About Us Office of Planning and Research Staff
Meet OPR’s talented team.
State Clearinghouse Director
Scott Morgan is OPR’s Chief Deputy Director, overseeing the daily operations of the office and leading the Administrative, State Clearinghouse and Military Affairs Teams. Scott coordinates efforts across all of OPR’s Budget Programs.
As Deputy Director for Planning and Community Development, Erik leads, coordinates, and supports the team’s efforts on policy development and developing local and regional planning guidance in furtherance of the State’s planning priorities and climate goals. Key focus areas include sustainable land use, housing, transportation, and infrastructure; infill development and finance; climate action, adaptation and resilience planning; community-based investment; and social equity, public health and environmental justice.
Erik has over 20 years of public, private and non-profit sector planning experience. Prior to joining OPR, he worked as a senior project manager for seven years with Ascent Environmental Inc., and he served as a public-sector planner for nine years at the City of Sacramento. He also worked for several consulting firms in the New York City metropolitan area in community and transportation planning, and served in the AmericCorps VISTA program in Grand Rapids, MI. He holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Hunter College, City University of New York, and a bachelor’s degree in geography from Calvin University.
Austin Kerr is an Air Quality & GHG Analyst in the Planning & Community Development team, where he will focus on implementation of the SB 7 Program. Austin will develop guidance for the quantification of GHGs associated with projects seeking Environmental Leadership and Development Project certification. As a CEQA practitioner, Austin brings more than 20 years of experience preparing air quality, GHG, and noise sections of Environmental Impact Reports for land use development and infrastructure projects. He has also managed preparation of CEQA guidance on behalf of air districts and CARB and more recently examined the role of carbon offsets as GHG mitigation. Austin has also overseen the preparation of Health Risk Assessments and noise constraint analyses to support local long-range planning and CEQA documentation. Austin spends his free time coaching youth sports and enjoys traveling and the outdoors.
As an associate program analyst on OPR’s Planning and Community Development team, Beth is responsible for updating OPR's general plan guidelines, coordinating OPR's Annual Planning Survey, and managing a WUI Best Practices project contract. Prior to this role, Beth worked as an assistant program analyst where she split her time between OPR's planning, climate, and learning lab teams. Beth approaches her work through an interdisciplinary lens centered around sustainability and equity. Beth graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2017 with a BS in Civil Engineering and three minors focused on science, technology, and society. Beth also holds a certificate from MITx in Data, Economics, and Development Policy.
As an associate planner on OPR’s Planning and Community Development team, Brianne Masukawa supports the team’s efforts on SB 743 implementation, and developing effective policies that lead to advancements in transportation, land use, and housing throughout California. Brianne has dedicated her planning career to developing and implementing solutions that improve access to safe and convenient transportation choices for all ages and abilities. Before joining the OPR team, she engaged with stakeholders, performed data and mapping analysis, and researched infrastructure safety solutions for safe routes to school, complete streets, and active transportation plans in Southern California’s communities of color. Her contributions as a consultant for the past four years include 57 school safety infrastructure plans, Bell Gardens Complete Streets Plan, and the Commerce Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. Furthermore, she contributed to the City of Los Angeles’ successful campaign to secure over $22 million for safe routes to school safety projects in some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods by managing grant application production. Ultimately, she aspires to continue honing her planning skillset and expertise for the benefit of all Californians.
As Senior Advisor for Land Conservation, Emily works to develop policy and planning strategies to better integrate conservation priorities within the context of land use and infrastructure planning, including the California High-Speed Rail project. Prior to joining the state, she was the Director of US Relations for The Nature Conservancy’s Asia Pacific Region, developing political and programmatic strategies to advance multi-national marine and forest conservation priorities, working at the highest levels of government in the US and internationally. Additionally, she served as a consultant with the Environmental Defense Fund’s Oceans Program to advise staff as they worked to develop a presence and open a country office in Indonesia. Earlier in her career, she created and pioneered development of the Conservancy’s first-ever transportation program at the California and national levels, one result of which was the creation of hundreds of millions of dollars for conservation through federal legislation. She earned an M.S. in Natural Resource Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. in Religion from Wesleyan University.
Egon Terplan is a Senior Advisor for Economic Development and Transportation at the California Governor's Strategic Growth Council and is helping lead the Regions Rise Together initiative for the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GOBiz). He is also an adjunct instructor at both Stanford University and the University of San Francisco where he teaches courses in urban and regional planning.
Prior to joining the Governor’s office in April 2019, Egon was the Regional Planning Director at SPUR, the Bay Area’s urban policy think tank. While at SPUR, Egon led dozens of projects on the intersections of economic development, regional planning, workforce preparation, land use, transportation and governance. His published reports include Harnessing High-Speed Rail, The Urban Future of Work, a Bay Area Economic Prosperity Strategy and the first-ever report on the Northern California megaregion. He was a frequent speaker and guest lecturer and also served on the San Francisco Workforce Investment Board, the Regional Planning Committee for the Association of Bay Area Governments and was Vice Chair of the Policy Advisory Council of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
Prior to SPUR, Mr. Terplan managed regional economic development strategy projects at ICF International for public and private sector clients throughout the world. He was also a New York City Urban Fellow working for the Mayor's Office of New York City, a bilingual high school teacher on Riker’s Island, New York and a union organizer and researcher with several labor unions.
Mr. Terplan received a Master of City Planning from UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.
Helen is a Senior Planner and Program Manager for the Regional Early Action Planning Grants (REAP) 2.0.
As a senior planner, she delivers guidance to state partners and local communities on planning and land use issues to advance equity and reduce impacts to our climate. Her responsibilities include coordinating on the development of related programs, policies, and legislation. She brings a unique evidence-based spatial analysis background to her work and regularly directs GIS efforts to assist in decision making.
REAP 2.0 is a $600 million state and federal investment to advance the implementation of adopted regional plans by funding planning and implementation efforts that accelerate infill housing and reductions in per capita vehicle miles traveled. As a program manager, Helen coordinates with the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the California Air Resources Board, the California Strategic Growth Council, regional governments, and tribal entities across the state on the implementation of this innovative new program.
Helen has nearly two decades of policy planning experience in the nonprofit, local, and state government sectors to advance equitable outcomes in housing, transportation, environmental justice, and community economic development efforts. She holds a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA and is an AICP certified planner with the American Planning Association.
Kim Danko is an Associate Program Analyst on the Regional Early Action Planning Grants (REAP) 2.0 team. As a member of the REAP team, Kim coordinates internally and externally to ensure delivery of this innovative statewide program aimed at accelerating housing in California, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a decrease in vehicle miles traveled.
Kim has years of public service in the planning and sustainable communities field. She has experience in advancing climate change initiatives at the state, regional and local levels and is passionate about helping California reach its climate goals in practical and equitable ways. Most recently, she has helped rural and under-resourced cities secure California Climate Investments grants that address community resilience and transform their communities into walkable/bikeable thriving destinations and has worked with the Central Valley to create community-led emissions reduction plans to address poor air quality and declining public health.
Kim was born and raised in Sacramento and obtained a BA in Communications from California State University, Long Beach. Her enthusiasm for government started during a public relations internship for the U.S. Coast Guard and since then she has continuously developed those communications skills to connect with government officials and staff who are navigating the complex challenges of climate, transportation, housing and community engagement.
Leila Hakimizadeh, AICP, is a Senior Planning Advisor at the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. She manages and engages in a broad range of statewide planning and policy initiatives related to land use, housing, transportation, infill and transit-oriented development, and other issues, with a focus on advancing the State’s climate and equity goals.
She has 15 years of experience in housing, land use and transportation planning, urban and building design, and transit-oriented development. Her management experience includes leading multidisciplinary groups of consultants, supervising planners, facilitating community workshops, and collaborating with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and neighborhood groups.
As a Planner IV-Supervising Planner with the City of San José, Leila directed the approval for over 50 development projects and four long-range plans. In addition, she was the Lead Project Manager for updating San José’s Downtown and Citywide Design Guidelines and managed several programs. As a Long-range planner for the City of Los Angeles and urban designer in Toronto, Canada, Leila had a key role in the approval of several master planning, transit-oriented development, streetscape, and bike and pedestrian planning projects.
Leila has masters’ degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design and a graduate certificate in Applied Digital Geography and GIS.
Ryan manages OPR’s judicial streamlining for Environmental Leadership Development Projects covered by Senate Bill 7 (2021), coordinates OPR's racial equity action plan development, and assists with housing and land use policy. Prior to this role, Ryan managed the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program at the California Strategic Growth Council. He previously served as a CivicSpark Climate Fellow at the San Luis Obispo Air Pollution Control District and worked as an Asset Movement Associate at Securian Financial Services. Ryan holds a B.B.A. in Finance, Economics, and Operations Management with an Environmental Studies certificate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Nuin-Tara Key is Deputy Director for Climate Resilience at OPR and Chair of the Technical Advisory Council for the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program. Prior to joining OPR, Nuin-Tara co-founded an international initiative on community-based climate action and has worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors on sustainable urban and regional planning and policy, with a focus on social equity and climate change. She has a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University and a BA from Lewis and Clark College.
Abby Edwards is the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program’s Adaptation Planning Grant Program Manager. In this role she will lead and manage the development, implementation, and administration of three rounds of adaptation planning grants. Abby brings to her work a commitment to equity, innovation, and evidence-based decision making. Prior to working at the OPR, Abby was a manager for the Local Government Commission’s AmeriCorps program, CivicSpark. In this role she managed state and federal grants, conducted regular monitoring and evaluation, coordinated with state and local partners, and oversaw day-to-day operations. Abby also served in the Peace Corps as a Sustainable Agriculture volunteer in southeastern Senegal. During her service, Abby worked side-by-side with farmers and community leaders on a variety of food security interventions. Abby is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on Environmental Management and Policy in the School of Public Affairs from UC Denver Online. Her Master’s studies build upon her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and Education. In her spare time, Abby is the chair of the Fundraising and Finance committee for the Sacramento chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice.
As an Associate Planner specializing in wildfire resilience and disaster recovery, Clay leads OPR’s role in the Community Planning and Capacity Building Recovery Support Function (CPCB-RSF), in partnership with CalOES and FEMA. He provides technical assistance and facilitates knowledge sharing with fire-affected communities and supports the incorporation of climate adaptation and resilience into recovery planning and implementation. Prior to OPR, Clay earned his Master’s in City Planning from UC Berkeley, where his research focused on state, regional, and local strategies for building adaptive capacity to manage growing climate risks. Previously, Clay worked with Enterprise Community Partners in Washington, DC, where he advocated for affordable housing funding and equitable disaster recovery policies.
Dolores Barajas is the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program’s Regional Resilience Grant Program Manager. In this role, she leads the implementation of three rounds of regional grants, to accelerate regional-scale climate resilience action. Prior to joining OPR, Dolores worked for the City of Fresno as Chief of Staff to a Councilmember, where she contributed to citywide policies and programs including critical COVID relief efforts. Prior to her work in local government, she served as Executive Director to the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition (CVAQ), an environmental justice organization focused on air and climate policy advocacy in the San Joaquin Valley. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.
Elea Becker Lowe is a Senior Planner for Climate Science and Resilience as a part of the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program’s Fifth Climate Change Assessment Team. Prior to her role with OPR, Elea worked as an Environmental Scientist with the California Natural Resources Agency. She holds an MA in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and a BS in Applied Mathematics from the University of Vermont.
Juliette Finzi Hart is the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program’s Climate Services Program Manager. Prior to joining OPR, Juliette was an Oceanographer and Director of Outreach at the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center. Earlier in her career, Juliette was a Research Assistant Professor in the Marine Environmental Biology program at the University of Southern California, where she also served as the Marine and Climate Science Specialist at USC Sea Grant. Juliette has a Ph.D. in Ocean Sciences from USC and a BA from Columbia University.
As an Associate Planner specializing in climate equity and resilience at OPR, Lisa leads the development of the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program’s (ICARP) Vulnerable Communities platform. Before OPR, Lisa worked for nearly five years at The Greenlining Institute, most recently as Energy Equity Program Manager, where her policy research, advocacy, implementation, and coalition-building focused on increasing access, benefits, decision-making, investments, and opportunities with and for frontline BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities. Lisa brings a technical background in GIS & mapping, a nuanced racial equity lens, and a commitment to removing barriers and expanding opportunities for historically marginalized communities. She has previously worked with local governments and internationally, as well as extensive work with nonprofits on a variety of social justice issues. Lisa holds a B.A. in Geography, with minors in Environmental Studies & Political Science, and a concentration in Community & Global Health from Macalester College.
Neil Matouka is the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program's Fifth Climate Change Assessment Program Manager. Prior to joining OPR, Neil was the Local Government Climate Action Planning Liaison at the California Air Resources Board. He has a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University and a BA from the University of Michigan.
As Associate Planner specializing in Climate Resilience at OPR, Nikki manages the State Adaptation Clearinghouse and supports climate services and technical assistance under OPR’s Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP). Nikki brings a commitment to accessible climate communications, equitable community engagement, and holistic, equitable planning and implementation of climate solutions to her work. Prior to OPR, Nikki spent two years with Sierra Business Council as a policy analyst and Project Manager for the Sierra Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership, advocating for and coordinating local and regional solutions to the Sierra Nevada region’s climate vulnerabilities. Nikki also served as a 2016–17 CivicSpark Climate Fellow at Sierra Business Council, providing climate planning and implementation technical assistance to local governments. Nikki has a B.A. in Anthropology and a Concentration in Environmental Studies from Williams College, where she graduated in 2016 as a Class of 1960 Environmental Scholar.
As the 5th Assessment Tribal Program Manager, Patricia is the lead staff for the coordination and engagement with California Native American Tribes and facilitating integration of tribal knowledge and science into the Fifth Climate Change Assessment. Patricia brings with her a passion for partnering with the original stewards of CA as an integral component to the future of climate planning. Most recently, she was the Tribal Affairs Coordinator for CA EPA Department of Toxic Substances Control. Prior to that she worked as Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indian’s Tribal Climate Resilience Coordinator and headed region-wide efforts in creating climate adaptation tools for local, state, and federal governments to more meaningfully work alongside Tribes. Patricia earned a B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy from CSULB and a M.Sc. in Environmental Conservation from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
As an Assistant Planner on the OPR Climate team, Sarah serves as a project manager overseeing the day to day implementation of the FEMA-OPR Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) Grant. The CTP grant will support California’s climate resiliency goals and streamline federal and state funding programs, as well as advance the statutory charge of the Integrated Climate Adaptation Resiliency Program (ICARP). Prior to joining OPR, Sarah served as the 2019-20 Executive Fellow at California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) through the Capital Fellows Program. In this capacity, she supported SGC's grant programs and policy initiatives by providing research and analysis on issues related to housing, sustainability, land use, and racial equity. Sarah is a first-generation college graduate and received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning from the University of California, Davis.
Sloane Viola is the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program's Council Program Manager. She previously served as the Legislative Director at OPR, representing the office’s interests in the legislative process. Prior to working at OPR, Sloane was the Staff Scientist and a Sea Grant Fellow for Lieutenant Governor Newsom. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aquatic Biology and Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
As an Assistant Planner, Taylor Carnevale (she/her) leads the development of the Flood-After-Fire Plan Alignment Tool and the organization’s extreme heat adaptation work. Prior to this role, Taylor served as the 2020-21 Executive Fellow at OPR through the Capital Fellows Program. In this capacity, she supported the Interagency Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program in coordinating climate resiliency strategies at the state, regional, and local levels, while advancing social equity.
Taylor holds a graduate certificate in Applied Policy and Government from California State University Sacramento and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Economics from Gonzaga University. She approaches her work through an interdisciplinary lens informed by previous positions in international advocacy, government relations, political consulting, and community health planning.
Ravneet serves as a 2021–2022 Executive Fellow at OPR through the Capitol Fellows Program with a focus on the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP). Prior to the Fellowship, she completed her Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University where Ravneet focused on urban policy, community development, and the social safety net. Her other work experiences include financial empowerment support for refugees and asylees in the Bay Area and most recently as a graduate intern with the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) in Washington, DC. Through her Fellowship at OPR, she looks forward to embracing a holistic approach to solving the vast issues impacting Californians and utilizing her experiences across the public and private sectors to motivate and support local governments with climate adaptation and resilience.
Emily Breslin is the Deputy Director of Communications and External Affairs of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the California Strategic Growth Council. She brings 10 years of communications, transportation planning and policy, and nonprofit management experience to the role.
Prior to joining OPR, Emily was the Climate Program Manager for the City of San Jose. In this role she oversaw the implementation of Vehicle Miles Traveled under SB 743; developed and codified progressive parking and demand management policies; oversaw a suite of transportation electrification projects, and equitable engagement and implementation for San Jose's "Climate Smart" Plan. Prior to her work in San Jose, Emily oversaw communications, branding, and marketing for the venture capital and consulting firm SVG Ventures and managed communications and community platforms for the global software company SAP. In her spare time, Emily is an active community-based climate advocate through her work for San Leandro 2050, a 501C3 she co-founded in 2018.
Emily has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the Technical University of Berlin and a Bachelor’s Degree in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis.
Luis Jimenez Romo serves as Communications Officer across both OPR and the California Strategic Growth Council, working collaboratively with our program and policy teams to optimize access to our programs and services and to share stories from our work.
Luis joined the SGC/OPR team after serving as External Affairs and Digital Media Associate at California Volunteers, Office of the Governor (CV), where he helped conceptualize and execute campaigns, maintain partnerships with an array of stakeholders, and produce compelling multimedia and digital collateral for a wide array of audiences.
Prior to joining CV, Luis served on the California State Parks Foundation’s advocacy teamworking with stakeholders on initiatives to advance programming for underserved youth, increase access to green spaces in park-poor communities, and conserve California’s natural treasures.
Luis started State service in Speaker Anthony Rendon’s Office, where he helped revitalize the Office of Protocol and International Relations by coordinating special projects, hosting international dignitaries, and creating briefing materials for Assembly delegations.
Luis has also served as public affairs intern at the California Special District’s Association, legislative affairs director for the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, and a steering committee member of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights’ (CHIRLA) California Dream Network.
Michael Wilson is the Senior Graphic and User Interface Designer for OPR, where he manages their website as well as designs visual communication pieces such as fact sheets and information graphics.
He also serves as the webmaster and designer for the Strategic Growth Council, where he has worked on projects such as the 2018 website redesign as well as the design for the Fourth California Climate Assessment website. Prior to his appointment with OPR, he was the graphic designer and art director for the California Energy Commission.
I was born and raised in Sacramento, California. I graduated from Sacramento City College in 2019 with an Associate's Degree in Anthropology. I have worked previously as a Seasonal Clerk with the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities and as an Excel Data Analyst with Physicians For A Healthy California. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, listening to music, reading science fiction and fantasy novels, and traveling to new places.
Jeannie Lee is Chief Counsel at OPR where she works on a broad range of legal and policy issues related to CEQA, land use, climate, and transportation. She also provides technical assistance to the public on these topics. Before coming to OPR, Jeannie was a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice and an associate in private practice. Before attending law school, Jeannie was an environmental planner focused on CEQA and NEPA review.
Natalie Kuffel is Land Use Counsel at OPR, where she assists the legal, legislative, and planning teams with work related to CEQA, housing, and transportation policy. Prior to serving in this role, Natalie was OPR’s Legislative Director. She has previously worked as a land use attorney for two law firms in the Sacramento area and clerked for the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of California. Before attending law school, she worked for a local homeless services nonprofit.
Shannon Clark is Land Use Counsel at OPR, where she works with the Legal, Legislative and Planning and Community Development teams on issues related to CEQA, housing, transportation planning and administrative law, including implementation of the CEQA Judicial Streamlining program. Prior to working at OPR, Shannon was a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice’s Environment Section, where she litigated CEQA and other administrative law issues on behalf of the People of California and agency clients in both federal and state courts. Before attending law school, Shannon worked as a project manager for an energy efficiency nonprofit.
William Robinson is the Legislative Director of OPR and SGC where he brings over seven years of legislative and transportation policy experience to the role. Prior to joining OPR, William was a Legislative Liaison at the California Department of Transportation and California High-Speed Rail Authority where he represented the Administration’s transportation policy interests and helped manage the legislative programs of each department. Prior to his work in transportation, William served in various roles in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. William has a Bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology from U.C. Davis.
Christine Asiata Rodriguez, is the Manager of the State Clearinghouse (SCH) at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR). With a tenure of over 15 years, her focus is on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process and guidance. Christine is the Project Leader and Manager who facilitates training on the new CEQA database pursuant to the SB 122 which requires environmental documents and notices prepared pursuant to the CEQA, to be available online. The CEQA Guidelines governs the operation of the SCH, and defines its roles and responsibilities. Consecutively, the SCH serves government agencies and the public by coordinating state-level review of environmental document distribution, providing assistance with the environmental review process, and managing the environmental information collected.
Mikayla Vaba is a Clearinghouse Technician in the State Clearinghouse. She processes and reviews documents submitted to the CEQA Database, assisting with quality assurance and providing technical assistance to public agencies and the general public.
Dr. Dennis Grossman is the Senior Advisor for Environmental Science and Policy at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. He comes to OPR after serving in conservation science leadership positions in non-profit conservation organizations for the past 25 years. These positions and organizations include Senior Scientist at the Conservation Biology Institute, Senior Environmental Policy Advisor for The Nature Conservancy, Vice President for Science at NatureServe, and Chief Ecologist at The Nature Conservancy.
Dr. Grossman has a broad background in regional assessments of biodiversity and environmental services, regional conservation planning, and evaluation and 1400 10th Street mitigation of environmental impacts. He has helped develop significant advances to the classification and mapping of terrestrial, freshwater and coastal/marine ecosystems at the local, national and global scales in order to improve the conservation and resource management decision-making with regional and ecosystem approaches. Dr. Grossman has worked to integrate conservation values to improve sustainable development objectives through appropriate use of scientific knowledge coupled with decision support technologies. He serves as co-chair of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Section of the International Association for Impact Assessment.
Dr. Grossman completed his Ph.D. in Plant Ecology through the East-West Center Environment and Policy Center at the University of Hawaii. He completed his M.S. and B.S. degrees in Botany and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
Peter van Deventer, is the Director of the Coast to Coast Smart e-Mobility program at OPR, where he connects governments, industry and academia on smart and clean transportation solutions. Before joining OPR in 2013, Peter worked in the Netherlands and Africa where he was responsible for transportation and land use departments both within local and regional governments as well as within consultancy. Peter holds Engineering degrees from Ohio State University (PhD) and Wageningen University (MSc and BSc) and a Master of Public Administration from the Dutch School for Public Policy.
Mary is the Just Transition Program Manager. Prior to joining OPR, she was the Managing Director for the American Jobs Project, a non-profit think tank founded by Jennifer Granholm that focused on place-based economic development strategies to decarbonize our economy. She was a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley, working on the US-Mexico Binational Laboratory. Most recently, Mary was a policy advisor to the Norwegian government and served as a Climate Attache for COP26. She served in Peace Corps Panama, working hand-in-glove with farmers, community members, and the Panamanian government.
As the Senior Program Analyst, Fabiha Zaman supports interagency coordination, stakeholder engagement, and communications operations for the Just Transition Program. Fabiha previously held the Special Assistant role at SGC, where she worked closely with the Executive Director and was responsible for day-to-day administration of the office. Before working at SGC, Fabiha was an intern at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research where she helped consolidate best practices for climate adaptation in local California communities, led racial equity initiatives within the office, and conducted research on wildfire resiliency. Fabiha has a wide range of experience in State government, as she also interned in the California State Senate and California Department of Justice.
Fabiha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science-Public Service with a minor in Professional Writing from the University of California, Davis. She also has a certificate from the London School of Economics for Global and International Studies.
Jesus Salazar is a Senior Program Analyst with the office of Planning and Research (OPR) working on the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF). As a Senior Program Analyst, Jesus provides strategic direction of program development and day to day management of key operations of the CERF program. Additionally, Jesus assists with outreach to state, local, and regional entities to implement program objectives. Prior to working with OPR, Jesus worked with the Blue Green Alliance, the California Labor Federation, and the UC Berkeley Labor Center on a just transition for communities impacted by California's energy transition. Jesus has also worked as a Labor Organizer for SEIU United Service Workers West, a union that represents and empowers service workers across California.
Jesus Salazar holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in communications from San Francisco State University and a masters from the Goldman School of Public Policy.
Matt is a Senior Program Analyst on the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) team. He works at the intersection of economic development, labor, and climate resilience planning. Prior to joining OPR, Matt conducted and lead research on climate change adaptation and workforce development with local governments, labor unions, and academic partners. He has a wide range of experience in community planning processes and prioritizes equity, transparency, and shared decision-making among stakeholders. Matt holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA.
Nader Afzalan is the Advisor for Community and Economic Resilience. His work intersects urban and regional planning for resilience and climate change, innovative stakeholder engagement, and data analytics.
Before joining the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Nader served in various leadership and advisory roles in the U.S. and overseas. These include serving as the Chair of the American Planning Association (APA)- Technology Division, leading the Data Integration Unit at California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH), managing community resilience programs funded by the World Bank in the Middle East, advising the Yunnan Province in China on using new data sources for economic development, and leading academic initiatives at multiple universities in California and Colorado.
With 30+ published articles and policy reports on issues that intersect collaborative planning, urban resilience, and technology, during the past 20 years, Nader has been working with and learning from diverse stakeholders. These include public officials and business owners across California, farmworkers in the Central Valley, indigenous communities in Panama, and academics across the World. Nader holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Design at the University of Colorado.
Allison serves as Policy Advisor to the Governor’s Military Council (GMC) which works to sustain and enhance the national security posture in the state by bridging the gaps between citizens, public servants, industry, and military on myriad topics that touch on military operations. GMC works with active duty and reserve forces, community stakeholder groups, veterans, aerospace and defense industry members, as well as military spouse and children advocates throughout the state and informs and advises the state government’s executive, legislative, and local level leaders on issues that impact national security such as: environment, energy, transportation and infrastructure, housing, technology, education and workforce development and economic opportunity in the state.
Ms. Eileen Sánchez serves the California Governor in the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) military affairs team where she leads Defense Industry Cybersecurity Resilience. Prior to OPR, Ms. Sánchez served as director of economic development for Los Angeles Mayor, overseeing the small and minority business team, contracting relations and a broad range of entrepreneurship initiatives. Ms. Sánchez previously served as a U.S. Small Business Administration associate administrator in Washington, D.C., reporting to the Administrator and serving on the SBA Management Board. In her role, Ms. Sánchez spearheaded SBA's small business global and international trade initiatives and programs, including the $1.45 billion SBA guaranteed export lending portfolio and field staff located at U.S. Export Assistance Centers. She led several government initiatives to improve the economic environment for American small businesses and entrepreneurs in the United States and abroad, and she was responsible for ensuring small business interests were represented in trade negotiations and commercial dialogues. Ms. Sánchez also oversaw the launch and implementation of the State Trade Expansion Program.
Sumeet Bedi is an Associate Research Analyst with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) Military Affairs team. He works with OPR and the California Research Bureau to produce a report highlighting the economic impact of national security investment in the state of California.
Sumeet holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UC Berkeley, and a Master in Public Policy and Administration from CSU Sacramento.
Julianne McCall is a Co-Diorector of the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine. She has also worked as a Consultant with the Senate Office of Research, a Neuroscientist at Heidelberg University Laboratory for Neuroregeneration, Founder of TEDxFulbright, and Director of the International Brain Bee Neuroscience Olympiad.
Shannon Muir is a Co-Director of the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine. She was previously a Director of the Research Proposal Development Service at UC San Diego, a Senior Associate for the California Council on Science and Technology, and a Science and Technology Policy Fellow for the Senate Health Committee.
Megan Varvais is a Science Communications Specialist and Administrator in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. She helps run the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine and maintains the Precision Medicine Asset Inventory. She has also worked for the Consumer Federation of California, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation, and the California Faculty Association. Her professional and volunteer experiences include graphic design, event planning, grassroots organizing and outreach, database management, legislative advocacy, and coalition building.
Aiyana Emigh Cortez is a computational biologist and PhD candidate in Biophysics at the University of California, Davis. Her research aims to identify the molecular interactions that determine cardiotoxicity of medicinal drugs. During her graduate studies, she has dedicated her time to advocating for student needs and promoting equity in STEM. Before graduate school, Cortez served for over two years in the United States Peace Corps as a Math and Science Teacher Trainer in The Gambia, West Africa where she advocated for volunteer needs and rights and successfully inspired organization-wide policy reform. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Long Beach in Microbiology and Cell and Molecular Biology, with minors in Chemistry and Applied Mathematics, and completed her single-subject teaching credential in Biology.
Jessica Lumian is pursuing a PhD in Microbiology at the University of California, Davis in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Michigan State University. Her thesis research focuses on environmental tolerance mechanisms of Antarctic cyanobacteria using a variety of bioinformatics techniques. She enjoys promoting data availability and reproducibility in scientific research and has served as a prior instructor for The Carpentries, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching fundamental computational skills and fostering an inclusive data science community. She also assists with the organization of science outreach events through STEM for Girls at UC Davis and is interested in increasing science literacy for all ages. In addition to her graduate work, Jessica studied the accessibility of dialysis treatment centers in California using geographical and statistical analyses. She is enthusiastic about contributing to work promoting equity and accessibility in healthcare.
Denise Gutierrez is the Personnel Technician for OPR, where she provides assistance to the Personnel Officer on matters related to attendance, payroll, recruitment and retention, and employment verifications. She also works the front desk and provides administrative support, including but not limited to: travel, meeting planning, and scheduling.
Lynn Walters is an IT professional that is part of your Governor’s office technology unit. This September I have been with OPR for forty years. I am a retired annuitant working part time to support technology needs. I support the OPR Blue Anchor building fielding all hardware and software helpdesk questions.
As Special Assistant, Mitchell Iwahiro serves as lead support for OPR’s Director, providing a variety of analytical and administrative operations tasks. Under the general direction of the Director, Mitchell’s support duties span across a range of programs, initiatives, and activities that contribute to long-range planning and research.
Prior to joining OPR, Mitchell earned his MS in Community Development and BS in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis. Previously, he has held positions in local and state government agencies, and worked at SMUD developing non-profit partnerships to achieve more equitable, sustainable communities.
Supports the accounting activities across all of the OPR budget programs.
Manages mailroom Services and Travel Services and supports the office’s procurement team.
Oversees office operations and building management.
Supports the accounting activities across all of the OPR budget programs.
Supports the accounting activities across all of the OPR budget programs.
OPR’s Chief Accountant managing the accounting team and responsible for accounting activities across all the OPR budget programs.