Mr. Patterson is Chief Engineer responsible for Mobile Emissions Certification and Regulatory Affairs maintaining Mitsubishi Motor’s vehicle environmental compliance.

He began his professional career with the California Air Resources Board.  Among his varied assignments, he evaluated the first generation of electric and hybrid vehicles.   He left state service to work with solid oxide and hydrogen fuel cell systems. 

In 2004, Mr. Patterson joined Mitsubishi Motors R&D of America. 

Mr. Patterson was a founding member of the US i-MiEV project responsible to bring Mitsubishi Motors electric vehicles to North America.  Currently, he works toward the US introduction of the Outlander PHEV and evaluating V2X technologies to the US. 

Dave attended California State University Fresno and obtained a BS Mechanical Engineering.  He is a Professional Engineer of Mechanical Engineering, Vice President of the Coordinating Research Council, and a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Ken Lewis
President, Firm Sustainability Leader
AC Martin Partners
Biography

Ken Lewis

President, Firm Sustainability Leader
AC Martin Partners

Ken Lewis is the President of AC Martin Partners, and has been with the firm for 30 years.  He is a designer first, with an inherent ability to bring people, ideas and technology together, helping to create and influence the built environment. An uncharacteristically, hands-on President, Ken has designed and managed a long list of projects for the firm, involving himself from the earliest stages of the project, through the construction and final commissioning.  He now focuses exclusively on facility programming, large projects and sustainable design leadership on all projects in the office.

A long time advocate of Sustainable Design Principles, Ken strongly believes in a holistic approach to architecture – an approach that goes beyond a narrow focus of checklists and measurements.  He is recognized in Southern California as an expert in Green Building Design, recently participating in the effort for the City of Los Angeles’ first green building legislature for private sector, new construction.  He was appointed by the City of Burbank to the city’s task force for a “Sustainable Burbank” in 2009, and now serves as the Vice Chair/Commissioner for Burbank’s Sustainability Commission.

Ken received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern California, and is a registered architect in California and a LEED™ Accredited Professional.  He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Society of College and University Planners, and served as a member of the Los Angeles Business Council – Energy and Environment Committee.  As part of Ken’s commitment to furthering the field of the architecture and engineering, he was an adjunct faculty member for the School of Engineering at Cal State Fullerton from 1990 to 1995, is currently an adjunct faculty member for the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California.  Ken is a frequent guest lecturer at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California.

Walker Wright
Director of Public Policy
SunRun
Biography

Walker Wright

Director of Public Policy
SunRun

Walker Wright is Director of Public Policy for Sunrun, America’s largest dedicated home solar company. Walker focuses on helping Western state markets attain long-term rooftop solar growth via legislative, regulatory and public opinion outcomes.  Over the years Walker has testified in numerous regulatory and legislative hearings and provided leadership within various industry trade associations. Walker also serves as public spokesperson for The Alliance for Solar Choice and is a board member to the Solar Neighbor Alliance.  Prior to Sunrun he led western policy and business development efforts for Petra Systems, the New Jersey based utility and smart grid solutions provider. Walker is a published author and researcher covering the carbon markets and solar panel performance.  Walker holds a BA from Princeton University and an Msc from The London School of Economics and Political Sciences.

Jessica Reinhardt
Director, Public Policy
Sunrun
Biography

Jessica Reinhardt

Director, Public Policy
Sunrun

Having more than 15 years of policy experience, Jessica has worked with business, engineering, regulatory, and legal teams to advise on a wide range of issues across the country. In December of 2018, Jessica joined Sunrun as Director of Public Policy where she manages teams in regulatory and legislative efforts to advance the deployment of residential solar, energy storage, and grid services in California, the Southwest, and New York. This includes the development, coordination, and implementation of lobbying strategies, grassroots campaigns, media campaigns, and legal interventions. In this capacity she serves on several industry association boards including the Colorado Solar & Storage Association, the Arizona Solar & Storage Association and the NY Solar Energy Industry Association. 

A native New Yorker, Jessica grew up on Long Island in one of the country’s most prolific solar markets. She received her bachelors in political science from the University at Albany where she began working in the policy sector. After earning her law degree, she served as Energy Counsel in the New York Assembly advising legislators on issues across all sectors of the energy industry. During this time, she also earned an LLM in Energy and Natural Resources Law. She graduated from the program Summa Cum Laude and was published several times on solar-related topics such as amending local codes to accommodate rooftop solar.  

She then spent several years as government relations manager for the Consolidated Edison Company of New York (ConEd), providing her with another unique perspective on energy policy. During her tenure at ConEd, Superstorm Sandy devastated New York forcing policymakers to reexamine the way electricity is generated and delivered. New York’s well-known REV initiative followed with a new focus on the need for a cleaner, distributed grid. Witnessing the effects of Superstorm Sandy affirmed her passion for clean energy and led to her work as a solar advocate beginning in 2016 at SolarCity. 

As Deputy Director of Policy & Electricity Markets for SolarCity, she worked closely on issues such as permitting, interconnection, rate design, consumer protection, economic development and more in the Northeast residential and commercial sectors. She was instrumental in the bi-partisan and unanimous enactment of New York’s energy storage target, among the strongest in country, paving the way for a robust energy storage market.  

Dennis McGinn
Fmr. U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Senior Advisor and Board Member, Customer First Renewables
Biography

Dennis McGinn

Fmr. U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Senior Advisor and Board Member, Customer First Renewables

Dennis McGinn is a Senior Advisor and Board Member at CustomerFirst Renewables.

Dennis, who served 35 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy, also served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment from September 2013 until January 2017. He is a former President of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), a past member of the Steering Committee of the Energy Future Coalition, United States Energy Security Council, Bipartisan Policy Center Energy Board, and CNA Military Advisory Board and currently serves on several boards, including the Rocky Mountain Institute. He is also a senior advisor to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Center for Climate and Security.

Audrey Vinant-Tang
Supplier Sustainability Manager
CBS Corporation
Biography

Audrey Vinant-Tang

Supplier Sustainability Manager
CBS Corporation

Audrey Vinant-Tang graduated from UCLA with a major in Environmental Science and Engineering and a minor in Film & Television. After working as an air quality engineer for three years, Audrey was able to blend these two passions at CBS. She built the CBS Eye on the Environment green supply chain program from scratch to reduce the carbon footprint of CBS television productions and company operations. Under Audrey’s leadership, the CBS Eye on the Environment program won a 2017 Green Supply Chain Award. As a supplier sustainability manager, Audrey manages renewable energy projects and energy procurement activities at CBS.

Audrey was also elected VP of Education for the Green Business Council of Southern California and recognized on the 2018 Green Biz 30 Under 30 list.

Martin Tengler
Senior Associate
BloombergNEF
Biography

Martin Tengler

Senior Associate
BloombergNEF

Martin Tengler is BNEF’s Lead Hydrogen Analyst and a founding member of BNEF’s Hydrogen  Team. Martin sits in BloombergNEF’s Tokyo office and has covered Japan’s energy market before  specializing in hydrogen. 

Prior to joining Bloomberg, Martin co-founded Dendra Systems, a company that offers industrial scale ecosystem restoration services using drones and other cutting-edge technology. He holds an  MA in Economics from Tokyo University and an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy from  Oxford University.

 
Chip Clements
President
Clements Environmental Corporation
Biography

Chip Clements

President
Clements Environmental Corporation

Mr. Clements has over 35 years of experience in the environmental field and has managed more than 150 projects in his career.  As the founder of Clements Environmental Corporation, he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of business development, project performance, client liaison, and administration.  He is expert in Zero Waste planning and the development of solid waste and recycling infrastructure including: Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and transfer stations, composting operations, C&D processing plants, recycling centers, and e-Recycling facilities having permitted over 70 such projects throughout California.  In addition, he has extensive experience in innovative/alternative technologies for converting solid waste into renewable electricity and fuels and has been working on the development of such facilities for the past 10 years.

Ron Gastelum
President and Board Chair
Water Conservation Partners
Biography

Ron Gastelum

President and Board Chair
Water Conservation Partners

Ronald R. Gastelum has a legacy of bringing stability and strong creative initiatives to the private and public sector organizations he has led in water, waste management, and energy  arenas. Ron is WCP's President and Chairman of the Board.

As the Chief Executive Officer of The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California  from 1999 until December 2004, Ron was responsible for managing the operations of the world’s largest wholesale water supplier serving the 18 million residents in urban Southern California with assets worth $11 billion with a $1 billion annual operating budget. Under Ron’s leadership MWD was successful in diversifying the region’s water supply with the development of new large water transfer, groundwater banking, reclaimed water, and cutting-edge conservation programs. Ron also led a major restructuring of MWD’s management, adopted a new Strategic Plan with unprecedented public participation, updated its long term resources plan, completed a $2 billion dollar new reservoir, adopted a long term capital improvement and finance plan, and completed a major overhaul of its rate structure. Since leaving Metropolitan Ron served as interim Executive Vice President of the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce to provide leadership and management during the transition to a new CEO. He is also interim Executive Director of the Southern California Water Committee. 

Prior to 1999 Ron served as General Counsel for BKK Corporation, where he managed all environmental compliance matters, including extensive regulatory and legislative affairs in California and at the federal level. 

Ron is a graduate of Whittier College and received is Juris Doctorate at U.C.L.A Law School.

Malcolm Jacques
Executive Director
Wasabi Energy
Biography

Malcolm Jacques

Executive Director
Wasabi Energy
Louis Ting
Director, Power Planning Development & Engineering
LADWP
Biography

Louis Ting

Director, Power Planning Development & Engineering
LADWP

Louis Ting is the Director of Power System Planning Development & Engineering for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  In his 26th year at LADWP, currently he is responsible for the transition to a clean energy future and the overall regulatory, resource, grid, and strategic planning for the LA’s Power System.  Previously, he led teams in completing major renewable, transmission, reliability, and compliance projects for the largest municipal utility in the County.  Prior to electric utility experience, he managed water system infrastructure replacement and redevelopment programs for the City of Los Angeles, and engineered fleet replacement programs for LADWP.

Vince Bertoni
Director of Planning
City of Los Angeles
Biography

Vince Bertoni

Director of Planning
City of Los Angeles

Vince Bertoni is the Director of Planning for the City of Los Angeles.  With over 30 years of professional planning experience, Vince leads the largest city planning department in the nation.  He is charged with developing policies that shape the future of the City and guide development decisions for a diverse and dynamic metropolis of over 4 million people.  Prior to arriving in Los Angeles, Vince was the Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Pasadena where he successfully managed Pasadena’s city planning program through a General Plan update, a comprehensive visioning process that happens just once every 20 years.  He has also served as Deputy Director for the City of Los Angeles and held lead planning posts 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.

Wendell McCain
Managing Director/Capital Partner
Onset Capital Partners/Floating Solar Solutions LLC
Biography

Wendell McCain

Managing Director/Capital Partner
Onset Capital Partners/Floating Solar Solutions LLC

Mr. McCain is a Co-Managing Director of Onset Capital and Capital Partner of Floating Solar Solutions, LLC. In addition, he serves as the Chairman of Onset Capital Partners, a global asset management firm  that works with the Onset Capital team.

Mr. McCain serves on the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian National African Art Museum and is on the Board of Trustees for the NC Nature Conservancy, UNC College of Arts and Sciences, UNC Civil Rights Center and North Carolina Central University. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Union Independent School.

Mr. McCain received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, where he was a Toigo Fellow and a Bachelors of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar.

Prior to Onset Capital, Mr. McCain was the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Parish Capital Advisors, a global private equity firm with $2 billion under management. He has spent the last twenty years focused on alternative asset classes and has also experienced the private equity business from the perspective of advisor, direct investor, and limited partner. Prior to founding Parish Capital, Mr. McCain served as Vice President at BancBoston Ventures, where his group managed a $600 million diversified private equity portfolio, and he managed a direct investment portfolio of eleven companies and four limited partnerships. Mr. McCain was active as a board member or board observer of seven of those companies. Mr. McCain aggressively sourced new investment opportunities and reviewed over two hundred opportunities annually.

Dennis Luna
Managing Partner
Luna & Glushon
Biography

Dennis Luna

Managing Partner
Luna & Glushon

Dennis is the managing partner of Luna & Glushon, a firm headquartered in Century City.

Dennis is a graduate of Harvard Law School, and holds a Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Southern California, School of Petroleum Engineering.

He has served on many commissions in the City of Los Angeles, including Commissioner and Treasurer for the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, and as a Commissioner of the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department.

He is also a former Director and Member of the Executive Committee of the Economic Development Corporation of Los Angeles County.

Dennis is a frequent speaker on matters related to energy, water resources, and the economy.

Peter Gross
Vice President, Mission Critical Systems
Bloom Energy
Biography

Peter Gross

Vice President, Mission Critical Systems
Bloom Energy

 Peter Gross, leads the Mission Critical Systems group at Bloom Energy, the leading manufacturer of solid oxide fuel cells.  Peter is recognized as a thought leader in the mission-critical information and infrastructure design realm, has published numerous technical papers in the field, and is a frequent speaker at international events. His focus centers on mission-critical facilities, high-reliability design, energy and sustainability.  Peter has more than 25 years’ experience in the engineering and design of power systems as applied to data centers, trading floors, command and control centers, and telecommunication and broadcasting facilities.

Peter has been at the forefront of many innovative concepts that have contributed to the data center industry evolution, such as the HP modular, pre-fabricated FlexDC product and he was co-awarded a patent for Direct Current power distribution topology. He is presently focused on transforming the data center architecture through the use of fuel cells.

Geoff Gunn
Electrical Engineering & Energy Business Leader
Arup
Biography

Geoff Gunn

Electrical Engineering & Energy Business Leader
Arup
Geoff leads Arup’s work in distributed energy, EV planning and energy resilience in Arup’s Boston office where he is both the Electrical Engineering and Energy Business Leader.
He has led the design of numerous solar photovoltaic systems and other renewable, and distributed, energy systems, such as CHP, fuel cells, battery energy storage, demand response, and microgrids. He has performed energy resilience assessments and provided electrical design to enhance resilience. Geoff has electrification and grid interconnection experience in a range of projects, including transit providers, campus facilities, zero net energy buildings, data centers, educational facilities, and hospitality. He is currently working on the fleet electrification strategy and related charging infrastructure for Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority.
John Emerson
Vice Chairman
Capital Group International
Biography

John Emerson

Vice Chairman
Capital Group International

John Emerson is a global relationship manager and vice chairman of Capital Group International, Inc. He has 16 years of industry experience, all with Capital Group. He was most recently the United States ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2015, John was awarded the State Department's Susan M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service, which is given annually to one non-career ambassador. Prior to accepting the ambassador posting, John was president of Private Client Services for the Capital Group Companies. Before joining Capital, he was deputy assistant to President Clinton where he coordinated his economic conferences, served as the president’s liaison to the nation’s governors, and led the administration’s efforts to obtain congressional approval of the GATT Uruguay Round Agreement and the extension of China’s MFN trading status. Before that, John served as Los Angeles Chief Deputy City Attorney, and was a partner in the law firm of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg, and Phillips. Additionally, he was appointed by President Obama to serve on his Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. He holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from Hamilton College, a juris doctorate degree from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Hamilton College. John is based in Los Angeles.

Brandon Hurlbut
Co-Founder
Boundary Stone Partners
Biography

Brandon Hurlbut

Co-Founder
Boundary Stone Partners

Brandon Hurlbut is a co-founder of Boundary Stone Partners where he advises clean energy and mobility companies.  He previously served as Chief of Staff to Secretary Steven Chu at the U.S. DOE, where he managed the Department's principal initiatives and oversaw day-to-day operations of a federal agency with a $29 billion budget and a 115,000 person workforce.  Brandon provided leadership and counsel to the White House and Cabinet Secretaries during high profile challenges including the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, the Gulf oil spill, and Hurricane Sandy. He served on the board of directors for DOE's $38 billion investment fund in clean energy, which is the largest of its kind in the world.
 
He began working in the Obama Administration by serving in the White House as the President's liaison to the energy and environment cabinet agencies. He previously served in senior positions on Barack Obama's first presidential campaign and practiced law at Baker & Daniels after obtaining a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.
 
Brandon currently serves as a member of the board of directors to Sparkfund and The Solutions Project.  He is a co-host of “Political Climate,” a Greentech Media podcast about energy and environment issues.  Previously, he served on the advisory board of GE Current and as a senior fellow at Center for American Progress.

Lin Midkiff
The Aerospace Corporation
Biography

Lin Midkiff

The Aerospace Corporation

Everett L. (Lin) Midkiff III has 36 years of experience in the aerospace, aviation and information systems fields. He currently supports system architecting, engineering, integration and technical analysis efforts in a variety of market sectors, including transportation, energy, and homeland security.

He joined The Aerospace Corporation in 1997, with initial responsibilities for systems engineering, operational transition support, and long-range planning for the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN).  He transitioned to the Civil and Commercial Operations group in 1998, supporting commercial space launch and advanced space vehicle concepts. In 2000, he became a private consultant for data communications, information technology and entertainment service applications in the commercial aircraft industry.  He returned to Aerospace in 2010 to focus on new initiatives in interplanetary space, automated transportation networks, and related science and technology domains.

Mr. Midkiff holds a B.A. degree in Business Administration from William Jewell College, Liberty, Missouri, and an M.S. degree in Computer Science from Missouri Science & Technology (formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla).

RADM Yancy Lindsey
Rear Admiral
U.S. Navy
Biography

RADM Yancy Lindsey

Rear Admiral
U.S. Navy

Rear Adm. Yancy B. Lindsey is a native of Phoenix, Arizona. He is a 1986 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where he received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He also holds a Master of Military Science from Marine Corps University and a Master of Science in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego. In addition, he completed a Federal Executive Fellowship at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Lindsey was commissioned through Aviation Officer Candidate School in October 1986 and designated a naval aviator in December 1987.

Lindsey's sea duty assignments have included Antarctic Development Squadron (VXE) 6 flying LC-130 aircraft and twice with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113 flying the E-2C Hawkeye. During these tours of duty, he completed three deployments to Antarctica and two deployments to the Arabian Gulf aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).

Ashore, Lindsey served on the Joint Staff (J6); at Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; with the U.S. European Command staff in Stuttgart, Germany; as chief of staff to the Commander, Navy Region Southwest; and most recently as executive assistant to the assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment.

Lindsey commanded the VAW-117 Wallbangers, earning the Battle Efficiency Award and completing an Arabian Gulf deployment aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also commanded Naval Base Coronado, a consortium of eight Navy installations. Lindsey was the 89th Commandant of Naval District Washington, June 2015 to August 2016. He assumed command of Navy Region Southwest in September 2016.

His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, four Legions of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, four Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Joint Service Achievement Medal and three Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

Kristine Raper
Commissioner
Idaho Public Utilities Commission
Biography

Kristine Raper

Commissioner
Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Commissioner Kristine Raper was appointed to the Commission in February 2015 by former Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for a six-year term.

Prior to her appointment, Raper served for seven years as a deputy attorney general assigned to the Public Utilities Commission. Raper managed a caseload representing a myriad of regulatory and energy law matters, with a strong emphasis on the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).

Commissioner Raper has defended the Idaho PUC’s decisions at the Idaho Supreme Court, District Court and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In 2017, Raper testified before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce regarding PURPA and its modern-day impacts.

Commissioner Raper currently serves on NARUC’s Electricity Committee. She is a member of the Body of State Regulators (BOSR) for the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) (with the California ISO), and is the BOSR representative participating in the governance review of the EIM as it contemplates the viability of a day-ahead market. Commissioner Raper also serves as a member of the Western Interconnection Regional Advisory Body and State Provincial Steering Committee.

The commissioner and her husband, Mark, share three children.

Colin Tetreault
Senior Policy Advisor of Sustainability, former
Office of Mayor Stanton, City of Phoenix
Biography

Colin Tetreault

Senior Policy Advisor of Sustainability, former
Office of Mayor Stanton, City of Phoenix

Colin Tetreault serves as the Senior Policy Advisor of Sustainability to Mayor Stanton of Phoenix, Arizona. Colin oversees the development and recommendation of policy germane to sustainability over the 520 mile2, 1.5 million person population of the City of Phoenix. Acting with a City and regional emphasis, Colin seeks to advance Phoenix’s future: create robust and resilient economic opportunity for all; protect and expand environmental and natural systems while looking to them for use-inspired solutions; foster and grow a beautiful, vibrant, pluralistic and socially just culture. 

As a proponent of education at all levels, Colin leverages his background, work ethic, and personal experiences to advance the education of students. Colin currently serves as a Faculty Associate – focusing on business & sustainability strategy and energy & environmental policy – at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. Colin holds a Master of Arts from Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, the first program of its kind in the United States. Colin holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. He has studied international business and development at the Baltic Business School while living and consulting in Sweden. 

Colin actively leads civic and community organizations focused on advancing sustainability issues. As Vice President of the Board for the Green Chamber of Commerce, Colin advances sustainable economic development and business within the Phoenix region. As a Director of the Valley Forward Association, Colin acts as an advocate for a balance between economic development and environmental quality; he and the organization seek to convene business, community and civic leaders in thoughtful public dialogue on critical sustainability issues. Colin actively advances sustainability via guest writing for various organizations, and is a featured dynamic speaker at numerous community engagement meetings, academic forums, professional conferences, and business conventions. Colin passionately volunteers in his community in an effort to promote economic security, social justice, and environmental responsibility. 

Colin serves as Principal and “Executive Hippie” for S2 Consulting, LLC, an innovation-driven sustainability and management consulting firm. Colin is charged with enabling organizational structure, culture, and operations to be more profitable and sustainability minded through business acumen and scientific rigor. His efforts impact all levels of systems from employees and managers to suppliers and customers. 

Colin includes his position as a competitive age-group triathlete a point of pride. In the summer of 2009, he finished the Ironman triathlon in Japan and Arizona. Colin completed his third Ironman triathlon in Arizona in November of 2011 and continues to compete each season. Colin is an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast. 

Jeffrey Kightlinger
General Manager & CEO
Metropolitan Water District
Biography

Jeffrey Kightlinger

General Manager & CEO
Metropolitan Water District

Jeffrey Kightlinger is general manager and chief executive officer for The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The Metropolitan Water District is the largest municipal water provider in the nation delivering an average of over 2 billion gallons of water a day to 19 million customers across Southern California.  Metropolitan serves one out of every two Californians in the six counties of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.

Kightlinger was appointed general manager in February 2006.  Prior to that, he served as the general counsel for the agency.

Geof Syphers*
CEO
Sonoma Clean Power
Biography

Geof Syphers*

CEO
Sonoma Clean Power

Mr. Geof Syphers is the Chief Executive Officer of Sonoma Clean Power, a position he has held since the program’s inception in 2013. Under his leadership, SCP now serves 600,000 people throughout Sonoma and Mendocino counties with cleaner power at competitive rates.

Prior to his current position, Mr. Syphers worked for 20 years as an energy consultant to utilities, public agencies and private companies. His work has spanned micro grid design, zero-carbon community design and energy efficiency program implementation. He served as the Chief Sustainability Officer for Codding Enterprises and was the founding Director of DNV’s Green Building Group.

Jim Avery
Senior Vice President, Power Supply
San Diego Gas & Electric
Biography

Jim Avery

Senior Vice President, Power Supply
San Diego Gas & Electric
Andréa Traber
US West Sustainability + Resilient Design Leader
Integral Group
Biography

Andréa Traber

US West Sustainability + Resilient Design Leader
Integral Group

Andréa Traber contributes over 25 years of experience as Project Architect and Principal on numerous green building projects, sustainable master plans, climate action plans and energy programs to the Integral Group team. Throughout her career, Andréa has dedicated herself as an industry leader in sustainability and resilience having served on numerous committees and Boards. As Sustainability + Resilient Design Leader, Andréa focuses on accelerating innovation and our collective response to climate change through sustainable master planning, resilient community design strategy, high-value and performance-driven building design, and low-carbon, net zero development. She works with clients in the public, institutional and private sectors.

Jeff Morales
CEO
California High Speed Rail Authority
Biography

Jeff Morales

CEO
California High Speed Rail Authority
Jeff Morales is the Chief Executive Officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority and has a distinguished record of experience managing large and complex transportation issues and projects. As the former Director of the California Department of Transportation, Morales managed a $10 billion program and more than 23,000 employees working to build, maintain and operate the largest state transportation system in the U.S.
 
Morales most recently was Senior Vice President of Parsons Brinckerhoff , where he worked with transportation agencies across the United States and internationally to develop and implement major capital programs and is the past executive vice president of the Chicago Transit Authority where he spearheaded major reforms at the nation’s second-largest transit agency.
 
His experience at the federal level includes serving as a member of President-Elect Obama’s transition team focusing on transportation, Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review, the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, the United States Department of Transportation and as U.S. Senate staff.
Tom Georgis
Senior Vice President, Development
SolarReserve
Biography

Tom Georgis

Senior Vice President, Development
SolarReserve

Mr. Georgis has over 20 years of development and operational experience in the energy, technology, and government service sectors, holding several senior management positions, most recently as Managing Director of International at GlobalTec Solutions, a privately held technology company where he was responsible for all aspects of the company's international expansion. Mr. Georgis was a Principal and Managing Director at Exodus Energy LLC a Houston based privately held power and natural gas firm. While at Exodus, Mr. Georgis focused on the development and acquisition of energy assets, acting as lead developer on several multi million dollar innovative technology energy facilities including natural gas storage, offshore LNG regasification, and petroleum coke gasification. Previously, Mr. Georgis was a manager at Enron Corp. where he was responsible for developing and structuring energy asset projects internationally; negotiating and closing over 500 MW of power generation agreements. Mr. Georgis's experience includes structuring transactions for energy and infrastructure projects, negotiating with lenders, and advising investors in all aspects of energy project acquisition and project development including: storage and transportation capacity sales, gas and alternative fuel power generation, natural gas pipeline arrangements, and power purchase agreements. Mr. Georgis also served nine years as a Naval Special Warfare Officer in the United States Navy. Mr. Georgis graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in International Studies and obtained a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Anderson School at the University of California Los Angeles.

Vaughan Davies
Director of Urban Design
AECOM
Biography

Vaughan Davies

Director of Urban Design
AECOM

As an architect and urban designer, Vaughan Davies has over 25years of professional experience producing  visionary plans and designs with a solid basis in reality, both in their authenticity and in their ability to be implemented successfully – a pragmatic visionary.  Collaborating with major developers, cities, and agencies, he has demonstrated a unique ability to create significant added value for all interests involved, by creating one-of-a-kind addresses and focusing his design solutions on the establishment of a superior public realm as a unique and memorable address & amenity. Vaughan based in AECOM’s Los Angeles office has for the past 20 years has led the design and implementation efforts for many of the region’s precedent setting projects. 

Julia Balas
Attorney
Morrison Foerster
Biography

Julia Balas

Attorney
Morrison Foerster

Julia primarily represents developers of renewable energy projects, and assists them with all aspects of their project development needs, including negotiation of construction and balance of plant contracts, equipment and services supply agreements, power purchase agreements, interconnection matters, buy-side and sell-side purchase and sale agreements, build-own-transfer agreements, financing agreements, tax equity agreements, and other contracts that arise in the context of developing, constructing, selling, and owning renewable energy projects.Julia also has experience advising clients on such matters as private equity investments, sponsor-backed leveraged buyouts, mergers, debt and equity securities offerings, and commercial lending and structured finance transactions, as well asgeneral corporate matters, corporate governance, and securities law compliance.In addition to conducting her legal work, Julia currently serves on the firm’s pro bono committee, is co-chair of the Los Angeles Women’s Affinity Group, served on the firm wide Women’s Strategy Committee from 2016 to 2019, and has co-chaired theLos Angeles office’s summer associate program multiple times. She is also an active member of Women in Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy, Women in Cleantech and Sustainability, the American Wind Energy Association, and the SolarEnergy Industries Association

Sue Minter
Former Secretary of Transportation
Vermont Agency of Transportation
Biography

Sue Minter

Former Secretary of Transportation
Vermont Agency of Transportation

Sue Minter is currently running for Governor of Vermont during the 2016 election cycle. Sue is a proven leader who brings people together in the toughest times to solve problems. This quality has led to her success as Vermont’s Secretary of Transportation, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, Irene Recovery Officer, and as a State Representative. Sue helped lead Vermont’s recovery in the wake of catastrophic flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. Following her oversight of the successful rebuilding of over 500 miles of damaged roads and bridges in less than four months, Sue was appointed to be Vermont’s Chief Irene Recovery Officer in December 2011. Sue’s skills have been sought out nationally. She was asked to help Colorado with its disaster recovery when that state was hit with extreme flooding in September 2013. In 2014, she represented Governor Shumlin on the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, where she co-chaired the Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and Resilience. Sue was elected four times as State Representative in the Vermont legislature, where she was known as a bipartisan problem solver.

Sue is a graduate of Harvard University (B.A.) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.A. in City Planning). She has worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors as a professional planner at the local, state, and international levels.

Ben Allen
California State Senator
26th District
Biography

Ben Allen

California State Senator
26th District

California State Senator Ben Allen was elected in 2014 to represent the 26th Senate District, which consists of the Westside, Hollywood and coastal South Bay communities of Los Angeles County.

Ben serves as chair of the Senate Education Committee and the legislature's Joint Committee on the Arts.  He is a member of the Senate Committees on Elections and Constitutional Amendments, Natural Resources and Water, and Transportation and Housing.  He co-chairs the Environmental Caucus and is vice-chair of the Jewish Caucus.

Ben has authored several measures that have become law, including the groundbreaking bill to boost vaccination rates among schoolchildren and a landmark river protection bill.  He authored laws that protect veterans from pension scams; improve the diagnosis, treatment and care for persons with Alzheimer’s disease; strengthen the regulation of underground gas wells, and enable HIV-positive persons to donate life-saving organs to other HIV-positive persons.

While serving as chair of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee in 2015-16, he championed campaign reform and transparency issues.  He authored a new law that will increase voter turnout and civic engagement by transforming how elections are conducted.  This reform, which was praised by the Los Angeles Times editorial page, will allow people to vote in the 10 days preceding an election at conveniently-located vote centers.  He also authored the bill that placed an initiative on the statewide ballot urging Congress to overturn the Citizens United ruling, and a measure that allows cities and counties to use binding independent redistricting commissions.

As chair of the Joint Committee on the Arts, Ben authored successful legislation that reinstated teaching credentials for Theatre and Dance educators.  He is fighting for increased access to the arts in schools, especially in disadvantaged communities, and is working to keep entertainment industry jobs in California.

Ben coauthored the Senate’s historic climate change legislation, which requires 50% of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources, and doubles energy efficiency in buildings, by 2030.  He authored bills to expand the state’s efforts to combat climate change even further, including establishing the first standard to increase the use of renewable gas, and reducing toxic motor oil waste.  He is leading the effort to end the use of harmful drift gillnets in commercial fishing off the coast that injure and kill endangered sea turtles and other marine life.

Ben received the Freshman Legislator of the Year award from the California School Boards Association, and was named Legislator of the Year by the County Superintendents’ Educational Services Association, the Alzheimer’s Association and Technet, an association of technology companies that includes Apple, Google and Microsoft.

Ben grew up in the 26th District.  He is a former board member, and board President, of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, where he was a leader on issues of environmental sustainability, financial accountability, and community engagement. He helped pass a $385 million bond measure which upgraded district facilities using environmental best practices and created good local jobs.  During his tenure, the district enacted policies to provide all students with high-quality educational opportunities regardless of their background or means.  He helped start the Los Angeles Spark Program, a nonprofit organization that connects at-risk middle school students with apprenticeships.

While in law school, Ben served as a voting member of the University of California Board of Regents, and was a judicial clerk with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  As an attorney, he worked for the law firm of Richardson & Patel LLP, and previously was a litigator with Bryan Cave LLP.

Prior to his law career, Ben worked for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and then as communications director for Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY).  He is a senior fellow with the international human rights organization Humanity in Action, an Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellow, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a graduate of the Jewish Federation's New Leaders Project.  He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in History; a Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Cambridge, and a Juris Doctor degree from UC Berkeley.  He is fluent in Spanish.

For three years prior to his election to the Senate, he was a lecturer at UCLA’s Law School, where he taught education law and policy.

He is married to Melanie Luthern, an attorney.  They are expecting their first child in October.

Capri Maddox
Executive Director
LA Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department
Biography

Capri Maddox

Executive Director
LA Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department

Capri Maddox is the Executive Director of the newly established LA Civil + Human Rights and Equity (LA Civil Rights). Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Ms. Maddox to the position in February 2020 to address systemic racism and bias in the areas of commerce, education, employment, and housing. Under Ms. Maddox’s leadership, LA Civil Rights will combat hate crimes and level the playing field through partnerships with the Commission on Civil Rights, Commission on the Status of Women and the Human Relations Commission, including the Transgender Advisory Council.  

Previously, Ms. Maddox served as Senior Advisor to City Attorney Michael N. Feuer. In that role, she  was responsible for leading Special Projects on behalf of the elected City Attorney, such as: spearheading  the City Attorney Business Support Program, creating the Foster Care Diversion Program, organizing the  City Attorney Faith-Based Council, overseeing recruitment and outreach efforts, addressing key  Neighborhood Council and City Council requests, participating in criminal and civil cases, and  coordinating school safety projects with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). 

During the 2018-2019 school year, Ms. Maddox served as Executive Director of Partnerships for LAUSD  on a loan from the Office of the City Attorney to Southern California Grantmakers. During this one-year  assignment, she assisted LAUSD in acquiring over $43 million dollars in resources for students in need  and led several equity-based initiatives. 

Ms. Maddox also served as the President of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works, as a  Mayor Villaraigosa appointee. In this role, she managed 5,000 employees and an annual budget of $1.8  billion dollars to deliver basic infrastructure services to City residents. Before joining the Board of Public  Works, Ms. Maddox served as a Deputy City Attorney in the following assignments: General Counsel  Group - Neighborhood Empowerment, Complex Litigation, Neighborhood Prosecutor Program – LAPD’s  Wilshire Station, and Central Trials – Criminal Branch. Prior to her legal career, she worked as a  Community Development and Housing Analyst with the City of Glendale, and Earthquake Recovery  Project Manager with the Los Angeles Housing Department.  

Ms. Maddox has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Master of Science in Public  Administration from California State University, Los Angeles. She received her Juris Doctorate from  Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California. Ms. Maddox also completed the USC Lusk  Center’s Minorities in Real Estate Development Program. She continues her involvement with many  higher educational institutions, including mentoring students at numerous universities and serving as a  California State University, Los Angeles President’s Council Member. Ms. Maddox is also a proud  member of the Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) Board of Trustees – SCPR locally broadcasts  on KPCC 89.3 FM.  

Ms. Maddox is a member of First AME Church – Los Angeles, where she serves in both political and  social ministries. In her spare time, she serves as a youth mentor with numerous community  organizations and enjoys working on public interest projects. She resides in Los Angeles County with  her husband, Kerman, and fourteen-year-old son. 

 
Vance Fong
Environmental Indicator Program Manager
US Environmental Protection Agency
Biography

Vance Fong

Environmental Indicator Program Manager
US Environmental Protection Agency

Vance S. Fong, P.E. is the Manager of the Environmental Indicator program leading Region 9 efforts to develop environmental indicators across media programs, working with the U.S. EPA Headquarters to develop the Report on the Environment, and providing support to states and tribes to develop their own indicators.  He was the Chief of the Quality Assurance Office managing the Region 9 Quality Assurance Program and environmental data collection activities.  He worked in Hawaii Department of Health and provided programmatic advice and technical assistance in the development and implementation of the Hawaii Hazard evaluation and Emergency Response Rules.  He joined the Pacific Southwest Regional Office in 1987 where he was a Superfund Project Manager, responsible for leading and overseeing environmental remediation efforts at Federal Facilities on the National Priority List. 

Vance has been designated by the EPA Science Policy Council to be a member of EPA Group on Earth Observation (GEO) representing EPA Region 9.  Vance has been the Principal Investigator for two Advanced Monitoring Initiative projects -- Satellite and Surface Monitoring of Ozone Concentrations in Support of U.S.-Mexico Border 2012 Program and the California Sustainability Indicators Suite.

Cheryl Santor
Information Security Manager (retired)
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Biography

Cheryl Santor

Information Security Manager (retired)
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Information Security Professional recently retired from Metropolitan Water District of So. CA. Security specialist with over 28 years experience in Financial and Critical Infrastructure organizations. Active member of ISACA, ISSA, FBI Infragard working with these organizations to advise and protect Critical Infrastructure and continue to assist with Cyber Security initiatives.

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; he was re-appointed for a second four-year term through January of 2023.  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 and the Suisun Marsh.  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 being appointed, 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 utility 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.

 

Dr. Nebojsa Nakicenovic
Acting Deputy Director General and CEO
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Biography

Dr. Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Acting Deputy Director General and CEO
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Nebojsa Nakicenovic is Deputy Director General and CEO of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Until 2014, he was full Professor of Energy Economics at Vienna University of Technology.

Among other positions, Prof. Nakicenovic is the Executive Director of The World in 2050 (TWI2050); Member Ad Hoc Informal Multi-stakeholder Technical Group of Advisors on Sustainable Development Goal 7, United Nations; Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute for Networked Energy Systems Analysis; Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Potsdam Institute from Climate Impact Research (PIK); Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM); Member of the Panel on Socioeconomic Scenarios for Climate Change Impact and Response Assessments; Steering Committee Member of the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21); Member of the International Academy for Systems and Cybernetic Sciences; Member of the International Advisory Board of the Helmholtz Programme on Technology, and Member of OMV Advisory Group on Sustainability.

He is Editorial Board Member of the following journals: Climate Policy; Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability; Energy, Ecology and Environment; Energy Policy; Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions; Energy Strategy Reviews; Global Perspectives; and Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

Prof. Nakicenovic was Deputy Director General of IIASA from 2008 to August 2018, Member of the United Nations Secretary General Special Advisory 10-Member Group to support the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM), 2016 - 2018; Co-Chair and Steering Committee Co-Chair of the Global Carbon Project (GCP), 2013 - 2016; Member of the Advisory Council of the German Government on Global Change (WBGU), 2008-2016; Director of the Global Energy Assessment (GEA), 2005-2012; Co-Leader of the Austrian Climate Change Assessment, 2007-2014; Board Member of the Austrian Center for Climate Change (CCCA), 2014-2015; Member of the International Council for Science (ICSU) Committee on Scientific Planning and Review, 2009-2015; a Member of the United Nations Secretary General Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change, 2009-2011; Chair of the Advisory Board of OMV Future Energy Fund (Austrian oil company), 2006-2011; Lead Author of Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC (2008-2015); Member of the Advisory Board of the World Bank Development Report 2010: Climate Change, 2009-2010; Expert Panel Member of the World Banks’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) on Sustainable Energy Supply, Poverty Reduction and Climate Change, 2010; Coordinating Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Fourth Assessment Report, 2002-2007, Coordinating Lead Author of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2001-2005, Director, Global Energy Perspectives, World Energy Council, 1993-1998, Convening Lead Author of the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 1993-1995, Convening Lead Author of the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, 1997-2000, Lead Author of Third Assessment Report of the IPCC, 1999-2001, Convening Lead Author of the World Energy Assessment, 1999-2000, and Guest Professor at the Technical University of Graz, 1993-2003.

Prof. Nakicenovic holds bachelors and master’s degrees in economics and computer science from Princeton University, New Jersey, USA and the University of Vienna, where he also completed his PhD. He also holds Honoris Causa PhD degree in engineering from the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Among Prof. Nakicenovic's research interests are the long-term patterns of technological change, economic development and response to climate change and, in particular, the evolution of energy, mobility, and information and communication technologies.

Adam Lovell
Executive Director
Water Services Association of Australia
Biography

Adam Lovell

Executive Director
Water Services Association of Australia
Woodie Tescher
Los Angeles Principal
PlaceWorks
Biography

Woodie Tescher

Los Angeles Principal
PlaceWorks

Woodie Tescher, Principal, for PlaceWorks, is recognized for his leadership in advancing the principles of placemaking, sustainability, health, environmental justice, and smart growth in the development of policy and regulatory planning documents for communities throughout the state. His experience is represented by general plans for the cities of Pasadena, Sacramento, Los Angeles (Framework Plan), Newport Beach, West Hollywood; Redondo Beach, Temple City, La Habra, and Corona; specific plans for Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, Temple City’s Crossroads District, Long Beach’s East Village Arts District, and San Gabriel’s Valley Boulevard Neighborhoods; framework plan for the integrated development of the 10th campus of the University of California at Merced and surrounding community; and transit-oriented community plans for Santa Monica’s Bergamot Mixed-Use Creative District, Jefferson-La Cienega Boulevards’ Metro Exposition Light Rail Line station area, and Laguna Niguel’s Amtrak Station Gateway. He currently is leading the station planning team for the Palmdale to Burbank segment of the California High Speed Rail Project.

Mr. Tescher is the Immediate Past President of the California Planning Roundtable and recipient of the American Planning Association California Chapter’s Distinguished Planner Award, the Planner Emeritus Network’s Award of Honor, and UCLA Extension’s Distinguished Instructor Award. He serves as an Adjunct Instructor for the Masters of Planning Program in USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy. He received a Master of Architecture, Urban Design from UCLA and Bachelor of Architecture from USC.

Erica He
Senior Advisor, Energy Solutions
Innovation Core SEI Inc. (Sumitomo Electric)
Biography

Erica He

Senior Advisor, Energy Solutions
Innovation Core SEI Inc. (Sumitomo Electric)

Erica is the Senior Advisor, Energy Solutions, at Innovation Core SEI Inc., which is the US subsidiary of Sumitomo Electric. Erica is the former Vice President of Innovation Core SEI Inc. Erica has been leading the North America market development for Sumitomo Electric’s Smart Energy Solutions business, with a focus on energy storage. Prior to Sumitomo, Erica was the Business Development Manager at SANYO North America, where she developed new businesses and strategic partnerships in the areas of renewable energy, smart grid and consumer electronics. Erica holds a MS in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University and a BS in Electric Engineering from University College London. 

Margot Wirth
Director of Private Equity
California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS)
Biography

Margot Wirth

Director of Private Equity
California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS)

Margot Wirth is the Director of Private Equity at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). CalSTRS is the second largest public pension fund in the United States with total assets of $145 billion (of which private equity assets comprise $23 billion). Prior to joining CalSTRS in 2001, Margot was a valuation consultant/manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York and San Francisco. She was also previously Vice President at 3-E Development Corporation, a residential real estate developer in the Washington DC area and a chemical engineer with DuPont in Beaumont, Texas. Margot is a member of the Chartered Financial Analysts Institute. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Cris Liban
Executive Officer, Environmental Compliance and Sustainability
Metro
Biography

Cris Liban

Executive Officer, Environmental Compliance and Sustainability
Metro

Dr. Cris B. Liban, P.E. is LA Metro’s Executive Officer, Environmental Compliance and Sustainability.  Cris oversees LA Metro’s internationally recognized Environmental, Sustainability, and Energy initiatives.  A published author and national speaker, he is also very involved with transportation and environmental industry and research activities particularly as Chair of several American Public Transportation Association sub-committees; Member of the Transportation Research Board ADC60 Resource Conservation and Recovery Committee; Chair of two National Academies’ Transportation Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) studies related to Climate Change Impacts to transit; and a Member of the National Cooperative Highways Research Program (NCHRP) study to determine a lifecycle and cost framework to determine climate change solutions implementation.  He is also a Commissioner in the City of Los Angeles Board of Transportation Commissioners.  This past year, he was also appointed to the Los Angeles County Beach Commission, which oversees all LA County Beach activities including environmental, transportation, and construction issues.  Cris has degrees in geology (magna cum laude), civil and environmental engineering, and environmental science and engineering.

Robin Hughes
President & CEO
Abode Communities
Biography

Robin Hughes

President & CEO
Abode Communities

Robin Hughes is president and chief executive officer of Abode Communities, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit architect, developer, manager and operator of service-enhanced affordable housing. She has been actively involved in affordable housing and community development for over 30 years and in her 23 years as leader of Abode Communities, Hughes has transformed the organization into an Affordable Housing Finance Top 50 Developer nationwide and the premier provider of environmentally sustainable affordable housing in California.

 

Tommy Moala
Assistant General Manager
SFPUC
Biography

Tommy Moala

Assistant General Manager
SFPUC

Tommy T. Moala has overseen operations for the City’s combined sewer system since 2007. A former US Naval Propulsion Engineer, Tommy has more than 15 years experience in wastewater in-plant management. He joined the agency as a Stationary Engineer in 1990, moving up steadily the ranks to become Operations Manager, and setting the Enterprise’s standard for zero-violations along the way.

A team recipient of the National Protection Agency O & M award and the National Association of Clean Water Agency award, Tommy received Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Public Managerial Excellence award and our O’Shaughnessy award for organizing the Emergency Response Team dispatched to Hurricane Katrina. He is a member of the Water Environment Federation, the California Water Environment Association, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and the American Water Works Association. Tommy is also on the board of the Bay Area Clean Water Agency.

Alex Spataru
President
The ADEPT Group
Biography

Alex Spataru

President
The ADEPT Group

Mr. Alex Spataru has worked in the aerospace, oil and gas, and management consulting industries in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Mr. Spataru served as an U.S. Army Officer from 1969 to 1973. His undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and business were completed at UCLA. 

Mr. Spataru has extensive experience with alternative fuels and engines. He has consulted to state and federal regulatory entities, large and small manufacturers, oil and gas companies, as well as to utilities, laboratories (research, certification, testing), and trade associations.

Mr. Spataru has been involved in the commercialization of numerous technologies including: liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) dedicated engines, compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations, fuel additives, diesel engine enhancement systems, low NOx ceramic burners, co-generation systems, gas detection systems, and high efficiency gas boilers. 

Mr. Spataru occasionally speaks at energy or environment related conferences. He is a member of the American Society of Gas Engineers, the American Society for Testing and Materials, the International Standards Organization, the International Society for Measurement and Control, the Society of Automotive Engineers, and has served as Director of the Gas Detection Industry Association. 

Bob Blumenfield
Councilmember, District 3
LA City
Biography

Bob Blumenfield

Councilmember, District 3
LA City

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in March, 2013 and re-elected in 2017.  He represents the 3rd Council District, which spans the northwest portion of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley, including the communities of Canoga Park, Reseda, Tarzana, Winnetka and Woodland Hills. 

Bob is focused on serving the San Fernando Valley’s day to day needs for City services as well as facilitating the long-term job and economic growth that will help ensure the vitality of local neighborhoods and the City as a whole.  Public safety, emergency preparedness, beautification and traffic reduction are some of the key quality of life issues Bob fights for in his district.  At City Hall, his policy priorities include: crafting the City budget to maximize public dollars; transforming the City’s technology infrastructure to more effectively manage resources and provide services; and growing and improving the City’s physical and environmental infrastructure to make LA a safe, clean, green and friendly place for people and businesses.  Bob is also committed to social justice, equality and opportunity for all Angelenos. 

Prior to his election to the City Council, Bob served in the California State Assembly from 2008 – 2013 working for all of the San Fernando Valley communities he continues to represent.  He was the first Democratic freshman Assemblymember to ever serve as the Chair of the Budget Committee.  During his four-year tenure as Chair, he led the State from the brink of economic insolvency to structural balance and surplus.  He delivered his last three budgets on-time and balanced – a feat that hadn’t been achieved during the prior 25 years.  In addition, he radically changed the budget process to make it more transparent and accountable. From 2010-2016 Blumenfield served as a member of the California Film Commission, a reflection of his commitment to protecting one of Southern California's most critical jobs engines.

Bob is a graduate of Duke University and the UCLA Anderson School of Management Business Executive Program.  He lives in Woodland Hills with his wife, Kafi, and their two children. 

Michael Wehner
Assistant General Manager
Orange County Water District
Biography

Michael Wehner

Assistant General Manager
Orange County Water District

 

Mike Wehner is the Assistant General Manager at Orange County Water District (OCWD) and manages Water Quality and Technology programs at the District.  Mike was also responsible for obtaining regulatory approval and bolstering public support for the Groundwater Replenishment System, the world’s largest potable reuse system, which currently provides 70 MGD of high purity recycled water to prevent seawater intrusion and replenish the Orange County groundwater basin.  Prior to joining OCWD, he spent 20 years with Orange County Environmental Health where he was Water Quality Program Chief. 

Mike is an internationally recognized expert in water quality, public health and advanced water purification technology and has served on advisory panels for the National Water Research Institute, WaterRF, the WateReuse Research Foundation, the NRC, US EPA, CDPH, the State Water Resources Control Board, UK Water Industry Research, Thames Water, CSIRO in Australia and the PUB in Singapore.

Adel Hagekhalil
General Manager
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Biography

Adel Hagekhalil

General Manager
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Adel Hagekhalil is a registered civil engineer with the State of California and a national Board Certified Environmental Engineer.  Adel is currently the Executive Director and General Manager with the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Street Services (StreetsLA) where he is responsible for managing, maintaining and upgrading the City’s street network including streets, sidewalks, trees and bikeways with focus on safety, mobility and sustainability.  Under his direction, Adel will integrate green infrastructure and multi-benefit elements into the City’s street renewal efforts.

Recently, Adel was the Assistant Director for the City’s Bureau of Sanitation where he was responsible for the Bureau’s wastewater collection system management, storm water and watershed protection program, water quality compliance, and facilities and advance planning.  Under his direction, the City has prepared an award winning 2040 One Water LA Plan “One Water” which relies on public input and participation and integrates water supply, water reuse, water conservation and storm water management with wastewater facilities planning through a regional watershed approach. 

Adel served for 9 years as Board member and recently President with the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).  Adel is a WEF Fellow. Adel is a member of WEF and APWA.

Teveia Barnes
Executive Director
California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank
Biography

Teveia Barnes

Executive Director
California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank

Teveia Barnes was appointed by Governor Brown as Executive Director of the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) on July 12, 2013.  IBank’s mission is to finance infrastructure, economic expansion, clean energy and water projects and to promote small business in California through the Small Business Finance Center.  IBank’s statutory powers include the authority to issue bonds, make loans and provide financing and credit enhancements for a variety of infrastructure, clean energy, water and economic expansion projects to state and local governments, municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals.  

Prior to joining IBank, Ms. Barnes was commissioner of the California Department of Financial Institutions, the chief state regulator of depository financial institutions responsible for the licensing, examination and supervision of banks, credit unions, savings associations, trust companies, foreign banking organizations, industrial development companies and money transmitters.  Barnes was a partner at the law firm of Foley and Lardner LLP.  Barnes worked at the Bank of America NT&SA as associate general counsel and senior vice president.

Ms. Barnes earned a Juris Doctorate from New York University School of Law in 1978 and received her BA degree in economics, political science and German studies from Rice University in 1975, where she was an Arthur B. Cohn Scholar.

Carol L. Folt
President
University of Southern California
Biography

Carol L. Folt

President
University of Southern California

Dr. Carol L. Folt serves as the twelfth president of the University of Southern California. She is a highly experienced leader, internationally recognized life scientist, and award-winning teacher. In leading USC, Dr. Folt brings broad executive and leadership experience across the academy, including arts and sciences, professional schools, and academic medicine.

Throughout her career, Dr. Folt has earned a reputation for always placing students at the center, advancing academic excellence and innovation, setting ambitious goals, prioritizing shared governance, and focusing on the future.

Prior to her appointment at USC in July 2019, Dr. Folt led the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – one of the nation’s most distinguished and research-intensive universities – from 2013 to 2019. At UNC, she set a bold course for the university’s future by spearheading a historic capital campaign, raising billions of dollars; building the school’s first-ever strategic plan in collaboration with every school and department; fighting to make college education accessible and affordable; and inspiring thousands of Tar Heels to embrace the arts and sustainability. Under her leadership, UNC was repeatedly named the No. 1 value in public higher education, surpassed $1 billion in annual research expenditures for the first time in school history (No. 5 in the nation overall), and set admissions records every year.

Prior to her tenure at UNC, Dr. Folt served in various leadership roles at Dartmouth College, including as interim president, provost, dean of faculty, and Dartmouth Professor of Biological Sciences.

Ted Tanner
Senior Vice President of Real Estate
AEG
Biography

Ted Tanner

Senior Vice President of Real Estate
AEG
Jonathan Rosenthal
Managing Partner
Saybrook Management Services
Biography

Jonathan Rosenthal

Managing Partner
Saybrook Management Services

Jonathan Rosenthal is a serial entrepreneur. He has repeatedly conceived of a world different than that which existed and launched companies to harness macro industry change. Each new venture was designed to capture opportunity, as markets adapted to transformation.

In 1983 he recognized the inevitable upheaval in transportation that would come after deregulation of the airline industry and the end of the Civil Aeronautics Board. In anticipation, Rosenthal launched his first company – NetAir International. He foresaw the realignment of airline networks from point to-point service to a hub-and-spoke system and the difficulties that would befall time sensitive executives. The solution was to disrupt the fragmented jet charter business by building the first multi-city on demand jet charter company, providing immediate access through centralized dispatch, standardized training, national accounts, and uniform branding.

That which now seems obvious wasn’t easy to evangelize in ‘83. But with the help of active investors Jay Chiat, Linden Blue, Wally Schirra, Honorable John Lindsay, Hycliff Ventures and others NetAir was born. As Chairman and CEO Mr. Rosenthal grew NetAir into the largest certificated non-scheduled carrier in the U.S with 18 flight centers and over 100 jets providing “random access” transportation to 1,700 cities. A public offering in 1985 helped spur growth, and in 1989 Rosenthal successfully exited with a sale of his shares to a private equity investor at a time when rival NetJets had a dozen aircraft.

Again seizing upon transformation, in 1990 Rosenthal saw the proliferation junk bonds of the 80’s creating distressed opportunities. Rosenthal launched Saybrook Partners, a merchant bank specializing in complex municipal and corporate turnarounds and restructurings. Timing was fortuitous, resulting in more than $200 billion in transactions across nearly 100 platform entities (1990-2006), including Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Orange County, Adelphia, Kmart, Foster Wheeler, and United Airlines.

The success of SRA provided impetus to launch a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and ultimately 9 closed end funds across 4 strategies, deploying capital for institutional investors. In 2007 Rosenthal recognized the transformative impact of the internet on the supply chain and began to focus on principal investing.  9 years later Saybrook Corporate Opportunity Funds (SCOF) has 2 institutional closed end private equity vehicles, and has invested approximately $300 million of discretionary equity in 21 core investments with 11 realizations.

Rosenthal currently serves as Chairman of TTSI, one of the largest port trucking companies in the Los Angeles / Long Beach Harbor; Taylored Services, a bi-costal mid-size third party logistics provider (3PL) operating approximately 1.5 million square feet of warehouse, and Accretive Solutions, a finance and accounting staffing and consultancy firm with approximately 800 professionals in 11 cities. He is the Founder / Chairman / CEO of the Los Angeles Harbor Performance Enhancement Center, and a technology data management start-up, WherehouseIT.com.

Rosenthal was recently appointed by the U.S. Department of Transportation to the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Committee, and by the Mayor of Los Angeles to the Los Angeles Sustainable Freight Advisory Committee. Mr. Rosenthal was elected by his peers to the International Board of Trustees of the Turnaround Management Association. He is the Founding Chairman of the Harvard Graduate School Leadership Institute, and is on the Board of Directors of the University of Southern California, Center for Supply Chain Management. Rosenthal is the immediate past Chairman of the Los Angeles chapter of Young President’s Organization (YPOg) and is currently a member of the WPO Pacific Regional Board. He has lectured in the area of transformational change at the University of Chicago, UCLA, and Harvard College. He is a Member of the Colorado, New York, and Federal bar associations, and is married with 2 children.

Gregory Huynh
Operating Agent Manager
LADWP
Biography

Gregory Huynh

Operating Agent Manager
LADWP

Greg Huynh manages the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s 100% Clean Energy Innovation group that is currently engaged in several initiatives to bring clean power into the Southern California. Most notably, Greg is spearheading LADWP’s efforts to conduct a comprehensive study of how the City of Los Angeles can get to 100% Renewable Energy. He and his team are also investigating how new technologies such as green hydrogen, compressed air energy storage, and carbon capture, to see how they would fit into LADWP’s clean energy future. Greg has worked on a wide range of projects in the utility industry from design & construction of electrical infrastructure, power plant operations, and planning.

John A. Pérez
Chair
University of California Board of Regents
Biography

John A. Pérez

Chair
University of California Board of Regents

John A. Pérez is the current Chair of the Board of Regents. He was elected to the Assembly in November 2008, representing Downtown Los Angeles and communities of East Los Angeles. In January 2010, his colleagues elected him California's 68th Assembly Speaker. He was subsequently reelected in 2010 and 2012, making him one of the longest serving Speakers in the era of term limits.

Prior to his service in the Assembly, Speaker Emeritus Pérez was a lifetime member of the Labor Movement, eventually serving as the Political Director for the California Labor Federation. His lifetime spent fighting for working families can clearly be seen in the legislation and policy initiatives he pursued in the Assembly. He fought for policies that put people back to work and helped workers on the jobsite.

As Speaker, he brought together his colleagues to end California's era of chronic budget deficits. He worked with Governor Brown and members of the Senate to eliminate the structural deficit that left California's budget imbalanced for more than a decade, and successfully passed back-to-back balanced, on-time budgets that resulted in across the board upgrades in California's credit rating.

He has made affordability and accessibility of higher education one of the most important statewide priorities through passage of the Middle Class Scholarship Act. This effort, which brought together thousands of California's students and parents, sought to reduce student fees by two-thirds for middle class families, and was later adopted in a modified capacity by the 2013 State Budget. The landmark Middle Class Scholarship Act, has provided tuition relief of up to 40 percent for nearly 100,000 California State University and University of California students.

Speaker Emeritus Pérez's victories and accomplishments have received prominent national attention. In 2012, he was the only state legislative leader in the United States to address the Democratic National Convention. In August of 2012, he was elected by fellow Speakers from across the nation to serve as President of the National Speakers Conference. He has previously been appointed by President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush to serve on the President's Commission on HIV/AIDS and is a longtime member of the Democratic National Committee.

Jack Sahl
Founding Executive Director
EH&S Management & Sustainability
Biography

Jack Sahl

Founding Executive Director
EH&S Management & Sustainability

Jack is the founding executive director of a boutique executive management advisory firm focused on healthy cities, Corporate Responsibility, environment and resource sustainability, safety & health @ work, and environmental protection.   Jack is the PI for an ‘energy-water’ nexus project in Tulare County and a ‘urban forest management master plan’ for the City of Colton.  Jack also co-founded the Friends of the Angeles Forest, a California Public Benefit Corporation dedicated to working with the diverse Southern California community on the Angeles National Forest and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.  Jack is a former executive at Southern California Edison, where he led the Corporate EH&S and Sustainability functions.  Jack is an Adjunct professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, in the Epidemiology department.  Jack serves on the Board of Sequoia Riverlands Trust, supporting agricultural and environmental conservation easements in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, Syzergy, the Global Technical Advisory Board for Lloyd’s Registry Quality Assurance, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Advisory Board for Occupational Health and Safety.

Andrew Connorton
Coordinator of Planning & Development
Los Angeles Dodgers
Biography

Andrew Connorton

Coordinator of Planning & Development
Los Angeles Dodgers
Leneyde Chavez
Government Affairs and Outreach Coordinator
Carollo Engineers
Biography

Leneyde Chavez

Government Affairs and Outreach Coordinator
Carollo Engineers

Leneyde Chavez joined Carollo 7 years ago. “Leny” leads the Government Affairs and Community Engagement efforts for Carollo in the Los Angeles market and functions as the assistant project manager for strategic projects including the Program Management Support Services (TOS SN53), City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, Los Angeles, CA which currently administers 19 projects in the City of Los Angeles. She works directly with the Executive Management of LASAN addressing issues important to the water future of the City of LA.

Leny is involved in high-level strategic conversations related to stormwater capture, recycled water, potable reuse, upcoming technology and the overall strategic challenges facing LASAN. This dynamic project addresses emerging issues for LASAN related to regulatory challenges and mandates, changes in the consumer’s use of LASAN's services, demand for new services, increased requests for information from the public, and support of the Mayor’s and Council’s various environmental initiatives, directives, and motions. Leny applies her government relations expertise, her knowledge of local politics and policy, and her ability to establish open communication with a wide variety of stakeholders to the benefit of her clients.

Leny was born in Honduras, and has lived in the Los Angeles area for over 22 years.  She earned a B.A. in Political Science and a M.A. in Urban Planning from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She is the proud mother of 3 boys.

Cynthia Williams
Global Director, Sustainability, Homologation and Compliance
Ford Motor
Biography

Cynthia Williams

Global Director, Sustainability, Homologation and Compliance
Ford Motor

Cynthia Williams is the Global Director, Sustainability, Homologation and Compliance, effective December 1, 2019. She will be responsible for sustainable business plans and policies, environmental negotiations with regulatory bodies around the world, reporting on the company’s environmental and social performance, and engaging with non-government organizations and other external stakeholders. 

Previously Cynthia was Assistant Director, Global Automotive Safety Office. In this position she has been responsible for leading the safety governance process, including identifying, analyzing and making recommendations on potential safety and compliance concerns. She also has been responsible for developing and coordinating responses to all government agency investigations. 

Since joining Ford in 1992, as part of the Ford College Graduate Program in the Automotive Emissions and Fuel Economy Office, Cynthia has held several positions, which include Ford’s Sustainability, Environment and Safety Director in Asia Pacific, Environmental Policy Manager, Energy Planning and Compliance Manager, and On-Board Diagnostics Production Compliance Programs Manager. Cynthia is the past chair of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers Mobile Source Policy Committee. 

In Asia Pacific, she was the Executive Champion for the Professional Women’s Network and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender Employee Resource Groups. Cynthia also held the position of Vice President of Operations for the Ford Employees African Ancestry Network (FAAN) and is committed to mentoring young engineers, peers and FAAN members. 

A native of Flint, MI, Cynthia earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University and a Master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy. Cynthia is married with two children. 

Cynthia is based in World Headquarters, Dearborn, Michigan. 

Catherine Dunwoody
Executive Director
California Fuel Cell Partnership
Biography

Catherine Dunwoody

Executive Director
California Fuel Cell Partnership

Catherine Dunwoody is the executive director of the California Fuel Cell Partnership. She has led the organization since 1999 when it was announced as a fuel cell vehicle demonstration program. Today the CaFCP is globally recognized as a leader in promoting hydrogen fuel cell vehicle commercialization. Catherine leads the CaFCP’s team of industry and government members in their collaborative planning, technical and outreach activities. She has long championed the cause for clean air and a better environment, having started her career at the California Air Resources Board in the mid-1980’s as a laboratory chemist, then managing teams responsible for stationary source testing and implementing clean vehicle regulations. In 2011 Automotive News named Catherine as one of the “Electrifying 100” most influential players in the move to electric drive vehicles. Catherine graduated with highest honors in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis. 

Alex Beavers
Chief Innovation Officer
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Biography

Alex Beavers

Chief Innovation Officer
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Alex N. Beavers, Jr., Ph.D.Alex Beavers is a 40-year veteran high-technology executive,entrepreneur, and author.He currently is the Chief Innovation Officer of Mote Marine Laboratory and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ringling College of Artand DesignHis professional background includes being the Executive Directorin charge of clean tech commercializationaSRI International (Stanford Research Institute), founder and CEO of Averatek Corp., founding CEO of Artificial Muscle, Inc.CEO of Thomson IndustriesCEO of ITP Systems , CEO of Applicon, Inc., CEO of Schlumberger Automation Systems Asia, Gof the General Electric Robotics and Vision Systems Business, Managing Partner of the PwC High Tech Practice, and Principal in charge of high technology consulting practice at Booz, Allen & HamiltonHis academic background includes a BSEE (Vanderbilt University), aMSEE and a PhDEE (University of Houston), and an MBA (Boston University)He has one patent issued and three pendingHe has also authored over 25 papers in technical journals and trade magazines,has authored two book(Roadmap to the e-Factory and The Digital Horizon: Hopeful or Hopeless)and was the editor of a third book (Life Wins!)

Allan Emkin
Managing Principal
Meketa Investment Group
Biography

Allan Emkin

Managing Principal
Meketa Investment Group

Long a member of the consulting community, Mr. Emkin has 35 years of general consulting experience, emphasizing public plan administration and investment policy as well as international, global, and real estate investments. Mr. Emkin serves as the lead consultant to large state and municipal funds and works with some of the largest state pension funds in the United States. Mr. Emkin joined the firm in 2019 as part of the merger between Meketa and Pension Consulting Alliance (PCA) and is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and Investment Policy Committee.

Prior to founding PCA in 1988, Mr. Emkin was a Vice President at Wilshire Associates. Prior to his work in the consulting field, Mr. Emkin worked in the California Governor’s office in the Pension Investment Unit. Before joining the Brown administration, he was a registered lobbyist for 10 years, specializing in affordable housing and other matters affecting low-income families.

Mr. Emkin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Community Law from Antioch College West

 

Kate White
Associate Principal & Planning Policy Leader
Arup
Biography

Kate White

Associate Principal & Planning Policy Leader
Arup

Kate is an Associate Principal and Planning Policy Practice Leader in Arup’s San Francisco office. In her 25 years in the sustainable mobility and development fields, she has championed innovative public policy, programs, and projects. As a Governor Jerry Brown appointee, Ms. White served as Deputy Secretary for Environmental Policy at the California State Transportation Agency, where she worked across dozens of state, regional, and local agencies to advance sustainable growth and climate policies.  Kate executed policy reforms, conducted legislative analysis, drafted statewide plans, oversaw grant programs, and represented the administration in diverse venues across California.

Ms. White is a social entrepreneur, launching mission-driven initiatives, including serving as the first executive director of the Urban Land Institute Bay Area chapter and as co-director of San Francisco’s first car-sharing service.

Kate brings expertise in strategic planning, performance management, program development, leadership development, facilitation, financial management, program evaluation, and strategic communications.  She is a collaborative team builder in diverse organizations, and author and lecturer on climate mitigation, resilience, smart growth, green streets and neighborhoods, transit-oriented development, and organizational management.

Gordon Johnson
Chief Engineer
Metropolitan Water District
Biography

Gordon Johnson

Chief Engineer
Metropolitan Water District

Gordon Johnson has responsibility for all of Metropolitan’s engineering activities, including management of the long-term Capital Investment Plan. He oversees a staff of 380 employees responsible for facility planning, design, construction management, project management, environmental planning, and infrastructure monitoring. Some of the current programs Johnson is responsible for include the major rehabilitation of Metropolitan’s 75-year old Colorado River Aqueduct; the addition of ozone as the primary disinfectant at Metropolitan’s five water treatment plants; rehabilitation of 100 miles of large diameter prestressed concrete cylinder pipelines within the water distribution system; and a comprehensive seismic assessment and upgrade program to maintain reliable water deliveries in the event of a significant earthquake. Prior to joining Metropolitan, Johnson served as principal engineer and project manager for two major consulting firms. In addition, he served with the United States Public Health Service. Johnson is affiliated with the American Water Works Association and the International Ozone Association, and is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. He is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and of Stanford University with a M.S. in Environmental Engineering.

Sheba Hafiz
Associate Principal & Water Business Leader
Arup
Biography

Sheba Hafiz

Associate Principal & Water Business Leader
Arup
Jim McDaniel
Senior Assistant General Manager, Water Systems
LADWP
Biography

Jim McDaniel

Senior Assistant General Manager, Water Systems
LADWP
Wendy James
President and CEO
The Better World Group, Inc.
Biography

Wendy James

President and CEO
The Better World Group, Inc.

Wendy James is President and CEO of The Better World Group, Inc. The company has been a recognized leader in political and environmental strategy, policy development and coalition management for more than a decade, working closely with the environmental community, progressive businesses and policymakers.

Over the past 35 years, James has developed unique expertise in political strategy, media and coalition building, with a special focus on clean energy and transportation issues. Prior to creating BWG, she led the Environmental Media Association, Southern California Edison’s Electric Transportation Division and the American Gas Association’s environmental communications program. She also worked as a congressional press secretary and a daily newspaper reporter.

Wendy has been honored by the California League of Conservation Voters, the Coalition for Clean Air, and was named Small Business Woman of the Year by her state legislators. She also serves on the Board of Advisors for the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis, on the Board of Trustees for the California State Parks Foundation, and the Community Advisory Council for Southern California Gas Company. 

Stan Tomsic
Executive Director
PortTechLA
Biography

Stan Tomsic

Executive Director
PortTechLA

Stan Tomsic is Executive Director of PortTechLA , a business commercialization and incubation center for Port related technologies in environment, energy, security/safety and transportation/logistics.  As a serial entrepreneur, Stan's experience in the technology and green/clean tech industries spans over 25 years. He was founder and co-founder of several companies where he held management, executive and CEO positions. Stan was the administrator of the Business Technology Center of Los Angeles County, an accelerator incubator for high technology entrepreneurial companies. He is a partner of ACODA Technology & Investments, LLC, a firm specializing in strategic assistance, business consulting, investments and mergers and acquisitions for technology and services companies. Stan is also a Pasadena Angel, serves as a member of the board of directors and advisors for several technology companies, and is a member of numerous professional organizations. He is chairman emeritus of the Executive Committee of the Caltech/MIT Enterprise Forum, co-founder and chairman of the Business Incubation Network of Southern California (BINS) and LA Metro Director for Cleantech Open. Stan frequently presents and speaks on entrepreneurship, incubation and high tech start-ups.

Jane Oates
President
WorkingNation
Biography

Jane Oates

President
WorkingNation

Jane Oates has served as President at WorkingNation since 2018. Prior to her time at WorkingNation, Jane was appointed by President Barack Obama as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor for Employment and Training in June 2009. Jane led the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) in its mission to design and deliver high-quality training and employment programs for our nation’s workers.

Prior to her appointment, Jane served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and Senior Advisor to Governor Jon S. Corzine. For a decade before, Jane served as Senior Policy Advisor to Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Jane began her career as a teacher in the Boston and Philadelphia public schools and later as a field researcher at Temple University’s Center for Research in Human Development and Education. She received her BA in Education from Boston College and an M.Ed in Reading from Arcadia University.

Renata Simril
President and CEO
LA84 Foundation
Biography

Renata Simril

President and CEO
LA84 Foundation

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.

Warren Olney
Host, 'To the Point' and 'Olney in L.A.'
KCRW
Biography

Warren Olney

Host, 'To the Point' and 'Olney in L.A.'
KCRW

Warren Olney is the host and executive producer of To the Point and Olney in L.A. To the Point is a one-hour daily national and international news program distributed by Public Radio International, currently airing in Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego and several other public radio markets nationwide. Olney in L.A. is a weekly interview segment which airs in KCRW during All Things Considered. From 1992 to 2016, Olney also hosted Which Way LA?, the signature daily local news program on 89.9 KCRW Santa Monica and KCRW.com. 

Olney and his programs have been honored with nearly 40 national, regional and local awards for broadcast excellence since its inception. In 2012, Olney received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California for his broad achievements in television news, as well as his storied career over 20 years on public radio, both locally and nationally. He has been awarded the Golden Mike Award for "Best Public Affairs Program," and WWLA was honored with the Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Award for Best Talk/Public Affairs Show. Olney was named Best Radio Journalist of the Year at the 2001 Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Awards. WWLA was also named as Best Talk/Public Affairs Show during the same awards ceremony.

He is the only person to have been twice named "Broadcast Journalist of the Year" — for his work in both radio and television — by the Society of Professional Journalists, Los Angeles. He is the recipient of Emmy Awards for reporting and anchoring, and Golden Mikes for investigative reporting.

Olney is a veteran broadcast journalist. Concurrent with his hosting duties on Which Way, LA?, from June 1999 to September 2000, he served as co-anchor of KCET-TV's Life & Times Tonight, a nightly public affairs show.

Olney was a television news reporter and anchor from 1966 to 1991, working in Washington, DC, Sacramento, and Los Angeles. Throughout his career, he covered local, state, and national politics, including presidential primaries, nominating conventions and inaugurals, and superpower summit meetings in Washington and Geneva. His special projects and investigations have focused on crime, science, the environment, among other subjects. Overseas assignments took him to Europe, Asia, and Central America.

He also served as a print reporter for the Sacramento Bee (California) and the Newport News Daily Press (Virginia). Olney's interviews, book reviews, articles, and columns have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, Los Angeles magazine, and California Journal, among other publications. He frequently speaks on politics, the media, the evolving character of Southern California, and other subjects, and is often called on to moderate public panels on numerous topics.

At the University of Southern California, Olney developed and taught "Broadcast Journalism," a laboratory course for graduate and undergraduate students, from 1976-1982.

As an actor, Olney has appeared in numerous feature films, including Crimson Tide, The Fisher King, and Higher Learning, as well as other feature and television productions.

Olney received his BA in English, magna cum laude, from Amherst College (Massachusetts) and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He has four children and five grandchildren. He is married to Marsha Temple, a former attorney at law, now Executive Director of the Integrated Recovery Network, a nonprofit helping the homeless mentally ill to find housing, treatment and jobs.

Dr. Aaron Hoskin
Senior Manager, Intergovernmental Initiatives, Fuel Diversification
Natural Resources Canada
Biography

Dr. Aaron Hoskin

Senior Manager, Intergovernmental Initiatives, Fuel Diversification
Natural Resources Canada

Dr. Aaron Hoskin is Senior Manager responsible for Federal, Provincial and International  activities within the Fuel Diversification Division at Natural Resources Canada. He has over 10  years of experience in fostering greater production and use of low carbon fuels across the  economy. He has led and contributed to the development of various programs and policies,  aimed to decarbonize Canada’s economy, including The Hydrogen Strategy for Canada,  electrification of transportation, electric and alternative fuels infrastructure, and greening  government fleets. His work extends internationally, including representing Canada on several  initiatives under the Clean Energy Ministerial. He has a PhD in chemistry, with a focus on  catalytic activation of small molecules, including hydrogen, and methane.

Bob Savage
Director, Climate Change Secretariat
Alberta Environment
Biography

Bob Savage

Director, Climate Change Secretariat
Alberta Environment

Bob Savage has spent majority of his career in government working in the field of integrated resource management and land use planning in Alberta.  Over the past 10 years, he has focused on climate change policy where he was a lead in the development of Alberta’s greenhouse gas regulatory system, the offset system  and the establishment of the Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund and Corporation.  Currently, Bob is the Director of Alberta Environment’s Climate Change Secretariat, where he is responsible for the implementation of Alberta’s Climate Change Strategy, including both greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation policy. 

Bob’s education has been focused on land use planning and resource economics and he holds an MBA in project management.

Jim Newton
Editor-in-Chief
Blueprint
Biography

Jim Newton

Editor-in-Chief
Blueprint

Jim Newton is a veteran journalist, author and teacher. In 25 years at the Los Angeles Times, Newton worked as a reporter, editor, bureau chief, columnist and, from 2007 through 2010, editor of the editorial pages. He is the recipient of numerous national and local awards in journalism and participated in two staff efforts, coverage of the 1992 riots and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, that were awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Before coming to The Times, he was a reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and he began his career as the 1985-86 clerk to New York Times columnist James Reston. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

He came to UCLA full-time in early 2015 to teach in Communication Studies and Public Policy and to found Blueprint, a new UCLA magazine (blueprint.ucla.edu) addressing the policy challenges facing California and Los Angeles in particular. He serves as the magazine’s editor-in-chief.

Newton also is a respected author of three important, best-selling and critically acclaimed works of history: Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made (Riverhead, 2006); Eisenhower: The White House Years (Doubleday, 2011); and Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace (Penguin Press, 2014), a collaboration with former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. He is at work on a fourth book, tentatively entitled Jerry Brown and the Creation of Modern California, a history of the state since 1960 as well as a biography of its longest-serving governor. It is scheduled for publication in 2019 by Little, Brown.

Cindy Miscikowski
Board President
Port of Los Angeles
Biography

Cindy Miscikowski

Board President
Port of Los Angeles
Scott Haase
Partnership Development Manager
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Biography

Scott Haase

Partnership Development Manager
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Scott has been at NREL since 2007. He presently manages NREL’s development of lab-wide strategic partnership programs (SPP) with state and local agencies. In this capacity, he works to develop new partnership agreements between NREL and local entities (including municipal utilities, ports and airports) that address critical energy system issues and challenges. An example of this is the recent agreement between NREL and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to conduct LADWP’s 100% Renewable Energy Study. Scott also coordinates SPP for NREL’s Scientific Computing and Energy Analysis Directorate.

Prior to his current role, Scott was NREL’s Lab Program Manager for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), Office of the Secretary (2010-2016). In this capacity, he worked closely with DOI leadership to coordinate NREL’s overall relationship and partnerships with DOI and its Bureaus, including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and the Office of Insular Affairs.

Prior to joining NREL, Mr. Haase worked for a variety of companies including Lockheed Martin, McNeil Technologies (acquired by AECOM) and NEOS Corporation. He is a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Lesotho, southern Africa), and holds an M.S. in Engineering and Policy from Washington University in St. Louis, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Vermont.

David Martin
Design Principal
A.C. Martin Partners
Biography

David Martin

Design Principal
A.C. Martin Partners

David C. Martin, FAIA, a third-generation architect, continues his family’s legacy of major involvement in the architectural planning and civic life of Southern California. Martin received his Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Southern California (USC) and his Masters of Architecture from Colombia University. Upon completing his formal studies, Martin spent four months on a Traveling Fellowship researching the great urban spaces of the world.

As third generation Design Principal for AC Martin Partners, a 110-year old architecture firm noted for its historic and contemporary landmark projects, David has transformed neighborhoods, academic institutions, and cities. Martin’s latest project is the 80-story high-rise hotel and office complex in the heart of Downtown – the new Wilshire Grand.

Martin is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at USC, a past President of the Southern California Chapter of the AIA, and a former Board Member of the AIA California Council. He is currently on the Boards of the Los Angeles Conservancy, USC School of Architecture and the Art Center: College of Design in Pasadena. Martin is an award-winning designer that has been recognized for his innovative, inspirational, and cutting-edge projects. David, along with his former business partner and cousin Christopher C. Martin, FAIA, have received the American Institute of Architecture (AIA), Los Angeles Chapter’s Gold Medal of Honor, for their major contribution to the built environment in the City of Los Angeles.

David is an avid watercolorist and his works have been exhibited throughout the U.S., including “On Site: Travel Sketches by Architects” at Hunter College, “line.dot – Drawing the Design Process at the Martin Design Studio” at UCLA, and “Form Follows Software: A Revolution in the Architectural Process” at USC, University of Arizona, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Currently, David along with his wife, Mary Klaus Martin, have established MADWORKSHOP, a foundation that endows innovative designers with the opportunity to freely explore their ideas from inspiration to reality.

Liang Downey
Business Executive - Energy, Environment and Utility Industry
IBM
Biography

Liang Downey

Business Executive - Energy, Environment and Utility Industry
IBM

Liang works for IBM as a Business Executive for IBM’s Energy, Environment & Utilities Global Industry. She leads the development of IOT, analytics and cognitive computing solutions for IBM’s customers and partners, to help them create new offerings in the changing energy landscape, better balance the distributed energy supply and demand, eliminate energy waste and promote sustainability.  Her professional experience spans over 20 years in consulting, management and technology incubation across the energy, transportation and wireless computing industries. For 5 years at a renewable energy microgrid start up, she helped the company grow, from business strategy, partnership to licensing company’s IP. Liang was one of the key initiators for the IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge (HTC) in 2009. HTC aimed at enabling remote villages that lack access to electricity by deploying a solar Trailer to light up and digitize the dark homes village by village. HTC has since evolved into an award Winning IEEE Smart Village program today.

Ms. Downey is an Adcom member of the IEEE TEMS Society 2016-2020 and the Region 4 Chair for Women In Engineering. She earned a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering from Clarkson University in New York, with GPA 4.0/4.0.  She received her MBA in Finance from Wayne State University in Dec. 2014.

Morgan Hagerty
Director
CE2 Capital Partners
Biography

Morgan Hagerty

Director
CE2 Capital Partners

Morgan Hagerty is a Director at CE2 Capital Partners, where she is focused on carbon and renewables markets.  CE2 Carbon Capital, a joint-venture of CE2 Capital Partners and energy private equity investor Energy Capital Partners, is building a portfolio of carbon assets in North America.  Prior to CE2, Ms. Hagerty worked for Morgan Stanley’s Commodities group in New York on the Gas & Power trading desk focused on environmental commodities.  She has also worked on the carbon desk at EDF Trading in London, and on land conservation finance at the Trust for Public Land in San Francisco.  Ms. Hagerty has a BS in Economics and Environmental Geosciences from Boston College, as well as an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business and an MEM from the Nicholas School of Environment at Duke University.

Randy Lack
Chief Marketing Officer
Element Markets
Biography

Randy Lack

Chief Marketing Officer
Element Markets
Lorraine Paskett
Senior Vice President
True North Renewable Energy
Biography

Lorraine Paskett

Senior Vice President
True North Renewable Energy

Lorraine Paskett has more than 25 years of experience in the energy, water, and environmental sectors, with 15 years of focused experience in the energy sector. Ms. Paskett has served as a director for a California investor-owned utility, leading a team through the California energy crisis and sponsoring a suite of initiatives including energy market reform, climate change policy, renewable energy market development, and corporate tax reforms. Ms. Paskett later served as a senior executive for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, leading a comprehensive approach for sustainable utility practices. The focus of her service included revamping utility programs to support accelerated adoption of alternative vehicle fuel sources in Southern California, overseeing electric system transmission permitting, new wind and solar electric generation project permitting, and managing greenhouse gas emissions programs across the utility operations.

Currently, Ms. Paskett owns and manages Cambridge LCF Group. Cambridge LCF Group works with conventional and emerging energy companies, focusing on alternative energy, energy markets, climate change policies, and improving air quality in the Los Angeles and San Joaquin Valley basin.

Liane Randolph
Commissioner
California Public Utilities Commission
Biography

Liane Randolph

Commissioner
California Public Utilities Commission

Commissioner Liane M. Randolph was appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission by Governor Jerry Brown in January 2015.  She formerly served as Deputy Secretary and General Counsel at the California Natural Resources Agency and was appointed to that position by Governor Brown in May 2011.

Commissioner Randolph’s portfolio and interests generally focus on long-term resource planning, infrastructure, and governance.  She is presently the lead Commissioner for approximately 65 formal proceedings spanning the regulated electricity, gas, telecommunications, transportation and water industries. Commissioner Randolph leads the Integrated Resource Plan proceeding established per Senate Bill 350, the investigations into the future of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, the Resource Adequacy proceeding, the Climate Change Adaptation proceeding, and the Transportation Network Companies proceeding.  She is also the chair of the Policy and Governance committee at the Commission, and has spearheaded reforms to the CPUC’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.  

Commissioner Randolph is an expert in government and administrative law. She served as Chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) from 2003 to 2007, where she managed a staff of 70 in the implementation and enforcement of California's Political Reform Act.  Prior to her service at the FPPC, Commissioner Randolph practiced municipal law and previously served as City Attorney for the Cities of San Leandro and Suisun City.  Commissioner Randolph obtained her law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also earned a B.A. in History.

Adam Rasken
Director of Origination
True Green Capital Management
Biography

Adam Rasken

Director of Origination
True Green Capital Management
Thomas Cain
Found and CEO
Sustainability Partners
Biography

Thomas Cain

Found and CEO
Sustainability Partners

Mr. Thomas Cain is CEO of Sustainability Partners LLC, a sustainable products finance company and Managing Partner of EFW Partners, a multi-strategy investment firm focused on energy, food and water.

Cain has directly invested hundreds of millions in a diverse array of young technology companies focused on sustainability including Kokam Ltd., Dow/Kokam, Townsend Advanced Energy, Sungevity, Quantum, Lime, Enerpulse, Flex Energy, Water Health International, Stem, Electratherm, Codexis, Solezyme, and Project Frog and has been a director in over 30 public and private companies. He is a frequent keynote speaker and co-authored Energy Venture Capital Best Practices.

Cain started his business career by founding Distribution Architects Int’l. (“DAI”) in 1977, which grew into one of the world’s largest supply chain and ERP software companies with offices around the world. Through both organic growth and accretive M&A, he retired as chairman of the acquisition corporation in 2001, with 2,500 employees and annual revenues of $120M. He next founded Starco Energy, an owner/operator of restored petrochemical fuel terminals, which he sold to Quintana Energy in 2006. He also founded Focus Capital Group of America, an extension of Focus Capital Group -Israel, through which 20 distressed turnarounds were accomplished and exited. One such turnaround was Evans Systems, Inc., a Texas-based public petrochemical company.

Cain is a member of WPO, founded the YPO Global Supply Chain Conference, served as chairman of their MIT Presidents Education, and group-led the Harvard Business School Presidents Education for a combined 10+ years.

Cain holds multiple patents for advanced ECM electric motors for networking and AI that are in commercial use today. As a software developer, Cain’s software has won prestigious national competitions as the Internet Computer Expo’s “Best Business Product” and the Retail Information Systems Conference’s “Best Innovation in Logistics.” He is considered the father of the modern day “DLL” architecture. DAI was DEC’s largest commercial OEM and Cain was a senior advisor for the design of DEC’s 64-bit alpha chip.

Cain’s interest in energy began in his collegiate days while serving as a consulting mathematician for Los Alamos Labs working on the analysis of magnetic flux fields in controlled fusion plasmas in an effort to directly produce electricity through neutron capture by lithium blankets. He is an alumnus of ASU with undergraduate and graduate studies in mathematics.

 

Deepa Lounsbury
Program Manager
California Clean Energy Fund
Biography

Deepa Lounsbury

Program Manager
California Clean Energy Fund
Kevin Maggay
Program Manager
SoCalGas
Biography

Kevin Maggay

Program Manager
SoCalGas

Kevin is currently a Program Manager at SocalGas working on policy, strategy and external relations on a variety of issues, with a specialization in the transportation sector.  He has almost 20 years of experience in the transportation and environmental world in a variety of roles.  Prior to coming to SoCalGas, Kevin was the Assistant Director of Environmental Operations at BNSF Railway where he oversaw air, carbon and policy issues nationwide; the Air Quality Supervisor at the Port of Los Angeles where he oversaw the air team in developing and implementing breakthrough programs to track and reduce air emissions; and the contract Environmental Manager for the Alameda Corridor East.  He has a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Southern California.  Kevin also is an instructor at CalState Long Beach’s Global Logistics Program.

Hector De La Torre*
Board Member
California Air Resources Board
Biography

Hector De La Torre*

Board Member
California Air Resources Board

Hector De La Torre serves on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as a gubernatorial appointee, where he focuses on goods movement, mitigation in impacted communities, and bringing the benefits of new technologies to these communities.  De La Torre is the Executive Director of the Transamerica Center for Health Studies, a nonprofit focused on empowering consumers and employers to achieve the best value and protection from their health coverage, as well as the best outcomes in their personal health and wellness. 

De La Torre is also a member of the Board of Trustees at Occidental College (his alma mater) in Los Angeles and the Board of L.A. Care, the largest public health plan in the United States.  De La Torre served as a State Assemblymember for California’s 50th District from 2004-2010.  Prior to that, he was Mayor and Councilmember in his hometown of South Gate.

Paul Gipe
Author
Wind Energy Basics: A Guide to Home-and Community-Scale Wind Energy Systems
Biography

Paul Gipe

Author
Wind Energy Basics: A Guide to Home-and Community-Scale Wind Energy Systems
Gavin Purchas
Director, California Clean Energy Program
Environmental Defense Fund
Biography

Gavin Purchas

Director, California Clean Energy Program
Environmental Defense Fund
Randall W. Lewis
Executive Vice President
Lewis Group of Companies
Biography

Randall W. Lewis

Executive Vice President
Lewis Group of Companies

Randall Lewis oversees the sales and marketing operations of the Lewis Groups. Randall received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College. He is regarded as an industry leader in promoting the arts, education, healthy living and sustainable development initiatives. He has been President of the Inland Empire Arts Foundation, Secretary of the Los Angeles County Citizens Planning Council, director of the HomeBuilder’s Council, and national director of the National Association of HomeBuilders. Randall was named in the Los Angeles Times 2006 “West 100” list as one of the top 100 influential people in southern California. He has also received the California Business Properties Association Champion of the Industry Award and has been inducted into the California Building Industry Association Hall of Fame. Randall is a long time ULI member as well as a Governor of the ULI Foundation. Randall serves on several executive boards, including the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development, the UCLA School of Public Policy, Loma Linda University Medical Center’s Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Institute Advisory Council, Cal Poly Pomona’s National Development Council, and co-chairs the San Bernardino County Alliance for Education. He is recognized as an expert in the real estate industry and is frequently quoted in various newspapers, magazines and trade journals. Randall has over 30 years of experience in the real estate industry.

Letha Tawney
Commissioner
Oregon Public Utilities Commission
Biography

Letha Tawney

Commissioner
Oregon Public Utilities Commission
Letha Tawney was appointed to the Oregon Public Utility Commission by Governor Kate Brown in June 2018. Commissioner Tawney represents Oregon on the Electricity and the Critical Infrastructure committees for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). She also serves on the Energy Trust of Oregon Board of Directors, and as Chair of the Energy Imbalance Market Board of State Regulators (EIM-BOSR), engaging closely on Western electricity market development in several forums.
 
Prior to her appointment, Commissioner Tawney was an expert on electric utility business models, state regulation, clean energy development, and large customer buying strategies for World Resources Institute (WRI). As the WRI Polsky Chair for Renewable Energy, she propelled innovation in business and regulatory models in the power sector. Commissioner Tawney has a deep understanding of the constraints and interests driving both utilities and their customers as technology creates large-scale change in the sector.
 
Commissioner Tawney holds a Master’s of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from George Fox University in business and computer science.
Dan Sperling
Director; Board Member
Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis; California Air Resources Board
Biography

Dan Sperling

Director; Board Member
Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis; California Air Resources Board

Daniel Sperling is Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy, and founding Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis (ITS-Davis). Dr. Sperling has led ITS-Davis to international prominence by building strong partnerships with industry, government, and the environmental community, integrating interdisciplinary research and education programs, and connecting research with public outreach and education.

Dr. Sperling is recognized as a leading international expert on transportation technology assessment, energy and environmental aspects of transportation, and transportation policy. He was the 2013 chair of the California Fuel Cell Partnership and is 2015 Chair of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. He received the 2013 Blue Planet Prize for being "a pioneer in opening up new fields of study to create more efficient, low-carbon, and environmentally beneficial transportation systems" and 2010 Heinz Award for his "achievements in the research of alternative transportation fuels and his responsibility for the adoption of cleaner transportation policies in California and across the United States." He is author or editor of over 200 technical articles and 12 books, including Two Billion Cars (Oxford University Press, 2009), and has testified 7 times to the U.S. Congress on alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technology.

He earned his Ph.D. in Transportation Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley (with minors in Economics and Energy & Resources) and his B.S. in Environmental Engineering and Urban Planning from Cornell University. Professor Sperling worked two years as an environmental planner for the US Environmental Protection Agency and two years as an urban planner in the Peace Corps in Honduras.

Cherif Youssef
Technology Development Manager
Southern California Gas Company
Biography

Cherif Youssef

Technology Development Manager
Southern California Gas Company

Mr. Youssef is the Technology Development Manager for the Southern California Gas Company.  Mr. Youssef has 35 years of experience in the energy industry with past responsibilities in Marketing, Human Resources, Operations and Engineering.  He is responsible for managing a $10 million per year R&D program. This program is focused on developing and demonstrating new products and technologies to help customers use energy more efficiently, meet their environmental regulations, use renewable energy and use alternative fuel vehicles.

 

Mr. Youssef has a Bachelor and Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California.

Hayato Nakazono
Manager, Pipeline Division
JFE Engineering
Biography

Hayato Nakazono

Manager, Pipeline Division
JFE Engineering

Hayato Nakazono is a civil / environmental engineer with over 10 years of experiences in the planning, design, construction, operation and management of water supply sector. He has worked for many water related projects not only in Japan but also in several other countries, such as Canada, Vietnam, Bolivia, Jordan and South Sudan, solving the water related problems for global clients.

He is currently JFE Engineering’s team leader for SPF Projects. SPF is the special product, developed for the pipeline to secure the water supply even after the severe earthquake and ground deformation, and it is very unique in the world.

At the current, Mr. Nakazono is a member of the techinical committee of Japan Water Steel Pipe Association, the secretary of sub-committee for design method of pipeline across fault planes in Japan Society of Civil Engineers.

He has a B.S. and M.S. in civil and environmental engineering and is registered as a Professional Engineer in Japan.

Loni Mahanta
Principal
Ringleap Consulting
Biography

Loni Mahanta

Principal
Ringleap Consulting

Loni is a strategic legal and policy consultant who helps businesses remain agile and resilient in the face of regulatory change. Loni is the Principal of Ringleap Consulting, where she helps companies understand the legal, regulatory, and policy landscapes in which they operate, and helps clients craft comprehensive policy strategy. Loni is also a thought leader in gig economy issues and the changing American workforce. Loni most recently served as the Vice President of Policy Development and Research at Lyft, where she translated business objectives into actionable legislation at the local, state, and national levels. There, she led a team of sustainability, safety, privacy, labor, legislative, and data experts. Loni was Lyft’s principal strategist on labor issues and the gig economy: she architected Lyft’s industry-leading “Future of Work” initiative, served as the lead negotiator on an AB5 compromise, and was one of the drivers behind the policy and legislative language found in Prop 22. Loni originally joined Lyft as a member of the in-house legal team, serving as VP, Associate General Counsel for Labor & Employment. Loni began her career at the law firms of Folger Levin LLP and Crowell & Moring LLP.

Harry H. Horinouchi
Consul General
Japan Consulate - Los Angeles
Biography

Harry H. Horinouchi

Consul General
Japan Consulate - Los Angeles

Harry H. (Hidehisa) Horinouchi was appointed Consul General of Japan, Los Angeles, in August of 2014. Over his several decades career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he has spent over ten years in China, and the remainder of his overseas postings in the United States. The post of Consul General in Los Angeles is his second US mission. During home ministry assignments at MOFA headquarters in Tokyo, Horinouchi has been charged with legal affairs and treaties portfolios several times, in addition to Asian and Oceanian regional affairs and international intelligence analysis. He has written numerous law journal articles on international legal issues, authored one book published in China for Chinese readership, and has been a lecturer on international law at Waseda University’s Graduate School of Law. He is a graduate of the Law Faculty of Tokyo University, and also attended Nanjing University in China and Harvard Graduate School in Regional Studies.

Rorie Skei
Chief Deputy Director
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
Biography

Rorie Skei

Chief Deputy Director
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

Rorie Skei has been involved in Southern California open space preservation and parkland issues for over 40 years.

As Chief Deputy Director for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Ms. Skei oversees acquisition, park development, and watershed planning staff; partnerships with local, state, and federal governments; and resource protection of the 75,000 acres of parkland that have been preserved for the public to date.   She also serves ex officio as the Chief Deputy Executive Officer of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), a joint powers agency; and is Deputy Executive Officer for seven other joint powers authorities in which the Conservancy is a member.  She is a sworn park ranger with MRCA.   Since 1981, she has been the appointed public member and is the current chairperson of the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, a joint powers agency between the City of Thousand Oaks and the Conejo Recreation and Park District.

Ms. Skei has long been a California native plant enthusiast and has maintained her home native garden in Thousand Oaks for many years.

Colin Armstrong
President & CEO
HTEC
Biography

Colin Armstrong

President & CEO
HTEC
Colin is a professional mechanical engineer with more than 30 years’ experience in the hydrogen sector. He is a founder of HTEC and has lead the company since 2012. Colin is the driving force behind the development of British Columbia’s hydrogen station network, opening Canada’s first retail hydrogen fueling station in 2018. The first six stations – in Greater Vancouver and Victoria – will be in operation in 2020 and will enable the deployment of the first 1,000 zero-emission fuel cell electric vehicles in the province.  Prior to HTEC, Colin led hydrogen initiatives at Sacré-Davey Engineering, including an integrated waste hydrogen utilization project and the fueling project for a fleet of fuel cell buses operating in Whistler. Colin was also an investor and the lead engineer at Dynetek Industries (high-pressure carbon fiber gas storage cylinders) and worked at Ballard Power Systems to develop fuel cell manufacturing systems. Colin has been on the Board of the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association since 2011.

 

Marzia Zafar
Director, Policy & Planning Division
California Public Utilities Commission
Biography

Marzia Zafar

Director, Policy & Planning Division
California Public Utilities Commission
Randall Friedl
Manager, Earth Science Research and Mission Formulation Office
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Biography

Randall Friedl

Manager, Earth Science Research and Mission Formulation Office
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dr. Friedl is currently the Manager of the NASA Western Water Application Office as well as the Manager of the Earth Science Research and Mission Formulation Office in JPL’s Earth Science and Technology Directorate. In the former role he is responsible for the development of information products based on NASA data for use by western water decision-makers. In the latter role he leads the development of mission concepts to meet future Earth science needs identified by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. He is also the Associate Director of a joint institute (JIFRESSE) with UCLA on regional Earth system science and engineering and an Adjunct Professor within the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

Yufu Cheng
China Country Director
R20 Regions of Climate Action
Biography

Yufu Cheng

China Country Director
R20 Regions of Climate Action
Akshai Rao
Vice President
Yardi
Biography

Akshai Rao

Vice President
Yardi

Akshai serves as Vice President at Yardi, responsible for the development of energy management software and high performing buildings. During his tenure, Akshai helped grow Yardi’s Procure to Pay client base across all real estate verticals and several countries. Prior to Yardi, Akshai spent five years at Bain & Company focused on technology and telecom. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Mark Pestrella
Director
Los Angeles County Public Works
Biography

Mark Pestrella

Director
Los Angeles County Public Works
Mark Pestrella is the Director of Los Angeles County Public Works. In this capacity, he  serves as the County Engineer, the County Road Commissioner, and the Chief Engineer of the  Los Angeles County Flood Control District. With an annual budget of more than $2.7 billion and  a workforce of 4,000 employees, Los Angeles County Public Works is the largest municipal public  works agency in the United States, providing vital public infrastructure and civic services to more  than 10 million people across a 4,000-square-mile service area. Public Works’ diverse  operations are defined within six core service areas: Water Resources, Transportation,  Environmental Services, Construction Management, Developmental Services, and  Emergency Management.  
 
Mr. Pestrella is a licensed civil engineer and a 33-year veteran of Public Works and has held  a variety of management positions. He is a native of Southern California and 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.
 
Peter Wijsman
Vice President
ARCADIS North America
Biography

Peter Wijsman

Vice President
ARCADIS North America

In November 2008 Mr. Wijsman was transferred from ARCADIS' Dutch operating company to the United States to expand the company's water resources opertations in California. Based in San Francisco, he has a special focus in business development on water resources management for San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. After having enjoyed education in both the Netherlands and the US Mr. Wijsman is a perfect fit to form a knowledge bridge on water management between the two countries.  In addtion to his focus in California he is involved in US nation wide strategic growth initiatives in climate change adaptation, intelligent flood protection systems and sustainable urban development.

Jessica Fox
Senior Program Manager
Electric Power Research Institute
Biography

Jessica Fox

Senior Program Manager
Electric Power Research Institute

Fox is a Senior Program Manager at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), where she manages EPRI’s $15 million Water & Ecosystems research area.  She is an expert in environmental markets and “credit stacking,” ecosystem services, and corporate sustainability. Fox created the EPRI Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading Project, which is the world’s first interstate trading program for nutrients (http://wqt.epri.com) and won the United States Water Prize in 2015. Fox led EPRI’s Energy Sustainability Interest Group from 2011 through 2016 to become the largest collaborative forum in the industry to strategically advance critical issues related to the sustainable generation and distribution of electricity, including consensus by 45 utilities on sustainability metrics to use to benchmark their companies’ performance (www.epri.com/sustainability). Fox launched EPRI’s internal corporate social responsibility program in 2016 under EPRI’s Chief Sustainability Officer and CEO, with oversight from EPRI’s Board of Directors. In 2017, Fox was recognized as Top Innovator (The Fantastic Forty) by Public Utilities Fortnightly.  In 2018, Ms. Fox launched the EPRI Power-in-Pollinators Initiative (http://www.epri.com/pollinators), which is set to be the largest effort in North America focused specifically on pollinator conservation at electric power companies.  Her projects have been covered by the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, National Public Radio, Bloomberg, and others. She is a trained meeting facilitator and conflict resolution mediator, a member of the United States Ecological Society of America, and a Certified Habitat Steward by the National Wildlife Federation.  Prior to EPRI, she worked as a molecular biologist leading conservation genetics projects on dragonflies in Costa Rica, at Stanford University sequencing and mapping the human genome, and as a manager at a biotech company developing DNA analysis technologies.  She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of California, Davis, and a Master’s of Science degree from Stanford University. 

Ron Goodman
Manager of Market Development
Southern California Gas Company
Biography

Ron Goodman

Manager of Market Development
Southern California Gas Company
Percy Haralson
Principal Manager, Advanced Technology, Field Technologies
Southern California Edison
Biography

Percy Haralson

Principal Manager, Advanced Technology, Field Technologies
Southern California Edison
John Sanders
CEO & President
Innovative, Information, and Intelligence Solutions LLC
Biography

John Sanders

CEO & President
Innovative, Information, and Intelligence Solutions LLC

John Sanders is a Cybersecurity Policy Consultant and a high impact business leader focused on growth, revenue and generating client solutions while promoting ethics, compliance, and employee advocacy.  He recently advised the Department of Homeland Security on their Cybersecurity Exercise Scenario Development efforts for National Level Cybersecurity Exercise 2020 as it relates to the protection of Critical Infrastructure. He previously served as a contracted Senior Cybersecurity Research Subject Matter Expert/Consultant on the Director of National Intelligence staff, National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) providing Subject Matter Expertise on Intelligence Community Cyber Policy and Strategy, Risk Management, Wireless/Mobility, Cyber Threat Intelligence, and Insider Threat.  John is a true industry leader who has over 20 years of experience as an Army intelligence professional in the U.S. Government including multiple combat tours.  John served as an Executive Officer to the Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Policy, Plans, and Requirements with significant interaction with the 16 members of the Intelligence Community, DoD, Congress, and the National Security Council.  John is Army Combat Veteran, Bronze Star recipient, Army Intelligence - Knowlton Award recipient, Airborne RANGER and Senior Parachutist. He is also an Army Intelligence Strategist and Computer Network Operations Planner.  John’s academic background includes:  Master of Telecommunications Management (MA), Webster University, St. Louis, MO, Master of Military Arts and Science (MMAS) from the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), Operational Art, Ft Leavenworth, KS, Command General and Staff College, Ft Leavenworth, KS, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (BBA), Dallas Baptist University, Dallas, TX. 

Howard Chang
Senior Manager and Segment Leader for Channel Partner Operations
SunEdison
Biography

Howard Chang

Senior Manager and Segment Leader for Channel Partner Operations
SunEdison

Howard Chang is currently a Senior Manager and the Segment Leader for Channel Partner Operations at SunEdison. In this role he oversees the construction of C&I projects acquired from third party channels across the United States. Joining SunEdison in 2012, Howard is the first graduate of SunEdison’s Solar Leadership Program, in which he completed three rotations across Utility - Project Finance, Distributed Generation - Commercial Management, and served as the Chief of Staff to the President of SunEdison’s North America business unit.

Howard graduated from Yale University in 2012 with an MBA from the School of Management and a Master of Environmental Management from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He has a background in finance and energy, having worked at J.P.Morgan, GE Energy Financial Services, and EnerNoc.  He received his BA in Economics from Johns Hopkins University and is originally from the Philadelphia area. He currently resides in San Francisco and tries to take advantage of all that the bay area has to offer, including hiking, biking, and wine tasting. 

Gail Farber
Principal & Infrastructure Business Leader
Arup
Biography

Gail Farber

Principal & Infrastructure Business Leader
Arup
Nate Taylor
Commercial Development Manager
SoCalGas
Biography

Nate Taylor

Commercial Development Manager
SoCalGas

Nate Taylor is a Project Manager at SoCalGas where he is focused on new business development in the areas of Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs), biogas, and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). In Nate’s former role at San Diego Gas & Electric he specialized in Energy Efficiency (EE) and Demand Response (DR) for the Emerging Technologies Program, managing the analysis of new and underutilized technologies through assessments, market behavior studies, scaled field placements, technology development support, and business incubation. Previously Nate worked as a Distribution Operations Engineer designing and managing the construction of utility infrastructure. Nate has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego.

Dave Ramslie
Senior Sustainability Programs Manager
City of Vancouver
Biography

Dave Ramslie

Senior Sustainability Programs Manager
City of Vancouver

Dave Ramslie is the City of Vancouver’s Senior Sustainability Programs Manager. In this role Dave is responsible for overseeing the development of programs and policies that address Vancouver’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions targets and the ongoing development of Vancouver’s Green Building Strategy. Dave’s work on green building standards and land use policy has won national awards from the Canadian Institute of Planners, and from the Canadian Green Building Council, for Government Leadership in Green Building. In 2012 Dave was recognized by the International Living Future Institute with their Public Sector Leadership award in recognition of decade of work on urban sustainability issues.  

Some signature projects include:

  • Developing Canada’s first municipal energy efficiency financing program,
  • Developing Vancouver’s green building code,
  • Authoring Vancouver’s carbon neutral buildings strategy.
  • Developing Vancouver’s electric vehicle charging by-law
  • Creating Vancouver’s green rezoning policy and passive design guidelines
  • Developing the policy frame work for large site redevelopment that included district energy

Dave formally served on the Board of Directors for the Cascadia Regional Green Buildings Council. He also lectures throughout the Northwest on Urban Sustainability issues and helps develop sustainability curriculum for local universities and colleges. 

Tom Unterman
Founding Partner
Rustic Canyon Partners
Biography

Tom Unterman

Founding Partner
Rustic Canyon Partners

Tom founded Rustic Canyon in 1999 and continues to be actively involved in the firm.

Prior to forming Rustic Canyon Partners, Tom was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Times Mirror Company. At Times Mirror, he led the acquisition and divestiture activity and oversaw the investment program. Prior to joining Times Mirror, Tom was one of California’s leading corporate attorneys, practicing first with Orrick, Herrington from 1969 to 1986 and then with Morrison & Foerster from 1986 to 1992.

Tom serves actively on the boards of the California Community Foundation, CalArts, Heal the Bay, and MOCA.

Education: Tom earned a BA from Princeton University and a JD from the University of Chicago.

Jonathan Dogterom
Practice Lead, Cleantech
MaRS
Biography

Jonathan Dogterom

Practice Lead, Cleantech
MaRS

Jonathan leads the Cleantech Practice at MaRS Discovery District where he assists Ontario based Cleantech companies in growing their business and raising capital. He has an extensive background in early stage and high growth alternative energy companies. Prior to joining MaRS, Jon led Business Development for Hydrogenics Corporation where he focused on strategic partnerships, product development, and sales and marketing. During his time with Hydrogenics he was involved in the introduction and launch of both the company’s fuel cell and hydrogen generation divisions.

Jon was also previously with the Pembina Institute where he led corporate consulting services on low-impact renewable energy and energy policy. In 1997, Jon co-founded Sustainable Energy Technologies, which is a leading Canadian provider of power electronics for the solar power industry.

Mark Stanley
Executive Officer
San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy
Biography

Mark Stanley

Executive Officer
San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy

Mark Stanley is the Executive Officer of the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, a state agency within the California Natural Resources Agency, enacted by State Legislature in 1999.

Mark’s focus is on achieving the goals of the RMC’s mission “to preserve open space and habitat in order to provide for low-impact recreation and recreational uses, wildlife habitat restoration and protection, watershed improvements within its jurisdiction.”  In addition to serving as Executive Officer of the RMC, he is the Executive Officer of four joint powers authorities including the Watershed Conservation Authority, the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority, the San Gabriel River Discovery Center Authority and the Azusa-RMC JPA.

Mark serves as Executive Officer of these organizations which has resulted in a variety of implementation efforts related to parks and open space. For example, in the last two years over 500 new acre have been added to the public domain and the RMC received over $80 million dollars to grant to communities.

Emily Castor
Director of Transportation Policy
Lyft
Biography

Emily Castor

Director of Transportation Policy
Lyft

As a member of the original Lyft team, Emily has been on the front lines of ridesharing policy since the birth of the industry. She leads Lyft's partnerships with transportation agencies across the United States, integrating Lyft as a last-mile connection to public transit and a viable alternative to car ownership. Emily started her career as a transportation policy aide for a U.S. Congresswoman and later served as a financial advisor for municipal infrastructure projects. She holds an MPA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Noah Perch-Ahern
Partner - Environmental Department
Greenberg Glusker
Biography

Noah Perch-Ahern

Partner - Environmental Department
Greenberg Glusker

Noah Perch-Ahern, a Partner in Greenberg Glusker's Environmental Department, maintains a broad national environmental and energy practice involving complex litigation, regulatory counsel, and transactional matters.  Noah is known as one of the leading environmental lawyers of his generation and is often tapped to work on complicated matters without an easy solution.  Having developed specialized knowledge across the wide field of environmental law, Noah employs his skills and knowledge in a variety of contexts.  He has significant litigation experience and has tried jury and bench trials. At the same time, Noah regularly helps clients devise solutions to difficult regulatory problems, represents clients in connection with administrative proceedings, assists clients with deals and development projects, and represents energy-focused startup companies.   Noah augments his practice through his leadership in a variety of organizations focusing on environmental and energy issues, through which he works with key decision-makers of environmental and energy regulatory initiatives.  He has a J.D., magna cum laude, from Tulane University Law School and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of New Hampshire. 

Michael Webster
Assistant Director of Power System Planning and Development
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Biography

Michael Webster

Assistant Director of Power System Planning and Development
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Michael Webster is a 31-year veteran of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  He is currently the Assistant Director of Power System Planning and Development and is responsible for implementing LADWP’s renewable portfolio, 20-year Integrated Resource Planning, and conventional generation and transmission development.  LADWP achieved the goal of 20% renewable energy in 2010 and is currently implementing plans to achieve the requirements of State legislation requiring 25% renewable energy in 2016 and 33% in 2020.  The Integrated Resource Plan lays out one of the most significant power system transformations in the history of LADWP.  Mike has also been responsible for wholesale power and gas transactions and was also part of the core team that established LADWP’s Wholesale Marketing group that successful navigated through the energy crisis.  He has experience in air quality regulation and legislation, project management, and engineering.  Mike has a BSME from UCLA and an MBA from USC.  He enthusiastically roots for both teams but favors his undergraduate team in head to head competitions.  Mike has been married 30 years to Glenda who is an Adjunct College Professor at Pasadena City College.  They have one son in medical school, a son in high school, and daughter in middle school.  

Bill Witte
President
Related California
Biography

Bill Witte

President
Related California
Janice Lin
President
Green Hydrogen Coalition
Biography

Janice Lin

President
Green Hydrogen Coalition

Janice Lin is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Strategen. Janice has over than two decades of experience in clean energy strategy, market development, and corporate strategy. Janice uses the Strategen platforms of consulting, association management, and events to achieve measurable global impact in growing the clean energy sector. Through Association Management, she has distinguished herself as a leading clean energy changemaker. Janice co-founded and for a decade served as Executive Director of the California Energy Storage Alliance, where she helped create the world’s most robust energy storage market. Janice is an internationally recognized thought leader in energy storage and grid decarbonization and won the 2019 Cleanie Award for Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2019 Janice also launched the Green Hydrogen Coalition, an educational non-profit dedicated to transitioning to a sustainable, carbon-free energy supply with green (renewable) hydrogen.

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.

Denise Braun
Founder and Principal
All About Waste
Biography

Denise Braun

Founder and Principal
All About Waste

Denise Braun is a LEED and WELL accredited professional, as well as a Fitwel Ambassador, an Envision Sustainability Professional, and a TRUE Advisor. She has over fifteen years of experience in the sustainability field, starting in Brazil and then moving to the United States. She has worked in various capacities on over 127 LEED certified projects, many of which have achieved the highest level of certification with no clarifications. Denise is currently working on several WELL projects. She recently worked on the first TRUE-certified zero waste high-rise commercial building in the world!

Denise is proficient at implementing strategies for construction documentation, sustainable purchasing, and best management practices involving tenant guidelines and building management tools and plans. Her dedication to corporate social responsibility, solid waste management solutions (including waste audits, zero waste solutions, awareness programs and technologies) and smart design, combined with her outgoing personality, result in effective collaboration, effective and creative solutions.

Denise and been responsible for her waste audits for over 5 million square feet of facilities, and has developed and analyzed technical waste management solutions for a large variety of building types. 

Denise has presented at numerous lectures, workshops and conferences, including the annual Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo, Net Zero Conference, the Living Building Collaborative Zero Waste Forum. She is currently studying Recycling and Solid Waste Management at UCLA Extension.

 

Julia Levin
Executive Director
Bioenergy Association of California
Biography

Julia Levin

Executive Director
Bioenergy Association of California

Julia Levin is the Executive Director of the Bioenergy Association of California (BAC), which represents more than 50 companies, agencies and local governments working to promote sustainable bioenergy development.  Prior to BAC, Julia served as the Deputy Secretary for Climate Change and Energy at the California Resources Agency where she chaired the Governor’s Inter-Agency Bioenergy Working Group and led development of California’s 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan.  Previously, Julia worked with Attorney General Jerry Brown to defend California’s feed-in tariff and other clean energy policies.  Julia has also served as a Commissioner on the California Energy Commission, where she was the presiding Commissioner on renewable energy and associate Commissioner on energy efficiency.    

Prior to state government, Julia was the Global Warming Director for the National Audubon Society and the California Policy Coordinator for the Union of Concerned Scientists, where she led campaigns to pass California’s first RPS and its climate action registry, and worked to promote clean fuels and vehicles.  Julia received her B.A. from Brown University and her law degree from Hastings College of the Law.

Karen Douglas
Commissioner
California Energy Commission
Biography

Karen Douglas

Commissioner
California Energy Commission

Originally appointed to the California Energy Commission in February 2008 and in December 2012, filling the Attorney position on the five-member Commission. Served as Chair from February 2009 to February 201. Lead Commissioner on power plant siting, compliance and enforcement and the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan.

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 #11!

Paul Mason
Vice President, Policy and Incentives
Pacific Forest Trust
Biography

Paul Mason

Vice President, Policy and Incentives
Pacific Forest Trust

Paul Mason is the Vice-President of Policy and Incentives for the Pacific Forest Trust where he advocates for the restoration and conservation of California’s forests and watersheds, with a focus on working cooperatively with private landowners to restore and retain more natural forest conditions. Paul also advocates for the role of forests and other lands in state climate programs to reduce carbon already in the atmosphere and to prepare for future climate conditions. Recent work has focused on reframing how the state approaches forest and watershed restoration to be more strategic and efficient.

Prior to working for PFT, Paul was the Deputy Director of Sierra Club California and represented the Club on forests, fire and other natural resource issues before the Legislature. In the 1990’s Paul played a leading role in the successful effort to protect the last large stands of ancient redwoods, now protected in the 7,500-acre Headwaters Forest Reserve in Humboldt County.

Bob Sipchen
Senior Editor, California Section
Los Angeles Times
Biography

Bob Sipchen

Senior Editor, California Section
Los Angeles Times

Bob Sipchen helps edit the Los Angeles Times California Section. In 2002 he and Alex Raksin won the Pulitzer Prize for “Helping People Off the Streets,” a series of editorials on Los Angeles’ homeless mentally ill population. In 1993 he shared in the Times’ Pulitzer for its team coverage of the Los Angeles Riots.  In his many years at the Times, Sipchen has served as Sunday Opinion Editor, Senior Editor at the Los Angeles Times magazine, editor and creator of the Outdoors section, columnist, and staff writer.

From 2007 till 2015 Sipchen worked at the Sierra Club, America’s largest and most effective grassroots environmental organization, where he led a staff of up to 80 multi-media professionals and served as National Communications Director and Editor in Chief of Sierra magazine, an award-winning, 500,000- circulation bimonthly created by Sierra Club founder John Muir in 1893. 

Sipchen is an adjunct professor at Occidental College, where he teaches journalism and communications classes. He and his wife, Pam, live in Los Angeles and are the parents of three adult children. 

Josh Boone
Director
Veloz
Biography

Josh Boone

Director
Veloz

Josh Boone is the director of Veloz.  Previously, Boone was the deputy executive director of the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative upon which Veloz was founded.  He lead all Veloz development efforts to foster the initial concept, including directing work efforts to give the organization a name, brand, visual identity, philosophy and workplan while also spearheading board development.

At the PEV Collaborative, Boone advised the executive director and chair in development and implementation of the strategic plan, goals and policies to accelerate the electric car market in California.  He was responsible for day-to-day operational strategy across all programs, including guidance to staff.  He maintained strong relationships with members, led business development activities and initiated on-trend, innovative member meeting content.

Boone holds MS and BS degrees from the University of California, Davis, and has authored several scientific publications.  He and his wife have three children and drive electric.

Evan Birenbaum
Managing Partner
Valkyrie Security Group
Biography

Evan Birenbaum

Managing Partner
Valkyrie Security Group

An expert in the development of cross-infrastructure analytics and technology for Big Data applications, he is one of the most sought-after providers in the U.S. market for the design and development of technology tools to power e-commerce, and he has been at the forefront of the development and market application of behavioral energy efficiency technology. He was among the pioneers in developing mobile apps, including, in 2003, the development of the mobile customer relationship management (CRM) application with the German software giant SAP SE and Canadian multinational developer of enterprise software and Internet of things Research in Motion (RIM), now known as BlackBerry Limited, providing the catalyst for SAP's mobile CRM platform used by such giants as McCormick & Company. His career in technology began in high school when he worked for IBM, and while at John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, he worked for Deutsche Bank as a consultant deploying real-time trading technologies developed by Bloomberg, and in 2004 he co-founded his first technology company, SOS Technology Group, providing an array of IT services. By 2010 he was at Southern California Edison as its lead corporate strategist and company-wide program manager for Environmental Strategy and Sustainability, then in 2014 he co-founded and served as Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Executive Officer for Chai Energy. He is a leader in many organizations, including Young Professionals in Energy (LA) and Reef Check Foundation, serving as a member of the Boards of Directors of both, is on the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Business Council, and has been a featured speaker on cutting-edge technology issues at numerous forums, including SXSW Eco 2015, and VerdeXchange, 2015-2019. He is frequently quoted, or featured, in media outlets covering technology developments, such as appears in "L.A. Startup Pays Users to Save Power," Annlee Ellingson, L.A. BIZ Journal, 8/15/16, and "Can the Golden State Go Green," Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News, 3/13/17.

Atsushi Denda
Deputy Director
Institute of Technology, Shimizu Corporation
Biography

Atsushi Denda

Deputy Director
Institute of Technology, Shimizu Corporation
Jim Lucas
Market Development Manager
SoCalGas
Biography

Jim Lucas

Market Development Manager
SoCalGas

Jim Lucas is a Market Development Manager for the Southern California Gas Company.  One of his group’s missions is to support, promote and further develop the biogas market by educating customers on the benefits of renewable natural gas and how to create value from their organic waste.  Jim’s team also manages SoCalGas’ Biogas Conditioning/Upgrading Services Tariff, the Compression Services Tariff, and the recently approved Distributed Energy Resources Tariff.  Since starting with SoCalGas over 20 years ago, Jim has held a variety of positions relating to Product Development, Project Management, Energy Efficiency, Pipeline Operations, Financial Analysis, and Engineering on both the regulated and unregulated sides of the business. 

Alison Brown
President & Founder
Flux Energy Systems
Biography

Alison Brown

President & Founder
Flux Energy Systems

Alison Brown has over 12 years of experience in renewable energy. She has worked with solar, battery, electric vehicle, fuel cell and smart grid technologies on projects ranging from remote, off-grid mountain cabins to industrial microgrids. In 2016, Alison founded Flux Energy Systems to simplify the design and installation of alternative energy projects.  When not working, Alison enjoys all that LA has to offer: her family, trail runs, the beach and exploring fantastic food scene. 

Alison holds a B.A. in Physics from Middlebury College and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She was a recipient of the 2009 Transatlantic Renewable Energy Fellowship. She is currently the Director of the LA Chapter of WRISE.

Adam Schiff
Congressman, California's 28th District
US House of Representatives
Biography

Adam Schiff

Congressman, California's 28th District
US House of Representatives
Dr. Jerry Schubel
President and CEO
Aquarium of the Pacific
Biography

Dr. Jerry Schubel

President and CEO
Aquarium of the Pacific

Dr. Jerry R. Schubel has been president and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific since 2002. He is president and CEO Emeritus of the New England Aquarium, and from 1974-1994 was Dean of Stony Brook University’s Marine Sciences Research Center. For three of those years he served as the University’s provost and is Distinguished Service Professor emeritus. Prior to 1974, Dr. Schubel was an adjunct professor, research scientist and associate director of The Johns Hopkins University's Chesapeake Bay Institute.

Throughout his professional life he has worked at the interfaces of science-management-policy on issues dealing with the ocean with an emphasis on the coastal ocean. He has published more than 225 scientific papers and has written extensively for general audiences. He is a member of the California Ocean Science Trust Board, and the Science Advisory Team for California’s Ocean Protection Council. He chaired the NOAA Science Advisory Board; National Sea Grant Review Panel; the National Research Council (“NRC”) Marine Board; the NRC Committee on the St. Lawrence Seaway, Phase I and Phase II, the Ocean Research and Resources Advisory Panel, and the NRC Committee on the Value and Sustainability of Biological Field Stations, Marine Laboratories and Nature Reserves in 21st Century.

At the Aquarium of the Pacific, he created the Aquatic Forum that brings together scientists, policy-makers and stakeholders to explore alternative ways of dealing with important, complex, and often controversial environmental issues facing the nation. He also directs the Aquarium’s Marine Conservation Research Institute and the Aquarium’s Aquatic Academy programs.  He has been interviewed by hundreds of media outlets on a variety of environmental and scientific topics for international, national and local stories. 

Lev Goldberg
CEO & Co-Founder
Aquify-an Exelon Company
Biography

Lev Goldberg

CEO & Co-Founder
Aquify-an Exelon Company

Lev Goldberg is CEO and co-founder of Aquify and is passionate about finding new, creative ways to solve our cities’ large, infrastructure challenges. As a marketing and sales executive for more than 20 years, Lev has led marketing, communications, and sales strategy teams for Exelon’s Constellation business unit, helping businesses and public sector agencies manage energy costs and risks.

Prior to Constellation, Lev led marketing and international sales for North America’s most successful heat exchanger manufacturer serving the commercial and industrial refrigeration and air conditioning industry. He is also a lifelong entrepreneur, having launched multiple publishing companies. In 2019 Lev co-founded Aquify with Patrick Graves.

Anthony Ravitz
Real Estate and Workplace Services, Green Team Lead
Google
Biography

Anthony Ravitz

Real Estate and Workplace Services, Green Team Lead
Google
Elise Keddie
Manager, Zero-Emission Vehicle Implementation
California Air Resources Board
Biography

Elise Keddie

Manager, Zero-Emission Vehicle Implementation
California Air Resources Board

Elise Keddie is Manager of the Zero Emission Vehicle Implementation Section at the California Air Resources Board (CARB).  Her group is responsible for coordinating compliance with California’s Zero Emission Vehicle regulation, and  developing and implementing policies to promote and support advanced technology vehicle awareness, education, and consumer adoption.  Prior to joining CARB in 2001, Elise held a research position at the University of California, Davis.  She holds a BS degree from UC Davis, and a PhD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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.

Jonathan Levy
Zero Waste Project Manager
Go2Zero Strategies
Biography

Jonathan Levy

Zero Waste Project Manager
Go2Zero Strategies

Jonathan Levy is a project manager at Go2Zero Strategies, a full-service environmental consulting firm specializing in regulatory compliance and reporting, outreach and technical assistance in municipal solid waste. Jonathan has a background in supply chain management and logistics, where he works with clients to achieve operational efficiencies that are circular, sustainable and cost-saving. Clients in include a waste hauler in the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation’s Franchise Hauling program, recycLA, and Los Angeles County Public Works.

Joe Sullivan
Director of Energy Solutions
Los Angeles IBEW & NECA
Biography

Joe Sullivan

Director of Energy Solutions
Los Angeles IBEW & NECA
Paul Relis
Senior Vice President
CR&R Environmental Services
Biography

Paul Relis

Senior Vice President
CR&R Environmental Services

Paul Relis is Senior Vice President of CR&R Incorporated, an environmental services company that provide recycling and waste services to 40 cities in Southern California. He leads the company’s efforts to develop technology to convert the organic fraction of the municipal solid waste stream to renewable natural gas, a zero carbon fuel, and soil products for California agriculture. This technology will be the first of its kind in the United States. In this capacity Relis works closely with the state’s major regulatory agencies, environmental organizations, industry associations and local government.

Prior to his private sector position, Mr. Relis served as an executive in the California Environmental Protection Agency as the Governor’s environmental appointee to the California Integrated Waste Management Board (now CalRecycle). He oversaw California’s solid waste system, including recycling composting, landfills and incinerators, working closely with the state’s other major regulatory agencies including the California Air Resources Board, the California Energy Commission, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce. He was a U.S. Information Services Speaker to the People’s Republic of China and Germany.

In 1970, while still a student at UCSB, Relis was at the forefront of the fledgling environmental movement. He became the first Executive Director of the Community Environmental Council, an NGO that pioneered recycling, waste minimization, renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. Forty years later the Council is working on a multi-decade effort to wean the region from its dependency on fossil fuels.

Ian Parker
Vice President, Public Sector and Infrastructure Banking
Goldman Sachs
Biography

Ian Parker

Vice President, Public Sector and Infrastructure Banking
Goldman Sachs

Ian is a member of the Public Sector and Infrastructure Banking team, focusing on municipal clients located throughout the western region of the United States. In his current role, he works with clients in the transportation, water and general government space. Ian has led the execution of over $20 billion of long-term debt and $8 billion of short-term debt financings as a senior or joint lead underwriter since he joined Goldman Sachs in 2008 as a vice president. He was named managing director in 2010. 

Prior to joining the firm, Ian worked at Merrill Lynch for nearly two decades in various roles, including municipal housing finance from 1989 to 1999 and municipal capital markets from 2004 to 2008. He also spent four years in London as a member of the structured finance group, where he specialized in providing capital market solutions for European public sector clients and financial institutions. 

Ian serves on the Board of Directors and Finance Committee of the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (PHS/SPCA), based in Burlingame, California. PHS/SPCA is a private nonprofit committed to humane ethics and building healthy relationships between people and animals, and is the provider of animal rescue and control services for all of San Mateo County. 

Ian earned a BA, with honors, from Harvard College in 1989. 

William Rouse
General Manager
Yellow Cab of Los Angeles
Biography

William Rouse

General Manager
Yellow Cab of Los Angeles

As the fourth generation of his family in the taxicab business, William J. Rouse serves as General Manager of five taxicab fleets in the greater Los Angeles area, including Yellow Cab of Los Angeles, Long Beach Yellow Cab, United Checker Cab, South Bay Yellow Cab and Fiesta Taxi.  ASC is the largest taxicab organization in the Western United States with more than 1200 vehicles in its combined fleet.

Mr. Rouse is also affiliated with the management of San Diego Yellow Cab, with 330 vehicles in service, and California Yellow Cab, in Orange County, California, with over 200 vehicles.

Mr. Rouse graduated from the University of Southern California in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Finance and Business Economics. He received his law degree from the University of Southern California and was admitted to the bar in 1992. 

Mr. Rouse is the past President of the Taxicab Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA), his industry’s international taxicab trade association.  He is also serving his second term as President of the Taxicab Paratransit Association of California (TPAC), the industry’s statewide trade association.  He also recently completed a two-year term as Chair of the Long Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Alex Helou
Assistant Director
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation
Biography

Alex Helou

Assistant Director
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation

Mr. Helou is an Assistant Director of the City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Sanitation. At this position, Mr. Helou heads the Solid Resources Group that is responsible for managing solid waste for the entire City of Los Angeles, including collection, transport, and processing of source separated recyclables, green materials, and municipal solid waste from 750,000 residential customers. 

Mr. Helou leads a workforce of over 1,300 employees in 5 Divisions, with annual operating budget of 180 million dollars. Mr. Helou is in charge of implementing many key solid waste management strategies to help the City of Los Angeles achieve Zero Waste by 2025, including the Solid Waste Integrated Resources Plan and the Commercial Franchise System. The City has exceeded the 75% diversion rate and continues moving toward the zero waste goal. 

A 22-year veteran of the City of Los Angeles, Mr. Helou is a registered Chemical Engineer with a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering. 

Dr. Thomas Becker
Vice President Sustainability, Mobility
BMW Group
Biography

Dr. Thomas Becker

Vice President Sustainability, Mobility
BMW Group

Since 10/2019 Dr. Thomas Becker holds the position as Vice President Sustainability, Mobility at the BMW Group.

Dr. Thomas Becker was Vice President Government and External Affairs at the BMW Group in Munich from 2007 to September 2019. During his time in the area of Government and External Affairs he supervised the worldwide representation of the BMW Group’s political interests, the company’s approach to integrate political topics into the product as well as business communications and the steering of the sustainability communication of the company.

Dr. Thomas Becker started his career as an expert in the department of environmental policy at the Association of the German Industry (BDI) in Berlin. He later held several leadership positions at the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) in Frankfurt. Before his current role with the BMW Group Dr. Becker worked as Deputy Managing Director at VDA, where he was responsible for the association’s co-management. From 1988 until 2003 Dr. Thomas Becker served as a reserve officer with the rank of Captain in the German Air Force.

Dr. Thomas Becker received his PhD degree (Dr. rer. pol.) with Professor Dr. Ekkehard Kappler at the Reinhard-Mohn Foundation Chair for Management, Economics, and Social Evolution at the University of Witten / Herdecke with magna cum laude. He also holds a diploma in economics from the University of Cologne.

Kevin Kushman
President
Integral Analytics
Biography

Kevin Kushman

President
Integral Analytics

Kevin Kushman is President of Integral Analytics, the software unit of Willdan Group, where he is responsible for revenue generation, product management, marketing, customer success and team growth.  Kevin’s twenty years in the energy and utility space include CEO, CFO and numerous board roles with utilities, energy technology and software firms, founding leadership of Cinergy Ventures’ $200 million corporate venture fund and as founder of CleanBridge Energy Partners, a distributed energy asset investor and developer.  Kevin holds an MBA from Xavier University and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

Emilio Cruz
Assistant General Manager
SFPUC
Biography

Emilio Cruz

Assistant General Manager
SFPUC

Emilio Cruz is the Assistant General Manager, Infrastructure, overseeing all water, power and sewer capital programs and projects, including the Water System Improvement Program, Sewer System Improvement Program, and Hetchy System Improvement Program. He leads the Infrastructure Division, coordinating the work of the following Bureaus: Environmental Management, Construction Management, Engineering Management, Project Management, Project Controls, and Contract Administration. Emilio brings to the SFPUC all the attributes of a dynamic career encompassing twenty-five years serving the City and County of San Francisco, and private and non-profit sectors. He was Program Manager of the Waterfront Capital Improvement Program under the Chief Administrative Officer of San Francisco; Director of Facilities and Operations for the Port of San Francisco; Chief of Staff to the Mayor; General Manager of the Municipal Railway; Vice President of URS Corporation; Director of Economic Development for the City and County of San Francisco; Chief Operating Officer of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund; Vice President and Partner of EPC Consultants; and most recently, Program Manager for the $4.2 billion Transbay Terminal Program. He is a graduate of Stanford University, with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He has led numerous boards, including the San Francisco Board of Education, and San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR), for which he served as President and Vice President, respectively.

Eric Denhoff
Deputy Minister
Alberta Climate Change Office
Biography

Eric Denhoff

Deputy Minister
Alberta Climate Change Office
Greg Spotts
Chief Sustainability Officer
Streets LA
Biography

Greg Spotts

Chief Sustainability Officer
Streets LA

Greg Spotts serves Los Angeles as Assistant Director and Chief Sustainability Officer of StreetsLA.  Greg oversees more than 600 staff in the Street Maintenance, Urban Forestry, and Investigation and Enforcement Divisions.  Greg completed a BA in political science from Yale and a Masters in Public Policy at UCLA, with a Leaders In Sustainability Certificate. Greg's current initiatives include Cool Streets LA, launching the city's first cloud-based street tree inventory, legalizing sidewalk and park vending, and purchasing the city's first electric powered motor sweeper. 

 
 
Jason Gremillion
Vice President of Development & Investment
Trammell Crow Company
Biography

Jason Gremillion

Vice President of Development & Investment
Trammell Crow Company

Jason Gremillion serves as Vice President of Development & Investment for Trammell Crow Company where his primary focus is on the industrial pursuit and development initiative. Mr. Gremillion’s current projects include: Carson Industrial Center North, La Verne Technology and Trade Center , and the CleanTech Manufacturing Center. Mr. Gremillion has accumulated 20 years of commercial real estate development and construction experience specializing in providing comprehensive expertise in site selection, valuation and market analyses, entitlements, design and construction management, transaction management, and partner relations.

Rajit Gadh
Professor
UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science
Biography

Rajit Gadh

Professor
UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science

Dr. Rajit Gadh is a Professor at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA, and the Founding Director of the UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center. He is also Founder and Director of the Wireless Internet for Mobile Enterprise Consortium. Dr. Gadh's research interests include Smart Grid Architectures, Smart wireless communications, sense and control for Demand Response. He has over 150 papers in journals, conferences and technical magazines, and, 3 patents granted.

He has a Doctorate degree from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), a Masters from Cornell University and a Bachelors degree from IIT Kanpur. He has taught as a visiting researcher at UC Berkeley, has been a Assistant, Associate and Full Professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and did his sabbatical as a visiting researcher at Stanford University for a year. 

Cathy Green
President, Division 6
Orange County Water District
Biography

Cathy Green

President, Division 6
Orange County Water District

Cathy Green was elected to the Orange County Water District (OCWD) Board of Directors in November 2010 and was re-elected in 2012. She was selected by the board to serve as its 2013 and 2014 1st vice president and as its 2015 president.

Prior to Director Green's service on OCWD's board, she was elected to two consecutive terms on the Huntington Beach City Council where she served two terms as mayor. Director Green has been involved as a council liaison and committee member on many city boards, commissions and committees.

Her community involvement includes serving as chair of the Orange County Emergency Medical Care Committee; vice chair of Finance Explorer’s/Learning for Life; and director of the Huntington Beach Hospital, Boy Scouts of America Council and American Family Housing. She is a founding member of Amigos de Bolsa Chica, three-time chair and board member of the Huntington Beach Community Clinic and served as president of the Therapeutic Riding Center. She also is a member of the Community Emergency Response Team.

Director Green is the recipient of many awards. In September 2010, she was the recipient of the Spurgeon Award, and, in 2005, she was named Woman of the Year by then State Senator John Campbell. Other awards include the 2006 United Way Excellence in Child Care Planning, the 2007 Peace Maker Award from the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council and the Golden West College Pillar of Achievement Award. She has also been recognized as Huntington Beach’s Citizen of the Year by the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce, a Huntington Beach Soroptimist’s Woman of Distinction and a Bolsa Chica Conservancy Conservator of the Year.

Director Green is a registered nurse and holds a degree in law. As a nurse, Director Green worked in the health care areas of intensive care, student health, community health, and patient advocacy. In addition to nursing, she gained experience with a variety of environmental projects while associated with Lockhart and Associates. Director Green and her husband Peter have been residents of Huntington Beach for more than 40 years where they raised their two children Teresa and Tom.

Maryam Brown
President
SoCal Gas
Biography

Maryam Brown

President
SoCal Gas
Maryam Brown is president of Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), a Sempra Energy regulated California utility.
 
Previously, Brown was vice president of federal government affairs for Sempra Energy.
 
Prior to joining Sempra Energy in 2016, Brown served as the senior energy and environment counsel for the Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. From 2011 to 2012, she was the energy chief counsel for the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. From 2010 to 2011, she was policy counsel for the U.S. Senate’s Republican Policy Committee. Before that, she was manager of public policy and strategic planning for ConocoPhillips.
 
Brown serves on the board of directors of the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Business Roundtable. She holds both a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a law degree (Order of the Coif) from Louisiana State University.

 

Rodger Schwecke
Vice President of Customer Solutions
Southern California Gas Company
Biography

Rodger Schwecke

Vice President of Customer Solutions
Southern California Gas Company

Rodger R. Schwecke is Vice President of Customer Solutions for SoCalGas. In this role, he is responsible for customer programs promoting energy efficiency, sustainability, low-income assistance, commercial and industrial customer services, advertising, customer communications, customer research, web services, and the development of new emerging technologies including SoCalGas’ natural gas vehicle program.  He serves on the Discovery Science Center Board, Orange County Business Council, NGVAmerica Board and Executive Committee, and UCLA Extension Global Sustainability Certificate Program Advisory Board. 

James Simonelli
Executive Director
California Metals Coalition
Biography

James Simonelli

Executive Director
California Metals Coalition

James Simonelli is the Executive Director of the California Metals Coalition. For 20 years he has represented the state’s metalworking sector, which consists of nearly 4,000 businesses employing over 350,000 Californians.

He served as the organization’s chief lobbyist for 15 years, authoring several pieces of legislation into law. He currently runs two metals storm water compliance groups, and is co‐Chair of Sacramento’s WATER Coalition.

Most recently he served as project lead for the state’s first fuel cell generation system at an aluminum ingot manufacturer, and was project lead with UCLA and the Japan Industry Federation to find lead free alternatives for potable water system components.

Shari Afshari
Deputy Director
LA County Public Works
Biography

Shari Afshari

Deputy Director
LA County Public Works

Shari Afshari has been with Los Angeles County for 36 years. Currently, she serves as a Deputy Director for Los Angeles County Public Works over Environmental Services. In this role, she is responsible for ensuring the environmentally sustainable management of solid waste and recycling for over one million unincorporated area residents and 20,000 commercial accounts; operation and maintenance of sewer infrastructure for a population of over 2 million people within the County Unincorporated area and a total of 39 cities;

the operation of Public Works’ fleet which includes more than 3,000 pieces of on- and off-road vehicles and equipment as it transitions to a clean fleet through the use of alternative fuel and zero emission vehicles; as well as enterprise-wide services that consist of providing survey, mapping, and real property management services, as well as claims, litigation, and risk management support services. These essential services aid Public Works in delivering sustainable regional infrastructure and help ensure our communities and employees are safe.

Ms. Afshari also has extensive experience in local government and Public Works operations in the areas of design, construction, project management, water resources, transportation, infrastructure sustainability, and public buildings. She is a licensed civil engineer with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and a Master's degree in transportation and city planning from the California State University, Los Angeles.
Eliot Abel
Co-Owner / Director of Commercial Sales
Namasté Solar
Biography

Eliot Abel

Co-Owner / Director of Commercial Sales
Namasté Solar

Eliot leads commercial sales & project development at Namasté Solar, guiding the development of solar projects ranging from 100kW to 10MW. Prior to joining Namasté Solar, Eliot was the Founder and Principal of Abel Clean Energy Advisors, a consulting firm that helps commercial property owners and developers utilize innovative financing, such as C-PACE, to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions that increase value, reduce operating costs, and enhance the sustainability of their properties. Earlier in his career, Eliot worked in business development roles at a UK-based thin film solar startup, GE’s global Renewable Energy business, and San Diego-based Renovate America. Eliot serves on the Board of the Colorado Solar and Storage Association, on the Building Healthy Places committee for the Urban Land Institute of Colorado, and holds a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Robert Lempert
Principal Researcher
RAND Corporation
Biography

Robert Lempert

Principal Researcher
RAND Corporation

Robert Lempert is a principal researcher at the RAND Corporation and director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition. His research focuses on decisionmaking under conditions of deep uncertainty, with an emphasis on climate change, energy, and the environment. Lempert and his research team assist a number of natural resource agencies in their efforts to include climate change in their long-range plans. He has also led studies on national security strategies and science and technology investment strategies for clients such as the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Lempert is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Panel on Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Political and Social Stresses, and a lead author for Working Group II of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report and for the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. Lempert was the Inaugural EADS Distinguished Visitor in Energy and Environment at the American Academy in Berlin.

A professor of policy analysis in the Pardee RAND Graduate School, Lempert is an author of the book Shaping the Next One Hundred Years: New Methods for Quantitative, Longer-Term Policy Analysis. Lempert received his Ph.D. in applied physics and S.M. in applied physics and science policy from Harvard University.

Billie Greer
President
Southern California Leadership Council
Biography

Billie Greer

President
Southern California Leadership Council

Billie Greer is the President of the Southern California Leadership Council, a non-profit , non-partisan organization founded by four former California Governors and Southern California business and community leaders, to address and resolve public policy issues critical to the region’s economic vitality. With 30 years of experience in the public affairs arena as an advocate and community leader, Billie Greer served as Director of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Los Angeles regional office and a member of his senior staff from 2004 – 2010.  During the Governor’s tenure, she also served as an Alternate on the California Coastal Commission.  In 2010, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Billie to the California Science Center & Exposition Park Board. Earlier in her career, Billie was an executive with the consulting firm of Braun & Company/Braun Ketchum and subsequently co-founded and served as president of Greer/Dailey, a LA-based public affairs consulting firm, which helps for-profit and non-profit clients, facing land use and environmental challenges, meet their objectives. Billie left Greer/Dailey upon accepting the Governor’s appointment. Active in the community, Billie is a trustee of the Lowe Institute of Political Economy at Claremont-McKenna College and serves on the Board of Directors of the Television Foundation and the Downtown Women’s Center. In 2004, Billie was inducted into the National Association of Women Business Owners/LA’s Hall of Fame, and she has been honored by several other organizations including LA Bio Med, the San Fernando Valley Business Journal, the Black Business Association of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles African American Public Policy Institute, among others. 

Jacquelyn Birdsall
Senior Engineer
Toyota Motor
Biography

Jacquelyn Birdsall

Senior Engineer
Toyota Motor

Jacquelyn Birdsall is a Senior Engineer in the Fuel Cell Development Department of Toyota Motor North America Research and Development specializing in hydrogen infrastructure, high pressure hydrogen systems and associated standards and regulations. She also serves as a technical spokesperson for the Toyota Mirai and has been in numerous publications including Car and Driver and the Wall Street Journal.

Birdsall has held several roles in the automotive industry prior to joining Toyota in 2012 with over fourteen years of experience in hydrogen, including a thirteen-month assignment at the Toyota Motor Corporation Global Headquarters in Japan.

In addition to her activities in hydrogen, Birdsall takes personal interest in promoting STEM learning and diversity within the industry. She is a board member of Women Influencing and Impacting Toyota and in 2015 was honored by the Manufacturing Institute as an Emerging Leader and by Automotive News as Rising Star.

Birdsall received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University (previously General Motors Institute).

Jason Hills
Manager of Substation Engineering & Electrification
LADWP
Biography

Jason Hills

Manager of Substation Engineering & Electrification
LADWP

Jason is the Manager of Substation Engineering and Electrification at the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP).  LADWP supports the growth in adoption of electric vehicles and aims for 10,000 public, workplace, and fleet charging stations in Los Angeles by 2022 and 25,000 by 2025. In this role, Jason oversees the implementation of various electric transportation programs that include the installation of charging stations at LADWP properties and the development of customer-facing EV incentive programs. Jason also manages various substation programs aimed at supporting the reliability and growth of LADWP’s Power System.

Doug Kim
Director of Advanced Technology
Southern California Edison
Biography

Doug Kim

Director of Advanced Technology
Southern California Edison

Doug Kim is the director of Advanced Technology, Southern California Edison’s technology evaluation organization. This Transmission and Distribution Business Unit group operates as part of the Engineering and Technical Services division and is responsible for SCE’s smart grid development, which includes advanced grid technologies, energy storage, electric transportation, and the integration of energy smart consumer products.

Before taking the helm at Advanced Technology, Mr. Kim led SCE’s Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness efforts to ensure SCE’s grid and services are prepared to support the integration of the many new electric vehicles being marketed by automobile manufacturers.

Prior to leading the PEV Readiness group’s activities, Mr. Kim served as general manager for Edison Carrier Solutions, a business unit of SCE that provides large capacity fiber optics-based broadband services to local and long distance telephone, alternative telecommunications service providers, wireless carriers, cable television, and internet access companies.

Kim began his tenure at Edison International (EIX), the parent company of SCE, in 1996 where he was engaged in the company’s strategic planning and new business development. He also served as an internal consultant for many of EIX’s operating units. Mr. Kim went on to manage a variety of SCE organizations where he led the assessment of new business opportunities, development of strategies, and detailed business plans.                                                                                                                          

Mr. Kim earned a Master of Business Administration degree from UCLA and his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA.

John Laird
Secretary
California Natural Resources Agency
Biography

John Laird

Secretary
California Natural Resources Agency

John Laird has served as Secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency since 2011. A long-time resident of Santa Cruz, Secretary Laird has spent nearly 40 years in public service at the state and local level, including 23 years as an elected official. While serving the maximum three terms in the Assembly, Laird authored 82 bills that were signed into law. These bills established the landmark Sierra Nevada Conservancy, restored community college health services, expanded and clarified state civil rights protections, reformed the state mandates system, and significantly expanded water conservation.

As California’s Secretary of Natural Resources, Laird has prioritized climate change adaptation, water conservation and supply reliability, enhanced relationships with tribal governments, State Parks access, farmland conservation, and oceans sustainability. He provides administrative oversight to thirty departments, commissions, councils, museum, boards and conservancies – and is a sitting member of sixteen conservancies, councils, boards and commissions within the purview of the Agency.

Zhihang Chi
Vice President and General Manager
Air China, North America
Biography

Zhihang Chi

Vice President and General Manager
Air China, North America
Melissa Ruhl
Transportation Planner
Arup
Biography

Melissa Ruhl

Transportation Planner
Arup

Melissa Ruhl is a transportation planner for Arup in San Francisco where she manages autonomous vehicles strategies and policy efforts. Partnering with cities and transit agencies, Melissa helps communities plan for tomorrow while improving quality of life today. She co-authored the Autonomous Vehicles: A Horizon Initiative Perspective Paper on behalf of the San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and she regularly speaks in both the San Francisco Bay Area and nationally on autonomous vehicles and the future of cities. In June 2018, the Northern California American Planning Association granted her the Special Recognition Award – Emerging Planner. Melissa earned a Master of Urban Planning from San Jose State University and a Master of Arts in History from the University of Oregon. 

Noel Hacegaba
Chief Commercial Officer
Port of Long Beach
Biography

Noel Hacegaba

Chief Commercial Officer
Port of Long Beach

Dr. Noel Hacegaba is the Chief Commercial Officer for the Port of Long Beach, where he previously served as Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, responsible for managing the daily business activities of the Port, including 17 divisions and 500 employees.  Dr. Hacegaba has over 17 years of public and private sector experience spanning various industries. As a senior leader for the nation's second-largest environmental services company, he acquired and managed $200 million in contracts. He has also held executive-level positions in a growing international company, at a corporate and public affairs consultancy and for an elected official.  Dr. Hacegaba graduated from the University of Southern California with degrees in economics, business administration and urban planning. He also earned a doctorate in public administration from the University of La Verne and is a Certified Port Executive and Professional Port Manager.

Larsh Johnson
Chief Technology Officer
Stem
Biography

Larsh Johnson

Chief Technology Officer
Stem

As Chief Technology Officer at Stem, Larsh Johnson is leading hardware and software engineering to meet the needs of Stem’s C&I, utility, and energy market customers.

Prior to joining Stem, Larsh was Chief Technology Officer at Siemens Digital Grid, where he led technology development teams on products spanning from consumer metering, demand response and analytics to control center software and grid automation. He joined Siemens via the acquisition of eMeter, a Bay Area software company of which he was a co-founder and responsible for innovation and development of meter data management, analytics, and advanced smart grid applications.

Prior to eMeter, he co-founded CellNet Data Systems, a pioneer in wireless networks for smart metering and distribution automation and now a unit of Landis+Gyr.

Larsh was a founding member of the DOE’s Gridwise Architecture Council (GWAC) and remains a Member Emeritus. He earned a B.S. and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

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. 

Marshall Parsons
Manager, Edison SmartConnect Product Development
Southern California Edison
Biography

Marshall Parsons

Manager, Edison SmartConnect Product Development
Southern California Edison

Marshall Parsons is responsible developing and testing products and solutions to meet the needs of the Edison SmartConnect™ smartmeter program. Specific focus areas include Home Area Networks, Programmable Communicating Thermostats, Graphical Information Displays, Smart Appliances and Plug-in Electric Vehicles.

Before assuming his current position Parsons was Program Manager of laboratory and field test programs for the Edison SmartConnect™ meters and telecommunications. Under his leadership, two field trials were successfully completed with an installed base of 8,000 smart meters and associated telecommunications infrastructure. 

Prior to joining Southern California Edison in 2003, Parsons was a Senior Consultant with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, implementing major CRM and business systems.  Parsons has worked internationally in telecommunications and aerospace R&D in the United Kingdom and South Africa and as the Integration Manager at the new airport in Hong Kong.

Parsons earned his Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering in the United Kingdom and is a Member of the IET (UK). He is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with the Project Management Institute.

Woodrow W. Clark
Founder
Clark Strategic Partners
Biography

Woodrow W. Clark

Founder
Clark Strategic Partners

Clark is an internationally recognized and respected expert, author, lecturer, public speaker and consultant on global and local solutions to climate change. His core advocacy is in the economics for smart green communities. During the 1990s he was Manager of Strategic Planning for Technology Transfer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) with the University of California and the U.S. Department of Energy. While at LLNL he served as one of the contributing scientists and experts for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He chaired the first Research Team for the UN FCCC.

His current work generates responses to climate change from governments and businesses, using public policy, science and technology, and their economics and finance methods. In 2004 he founded, and now manages, Clark Strategic Partners (CSP), a global environmental and renewable energy consulting firm using his political-economic expertise to guide, advise and implement public and private projects advancing sustainable, smart communities as well as colleges and universities, shopping malls, office buildings and film studios. In 2014, building on his mass media background (1980s), he founded Clark Mass Media Company (CM2C), which specializes in documentary, education and dramatic social issues.

Clark earned three masters degrees from different universities in Illinois and his Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley. He has published eleven books and over 70 peer-reviewed articles, which reflect his concern for global sustainable communities. Recent authored and edited books are The Next Economics (Springer, 2012) and Global Sustainable Communities Handbook (Elsevier, 2014). And his latest coauthored books, with Grant Cooke, are The Green Industrial Revolution (Elsevier, 2014), China’s Green Industrial Revolution (in Mandarin, 2015) and Smart Green Cities (Gower, February 2016). Other books are Island Nations (Elsevier Press) with updates to Agile Energy Systems (Elsevier) and Qualitative Economics (Elsevier).

Clark also served in academic, nonprofit organizations and government and taught graduate courses in the USA and China. From 2012-2014, he was an Academic Specialist in Cross-Disciplinary Studies at UCLA and other UC Campuses including Davis and Riverside. From 1999-2000 he was a Visiting Professor of Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship at Aalborg University, Denmark, where he was also a Fulbright Fellow in 1994. Then from 2000 – 2003, he was California Governor Gray Davis’ Renewable Energy, Emerging Technologies and Finance. For 6 out of 8 years, he was Chair of the Citizens Oversight Committee (COC) for school bond funds ($334 million) in Beverly Hills, CA where he lives now with his wife, Andrea and their 8 year old son, Paxton. Clark writes regularly for the Huffington Post at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/woodrow-clark/

Stephanie Wiggins
Chief Executive Officer
Metrolink
Biography

Stephanie Wiggins

Chief Executive Officer
Metrolink

Stephanie Wiggins was named chief executive officer of Metrolink by a unanimous vote of the board of directors in December 2018. Wiggins assumed leadership in January 2019 and leads the 275-employee strong commuter railroad with a budget of $793 million.

As CEO, Wiggins directs an agency that operates a commuter rail network on seven routes across a six-county, 538 route-mile system. Wiggins has held high-level positions at three of the five-member agencies that comprise Metrolink and is well-known as a customer -focused leader who finds solutions from a regional perspective.

Wiggins’ vision for the agency is to create value and exceed expectations by prioritizing a customer-first orientation with three pillars to provide an outstanding customer experience: safety and security, an integrated system, and modernizing business practices.

Prior to leading Metrolink, Wiggins was Deputy CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) where she assisted the CEO in providing leadership and formulating and achieving strategic public transportation objectives, including the passage of Measure M, a half-cent sales tax approved by 71 percent of voters in LA County. During her tenure at LA Metro, Stephanie also served as the Executive Director of Vendor/Contract Management, where she implemented procurement streamlining initiatives and greatly expanded Metro’s utilization of small and historically underutilized businesses.

Prior to that role, Stephanie was the Executive Officer and Project Director of the Congestion Reduction/ExpressLanes Program where she launched the first high occupancy toll lanes in LA County, the I-10 and I-110 Express Lanes, which improved travel times and travel reliability on two of the County’s most congested freeway corridors. Prior to Metro, she served as Regional Programs Director for the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) and oversaw transit, commuter rail, rideshare, goods movement and rail capital projects. Wiggins began her career in transportation when she accepted a temporary assignment at the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority and fell in love with the mission of the agency. The six-month temporary assignment turned into more than four years. She then accepted a policy analyst position with the RCTC where she worked for an additional nine and a half years in management and senior management roles.

Feeling the need for personal and academic growth, Wiggins earned a Master of Business Administration from the USC Marshall School of Business in 2007. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Whittier College in 1992.

Wiggins is a self-proclaimed “military brat” whose father made his career in the Air Force. She credits her experience moving from base to base and country to country as a child for teaching her the importance of diversity.

Wiggins is the founding president of the Inland Empire Chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar. She is the recipient of many awards including the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials 2018 Women Who Move the Nation Award. She is a Board Member of the Los Angeles Chapter of Friends of the Children, the LA Division of the American Heart Association, and an Advisory Board Member for the UCLA Lewis Center. 

Cole Hershkowitz
Co-Founder and CEO
Chai Energy
Biography

Cole Hershkowitz

Co-Founder and CEO
Chai Energy

Cole Hershkowitz's career was born at the intersection of technology, liberal arts, and sustainability. Cole founded Chai Energy, a company that uses energy data and an intuitive user experience to show homeowners exactly where they are wasting money on their utility bill and what they can do to curb that waste.  Chai is available today throughout California.  

At Chai, Cole has brought 4 distinct products to market, patented deep machine learning technology used to decipher energy data, and raised over a million dollars from venture investors in support of technical development.    Previous to Chai, Cole led Caltech's Solar Decathlon team to a second place win in the Engineering category with an incredibly innovative smart home system that was years ahead of its time.  The home featured a first of it's kind gestural home control system that would use Machine Vision and 3d maps to allow homeowners to turn off appliances with a simple point.  Cole also spent time at Southern California Edison working not he Smart Grid Deployment and time at Alsop-Louie Partners learning about Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship.  

Celeste Cantú
CEO
Water Education for Latino Leaders
Biography

Celeste Cantú

CEO
Water Education for Latino Leaders

Celeste Cantú was born into a pioneer family in the Mexicali/ Imperial Valleys.  She began her career as Planning Director in her home town of Calexico, CA. Later, she served a Executive Director for the Imperial Valley Housing Authority, State Director for USDA Rural Development, Executive Director for the State Water Resources Control Board, General Manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority and now is CEO of WELL. WELL partners with CORO of Northern CA and Dig In to develop and implement the Water Solutions Network. 

She is appointed to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board and is President of the PPIC Water Policy Center, and on the boards for the Water Education Foundation, and the Water Foundation.

She holds a BA from Yale in Urban Planning and a MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School. Celeste and husband, Dr. Barry Stampfl live in Temecula and have  two adult sons.

P. Kevin Smith
Managing Partner
IAG Mobility and Electrification Fund
Biography

P. Kevin Smith

Managing Partner
IAG Mobility and Electrification Fund

Kevin is a proven leader with success in Commercial and Public Sector ventures with deep technical competence, analytic skill and ability to quickly produce results. He has travelled extensively throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa; growing start-up ventures; driving revenue for various Fortune 100 companies; successfully implementing solutions and strategies for numerous Public and Private sector entities (Accenture and Computer Sciences Corporation). Most recently, Kevin joined the founding team of LTU technologies (in 2005) and grew the company’s revenue from nascent start-up to significant annual sales and profitability; ultimately leading the company to acquisition by JASTEC, Inc (TSE: 9717).

A graduate of Morehouse College, presenter/participant in various advanced leadership and training programs at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is regularly cited in business trade journals and endeavors to consistently share industry subject matter expertise at various conferences and speaking engagements.

 

Lei He
Director
UCLA Clean Energy Research Center
Biography

Lei He

Director
UCLA Clean Energy Research Center

Dr. Lei He is a professor at UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and the founding director of clean energy research center, Los Angeles. The center is a US-China EcoPartner awarded by the Department of State.

Dr. He obtained several technical awards from ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). He also has consulted a number of IT companies including Cisco, Hewlett-Package, and Intel, and was a founding technical adviser to two VC-supported software startups. He is now the chief scientist for Pride Power Systems and DB New Energy.

Hilda Solis
Los Angeles County Supervisor
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Biography

Hilda Solis

Los Angeles County Supervisor
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Hilda L. Solis was sworn in as Los Angeles County Supervisor for the First District of Los Angeles County on December 1, 2014. Prior to becoming Supervisor she served as Secretary of Labor. Supervisor Solis was confirmed on February 24, 2009, becoming the first Latina to serve in the United States Cabinet. Before that, Supervisor Solis represented the 32nd Congressional District in California, a position she held from 2001 to 2009. In the Congress, Supervisor Solis’ priorities included expanding access to affordable health care, protecting the environment, and improving the lives of working families. A recognized leader on clean energy jobs, she authored the Green Jobs Act which provided funding for “green” collar job training for veterans, displaced workers, at risk youth, and individuals in families under 200 percent of the federal poverty line.

In 2007, Supervisor Solis was appointed to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission), as well as the Mexico — United States Interparliamentary Group. In June 2007, Solis was elected Vice Chair of the Helsinki Commission’s General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions. She was the only U.S. elected official to serve on this Committee. A nationally recognized leader on the environment, Supervisor Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2000 for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues. Her California environmental justice legislation, enacted in 1999, was the first of its kind in the nation to become law.

Supervisor Solis graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.  A former federal employee, she worked in the Carter White House Office of Hispanic Affairs and was later appointed as a management analyst with the Office of Management and Budget in the Civil Rights Division.

Robyn Beavers
CEO
Blueprint Power
Biography

Robyn Beavers

CEO
Blueprint Power

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.

Anne Baker
Deputy State Controller, Environmental Policy
California State Controller's Office
Biography

Anne Baker

Deputy State Controller, Environmental Policy
California State Controller's Office

Anne Baker serves as the Controller’s designee on the State Lands Commission, California Coastal Commission, Pollution Control Financing Authority, Ocean Protection Council, Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, and California Transportation Financing Authority.  Anne also serves on all bond oversight committees involving environmental policy.  Anne previously served as senior advisor on renewable energy siting at the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies.  As Deputy Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency from 2004 through 2008, she was the agency’s lead staff on climate policy that led to the adoption of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32).  In 1978, Anne was an elected member of the Maryland General Assembly’s House of Delegates.  She holds a master’s degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Austin Collins
Principal, Utility Consulting Services
Schneider Electricity
Biography

Austin Collins

Principal, Utility Consulting Services
Schneider Electricity

Austin Collins is a Principal in Schneider Electric’s Utility Consulting Services group. He has a decade of consulting experience working with utilities, system operators, technology developers and commercial end users worldwide. Austin earned his MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia and his BA in Economics and Spanish from Davidson College.

Justin Erbacci
Chief Innovation & Technology Officer
Los Angeles World Airports
Biography

Justin Erbacci

Chief Innovation & Technology Officer
Los Angeles World Airports

Justin Erbacci was appointed Chief Innovation and Technology Officer (CITO) and Deputy Executive Director in July 2016.  Justin is responsible for identifying potential innovative technologies and processes and bringing them to fruition to help transform these airports. He also is responsible for the overall Information Technology vision, strategy and operations for Los Angeles International (LAX) and Van Nuys general aviation airports.

Prior to his appointment with LAWA, he served as Vice President of Customer Experience & Technology for Star Alliance Services GmbH, a global airline network comprised of 28 airlines. Additionally, Justin served as the Director of Global Product Management for Credit Suisse, and as a Manager of Business Planning and Technology at United Airlines. Justin also served as a senior IT consultant for firms including Reese McMahon LLC, Cambridge Management Consultants, and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Prior to consulting, he practiced law as a civil rights defense litigator. Justin earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the Vienna School of Economics/Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University of Chicago’s School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Loyola University of Chicago.

Rob Costanzo
Deputy Operations Manager
City of Surrey, British Columbia
Biography

Rob Costanzo

Deputy Operations Manager
City of Surrey, British Columbia

Robert Costanzo is the Deputy Manager of Operations for the City of Surrey, British Columbia.  He directs the City's Waste Management Planning, Policy and Operations, and leads Surrey's sustainability goals related to waste diversion and reduced carbon emissions from its fleet operations. 

Robert’s current projects include overseeing the planning, development, implementation, and operation of the City of Surrey's new Rethink Waste Collection Services as well as developing one of North America’s first closed-loop Municipal Organic Waste Management Systems. 

Since its debut in 2012, the City’s Rethink Waste program has resulted in a 40% drop to Surrey’s household garbage.  In addition, the City’s new CNG fleet that carries out waste collection services emits 23% less carbon emissions and 90% less air particulates than traditional diesel trucks. The low cost of natural gas compared to diesel, combined with a  streamlined approach to municipal waste collection, has resulted in service savings to the City of Surrey of approximately $3 million per year. 

The next phase of the City’s project involves the development of an Organic Waste Biofuel Facility that will process organic waste collected at curbside into a renewable natural gas.  This gas will be used to fuel the City’s CNG waste collection fleet, resulting in a net-zero carbon impact system. The facility is expected to be operational by 2017.

To ensure no financial burden to Surrey’s taxpayers, Robert is leading Surrey’s approach to developing this estimated $68 million dollar facility via a public-private-partnership model where the City’s partner will be responsible to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the facility via a long-term agreement.  As an added financial benefit, the Government of Canada has agreed to contribute up to $16.9 million of the capital costs of the project through its “Public Private Partnerships Canada” fund.

The sum of these measures is aimed to create a cleaner city, placing Surrey at the global forefront of sustainable waste management practices.

Lee Kanon Alpert
Immediate Past President
LADWP Board of Commissioners
Biography

Lee Kanon Alpert

Immediate Past President
LADWP Board of Commissioners
Ann Rogan
Sr. Advisor - Economic Development
Edge Collaborative
Biography

Ann Rogan

Sr. Advisor - Economic Development
Edge Collaborative

Ann Rogan combines entrepreneurial and global partnerships experience to help define business strategy and new services for early-stage companies. Her work in emerging markets has spanned sectors, including education, healthcare, clean energy, and digital identity. Ann has cofounded two companies, one in renewables, and one in 3D printing. Most recently, she served on the Government of Estonia’s e-Residency Advisory Group to advance digital entrepreneurship. Prior to that, she led the team responsible for global strategy and community development at Singularity University in Silicon Valley. Ann earned a B.A. from McGill University in international development and English literature.

Amanda Eaken
Director, Transportation and Climate
Natural Resources Defense Council
Biography

Amanda Eaken

Director, Transportation and Climate
Natural Resources Defense Council

As an advocate for sustainable urban planning, Amanda Eaken focuses on slashing transportation-related pollution. She played a key role in the formulation and implementation of California's 2008 Sustainable Communities Act, which gives regions funding and incentives to develop emission-reducing strategies. Before joining NRDC, Eaken managed affordable-housing construction for a nonprofit developer in San Francisco. She holds a bachelor's in environmental and evolutionary biology from Dartmouth College and a master's in transportation and land-use planning from the University of California, Berkeley. She is based in San Francisco.

Francie Stefan
Chief Mobility Officer/Assistant Director of Planning & Community Development
City of Santa Monica
Biography

Francie Stefan

Chief Mobility Officer/Assistant Director of Planning & Community Development
City of Santa Monica

Francie Stefan is the Acting Chief Mobility Officer/Assistant Director of Planning & Community Development for the City of Santa Monica. She leads the City’s transportation policy, strategy and implementation efforts such as the Expo Light Rail extension, Colorado Esplanade, Bike and Pedestrian Plans, GoSaMo mobility campaign, COAST open streets, Breeze Bike Share and now the Shared Mobility Pilot Program.

Previously she worked at the City of West Hollywood where she initiated their Green Building Program and General Plan update.

She has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from UCLA, and a B.S. in Geography from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Michael Shull
General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks
Biography

Michael Shull

General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks

Michael Shull began his career with the City of Los Angeles in 1990 with the City’s Department of Public Works, Bureau of Engineering where he worked for 14 years. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, he earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering. Mr. Shull then joined the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) in July 2005. In December 2013, Mike was appointed Interim General Manager General Manager for RAP and recently received his permanent appointment as General Manager in August 2014.

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.

Appointed by the Governor.

Takahiro Obase
Program Manager
JGC Holdings Corporation
Biography

Takahiro Obase

Program Manager
JGC Holdings Corporation

Takahiro Obase joined JGC Corporation in 2007 and has spent most of his tenure with the company as a process engineer, primarily for gasification and related industrial processes.

In 2020, Takahiro transferred to the Sustainability Co-creation Department within JGC Holdings Corporation and has been working as program manager of plastic waste chemical recycling by gasification.
Chris Hill
President & CEO
Electric Mobility Canada
Biography

Chris Hill

President & CEO
Electric Mobility Canada

Chris Hill is the President  & CEO of Electric Mobility Canada, Canada’s leading voice for industry members providing electric-powered solutions to the economic and environmental issues in the transportation sector.  This not-for-profit association has 125 members in the automotive industry, energy utilities, research and development centres, universities and end-user fleets.  Electric Mobility Canada is presenting its 5th annual conference, the largest EV event in Canada, in Ottawa in October 2013.

Chris has an MBA from the University of Toronto and has received several awards for his work in implementing low emission automotive technology.  He lives in Mississauga, Ontario.

Susan Robinson
Public Affairs Director
Waste Management
Biography

Susan Robinson

Public Affairs Director
Waste Management
Paul Relis
Senior Vice President
CR&R Waste Services
Biography

Paul Relis

Senior Vice President
CR&R Waste Services
Arnab Pal
Director
Center for Sustainable Energy
Biography

Arnab Pal

Director
Center for Sustainable Energy
Daniel A. Mazmanian
Professor of Public Policy
USC Price School of Public Policy
Biography

Daniel A. Mazmanian

Professor of Public Policy
USC Price School of Public Policy

Dr. Mazmanian was the founding Director of the Bedrosian Center on Governance, from 2005-2012. He is a professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Academic Director of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy. He served as the school’s Ione L. Piper Dean and Professor from 2000-2005. Before coming to USC, he served as dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation since 1994.

Dr. Mazmanian is a widely published scholar in the field of policy implementation and environmental policy. His current research focuses on the transition to sustainable communities. He is recipient of the Aaron Wildavsky Enduring Contribution Award from the American Political Science Association and the Thomas R. Dye Service Award from the Policy Studies Organization. Dr. Mazmanian served as executive director of the “Report of the California Adaptation Advisory Panel to the State of California,” in 2009-2010, and a member of the “Task Force on Environmental Governance of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development,” in 2005-2006. He is past president of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Washington University and both his M.A. and B.A. in Political Science from San Francisco State University.

Neil Millar
Vice President of Infrastructure and Operations Planning
CAISO
Biography

Neil Millar

Vice President of Infrastructure and Operations Planning
CAISO

Neil Millar, Vice President of Infrastructure and Operations Planning at the California Independent System Operator (ISO), leads the division responsible for its transmission planning, infrastructure contracts,
operations engineering services, and generation interconnection processes.

Prior to joining the California ISO in November of 2010, he was with Alberta’s Utilities Consumer Advocate, the Alberta Electric System Operator, and TransAlta Utilities, then a vertically-integrated utility.

Mr. Millar earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Saskatchewan and is a Professional Engineer registered in Alberta, Canada.

Amy Myers Jaffe
Executive Director for Energy and Sustainability
UC Davis
Biography

Amy Myers Jaffe

Executive Director for Energy and Sustainability
UC Davis
Peter Hamilton
Director of Energy Services
California Center for Sustainable Energy
Biography

Peter Hamilton

Director of Energy Services
California Center for Sustainable Energy
Tatsuya Shinkawa
Director, Market Surveillance Division, Electricity Market Surveillance Commission
Japan Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry
Biography

Tatsuya Shinkawa

Director, Market Surveillance Division, Electricity Market Surveillance Commission
Japan Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry

Tatsuya Shinkawa is Director of the Market Surveillance Division at the Electricity Market Surveillance Commission (EMSC) in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan. He has worked on electricity policy, nuclear safety policy, and economic and industrial policy at METI since 1991. Formerly, he served as Director of the Nuclear Accident Response Office at the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE), METI. Mr. Shinkawa earned his Master’s degree at Kyushu University’s Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Engineering Sciences in Japan in 1991. He was a visiting researcher at Stanford University in 1999 and the Chief Representative in Washington, DC for Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) from 2010 to 2013.

Paul Wassgren
Partner
DLA Piper
Biography

Paul Wassgren

Partner
DLA Piper

Paul Wassgren is a partner at DLA Piper LLP (US), one of the world’s largest law firms, and practices at the intersection of corporate law, real estate, and securities.  He regularly represents funds, real estate sponsors, lenders, and investors, and has helped position DLA Piper as a market leader in the Qualified Opportunity Zone space.  Paul has extensive experience in the areas of project and real estate finance, acquisitions, general corporate law, and private placements.  His clients range in size from individual entrepreneurs to multinational corporations. 

In addition to his legal practice, Paul has extensive experience as an investor in the real estate industry.  He holds a law degree and MBA from Oxford University, and a BA in Economics from Pepperdine University.

Rick Cole
Fmr. City Manager
City of Santa Monica
Biography

Rick Cole

Fmr. City Manager
City of Santa Monica

Rick Cole served as City Manager of Santa Monica  June 2015-2020. During his tenure, he spearheaded work on the City Council’s five Strategic Goals: converting the Santa Monica Airport to parkland; forging a new model of mobility; taking regional leadership on homelessness; fostering an inclusive and diverse community; and promoting wellbeing so that residents Learn & Thrive.

Rick 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. 

Prior to coming to Santa Monica, Rick 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. Rick also spent 15 years as City Manager of two Southern California cities, Ventura and Azusa. 

Rick 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 leading one of California’s most successful and progressive full-service cities. With a AAA bond rating from all three major public credit rating agencies and an annual budget of more than $700 million, Santa Monica’s award-winning services and programs are delivered by a staff of nearly 2300. 

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

Jonathan Bishop
Chief Deputy Director
California State Water Resources Control Board
Biography

Jonathan Bishop

Chief Deputy Director
California State Water Resources Control Board

Jonathan has served as Chief Deputy Director at the State Water Board since 2007, where he oversees Water Quality, Financial Assistance, Monitoring and Assessment, and Data Management, amongst other responsibilities. Jonathan worked for the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board for 23 years before being named as Executive Director of the regional board in 2004. Jonathan received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Engineering with an emphasis in water quality from Humboldt State University.

Roger Mortimer
Director of Corporate Strategy
Hydrogen Optimized
Biography

Roger Mortimer

Director of Corporate Strategy
Hydrogen Optimized
Roger Mortimer is the Director of Corporate Strategy for Hydrogen Optimized. In this capacity he is engaged with customer discovery and strategic dialogue for large-scale electrolytic hydrogen systems.

 

 

Frank Harris
Manager of Corporate Environmental Policy
Southern California Edison
Biography

Frank Harris

Manager of Corporate Environmental Policy
Southern California Edison

Frank Harris is the Manager of Corporate Environmental Policy at Southern California Edison. In this capacity he manages SCE’s greenhouse gas policy activities and represents SCE before the California Air Resources Board, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Energy Commission. Additionally, he is responsible for evaluating environmental and energy legislation and regulation, providing policy recommendations to SCE management and coordinating and communicating SCE policy recommendations to external stakeholders. Dr. Harris holds B.A. degrees in Economics and Finance from the University of Texas at Dallas and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Irvine where he specialized in Energy Policy and Public Choice.  His most recent publication “California Dreaming: The Economics, Politics, and Mechanics of Meeting California’s Carbon Mandate” was included in Generating Electricity in a Carbon Constrained World

Heather Rosenberg
Los Angeles Resilience Lead
Arup
Biography

Heather Rosenberg

Los Angeles Resilience Lead
Arup

Heather Rosenberg joins Arup as an Associate Principal and Los Angeles Resilience Lead. She is the founder of the Building Resilience Network, which helps organizations weave physical, social and economic resilience into core operations. She is a USGBC Ginsberg Fellow and founder of USGBC-LA's Building Resilience-LA program.

An ecologist by training, she has worked with organizations ranging from real estate investment to home healthcare workers, transportation authorities to social justice organizations, and helped GRESB develop the Resilience Module. Heather formerly served as a principal at CTG Energetics. She was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve on the City of LA’s Innovation and Performance Commission and serves on the City’s Resilience Steering Committee. She served on the NIST Resilience Panel, and currently serves on the State of California Clean Energy Jobs Act Citizens Oversight Board, the American Society of Civil Engineers Resilient Infrastructure SPEED Committee and is a former member of the USGBC Social Equity Working Group.

David Nahai
Partner
Lewis Brisbois LLP
Biography

David Nahai

Partner
Lewis Brisbois LLP

David Nahai is a recognized expert in energy, water, and real estate matters. 

He has served as the General Manager and Commission President of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), Chairman of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Board, and Senior Advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative. 

Currently, he is the President of David Nahai Consulting Services, Inc., which advises clients in the water and energy sectors, a Partner at the Lewis Brisbois law firm and co-chair of its water, real estate, and energy practice areas, and a Managing Partner at AQORA Capital Management Company, LLC, a growth capital firm focusing on the water and sustainability industries. 

As the CEO and Commission President of the LADWP, the largest municipal utility in the United States, he led an overall transformation of the utility, including the origination of the City’s Water Supply Plan; the attainment of historic reductions in water consumption; and the expansion of the utility’s renewable energy portfolio and energy efficiency programs. 

In his capacity as a member and Chairman the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Board, Mr. Nahai served in the administrations of 3 California Governors. The Regional Water Board oversees an area with over 11 million residents. 

Shane Skelton
Co-Founder & Partner
S2C Pacific
Biography

Shane Skelton

Co-Founder & Partner
S2C Pacific
Shane is an energy, infrastructure, and environmental public policy and communications expert. He has extensive experience drafting laws and regulations, analyzing their economic and other industry-specific impacts, and communicating complex legal and regulatory concepts to target audiences using multiple platforms.

Prior to co-founding S2C Pacific, Shane worked for current House Speaker Paul Ryan as a counsel and policy advisor on the Budget Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives developing and managing all energy, environment, natural resource, and regulatory policy.

Shane has also held a number of other public policy positions, including Executive Director of a Washington DC-based non-partisan non-profit infrastructure and technology think tank, the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii), a Policy Advisor to the American Petroleum Institute, and a Legislative Counsel for Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH).

Prior to working in public policy, Shane worked at global PR firm Rogers & Cowan. Shane is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned his J.D. from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.

Patrick Otellini
Chief Resilience Officer
City and County of San Francisco
Biography

Patrick Otellini

Chief Resilience Officer
City and County of San Francisco
Michael Kelly
Executive Director
Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs
Biography

Michael Kelly

Executive Director
Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs

Michael H. Kelly currently serves as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs, a non-profit organization comprised of leaders in the business, labor, academia and non-profit sectors dedicated to ensuring a path for economic growth and the creation and retention of quality jobs in the greater Los Angeles region.

Prior to working with the Los Angeles Coalition, Mr. Kelly has worked in a number of high-level positions, both in the private sector and with California State government. He recently served as the Manager of California Government Relations for the Boeing Company, a multi-billion dollar publicly traded company in charge of managing Federal, State and Local government relations and political activities throughout California. Additionally he helped coordinate government relations support at each of the company’s site operations.

In the public sector Mr. Kelly had the distinction of being appointed by both Governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Film Commission, where he served as Deputy Director, successfully spearheading both Governors’ policies and initiatives to retain and attract motion picture production to California.

Prior to his appointment to the Film Commission, Mr. Kelly served in a variety of capacities for Governor Davis, first as an aide to then Lt. Governor Davis, a Special Assistant for Internal and External Affairs throughout the 1997-1998 gubernatorial campaign, transition to office, and first year and a half of the new administration. Mr. Kelly was a trusted advisor to the Governor and the primary contact for the Governor and his staff, elected officials and business leaders on numerous administration and political issues.

In 1999, Mr. Kelly was appointed Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Cabinet Affairs to work as a liaison between the Governor’s Office and the assigned Governmental Agencies and Departments, responsible for the Department of Industrial Relations; Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency; Department of Food and Agriculture; Environmental Protection Agency; Business, Transportation and Housing Agency; Resources Agency, and the Secretary of State and Consumer Services Agency.

He currently serves on the board of directors of the Center for Sustainable Energy, chair of the FUSE Corps L.A. Advisory Committee, the chair of the Philanthropic Foundation for California State University, Dominguez Hills, and a member of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s Diversity in Entrepreneurship Committee, the Pacific Council on International Relations, a partner at Saving The West, advisory board member for WorkingNation, as well as an adviser to Transmosis. He was also the recipient of the EnCorps Teachers Program 2010 “Torchbearer of the Year” Award.

Michael received an Economics Degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. He was a Dean’s Merit Scholar at USC.

Matt Golden
Principal
Efficiency.org
Biography

Matt Golden

Principal
Efficiency.org

Matt Golden is an entrepreneur and policy advocate, committed to bringing energy efficiency in the built environment to scale as a demand side resource. Matt’s work focuses on managing performance risk as it relates to energy finance in both energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Matt leads a number of projects for clients that include the development of 3D simulation based training for the US Department of Energy, real-time energy performance valuation using Smart Meter data for Pacific Gas and Electric and the Environmental Defense Fund’s Investor Confidence Project developing protocols for commercial energy efficiency, designed to reduce transaction costs, and develop actuarial data to unlock capital markets.  

Hank Lee
Vice President, International Banking
East West Bank
Biography

Hank Lee

Vice President, International Banking
East West Bank

Hank Lee has been in the equipment leasing industry for over 20 years with the last 12 years focusing on financing energy assets.  Hank specifically has financed distributed generation assets such as central plants, energy efficiency equipment, co-generation and renewable energy projects for institutions, commercial, municipals and the federal government.

Hank has brought his energy equipment financing expertise to East West Bank as a First Vice President in the International Banking Department specializing in financing renewable energy projects.  He has financed solar projects at the Port of West Sacramento, City of Brea, San Diego Community College District, Edwards Air Force Base as well as solar projects in New Jersey and Massachusetts. 

Hank is a graduate of Duke University with a degree in Economics.

Stephen Jones
Managing Director
ITM Power
Biography

Stephen Jones

Managing Director
ITM Power
Matt Horton
Director, Center for Regional Economics & California Center
Milken Institute
Biography

Matt Horton

Director, Center for Regional Economics & California Center
Milken Institute

Matt Horton is a director at the Milken Institute’s Center for Regional Economics and California Center. In this capacity, he interacts with government officials, business leaders, and other key stakeholders in directing statewide programming and policy initiatives. Horton’s programmatic work at the Institute is focused on identifying a variety of financial tools, public policies, and collaborative models that leaders can deploy to increase investments in education, community development, housing, employment and other areas supporting human capital and place-based economic development. Previously, Horton worked for the Southern California Association of Governments, the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization. There, Horton served as the primary point of contact for external and government affairs, coordinating regional policy development with elected officials as well as subregional, state, and federal stakeholders in Los Angeles and Orange counties. In this role, he developed plans with leaders across Southern California to address growth, resiliency, and improve quality of life.

Steve Clemons
Director Business Development
Zonoff
Biography

Steve Clemons

Director Business Development
Zonoff

Steve is a senior executive with over 20 years in developing business opportunities with emergent technologies. He currently is working with Zonoff, the dominant smart home platform provider and the engine behind Staples Inc. “StaplesConnect” smart home ecosystem. He also is associated with Microsoft Ventures Accelerator program as a mentor. Previously with Cisco, Steve developed their consumer DIY smart home market entry strategy for energy, security, entertainment and health care applications.

Trent Lethco
Business Leader, Americas Region
Arup
Biography

Trent Lethco

Business Leader, Americas Region
Arup
Dr. Babak Adeli
Director of R&D
Acuva Tech
Biography

Dr. Babak Adeli

Director of R&D
Acuva Tech

Babak is a technology developer and leader, gained extensive research and engineering expertise through 10+ years of experience in academia and industry. His experiences span several aspects, including modeling, simulation, and control, as well as nanofabrication of semiconductors, electrochemistry and optoelectronics. Babak is responsible for development of UV disinfection technologies and related products at Acuva Technologies. Babak is a PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of British Columbia, where Acuva’s patented UV-LED disinfection technology was first developed and validated.

Louis Romo
Vice President, Business Development
JFE Engineering America
Biography

Louis Romo

Vice President, Business Development
JFE Engineering America

Mr. Romo is currently responsible for all business development for JFE Engineering America including diverse technologies such as waste to energy, produced water treatment, waste heat generation, electric vehicle chargers and steel bridge construction. With a strong background in international business Mr. Romo has created sales and market strategies for each of JFE’s target markets.

Mr. Romo has helped create various startup companies in the green tech industry serving as business development lead.  He was involved in the creation of Calnetix, a Southern California engineering company focusing on high tech clean energy technologies, and VYCON an energy storage flywheel technology company.  With expertise in the design of magnetic power systems Mr. Romo has also served as Vice President of Engineering and Director of Business Development for Integrated Magnetics a leading Southern California manufacturing group.  As an Electrical Engineer designing high speed motor and generator systems for Allied Signal Aerospace (now Honeywell), he was the Program Manager responsible for the electrical power systems group.

David Wright
General Manager
LADWP
Biography

David Wright

General Manager
LADWP

David Wright is recognized as an established utility industry executive with broad-based knowledge of both water and electric utility operations, having served as General Manager of Riverside Public Utilities for nearly ten years and as the Chief Financial Officer for the Las Vegas Valley Water District, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, and the Silver State Energy Association, overseeing a nearly $1 billion budget for the three water and electric organizations. He previously spent 15 years with the City of Riverside where he served as Deputy General Manager and as Riverside’s City Controller. His extensive experience in utility management, finance and customer service provides a solid foundation to lead LADWP. 

Randy Wu
Vice President, N.A. Business Development
First Solar
Biography

Randy Wu

Vice President, N.A. Business Development
First Solar
Dr. Andrew Jones
Program Domain Lead, Earth Systems and Society Program
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Biography

Dr. Andrew Jones

Program Domain Lead, Earth Systems and Society Program
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Dr. Jones is a research scientist in the Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where he leads the Earth Systems and Society Program Domain.   He is also the Hydroclimate theme lead for LBL’s Water-Energy Resilience Research Institute.  His research uses quantitative Earth system science tools to understand climate change at decision-relevant scales through the development and application of physical models in coordination with stakeholder communities. As part of the Hyperfacets Project, he leads a stakeholder engagement process with water, energy, and land managers aimed at identifying decision-relevant metrics for evaluating the credibility of climate data and models.  Dr. Jones is also currently leading efforts to understand and model urban environmental processes (heat waves, vegetation dynamics, hydrologic flows and their implications for energy and water resources) in the context of changing climate, land use, and demographics.  Dr. Jones completed his PhD and MS in Energy and Resources at the University of CA, Berkeley.  

Mateo Jaramillo
Vice President of Products and Programs for Tesla Energy
Tesla Motors
Biography

Mateo Jaramillo

Vice President of Products and Programs for Tesla Energy
Tesla Motors

As VP of Products and Programs for Tesla Energy at Tesla Motors, Mateo Jaramillo is responsible for market development, and product definition and development for the company's grid connected energy storage products. Mateo started the stationary storage effort at Tesla in 2009 and in the meantime was additionally the commercial lead on powertrain development and supply programs with Daimler and Toyota, and also started and led through the supercharger program through the first year of deployment. 

Prior to Tesla, Mateo was Chief Operating Officer and part of the founding team at Gaia Power Technologies, a pioneering distributed energy storage firm. Mateo began his career in the software industry as a product manager with Predictive Networks, an interactive TV software provider. He has an AB in Economics from Harvard and a Masters in Theology from Yale.

Drew Torbin
Co-Founder and CEO
BlackBear Energy
Biography

Drew Torbin

Co-Founder and CEO
BlackBear Energy

Drew Torbin is Co-Founder and CEO of Black Bear Energy Inc., a buyer’s agent for renewable energy and clean technology.  Mr. Torbin launched Black Bear to accelerate the adoption of clean energy amongst commercial properties, and in less than three years has helped clients procure over 50 projects.  Prior to starting Black Bear, Mr. Torbin founded and led the renewable energy group at Prologis, where during his tenure the group deployed over 120 megawatts of distributed solar projects.  Before Prologis, Mr. Torbin was an analyst at Litchfield Capital Management, LLC, a U.S. equity long/short hedge fund. 

Mr. Torbin holds a B.S. from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh.  He is also a graduate of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Energy Executive Leadership Program and served on the Colorado New Energy Improvement District board.  

Akira (Keith) Morise
Assistant General Manager
Toshiba International Corporation, Transmission & Distribution Division
Biography

Akira (Keith) Morise

Assistant General Manager
Toshiba International Corporation, Transmission & Distribution Division

Vice President – Energy Storage business development, Assistant General Manager, Toshiba International Corporation, T&D Division, New York office, (2014 April - Present)

From 2012 to 2014:

Senior Manager, International Total Solution Sales Dept, Transmission & Distribution Systems Div., Social Infrastructure Systems Company, Toshiba Corporation

Senior Manager, Battery System Engineering Group, Power Grid Automation & Smart Grid Solutions Engineering Dept., Transmission & Distribution Systems Div.(Concurrently)
Senior Manager, Strategic Business Planning of Lithium Ion Battery (SCiB), in charge of partnering and M&A, Automotive Systems Div.(Concurrently)

Summary

More than 3 years being in charge of market development of Energy Storage Solutions Business in global market, acting as Sales Engineer of Toshiba rechargeable battery (SCiB).

More than 6 years experience of Strategic business planning and business development of Toshiba rechargeable battery (SCiB) in global market at Toshiba.

More than 25 years experience in overseas market including 8 years stays in foreign countries - 3 years in Belgium and 5 years in Russia.

Main tasks - been working as a Global Sales and Marketing. Also acted as sales-engineer for some product categories.

Worked for SONY Corporation from 1998 2007

Worked for NGK Insulators from 1984 to 1998

Education

Waseda University

Bachelor of Arts, Russian literature, 1979 - 1984

Tony Salazar
President, West Coast Operations
McCormack Barron Salazar
Biography

Tony Salazar

President, West Coast Operations
McCormack Barron Salazar
John Cruikshank
President & CEO
Sensequake-Okamoto
Biography

John Cruikshank

President & CEO
Sensequake-Okamoto

John Cruikshank is President & CEO of two Southern California engineering firms: JMC2 Civil Engineering + Surveying, a San Pedro based company founded in 1996 and OKAMOTO Structural Engineering, a Costa Mesa firm founded in 1979. Because of his involvement with hundreds of unique engineering projects, John leverages that experience to successfully support his client’s critical projects. His current responsibilities include corporate leadership, client relations, business development, community outreach, and project management. John started his career working for Caltrans (Los Angeles) then two civil engineering firms prior to starting his own. John attended the University of Southern California (USC) where he received his Bachelors of Science in Building Science in 1988. He became a Registered Civil Engineer in the State of California in 1993. He is a licensed professional engineer in more than 20 states. He obtained his Masters of Science in Engineering Management from USC in 1994. In addition to 30 years in civil engineering, John is currently a Board Member and Past President of the Harbor Association of Industry and Commerce (HAIC) where he formed the HAIC Workforce Development Committee. In 2017, he was named a Fellow with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), awarded Alumni of Year from USC’s School of Civil Engineering, and elected as a City Councilmember for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. He is currently Mayor where he represents his City as a South Bay Cities Council of Government’s Steering Committee Member and a Los Angeles County Sanitation Board Member. John lives in Rancho Palos Verdes with his wife, Jennifer and son, Sean, who is away at Arizona State University studying Computer Science. 

Adrian Foley
Chief Operating Officer
Brookfield Residential California
Biography

Adrian Foley

Chief Operating Officer
Brookfield Residential California

As Chief Operating Officer of Brookfield Residential, California, Adrian Foley oversees the entire California business portfolio for Brookfield Residential - one of North America’s largest publicity traded real estate entities, with land development and homebuilding operations in eleven of the most dynamic regions across the United States and Canada.  In his major leadership role, Foley is responsible for spearheading strategic planning, maximizing investment opportunities, and successfully resolving management issues in California’s premier markets, including the Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego.  As a key member of the company’s Southern California management team, Foley lends his expert guidance and support to Housing and Land operations throughout the region.

Foley also serves as President of Brookfield Homes Southern California, where he is responsible for strategic planning oversight and management direction for one of Southern California’s most innovative and creative homebuilding teams.  His current emphasis is on managing the group’s unique blend of development opportunities; expanding its presence in California’s rapidly growing Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, and Orange County regions; and cultivating the potential of its multitalented individuals.

Foley has been an integral part of the Brookfield Homes Sr. Executive Team since 1996, and previously served as Senior Development Manager for Taylor Woodrow Homes where he was instrumental in the development of numerous award-winning neighborhoods in Orange, San Diego, and Los Angeles Counties.

Eric Garcetti
Mayor
City of Los Angeles
Biography

Eric Garcetti

Mayor
City of Los Angeles

Eric Garcetti is the 42nd Mayor of Los Angeles. His "back to basics" agenda is focused on job creation and solving everyday problems for L.A. residents.

Garcetti was elected four times by his peers to serve as President of the Los Angeles City Council from 2006 to 2012. From 2001 until taking office as Mayor, he served as the Councilmember representing the 13th District which includes Hollywood, Echo Park, Silver Lake, and Atwater Village -- all of which were dramatically revitalized under Garcetti's leadership.

Garcetti was raised in the San Fernando Valley and earned his B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University. He studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and the London School of Economics and taught at Occidental College and USC. A fourth generation Angeleno, he and his wife, Amy Elaine Wakeland, have a young daughter. He is a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy reserve and is an avid jazz pianist and photographer.

Matthew Fienup
Executive Director
Center for Economic Research and Forecasting, California Lutheran University
Biography

Matthew Fienup

Executive Director
Center for Economic Research and Forecasting, California Lutheran University

Matthew is the Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting (CERF) at California Lutheran University. He teaches courses in Econometrics and Environmental Economics in the Masters of Quantitative Economics program.

His specialties are applied econometric analysis, the economics of land use, and environmental markets. Matthew's research examines the unintended consequences of environmental policies. He is also the Chair of the Fox Canyon Water Market Group and was recently chosen by Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency to serve as exchange administrator for an innovative, first of its kind water market pilot program.

Matthew returned to school to pursue his PhD after running a small business in Ventura County for more than a decade. His other specialties include California Natural History, technical rock climbing and photography. Matthew graduated summa cum laude from the Brooks Institute of Photography and has spent more than 15 years working as a professional climbing guide.

Matthew completed his doctorate in environmental economics at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara.

Tanya Peacock
Public Policy and Planning Manager at Southern California
Southern California Gas Company
Biography

Tanya Peacock

Public Policy and Planning Manager at Southern California
Southern California Gas Company

Tanya Peacock has extensive experience in energy and environmental policy development. In her current role managing the Public Policy and Planning team for Southern California Gas Company, Peacock is responsible for federal, state, and local legislative analysis, local and regional planning, development of outreach and communications strategies, and climate and renewable gas policy development.

In previous roles at SoCalGas, she managed Cap and Trade policy development and implementation, led the rate design group, managed participation in interstate pipeline rate cases at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and developed energy efficiency programs.

Ms. Peacock is on the Boards of the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, the California Hydrogen Business Council and MoveLA. Ms. Peacock is a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the LA regional chapter of the State’s Assessment of Climate Change Impacts.  Ms. Peacock holds a B.A. from Mills College and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Cornell University.

Mary Nichols
Fmr. Chair
California Air Resources Board
Biography

Mary Nichols

Fmr. Chair
California Air Resources Board

Mary Nichols is the former Chair of The California Air Resources Board, where she occupies the attorney seat. She served on the Board under Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (1975-82 and 2010-18), Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (2007-2010) and Governor Gavin Newsom (2019—2021.)  She also served as California’s Secretary for Natural Resources (1999-2003), appointed by Gov. Gray Davis.

When not working for the State of California, Mary was a senior staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council; Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Regulation, in the administration of President William Jefferson Clinton; and headed the Institute of Environment and Sustainability at UCLA.

Over a career as an environmental lawyer spanning over 45 years, Mary Nichols has played a key role in California and the nation’s progress toward healthy air. She has also led the Board in crafting California’s internationally recognized climate action plan.       

Grace Robinson-Hyde*
General Manager and Chief Engineer
Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts
Biography

Grace Robinson-Hyde*

General Manager and Chief Engineer
Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts
Michael Carlin
Deputy General Manager and Chief Operating Officer
SFPUC
Biography

Michael Carlin

Deputy General Manager and Chief Operating Officer
SFPUC
Boris von Bormann
CEO
Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas
Biography

Boris von Bormann

CEO
Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas

Boris von Bormann, born in Hamburg, Germany, has been in the international trade industry for over 17 years and in the solar industry for over 8 years. 

Boris von Bormann is the CEO for Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas, LLC manufacturer of stationary storage systems for the utility, commercial and residential sectors. .

In addition Boris has ownership in SK Solar, Inc. a residential and commercial solar installation and engineering company with headquarters in Los Angeles, CA. SK Solar operates US wide with its parent company located in Germany (www.sksolar-usa.com). Prior to opening SK Solar, Boris von Bormann was the CEO for Sonnen, Inc. the pioneer and manufacturer of energy storage solutions and prior the Director for Soltecture, Inc., US subsidiary for the German CIGS solar module manufacturer Soltecture GmbH. In 2002 Boris von Bormann founded accessio an independent consulting company that focuses on cross-cultural business aspects. 

Through his position with accessio, he held various interim positions in IT, Film & Entertainment & Biotech industries. Boris founded the German American Business Association - Southern California Chapter, a non- profit organization in Southern California. 

Boris von Bormann holds a dual-citizenship (Germany and USA) and currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Michael Picker
President
California Public Utilities Commission
Biography

Michael Picker

President
California Public Utilities Commission

Michael Picker was named President of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on December 23, 2014, by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., who first appointed President Picker as a Commissioner on January 29, 2014. Prior to his appointment, President Picker was Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy in the Office of the Governor from 2009 to 2014. He was a principal at Lincoln Crow Strategic Communications from 2000 to 2009, Deputy Treasurer in the Office of the California State Treasurer from 1998 to 1999, Chief of Staff to Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna Jr. from 1992 to 1999, and Deputy Assistant for toxic substance control in the Office of the Governor from 1981 to 1982. He was a member of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Board of Directors from 2012-2014. President Picker is a former lecturer at UCLA’s Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and instructor at Occidental College’s Urban and Environmental Policies Institute. He holds an MBA from UC Davis, specializing in marketing, social marketing, and nonprofit management.

Jim McIntosh
Executive Advisor
California ISO
Biography

Jim McIntosh

Executive Advisor
California ISO
Jacob Lieb
Sustainability Policy Manager
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Biography

Jacob Lieb

Sustainability Policy Manager
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Jacob Lieb is currently the Sustainability Policy Manager for LA Metro where he leads the agency’s efforts to incorporate sustainability into planning and project implementation.  Jacob oversees the implementation of Metro’s Sustainability Planning Policy and First Mile/Last Mile Strategic Plan, among other efforts.  Jacob comes to Metro after a long tenure with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).  While at SCAG Jacob was responsible for major regional planning functions including the preparation of the Sustainable Communities Strategy, the Regional Comprehensive Plan, and the Regional Housing Needs Assessment.  Jacob also participated in key legislative negotiations, including the discussions leading to the enactment of SB 375, and oversaw environmental review and compliance for multiple plan cycles.  Jacob began his career working on homeownership, homelessness, and social service issues for the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.  Jacob is a graduate of UC Berkeley.

Gerhard Mayer
Principal Architect
GGLO Architects
Biography

Gerhard Mayer

Principal Architect
GGLO Architects

Gerhard is an architect and urbanist embracing a paradigm shift towards the walkable, multimodal, equitable, sustainable high-quality urban living of our future. He has practiced architecture on four continents, with valuable lessons learned in many cultural environments, incl. as part of practices like Frank O. Gehry & Associates, and Geoffrey Bawa’s ERB in Colombo Sri Lanka. Gerhard is used to leading large complex developments, and he delights in connecting urban planning, landscape and building design to create holistic value for a specific location. He has been pursuing urban change through a variety of organizations he helped found or been part of. Gerhard served chair of the AIA L.A.’s Urban Design Committee and takes pride in finding new opportunities for each project, for all stakeholders.

Guillaume Clairet
Executive Vice President
H2O Innovation
Biography

Guillaume Clairet

Executive Vice President
H2O Innovation

Guillaume Clairet is currently the Executive Vice President of H2O Innovation, a leading company in water treatment related technologies. Mr Clairet initially started his career in the water industry as a research associate for the National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS) where he conducted several studies on the contamination of ground water from military training activities. Mr. Clairet joined H2O Innovation in 2003 when the company was still at the start up stage. He played a key role in the rapid growth of H2O Innovation through various positions such as Project Manager, Sales Manager and International Business Development Director. Mr. Clairet received a Physics Engineering Degree from Laval University in Quebec, Canada and he also completed a Master in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of San Diego, USA. Mr. Clairet stands on the Board of Directors of the International Desalination Association since 2011 and he is a member of WEF, AWWA and AMTA. He is also a registered Professional Engineer in the Province of Quebec, Canada.

Naoki Hara
President
JFE Engineering America
Biography

Naoki Hara

President
JFE Engineering America

JFE Engineering is the comprehensive engineering arm of the JFE Group, designing and building energy and environmental systems, steel structures and industrial machinery and systems. The company recently developed a revolutionary energy-efficiency air-conditioning technology in collaboration with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). The cooling medium at the heart of the new system, clathrate hydrate slurry (CHS), has a thermal density in the temperature range of 7-8 degrees Celsius two to three times greater than the chilled water used in air-conditioning, can store latent heat, and also boasts superior fluidity. CHS Thermal Energy Storage air-conditioning systems are contributing to the advance of the energy-efficiency business by cutting costs in industries with major cooling energy consumption and load-leveling at power companies.

Hillel Newman
Consul General
Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Southwest
Biography

Hillel Newman

Consul General
Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Southwest
Dr. Hillel Newman assumed the post of Consul General of Israel in July 2019, where he serves as the senior representative of the State of Israel to the Pacific Southwest.
 
During his twenty-year diplomatic service, Consul General Newman accumulated vast experience in policy formulation and decision-making at the highest levels of Israel's foreign policy establishment. He has served in several influential and critical positions including Policy Advisor to three Foreign Ministers of Israel and Ambassador of Israel to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
 
Before he joined the diplomatic service, he attained a Ph.D. in Jewish History, and served as a professor of Jewish history, teaching graduate courses at Bar Ilan University and Boston University. He has authored and published a book on Jewish sectarianism during the Hellenistic and Roman period. For the past five years, he has also served as a key lecturer on Judaism in the NATO Defense College.
 
Most recently, Consul General Newman served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as both Special Policy Advisor to the Director General and as Director of the World Jewish Affairs Department. He has been intimately involved in the most current and pressing issues confronting global Jewry.
Previously, Consul General Newman served also in the Strategic Division of the Ministry, playing a key role in coordinating efforts related to strategic threats facing the State of Israel.
As Ambassador to the Republics of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, both Muslim countries, he promoted political, business and security ties with these countries. He also initiated several projects and agreements in the fields of medicine, education, agriculture and humanitarian aid.
 
Consul General Newman first became familiar with the United States while serving as Deputy Consul General in Boston, to the New England Region between 2001-2005. He engaged in diverse public diplomacy efforts, conducted briefings on political and security issues and took a special interest in building inter-faith and inter-ethnic relations.
Consul General Newman made Aliyah with his family from South Africa, served as a medic in the IDF and is married to Ayala. The couple have a ten-year-old son, Ram.
 
His favorite hobbies are reading, nature tours, sporting events and scuba diving.
Alex Fay
Business Development Manager
Quallion
Biography

Alex Fay

Business Development Manager
Quallion

Alex Fay manages business development efforts for clean transportation and medical devices, and he oversees research and development programs at Quallion, a manufacturer of lithium ion batteries for advanced applications.  

Alex’s portfolio includes the company’s effort to expand its manufacturing capabilities through a grant from the California Energy Commission.  He also works closely with Quallion’s R&D and engineering teams to develop novel lithium ion battery chemistries, cell designs, and safety features. 

Prior to joining Quallion, Alex worked as a clean technology advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  Alex is a graduate of UCLA.

Greg Quist
Director
Rincon Water District
Biography

Greg Quist

Director
Rincon Water District

 Quist has served on the Rincon del Diablo Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors for the past 26 years and as a Director on San Diego County Water Authority Board for 12 years. He is currently the Vice Chair of the Urban Water Institute. Greg has worked as a technologist, manager and executive at Alcoa, McDonnell-Douglas, SAIC and has founded and successfully spun off several high technology start-up companies. He is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of SmartCover Systems, a leader in the emerging water Internet of Things market. He holds 14 patents and has several pending.  Dr. Quist received his undergraduate degree in astronomy and physics with a minor concentration in economics from Yale College and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has held top-level government clearances and currently resides in Escondido, CA.  In his rare free time he enjoys fly fishing, hiking, golf, basketball, and tennis. 

Richard Katz
Commissioner
Los Angeles City Planning Commission
Biography

Richard Katz

Commissioner
Los Angeles City Planning Commission

Richard Katz was elected to the California State Assembly in 1980, serving continuously for 16 years. As Democratic Leader in 1995, Katz led the Party to majority status by winning 43 seats in the 1996 elections. California’s term limits law prohibited Katz from seeking re-election.

For 10 years, Richard Katz served as Chair of the powerful Assembly Transportation Committee. He created the Congestion Management Plan, requiring cities and counties to measure and mitigate impacts of land use decisions on their streets, highways and transit systems.

Katz was California’s lead negotiator for the landmark Colorado River Agreement between the State of California, the Federal Government, four California Water Agencies, and the six Colorado River Basin States, furthering his expertise as a negotiator on issues of statewide significance.

Katz had already played a pivotal role in renegotiating $30 billion worth of California’s Energy contracts and developing California’s Transportation Blueprint for the 21st Century, which the voters approved as Proposition 111 in 1990.

In June of 2005, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed Katz to serve with him on the Governing Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, where Katz served for 8 years. In 2008, the Mayor appointed Katz to the Metrolink Board after the horrendous Chatsworth accident, “to make sure this never happens again.” Katz served on the Metrolink Board for 7 years, focused on safety issues and leading the effort that resulted in Metrolink being the first railroad in the country to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) a state of the art life saving satellite based technology.   

When Mayor Garcetti was elected in 2013, he appointed Richard Katz to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, where he continues to serve.

Richard Katz is the owner of a successful public policy/government relations firm, Richard Katz Consulting (RKC), Inc. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Valley Economic Alliance and on the Boards of Heal the Bay and the Jordan farmer Foundation.

A native of Los Angeles, Richard Katz lives in Studio City with his eight year-old son Mitchell Robert.

 

Elizabeth MacKay
Déléguée
Government of Québec
Biography

Elizabeth MacKay

Déléguée
Government of Québec

Ms. Elizabeth MacKay is Delegate for the Québec Government Office in Los Angeles and the Québec Trade Office in Silicon Valley. The Québec Government Office in Los Angeles covers thirteen states in the Western United States and Ms. MacKay is Québec’s official representative on this territory.

During her 30-year career, mainly in the public sector, Ms. MacKay has held senior roles in the Québec Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, and Regional Economic Development Organizations. Her leadership skills and wide-ranging professional experience allow her to support Québec's interests in the Western U.S., including the promotion of cultural, environmental, and trade policies. A former professional athlete, Ms. MacKay was chosen to represent Canada in diving, but did not compete in the boycotted 1980 Moscow Olympics. She holds a degree in Communications from Université Laval.

Deborah Flint
CEO
Los Angeles World Airports
Biography

Deborah Flint

CEO
Los Angeles World Airports

Deborah Flint was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) in June 2015, with oversight of Los Angeles International (LAX) and Van Nuys (VNY) general aviation airports.

Flint leads the team responsible for returning LAX to iconic status, creating a world class, modern airport for the modern traveler and building a transportation system that will give passengers a first-class, swift, convenient, and reliable way to access the airport.  Flint’s responsibilities involve managing the largest public works project in the history of the City of Los Angeles and investing more than $8.5-billion to innovate retail, food and beverage, terminal redevelopment and create an airport wide hospitality mindset.  As well, Flint oversees the development and advancement of security policies and strategies that comply with federal security regulations and provide world-class law enforcement for the protection of the public and property.

She leads the procurement and delivery of the Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP,) the $5.5 billion solution to the crowded roadways and curbsides at and around LAX.  Elements include an Automated People Mover (APM), Consolidated Rent-a-Car Center (ConRAC), Intermodal Transportation Facilities (ITFs) and comprehensive Roadway Improvements. Working in partnership with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), the system will provide travelers with a seamless connection to public transit.  Flint is committed to building the complex structures with leading edge innovation and design, while creating new jobs and opportunities for small, local and diverse business.

Flint managed the transition of Ontario International Airport to its new local authority.  She continues to position VNY, one of the world’s busiest general aviation airports, as a vital community partner which contributes more than $1.3 billion each year to the Southern California economy.

Flint came to LAWA from the Port of Oakland where she had held the position of aviation director since 2010, being the primary executive responsible management, business development and operation of Oakland International Airport (OAK). 

While there, she delivered the $480-milliion BART Airport Rail project after years of effort and challenges; executed strategies to stabilize and reverse passenger traffic decline in a difficult market environment; redesigned OAK’s customer experience to make the airport more competitive; and marketed, developed and negotiated numerous development and investment transactions in terminal renovation and hangar development.

Prior to serving as aviation director at the Port of Oakland, Flint held the position of assistant aviation director.  Other professional experience includes leading OAK's Capital Program in which she coordinated the design, financing and implementation of major airport projects, and participated in the issuance of more than a half billion dollars in revenue bonds.  She also served as acting port executive director of the Port of Oakland (maritime).  She began her career with the port in 1992 in port finance and advanced through the port’s Finance and Aviation divisions.    

Flint serves on the Board of the Airports Council International World Board, is on the Oversight Committee of the Transportation Research Board’s Airport Cooperative Research Program; and is the Chair of the California Airports Council. 

Bradley Shuckhart
California Division President
Freehold Communities
Biography

Bradley Shuckhart

California Division President
Freehold Communities

Mr. Shuckhart directs the day-to-day development and construction activities of Freehold Communities within the state of California. Prior to joining Freehold, Mr. Shuckhart served as Vice President of Land Acquisitions at SunCal Companies, a privately-held real-estate developer of residential and commercial properties in the US. Over the course his career, Mr. Shuckhart has led the acquisition and development of more than a dozen master-planned communities in California, Nevada, and Texas, with a total sellout value in excess of $2 billion. Mr. Shuckhart has extensive experience with every aspect of land development, including acquisitions, entitlements, and, dispositions.

Mr. Shuckhart is a graduate of Pomona College and earned his MBA from USC’s Marshall School of Business with an emphasis on real estate finance.

Anthony Eggert
Executive Director
UC Davis Policy Institute
Biography

Anthony Eggert

Executive Director
UC Davis Policy Institute
Antonio Villaraigosa
Fmr. Mayor
City of Los Angeles
Biography

Antonio Villaraigosa

Fmr. Mayor
City of Los Angeles

Antonio R. Villaraigosa was the 41st Mayor of Los Angeles.

Born on January 23, 1953 in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, Antonio is the oldest of four children raised by a single mother, Natalia Delgado.

Villaraigosa’s sense of civic justice and political action began at a young age.  As a high school student, he volunteered with the farm workers movement, led student walkouts and organized an African-American student union. 

During his junior year of high school, Villaraigosa dropped out, but eventually returned to school at the encouragement of his English teacher, Herman Katz. After graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School, Villaraigosa attended UCLA, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in History. He went on to attend the People’s College of Law, a night school dedicated to public-interest law.

By the age of 25, Villaraigosa was elected president of a local union representing civil rights workers and lawyers in six states. Over the next fifteen years, Villaraigosa continued this work as a union organizer for the Service Employees International Union, United Teachers Los Angeles, and then as President of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Federation of Government Employees.

In 1994, Villaraigosa was elected to the California State Assembly and, four years later, his colleagues elected him the first Assembly Speaker from Los Angeles in 25 years.

While in the Assembly, Villaraigosa spearheaded a $9.1 billion initiative to rebuild and modernize California schools, led a $2.1 billion initiative effort to provide parks and open space throughout the state, funded an extensive expansion of water quality enforcement by the state, and authored the state health insurance program, Healthy Families.

Elected as the Councilmember to Los Angeles’ 14th District in 2003, Villaraigosa was widely credited with resolving the Metropolitan Transit Authority transit strike, creating the largest passive park on the Eastside and Los Angeles, and protecting funding for the Arts.

In 2005, Villaraigosa ran for Mayor of Los Angeles on a platform of bringing the City together to take on the big challenges.  He was elected on May 17, 2005 and sworn in as Mayor on July 1, 2005.

During his first term, Mayor Villaraigosa built the police force to its largest size in history, oversaw the steepest reduction in crime since the 1950’s, and developed Los Angeles’ first comprehensive anti-gang strategy.

Mayor Villaraigosa dedicated much of his first term to reforming Los Angeles’s public schools because of his passionate belief that Los Angeles will never succeed as a great global city if every child isn’t given a world-class education. 

Fighting for reform from both inside and outside of the school district, the Mayor now oversees the Partnership for LA Schools, which runs ten of the lowest-performing schools.  Within one year, test scores are already rising. 

With the launching of GREEN LA, the Mayor set Los Angeles on the path to becoming one of the greenest big cities in the nation.  The City has met the Kyoto targets for reducing greenhouse gases four years ahead of schedule; taken over 2,000 dirty diesel trucks off the road; met the first target of getting 10% of energy from renewable sources and is on track to reaching 40% by 2020; and put into place the most aggressive green building program of any large city.

Teaming up with transportation leaders throughout Los Angeles County, Mayor Villaraigosa led the effort to pass a once-in-a-generation investment in the mass transit system of Los Angeles.  With the passage of Measure R, LA County is poised to invest in $40 billion in new transit, rail and highways. 

On March 3, 2009, Mayor Villaraigosa was re-elected and took the oath for a second term on July 1, 2009.

Pledging to finish the work begun in his first term, Mayor Villaraigosa laid out an agenda centered on five focused goals for four years. 

First and foremost of these goals, will be his effort to lead Los Angeles out of the recession and create jobs. The Mayor will also work to shut down failing schools and reconstitute them as innovation campuses, public charters or members of the Partnership Schools; set the city’s Department of Water and Power on a path to becoming coal free by 2020; oversee the largest mass transit construction program in America; and fight to keep Los Angeles one of the safest big cities in the nation by keeping the police force at 10,000 officers strong and crime at historic lows.

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.

Nathan Gardner-Andrews
Chief Advocacy Officer
National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)
Biography

Nathan Gardner-Andrews

Chief Advocacy Officer
National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)

Nathan Gardner-Andrews serves as the Chief Advocacy Officer (CAO) for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) in Washington, DC, where he has worked since 2006. In his role as CAO, he is responsible for coordinating all of NACWA’s advocacy initiatives and integrating the Association’s legislative, regulatory, legal, and communications advocacy work. He has written articles and spoken nationally on a wide range of clean water issues.

Mr. Gardner-Andrews previously served as NACWA’s General Counsel, advising the Association and its municipal clean water utility members on a variety of legal matters and managing NACWA’s litigation portfolio.

Prior to joining NACWA, Mr. Gardner-Andrews served as a law clerk for the Hon. Michael E. Loney of the Maryland Circuit Court.

Mr. Gardner-Andrews is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia bars. He received his B.A. from Columbia University in 2001 and his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law in 2005.

Felipe Fuentes
Councilmember, 7th District
Los Angeles City Council