Speakers for VX2020

Christine Harada
President
i(x) investments
Biography

Christine Harada

President
i(x) investments

Christine Harada is President of i(x) investments. Ms. Harada has over 20 years of success in leading government and management consulting organizations. She previously served as the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer for the United States during the Obama administration. In this role, she provided oversight for all sustainability-related initiatives across the federal government in energy, fleet, and acquisitions-game-changing improvements that added to our nation’s clean energy future.

Her successes include developing and implementing policies to reduce the Federal government’s carbon footprint that resulted in an 18% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 23% reduction in energy use at Federal facilities and 177 billion gallons of drinkable water saved. She also was responsible for investing $4B in federal building to improve aging infrastructure and lower overall energy consumption that led to an estimated 33,700 private sector jobs and resulted in efficiency gains that will save 1.4 million tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Prior to her White House role, Ms. Harada was the Acting Chief of Staff and U.S. General Services Administration where she was responsible for the overall operations supporting 12,000 federal workers with an annual operating budget of $26B. While at the GSA, Ms. Harada also served as Associate Administrator, Government-wide Policy and Chief Acquisition Officer responsible for transforming a “business model” to provide more proactive, evidence-based policies, and increased transparency at the agency.

She has extensive expertise in business strategy and translating that into operational excellence. Concurrently, she is a Fellow with the Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator. In addition, she is a member of the board of directors of Novume Solutions and the Millennium Institute.

She previously was a Partner with Ridge-Lane LP, a strategic advisory firm and merchant-bank. Ridge-Lane LP is a triple-bottom-line business that creates sustainable social value by bridging the gap that exists between private companies, investment capital, and government – across the Federal, State, and Local levels.

Ms. Harada’s private sector experience also includes serving as Global Manager, Transformation/Large Scale Change Practice at the Boston Consulting Group where which she was responsible for the operations and go-to-market strategy of the then-new practice area that spanned 78 offices around the world. While at Booz Allen Hamilton, Ms. Harada was a Principal with P&L responsibility for a 70+ person professional services business line with a $70M portfolio of projects.

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.

Henry Stern
State Senator
California State Senate
Biography

Henry Stern

State Senator
California State Senate

Henry Stern is an educator and environmental attorney, who most recently served as senior advisor to California State Senator Fran Pavley. In that capacity, he helped craft legislation to address climate change, fracking, the drought, teacher shortages, and women's health.  He also spearheaded the Senator’s ongoing efforts to clean up the SoCal Gas leak in Porter Ranch with SB 380.

A graduate of Harvard University and UC Berkeley Law, Henry has public and private sector experience in education, the environment, and infrastructure investment. Prior to serving the 27th District, he served as counsel to Congressman Henry Waxman on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, helped businesses construct clean energy projects, taught civics, advocated for juvenile justice, and founded a tech incubator.

Henry also teaches law at UCLA, volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club, and is a member of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Advisory Committee, the Jewish Federation, and the Truman National Security Project.

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.

David Hochschild
Commissioner
California Energy Commission
Biography

David Hochschild

Commissioner
California Energy Commission

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

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

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

Carla Peterman
Senior Vice President
Southern California Edison
Biography

Carla Peterman

Senior Vice President
Southern California Edison

Carla J. Peterman was appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in December 2012. Commissioner Peterman was the CPUC’s assigned Commissioner for a number of proceedings including energy efficiency, alternative transportation, energy storage, PCIA reform, California Teleconnect Fund reform, San Jose Water Company merger, and several rate cases.  As a Commissioner, Peterman served on many boards including the NARUC Board of Directors and the California Broadband Council. She served as the Chair of the Plug in Electric Vehicle Collaborative for 2012-2013. After chairing the California Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery, is now Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Southern California Edison

She was previously appointed by Governor Brown, in 2011, to the California Energy Commission where she was lead Commissioner for renewables, transportation, and natural gas.

Carla Peterman has conducted research at the University of California Energy Institute and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and was an investment banker focused on energy financing at Lehman Brothers.

Carla Peterman holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Energy and Resources from The University of California Berkeley. She also earned a Master of Science degree and a Master of Business Administration degree from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Commissioner Peterman holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Howard University.

Larry Kosmont
President & CEO
Kosmont Companies
Biography

Larry Kosmont

President & CEO
Kosmont Companies

Larry J. Kosmont, CRE®, is President 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 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.

Mary Nichols
Chair
California Air Resources Board
Biography

Mary Nichols

Chair
California Air Resources Board

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

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

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

Mel Levine
President
LADWP Board of Commissioners
Biography

Mel Levine

President
LADWP Board of Commissioners

Mel Levine is counsel in the Century City office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  He served as a member of the United States Congress from 1983 until 1993 and as a member of the California Assembly from 1977 to 1982.  He is a member of the California bar and the District of Columbia bar.

Mr. Levine’s practice concentrates on counseling clients on the Public Policy aspects of complex domestic and international transactions.  His clients have included companies involved in a range of industries, including banking, transportation, high technology, energy, entertainment, health care, defense, manufacturing, construction and telecommunications.

Mr. Levine was named one of the “100 Most Influential” lawyers in California and has been consistently recognized by his peers as one of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Administrative and Regulatory Law, most recently in their 2019 publication.  The Los Angeles Business Journal has listed him repeatedly, including in 2018, as one of the “500 Most Influential People in Los Angeles.”  Mr. Levine is the President of the Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners, on the Advisory Board of the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California (Berkeley), and a Director of the Pacific Council on International Policy.  Mr. Levine has served as U.S. Chair of the U.S.-Israel-Palestinian “Anti-Incitement” committee established by the Wye Plantation peace agreement, as a Presidential appointee to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, as a U.S. government appointee to the U.S. – Israel Science and Technology Advisory Commission as President of the American Friends of the (Yitzhak) Rabin Center in Israel, and as Board Chair of the Los Angeles Police Foundation.

Mr. Levine’s Congressional committee assignments included the Committee on Foreign Affairs and its subcommittees on International Economic Policy and Trade, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia; the Committee on the Judiciary and its subcommittee on Intellectual Property; and the Committee on the Interior and Insular Affairs.  Mr. Levine was especially engaged in U.S. foreign policy involving international trade and Middle East policy.  He served as Chair of the House Task Force on Exports.  He also served as co-chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and chair of the Democratic Caucus Task Force on Latin America.  Mr. Levine founded and co-chaired Rebuild America, an educational foundation to improve American competitiveness by increasing support for high-technology industries, improving education and rebuilding infrastructure.  Between 1993 and 1997, Mr. Levine served, at the request of Vice President Gore, as co-President of Builders for Peace, the private sector effort to assist the Middle East peace process.

Mr. Levine received his law degree cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1969, a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University in 1966, and a bachelor’s degree cum laude from the University of California at Berkeley in 1964.

Mr. Levine is married to journalist Connie Bruck, a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine.  They have four children, Adam Levine, Jake Levine, Cara Levine and Ari Schlossberg.

Seleta Reynolds
General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Transportation
Biography

Seleta Reynolds

General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Transportation

Seleta Reynolds is General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) appointed by the Administration of Mayor Eric Garcetti.  Ms. Reynolds is responsible for implementing Great Streets for Los Angeles, a plan to reduce traffic fatalities, double the number of people riding bikes, and expand access to integrated transportation choices for Angelinos and the region.

Ms. Reynolds has over 18 years of transportation experience throughout the United States. She has advised transportation technology companies like WalkScore, contributed to the state-of-the-practice as an Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals Board Member, mentored young professionals through Women’s Transportation Seminar, and nurtured research on Transportation Research Board committees.  Ms. Reynolds serves as the President of the National Association for City Transportation Officials.

The Department of Transportation leads transportation planning, design, construction, maintenance and operations within the City of Los Angeles. We work together and partner with other agencies to improve safe, accessible transportation services and infrastructure in the city and region.

Mark Pestrella
Director
Los Angeles County Public Works
Biography

Mark Pestrella

Director
Los Angeles County Public Works

Mark Pestrella is the Director of the County of Los Angeles Public  Works. In this capacity he also 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 $2.5 billion and a workforce of 4,000 employees, the County of Los Angeles Department of 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.

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

Mr.  Pestrella  is  a  30-year  veteran  of  the  Department  and  has  held  a  variety  of  management positions.   Mr. Pestrella  is  also  an  active  member  of  the  American  Public Works  Association, American  Society of Civil Engineers, American Water Works Association, Association of California Water  Agencies,  National  Association of  Flood  and  Stormwater Management Agencies  (Board Member), Southern California Water Committee, and Urban Water Institute (Board Member).

The Department designs, constructs, operates, and maintains roads,  highways, bridges, airports, sewers, and flood control and water conservation facilities, as  well as water distribution systems for the  County, the  Flood  Control  District, special  districts,  and  contract  cities.    In  addition,  the Department provides management services for capital  projects and serves as a first responder for disaster  preparedness,  response,  and  recovery.    The  Department  provides  leadership  in  the countywide  transportation  system,  traffic   mitigation  efforts,  and  solid  and   hazardous  waste management planning.

Steve Westly
Founder and Managing Director
The Westly Group
Biography

Steve Westly

Founder and Managing Director
The Westly Group

Mr. Westly has a unique background.

He served on the faculty at Stanford’s Graduate School of business for five years.

He helped take eBay public in 1998 where he served as SVP of Marketing, Business Development, M&A and International.

In 2002, Mr. Westly was elected Controller and CFO of the State of California. He served on the boards of CalPERS and CalSTRS which invest more than $450 billion.

He founded the Westly Group in 2007, which is one of the larger smart energy and transportation venture firms in the US.  The firms has had four portfolio companies go public including Tesla Motors, where he sat on the Board of Trustees for 3 years.

Robyn Beavers
CEO
Blueprint Power
Biography

Robyn Beavers

CEO
Blueprint Power

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

Mike Wallace
Managing Director
BrownFlynn
Biography

Mike Wallace

Managing Director
BrownFlynn

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

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

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!

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

Barbara Romero

Deputy Mayor of City Services
City of Los Angeles

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

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

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

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

Rusty Hicks
President
LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
Biography

Rusty Hicks

President
LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Rusty Hicks is 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.

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

Katherine Aguilar Perez

Associate Principal & Los Angeles Cities 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.

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.

Adel Hagekhalil
Director
Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services
Biography

Adel Hagekhalil

Director
Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services

Adel Hagekhalil is a registered civil engineer with the State of California and a national Board Certified Environmental Engineer.  Adel is currently the Executive Director and General Manager with the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Street Services where he is responsible for managing, maintaining and upgrading the City’s street network including streets, sidewalks, trees and bikeways with focus on safety, mobility and sustainability.  Under his direction, Adel will integrate green infrastructure and multi-benefit elements into the City’s street renewal efforts. Recently, Adel was the Assistant Director for the City’s Bureau of Sanitation where he was responsible for the Bureau’s wastewater collection system management, storm water and watershed protection program, water quality compliance, and facilities and advance planning.  Under his direction, the City has prepared an award winning 2040 One Water LA Plan “One Water” which relies on public input and participation and integrates water supply, water reuse, water conservation and storm water management with wastewater facilities planning through a regional watershed approach.  Adel served for 9 years as Board member and most recently President with the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).  Adel is currently serving on NACWA’s co-Chair for the Arid States Water Reuse Group and member of the National Water Sector Coordinating Council.

Sara Neff
Senior Vice President, Sustainability
Kilroy Realty Corporation
Biography

Sara Neff

Senior Vice President, Sustainability
Kilroy Realty Corporation

Sara Neff is Senior Vice President, Sustainability at Kilroy Realty Corporation. In her first four years, Sara took Kilroy from having no sustainability program to being named the #1 office real estate company on sustainability in North America by GRESB, an honor they have now won for four straight years, and Kilroy is now only the third American real estate company to be listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. At Kilroy, she oversees all sustainability initiatives such as solar and battery dealmaking, the implementation of energy and water efficiency initiatives throughout the existing and development portfolios, the integration of sustainability standards into annual financial reports, the launch of the Kilroy Innovation Lab, and the award-winning green leasing program.

She holds a BS from Stanford and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Michael George
Delta Watermaster
State of California
Biography

Michael George

Delta Watermaster
State of California

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

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

Jeff Kightlinger
General Manager
Metropolitan Water District
Biography

Jeff Kightlinger

General Manager
Metropolitan Water District

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

Kightlinger was appointed general manager in February 2006.    As general manager, he manages the District’s $1.8 billion annual budget and 1,800 employees to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of high quality water every day throughout Southern California.  He reports to a board of 37 members representing 26 member agencies.

Kightlinger has an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from Santa Clara University.  He serves on a number of boards including the Coro Foundation, the USC Price School of Public Policy, the UCLA Sustainability Advisory Board, the Climate Action Reserve, the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, the Los Angeles Economic Development Council and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, among others.

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

Martin Adams

General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

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

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

Traci Minamide

Chief Operating Officer
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation

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

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

Abigale Abel
Affiliate
CityFi
Biography

Abigale Abel

Affiliate
CityFi

Abigale (Abby) Abel is an Affiliate with Cityfi and has worked most recently on standing-up the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance, a statewide platform designed to accelerate the adoption of innovative technology and practices to enhance the quality of life for all Coloradans. 

Prior to joining Cityfi, Abby led commercial partnerships for GE Ecomagination, a cross-GE platform to identify, test and deploy new technology and commercial solutions to environmental challenges.  As part of this work, Abby catalyzed a smart city partnership with LStar Ventures, a private real estate developer leading the build-out of Union Point in Massachusetts.  Abby also served as the Chief Marketing Officer for GE’s Renewable Energy business, leading market analysis and strategic planning for GE’s global renewables business.

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

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

Doane Liu
Executive Director
Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development
Biography

Doane Liu

Executive Director
Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development

In March 2017, Doane Liu was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development (CTD), with the goal to further enhance and increase Los Angeles’ prominence and attraction as a world class tourist and convention destination. 

Liu joined the CTD after serving as Deputy Executive Director and Chief of Staff at the Port of Los Angeles, where he was the second in command at the busiest container port in North America and head of the Port’s External Affairs Bureau.

Before the Port, Liu was Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles. He managed the Mayor's Office of City Services and helped the Mayor oversee 15 City Departments, including the Los Angeles Department Water and Power, Public Works, Transportation, Recreation and Parks, Public Library, and LA Zoo. He also established the Great Streets Studio and LA RiverWorks in the Mayor’s Office. A first-generation Korean-American, Liu also was a liaison in the Mayor’s Office to the Korean-American community in Los Angeles.

Liu was previously Chief of Staff for Councilman Joe Buscaino and served as Chief of Staff for Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Deputy Mayor for Mayor James K. Hahn and District Director for Congresswoman Jane Harman. He was also Senior Vice President of Government Banking at JP Morgan Chase and Vice President in the Real Estate Industries Group at Security Pacific National Bank.

Liu currently serves on the boards of AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Fleet Week Foundation, and Sister Cities of Los Angeles. He has previously served on the boards of the LA24 Olympic Bid Committee, LA County Business Federation, Harbor Interfaith Shelter, Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative, Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Mary Star of the Sea High School, and Holy Trinity School.

Liu graduated from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and received an MBA from University of Southern California. He and his wife have four grown children and have lived in San Pedro for nearly 30 years.

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.

Felicia Marcus
Fmr Chair
California State Water Resources Control Board
Biography

Felicia Marcus

Fmr Chair
California State Water Resources Control Board

Felicia Marcus was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) for the State of California in 2012, and designated by the Governor as Chair in April of 2013.  The Board 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, and hears appeals of local regional board water quality decisions. 

Before her appointment to the Water Board, she was the Western Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national environmental leader in bringing science, law, and policy expertise to solving our world’s pressing environmental and conservation challenges. Prior to joining NRDC, Felicia was the Executive VP/COO of the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit devoted to conserving land for people. Before coming to TPL, Felicia served as the Regional Administrator of the U.S. EPA Region IX in the Clinton Administration where she was known for her work in bringing unlikely allies together for environmental progress and for making the agency more responsive to the communities it serves, particularly Indian Tribes, communities of color, local government, and agricultural and business interests. While at USEPA, Felicia worked extensively on the range of environmental issues under EPA’s jurisdiction, most heavily in air quality, Bay-Delta water, tribal, and US-Mexico border issues. Prior to that, Felicia headed Los Angeles’ Department of Public Works at a time when the City went from garnering lawsuits to garnering national awards for environmental excellence. Felicia came to Public Works after extensive experience as a public interest lawyer and community organizer in Los Angeles.

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 prior to being appointed to the Water Board.

Alex Beavers
Chief Innovation Officer
Marine Laboratory & Research Center
Biography

Alex Beavers

Chief Innovation Officer
Marine Laboratory & Research Center

Alex Beavers is a 40-year veteran high-technology executive, entrepreneur, and author.  He currently is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ringling College of Art and Design, the Advisory Board for Chai Energy, and Palma Sola Consulting.  Prior to 2017 he was Executive Director in charge of clean tech commercialization at SRI International, founder and CEO of Averatek Corp., founding CEO of Artificial Muscle, Inc., CEO of Thomson Industries, CEO of ITP Systems, CEO of Applicon, Inc., CEO of Schlumberger Automation Systems Asia, GM of the General Electric Robotics and Vision Systems Business, and Managing Partner of the PwC High Tech Practice.  His academic background includes a BSEE (Vanderbilt University), an MSEE and a PhDEE (University of Houston), and an MBA (Boston University). He has one patent issued.  He has also authored over 25 papers in technical journals and trade magazines, has authored two books (Roadmap to the e-Factory and Digital Horizon: Hopeful or Hopeless), and was the editor of a third book (Life Wins!).

Russell Fortmeyer
Sustainability Leader
Arup
Biography

Russell Fortmeyer

Sustainability Leader
Arup

Russell leads sustainability for Arup’s Los Angeles office.  Russell’s work for public and private sector clients includes high-performance buildings, infrastructure master planning, sustainability policy, and resilience. Trained as both an Engineer and an Architect, Russell takes a research-based approach to developing new concepts for clients to tackle the increasingly complex and inter-connected environmental realm to address issues like climate change, resilience, resource scarcity, and social equity in the context of creating healthy and efficient buildings and cities. Over the past year, Russell Fortmeyer was the Technical Chair for the USGBC working closely with Heather Rosenberg on the Building Resilience Framework for Los Angeles that was launched at Greenbuild 2016 conference in September.

As an author and former editor with Architectural Record, his skills in communication allow him to connect with clients and stakeholders to identify innovative solutions to in passive design, smart cities, energy and water efficiency, and new technologies. He lectures widely on resiliency and sustainability topics and has been on the applied studies faculty at the Southern California Institute of Architecture since 2011. His book, Kinetic Architecture, which gauges the emerging field of dynamic facades, was published in 2014.

Minh Le
General Manager
Los Angeles County Internal Services Department
Biography

Minh Le

General Manager
Los Angeles County Internal Services Department

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

John Withers
Board of Directors Member
Irvine Ranch Water District
Biography

John Withers

Board of Directors Member
Irvine Ranch Water District

John Withers applies his extensive background in project management, land development, real estate asset enhancement, water resource management and local government to find solutions to challenging regulatory, resource and development issues.

John Withers brings to California Strategies more than 28 years of results-oriented experience in water resources and regulation; real estate development, entitlement and asset protection, and government relations.  He is able to find pathways to solutions that others miss because he has worked on all sides of the issues, attacking problems as an applicant, an elected official, a regulator and a consultant.

Since joining California Strategies, Withers has:

  • Worked with developers of large master-planned communities, including Lennar, Lewis Operating Corp, DMB and Suncal, to solve complex issues
  • Helped leading merchant builders and REITS, including William Lyon Homes, Centex, Shea, Sares Regis and Western National Properties, strategically reposition assets in a challenging  marketplace
  • Assisted public agencies such as the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District, Inland Empire Utility Agency, Palmdale Water District, the City of Chino, the City of Desert Hot Springs and others accomplish key goals
  • Guided companies such as Fluor, RBF, HDR, Turner Construction and others wishing to do business with government understand the context and intricacies of that process.

Withers spent more than 10 years as a director for Psomas and Associates, a leading civil engineering firm, where he helped establish a successful water resources practice that grew to 22 employees, generating annual revenue of $2.4 million.  Withers also has served in a variety of development and policy assignments including Director of Governmental Affairs for the Orange County chapter of the California Building Industry Association and as a Legislative Advocate in Sacramento for the statewide chapter.

Recognizing his management and regulatory expertise, Lewis Operating Corporation, one of the nation's premier land development and real estate investment firms, hired him as Vice President, responsible for the entitlement and development of a 9,000-unit master-planned community in the Chino agriculture preserve.

California Strategies clients also benefit from the government relations insights Withers has gained from his numerous elected and appointed government positions.  He has served for over 20 years as an elected director (and former Board President) of the Irvine Ranch Water District, for 17 years as a commissioner (and former Chairman) of the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), and as a governor's appointed board member (and former Chairman) of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board.  He is especially proud to have been appointed to the Water Quality Control Board by both Republican Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic Governor Gray Davis.

His expertise in water issues has been recognized by the National Water Research Institute,and the Urban Water Institute, which have invited him to serve on their Boards of Directors.  He also serves on the statewide AB331 Blue Ribbon Committee that is working to remove obstacles to expand the use of recycled water.

A native Southern Californian, Withers attended Los Angeles city schools and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and urban studies from UCLA. He was one of the few selected to be a Coro Foundation fellow and earned a Master of Arts degree in urban studies from Occidental College.

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.

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
Mark Gold
Executive Director
Ocean Protection Council
Biography

Mark Gold

Executive Director
Ocean Protection Council

Mark is the Executive Director of the Ocean Protection Council and the Deputy Secretary for Oceans and Coastal Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency. In his current position at the OPC, Mark is tasked with managing efforts to protect our ocean's vitality and the ecosystems and economies that rely on it. Mark was the UCLA Associate Vice-Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability and Acting Director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. In his former position, he worked to increase interdisciplinary environmental research, and lead UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge - with goals of achieving 100% local water supply and 100% renewable energy in Los Angeles County while enhancing biodiversity and human health and wellbeing by 2050. He worked with 28 faculty to develop the Sustainable LA workplan, and there are over 200 faculty that are part of the Sustainable LA research team.  Also, he was the long-time President of the environmental group, Heal the Bay. Mark received his Bachelors and Masters in Biology and his doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering from UCLA.  He has worked extensively over the last 30 years in the field of coastal protection, water management, and urban sustainability; he created Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card for the west coast of the U.S., and he has helped write numerous water quality, coastal protection, urban sustainability and environmental education laws and policies. He recently led a research effort on sustainable water management in the city of Los Angeles. Previous research focused on beach water quality and the health risks of swimming at polluted beaches. Currently, he is a member of the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors for the city of Los Angeles and Mayor Garcetti’s Water Cabinet. Also, he serves on the California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39) – Citizens Oversight Board. 

Jules Radcliff
Partner
Radcliff & Saiki LLP
Biography

Jules Radcliff

Partner
Radcliff & Saiki LLP
E. Joaquin Esquivel
Chair
California State Water Resources Control Board
Biography

E. Joaquin Esquivel

Chair
California State Water Resources Control Board

E. Joaquin Esquivel was appointed to the State Water Resources Control Board by Governor Jerry Brown in March 2017 and designated by Governor Gavin Newsom as Chair in February 2019. Previously, he served as Assistant Secretary for federal water policy at the California Natural Resources Agency in the Governor’s Washington, D.C. office, where he facilitated the development of policy priorities between the agency, the Governor’s Office, the California Congressional delegation, and federal stakeholder agencies.

For more than eight years prior to that he worked for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California, most recently as her legislative assistant covering the agriculture, Native American, water, oceans, and nutrition portfolios, in addition to being the director of information and technology.

He was born and raised in California’s Coachella Valley. He holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara in English

Marcie Edwards
Boardmember
California Wildfire Safety Advisory Board
Biography

Marcie Edwards

Boardmember
California Wildfire Safety Advisory Board

Marcie is a former General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), and was the first woman to lead the nation’s largest municipality. She previously managed Anaheim Public Utilities for 13 years, and was tapped to serve as the Anaheim City Manager in 2013. She also spent 25 of her earlier years working her way up the ladder at LADWP. Marcie is a former governor on the California Independent System Operator Board, and served as interim CEO of that agency during a portion of the energy crisis. She now sits on the California Wildfire Safety Advisory Board.

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. 

Delia Ibarra
President
City of LA Fire Commission
Biography

Delia Ibarra

President
City of LA Fire Commission
Delia Ibarra, Esq. is the president of the City of Los Angeles’ Fire Commission, the civilian board charged with overseeing and making policy for the City of Los Angeles’ Fire Department.  She was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti in September of 2013.  She is also a partner at Lara & Ibarra LLP, a Downtown Los Angeles law firm.  She is a seasoned litigator whose practice focuses on complex commercial cases in state, federal and appellate courts.  She is licensed to practice before all California courts.
 
Prior to her service on the Fire Commission, Ms. Ibarra had an extensive history of, and commitment to, public service.  During the presidential administration of President William J. Clinton, Ms. Ibarra was a “schedule C” political appointee who served as a speechwriter to Donna E. Shalala, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.  As a speechwriter, Ms. Ibarra helped the Secretary communicate with the American people about many of the major public policy issues of our time, including: AIDS, welfare reform, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as health care quality and access.  During the early part of her professional career, Ms. Ibarra also served as a legislative and press aide to several prominent Democratic, Los Angeles-area, elected officials.  She is currently a member of the Latina Lawyers and the Mexican American Bar Associations and remains committed to addressing and resolving issues of poverty and inequality.  She is also deeply committed to protecting civil rights and civil liberties.
 
Ms. Ibarra is a graduate of Stanford University (B.A., 1991) and Stanford Law School (J.D., 2002).  She clerked at the ACLU of Southern California after her first summer at Stanford Law School.  She wrote a weekly column for the Stanford Daily while studying history as an undergraduate student at Stanford University.  Her Stanford Daily column was nationally syndicated by Hispanic Link News Wire Service during her senior year at Stanford and was subsequently republished in a number of national and local publications.President
Dennis McGinn
Fmr. U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Senior Advisor and Board Member, Customer First Renewables
Biography

Dennis McGinn

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

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

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

Dr. Jerry Schubel
President and CEO
Aquarium of the Pacific
Biography

Dr. Jerry Schubel

President and CEO
Aquarium of the Pacific

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

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

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

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.
 
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 on the Geothermal Resources Council 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, SAIS Review, and The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Melani Smith
Senior Director, Transit Oriented Communities
LA Metro
Biography

Melani Smith

Senior Director, Transit Oriented Communities
LA Metro

Melani Smith is a senior director in LA Metro’s transit oriented communities planning group, where she focuses on integrating sustainable and healthy urban design, first/last mile connections and equitable access for all, into Metro mobility corridor projects in LA County. She is also an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Price School of Policy at the University of Southern California, in the sustainable land use concentration. In 2017 Melani was appointed a member of the Urban Land Institute’s first national Health Leaders cohort, working to build cross-disciplinary partnerships and communities of practice around health and the built environment. Much of her career has been focused on building and leading led vision-driven urban design and planning practices in Southern California, most recently, in her nearly 12 years as CEO/President and Principal at Meléndrez in downtown Los Angeles. Melani is a fourth generation Los Angeleno, with a B.A. in History from UCLA, and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from UC Irvine.

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. 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. 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.

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/Craton Alternatives. Post transaction, Tom played a considerable role in TCW across all products, helping to lead in the development of new and innovative alternatives products; a public equities trading platform, the first of its kind at TCW focused on ESG/SRI, and the development of a woman owned, emerging manager, distressed hedge fund, all among many other successful efforts while at TCW.

Tom is a 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 for Insikt/Lendify; the nation’s leading online micro finance lender based in Silicon Valley. Tom has been a member of the board of Craton’s portfolio companies such as Liquid Environmental Solutions, Propel Alternative Fuels, and sourced over half of Fund I & II’s portfolio companies including 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.

Carol Zabin
Director
UC Berkeley Labor Center Green Economy Program
Biography

Carol Zabin

Director
UC Berkeley Labor Center Green Economy Program

Carol Zabin (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) directs the Labor Center’s Green Economy Program and the new High Road Training Partnership Institute. She is a labor economist whose research has addressed low-wage labor markets, labor standards, workforce development, and other economic development and labor issues in the United States and Mexico. Zabin has consulted with numerous unions and non-profits on strategies and policies to improve jobs in human services and the green economy. Her current research focuses on the impact of climate and clean energy policy on California's economy, workers, and labor unions. Recent publications include “Diversity in California’s Clean Energy Workforce,” “Advancing Equity in California Climate Policy,” and “Workforce Issues and Energy Efficiency Programs.” Appointed by Governor Brown, Zabin sits on the executive council of the California Workforce Development Board and chairs the board’s Green Collar Jobs Council. Before joining the Labor Center, Zabin was on the faculty at Tulane University and UCLA.

Tyson Eckerle
Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Project Manager
Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development
Biography

Tyson Eckerle

Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Project Manager
Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development

Tyson Eckerle serves as the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Project Manager in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go Biz). In this role, he focuses on streamlining the permitting and development process for hydrogen and plug-in stations so that these critical stations can be deployed as quickly as possible. Prior to joining Go Biz, Tyson served as Executive Director of Energy Independence Now (EIN), where he and his team most recently developed the Hydrogen Network Investment Plan with input from multiple stakeholders. 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.

Anuj Gupta
Deputy City Manager
City of Santa Monica
Biography

Anuj Gupta

Deputy City Manager
City of Santa Monica

Anuj Gupta is the Deputy City Manager and Director of Policy for the City of Santa Monica, a role he has held since 2017, serving on the City’s executive team and working across City departments to coordinate and lead a variety of initiatives on policy issues including mobility, homelessness, and both environmental and economic sustainability. Previously,

Anuj served in the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, holding the positions of General Counsel for the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and Director of Operations for Mayor Garcetti.

From 2011 to 2014, Anuj served in the White House as President Barack Obama's Associate Staff Secretary, managing the flow of briefings and decision memos to and from the President, and traveling with him on 12 trips domestically and abroad. Prior to the White House, he worked as counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, serving on the judicial nominations team at DOJ's Office of Legal Policy.  He worked on Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign in several states and began his legal career as an associate at O'Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles.  He has also worked at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund.  He earned his B.A. from Stanford University and his J.D. from NYU School of Law, is a native of the Los Angeles area, and resides in Santa Monica with his family.

Terry O'Day
Mayor Pro Tempore
City of Santa Monica
Biography

Terry O'Day

Mayor Pro Tempore
City of Santa Monica

Terry is responsible for innogy e-Mobility US LLC’s US strategy and market development.  The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of innogy SE, Germany’s second largest utility company, providing only renewable energy to the European market and a leading technology provider for the electric vehicle (EV) charging.  

Prior to joining innogy, Terry led product strategy and market development for EVgo, the nation’s largest public fast charging company for electric vehicles (EVs), taking that company from its first public fast charging installation to more than 1,000 and overseeing an investment program of over $140 million, acquiring partnerships with major automakers, energy companies and state governments.  His full responsibilities also included construction and development in the Western US, regulatory and legislative initiatives, marketing, communications, and technology demonstration programs. 

Terry was previously Executive Director of Environment Now foundation, a strategic, entrepreneurial, activist leader in California.  The organization founded dozens of activist environmental organizations protecting air, land and water 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 began his career with Edison International, where he contributed to founding four businesses in energy, security services, and electric vehicle charging.  He went on to cofound EV Rental Cars, which was the first rental company in the United States to offer only environmental vehicles, such as hybrid, natural gas, and electric cars to the general public.  It served fifteen airports in six states and more than 500,000 customers, with over 700 cars.  Terry has served on various start-up boards and in advisory roles for companies in energy, technology, transportation and infrastructure.

He holds an MBA from The UCLA Anderson School of Management and completed the Coro Public Affairs Fellows Program in Los Angeles. He earned a BA with honors in Public Policy at Stanford University, with a thesis addressing public finance and demand management of electricity.

Terry currently serves as Mayor Pro Tempore for the City of Santa Monica and was first elected in November 2010.  The city serves over 90,000 residents and a daytime population over 300,000, with 1,700 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 of environmental land use planning in the state, reducing projected per capita greenhouse gas emissions from land use by 31 percent in 25 years.  He has been active with community organizations throughout California and Mexico; including Waterkeeper Alliance, Coro Southern California; The USC Center for Sustainable Cities, Environmental Entrepreneurs and as the Board Chair of the Coalition for Clean Air.

Benoit Charette
Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change
Government of Québec
Biography

Benoit Charette

Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change
Government of Québec

Minister Benoit Charette serves as the Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change for the Government of Quebéc. The office contributes to the sustainable development of Québec by playing a key role in the fight against climate change, the protection of the environment and the conservation of biodiversity, for the benefit of current and future generations.  

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

Paula Daniels

Co-Founder and Chair
Center for Good Food Purchasing

Paula Daniels is Co- founder, Chief of What’s Next, and Chair of the Board of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, founded in July of 2015 as a national spin off from the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, which Paula founded in 2011. The Center for Good Food Purchasing uses the power of procurement to create a transparent and equitable food system that prioritizes the health and well-being of people, animals, and the environment, through the nationally-networked adoption and implementation of the Good Food Purchasing Program by major institutions. The program has received national and international acclaim, including the 2018 Future Policy Award for Scaling Up Agroecology, from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Future Council, and IFOAM Organics International.

Paula is an experienced private sector attorney who transitioned to public policy and served in several senior level positions as a government official, including: Senior Advisor, Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles; Commissioner, Los Angeles Department of Public Works; Commissioner, California Water Commission; Board, California Bay-Delta Authority; Commissioner, California Coastal Commission.

Her leadership in food and water policy has received recognition through numerous academic appointments and other awards. Some recent examples: 2018, Ashoka Fellowship; September 2016, Resident Fellow of the Bellagio Center of the Rockefeller Foundation; 2015, Pritzker Environment and Sustainability Education Fellow at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; 2013, Lee Chair in Real Estate Law and Urban Planning at the College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley; 2012-2013, Stanton Fellowship (awarded by the Durfee Foundation). She has been adjunct faculty at UCLA since 2010 and has also had academic appointments at USC and Vermont Law School.

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 is the Sustainability Program Director in Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office, which provides regional policy leadership on equity, economy, and environment. Her issue areas include climate, housing, land use, transportation, and public health. Prior to joining the Chief Sustainability Office, Kristen advocated for integrated transportation and land use planning at the Natural Resources Defense Council.  She previously worked for the nation’s largest regional planning agency crafting the Southern California’s sustainable communities strategy. Kristen also served in the Schwarzenegger and Brown administrations to implement California’s climate and sustainable communities law. She is an appointed member of the Culver City General Plan Advisory Committee. Kristen holds a bachelor’s degree in geography/environmental studies and a master’s in urban and regional planning from UCLA.

Coby Skye
Assistant Deputy Director
Los Angeles County Public Works
Biography

Coby Skye

Assistant Deputy Director
Los Angeles County Public Works

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

Dr. Joshua Schank
Chief Innovation Officer
LA Metro
Biography

Dr. Joshua Schank

Chief Innovation Officer
LA Metro

 Joshua L. Schank is the first ever Chief Innovation Officer at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro), where he leads the Office of Extraordinary Innovation (OEI). The role of this office is to champion new ideas to improve mobility in LA County by informing the high-level vision for LA Metro, piloting and implementing new and experimental programs and policy, and serving as the primary liaison relevant to LA Metro coming from entrepreneurs, established private sector entities, academia, or individual residents. The office is also responsible for LA Metro’s Public Private Partnership (P3), and strategic planning functions. 

Prior to joining LA Metro, Dr. Schank was President and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a national non-profit think-tank. Dr. Schank’s extensive work in transportation policy and planning is well documented in his publications, including “All Roads Lead to Congress: The $300 Billion Fight Over Highway Funding,” co-authored with Costas Panagopoulos and published by CQ Press in 2007. He holds a Ph.D. in urban planning from Columbia University, a Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.A. in urban studies from Columbia University. 

Jon Bonanno
CXO
California Clean Energy Fund
Biography

Jon Bonanno

CXO
California Clean Energy Fund

Jon Bonanno serves as the CXO of the New Energy Nexus (Nexus) and California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF). His responsibilities are in capacity expansion and financial innovation to support diverse entrepreneurs solving the Climate Crisis.  At Nexus/CalCEF, Jon is focusing on educating and enabling clean energy entrepreneurs to use and benefit from Opportunity Zone finance. Prior to Nexus/CalCEF, Bonanno co-founded and served as the CCO of Empower, a power electronics design firm focused on solar, energy storage and EV applications, which was sold in 2018 to SunGrow. His professional career includes twenty five years of entrepreneurial experience with Interbill (internet billing), Global Internet Billing (internet billing), SolidStreaming (mobile video streaming), Cool Earth Solar (concentrated solar power systems), HelioPower (solar utility), Earth Class Mail (SaaS for the postal industry), Azure Power (India solar utility, NYSE listed), Heartland Resources (soy-based adhesive for UF replacement), Principle Power (floating offshore wind foundations) and Array Power (module level power electronics).

Deborah Weintraub
Chief Deputy City Engineer and Chief Architect
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering
Biography

Deborah Weintraub

Chief Deputy City Engineer and Chief Architect
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering

Deborah is the Chief Deputy City Engineer for the Bureau of Engineering, and the highest-ranking architect in the City. She provides leadership for an integrated architecture and engineering organization of approximately 1,000 people, with approximately 480 active projects totaling $3.6 billion. The projects she oversees include Homeless Facilities, LA River projects, cultural facilities, transportation facilities, recreational buildings, parks, general office facilities, City maintenance yards, and bridges.

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

Bob Wieckowski

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

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

Mr. Wieckowski chairs the Environmental Quality Committee and Budget Subcommittee 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation.  He is also a member of the Senate committees on Judiciary; Budget and Fiscal Review; Transportation and Housing; and Ethics.  He was appointed by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon to serve on the Energy and Environment Committee of the Council of State Governments West and in 2017 became the first Californian to chair the committee. The Senator is a state leader in advocating for climate adaptation programs and has participated on state and regional panels examining green infrastructure investments.

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

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

Senator Wieckowski lives in Fremont with his wife, Sue.

Philippe P. Huneault
Délégué
Government of Québec
Biography

Philippe P. Huneault

Délégué
Government of Québec

​Philippe P. Huneault has been Québec’s delegate in Los Angeles since July 1, 2019.

Previously 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.

Enrique Zaldivar
Director
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation
Biography

Enrique Zaldivar

Director
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation

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

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

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

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

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 the Third District’s environment, water, and arts policy. Katy previously served as the General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at the Climate Action Reserve, a Los Angeles-based environmental non-profit committed to developing and implementing market-based solutions to climate change. Katy has also worked as a land use and environmental attorney at Latham & Watkins and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

An alumnus of the CORO fellowship program, Katy now serves on the Southern California CORO Board of Directors and its Executive Committee.

Katy is a Los Angeles native and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA from UC Berkeley and received her law degree from UCLA.

Gideon Kracov
General Counsel
California Waste and Recycling Association
Biography

Gideon Kracov

General Counsel
California Waste and Recycling Association

Mr. Kracov is a lawyer in private practice in Los Angeles, where he represents clients in civil law, environmental and land use cases.  His work includes high-stakes litigation and complex regulatory matters.  Mr. Kracov offers experience honed by work for diverse business, labor and non-profit clients, and as a government lawyer.  He has served for over a decade as General Counsel of the California Waste and Recycling Association, a trade organization including the region's leading recycling and waste management companies.



Previously, Mr. Kracov served as a Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney where he counseled the Departments of Planning and Sanitation.  He was on the team that negotiated the $168 million settlement to remove trash from the Los Angeles River and he advised the City's contaminated property redevelopment program.

  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 served as 2014-2015 Chair of the State Bar of California Environmental Law Section.  Elected by his peers to that role, 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. Kracov served as Vice-Chair of the Los Angeles Proposition O Bond Committee administering $500 million to protect the City's rivers and beaches.  He also was a Governor's appointee and Acting Chair of the State Committee supervising California's vehicle smog check program. Currently, Mr. Kracov sits on the Los Angeles County Integrated Solid Waste Management Task Force that reviews plans for facility development and coordinates recycling and waste policy within the County.  Mr. Kracov also is an alternate member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District Hearing Board.

John Pérez
Chair
University of California Board of Regents
Biography

John Pérez

Chair
University of California Board of Regents

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

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

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

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

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

Marc Bédard
President
Lion Bus
Biography

Marc Bédard

President
Lion Bus
Marc Bedard, CPA, worked nearly 15 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers and was promoted as one of the youngest partners at the firm. This experience allowed him to develop economic, financial, and managerial skills while also giving him the opportunity to master every aspect of business development. It also gave him a taste of entrepreneurship. His career eventually led him to a major manufacturing company where he became the CFO and Senior Vice President. Marc was driven to succeed professionally and was asked to participate on many different boards, one of them being the Board of a school bus manufacturer, Corbeil, where he was an active member for 10 years. 
 
Marc had always been passionate about advanced technologies, engineering, children, and the world of finance; after more than 20 years in the corporate world, he decided to follow his dream and start his own heavy-duty vehicle manufacturing company with a focus on school buses. His years on the board of Corbeil had shown him that the school bus industry had been stagnant for decades and that there was plenty of space for innovation.
 
Conscious of the challenges ahead, Marc thrived to build a leadership team that would revolutionize the school bus industry by designing, creating, and manufacturing a vehicle that was more innovative, safer, lighter, wider, and easier to maintain, as well as being built with the end-users in mind.
 
Then began his quest to achieve continual innovation and promote forward-thinking mindsets, leading Marc and the Lion team to build the first all-electric school bus in North America. From then on, the Lion team continued to revolutionize the heavy-duty vehicle industry by building cutting edge, reliable, and zero-emis- sion vehicles that benefit our communities, environment, and the end-users who need them.
 
Carol L. Folt
President
University of Southern California
Biography

Carol L. Folt

President
University of Southern California

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

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

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

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

Eliot Abel
Director of Commercial Sales
Namasté Solar
Biography

Eliot Abel

Director of Commercial Sales
Namasté Solar

Eliot has over 13 years of experience in the renewable energy industry and currently leads commercial & utility sales efforts for Namasté Solar, guiding the development of solar projects ranging from 100kW to 10MW . Prior to joining Namasté Solar, Eliot was the Founder and Principal of Abel Clean Energy Advisors, a consulting firm that helps commercial property owners and developers utilize innovative financing, such as C-PACE, to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions that increase value, reduce operating costs, and enhance the sustainability of their properties. Earlier in his career, Eliot worked in business development roles at a UK-based thin film solar startup, GE’s global Renewable Energy business, and San Diego-based Renovate America. Eliot holds a BA from Stanford University, an MBA from the Yale School of Management, and is a member of the Urban Land Institute of Colorado.

Liam Denning
Columnist
Bloomberg
Biography

Liam Denning

Columnist
Bloomberg

Liam Denning is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering energy, mining and commodities, based in New York. He previously was editor of the Wall Street Journal's “Heard on the Street” column and wrote for the Financial Times' Lex column. Prior to journalism, he worked in the natural resources team in Goldman Sachs’ investment banking division in London and as a consultant at KPMG.

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.

 

Stephen Cheung
President
World Trade Center Los Angeles
Biography

Stephen Cheung

President
World Trade Center Los Angeles

Stephen Cheung is the President of World Trade Center Los Angeles (WTCLA).  The WTCLA works to support the development of international trade and business opportunities for Southern California companies as the leading international trade association, trade service organization and trade resource in the Los Angeles region.

Prior to his current role, Cheung was the Secretary General 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.  Cheung served on the Board of Director of the Los Angeles Regional Export Council and the Los Angeles Business Council, and was the lead organizer for Mayor Garcetti’s international trade missions to Mexico, China, Korea and Japan.

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 joined the Port of Los Angeles and Mayor Garcetti’s Office after serving as Managing Director of International Trade and Clean Technology for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  He was responsible for enhancing international trade opportunities for Los Angeles-based companies, and expanding the city’s role as a leader in international trade, entertainment, tourism, manufacturing and professional services.  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 such as the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and Port Tech LA. In this position, Cheung served as the City of L.A.’s lead organizer for the historic visit to Los Angeles by Chinese President, Xi Jinping in 2012.

A proud Angeleno, Cheung was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Los Angeles where he received both his bachelor’s in Psychobiology and master’s in Social Welfare from UCLA.  Cheung served on the Advisory Councils of UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, LMU’s Center for International Business Education and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.

Timothy McOsker
CEO
AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles
Biography

Timothy McOsker

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.