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Lunch and Learn Speaker Series

Urban Sustainability Water Challenges & Opportunities for 21st Century Resilience

Presented by Caryn Mandelbaum, Water Program Director, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

Caryn has advised researchers, philanthropy, investors, and government agencies on watershed restoration and water resiliency strategies for 15 years. Most recently, she directed the Water Program at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which was dedicated to supporting 21st Century water management policies that protect source waters, green infrastructure, and advances to the human right to clean, affordable, drinking water. She worked closely with advocates to implement California’s first-ever groundwater regulations. She contributed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s revised Lead & Copper Rule to the Safe Drinking Water Act requiring water agencies to expedite the replacement of lead service lines. She helped launch an expansive water efficiency workforce training program in Los Angeles. Her leadership was recognized by Administrator McCarthy of the U.S.E.P.A. and L.A.’s Department of Water & Power for breakthroughs in innovative urban water use. Caryn is a graduate of UC Berkeley as well as UCLA’s School of Law and Urban Planning program.


Human Infrastructure: Building a Culture of Mobility Justice in Los Angeles

Presented by Dr. Adonia E. Lugo, Interim Chair & Teaching Faculty, Antioch University

Cultural anthropologist Dr. Adonia E. Lugo started learning about “human infrastructure” (the need for diverse social networks to promote sustainable cultural transformation) through studying bicycle advocacy. In 2016, she co-created the Untokening as a core organizer. Adonia chairs the Urban Sustainability MA program at Antioch University Los Angeles, supports People for Mobility Justice as an advisory board co-chair, serves as a community land trust board president, and consults with Pueblo Planning. Her book, Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance, was published in 2018.

Invisible Buildings: Buildings Harm Our Health And The Environment But They Don’t Have To

Presented by Sara Neff, Senior Vice President, Sustainability, Kilroy Realty Corporation

Sara Neff is Senior Vice President, Sustainability at Kilroy Realty Corporation. Sara took Kilroy from having no sustainability program to being named the #1 publicly traded real estate company on sustainability in North America by GRESB, and under her leadership the company recently committed to becoming the first carbon neutral real estate company in North America by the end of 2020.

At Kilroy, she oversees all sustainability initiatives such as solar and battery dealmaking, the implementation of energy and water efficiency initiatives throughout the existing and development portfolios, the integration of sustainability standards into annual financial reports, the launch of the Kilroy Innovation Lab, and the award-winning green leasing program. She holds a BS from Stanford and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Imagine a Living Future

Presented by Avideh Haghighi, AIA, LFA, LEED, Licensed Architect, Sustainability Specialist

Avideh is a Registered Architect and a Living Future Accredited professional dedicated to creating a regenerative built environment through her role as a designer and A/E/C industry advocate. She received her Bachelor of Architecture from Woodbury University in 2011 and since then has been driven to transform the built environment towards a net-positive impact. She has a diverse portfolio of work spanning public and private sectors, including public schools, mixed use residential and institutional. As an architect and sustainability specialist at ZGF architects, she advises clients on global sustainability goals and real estate strategy, and works with design and consultant teams to identify unique opportunities in every project to create high performance buildings.

Avideh’s career has been equally rooted in design and advocacy. She has been serving as a Facilitator and Steering Committee member of the Living Future Los Angeles Collaborative for the past three years. She has given numerous presentations at schools, universities and industry conferences on the topics of Living Buildings, Circular Economy and Healthy Materials. In her role as a member of the AIA|LA Committee On The Environment, she served on the planning committee for the 2°C Symposium on Climate Change to create awareness and empower the AIA community to take action.

Transport LA: Looking at the Past, Planning for the Future

Presented by Gary J. Lai, Principal, Director of Regenerative Design

Gary Lai is an accomplished landscape architect and thought leader in sustainability, resiliency, and conservation. Gary leverages three decades of design and planning experience to steer large, complex projects to successful completion. His interest in drawing and environmentalism led him to a field that he describes as the ‘architecture of living things’ with an immense potential to impact the quality of life for future generations. Gary is dedicated to transforming public landscapes in any setting—civic to commercial, healthcare to housing, park to plaza, the road to river—to enhance the social and ecological health of cities. In addition to his extensive expertise in sustainable design and water issues, Gary has extensive experience in transit and transportation issues in Los Angeles. He has worked on a variety of Metro projects including the Rosa Parks Willowbrook Station, Gold Line Extension and Union Station. He is a founding member of the Think Tank, The New American Dream, which looks at transportation issues in Los Angeles from a holistic point-of-view considering urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, sustainability, economics, and social equity. Gary is currently a Principal for AHBE/MIG in Los Angeles, California.

Sustainable Concrete Using Supplementary Cementitious Materials & Slag Cement

Presented by Qiang Li, Ph.D., P.E., Infrastructure Solutions Engineer at CEMEX

Qiang Li is an infrastructure solution engineer at Cemex, where Qiang provides technical support to contractors, engineering firms, and government agencies on pavement solutions and concrete materials. Qiang received his Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in several states and has more than 10 years of experience in Pavement Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Construction Materials, and Instrumentation.

The Role of Public Transportation in Urban Sustainability

Presented by Berwynson Salazar, Principal, Global ASR Consulting.

Mr. Berwynson R. Salazar has more than 15 years of extensive project management experience on environmental compliance, capital projects construction support, site investigation/remediation, hazardous materials/waste management, climate adaptation, sustainability, and resiliency. He is a certified sustainability manager (CSM), Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP), a Green Building Professional (GPRO) Certified Trainer, LEED Green Associate, and has completed several specialized trainings in the sustainability and resiliency space.