Green Advisory Council


CLCV's Green Advisory Council is comprised of influential environmental leaders drawn from business, labor, government and other sectors. The Council provides input in many areas of CLCV's work, including our political and legislative priorities, communications planning, and development efforts.

Green Advisory Council Members

Becki Ames, Chief of Staff to Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster
Preston Brooks, Partner, Cox, Castle & Nicholson
Tom Buttgenbach, President, 8minutenergy Renewables LLC
David Festa, Environmental Defense Fund
Tal Finney, Attorney, Dongell Lawrence Finney LLP
David Goldberg, Partner, Armbruster Goldsmith & Delvac LLP
Maureen Grace
Gabriel Kra, Managing Director, Prelude Ventures
Stephen Matloff, Sustainable Building Contractor
Terry O'Day, Vice President of Business Development, NRG
Ryan Popple, Chief Executive Officer, Proterra
Thomas Safran, Chairman, Thomas Safran & Associates
Deidre Sanders, Environmental Justice Program Manager, Pacific Gas & Electric Company
Sam P. Schuchat, Executive Officer, California State Coastal Conservancy
Naomi Seligman, President, Seligman Consulting
Nancy Stephens, Board of Trustees, Union of Concerned Scientists
Matt Szabo, Commissioner, City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works
Daniel Yost, Partner, Orrick, Harrington & Sutcliffe LLP


Becki Ames currently serves as Chief of Staff to Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster. She has spent the better part of the last 16 years working throughout the state in the “rough and tumble” world of California politics. As a staff member in the California State Assembly, Ames served as a Senior Consultant in the Office of Member Services and was Chief of Staff to Assemblymember George Nakano. In addition, she has managed and consulted on a variety of national, state and local campaigns, including Foster’s successful 2006 and 2010 mayoral elections. She is a graduate of Boston University with a degree in International Relations. She and her husband are residents of Long Beach where they raise their two-year old daughter, 4 dogs, organic vegetables and still actively debate whether Larry or Magic was the best ever.

Preston Brooks is a partner with the law firm of Cox, Castle & Nicholson in Los Angeles, and chairs the firm’s Environmental Group. Mr. Brooks counsels property owners, developers, lenders, municipalities, and pension funds on environmental risk management strategies in the context of real estate acquisition, financing and development. In addition, Mr. Brooks represents clients engaged in the redevelopment of brownfields. Mr. Brooks also frequently assists clients to obtain and tailor environmental insurance policies to address environmental issues associated with real property. Mr. Brooks also litigates environmental matters. His cases include actions against responsible parties to recover costs of environmental cleanups, mold exposure claims, Proposition 65 actions, and insurance recovery actions. Mr. Brooks is a member of the National Brownfields Association, the California Solar Energy Industries Association, and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties. Mr. Brooks graduated from Harvard College and received his law degree from Yale Law School.

Tom Buttgenbach is co-founder and president of 8minutenergy. He has over 15 years of experience in large-scale project development, entitlement, due diligence, mergers and acquisitions, and capital structuring and origination. Tom has successfully managed over $1 billion in transactions in the solar energy and electric utility industry. Tom has also worked in the clean-tech, high-tech, large-scale real estate project, land development, asset management, private equity and financial services sectors. He is responsible for the land entitlement process for over 2,000 megawatts of 8minutenergy's solar projects, and for becoming the first solar PV project in California's Imperial County to complete the land entitlement process.

David Festa is Vice President, West Coast and Land, Water and Wildlife at Environmental Defense Fund. Previously, Mr. Festa served on the Obama transition team for the US Department of Commerce, where he worked during the Clinton administration as Director of Policy and Strategic Planning. Mr. Festa’s 25+-year career includes working as a journalist for The Economist, where he covered business, technology and science, and he was nominated for the Glaxo Award for Science Journalism. He has been a management consultant, an analyst for the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment, and Deputy Director of the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington, DC. He serves on the boards of Black Rock Solar and SkyTruth, and is a member of the San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee. Mr. Festa has a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.

Tal Finney is a founding named partner in the law firm of Dongell Lawrence Finney LLP, which focuses on environmental, land use, energy, and construction law, and serves as outside counsel to Iceland America Energy, Inc. (a geothermal energy developer) and Herhof Canada (a solid waste conversion and waste-to-energy developer). His many appointments include the California Public Utilities Commission, California Independent System Operator, Interim Director of Social Services, Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, California Earthquake Authority, California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, California Voting Modernization Board, Director of the Office of Administrative Law, and Designee to the California State Lands Commission. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Environmental Section of the State Bar of California.

David Goldberg specializes in land use, real estate, cleantech, administrative law, and construction and architectural law. He received his J.D. from the University of Chicago, graduating with honors in 1999, and earned his B.A. in political science and economics from the University of California at Berkeley, graduating summa cum laude in 1996. Before joining Armbruster Goldsmith & Delvac LLP, David was a partner in the Environment, Land & Resources Department at Latham & Watkins LLP. David has extensive expertise in the California Coastal Act. He has successfully represented some of the most complex projects in obtaining coastal development approvals from the California Coastal Commission, including for Poseidon Resources to develop the largest desalination facility in the western hemisphere in Carlsbad; Pacific Gas & Electric Company to replace its aging steam generators at Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo; The J. Paul Getty Trust to renovate and expand the Getty Villa Museum in Pacific Palisades; and several complicated residential projects in central and northern California.

Maureen Grace is a second generation CLCV supporter. She is the daughter of Charles M. Grace, who co-founded CLCV with George Wagner in 1973 and also founded the World Monuments Fund. Previously, she lived in Boston, where she earned her Ph.D. in psychology. She returned to California to care for her father, who passed away in January 2013. Upon her return to California, she immediately became engaged with CLCV, making major donor gifts, attending the South Event, attending Green Leadership Forums, and actively engaging in advocacy. She has met with Sarah Rose multiple times and has expressed her concern for the environment and her interest in staying involved with CLCV. She currently lives in Pacific Palisades, CA with her family.

Gabriel Kra founded Prelude Ventures' cleantech platform in 2009, after more than 15 years of experience developing companies, both as an entrepreneur and investor. As Managing Director, he is responsible for overseeing the firm’s investments across a broad range of new energy innovations. Before joining Prelude Ventures, Gabriel spent four years as an investment banker with Deutsche Bank in its solar and semiconductor groups. Gabriel’s early experience with Greenpeace and at Yellowstone National Park sparked his lifelong commitment to fighting climate change. Gabriel serves on the Boards of Renewable Funding, Solarbridge Technologies, PlantPV and ProjectFrog, and is actively involved with the firm’s investments in Suniva, Yerdle and QuantumScape. Gabriel holds MBAs from the Columbia Business School and the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, an MS in atmospheric chemistry from SUNY Stony Brook and a BA in philosophy from Columbia College.

Stephen Matloff works independently remodeling residences to high sustainability standards. Previously, he had business development and financial management responsibilities as both principal and advisor. As principal, Mr. Matloff was General Manager of MD Decision Support which created knowledge management tools for physicians and caregivers. As advisor, he developed institutional-quality investment opportunities for high net worth individuals and family offices, reviewed funding opportunities of biomedical projects for a large family foundation, and was a mergers & acquisitions analyst at Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers. Mr. Matloff graduated from Yale University with a BA in History and International Studies and received an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Terry O’Day is the Vice President of Business Development for NRG. He began his career in electric vehicle charging infrastructure in 1996 with Edison EV. He went on to co-found 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. Most recently, Terry was Executive Director of Environment Now foundation, a strategic, entrepreneurial, activist leader in California. Terry serves as one of seven members of the Santa Monica City Council, a position to which he was elected in November 2010. Terry led a six-year process to update the City’s General Plan — the leading example of environmental land use planning in the state, reducing per capita greenhouse gas emissions from land use by 31% by 2030. Terry holds an MBA from The UCLA Anderson School of Management and completed the Coro Public Affairs Fellows Program in Los Angeles. He received a BA with honors in Public Policy at Stanford University, with a thesis addressing public finance and demand management of electricity. He has been active with community organizations throughout California and Mexico, including Coro Southern California, the USC Center for Sustainable Cities, Environmental Entrepreneurs and as the Board Chair of the Coalition for Clean Air.

Ryan Popple is Chief Executive Officer of Proterra. As Chief Executive Officer, Ryan brings a wealth of experience in scaling advanced transportation technologies and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of Proterra’s operations including sales, marketing, parts and service, logistics, communications, and customer support. Before joining Proterra, Popple was instrumental in the successful capitalization of Tesla Motors and the commercialization of its first-in-kind Roadster. During his tenure as senior director of finance, the company scaled from pre-revenues to $100M+ in vehicle revenue, received an Advantaged Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan from the Department of Energy, completed multiple private equity financings, reached profitability, and achieved an IPO filing. In this role, Popple worked closely with engineering, supply chain, and manufacturing teams to increase the Roadster’s performance and quality, while leading the development of Tesla’s innovative consumer financing and leasing programs. Committed to moving the industry forward, Ryan serves on the EV Strategic Council working on long-term strategic planning for the transition to clean vehicles. He also serves on the Transportation Committee of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group focusing on policy advisory at the federal, state, and local level to advance clean energy and other transportation technology. He holds a bachelor of business administration degree in finance from the College of William & Mary and received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar.

Deidre Sanders has been a part of PG&E’s Environmental Policy Group since September, 2007. Her primary responsibilities include leading the effort to advance the implementation and institutionalization of PG&E’s Environmental Justice Policy. She is also the lead for the identification and development of company response strategies associated with EJ and new laws and regulations, such as California’s landmark climate change legislation, AB 32, as well as other emerging issues. Additionally, she provides support to business operations that may engage EJ concerns. Prior to PG&E Deidre worked for Southern California Edison for seven years in various business areas including Environmental Affairs, Community Involvement, and Market Research. Previous non-utility positions include that of policy analyst on international issues for the federal government. She earned a PhD in Politics and Policy from Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California.

Sam Schuchat became Executive Officer of the Coastal Conservancy in July 2001. He is also the Secretary to the California Ocean Protection Council and serves on the boards of the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority, the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. He was the Executive Director of the Federation of State Conservation Voter Leagues from 1998 to 2001; the Federation is the trade association of 26 environmental Political Action Committees (PAC) in as many states. From 1992 to 1998 he was the Executive Director of the California League of Conservation Voters, the nation’s largest and oldest state environmental PAC with 25,000 members. He served on the California Fish and Game Commission from 1999 to 2004 including two years as Vice-President. He is currently serving on the Board of Temple Sinai in Oakland. He received his BA in Political Science at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and his MA in Public Administration at San Francisco State University.

Naomi Seligman: As president of Seligman Consulting, Naomi Seligman builds winning campaigns for advocacy organizations, writers, documentary-makers, tech innovators, and entertainment industry luminaries through robust partnerships, creative marketing, and media buzz. In her political work, she has helped end the careers of some of the most corrupt members of Congress, targeted the NRA and its allies, exposed front groups covering for corporate interests, and rooted out misinformation in the media. Naomi currently leads The Gun Truth Project, a gun lobby watchdog organization. Naomi built and directed communications operations for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Media Matters. She launched the “Rebuild The Dream”’ Campaign Tour with Van Jones and Shepard Fairey. She is a political partner with the Truman National Security Network, on the board of Emerge California and A New Way of Life Re-entry Project, as well as a mentor with New Leaders Council.

Nancy Stephens is a staunch environmentalist, an avid Democratic fundraiser at the local and national levels, and an ardent supporter of the arts. Nancy has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Union of Concerned Scientists since 2001. She is one of four non-scientist citizen activists among a host of esteemed scientists and Nobel Laureates. She is a longtime member of the Leadership Forum of the California League of Conservation Voters and the Advisory Board of Liberty Hill. Since 2000, Nancy has also served as the Governor's appointee on the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Advisory Board, serving Governors Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and now Jerry Brown. Nancy also serves locally on the board of the New Roads School as well as the National arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts.

Matt Szabo has been working to improve services that the City of Los Angeles provides to its residents for more than a decade, serving as a senior manager and policy advisor to two mayoral administrations, the city attorney's office and a city council office since 2000. Most recently, Szabo served as deputy mayor and deputy chief of staff to former Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, with principal management responsibility for budget and financial policy, labor relations and legislative affairs. Szabo also served as a key advisor on a broad range of issues including public safety, gang reduction and youth development, renewable energy and energy efficiency, economic and business policy, transportation and animal welfare. Szabo earned a degree in government and international relations at Notre Dame before attending graduate school at the University of Southern California's School of Policy, Planning and Development.

Daniel Yost is co-chair of the technology transactions and licensing practice and the Emerging Companies Group in Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe's Silicon Valley office. Mr. Yost's practice focuses on negotiating complex commercial and technology transactions and intellectual property counseling. Mr. Yost has counseled clients on commercial law, copyright, licensing, marketing, patent, privacy, strategic alliances, trademark and trade secrets matters. Mr. Yost has represented companies in various industries, including biotechnology, consumer electronics, energy, entertainment, hardware, Internet, media, semiconductor, services, software, telecommunications and wireless. His energy clients include clients in the solar, ethanol, biomass, geothermal and water purification sectors.

For more information on the Green Advisory Council, please contact Nicole Roberts at (323) 939-6790, ext. 408 or


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