Local, Regional, and Tribal Government
CBO’s, Academia, and Private Sector
Jacob I. Alvarez
Jacob Alvarez, Assistant to the City Manager joined the City of Coachella’s Finance Department in 2013 where he transitioned from Interim Controller to the Assistant to the City Manager. As the Assistant to the City Manager, Mr. Alvarez provides supervision on many of the City’s Special Projects and serves as the City’s representative on several City sponsored commissions and committees; he also oversees the City’s Legislative Platform, assists in management of City Operations, serves as the City’s Public Information Officer, oversees Grants Management, and assists with the City’s overall strategy and branding.
Prior to joining Coachella, Mr. Alvarez worked as a Management Analyst (2009-2013) for the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG), a sub-region to Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). As CVAG’s SCAG Liaison, Mr. Alvarez was tasked with becoming the regional expert in SB375 and AB32. Mr. Alvarez worked with SCAG and CVAG’s 10 member jurisdictions on understanding and strategizing the implementation of Coachella Valley’s Sustainable Community Strategy given the region’s inadequate public transit.
As part of CVAG’s Energy & Environmental Resources Department, Mr. Alvarez participated in the Coachella Valley’s first Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory. This GHG Inventory was a huge milestone for the region and was done in partnership with South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD). Mr. Alvarez also managed and implemented CVAG’s Green for Life Program, which was funded by a $4.91m grant from Southern California Edison (SCE), as provided by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). This program developed a regional and local green building policy with standards 15% above Title-24, including: a climate action plan; greenhouse gas inventories; facility benchmarking; commissioning; and, retro-commissioning policies for CVAG’s member cities. In another first for the region, Mr. Alvarez participated in the Coachella Valley’s first Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. IN 2009, due to State mandate AB1881, Mr. Alvarez assisted in managing the implementation and development of a water efficient landscape ordinance in partnership with the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) that exceeded the State requirement.
Mr. Alvarez obtained both his Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management with an emphasis in Accounting from the University of Redlands.
Mr. Alvarez remains a resident of the Coachella Valley, where he was appointed by Riverside County’s 4th District Supervisor to the Bermuda Dunes Community Council and is married to his childhood sweetheart, Cynthia. They hDAVIS three wonderful children.
Karalee is a manager at the Institute for Local Government, the non-profit research and education affiliate of the League of California Cities, the California State Association of Counties and the California Special Districts Association.
At ILG, Karalee manages the Beacon Program where she supports more than 100 cities and counties throughout California that are committed to addressing climate change and making their communities more energy efficient, climate-friendly and resilient. Throughout her career, Karalee has helped create partnerships and connect the dots to provide creative solutions for California communities.
Prior to joining ILG in May of 2012, Karalee managed several charitable contributions initiatives at Pacific gas & Electric Company that helped bring solar energy and education resources to disadvantaged communities. Karalee has served on the Board of Directors Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento for the past 8 years, and engages in a variety of other volunteer activities throughout Sacramento.
Karalee holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.
As the General Manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency, Mr. Davis is responsible for the Water Agency’s core functions of providing drinking water to over 600,000 residents in portions of Sonoma and Marin counties, wastewater management for 60,000 customers, maintaining nearly 100 miles of streams and detention basins for flood protection, and restoring habitat for three federally listed fish species in the Russian River. Mr. Davis and his team are also implementing a renewable energy portfolio that has resulted in a carbon free water supply and distribution system. The Water Agency is a regional leader in the development and implementation of federal, state, and regional initiatives.
Mr. Davis recently returned to the Sonoma County Water Agency after serving Governor Jerry Brown as Director of the California Department of Water Resources.
Prior to joining the Water Agency, Mr. Davis was Executive Director of the Bay Institute, a science-based nonprofit dedicated to protecting the San Francisco Bay-Delta Watershed and improving water management in California. Mr. Davis also worked for Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, State Senator Milton Marks, and Assemblywoman Lucy Killea.
Mr. Davis currently serves on the University of California President’s Advisory Commission for the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Mr. Davis received a BA in political science from the University of California at Berkeley.
Jason has served as the Manager of Sustainability for the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) since 2015. SCAG is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for six counties and 191 cities in a 38,000 square-mile mega-region with a population of 19 million. Jason promotes integration of land use and transportation via the Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy with a focus on climate adaptation and resiliency planning. Jason has spent the bulk of his 25 year career as a planning professional on the East Coast, most recently serving as Director of Planning and Community Development for Middletown Township, New Jersey, a thriving coastal municipality in the New York City metropolitan region. Jason received a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Rutgers University and a Master of Science in Urban Studies from the University of Nebraska.
Laura Engeman is a Program Manager at the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation based at Scripps Institution of Oceanography where she connects scientists and research to public agencies to increase understanding of sea level rise, coastal storm vulnerabilities and strategies to build coastal resilience. Prior to joining the Center, Laura was the Director of the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative where she led a NOAA funded effort to provide technical assistance and training for San Diego agencies on preparing for sea level rise. Laura also worked for the California Ocean Protection Council and State Coastal Conservancy where she directed initiatives on offshore energy, increasing access to marine and coastal data, and coastal restoration. Laura holds a master’s degree in International Environmental Planning from the Middlebury Institution of International Studies in Monterey.
Tina's areas of oversight include state-level Planning and Preparedness programs for all hazards, including but not limited to the State of California Emergency Plan, Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) and National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliance, Radiological/Nuclear preparedness, and the CAL OES Earthquake and Tsunami program. She also oversees OESTraining and Exercises, and Hazard Mitigation Planning programs.
Tina was appointed Deputy Director for Planning, Preparedness and Prevention in 2013, following appointments as Assistant Director in 2005 and Deputy Director of Preparedness and Training in 2008. Tina has over 25 years of experience in the area of emergency management. Beginning in 1991, Tina worked in the Office’s Recovery programs, providing assistance, training and guidance to applicants of disaster assistance programs through numerous state and federal disaster declarations including the Loma Prieta and Northridge earthquakes.
As the Sustainability Director for the Blue Lake Rancheria, Jana has helped establish the Tribe’s community resilience and energy strategy, and has implemented an array of policies and projects to reduce the Tribe’s carbon footprint, reduce and levelize costs of energy, and improve emergency preparedness. Jana has managed over $15 million in projects in energy efficiency, renewable energy, green fuels, supply chain efficiency, energy and building efficiency, recycling, energy/water nexus, biodiesel manufacturing, solar PV power, battery storage, demand response, electric vehicle infrastructure, and the current low-carbon, community-scale microgrid. She is leading a community-wide climate adaptation plan + vulnerability assessments for the Tribe, and is developing economic and employment opportunities which apply low-carbon solutions to climate adaptation and emergency preparedness sectors. As an appointee to the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Indian Energy’s National Working Group, and through other committees and outreach, she works with dozens of tribal nations and federal, state, and local stakeholders on energy and sustainability policies.
Amanda Hansen serves as Deputy Secretary for Climate Change at the California Natural Resources Agency. Prior to joining the Newsom Administration, she was a regional director in the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery for the Community Reconstruction Program from 2013 to 2017. She previously served as deputy associate director for policy outreach for the White House Council on Environmental Policy in 2012 and chief of staff to the chairman of the 2010-2011 round of United Nations climate change negotiations. From 2005-2009, she was a foreign affairs officer at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Amanda received her bachelor’s degree in Science in Society from Wesleyan University, focusing on environmental science and sociology. She received her master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, and specialized in Environmental Policy.
Nuin-Tara Key is Deputy Director for Climate Resilience at OPR. Nuin-Tara chairs the Advisory Council for the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program and oversees the development of the Adaptation Clearinghouse, an online resource that supports a community of adaptation and resilience practice throughout California. 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. Nuin-Tara has a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University and a BA from Lewis and Clark College.
David Loya, Arcata Community Development Director, has a diverse background in biology; housing and economic development policy and implementation; urban planning, including current and long-range planning; and climate adaptation planning. Mr. Loya currently oversees the long-range planning updates to the Local Coastal Plan, including the sea level rise adaptation and measured retreat policies for the City of Arcata. Through this work, he has helped develop sea level rise adaptation policy in Humboldt Bay, arguably one of the most dynamic sea level areas in the state. Mr. Loya’s approach to sea level rise adaptation places emphasis on integrating science, economic policy, and regional stakeholder collaboration. He has broad experience with a diverse group of landowners and land managers, regional city and county planners, engineers and scientists, and the public.
Dan is Deputy Director of Lending at Community Vision Capital & Consulting, a Bay Area-based nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI). Formerly known as the Northern California Community Loan Fund, CVCC is a 33-year old CDFI providing capital and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, social enterprises, small businesses, and cooperatives help advance racial and economic equity in Northern and Central California communities.
At CVCC, Dan focuses on developing client relationships, structuring CVCC’s capital and expertise, and assisting with underwriting, workouts, program development, and grant writing. For the past three years, he and a colleague have provided financial technical assistance, supported by a grant from the US Forest Service, to nonprofits and companies developing community-scale biomass energy facilities. As a result of this work, Dan has been developing ways for CDFIs to provide more private capital in support of the State’s expanded funding for forest restoration and fire prevention.
Before joining CVCC in 2012, he spent six years in the public sector and 28 years in real estate finance, development, and asset management. He received an undergraduate degree from The Evergreen State College and a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Sona comes to Greenlining from New Orleans, and recently moved to the Bay Area to work on environmental equity issues. She became interested in environmental equity after witnessing the disproportionate environmental burdens that communities of color face in New Orleans, especially after Hurricane Katrina and the B.P. oil spill. Sona interned at several environmental law firms and nonprofit organizations throughout law school, and realized that she wanted to pursue a career in environmental law and policy. As Environmental Equity Manager, she looks forward to advocating for environmental equity and learning how to effectively empower communities of color.
Darwin Moosavi was appointed Deputy Secretary for Environmental Policy and Housing Coordination at the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) in August of 2019 by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Darwin previously served as Special Advisor to the Secretary at CalSTA in early 2019. Before joining the team at CalSTA, Darwin served as Sustainability Project Manager the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), leading initiatives to champion walking, bicycling and transit use, promote zero emission vehicles and integrate equity considerations into the Department’s work. Under the administration of Governor Brown, Darwin was appointed as a Senior Planner at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), where he worked on various transportation policy issues centered around building sustainable communities and reducing vehicle miles trDAVISled. Darwin spent several years helping build the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program, and later served as its Program Manager at the Strategic Growth Council.
Darwin earned his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning from UC Davis and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University, with an emphasis in Transportation Planning.
In September 2017, Andrea Ouse, AICP joined the City of Concord as the Director of Community and Economic Development, having previously served as the Community and Economic Development Director for the City of Vallejo since June 2015 and as Planning Manager since December 2012. In her current capacity, Andrea oversees the City of Concord’s Planning, Building, Economic Development, Engineering and Transportation Engineering functions.
Andrea’s career has been focused on local government as a planning and community development professional, including long-range policy development, current planning and process management. She has worked for a number of diverse communities throughout her career, including Daly City, Colma, Turlock, Pacifica, Belmont, and Yuma, Arizona. In addition, she was the Managing Principal of the South San Francisco office of LSA Associates, Inc., an environmental and contract planning firm.
Andrea received a Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Planning from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and a Masters of Public Administration from California State University, East Bay. Andrea has also served the planning profession, currently as the Immediate Past Director of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. She is also active in the League of California Cities, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Jonathan Parfrey is the founding director of Climate Resolve , a Los Angeles-based organization. Jonathan served as a commissioner at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for five years. He is a founder of the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability and the statewide Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation , where he currently serves as chair. He is also a founder of CicLAvia , the popular open-street event. He directed the Green LA Coalition as well as the Los Angeles office of Physicians for Social Responsibility . Prior to that, Jonathan founded and directed the Orange County Catholic Worker community in Santa Ana, California.
Michelle Passero is the Climate Change Program Director for The Nature Conservancy, California office. She has extensive experience working in land conservation and environmental law and policy. Currently, Ms. Passero is leading TNC’s climate policy efforts to ensure successful implementation of California’s landmark climate policies, with a focus on the intersection of climate change, conservation and land use.
She has led and advised processes to develop greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting standards for California’s natural and working lands, as well as GHG project standards published by the World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development. She coauthored an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlighting the statewide potential of California’s lands to contribute to its climate goals. Most recently, she successfully managed a project in partnership with Merced County and the California Department of Conservation to develop a county-scale climate and multi-benefit analysis and scenarios tool for natural and working lands in the County.
Ms. Passero’s professional history includes serving as a Business Development Executive in Forest and Land Use for EcoSecurities, Director of Policy Initiatives for the Pacific Forest Trust, and a contract environmental law attorney for The Natural Heritage Institute and Heller, Ehrman, White and McCauliffe. She holds an LL.M. in Sustainable International Development from the University of Washington, a J.D. from the University of San Francisco and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Vermont.
Mark Starr was appointed by Governor Brown in 2012 as the Deputy Director for Environmental Health in the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). He leads the Center for Environmental Health, which encompasses Food and Drug Safety, Cannabis Safety, Radiation Safety and Environmental Management programs, as well as supporting laboratories. He has also been serving as the Acting Director of CDPH’s Office of Health Equity since August 2019.
Previously, Dr. Starr was the Director of Community Health, Clinics and Animal Services for Placer County for 5 years; he was with CDPH’s Division of Communicable Disease Control for 12 years, including four years as Chief of the Division; and he was the Chief Epidemiologist for Sacramento County from 1990-1995.
Dr. Starr earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine (MPVM) degrees from the University of California, Davis and spent four years in private veterinary practice after graduation before entering public health.
He has been a Volunteer Clinical Professor for the Masters of Public Health program in the School of Medicine at UC Davis since 2004, and he previously taught courses in epidemiology and public health at California State University Sacramento and at Chapman University. Dr. Starr has also served in numerous leadership roles for various organizations in public health, veterinary medicine, and other areas at national, state and local levels. Currently, these include the Council of Advisors for the One Health Commission, the Committee on Environmental Issues of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Board of Directors for Changing the Streets (a non-profit for clinical One Health).
Nathan Bengtsson is the Interim Director of Climate Resilience at Pacific Gas & Electric Company, where he leads the company’s efforts to bolster the resilience of assets, infrastructure, operations, employees, and communities amid the growing risks of climate change. He has over 10 years of experience in the public policy arena with a focus on energy and environmental issues. Nathan joined PG&E in 2015 as a representative to the California Energy Commission and California Air Resources Board, advocating for environmentally and economically sustainable energy policies including the refinement and extension of California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program. He is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College and the CORO Fellows Program in Public Affairs and is a proud Teach for America alum (San Antonio, 12’). He currently lives in Sacramento with his family.
As the Chief Resilience Officer for the City and County of San Francisco, Brian Strong is responsible for the goals and initiatives in the Resilient SF strategy, a $35 billion 10-year Capital Plan, and its regular capital budget process. He created the City’s first multi-year capital plan in 2006 and has been instrumental in the development and passage of $3.5 billion in G.O. bonds to improve San Francisco's infrastructure. Brian has implemented a number of innovative resilience programs to protect San Francisco’s infrastructure including the creation of a Capital Planning Fund to support early project development, the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response bond program; Sea Level Rise Guidelines; and building-by-building HAZUS seismic assessments. Under Brian received the 2011 Good Government Team Award from the Mayor’s Fiscal Advisory Committee and the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. He currently serves as President of the Board for the San Francisco Community Investment Fund that distributes new market tax credits to promote economic development in disadvantaged communities. He lives in Alameda, CA with his wife and two sons.
Gloria Walton is an award-winning community organizer, writer and speaker, and the President and CEO of The Solutions Project. She is described as one of the United States’ most exciting “next generation” political leaders and is Inside Philanthropy’s “New President to Watch.” Gloria does her part to create the future we want by resourcing and amplifying climate justice solutions from communities at the frontlines of the crisis where innovation, hope and power is growing beyond our wildest dreams. She joined The Solutions Project from Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), a South LA-based community organization developing cutting-edge strategies to ensure that Black and Brown, poor and working-class communities have an equal voice in the democratic process, where she was President & CEO for 10 years. Under Gloria’s leadership, SCOPE played a pivotal role in several significant ballot measures and policy campaigns that increased community decision-making and ensured equitable investment in green jobs, climate solutions, and critical public services.
John Wentworth is a member of the Town Council of the Town of Mammoth Lakes, and currently serves as City Council Member. He also serves on a number of local agency boards, including the Eastern Sierra Council of Governments (Chair - 2018/2019), the Mono County Local Transportation Commission (Chair - 2018/2019), and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (Chair -2018/2018). John is Chairman and CEO of the Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access Foundation (MLTPA). MLTPA has worked closely with regional public land managers, including the Inyo National Forest on the update of its General Management Plan through the Eastern Sierra Recreation Collaborative, funded in part by the National Forest Foundation. MLTPA initiated an ambitious update of the Town of Mammoth Lakes Trail System Master Plan, spearheaded the adoption of two special tax measures in Mammoth Lakes securing local funding for trails, parks, recreation, mobility and arts and culture, and for his efforts on behalf of regional recreation and the Mammoth Lakes Trail System, John has been recognized by the Sierra Business Council and the Far West Ski Association. Prior to moving to Mammoth Lakes, John worked in the motion picture industry, where his credits include Co-Producer of “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” and “Mulholland Drive”.
Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H.
Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H. is the public health officer for the County of San Diego. She received both professional degrees from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, followed by the completion of residency training at the Georgetown/Providence Hospital Family Practice Residency Program in Washington, DC. In 1989, she completed the joint San Diego State University (SDSU), Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH)/University of California San Diego (UCSD) Preventive Medicine Residency, with an emphasis in Sports Medicine. Dr. Wooten practiced medicine as a faculty member in the UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine from 1990 to 2001. She remains a UCSD volunteer Associate Clinical Professor and is an Adjunct Professor at SDSU/GSPH. She has been with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency since 2001, initially as the Deputy Health Officer and now serves as the Public Health Officer since February 2007. She is an ardent supporter of public health and has a strong interest in health disparities and health equity. Dr. Wooten is a past Board member, and past president (2011-13), of the California Conference of Local Health Officers (CCLHO); current Board member, and past President (2013-15), of the Health Officers Association of California (HOAC); and past Board member (2009-2011) of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). Dr. Wooten is a current Board member of the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) of Directors (2011-present), member of the NACCHO Big Cities Health Coalition (2014-present), and past member of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2015-2019).