Nature in our Neighborhoods Conference August 23-24 in San Rafael, California.
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Howard Neukrug, PE, BCEE, Hon. D.WRE

Howard Neukrug, PE, BCEE, Hon. D.WRE

Professor of Practice in Water Leadership and Innovation, University of Pennsylvania

Senior Fellow, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy
Faculty Fellow, Penn Institute for Urban Research
Principal, CASE Environmental LLC
Senior Advisor, Global Water Leaders Group

Mr. Neukrug comes to us with nearly 40 years of experience in the Water Industry, most recently as the CEO of Philadelphia Water. He is a national expert, advisor, lecturer and professor on water infrastructure, technology, science, policy, regulations and management and water’s role in creating sustainable and resilient cities. Mr. Neukrug is a Professional Engineer, a member of the US National Drinking Water Advisory Council, and, most recently, was named the Professor of Practice in Water Leadership and Innovation at The University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Neukrug is also the principal of CASE Environmental LLC, which provides consulting advice to cities, water utilities, foundations and private companies and is a Senior Advisor to the Global Water Leaders Group and Chair of its Leading Utilities of the World CEO Network.

Dr. Dick Jackson

Dr. Dick Jackson

Professor, Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA

Richard Jackson is a Professor at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. A pediatrician, he has served in many leadership positions in both environmental health and infectious disease with the California Health Department, including the highest as the State Health Officer. For nine years he was Director of the CDC’s NationalCenter for Environmental Health in Atlanta and received the Presidential Distinguished Service award. In October, 2011 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

While in California he was instrumental in conceptualizing laws to reduce risks from pesticides, especially to farm workers and to children. While at CDC he was a national and international leader, including leading the federal effort to “biomonitor” chemical levels in the US population. He has received the Breast Cancer Fund’s Hero Award, as well as Lifetime Achievement Awards fromthe Public Health Law Association, and the New Partners for Smart Growth. In October, 2012 he received the John Heinz Award for Leadership in the Environment.

Dick Jackson co-authored two Island Press Books: Urban Sprawl and Public Health in 2004 and Making Healthy Places in 2011. He is host of a 2012 public television series Designing Healthy Communities which links to the J Wiley & Sons book by the same name. He has served on many environmental and health boards, as well as the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects. He is an elected honorary member of both the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Reed Addis

Reed Addis

Principal, Environmental and Energy Consulting

Reed Addis provides strategic and legislative support for EEC’s clients. This includes the establishment of advocacy programs, development of policy positions, and relationships within the Legislature and Administration. Mr. Addis works with legislators, agency staff, and other advocates to monitor political processes to help clients maximize their influence over policy decisions and increase funding opportunities for their programs. Prior to founding EEC, Mr. Addis worked for nine years with the consulting firm, Conservation Strategy Group (CSG), where he worked on funding and policy advocacy as the firm’s legislative director.

Mr. Addis has served as an adviser to Assembly Budget Chair John Laird, Representative Sam Farr, and Speaker Pro Tempore Fred Keeley, and has extensive experience with issues ranging from recycling and conservation to environmental protection and clean energy policy. Mr. Addis also has experience in human rights law, as he consulted with the European Union at the Danish Institute for Human Rights to promote corporate social responsibility standards at private corporations.

Mr. Addis graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with degrees in Environmental Studies and Politics.

Don Bessler

Don Bessler

Director of Public Works at City of Tempe

The Tempe Public Works Department is responsible for the stewardship of all city-owned infrastructure. This includes the street network, lights and signals, bridges, storm drains, public buildings, golf courses, parks and pathways, transit system including buses and bus stops, water distribution and wastewater collection. The city’s infrastructure system plays an important role in maintaining sound economic conditions and a high standard of living for the community. Public Works uses a formal program for managing more than $7 billion worth of investments in city infrastructure.

Under the direction of Public Works Director Don Bessler, more than 400 employees are responsible for maintaining and renovating the city’s infrastructure. Public Works also provides Tempe businesses and residents with life-essential city services, such as trash & recycling and transit operations. We maintain public buildings and the city’s fleet of vehicles and equipment. Public Works is also responsible for the procurement of all contracts related to design and construction within the city.

Dr. Akif Eskalen

Dr. Akif Eskalen

Plant Pathologist and Cooperative Extension Specialist, University of California, Riverside

Akif Eskalen is an Extension Specialist in plant pathology and microbiology at the University of California, Riverside. He received Ph.D. in plant protection and mycology at the University Cukurova in Turkey. Dr. Eskalen completed a post-doctoral research and then worked as a project scientist in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis.
Dr. Eskalen’s primary research interests include the identification, biology, epidemiology and control of fungal pathogens including insect vectored fungal diseases.

Dan Flanagan

Dan Flanagan

Executive Director, Friends of the Urban Forest

Dan Flanagan is a seasoned leader, team-builder, fundraiser and fiscal manager. For more than two decades he has primarily served in the non-profit world.

Dan is Executive Director of Friends of the Urban Forest, a non-profit organization that helps individuals and neighborhood groups to plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens in San Francisco.

Previously, he held leadership positions at several non-profit organizations, including Interim Executive Director and Board Chair at Frameline, the oldest and largest LGBT film festival; President and CEO at Yosemite National Institutes, which provides educational wilderness adventures; and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at the North Carolina Outward Bound School.

Dan also held leadership positions in the private sector, including Board Member at Aircast, Inc., a successful orthopedic device company; Chairman and CEO at the Wall Street investment firm of Josephthal and Company Inc.; and Chairman at Josephthal’s successor, JCH Holdings.

Dan earned bachelor degrees in History and French at Middlebury College in Vermont and a Degree Superieur at the Universite Aix-en-Provence in France.

Ryan Gilipin

Ryan Gilipin

Environmental Analyst at HortScience

Ryan M. Gilpin is a consulting arborist, experienced in all phases of tree preservation on a variety of different projects.  Additionally, Ryan specializes in a growing number of environmental services at HortScience, including Best Management Practices for wildlife in arboriculture.  Ryan’s strengths include strenuous field work, large data set analysis and GIS mapping.  Ryan has a M.S. in International Nature Conservation and a B.S. in Environmental Biology and Management.

Ryan is a Certified Arborist (WE-10268A), TRAQ qualified, Wildlife Aware, Wildlife Protector (#624), and produces HortScience’s GIS maps.

Steve Harriman

Steve Harriman

Urban Ecologist, Owner, Urban Ecos

Community Enhancement Fund is funded by Measure H, a ½ cent local sales tax measure that was approved by Rancho Cordova citizens on November 4, 2014. The measure passed with 61% of residents in favor of the measure. It provides locally-controlled funds for local priorities that included hiring a city arborist and planting 100 trees in fiscal years 2015/2016.
John Kevin Jefferson III

John Kevin Jefferson III

Director of Research, Urban Releaf

As a consultant since 2007, Kevin has assisted numerous prominent Bay Area organizations, along with producing large annual special events. In 2010, Kevin served as Contract Compliance Officer for Economic Opportunity Council, a Federal Poverty Reduction Program. From 2008 to 2010, he served as a Job Developer/Solution Provider in the newly opened One Stop Career Center in San Francisco’s Fillmore district. Prior to this, he served as Director of Education and Technology at the San Francisco YMCA and continues to serve in this capacity with the Urban Releaf Organization in Oakland. Earlier in his career, he was a dedicated and passionate teacher and mentor serving as a vocational instructor in computer repair and maintenance, a special education teacher at McAteer High School, and in the early childhood department of the SFUSD for 10 years. Kevin started his career in the United States Navy as an Aviation Mechanics Inspector.
Dr. John Kabashima

Dr. John Kabashima

UC Cooperative Extension Advisor, Emeritus

John’s varied research and extension programs have included the management of insects, diseases, and weeds in horticulture production systems and urban landscapes, biological control of exotic pests, water use and water use related problems of landscapes, nurseries, municipalities and at the watershed level. He also managed the over 300 strong UCCE Master Gardener volunteer program in Orange County, which uses formally trained volunteers of UC ANR to extend university based information on gardening and horticulture to the public. During his career, in addition to his position as Environmental Horticulture Advisor, John has held various positions such as Interim Center Director of the UC ANR South Coast Research and Extension Center (SCREC) in Irvine, and as the County Director of the UCCE office in Orange County. John is currently working on the Polyphagous Shot-Hole Borer and Fusarium Dieback as an Emeritus Advisor.
Dr. Igor Laćan

Dr. Igor Laćan

Environmental Horticulture Advisor, San Francisco Bay Area at University of California, Coperative Extension

Igor’s program of applied research and extension provides technical and policy tools to advance sustainable environmental management. Focusing on urban trees and urban water, Igor develops research projects that explore emerging issues in urban landscapes such as optimizing tree growth in stormwater facilities, as well as contribute to mitigating longstanding problems such as wood decay and failure in urban trees. Ian produces extension and outreach materials that transfer findings from the University of California and other academic sources to the practitioners, and serves as a technical resource for landscape professionals, planners and architects, local governments, Cooperative Extension colleagues and other academics, UC Master Gardeners, and tree-focused non-governmental organizations. Igor’s academic training includes urban forestry (PhD), aquatic ecology (MS) and ecology (BS) all from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Joe McBride

Dr. Joe McBride

Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, UC Berkeley

Professor McBride’s current research involves projects on (1) the effects of urban forests in the reduction of air pollution in China, (2) the composition, structure, and function of urban forests in different biomes, (3) the role of fire in riparian woodlands of the Sierra Nevada, and (4) wind patterns, micro-climates, and windthrow hazard in urban areas.

Professor McBride’s professional projects include the Vegetation Management Plan for the Sea Ranch, Sonoma County, CA; Urban Forest Management Plan for Presidio of San Francisco; Restoration Plan for Sutro Baths, GGNRA, San Francisco; Oak Restoration Management Plan for Stanford University Academic Reserve Lands, Palo Alto, CA; analysis of boulevard trees for El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA. Professor McBride is Chair of the Forest Science Division of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. In addition to his teaching, Professor McBride has worked as a consulting Forester and Landscape Ecologist in the Bay Area for over 40 years. His consulting work focuses on the preparation of vegetation analysis and management. His clients have included federal, state, county, and city agencies, legal firms, corporate land owners, private land owners, and foreign governments.

Dr. Greg McPherson

Dr. Greg McPherson

Research Forester, USDA Forest Service

Dr. Greg McPherson is a Research Forester with the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station located in Davis, CA. He measures and models tree growth and the monetary value of nature’s services. His research is informing urban forest management and fueling advocacy for tree planting and stewardship.
John Melvin

John Melvin

State Urban Forester, California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection

John Melvin works for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) managing the Urban and Community Forestry Program (U&CF). John graduated from Humboldt State University in 1999 with Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Forestry and a minor in business. He is an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist (WE-5889A) and a California Urban Forest Council Certified Urban Forester (#101). He is also a State of California Registered Professional Forester (RPF #2817).

John worked in private industry utility forestry for two years prior to joining CAL FIRE in early 2002. He spent 7 years working as a Regional Urban Forester for CAL FIRE (4 years in southern CA, 3 years in northern CA) prior to promoting to manage the
U&CF Program. Other aspects of John’s job include: wild land firefighting, medical first response, and occasional geographic information systems (GIS) use.

CAL FIRE’s U&CF Program has delivered over $41 million in pass through grant funds, primarily from state funding sources, over the past 14 years. Grants were for tree planting, tree inventory, urban forest management plans, urban forestry education, and innovative urban forestry and urban greening projects.

Kevin O'Hara

Kevin O'Hara

Vice President of Urban and Government Affairs, NPRA

Kevin O’Hara is National Recreation and Park Association ’s Vice President of Urban and Government Affairs where he oversees NRPA’s federal advocacy efforts with Congress and the Administration. He also leads the organizations efforts to promote parks and recreation agencies as leading problem solvers in American cities.  Most recently O’Hara was the Manager of Government Affairs for the American Society of Landscape Architects where he oversaw advocacy efforts on urban parks, green infrastructure, children’s access to nature, and more. O’Hara has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. O’Hara, his wife, and 2 kids live in the District of Columbia. His free time pursuits include hiking, travel, and good food.
Kelaine Ravdin

Kelaine Ravdin

Urban Ecologist, Owner, Urban Ecos

Kelaine Ravdin is an urban ecologist whose love of nature and cities guides her sustainability and green consulting work. She has a background in ecology and landscape architecture and has pursued research in these fields as a Fulbright Scholar in Berlin and with the U.S. Forest Service. Her firm, Urban Ecos, offers ecological consulting to cities, educational institutions, and private companies to make our cities greener, more sustainable, and more environmentally sound.

Jon Swae

Jon Swae

Urban Planner, City & County of San Francisco

The Planning Department Citywide Policy Division’s Sustainable City Team is responsible for balancing San Francisco’s plans for future growth within the context of City and State goals to curb greenhouse gas emissions, promote equity, reduce water consumption, achieve Zero Waste, implement community-scale energy resources and enhance biodiversity.

Currently working on variety of planning and urban sustainability projects:

  • San Francisco Eco-Districts Program
  • Sustainable Chinatown
  • Racial & Ethnic Equity Action Plan
  • San Francisco Urban Forest Plan
  • EveryTreeSF – Citywide Street Tree Census

Past experience includes:

  • Glen Park Community Plan (Lead Planner)
  • EN TRIPS- Eastern Neighborhoods Transportation Implementation Study (Planner & Project Manager)
  • Capital Project Coordination
  • Community Benefits & Finance Planning