Speakers for VX2022

Liane Randolph
Chair
California Air Resources Board
Biography

Liane Randolph

Chair
California Air Resources Board

Liane Randolph has spent most of her career in public service, specializing in environmental law and policy, effective administration, and a commitment to transparency and public process. She was appointed Chair of the California Air Resources Board by Governor Gavin Newsom in December 2020. Starting in 2015, Randolph served six years as a Commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission and managed numerous decisions on energy efficiency, integrated energy resource planning, and regulation of transportation network companies, as well as spearheading significant Commission policy reforms. Prior to the PUC, Randolph served from 2011 to 2014 as Deputy Secretary and General Counsel at the California Natural Resources Agency, where she worked on a wide variety of legal and policy issues, including work on the Klamath Dam Removal agreement, CEQA guidelines, and the Agency’s first Tribal Consultation Policy. Randolph’s first role with the State was as Chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission from 2003 to 2007. Her work at the state level builds on experience with local government that she gained while practicing municipal law as a contract City Attorney for the Cities of San Leandro and Suisun City. Randolph earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and lives in Oakland with her husband and family. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, running, and reading.

Martin Adams
General Manager & Chief Engineer
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Biography

Martin Adams

General Manager & Chief Engineer
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Martin Adams is the General Manager and Chief Engineer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest publicly-owned utility.  He took over the leadership role in July 2019 after three years as the agency’s Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the City’s water and power systems.     

He leads an organization of more than 10,000 employees delivering water and power to the 4 million residents of Los Angeles.  Mr. Adams has more than 35 years of experience with at LADWP, where he started in 1984 as an entry level engineer in the Water System, eventually leading that organization as the Senior Assistant General Manager of Water.  During the course of his career, Mr. Adams worked throughout the Water System and was directly involved with the planning and implementation of major changes to water storage, conveyance, and treatment facilities to meet new water quality regulations.  He has spent almost half of his career in system operations, including ten years as the Director of Water Operations in charge of the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the Los Angeles water delivery system, including the Los Angeles Aqueduct and other supply sources, pump stations, reservoirs, water treatment, and management of Water System properties. 

Mr. Adams is a native of the greater Los Angeles area and lives with his family in Burbank, where he served for nine years on that city’s Water and Power board.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Siva Gunda
Vice Chair
California Energy Commission
Biography

Siva Gunda

Vice Chair
California Energy Commission

Commissioner Siva Gunda is serving his first term on the California Energy Commission.

Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Gunda in February 2021 to serve as the Energy Commission’s public member. Gunda was later appointed to Vice Chair in September 2021. He is the lead commissioner on energy assessments.

Gunda served as manager of the Demand Analysis Office and deputy director for the Energy Commission’s Energy Assessments Division. The division forecasts and assesses energy demands and supplies.

Before joining the Energy Commission, he served in a variety of capacities at the Energy Efficiency Institute at the University of California, Davis, including as the director of research, where he directed the institute’s operations and research portfolio.

He holds a master of science in mechanical and aeronautical engineering from Utah State University. Gunda is pursuing his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from UC Davis. He is a serious cricket fan and former captain of his college team. He lives with his family in Davis.

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.

 

Adel Hagekhalil
General Manager
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Biography

Adel Hagekhalil

General Manager
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Adel Hagekhalil is general manager and chief executive officer for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the largest wholesale drinking water agency in the country. Metropolitan is a state-established cooperative that delivers water to 26 member public agencies, serving 19 million people across Southern California.

 As general manager, Hagekhalil is responsible for leading Metropolitan's daily and long-term operations and planning to provide safe, reliable water to Southern California. He oversees Metropolitan's $1.9 billion annual budget, 1,800 employees, and extensive system of conveyance, storage, treatment and delivery infrastructure.

Hagekhalil is a registered civil engineer and national board-certified environmental engineer, having earned both a bachelor's and master's degree in civil engineering from the University of Houston, Texas. Before joining Metropolitan, he was appointed in 2018 by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve as the executive director and general manager of the city's Bureau of Street Services. His responsibilities included oversight of the management, maintenance and improvement of the city's network of streets, sidewalks, trees and bikeways. Hagekhalil also focused on climate change adaptation and multi-benefit integrated active transportation corridors.
 
Previously, he served nearly 10 years as assistant general manager of the Los Angeles' Bureau of Sanitation, leading the city's wastewater collection system, stormwater and watershed protection program, water quality compliance, advance planning and facilities. He also helped develop the city's 2040 One Water LA Plan, an award-winning regional watershed approach to integrate water supply, reuse, conservation, stormwater management and wastewater facilities planning. 
 
Hagekhalil is a member of the American Public Works Association as well as the Water Environment Federation, which recognized him in 2019 as a WEF Fellow for his contribution to enhancing and forwarding the water industry. He also served for more than a decade as a board member on the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, including a term as president.

Hagekhalil and his wife, Lubna, reside in Fullerton. They have three children.

James T. Butts
Mayor
Inglewood, CA
Biography

James T. Butts

Mayor
Inglewood, CA

The Mayor has a combined 39 years in public safety, municipal government and education. He holds a Bachelor of Science (California State University at Los Angeles) and a Masters Degree in Business Administration (California Polytechnic University at Pomona). Mayor Butts has served as a general manager or assistant general manager of large and complex municipal organizations for the past 27 years.

The Mayor served the residents of Inglewood for nearly two decades as an Inglewood Police Officer, ultimately rising to the rank of Deputy Chief of Police. Between 1980 and 1990 he was promoted 5 times. In 1991 James Butts was selected to become Chief of Police for the City of Santa Monica where he served for 15 years. During his tenure in Santa Monica as Chief, crime fell 64% to its lowest level since 1956. Citizen complaints also fell by 50% and police liability payouts dropped by 99% as well. Mayor Butts retired as one of the longest serving police chiefs in the County of Los Angeles to serve as an Assistant General Manager (Deputy Executive Director)of the Los Angeles World Airports (which includes LAX) system responsible for Public Safety and Counter-Terrorism. He was responsible for a budget of 116 million dollars and 1100 employees. From 2006 to 2010, the Mayor was directly responsible for the safety of 60 million passengers that travel through LAX. In less than 4 years LAX went from being ranked near the bottom in airport security to being named the most secure airport in the United States by the Transportation Security Administration.

On January 11th, James T. Butts, Jr. was elected as the 12th mayor in the history of the City of Inglewood.

Mark Gold
Executive Director/Deputy Secretary for Oceans & Coastal Policy
Ocean Protection Council/California Natural Resources Agency
Biography

Mark Gold

Executive Director/Deputy Secretary for Oceans & Coastal Policy
Ocean Protection Council/California Natural Resources Agency

Mark Gold joined OPC in July of 2019. As Executive Director of OPC and the Deputy Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy for the California Natural Resources Agency, Mark serves as a key advisor to Governor and the Secretary of Natural Resources and directs policy, scientific research, and critical partnerships to increase protection of coastal and ocean resources in California. Prior to his appointment, he was the UCLA Associate Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability where he led their Sustainable Los Angeles Grand Challenge effort. Prior to UCLA, Mark was the first hire at Heal the Bay, where he served as their President for 18 years. During that time, he worked on ocean and coastal legislation and policy, stormwater, watershed management, and marine conservation and coastal restoration issues, projects and programs. Over the course of his career, his research focused on beach water quality and health risks, as well as sustainable water resources management. Mark received his bachelor’s and master’s in Biology as well as his doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering, all from UCLA.

Hilary Norton
Commissioner
California Transportation Commission
Biography

Hilary Norton

Commissioner
California Transportation Commission

Hilary Norton brings over 28 years of experience in transportation and community development to her Commission role. 

As FAST’s founding Executive Director since 2008, Ms. Norton has mobilized a diverse coalition of business, labor, civic groups, educational institutions and transit organizations to support policy and infrastructure improvements to LA’s mobility, livability and economic prosperity. FAST’s major initiatives include:  1) FASTLinkDTLA – a new Transportation Management Organization (TMO) for  Downtown LA, which operates one of the first ever in LA County micro-transit systems which connects travelers through the flexLA multi-mobility app, and connecting new on-demand wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV), transit, vanpools, carpools, scooters, bike share, biking and walking;  2) Mobility Hubs – carshare, bikeshare, bike parking, EV charging and traveler services at transit stations, job and education centers; 3) comprehensive arterial improvements to improve travel time, encourage mode shift, and promote safety and transit connectivity; 4) Metro ExpressLanes implementation throughout LA County, creating the Metro ExpressLanes Business Roundtable to support the pilot corridors and expand into a network; 5) Expanding LA County’s bus rapid transit (BRT) network; and 6) Sixth Street Viaduct, Sixth Street Park and Arts District Station – which is the largest bridge reconstruction project in LA’s history, adding bicycle and pedestrian lanes, and connections to the LA River and the Metro Red/Purple Line.

Ms. Norton served as 2018 chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed), and is on the Board of Directors of the Central City Association. She co-chairs the Transportation Committees for BizFed, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and the Los Angeles Business Council. 

Ms. Norton also served as the Business Representative on LA County Metro’s Policy Advisory Committee and was a member of the Advisory Boards for Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation and Metro’s Next Gen Bus Study. She is a member of SCAG’s GLUE Council and its TDM Working Group.

Ms. Norton is a Director for the Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC) which provides world class health care to all children regardless of ability to pay, and is a Board member of the Leo Buscaglia Foundation.  

She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Felicia Marcus
William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow
Stanford University Water in the West
Biography

Felicia Marcus

William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow
Stanford University Water in the West

Felicia Marcus is a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Water in the West program and. Founding Member of the Water Policy Group, a network of current and former high level national and international water policy officials. Prior to this, Felicia was Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board (Board), appointed by Governor Jerry Brown.  The Board is responsible for both water quality and water rights issues in the state and is currently focusing on issues ranging from setting water quality objectives for the San Francisco Bay and Delta; to general permits for stormwater pollution control; to reviewing irrigated lands permits to control agricultural drainage.  The Board sets statewide policy, settles water rights disagreements, manages the state’s drinking water program, and hears appeals of local regional board water quality decisions. 

In government, Felicia also served as the Regional Administrator of the U.S. EPA Region IX in the Clinton Administration where she was known for her work in bringing unlikely allies together for environmental progress and for making the agency more responsive to the communities it serves, particularly Indian Tribes, communities of color, local government, and agricultural and business interests. While at USEPA, Felicia worked extensively on the range of environmental issues under EPA’s jurisdiction, most heavily in air quality, Bay-Delta water, tribal, and US-Mexico border issues. Prior to that, Felicia headed Los Angeles’ Department of Public Works (appointed by Mayor Tom Bradley) at a time when the City went from garnering lawsuits to garnering national awards for environmental excellence. Felicia came to Public Works after extensive experience as a public interest lawyer and community organizer in Los Angeles.

Felicia has also held senior management roles at two national environmental organizations, the Natural Resources Defense Council (Western Director) and the Trust for Public Land (Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer).  She currently serves or has served in the past on many non-profit boards and Advisory Councils including the Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Leadership Council, Sustainable Conservation, USC-Kesten Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, and the Center for Diversity and the Environment. She is also currently an Obama Administration appointee to the Commission on Environmental Cooperation-Joint Public Advisory Council (US, Mexico, Canada) and was a Schwarzenegger Administration appointee to the Delta Stewardship Council.

Christine Harada
Executive Director
Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council
Biography

Christine Harada

Executive Director
Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council

Christine Harada is a climate and impact investing expert, and has over 20 years of success in leading government and professional services organizations. She was formerly President of i(x) investments, where she focused on climate-related investments.

Before returning to the private sector, Christine served as the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer for the Obama administration. Previously, she was also the Acting Chief of Staff and Chief Acquisitions Officer for the U.S. General Services  Administration.

Her earlier private sector experience includes over 10 years in management consulting with the  Boston Consulting Group and Booz Allen Hamilton; and building satellites while at Lockheed Martin.  Ms. Harada holds an MA, International Studies and an MBA, Finance, respectively, from the Lauder  Institute and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds an MS  Aeronautics/Astronautics and a BS Aeronautics/Astronautics, respectively, from Stanford University  and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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

Akira Muto

Consul General
Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles

Akira Muto was appointed Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles in August 2019.

With over 25 years of experience in the Foreign Ministry of Japan with background in Russia and policy planning, Muto has served as director of the Russian division, deputy director general (Ambassador) in charge of former Soviet Union states, as well as director of policy coordination division.  Additionally, Muto served as director of free trade agreement and economic partnership division and the director of the fourth division of Intelligence Service. As a diplomat, his previous assignments included Washington D.C., Moscow and Boston (Consul General).  In recent years, he served as Cabinet Councillor at National Security Secretariat and was engaged in various international security affairs.  His research interest covers strategic relations among US-Japan Alliance, Russia and China in the Asia-Pacific region.
 
Dennis McGinn
Admiral (ret) & Fmr. U.S. Assistant Secretary
US Navy
Biography

Dennis McGinn

Admiral (ret) & Fmr. U.S. Assistant Secretary
US Navy

Admiral Dennis McGinn served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment from September 2013 until January 2017.  In this role, he led the transformation of naval installations toward greater mission resiliency though energy efficiency, renewable energy, microgrids, and other technologies.  

Previously, Admiral McGinn served on active duty in the United States Navy for 35 years attaining the rank of Vice Admiral.  He served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs, overseeing the development of future Navy capabilities, and previously commanded the United States Third Fleet.  While in the Navy, he served as a naval aviator, test pilot, aircraft carrier commanding officer, and national security strategist.  

Admiral McGinn is a former President of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) where he led efforts to communicate the economic, security and environmental benefits of renewable energy.  Admiral McGinn is also a past member of the Steering Committee of the Energy Future Coalition, the United States Energy Security Council, the Bipartisan Center Energy Board, the past Co-Chairman of the CNA Military Advisory Board, and has been an International Senior Fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Admiral McGinn holds a BS in Naval Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and was a Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Fellow at the U.S. Naval War College. He also participated in the National Security Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Stephen Cheung
President/COO
World Trade Center-Los Angeles/LA County Economic Development Council
Biography

Stephen Cheung

President/COO
World Trade Center-Los Angeles/LA County Economic Development Council

Stephen Cheung is the Executive Vice President of LAEDC and the President of World Trade Center Los Angeles (WTCLA).

Cheung leads investment attraction to the LA County region on behalf of both LAEDC and WTCLA, and facilitates successful location of new businesses, projects, and deals from both international and U.S. investors into the region.  He also supports international trade and international connections for organizations based in LA County.

Prior to his current role, Stephen Cheung was the Secretary General of International Trade and Foreign Affairs for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and was responsible for managing policies and programs related to the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airports, International Affairs and Global Trade. In this role, he was the lead organizer for Mayor Garcetti’s previous international trade missions to Mexico, China, Korea and Japan.  Furthermore, Cheung implemented the city’s strategic plan to make Los Angeles a global capital of clean technology by building the infrastructure to support research, development and manufacturing with key partners.

Concurrently, Cheung was the Director of International Trade for the Port of Los Angeles – the busiest container port in North America, and was responsible for developing programs to increase trade through the Port of Los Angeles, and facilitate goods movement through the Southern California region.

Cheung currently sits on the Board of Advisors of UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs and Sister Cities of Los Angeles, while also serving on LA Metro’s Sustainability Council and Biz-Fed’s International Trade Committee. He has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Regional Export Council and the Los Angeles Business Council.

Stephen was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Los Angeles where he received both his Bachelor of Arts in Psychobiology and Master of Arts in Social Welfare from UCLA. He is fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese.

Heather Repenning
Executive Officer of Sustainability Policy
LA Metro
Biography

Heather Repenning

Executive Officer of Sustainability Policy
LA Metro

Heather Repenning is the Executive Officer for Sustainability Policy at LA Metro, setting policies to reduce climate emissions and improve sustainability outcomes from transportation programs in Los Angeles County. Heather also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Water District, which provides water for 26 member public agencies across Southern California.

Repenning previously held the role of Vice President of the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works where she oversaw Sanitation, Streets LA, Street Lighting, Engineering and Contract Administration. Heather graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College and has a Master’s Degree from the University of California, Irvine in Comparative Literature. 

Erika Pham
Biography

Erika Pham

Liz Crosson
Chief Sustainability, Resiliency, Innovation Officer
Metropolitan Water District
Biography

Liz Crosson

Chief Sustainability, Resiliency, Innovation Officer
Metropolitan Water District

Liz Crosson has been the Chief Sustainability, Resiliency, Innovation Officer at Metropolitan Water District since March of 2022.

Previously, Crosson was a sustainability consultant for the Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office, and is currently an adjunct instructor in urban sustainability at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy. As director of infrastructure for the city of Los Angeles from 2018 to 2021, Crosson was Mayor Eric Garcetti’s policy lead on water, power, waste and public right of way infrastructure issues. From 2017 to 2018, she served as the city’s deputy chief sustainability officer and was the city’s first appointed water policy advisor. She served as executive director of Los Angeles Waterkeeper from 2010-2015. Liz Crosson joined Mayor Eric Garcetti's Sustainability Team as Water Policy Advisor after serving as the Executive Director of Los Angeles Waterkeeper for five years. Liz led Waterkeeper’s efforts to protect, conserve and restore Los Angeles' waterways through advocacy, community education and litigation. She previously worked with Lawyers for Clean Water, Inc. where she represented non-profit organizations in water pollution enforcement actions. She has a J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School with an emphasis in environmental law.

Christopher Cannon
Director of Environmental Management
Port of Los Angeles
Biography

Christopher Cannon

Director of Environmental Management
Port of Los Angeles

Christopher Cannon is the director of environmental management for the Port of Los Angeles, a position he has held since October 2010. In 2015, he was named chief sustainability officer of the Port.

In this role, Cannon is responsible for balancing commerce and growth with ecological sustainability and social responsibility at the nation’s busiest container port. The Environmental Management Division provides full environmental services related to water, soils and sediments, air and biological resources, and is responsible for preparation of environmental impact assessments mandated by state and federal law; special studies involving dredging, noise abatement, water quality and air quality; site restoration, remediation and contamination characterizations; wildlife management; and establishment of policies regarding environmental quality issues.

Cannon first worked at the Port of Los Angeles as a consultant, starting in 2004, where he worked with the Port Environmental Management Division’s Air Quality and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) groups, supporting the development of key air projects such as the Clean Air Action Plan as well as the Harbor Department’s efforts to complete critical environmental impact reports for Port-related projects. In 2008, he helped to develop and served as the Project Manager of the Port’s highly successful Clean Truck Program.
Cannon has 21 years of experience in the environmental services industry, working on a range of projects while employed by ENVIRON International Corporation and TRC Environmental Solutions.

Cannon also spent two years as a legislative assistant for environmental policy on the Washington, D.C. staff of U.S. Representative Martin Sabo of Minnesota.

Cannon received a bachelor’s degree in Government from Dartmouth College and a law degree from University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Gene Seroka
Executive Director
Port of Los Angeles
Biography

Gene Seroka

Executive Director
Port of Los Angeles

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

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

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

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

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

Panama Bartholomy
Director
Building Decarbonization Coalition
Biography

Panama Bartholomy

Director
Building Decarbonization Coalition

Forging partnerships among varying disciplines and stakeholders, Panama Bartholomy has managed and facilitated the creation and implementation of some of the largest climate and energy programs in the United States. Panama’s work focuses on finding policy and program solutions for communities facing energy efficiency, renewable energy, land use and climate change challenges. Panama combines frontline experience with state and local government policy and has dealt extensively in the regulatory and utility arenas.  

Previously, Panama was the Advisor on Energy and Natural Resources to California Assembly Speaker John A. Perez where he oversaw the State of California’s energy and environmental legislation and budget. He earlier served as Deputy Director of the California Energy Commission’s Efficiency and Renewables Division and advisor for Chairmen Douglas and Pfannenstiel, worked for the California Conservation Corps on vocational environmental education, and ran the Sustainable Schools program for the Division of the State Architect. Panama served on the City of Sacramento Planning Commission and the County of Sacramento Environmental Commission, and is a former board member on the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and past president of the Northern California Chapter of the USGBC.

Kathleen Brown
Board Member
Sempra
Biography

Kathleen Brown

Board Member
Sempra
A former California State treasurer with nearly two decades of experience as a senior bank executive, Kathleen Brown concentrates on business counseling, government and regulatory affairs in connection with the health care, energy, real estate and financial services industries. 

Prior to joining Manatt, Kathleen served in senior executive positions at Goldman Sachs Inc. and Bank of America. At Goldman Sachs, where her roles included chairman of Midwest investment banking and head of the Western region public-sector and infrastructure group, Kathleen participated in over $4.2 billion of water and power bond financings and counseled municipal utilities in California in their efforts to meet the state’s renewable energy standards. She also helped health care institutions navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by health care reform. 

A former Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee, Kathleen has extensive experience in the public sector. As California State treasurer, she managed a $25 billion bond portfolio, oversaw a $32 billion cash management fund and served as a trustee on the boards of CalPERS and CalSTRS, two of the largest pension funds in the nation. 

Kathleen served as co-chair of the Council of Institutional Investors; co-chair of the Presidential Commission on Capital Budgeting; a commissioner of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works; and a two-term member of the Los Angeles Board of Education. 

Prior to her campaign for treasurer, Kathleen was an attorney at a global law firm, where she was a member of the capital markets group working in public and corporate finance. 

Ms. Brown serves on the Board of Directors of Sustainable Development Acquisition Corp (SDAC), FivePoint Communities, Stifel Financial Corp, Bill Lane Center for the American West, the Annenberg Foundation, the Mayor’s Fund Los Angeles, the Advisory Board of the Stanford Center on Longevity, and The Trusteeship.

Bob Foster
Board Member
EPCOR Utilities
Biography

Bob Foster

Board Member
EPCOR Utilities

Bob Foster has spent more than 40 years in the energy policy arena in California.  He began his career working on energy efficiency for the State Senate and then led the energy efficiency program for the California Energy Commission.  He then joined Southern California Edison working his way up in the company, eventually serving as its President from 2002 to 2006.  After retiring from SCE, he ran for and was elected Mayor of Long Beach, Ca., serving for 8 years from 2006 to 2014.  He also served as Chair of California’s Independent System Operator (CAISO) from 2011 to 2014.  He now operates Prometheus Advisors, providing consulting on energy, water, entitlements, and public policy issues. He serves on the boards of EPCOR in Edmonton Canada, the American Transmission Company in Milwaukee, and Port Solutions in Los Angeles.  Bob is an ardent baseball fan and in 1983 coached a team from Sacramento to the Little League World Series in Williamsport Pa.

Andrew McAllister
Commissioner
California Energy Commission
Biography

Andrew McAllister

Commissioner
California Energy Commission

Commissioner Andrew McAllister is serving his third term on the California Energy Commission.

At the Energy Commission, he leads the policy area of energy efficiency, including the Building Energy Efficiency Standards, appliance efficiency, and load management and flexibility. More broadly, he is focused on enabling modern, data-rich analytical tools to support strong clean energy policy development and program implementation.

Commissioner McAllister has worked on energy deployment and policy since the early 1990s. He has worked across the world to deploy clean, cost-effective energy solutions with counterparts ranging from tiny remote communities to the largest of utilities. He administered two of California’s signature renewable energy programs, developed and operated energy efficiency programs for utilities, and conducted a broad range of policy-related research for California and the federal government.

He is a board member and immediate past board chair of the National Association of State Energy Officials, and a board member of the Alliance to Save Energy. His deep grounding in technology, policy, and the marketplace provides him with uncommon insight on the accelerating changes taking place in California’s energy sector.

Before joining the Energy Commission, he was managing director at the California Center for Sustainable Energy. He worked with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association International, Ltd. in Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa on renewable generation, load management, utility planning, and remote power projects. He was a project manager at an energy-consulting firm and an energy efficiency analyst at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Commissioner McAllister holds a master of science and a Ph.D. from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor of arts from Dartmouth College. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Karly Katona
Managing Director
Trifiletti Consulting
Biography

Karly Katona

Managing Director
Trifiletti Consulting

Prior to her time at Trifiletti Consulting, Karly Katona served as Chief of Staff and Caretaker of Council District 10, overseeing all policy, programmatic and operational issues of the office, with a specific emphasis on championing catalytic development and initiatives that benefit the 10th District. She has spent the past 15 years in public service, 13 of which serving as a member of Councilmember Ridley-Thomas’ (previously Supervisor Ridley-Thomas) team. Karly holds a Bachelor of Arts from University of California, Berkeley and a Master in Public Health from University of California, Los Angeles. She proudly served as a Coro Fellow in Los Angeles in 2005-2006.

Minh Le
General Manager
Los Angeles County Internal Services Department
Biography

Minh Le

General Manager
Los Angeles County Internal Services Department

Minh Le serves as the General Manager for Energy and Environmental Services for the County of Los Angeles’ Internal Service Department.  His team manages the County’s energy assets as well as regional energy programs.  Prior to this role, he served at the Office of Management and Budget and US Department of Energy where he led the SunShot Initiative.  Minh also worked in the private sector in solar and semiconductor manufacturing. He earned his SM and SB degrees from MIT.

Mario Cordero
Executive Director
Port of Long Beach
Biography

Mario Cordero

Executive Director
Port of Long Beach

Mario Cordero, an international maritime industry leader, Long Beach resident and attorney, is Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach, California, named to the post by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners in 2017.

Beginning in 2003, Mr. Cordero served as a member, vice president and president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners for eight years, before resigning to accept President Barack Obama’s appointment to the Federal Maritime Commission in 2011. He served on the FMC until his appointment as Executive Director in May 2017 and was FMC Chairman from April 2013 to January 2017. The FMC is the federal agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers and the American consumer and fostering a fair, efficient and reliable international ocean transportation system, while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.

As Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach, Mr. Cordero reports to the Board and leads the Port’s Harbor Department staff of more than 500 with a budget of $650 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Inclusiveness and collaboration are hallmarks of Mr. Cordero’s leadership style, and due to both his Port and FMC leadership experience, he understands the needs of ocean carriers, terminal operators, cargo owners and other trade partners locally, nationally and around the globe.
Terry Tamminen
CEO
AltaSea
Biography

Terry Tamminen

CEO
AltaSea

Terry Tamminen is Chief Executive Officer of AltaSea. From his youth in Australia to career experiences in Europe, Africa, China and across the United States, Terry has developed expertise in business, farming, education, non-profit, the environment, the arts, and government. 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 cofounded the R20 Regions of Climate Action, a new public-private partnership, bringing together sub national 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. He also provides advice through 7th Generation Advisors to Pegasus Capital Advisors, the Green Climate Fund and numerous global businesses on sustainability and “green” investing, as well as assisting governments and philanthropists with climate solutions, including Fiji, India, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. 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.

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.

Sara Neff
Head of ESG
Lendlease Americas
Biography

Sara Neff

Head of ESG
Lendlease Americas

Sara Neff is the Head of ESG, Lendlease Americas, where she provides leadership and management oversight in developing, implementing and driving Lendlease's corporate sustainability framework in the Americas region. Prior to that role, she served as Senior Vice President, Sustainability at Kilroy Realty Corporation. Under her leadership, Kilroy has been recognized as a leader among publicly traded real estate companies on sustainability in the Americas by GRESB for seven of the last eight years as well as being recognized by NAREIT, and achieved carbon neutral operations at the end of 2020. She is a LEED Fellow and holds a BS from Stanford and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Tom Soto
Founder and Managing Partner
Diverse Communities Impact Fund
Biography

Tom Soto

Founder and Managing Partner
Diverse Communities Impact Fund

Tom Soto is a long-time investor in the impact sector, and a pioneering voice in the diversity in fund management and technology movement. He is the Founder and Managing Partner of Diverse Communities Impact Fund (DCIF). His leadership, voice and investments have stood at the dovetail of energy, Tech, cloud based and IoT efficiency programs in renewables, and to over many Fourth Industrial Revolution driven platforms where technology contributes to improving the human condition. All well challenging LP’s and tech platforms to embrace diversity and inclusion. This ranges from Fintech, to electric vehicle technology and policy, to political process and regulatory frameworks needed to promote the new economics driving the planet into a future of prosperity and abundance.

He is former Chairman and longtime boardmember of the New America Alliance, the national Latino business initiative seeking to increase access to capital for diverse fund managers and business leaders. Having sold his fund Craton Equity Partners to TCW in 2013, Tom became Managing Director of Alternatives at the $198b fund and was an Investment Committee Member of TCW/CratonAlternatives. Post transaction, Tom played a considerable role in TCW across all products, helping to lead in the development of new and innovative alternatives products. Tom is former member of the board of directors and current Sr. Advisor to Aspiration, the country’s fastest growing online bank and financial services platform. He is also Chair of the Advisory Board and a board member for Aura; the nation’s leading online micro finance lender based in Silicon Valley.

Tom has been a member of the board of companies such as Liquid Environmental Solutions, Propel Alternative Fuels, an advisor to other portfolio companies sucas Revolution Foods and Kabbage.com. Tom has a full understanding and body of history of sourcing opportunities, performing full due diligence, modeling, building organizational performance and measurement capacity along with building boards of directors and leading portfolio companies toward successful exits. 

Tom lives in Los Angeles with his husband of fifteen years, their ten year old son and their fifteen year old mini schnauzer

Jules Radcliff
Partner
Radcliff Mayes LLP
Biography

Jules Radcliff

Partner
Radcliff Mayes LLP

Jules Radcliff is a business, government, and trial lawyer experienced in counseling directors, officers, and senior government officials, specialized in crafting solutions to complex business challenges, often where government plays a role in regulation, contracting, or enforcement. In addition to negotiating and documenting transactions common to most businesses, he has also conducted complex factual and financial forensic investigations and managed high-stakes, multi-jurisdiction litigation. As special counsel to boards of directors, he has assisted boards in properly discharging fiduciary duties both as to enterprise risks and as to corporate governance. Jules has extensive experience with the regulation of insurance and with all forms of insurance coverage, as well as with risk retention and risk purchasing groups, and served as national coordinating counsel for major D&O insurers coordinating and overseeing the response to, and management of, multiple waves of class action litigation aimed at savings & loan institutions, high-tech companies, and other targeted segments of the national business community. 

His clients have included well-known companies in national and international commerce, finance, insurance, technology, radio and television broadcast, entertainment, manufacturing, real estate, energy, and health care, as well as both domestic (U.S.) and foreign governments. Jules has represented numerous clients in matters before the U.S. Congress involving major, national investigations and related hearings, and he has successfully managed the passage of multiple, new laws through state legislatures, including the California legislature, as well as the amendment or adoption of new regulations in matters of importance to the business community. 

Mr. Radcliff has had a parallel career in government and politics. In government he has served in multiple roles and capacities, from Chief of Staff to appointed member of commissions overseeing municipal and state departments. He has overseen, developed, or managed multiple projects as well as high-profile and diverse public-private commissions and advisory boards, frequently consulting as Special Counsel to government agencies and officials in sensitive matters. In politics he has served as General Counsel, Manager, Chairman, or Co-Chairman of many local, state, and federal political campaigns across the U.S., including mayoral, gubernatorial, congressional, and presidential campaigns.

Internationally, Jules has served as Business Investment Advisor, Office of U.N. High Commissioner, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and as Legal Advisor and Intermediary between U.S. Justice/State Departments and the national government of an Eastern European country

He is a graduate of UCLA Law School, and holds a Bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in Business Administration, with a minor in accounting, from California State UniversityNorthridge.

Bill Allen
President and CEO
LAEDC
Biography

Bill Allen

President and CEO
LAEDC

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

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

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

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

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

Nury Martinez
Council President
LA City Council
Biography

Nury Martinez

Council President
LA City Council

Councilwoman Martinez has dedicated her life to the San Fernando Valley where she was born and raised. The product of public schools, and the first in her family to graduate from college, she proudly served her community on the L.A. Unified School District Board from 2009-2013. Before that, Martinez served on the City of San Fernando Council from 2003-2009.

To encourage more young women to enter public service and become the next generation of leaders, Councilwoman Martinez created the “Ready for Women” Fellowship program, where highly motivated female college students are selected to intern at the Council District 6 offices. Since its launch in 2014, 23 young women have successfully completed the fellowship and three graduates of the program earned full-time jobs with Councilwoman Martinez!

Council President Nury Martinez is a graduate of San Fernando High School and California State University at Northridge. She and her husband, Gerry, live in Sun Valley with their young daughter, Isabelle.

 
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.”

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.

Zaib Shaikh
Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles
Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles
Biography

Zaib Shaikh

Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles
Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles

Zaib Shaikh began his mandate as Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles in December 2018. He is the Government of Canada’s senior representative in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.

He comes to the posting after an extensive career in the media and entertainment industries, having worked as an actor and producer in theatre, film and television. His work includes acting roles in Deepa Mehta’s film Midnight’s Children, as well as starring in the CBC comedy series Little Mosque on the Prairie, which has been seen in more than 80 countries. Mr. Shaikh co‐produced the special Long Story Short: CBC Turns 75 and co‐wrote, directed and co‐produced the film Othello: The Tragedy of the Moor. He also co-founded and served as an artistic producer of the Whistler Theatre Project in British Columbia.

From 2014 until his appointment in 2018, Mr. Shaikh was the Film Commissioner and Director of Entertainment Industries for the City of Toronto. In that role, he oversaw and grew the city’s screen, music, live festival, sporting event and tourism sectors, helping to double the value of film production in Canada’s largest city, which surpassed $2 billion in 2016.

Mr. Shaikh has served as a board member for the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion and, most recently on the board of AFC (formerly the Actors Fund of Canada). He has served on juries and committees for the Gemini Awards, ACTRA Awards, Ontario Arts Council, and Theatre Ontario Youth Program as well as an ambassador for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and for Amnesty International Canada.

Mr. Shaikh is married to Ms. Kirstine Stewart. They have two children.

John Withers
Board of Directors Member
Irvine Ranch Water District
Biography

John Withers

Board of Directors Member
Irvine Ranch Water District

John Withers was appointed to the IRWD Board of Directors in 1989 to fill a board vacancy and has been elected to subsequent terms, including 2020 when he was elected to represent Division 1 under a new division-based election process.  He served as board president in 2004 and vice president in 2012 and 2021. He serves on the Water Resources Policy & Communications, and Engineering & Operations committees, as well as various ad hoc representations and assignments.

Withers is a partner with California Strategies, LLC, in Irvine, a statewide, strategic government-relations firm. In past positions, Withers has served as vice president of community development for Lewis Operating Corp. and as director of water resources for Psomas & Associates, a civil engineering and planning firm. He was also the director of governmental affairs for the Building Industry Association Orange County Chapter, and a legislative advocate for Crocker Bank and a major trade association in Sacramento.

Withers is chairman of the Orange County Sanitation District Board of Directors, where he has served since 2009. He is chairman and board member of the National Water Research Institute, a former chair and commissioner of the Local Agency Formation Commission, and former chair and member of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. 

A native Southern Californian, Withers earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from UCLA with a specialization in urban studies. He was then selected as a CORO Foundation Fellow and earned a master’s degree in urban studies from Occidental College.

Community activities include membership in the UCLA Alumni Association, youth sports and Mariners Church.

A resident of Irvine since 1984, Withers lives in Northwood with his wife, Katie. They have three grown children, Carolyn, Gordon, and Peter.

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.

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 34-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.
 
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.

Ted Bardacke
Executive Director
Clean Power Alliance
Biography

Ted Bardacke

Executive Director
Clean Power Alliance

Ted Bardacke is Executive Director for Clean Power Alliance, California’s new, locally-operated, electricity provider for 32 communities and approximately one million eligible customers across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Ted brings a unique background to the organization that includes experience in the public sector, journalism, education, and non-profit leadership. During his career, Ted has developed expertise in renewable energy planning and project development, electricity and water rate setting, customer service, and sustainability program design and implementation. Ted comes to the Alliance from the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, where he was Director of Infrastructure and Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Sustainability Office, serving as the Mayor’s chief policy liaison to the Department of Water and Power and the Department of Public Works. Prior to that, Ted worked in the Green Urbanism Program at Global Green USA, a nationally-leading organization advancing smart solutions to climate change, and in the 1990s served as a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times of London, based in Mexico City and Bangkok. Ted holds degrees from Wesleyan University and the Graduate School of Architecture at Colombia University and has taught at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs for the past 10 years.

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

Bob Wieckowski

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

California State Senator Bob Wieckowski chairs the Budget Subcommittee 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation.  He was the first Californian to chair the Council of State Governments West Energy and Environment Committee and currently serves on its Executive Committee.  He is a state leader in advocating for climate adaptation programs and has participated on many international, state and regional panels examining green infrastructure investments.

His 10th Senate District includes several clean energy companies that are helping California improve both its economy and its environment.

 

Laura Friedman
Assemblymember, 43rd District; Chair, Transportation Committee
California State Legislature
Biography

Laura Friedman

Assemblymember, 43rd District; Chair, Transportation Committee
California State Legislature
Laura Friedman was elected to the California State Assembly in November 2016 to represent the 43rd Assembly District, which encompasses the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and La Cañada Flintridge, as well as the communities of La Crescenta and Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, Beachwood Canyon, Los Feliz, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, and Silver Lake.   
 
Laura’s legislative work is focused in three primary areas: addressing the housing affordability and homelessness crisis, combating climate change, and protecting vulnerable communities.  During her time in the Assembly, Laura has secured $20 million in funding for the completion of the Glendale Riverwalk Project, and authored a package of bills to create new avenues for communities to tackle the affordable housing crisis, encourage water conservation, strengthen environmental sustainability, protect communities against devastating wildfires, improve access to higher education and health care, and ensure that California’s foster youth have the support that they need as they transition to adulthood. 
 
Laura has been tapped for several leadership roles in the legislature, including the Chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, Assistant Speaker pro Tempore for the Assembly, the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Chair of the Joint Rules Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response where she’s led a historic bicameral and bipartisan reform of the legislature’s response to sexual harassment that’s become a model for other states and local governments to follow.   
 
Long recognized as a steadfast advocate for the environment, sustainable communities, and active transportation, in 2020 she was appointed to serve as the Chair for the Assembly Committee on Transportation.  The Committee’s broad scope covers high-speed rail, California’s thousands of miles of roadways and transportation infrastructure, freight and regional transportation agencies, mobile sources of air pollution, fuels, mass transit, vehicles, aircraft, bicycles and pedestrian facilities, and vessels, as well as the California Department of Transportation and the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Laura’s appointment as Chair marks a shift towards forward-thinking policies such as investing in mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, zero-emission vehicles, road safety, and sustainability. 
 
In addition to her role at the helm of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Laura also serves as Chair of the bicameral Environmental Caucus, and as a member of the Assembly Committees on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media; Natural Resources; and Water, Parks, and Wildlife. 
Laura got her start in the private sector working as a film and television executive and producer after receiving her B.A. from the University of Rochester, New York.  In 2001, she launched her own web-based small business.  Building on her years of community service, she was elected to the Glendale City Council in 2009, served as Mayor from 2011 through 2012 and was re-elected in 2013.  
Philip Recht
Partner
Mayer Brown
Biography

Philip Recht

Partner
Mayer Brown

Partner in charge of Mayer Brown’s Los Angeles office and leader of the firm’s California Government Relations & Public Law practice, Phil Recht represents clients in legislative, regulatory, enforcement and litigation matters before and involving federal, state and local governments. He also handles grants, approvals, permits and other government transactions. He has particular expertise in transportation, tribal gaming, health care, trade association, government contracts, and election law matters.

Phil also has extensive government experience. Prior to joining the firm, he served as Chief Counsel (1994-95) and Deputy Administrator (1995-99) for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US Department of Transportation. He also worked as a Legislative Assistant in the Office of US Rep. David L. Cornwell (Ind.) (1976-78), as a consultant with the Joint Center for Political Studies in Washington, DC (1975) and as a Legislative Aide with the Office of US Rep. John Moakley (Mass.) (1975).

Luz Rivas
Assemblywoman, District 39
California State Assembly
Biography

Luz Rivas

Assemblywoman, District 39
California State Assembly

Luz M. Rivas was born in Los Angeles to an immigrant family and grew up in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. She attended LA Unified schools before earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from MIT and a master’s of education from Harvard. Luz has built her career at the intersection of engineering and education before entering public service. She worked as an electrical design engineer at Motorola before founding DIY Girls, a nonprofit that provides enrichment programs focused on encouraging young girls to pursue careers in science, engineering, and technology. In 2016, she was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to the Los Angeles Board of Public Works.

Luz was elected and sworn into the California State Assembly in June 2018. Since then, Luz has been appointed as the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and currently serves on the Assembly Committees on Budget; Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation; Health; Local Government; Revenue and Taxation; and the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management. She is also the Chair of the Select Committee on the Non-Profit Sector and serves on the Select Committee on Latina Inequalities and Select Committee on Coastal Protection and Access to Natural Resources.

During Luz’s time in the Assembly, her priority has been to uplift and empower underrepresented communities. She has been extraordinarily successful as a leader in delivering substantive policy, such as reforming the state’s response to homelessness, providing universal school meals to all K-12 students, creating the California Youth Empowerment Commission to increase youth civic engagement, and advocating for environmental justice through her role as the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources. Luz believes it is her highest honor to represent the community she grew up in.

Larry Kosmont
President & CEO
Kosmont Companies
Biography

Larry Kosmont

President & CEO
Kosmont Companies
Larry J. Kosmont, CRE®, is Chairman and CEO of Kosmont Companies, which he founded in 1986. Kosmont Companies is an industry leader in public/private real estate transactions and economic development. In 1990, he founded Kosmont Realty Corporation, a real estate brokerage firm. In 2015, he launched Kosmont Transactions Services, Inc. which sources private financing for public projects, P3 initiatives, and infrastructure funding. He’s also a Principal of California Golden Fund, an approved EB-5 Regional Center. 

His 40-year career encompasses public/private financial structuring and negotiations, development, and management of real estate and public finance transactions exceeding $12B. He has an extensive track record as a consultant and advisor who has assisted hundreds of local government agencies and guided over 1,000 private sector projects. 

 Larry J. Kosmont, CRE®, is Chairman and CEO of Kosmont Companies, which he founded in 1986. Kosmont Companies is an industry leader in public/private real estate transactions and economic development. In 1990, he founded Kosmont Realty Corporation, a real estate brokerage firm. In 2015, he launched Kosmont Transactions Services, Inc. which sources private financing for public projects, P3 initiatives, and infrastructure funding. He’s also a Principal of California Golden Fund, an approved EB-5 Regional Center. 

His 40-year career encompasses public/private financial structuring and negotiations, development, and management of real estate and public finance transactions exceeding $12B. He has an extensive track record as a consultant and advisor who has assisted hundreds of local government agencies and guided over 1,000 private sector projects. 

Rick Cole
Executive Director
Congress for the New Urbanism
Biography

Rick Cole

Executive Director
Congress for the New Urbanism

Prior to his role as Executive Director of the Congress for the New Urbanism, 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. 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.

Katherine Aguilar Perez
Associate Principal & Los Angeles Office Leader
Arup
Biography

Katherine Aguilar Perez

Associate Principal & Los Angeles Office Leader
Arup

Katharine Aguilar Perez is the Los Angeles Cities Leader and Associate Principal with Arup. She is an expert in urban planning, transportation, and stakeholder engagement. In the planning and land use field, she is highly regarded for developing complex public participation strategies that require collaboration among multi-cultural communities. With her background in community development, private real estate development, transportation policy and urban planning, she is recognized as a leader in the planning and development fields and speaks at conferences throughout the country.

Jim Kelly
Director
S&C Electric
Biography

Jim Kelly

Director
S&C Electric

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry O'Day
Chief Operating Officer
In-Charge Energy
Biography

Terry O'Day

Chief Operating Officer
In-Charge Energy

Terry cofounded In Charge Energy in 2019. It is the infrastructure leader in electrification of transportation fleets in the United States, and the preferred infrastructure partner of Ryder TruckRental, which serves over 65,000 customers in the U.S. Terry currently advises Macquarie Capital, a division of theAustralian multinational independent investment bank and financial services company that is the world's largest infrastructure asset managerwith $495 billion in assets under management. Previously, Terry led North American strategy for innogy e-MobilityUSa division of the $40 billion per year German energy company.There, he participated in acquiring the leading U.S. electricvehicle fast charging hardware company and a customer-facing software application with over 700,000 regularusers

Previously, Terry led the Western region forEVgo, the nation’s largest public fast charging company for electricvehicles (EVs), taking that company from its first public fast charging installation in 2011 to more than 1,000 chargers nationwide and overseeing an investment program of over $140 million. He led partnerships with major automakers, energy companies and state governments, including a $122.5 million agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission

Earlier in his career,Terry founded four companies with Edison International in energy, security services, and electric vehicle charging and the first car rental company in the United States to offer only electric vehicles to the general public, serving fifteen airports in six states and more than 500,000 customers withover 850 cars.Terry also served as Executive Director of Environment Now foundation, a strategic, entrepreneurial, activist leader in California. The organization founded dozens of activist environmental organizations protecting air, land andwater quality in California and Mexico. In 2007, Terry cofounded Move LA and developed LA County’s Measure R, which over 67% of voters approved in 2008 and is contributing over $40 billion to transit investment countywide.

Terry currently serves as Mayor Pro Tempore for the City of Santa Monica and was first elected in November 2010. The city of 95,000 residents hasa daytime population of over 300,000, with 2,300 employees and a $700 million annual budget. Terry led a six-year process to update the City’s General Plan, which became the leading example ofenvironmental land use planning in the state, reducing projected per capita greenhouse gas emissions from land use by 31 percent in 25 years. He led the city’s policy to transition away from imported water, relying instead on sustainable, local water supply and the conversion of over 200 transit buses from natural gas to electric fuel. He has served in community leadership positions in California and Mexico; including Waterkeeper Alliance, Coro Southern California; The USC Center for Sustainable Cities, Environmental EntrepreneursCoalition for Clean Airand the Metropolitan Water DistrictTerry has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and BA with honors from Stanford University.

Nurit Katz
Chief Sustainability Officer
UCLA
Biography

Nurit Katz

Chief Sustainability Officer
UCLA

UCLA’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, Nurit Katz is working to foster partnerships among academic, research, and operational departments to facilitate creating a world class living laboratory for sustainability at UCLA. As Executive Officer for UCLA Facilities Management, Nurit provides strategy support to make the university more operationally efficient and coordinates with Emergency Management on resilience planning. Facilities Management provides energy to the campus through a highly efficient cogeneration plant, as well as managing landscaping, renovations, operations, and maintenance. Nurit is also an Instructor for UCLA Extension’s Sustainability Certificate Program. Her course Principles of Sustainability I was recently included in LA Weekly’s Best of LA 2012 as one of the 10 Best Classes in LA. Nurit holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, a Masters in Public Policy from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and a BA in Environmental Education from Humboldt State University. Nurit was honored as one of 100 Inspirational Alumni for the 75th Anniversary of UCLA Anderson. Recently she was recognized as one of the top 100 business trailblazers in the Women Worth Watching 2015 issue of Profiles in Diversity Journal. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Luskin Center for Innovation and on the Advisory Boards of the LA Sustainable Business Council and the Southern CA Green Business Council as well as the Steering Committee for the USGBC Resilience LA Initiative, the Built Environment Advisory Board for the LA Cleantech Incubator, and the leadership team for Path to Positive LA. Nurit is also working on developing national metrics and ratings for sustainability through the AASHE STARS Steering Committee and building statewide collaboration and best practice sharing through the CA Higher Education Sustainability Conference Steering Committee. In 2010 Nurit completed a full Ironman distance triathlon with Team in Training in support of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. 

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.

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.

Emily Desai
Deputy Director of International Affairs and Trade
Governor's Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz)
Biography

Emily Desai

Deputy Director of International Affairs and Trade
Governor's Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz)

The International Affairs and Trade unit within GO-Biz is the state’s primary point of contact for trade, foreign direct investment, and international affairs. The unit works to create jobs and increase revenues for California enterprises by implementing a comprehensive export and investment strategy in coordination with key regional partners.

Brian Goldstein
Executive Director
Energy Independence Now
Biography

Brian Goldstein

Executive Director
Energy Independence Now

Brian Goldstein is the Executive Director of Energy Independence Now, an environmental nonprofit whose mission is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful air pollution by advancing clean hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and renewable hydrogen infrastructure for transportation, renewable energy storage and deep industrial decarbonization. With a background in finance, Brian has professional experience in the alternative fuels, renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation technology and financial services sectors. He has served as CFO of a motorcycle design and manufacturing firm as well as CFO of a hydrogen transportation technology company, where he focused on public and private financing initiatives, infrastructure acquisitions, automotive technology development and fleet adoption of hydrogen technology.

Brian has worked to develop alternative fuel distribution networks in California and Colorado. He is an Eagle Scout and has also served as a technical and financial consultant to the US Department of Energy, as well as a judge for the Clean Tech Open business plan competition and the DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition.

Brian graduated with a B.S. in International Business from the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado, and earned his MBA with a focus on Finance and International Business at the Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business Management, where he received a Merit Scholarship.

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!

Jenna Hornstock
Deputy Director of Planning for Landuse
Southern California Association of Governments
Biography

Jenna Hornstock

Deputy Director of Planning for Landuse
Southern California Association of Governments

Jenna Hornstock joined SCAG in 2020 to lead special initiatives in housing and economic empowerment as well as the sustainable and resilient development departments.

Prior to joining SCAG, Jenna served as LA Metro’s Executive Officer for Transit Oriented Communities where she oversaw 15 active real estate development projects, station area urban design and first/last mile planning. Jenna also spent nearly 7 years at the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA), most recently as Chief of Strategic Planning and Economic Development. 

Jenna holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley.

In her spare time, Jenna is a Planning Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles, and serves a Board member for the non-profit Community Health Councils and the ULI/LA Advisory Board.  She lives in Silverlake with her teenage son and her partner, and practices yoga and the Lindy Hop whenever possible.

Warner Chabot
Executive Director
San Francisco Estuary Institute
Biography

Warner Chabot

Executive Director
San Francisco Estuary Institute

SFEI is an independent science research institute and non-profit environmental consulting firm serving local and regional resource managers and policy makers throughout California.  Most of SFEI’s work is focused in the San Francisco Bay and Delta region.  SFEI provides independent science and science-base tools to public, private and non-profit partners.  SFEI helps partners to assess and improve the health of the San Francisco Bay and Delta waters, wetland and urban and rural watersheds.

Warner brings over 30 years of executive experience in the private, public and non-profit sector, focused on science-based, environmental planning and policy issues. Warner has specialized in California coastal, ocean, water, land use and energy issues at the local state and federal level. Between managing his own environmental consulting firm Warner also served as the CEO of the California League of Conservation Voters. Prior to that, Warner was a Vice President of Ocean Conservancy, a national ocean policy organization.

Timothy McOsker
Fmr. CEO
AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles
Biography

Timothy McOsker

Fmr. CEO
AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles

Timothy B. McOsker is a lifelong San Pedro resident and an attorney with over three decades of experience in government, regulatory and land development matters. Tim has had a long history of serving San Pedro, the city of Los Angeles and the State of California in numerous leadership roles, including as chief of staff for former Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn and as Hahn’s Chief Deputy City Attorney. Before serving in the City of Los Angeles, Tim served as City Attorney to various jurisdictions in Southern California.

Prior to being appointed CEO on Feb. 1, 2018, Tim represented AltaSea in critical legal matters

including the 2017 lease renegotiations with the Port of Los Angeles. His deep experience in land development, environmental issues, permitting, municipal law, and contracts will be crucial as AltaSea embarks on an ambitious next stage

of expansion and development of its 35 acre campus.

Tim is currently the chairman of the board of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce and a board member of Harbor Interfaith Services. McOsker is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and UCLA School of Law.

 

Dean Wiberg
Manager, Commercial Technology Partnerships Office
NASA JPL
Biography

Dean Wiberg

Manager, Commercial Technology Partnerships Office
NASA JPL

Dean Wiberg is the manager of the Commercial Technology Partnerships Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) with responsibilities to develop business opportunities with non-NASA entities to solve sponsor requirements using JPL technologies and capabilities. This includes substantial engagement with the Oil&Gas and Energy sectors. Before assuming his current role in the program office, Mr. Wiberg was a project lead in JPL’s microdevices laboratory and worked on instrument, sensor and system development that leveraged capabilities of Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS). Prior to joining JPL, Mr. Wiberg held technical, management and business development positions at the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), IBM, Westinghouse, and Northrop Grumman. Dean holds a B.S. in Chemistry, a M.S. in Chemical Engineering, and has completed additional graduate studies in Material Science and Business Administration. Mr. Wiberg has held community service positions as a City Councilman, City Planning Commission Chairman, Regional Water Board Director and is currently on the board of advisors for the Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator and Clean Tech LA.

Andy Lipkis
Founder & Fmr. President/Project Executive
TreePeople/Accelerate Resilience LA
Biography

Andy Lipkis

Founder & Fmr. President/Project Executive
TreePeople/Accelerate Resilience LA

Andy Lipkis has spent his life crowdsourcing climate disaster relief for emergency and long-term issues. At age 18, he founded TreePeople, and served as its president from 1974 to 2019. Lipkis is a pioneer of Urban and Community Forestry and Urban Watershed Management, the principles of which have spread across the world. He has consulted for Los Angeles, Seattle, Melbourne, Hong Kong, London and other megacities, helping plan for climate resilience and adaptation. With climate change impacts already creating a chronic emergency for cities around the world, Andy's work has demonstrated promising new ways for individuals, communities and government agencies to collaboratively reshape urban tree canopy and water infrastructure to save lives and grow a more livable future.

After retiring from TreePeople in 2019, Andy launched Accelerate Resilience L.A. (ARLA), a fiscally sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors) to inspire and enable people and local governments to equitably accelerate climate resilience in Los Angeles.

Lauren Faber O'Connor
Chief Sustainability Officer
City of Los Angeles
Biography

Lauren Faber O'Connor

Chief Sustainability Officer
City of Los Angeles

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

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

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.
V. John White
Executive Director
CEERT
Biography

V. John White

Executive Director
CEERT

V. John White has been a writer, commentator, advocate, and leader of the green energy movement in California for 35 years. He is executive director of CEERT, the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies in Sacramento, and principal of the environmental and energy lobbying practice, V. John White Associates, representing public interest environmental and local government organizations, and new energy technology companies.

White's career has been devoted to air quality improvement and clean energy development. As chief consultant to the California Assembly Subcommittee on Air Quality, he became the leading legislative expert on air quality technology and regulation, helping to draft the California Clean Air Act and subsequent clean air and energy statutes.

 In 1990 he co-founded CEERT, which has become the premier energy advocacy voice for key environmental public interest groups and clean energy technology companies.  He played a central role in the passage of the Pavley Clean Car bill, AB 32, and many of California’s renewable energy incentive and regulatory programs. 

He serves on a number of nonprofit boards and organizations.

John is a graduate of U.C. Riverside – Political Science

Kristen Torres Pawling
Sustainability Program Director
Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office
Biography

Kristen Torres Pawling

Sustainability Program Director
Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office

Kristen Torres Pawling has over a decade of experience in the sustainability field, largely in the public and non-profit sectors. Kristen is the Sustainability Program Director at Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office, where she co-led the effort to author the nation’s most ambitious regional sustainability plan. Previously, she advocated on climate and urban planning issues at the Natural Resources Defense Council and served in the Chair’s Office at the California Air Resources Board.   She is an appointee to the inaugural California Climate Insurance Working Group and the Culver City General Plan Advisory Committee. Kristen earned a Bachelor of Art degree in geography/environmental studies and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from UCLA.

Mike Wallace
Senior Vice President, Strategic Market Investment
Persefoni
Biography

Mike Wallace

Senior Vice President, Strategic Market Investment
Persefoni

Mike Wallace is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Market Engagement at Persefoni. He is an internationally recognized expert with nearly 30 years of experience in sustainability, ESG reporting/compliance, and managing social and human capital. Prior to joining Persefoni, Wallace was a partner at ERM and a director for the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Jeff Bleich
Chief Legal Officer
Cruise
Biography

Jeff Bleich

Chief Legal Officer
Cruise

Jeff Bleich currently serves as the Chief Legal Officer and Chief Risk Officer of Cruise LLC.  He previously served as a Special Master for the U.S. Courts, arbitrator, and as the chair of the boards of PG&E Co. and Nuix USG, Inc.  He formerly served as special counsel to President Obama in the White House, and as the 24th U.S. Ambassador to Australia from 2009 to 2013.

After receiving his B.A. in political science, magna cum laude, Bleich earned an M.P.P. from Harvard with highest honors in 1986, and a J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law with highest honors in 1989. At Berkeley, he served as editor-in-chief of the California Law Review. He clerked for Judge Abner Mikva on the D.C. Circuit and Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on the U.S. Supreme Court, before clerking at the international tribunal in the Hague.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Bleich was a partner for 17 years at Munger, Tolles & Olson in San Francisco, where he handled many significant pro bono civil rights matters, and was recognized as one of the nation’s top lawyers. He holds, or has held, several other leadership positions, including as chair of the Fulbright Board, chair of the California State University Board of Trustees, president of the California State Bar, president of the Bar Association of San Francisco and president of the Barristers Club of San Francisco. In 1998, he was appointed by President Clinton to serve as director of the White House Commission on Youth Violence following the tragic Columbine shootings.

In recognition of his service, Bleich has received some of the nation’s top honors, including the highest awards for a non-career ambassador by the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Director of National Intelligence. In 2009, the City of San Francisco named a day in his honor.  Bleich holds honorary degrees from San Francisco State University, Griffith University, and Flinders University in Adelaide, which in 2019 named for him the Jeff Bleich Centre for U.S. Alliance Studies in Digital Technology, Security, and Governance.

Charles Wilson
Executive Director and CEO
Southern California Water Coalition
Biography

Charles Wilson

Executive Director and CEO
Southern California Water Coalition

Charles Wilson serves as Executive Director and CEO of the Southern California Water Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public education partnership between cities, counties, business, industry, agriculture and water agencies dedicated to securing reliable, affordable, quality water for Southern California.

The Southern California Water Coalition (SCWC) - established in 1984 - is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public education partnership dedicated to informing Southern Californians about water needs and the state's water resources. Through measured advocacy, SCWC works to ensure the health and reliability of Southern California's water supply.

Spanning Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Kern and Imperial counties, SCWC's approximately 200 member organizations include leaders from business, regional and local government, agricultural groups, labor unions, environmental organizations, water agencies, as well as the general public.

The diversity of its membership sets SCWC apart and enhances its influence, giving the organization the unique ability to take an all-inclusive approach to education efforts as they facilitate productive dialogue and build consensus to solve California's most critical water issues.

In addition, SCWC is the largest coalition of interested public and private entities dedicated specifically to securing a reliable supply of water for Southern California.

Wilson has been a leading public affairs professional in Southern California for more than 30 years and is a recognized leader in the industry. Wilson has spent the past 25 years in the electric utility industry with Southern California Edison where he led the development and implementation of third party strategic planning and communication efforts and aligned company interests with local, state and federal government officials and agencies.

Wilson also serves as principal owner of PC Consulting Services Inc. A consulting firm dedicated to providing strategic counsel, public affairs, government relations and communications to public agencies, private sector business clients and non-profits.

Wilson is recognized as an organizational leader, consensus builder and strategic communications specialist who can develop high performance teams, which produce results.

In addition, Wilson also serves as an elected board member of the Santa Margarita Water District where he currently serves as an active and dynamic force in providing leadership to the second largest and fastest growing retail water agency in Orange County.

Prior to joining Edison, Wilson served as director of community and media affairs for State and U.S. Senator John Seymour.  He has also worked in sports radio and television with ABC, ESPN, and the Netherlands Broadcast Company.

A frequent lecturer and university level instructor, Wilson was invited to provide advanced political campaign and communications seminars to train candidates and political parties in Novosibirsk, Russia. Wilson has also hosted and produced “Orange County Outlook,” a locally produced television show highlighting current events, political debate and economic development activities in Orange County.

A graduate of UCLA, Charles earned his BA degree in political science with an emphasis in international relations and public administration.  Wilson also earned his M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University.

Charles has been involved in several community activities including the Southern California Water Committee, Association of California Water Agencies, Southern California Public Affairs Association Advisory Board, Southern California Building Industry Association, Serra Catholic School’s Parent Advisory Board, Young Executives of America, the Orange County Public Affairs Association, Orange County Business Council, Mission Hospital Foundation, the Knights of Columbus, Constitutional Rights Foundation, Boy Scouts, YMCA, United Way, Red Cross, KOCE TV, Cystic Fibrosis, CORO, the Sigma Chi fraternity and the UCLA alumni association.

Charles and his wife, Pam, live in South Orange County with their daughter. 

John Shegerian
Co-Founder & Executive Chairman
ERI
Biography

John Shegerian

Co-Founder & Executive Chairman
ERI

John Shegerian creates profitable impact companies that make the world a better place.

As co-founder and Executive Chairman of ERI, he has played a significant role in paving the way for the electronic recycling, data protection and ITAD industries as a whole.

Building ERI from the ground up, Shegerian has helped lead the company to its current standing as the largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition provider and cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company in the United States. Under his stewardship, ERI now has the capacity to process more than a billion pounds of electronic waste annually at its eight certified locations, serving every ZIP Code in the United States.

He is also co-founder of RecycleNation, a dynamic recycling and green living resource that simplifies the recycling process on a national level with a comprehensive, interactive recycling location database.

Shegerian is also the co-founder and CMO of The Marketing Masters, a digital marketing and web development company that builds effective, ROI-driven marketing campaigns for businesses large and small. Shegerian co-founded Som Sleep, a drink formulated to help individuals achieve better, more restorative sleep.He is also Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Engage, a web-based platform designed to digitize the process of booking talent online for unique personalized appearances.

Shegerian was named the Clean Tech Entrepreneur of the Year for Northern California by Ernst & Young and was officially named to City & State New York’s prestigious “Responsible 100” list last year. He is also a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).

 
 
Marta Segura
Climate Emergency Mobilization Director
LA City Climate Emergency Mobilization Office
Biography

Marta Segura

Climate Emergency Mobilization Director
LA City Climate Emergency Mobilization Office

Segura is a strategic, resourceful environmental and health and justice advocate with a focus on social equity, appointed as the first-ever Climate Emergency Mobilization Director (CEMD). She is also a leading expert in community health and engagement and has worked directly with public, philanthropic, private, institutional and non-profit sectors to design, implement, and drive community and policy-driven programs that promote healthier and more engaged communities. Ms. Segura holds a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) from UCLA. She previously served as Program Officer for the California Endowment and the first Latina Program Director for UCLA-LOSH and Labor Center. She was the first Statewide Organizing Director in Los Angeles, for Communities for a Better Environment during its nascent years in Southern California, and was ultimately promoted to the role of Statewide Associate Director. She also worked in creating parks and open space in the early years of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust. Marta served on the L.A. City Planning Commission, and as the Chair of the Equity and Inclusion Board Committee at the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, as well as on the Board of the Southern California Leadership Network. Marta has broken many glass ceilings for her community, and served as a mentor to many, while consistently committing to building and connecting the voices that lead to healthier, thriving communities.

Marta is the daughter of cannery workers and knows all too well what it is like to grow up with childhood asthma, excessive air pollution living next to freeways, and segregated substandard schools, not unlike many frontline communities she collaborates with today. Segura also experienced housing displacement as a result of a project that demolished her entire neighborhood in San Jose.

Jonathan Weisgall
Vice President, Government Relations
Berkshire Hathaway Energy
Biography

Jonathan Weisgall

Vice President, Government Relations
Berkshire Hathaway Energy

Jonathan Weisgall is Vice President for Government Relations for Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. He joined CalEnergy (Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s predecessor company) in 1993 as Vice President for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs. Weisgall also serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies and vice chairman of the Geothermal Resources Council’s Policy Committee. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he has taught a seminar on energy issues since 1990 and recently received the Charles Fahy Distinguished Adjunct Professor Award as outstanding adjunct professor of the year. He has been named one of the top Washington, DC corporate lobbyists by The Hill since 2004. Weisgall graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia College and from Stanford Law School and has published articles in Legal Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, and The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Thomas Aujero Small
President & CEO
Culver City Forward
Biography

Thomas Aujero Small

President & CEO
Culver City Forward
 
Thomas Aujero Small served as Mayor of Culver City from 2018-2019, during his four-year term as a Culver City Council Member (2016-2020). He is also Chair of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (LA METRO) Sustainability Council, and on the Transportation Policy Committee of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). On the Culver City Council, he served on several Subcommittees, including: the General Plan Update; Economic Development; Mobility, Traffic and Parking; Financial Planning and Budget; and the Ballona Creek Revitalization Task Force.

Small’s work with the city focused on excellence in urban planning, sustainable design and mobility, including initiating and leading the Transit Oriented District Visioning process. He led efforts to win grants from the Mayor’s Innovation Project, the Harvard Behavioral Insight Group, and the National Institute for Civil Discourse, for programs to enhance public outreach for neighborhood planning and alternative modes of transportation. He represented the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of the League of California Cities on their Housing and Economic Development Policy Committee. At a national level, he has participated in the US Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the New American Leaders and Local Progress, all based in Washington, D.C.

He has been featured in the New York Times, the LA Times, NPR and the Washington Post, and on CNBC. He is often invited to speak internationally, including recent keynotes at the International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure with the American Society of Civil Engineers, and for the RAND Corporation at the international conference on Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty. As an architectural writer and consultant, he worked on projects in urban and sustainable design and planning, development and historic preservation in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. He moderated design award juries in New York and Copenhagen, and taught Sustainability for Organizational Change at UCLA. He studied at Yale, the University of Paris, and the Columbia School of Journalism, and speaks four languages. He lives with his wife Joanna Brody, and their two children and two giant sheep dogs, in the sustainably designed, often published Culver City home that they built in 2007.

 

Rusty Hicks
Chair
California Democratic Party
Biography

Rusty Hicks

Chair
California Democratic Party

Rusty Hicks is Chair of the California Democratic Party. Prior to his election as chair, Rusty was the President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. He is one of the youngest—and the first post-9/11 war veteran—to lead one of the nation’s largest labor federations. Raised by a single mother in Fort Worth, Texas, Rusty saw first-hand the challenges of attaining the American Dream. Her hard work inspired him to a life of service. He is a Lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserve and a veteran of the War in Afghanistan. Rusty is a member of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild – America Federation of Teachers Local 1521. He resides in Pasadena with his wife, Sandra Sanchez, and their dog Charlie.

Mick Dalrymple
Chief Sustainability Officer
University of Southern California
Biography

Mick Dalrymple

Chief Sustainability Officer
University of Southern California

Michael “Mick” Dalrymple is the Chief Sustainability Officer at USC, where he brings over 30 years of multi-disciplinary experience in sustainability leadership, higher education, information technology, and media. He previously served as the director of university sustainability practices at Arizona State University, developing the internal consulting service to empower the university in attaining ambitious sustainability goals, including achieving carbon neutrality in 2019 – six years ahead of schedule.

Dalrymple connects stakeholders and experts in developing integrated solutions to complex environmental, social and economic challenges and opportunities. His previous work includes formulating and executing projects that joined expert faculty researchers and students with stakeholders from various sectors (government, industry, and/or non-governmental organizations) to create domestic and international solutions related to algal biofuels, green schools, energy benchmarking, municipal tree and shade master plans, aquifer sustainability, and circular economy. Dalrymple also managed a federally-funded project for ASU with partners in the City of Phoenix and Arizona Public Service to retrofit as much of downtown Phoenix as possible for energy efficiency.

As an entrepreneur, Dalrymple co-founded an environmental building supply company and a green building architecture and consulting services firm. He is a produced feature film screenwriter with an extensive film and advertising production background. Aim high and implement.

Philippe P. Huneault
VP - Technology and Funds Management, and Head of International Business Development
Fonds de Solidarité FTQ
Biography

Philippe P. Huneault

VP - Technology and Funds Management, and Head of International Business Development
Fonds de Solidarité FTQ

​Philippe P. Huneault has been the VP of Technology and Funds Management, and Head of International Business Development at Fonds de Solidarité FTQ since March 2022.


Previously  Québec’s delegate in Los Angeles and chief Officer for the representative office in Canada of B&C Plc (Bank and Clients), a London-based bank, Mr. Huneault, manager, entrepreneur and seasoned administrator, boasts nearly 30 years of experience in public and private corporate financing, business development and innovation.

From 1996 to 2004, he held several positions, including Vice-president, Strategic Opportunities, at Telesystem International Wireless (TIW), a leader in the field of cellular operators in Central and Eastern Europe.
In 2006, he co-founded Echo Capital, a private investment fund manager that supports the development of small and medium-sized businesses. He served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the company. He was also a Managing Partner at Mayfair Strategic Consulting, a firm specialized in providing strategic consulting services for tech companies as well as for municipalities to implement digital strategies and develop Smart City initiatives. In this capacity, he participated in the feasibility analyses of Montreal Digital Metropolis and Gatineau Intelligent et Numérique.
In late 2007, Mr. Huneault was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Medical Intelligence Technologies, a publicly listed company that provides mobile teleassistance solutions for the health and safety sectors.
Before joining TIW, he held management positions at a number of companies, including Cantel, Ericsson, Telezone, Vidéotron, YRH and Bell Canada International.

He has served on a number of boards of directors, including those of Montréal’s Quartier de l’innovation and the Cancer Research Society. He is also a founding member of Capital Intelligent Mtl.
Philippe P. Huneault holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and a certificate in technological innovation from École Polytechnique de Montréal.

John Onderdonk
Chief Sustainability Officer
California Institute of Technology
Biography

John Onderdonk

Chief Sustainability Officer
California Institute of Technology

John Onderdonk serves as the Senior Director of Facilities Services and Integrated Planning as well as the Chief Sustainability Officer at the California Institute of Technology. In this capacity, he is responsible for the executive leadership of campus planning, energy and utility services, procurement and material management, critical research logistics and sustainability programs.

At Caltech, John has led efforts to de-carbonize campus utilities, plan for infrastructure resilience and adaptive capacity, and integrate 17MW of distributed generation. He has supervised the execution of a $15M energy efficiency fund, served as the lead sustainability advisor for 12 capital projects and coordinated the deployment of a work management and asset tracking system. John also leads the Institute’s regulatory affairs with regard to energy, water, carbon and regional planning.

Prior to joining Caltech, John served as the Southwest Regional Manager for AIG Environmental where he managed environmental risk on behalf of corporate and brownfield redevelopment clients.

John holds a Masters in Corporate Environmental Management from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and Economics from the University of Oregon. John is a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design + Construction and a Certified Carbon Reduction Manager.

John is the chair of the Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Officer’s Taskforce and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.

Cecilia Estolano
CEO & Founder
Estolano Advisors and CEO of Better World Group
Biography

Cecilia Estolano

CEO & Founder
Estolano Advisors and CEO of Better World Group

Cecilia V. Estolano is a leading expert on contemporary urban planning issues, with experience in economic and workforce development, land use, environmental policy, and urban revitalization. She has worked directly with public, private, institutional, and non-profit clients to plan, finance, design, implement, and operate policy-driven programs and projects that promote sustainable solutions tailored for each community. Cecilia is a Regent of the University of California and has served as President of the California Community College Board of Governors. She received an A.B. from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges, an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA, and a J.D. from UC Berkeley. Prior to founding Estolano Advisors in 2011, Cecilia served as CEO of CRA/LA, practiced land use and environmental law while Of Counsel and an Associate at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, served as Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. EPA during the Clinton Administration, and served as Environmental Policy Advisor to former L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley. In addition to her work at Estolano Advisors, she became the CEO of Better World Group, an environmental strategy firm, in 2018.

Dr. Joshua Schank
Managing Principal
InfraStrategies
Biography

Dr. Joshua Schank

Managing Principal
InfraStrategies

Dr. Joshua Schank is a Managing Principal at InfraStrategies, a transportation and financial advisory firm, where he leads a practice focused on innovation, strategic planning, and technology. He is also a Senior Fellow in the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Prior to joining InfraStrategies and UCLA, Dr. Schank was the first-ever Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). Dr. Schank joined Metro in 2015 to establish the agency’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation (OEI), which is responsible for fostering innovations that improve mobility, equity and environmental outcomes across LA County. Dr. Schank led an office that shapes Metro’s high-level strategic vision, serving as a liaison to the academic community, designing, piloting and implementing innovative programs and policies, and engaging entrepreneurs and businesses to develop public-private-partnerships. Dr. Schank helped create and lead numerous transformative Metro projects including the Vision 2028 Strategic Plan, Metro Micro, Mobility on Demand, Metro’s Traffic Reduction Study, Better Bus, two Pre-Development Agreements for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor, a Public-Private-Partnership for the West Santa Ana Branch, and an aerial tram from Union Station to Dodger Stadium.

Dr. Schank previously served as President and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a leading national transportation policy think-tank based in Washington, D.C. Prior to that he led the National Transportation Policy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center and has worked as a consultant for Parsons Brinkerhoff (now WSP) and ICF International. Dr. Schank served as Transportation Policy Advisor to Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) during the authorization of SAFETEA-LU and is the co-author of All Roads Lead to Congress: The $300 Billion Fight Over Highway Funding. Dr. Schank holds a Ph.D in Urban Planning from Columbia University, and a Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He began his career working on behalf of the riders of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City and has never lost that spirit. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.

Nancy Sutley
Sr. Asst. General Manager of External & Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
Biography

Nancy Sutley

Sr. Asst. General Manager of External & Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Nancy Sutley is LADWP’s Senior Assistant General Manager of External and Regulatory Affairs, and the Chief Sustainability Officer. In this role, Ms. Sutley oversees the Department’s customer service operations, energy efficiency and water conservation programs, environmental regulation, public affairs and legislative teams. Over the course of her tenure with the Department, Ms. Sutley has initiated LADWP’s corporate sustainability programs, spearheaded LADWP’s La Kretz Innovation Campus, promoted the electrification of the transportation network and coordinated the Clean Grid L.A. plan.

Prior to joining LADWP in 2014, Ms. Sutley served as Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Under her leadership, the Council played a central role in shepherding the Obama Administration’s signature environmental projects and was one of the chief architects of President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan.

Ms. Sutley has an extensive background in public service that includes posts as Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment for the City of Los Angeles, Board Member of the Metropolitan Water District, Member of the California State Water Resources Control Board, Energy Advisor for California Governor Gray Davis, Deputy Secretary for Policy and Intergovernmental Relations at the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Senior Policy Advisor for the US EPA during the Clinton Administration.

Ms. Sutley holds a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University.

Ross Zelen
Board Consultant to Gideon Kracov
South Coast AQMD Governing Board
Biography

Ross Zelen

Board Consultant to Gideon Kracov
South Coast AQMD Governing Board

Ross Zelen is a Research Fellow in the Climate Program at CLEE. Ross’s research focuses on implementation of climate change policy, with a specific focus on solutions to reduce methane emissions. Ross has worked in California environmental policy and public interest for much of the past decade. Starting as an Executive Fellow at the California Air Resources Board, he worked on advancing air quality, clean energy, and sustainable transportation priorities. 

At Loyola Law School, where Ross received his J.D., he teamed up to win the 2019 California Lawyers Association Environmental Negotiations Competition and was a semifinalist in the 2020 National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition. He has been admitted to the California bar. 

J.D., LMU Loyola Law School, Los Angeles (2021) 

B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara (2013) 

Eliot Abel
Co-Owner / Director of Commercial Project Development
Namaste Solar
Biography

Eliot Abel

Co-Owner / Director of Commercial Project Development
Namaste Solar

Eliot leads commercial sales & project development at Namaste Solar, guiding the development of solar projects ranging from 50kW to 10MW. Prior to joining Namaste 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 Boards of the Colorado Solar and Storage Association and Namaste Solar, and holds a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

 

Alex Rafiee
CEO and Co-Founder
Gemini Motor
Biography

Alex Rafiee

CEO and Co-Founder
Gemini Motor

Alex Rafiee is the CEO and co-founder of Gemini Motor, an autonomous truck company based in Los Angeles, CA. He was previously an investment manager at Equinor Ventures active in early stage investments in energy, AI, and mobility startups for three years. In this role, Alex observed the emergence of intelligent mobility and clean energy as the de facto reality of the future of transportation and ceased the opportunity to be a part of this transition. Alex also served as a technologist at Equinor Technology for five years where he developed and commercialized several key technologies rooted in AI and energy. Alex holds M.Sc and Ph.D degrees in Petroleum Engineering from Texas Tech University.  

Jacob Lipa
CEO
Micropolitan
Biography

Jacob Lipa

CEO
Micropolitan

Jacob Lipa is the CEO of Micropolitan, a real estate development subsidiary of Psomas.  Micropolitan builds, owns and operates apartment buildings.   Prior to founding Micropolitan, Jacob served as the president of Psomas for over 10 years.  Psomas is a consulting engineering firm serving public and private clients throughout the Western United States and headquartered in Los Angeles.  The firm specializes in the land development, water, and transportation markets. In addition to Psomas and Micropolitan, Jacob in partnership with FMG founded PsomasFMG, a solar development company serving the public and educational markets.

Jacob Lipa is the past Chairman of the Los Angeles Business Council, the past President of the Friends of Ballona Wetlands, the past president of the LA County Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies.  He is a Board member of the Engineering School of Cal Poly University, a board member of the Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, and serves as an advisor to several private local and international companies.

Ruben Aronin
Senior Vice President
Better World Group
Biography

Ruben Aronin

Senior Vice President
Better World Group

Ruben helps lead Better World Group’s clean transportation, climate and clean energy portfolio. His demonstrated commitment to a clean economy has yielded enduring relationships throughout California and across the country with a vast network of stakeholders from nonprofit, media, government, philanthropy, and the private sector. Ruben has led a multi-state campaign opposing the Trump administration’s rollback of clean car standards and he helped lead successful coalition efforts to have the California Air Resources Board adopt the first-in-the-world zero emission vehicle requirement for trucks. He has co-authored a report on electric vehicle incentives, leads the outreach for Southern California Clean Transportation Funding programs and manages the California Business Alliance for a Clean Economy – a statewide alliance of California’s leading business associations.

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

 

James Larsen
CEO
e-Zinc
Biography

James Larsen

CEO
e-Zinc

James has over two decades of business and engineering leadership experience in cleantech and energy, including strategy, operations, finance, design, and engineering.  Currently, James is CEO of e-Zinc, a Toronto-based energy storage company with a proprietary long-duration technology that economically enables 100% renewable energy solutions.  James has successfully raised over $40 million for the company and is responsible for the formation and execution of the company's strategic plan to lead e-Zinc’s commercialization journey.  

Prior to e-Zinc, James was Director of Business Development with MaRS' Advanced Energy Centre, developing and leading a new consulting business focused on the adoption of innovative clean energy technologies by businesses.  His other experience includes management consulting with Bain & Company to develop strategic solutions for market-leading companies in North America and Europe.  James also spent many years as an engineer working in the renewable energy industry with a variety of technologies, including hydrogen fuel cells, as well as micro-hydro and geothermal generation. 

James holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Queen's University (Honours) and an MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University (Dean's List).  James is also a registered Professional Engineer.

LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/jamesflarsen

Jennifer Hernandez
Partner
Holland & Knight
Biography

Jennifer Hernandez

Partner
Holland & Knight

Jennifer Hernandez has practiced land use and environmental law for more than 30 years, and leads Holland & Knight's West Coast Land Use and Environmental Group. Ms. Hernandez divides her time between the firm's San Francisco and Los Angeles offices.

Daniel Weiss
Managing Partner & Co-Founder
Angeleno Group
Biography

Daniel Weiss

Managing Partner & Co-Founder
Angeleno Group
Daniel G. Weiss is co-founder and Managing Partner of Angeleno Group LLC (“AG”), a Los Angeles-based venture capital firm with a global platform focused on high growth investments in next-generation clean energy and climate solutions companies. In addition to his firm management responsibilities, Mr. Weiss leads investments and serves on boards of multiple AG portfolio companies. Prior to the formation of AG in 2001, Mr. Weiss was an attorney at O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles, working in the firm’s mergers and acquisitions and international and high technology practice groups. He represented multiple Global 1000 clients, including utilities and energy-related companies, in a wide array of private equity and corporate finance transactions. Currently, Mr. Weiss serves on boards or public commissions for a number of non-profit and government organizations, including the California Community Foundation, World Resources Institute, the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (where he serves as co-Chair), and the Federal Reserve Bank’s 12th District Economic Advisory Council. In addition, Mr. Weiss has taught, lectured, and published articles on the topics of law, business, and public policy. Mr. Weiss holds a JD from Stanford Law School, an MA from Stanford University, and a BA with High Honors from UC Berkeley. 
Henan Li
Trade and Investment Representative – Asia
Governor's Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz)
Biography

Henan Li

Trade and Investment Representative – Asia
Governor's Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz)

The International Affairs and Trade unit within GO-Biz is the state’s primary point of contact for trade, foreign direct investment, and international affairs. The unit works to create jobs and increase revenues for California enterprises by implementing a comprehensive export and investment strategy in coordination with key regional partners.

Patrick F Dosbon
Geothermal Systems Program Lead
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Biography

Patrick F Dosbon

Geothermal Systems Program Lead
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Pat Dobson pent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, where he was introduced into the world of experimental petrology. After a brief stint as a postdoc at UC Santa Barbara, he then moved to Unocal’s Hartley Research Center, where he ran the stable isotope laboratory. Pat then transferred to Unocal’s Geothermal Division, where he was involved in the exploration of geothermal systems in Indonesia, Central America, and South America.

Dobson joined the former Earth Sciences Division of LBNL in 2000, and has been involved in a variety of geologic and geochemical research projects. He led LBNL’s efforts in the study of the Peña Blanca uranium deposits, a natural analogue for flow and transport processes at Yucca Mountain. From 2007 to 2009, he served as a detailee for the Geosciences Research Program of DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Pat became the lead for LBNL’s Geothermal Systems Program in 2016.

Shmel Graham
Counsel
Ashurst Law Firm
Biography

Shmel Graham

Counsel
Ashurst Law Firm
Shmel is Counsel at Ashurst law firm where she advises clients on the procurement, structuring, financing and development of infrastructure projects. She is a native of Los Angeles and is experienced working in both the public and private sectors. 

She previously served in the City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office under both Mayor Villaraigosa and Mayor Garcetti. During her tenure at the Mayor's Office, Shmel focused on driving complex technology and social infrastructure investments and operational reform efforts. 

She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and Juris Doctorate from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. 

She serves on the Board of the Urban Land Institute Los Angeles, Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation and Community Health Councils and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Shmel is passionate about health and wellness, commercial development and wealth building in communities of color. More importantly, she is a mother of an amazing young boy and enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. 

 

Gordon Feller
Advisor/Global Fellow
Zeelo Corp/The Smithsonian Institute
Biography

Gordon Feller

Advisor/Global Fellow
Zeelo Corp/The Smithsonian Institute
Gordon Feller has worked for more than four decades at the intersection of environmental change, global security, and technology innovation. His aim has always been to accelerate the emergence of tools and systems that strengthen our communities and enhance their sustainability.
 
Upon arriving in Silicon Valley in 1983 he began to work inside the executive suite, developing projects for corporate giants which aimed to solve some of the world’s most complex problems. Current and past clients include World Bank, EY, S&P, Deloitte, McGraw-Hill, HP, IHS Markit, Parsons, MIT, Gannett, World Economic Forum, Ford Motor Co. Toyota, Stanford University, Univ. of Calif., IBM, The Financial Times of London, The Economist Group, Apple, International Telecommunications Union, International Standards Organization, Chevron, Bechtel, Lockheed, The Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, UN, numerous national governments (Germany, Canada, US), ThomsonReuters, and many others.
 
From 2010 to 2017, he served as Director of Urban Innovation at Cisco Systems HQ. He founded Meeting of the Minds in the 1990s, stitching together a global leadership network which focused on transitions and transformations, and during its first 8 years it was based inside World Bank headquarters. Gordon was appointed by the Obama/Biden White House to serve on the US Federal Comm. established by The US Congress, reporting to the US Sect. of Energy.
 
Gordon’s first published article was published in 1979. Since then he’s published more than 450 articles. While completing multiple degrees at Columbia University Gordon served as a Wallach Fellow of World Order Studies, a Dean’s Fellow, and a Gov. Lehman Fellow. He was later awarded the Prime Minister Abe Fellowship by Japan.
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.

Angelina Galiteva
Board Member
CAISO
Biography

Angelina Galiteva

Board Member
CAISO

Angelina M. Galiteva is the Founder and Board Chair of Renewables 100 Policy Institute, an organization dedicated to accelerating global transition to 100% renewable energy for all sectors. Since 2011 Ms. Galiteva was appointed to the California Independent Systems Operator Board (CAISO), one of the largest transmission operators in the World. In March 2020 Ms. Galiteva was reappointed for another term and in October 2020 she became the first Female Chair of the CAISO Board of Governors. Under her leadership the CAISO has become a world leader in renewable energy integration and decarbonization. In addition, Angelina serves as Chairperson of the World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE) and is a Founding Board Member of the Global Clean Energy Desalination Alliance.

Ms. Galiteva is an expert in strategic issues related to renewable energy, new technology development and implementation, optimizing power system resiliency and efficiency, as well as overall sustainability and environmental policy programs for public and private entities. As such she is frequently sent as a US State Department representative expert on renewable energy and power grid resiliency and reliability issues. In addition, Ms. Galiteva is founder and principal of NEOptions, Inc., a renewable energy product and project development firm. Previously, Ms. Galiteva was the Executive Director of Strategic Planning for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), overseeing the utility's renewable energy program, she also worked at the New York Power Authority. Ms. Galiteva is an attorney with a JD Degree and Master’s LLM Degrees in International and Energy Law.

Angelina has overseen numerous utility scale renewable energy, bulk storage, combined heat and power project developments, including distributed generation and microgrid specific installations. Additionally, she has extensive experience in structuring electric vehicle infrastructure programs, accelerating the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies as well as securing the financing structures necessary to ensure project success both in the US and abroad.

Ms. Galiteva is a globally recognized expert in the area of designing regulatory structures and programs to support the development of carbon free technologies and the transition to a reliable, resilient carbon free future.

Dan Rosenfeld
Fmr. Sr. Deputy for Economic Development
LA County Board of Supervisors
Biography

Dan Rosenfeld

Fmr. Sr. Deputy for Economic Development
LA County Board of Supervisors
Dan Rosenfeld is a real estate investor who alternates between private and public-sector service. 

In the private-sector, Mr. Rosenfeld served as a senior officer with The Cadillac Fairview Corporation, Tishman-Speyer Properties, and Jones Lang LaSalle. He was a founding member of Urban Partners, LLC, a nationally recognized developer of urban infill, mixed-use and transit-oriented real estate. Among the firm’s major projects are Del Mar Station, Wilshire/Vermont Station and the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters. Mr. Rosenfeld is currently developing and managing real estate in Los Angeles and Seattle. 

In the public sector, Mr. Rosenfeld served as Director of Real Estate for the State of California and City of Los Angeles, and as a Senior Deputy for Economic Development with Los Angeles County. 

Mr. Rosenfeld is a graduate of Stanford University and the Harvard Business School. He is married to noted choreographer Heidi Duckler and lives in Los Angeles. The couple have three grown children Anya, Austen and Ellery. 

 

Steve Sullivan
Former Managing Director
Southern California Edison
Biography

Steve Sullivan

Former Managing Director
Southern California Edison

Steve Sullivan retired from Edison International (EIX) on October 1, 2013, after 35 years with the company. Edison is the parent company of Southern California Edison, a regulated electric utility.

As an executive of SCE, Mr. Sullivan led two of its largest organizations dedicated to serving government customers: first as Director of Local Public Affairs, and second as Director of Government & Institutions within the Customer Service organization.

After retiring from SCE, Mr. Sullivan has remained active in the utility space by providing consultative services to companies, and in some instances has taken a “hands-on” role with start-up companies, especially with those that provide cutting-edge technologies and/or play a role in shaping public policy issues affecting the electric industry in California. Some of his recent business ventures include:

Advanced Rail Energy Storage (2014 to 2019)

Sullivan served as COO of ARES, a firm pioneering the use of electric locomotive technology for large-scale energy storage. By providing a completely non-polluting and low-cost solution the need for grid scale storage and grid stability, ARES will allow America and the world to successfully and reliably integrate unprecedented amounts of clean energy. ARES anticipates bringing its first large-scale project (50 megawatts) on-line in 2020.

ICE ENERGY (2014 to 2017)

Sullivan served as an advisor to the Ice Energy Board. Ice Energy is the leading provider of smart grid-enabled, distributed energy storage to the utility industry. It delivers cost-effective solutions at grid-scale to reduce peak demand, improve energy system efficiency and reliability, and transform the way the utility system operates.

BUSINESS RADAR (2014 to 2015)

Sullivan served as a board member of iRestore, Business Radar. IRestore provides first responders (e.g. police and fire) with an intelligent mobile service that can instantly connect and communicate with local utilities – the iRestores product and protocols helps utility workers assess damage to the electric grid and respond more effectively to emergencies.  

EMPIRE WATER (2014 to 2018)

Sullivan, a former minority owner of Empire Water Corporation (EWC). EWC formed in 2008 to purchase assets of the West Riverside Canal Company (WRCC) and the 350” Mutual Water Company, located in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Both Companies were formed in 1888, and have operated more or less continuously since that time. EWC owns and manages the only private canal in the region, in addition to owning and/or controlling significant water resources. For over 100 years, the WRCC transported roughly 10,000 acre-feet/year of water from San Bernardino to Riverside County.

 

Sue Minter
Executive Director
Capstone Community Action
Biography

Sue Minter

Executive Director
Capstone Community Action

Sue Minter is the Executive Director of Capstone Community Action, a regional anti-poverty non-profit in Vermont dedicated to creating resilient communities and advancing social, economic and environmental justice. In 2021 she was appointed to serve on the Vermont Climate Council, established to create the state’s climate action plan, where she co-chair of the Just Transitions Committee.

Minter has served the state of Vermont as the Secretary of the Agency of Transportation (2015), Deputy Secretary (2011-2014) and as the state’s Chief Recovery Officer (2011-2013) following the devastation from Tropical Storm Irene. Sue also served on President Obama’s White House Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience (2015) as a sub-committee co-chair and also led a Vermont disaster response team to support Colorado DOT after 2013 flooding. Minter was the Democratic candidate for Vermont Governor in 2016.

Minter’s public service included elected office as State Representative in the Vermont legislature from 2004–2010, serving as a member of the House Appropriations Committee and House Transportation Committees, when she was selected to be an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership (2009-11) and was designated as a 2008 Emerging Political Leader by the State Legislative Leadership Foundation.

A graduate of Harvard University (BA) and M.I.T. (MA in City Planning), Sue and her husband, David Goodman, live in Waterbury Center and have two adult children.

Tyson Eckerle
Deputy Director of Zero Emission Vehicle Market Development
Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development
Biography

Tyson Eckerle

Deputy Director of Zero Emission Vehicle Market Development
Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development

Tyson Eckerle serves as the Deputy Director of Zero Emission Vehicle Market Development in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go Biz). In this role, he leads a team focused on scaling the zero emission vehicle market by organizing stakeholder efforts to remove market barriers, create opportunities, and streamline development. Prior to joining Go Biz, Tyson served as Executive Director of Energy Independence Now, a non-profit dedicated to action-oriented solutions to petroleum dependence and climate change.

Tyson holds a B.A. in Biology from the University of California, Davis and a Master of Environmental Science and Management (MESM) from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

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.

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

Katy Young Yaroslavsky

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

Katy is responsible for developing LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s environment and arts policy. In this role, she spearheaded the creation of LA County’s first Sustainability Office, which has since developed one of the most innovative, comprehensive regional sustainability plans in the nation. Additionally, Katy oversaw the creation of the Clean Power Alliance, California’s largest community choice energy program, which offers approximately 1 million electricity customers in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties a chance to buy less expensive, greener electricity from a public power provider. Katy led the development of Measure W, a water and green infrastructure parcel tax adopted by the voters of LA County in 2018 with nearly 70% of the vote. Measure W provides $300 million each year to increase local water supplies and clean up our rivers and ocean, while also greening our communities and improving public health outcomes. Katy previously served as the General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at the Climate Action Reserve, a Los Angeles-based environmental non-profit committed to developing and implementing market-based solutions to climate change. Katy has also worked as a land use and environmental attorney at Latham & Watkins and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. An alumnus of the Coro fellowship program, Katy now serves on the Southern California CORO Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, and is Supervisor Kuehl’s appointee to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. Katy is a Los Angeles native and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA from UC Berkeley and received her law degree from UCLA.

 

Gia Brazil Vacin
Assistant Deputy Director, ZEVs
GO-Biz
Biography

Gia Brazil Vacin

Assistant Deputy Director, ZEVs
GO-Biz

Gia Vacin serves as the Assistant Deputy Director, Zero-emission Vehicle (ZEV) Market Development at the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). She focuses on accelerating the ZEV market in pursuit of California’s goal of 100% ZEVs by 2035 for light-duty and 2045 for heavy-duty vehicles by aligning state efforts, collaborating with public and private partners, tracking and expediting ZEV infrastructure in California, and identifying opportunities for additional business engagement and growth. In collaboration with numerous stakeholders, her team is also leading the state’s coordination efforts to win a federally supported renewable clean hydrogen hub, and more broadly, to advance and accelerate the hydrogen market within California and beyond. Prior to her role at GO-Biz, Gia was an environmental management and strategy consultant for more than 15 years and worked with clients across sectors to help mission-driven organizations expand their impact. Gia holds a Master of Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

Sandra Kerl
General Manager
San Diego County Water Authority
Biography

Sandra Kerl

General Manager
San Diego County Water Authority
Sandra L. Kerl is general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority, which provides wholesale water supplies to serve 24 member agencies, 3.3 million people and a $240 billion regional economy. Kerl joined the Water Authority as deputy general manager in 2009 before being appointed by the Board of Directors to her current post in 2019.
Kerl’s priorities include enhancing relations with the Water Authority’s member agencies, minimizing rate increases, concluding litigation with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and ensuring long-term water supplies for the semi-arid San Diego region.
Kerl’s career highlights in the water industry include leading the effort to secure financing for the nation’s largest seawater desalination plant, a public-private partnership that is protecting the San Diego region from drought.
Kerl currently sits on the board of the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and the California Urban Water Agencies, which represents the water suppliers that serve more than two-thirds of California’s population. Throughout her career, she has been active in the International City Management Association.
Kerl received her Bachelor of Political Science from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and her Master of Business Administration from the University of Redlands.
 
Bernie Kotlier
Executive Director
Sustainable Energy Solutions, IBEW-NECA Labor Management Cooperation Committee, California and Nevada
Biography

Bernie Kotlier

Executive Director
Sustainable Energy Solutions, IBEW-NECA Labor Management Cooperation Committee, California and Nevada

Bernie Kotlier directs the development, promotion, and delivery of sustainable energy business development programs, education, and training for NECA contractors and IBEW electricians in California and Nevada including energy efficiency, photovoltaics, zero net energy buildings, energy storage + micro-grids, electric vehicles, and cyber-electric hard wired security. Bernie also works with regulatory agencies in California and Nevada: The Public Utilities Commission, the Air Resources Board, and the Energy Commission including membership on numerous advisory boards, panels, and advocacy coalitions. Most recently Bernie served as a member of the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Advisory Group to CalEPA, and is currently chair of the Workforce and Communities Committee of Li-Bridge, a U.S. DoE initiative to scale up the American battery industry. He is a member of the board of directors of CalCharge, New Energy Nexus, NAATBatt, and the California Energy Alliance.

Gil Cedillo
Los Angeles City Council-member, First District
Los Angeles City Council
Biography

Gil Cedillo

Los Angeles City Council-member, First District
Los Angeles City Council

Gilbert Cedillo has proven himself as a public servant who brings people together to make strong public policy. In May 2013, Gil Cedillo was elected to the Los Angeles Council, representing the First Council District. He was re-elected in 2017 with an overwhelming margin to continue serving the people of CD1.

Councilmember Gil Cedillo brings 15 years of legislative experience to the City Council.  Having served as a member of the State Assembly and Senate, he authored over one hundred bills that were signed into law by four different Governors including Pete Wilson, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Brown. Most were groundbreaking and innovative that included cleaning up California’s brownfields, state oversight and fair share zoning for transitional and emergency homeless shelters (SB 2), workers’ right to organize (AB 1889), Downtown Rebound (AB 2870), and the California Dream Act (AB 130 and 131). His long running legislation to grant drivers' licenses to undocumented immigrants (AB60) was finally signed into law by Governor Brown on October 3, 2013, nine months after he was termed out of state office.

Councilmember Cedillo’s advocacy on behalf of underserved communities is legendary. His causes have ranged from becoming a formidable counterweight to the inhumane crusade against undocumented families, to his unwavering support for Filipino American World War II veterans, the uninsured, low-income, and working families, the homeless, and AB 540 “dream” students. He has worked diligently to mainstream all of their agendas, one community at a time.

As Chair of the Housing Committee, Councilmember Cedillo continues to advocate for equity while expanding tenant rights. He was the first to declare a ‘Housing Crisis’ in Los Angeles, citing decades of neglecting to build the housing necessary to meet demand. He is committed to building 100,000 units of housing over the next ten years, promoting smart growth to help revitalize our neighborhoods and create jobs, while stabilizing neighborhoods with the creation and protection of affordable housing.

Cedillo exceeded the City Council’s pledge to build 222 units of permanent supportive housing and has built 902 units—680 over the goal, in addition to the 810 existing permanent supportive housing units, being second highest among 13 other districts in this effort.

Councilmember Cedillo’s commitment to tenant protections is evident by updates he has made to the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), making it one of the strongest ordinances in the nation in defense of tenant rights. To protect from increasing rents and displacement, Councilmember Cedillo has clarified tenant buy out agreements (Cash for Keys), implemented a Rent Registry to track rents and prevent illegal increases, made 14 amendments to protect tenants and clarify the role of landlords, and made Ellis Act amendments to avoid abuse of the law and stop illegal evictions.

Councilmember Cedillo’s legendary defense of immigrant rights earned him the top position on the newly created Committee on Immigrant Affairs, Civil Rights and Equity. As Chair of this committee, Councilmember Cedillo has led the charge to create the LA Justice Fund—providing resources to defend Angelenos in immigration proceedings, advocated for a just street vending ordinance that moves away from criminalization, worked with LAPD to strengthen Special Order 40—which limits the City’s relationship with ICE enforcement, and helped create a Civil and Human Rights Ordinance, which will create a new commission to deliberate violations.

Councilmember Cedillo is also a member of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Police Reform, where he is doing what is right as we are considering the changes we need to make, as we redefine and reimagine the police in our City. He was also selected as a member of the Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Recovery and Neighborhood Investment because of the tremendous resources he provided his constituents during the first three months of the pandemic including delivering 500,000 pounds of produce, 150,000 hot meals, 10,000 face coverings, 7,000 diapers, 2,770 pounds of salmon, 1,000 food truck meals, 2,460 gallons of hand sanitizer, 1,000 baby product packages, 40 gallons of surface disinfectant, and 25 newly activated food distribution programs.

Councilmember Cedillo grew up in the Boyle Heights community of Los Angeles and attended Roosevelt High School. He graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology in 1977 and received a Juris Doctor degree from the Peoples College of Law in 1983. Prior to his public service, he worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 660, Los Angeles County's largest union, where he served as general manager from 1990 to 1996. He has a son and two lovely granddaughters.