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Gary Gero serves as the President of the Climate Action Reserve (formerly known as the California Climate Action Registry) where he is responsible for ensuring that the organization’s activities meet the highest standards for quality, transparency and environmental integrity. In that capacity, Gary has led the growth of a robust and trusted offset project registry that is the largest voluntary registry in the United States.
Gary is a member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee and serves on the Steering Committee of the California Sustainability Alliance. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters.
Prior to joining the Reserve, Gary managed the Green LA programs at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipal utility in the nation. In that capacity, he redesigned and restarted the Solar PV Rebate Program and oversaw a significant expansion of the energy efficiency programs. His role also included managing the advanced transportation, green power, distributed generation, and tree planting programs.
Gary’s career includes nearly 20 years of work in local government, primarily in the City of Los Angeles where he served as Air Quality Director and subsequently Assistant General Manager for the Environmental Affairs Department focusing on climate change, sustainable development, energy policy, and alternative fuel vehicles.
Gary holds a Master of Science degree in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics and a pair of undergraduate degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.
Vice President, Policy
Derik Broekhoff is Vice President for Policy at the Climate Action Reserve, where he is responsible for managing the policy development staff and overseeing the development of protocols for quantifying and registering greenhouse gas reductions from carbon offset projects. He also manages the development of climate change policies and programs for the Reserve, including assisting the Reserve’s efforts to support the State of California in the implementation of AB 32, the state’s far-reaching global warming law.
Before coming to the Reserve, Derik was a Senior Associate at the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington, DC where he led work on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, which is an internationally recognized standard for greenhouse gas emissions accounting, and managed WRI’s work on the design of greenhouse gas emissions trading programs, registry systems and standards for carbon offsets. He is a primary author of the WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol for Project Accounting, has advised numerous regulatory and voluntary programs on the development of carbon offset policies and standards and has testified twice before Congress on carbon offset regulation and standard development.
Prior to joining WRI, Derik worked for eight years in the fields of energy and climate change consulting, including five years with Trexler Climate + Energy Services, Inc. in Portland, Oregon, where he developed financial and economic analytical tools for carbon market forecasting, risk management, project evaluation and business strategy development for a wide range of private and public sector clients. Derik holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy (MPP) from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Stanford University.
Vice President, Business Development
As the Climate Action Reserve’s Vice President of Business Development, Joel Levin is responsible for strategic development of the Reserve and has overseen its development from inception to its current status as the recognized environmental standard for carbon offset projects in the United States. He is the Reserve’s primary liaison to the business community and is a frequent and popular speaker on the Reserve’s programs and other climate change topics.
Joel has served as staff to the California Market Advisory Committee and the California Climate Action Team. Prior to working at the Reserve, Joel worked at Feeva Wireless in Berkeley and APX in Santa Clara. He has also served on the Capitol Hill staff of Senator Timothy E. Wirth (D-Colorado).
Joel is a member of the Sierra Club’s National Global Warming and Energy Committee and former chair of the Energy Committee in both the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles Chapters of the Sierra Club. In these roles, he has been active in promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency as key elements in California’s energy future. Joel holds an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in International Economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
As the Director of Operations, Gillian Calof is responsible for overseeing all personnel, finance, information technology and legal operations of the Climate Action Reserve.
Gillian’s background is in nonprofit administration and environmental conservation. Prior to working at the Reserve, Gillian worked for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation where she developed and managed ecosystem restoration programs, which included individual projects with a carbon offset focus. Her work included oversight of all financial and programmatic aspects of project development and implementation, including agency and partner relations, overseeing administrative staff, tracking complex financial information and negotiating contracts, scopes of work and budgets. Gillian earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Geography from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada and is a graduate of the Master of Nonprofit Administration program at the University of San Francisco.
Director of Forestry
John Nickerson is a California Registered Professional Forester with expertise in forest inventory, forest management planning and the development of forest carbon offset projects and protocols. As Director of Forestry for the Reserve, John works on updating and managing the U.S. Forest Project Protocol and developing forestry protocols applicable to international forests.
John led a two year stakeholder effort under the Reserve to develop forest carbon project protocols, which are now in use throughout the United States. He has considerable international experience focusing on the design and development of carbon accounting methodologies for all types of forest carbon offset projects, including providing forest carbon accounting training to Chinese forestry officials on behalf of the German Technical Assistanc; facilitating a multi-stakeholder working group in Mexico to adapt Reserve forest project protocols for compliance-grade offsets in Mexico; and developing concept documents for the Governor’s Climate and Forest Task Force (GCF) in collaboration with stakeholders from Brazil, Indonesia, and the United States.
During his 20 year career in the field of forestry, he has helped to develop many of the first carbon projects in California, including providing technical input into carbon reforestation project at Rancho Cuyamaca State Park. His work on public lands has included conducting forest inventories for timber management and wildlife population and habitat studies (Tongass and Lassen National Forests). He has developed and conducted many inventory and long-term sustainable management planning efforts for large and small private landowners in California, which have assisted some landowners in obtaining forest certification under the Forest Stewardship Council.
John speaks French and Spanish and once upon a time also spoke Swahili. He holds an M.S. in Natural Resources (Forestry) from Humboldt State University and a B.S. in Biology from Principia College.
As Program Director, Kristen manages the implementation, reporting and verification of emissions reduction projects in the Reserve program. She manages the rigorous accreditation process for verification bodies and develops training courses, testing material and ongoing monitoring opportunities. Kristen and the Programs team provide technical assistance to project developers and verification bodies, develop updates to the Program and Verification Program Manuals, and provide support for utilization of the Reserve software. Kristen also serves a resource on a wide range of climate change issues, including project and industry-specific protocols.
Most recently, Kristen served as the Reserve’s Program Manager, where she was the lead in supporting the Forest Project Protocol. During her three years with the Reserve and the California Climate Action Registry, Kristen also served as Reserve Administrator, Program Associate and Program Assistant. Kristen’s background is in environmental consulting, performing CEQA-based environmental impact assessments for projects throughout California, including major mixed-use developments and large-scale residential developments. She has an in-depth understanding of project-level air quality impact analysis. Kristen completed her Bachelor’s degree in health science with a concentration in community health and economics at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
As Communications Director for the Climate Action Reserve, Jennifer Weiss manages all marketing and communications activities, including oversight of the websites, external communications, media relations, collateral materials and internal communications processes. She also oversees the Reserve’s annual conference, Navigating the American Carbon World.
Jennifer brought a strong background in the energy industry to her position with the Reserve. She served as Marketing Director for an energy market data provider and worked in nearly all energy commodities, including carbon. Prior to that, she managed marketing and communications activities for JET-A.com, which created an online solution for managing the jet fuel supply chain from refinery gate to aircraft wing. Jennifer started her marketing career on the agency side doing business-to-business and business-to-consumer work for clients in aviation and air transportation, government services and consumer products. Throughout her career, the scope of her work has ranged from international to local, and she was worked with business, consumer, NGO and government audiences.
Senior Policy Manager
As a Senior Policy Manager for the Climate Action Reserve, Max is responsible for the development of new emissions reduction project protocols, as well as the maintenance and interpretation of existing protocols. He has a particular focus on reducing methane emissions from the anaerobic decomposition of organic wastes. Max has supported the growth, functioning, and integrity of the offset project protocols and registry since 2008.
Max was previously the Manager of Business Development, where he assisted with stakeholder outreach and expansion of the Reserve’s offsets program. Prior to joining the Reserve, Max has worked for Infinity Wind Power and Pacific Gas & Electric. He received a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Donald Bren School at UC Santa Barbara, where he focused on Eco-Entrepreneurship and Corporate Environmental Management. Max also has a B.S. in Biology from Davidson College in North Carolina.
As Policy Director, Rachel Tornek plans and manages the development of new offset project protocols for the Reserve and plays a leading role in developing the policies that govern its program. She also helps lead the Reserve’s efforts to serve as an offset project registry for the State of California.
Most recently, Rachel served as Senior Policy Manager, where she was responsible for developing protocols and supporting their implementation. She previously managed the technical support and training programs at the California Climate Action Registry, an organization that helped companies develop and verify GHG emissions inventories. She has worked in the field of greenhouse gas accounting for almost a decade.
Before joining the Reserve, Rachel worked on environmental issues with Toyota Motor Sales, the Climate Change and Wildlife campaign at the National Wildlife Federation and Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara and a B.S. in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from UC San Diego.
General Counsel & Director of Government Affairs
As General Counsel, Katy oversees the legal aspects of the Reserve program, addressing both offset project-specific questions, as well as policy matters with broader program implications. Working in conjunction with outside counsel and the Reserve’s President, Katy also oversees the Reserve’s participation in arbitration and litigation matters. In her capacity as Director of Government Affairs, Katy serves as the Reserve’s liaison in Sacramento, where she works with key policy-makers and stakeholders on the implementation of the California Air Resources Board’s offsets program.
Prior to joining the Reserve, Katy was a Southern California Coro Foundation Fellow, where she explored timely state and local policy issues through hands-on training and leadership development with various public and private stakeholders. Before her Coro Fellowship, Katy worked as an Associate Attorney in the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins LLP, where she focused on environmental and land use issues, including zoning, planning, and the California Environmental Quality Act. Katy also worked on environmental, land use, and real estate matters as a staff attorney at the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, a local government entity dedicated to the preservation of open space and parkland in the greater Los Angeles area.
Katy holds a JD from the UCLA School of Law, and a Bachelor’s degree in U.S. History from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a member of the State Bar of California.
As Communications Manager, Rhey works on communications pieces and marketing strategies for the Climate Action Reserve. She manages the Climate Action Reserve’s monthly newsletter and other listserv communications. She works with designers to develop and strengthen communications materials, including the collateral pieces, brochures, annual reports and certificates. Rhey contributes to the media and marketing strategy of the organization, and shares responsibility for drafting press releases, website content, and social marketing updates. Previously, she worked for the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund in Fort Collins, Colorado.
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As the Office Manager, Sana Badalian’s role is to ensure the smooth functioning of the office. She is responsible for all aspects of the Reserve’s information technology, coordinating meetings and events, assisting with Board member communications, and assisting the President with scheduling and travel arrangements.
Sana’s background is in nonprofit administration and information technology. Prior to working at the Reserve, Sana worked as an Office Coordinator for EARN (Earned Assets Resources), a financial nonprofit in San Francisco. Prior to that she worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Jordan and Iraq delegations for eight years where she was responsible for human resources, allocating the yearly budget, preparing technical trainings and workshops, negotiating agreements, and representing the organization in public events. Sana earned her bachelor degree in Computer science from Baghdad University.
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As Controller, Ramon Lee manages the Reserve’s accounting practices and financial transactions, in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). His responsibilities include preparing and distributing accurate monthly and annual financial reports and statements, advising management on accounting and financial issues, managing internal auditing procedures, and providing budget and forecast projections.
Ramon graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce, with a major in Accounting. He has extensive experience in grant and government contracts, as well as non-profit and general accounting procedures. Previously, he worked as a professional consultant at Robert Half International. During his time there, Ramon had the opportunity to work with various business industries including aerospace, manufacturing, insurance, restaurant, internet, marketing, and charitable institutions.
Stephanie L. Schwartz
Stephanie Schwartz serves as the Administrative Associate for the Climate Action Reserve. In addition to assisting all staff with various operations and administrative tasks, Stephanie is responsible for accounts payable, coordinating staff timesheets, reimbursements, and expenses.
Stephanie brings 20+ years of work experience as an administrative professional. She learned her considerable typing and filing skills at such varied companies as Ernst & Young, Duckett-Wilson Development, and Sunkist Growers, Inc. When not serving the Reserve, Stephanie can be found leading hikes for her local Sierra Club group, attending classes at Santa Monica College or dreaming of going to Argentina.
As Policy Manager, Teresa Lang manages and assists with the development of new emissions reduction project protocols, while also assisting with maintenance and interpretation of existing protocols. Most recently, Teresa has been managing protocol development for the Nitrogen Management Project Protocol.
Teresa was previously employed at Paso Pacífico, where she focused on ecosystem conservation in Central America. Her responsibilities included the development of new restoration and adaptation projects, research on REDD for reforestation projects, launching a new organizational website, and while living in Nicaragua, working with rural communities on a new eco-tourism training program. Previously, she worked for the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, where she helped corporate and nonprofit industry leaders develop new climate change and energy projects. Teresa completed her Master’s degree in International Affairs at Columbia University, concentrating in Environmental Policy Studies, during which time she managed a consulting project for the Climate Change Group at the World Bank on coastal adaptation policy. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Economy from the University of California at Berkeley.
As a Policy Manager, Sami Osman manages and assists with the development of new emissions reduction project protocols and the maintenance and interpretation of existing protocols. Sami also assists with advising project developers, verifiers and interested stakeholders on the use of project protocols. Sami is currently working on project activities including livestock manure management, organic waste composting and digesting, rice cultivation, other agricultural activities and the scoping of new Land Use Change project activities.
Sami has a background in agricultural GHG management, CDM project development, Australian Carbon Farming Initiative methodology development, energy and GHG management, and wider sustainability consulting. His previous roles have focused on risk management, compliance, project development and strategy consulting. Key previous roles have included acting as Environmental Sustainability Manager for Australia’s national Parliament, advising the Australian Government on development of its emissions and energy reporting and reforestation offsets schemes, developing a portfolio risk management strategy for a global carbon offset firm, advising indigenous Australians about savanna burning carbon offset projects, and changing diapers as a stay at home dad.
As a Policy Coordinator, Heather Raven maintains existing protocols, supports the development of new protocols, and coordinates policy activities alongside the Reserve program. Her experience includes internships at Environment Canada in the Air Quality Sciences division, the Global Roundtable on Climate Change with the Earth Institute at Columbia University and, most recently, at First Environment, Inc. in the consulting field. Through her experience at Columbia and during her recent internships, Heather has learned to bridge the climate change gap between science and social science. Originally from Alberta, Canada, Heather completed a Bachelor of Science with specialization in Atmospheric Science from the University of Alberta and a Master of Arts in Climate & Society from Columbia University. Her background and interests lie in weather, climate and climate change.
Anna E. Schmitz
As Policy Associate, Anna Schmitz is responsible for maintaining, implementing and updating existing Reserve protocols, and assisting in the research and development of new project protocols. Anna conducts research for protocol updates and protocol development, facilitates stakeholder workgroups, responds to inquiries about the application of protocols, and trains verifiers for verification of specific project types.
Previously, Anna spent a year in Germany on a Robert Bosch Fellowship working on international climate and energy technology issues at the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology and at Allianz Climate Solutions, GmbH. She earned her JD at the University of Virginia, School of Law where she specialized in environmental and land use law. During law school she interned for the Environmental Defense Fund’s Air and Climate Program and at the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. Before studying law she worked at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) as a Policy Analyst, where her research contributed to the successful launch and implementation of the Major Economies process. She completed her undergraduate studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she majored in Culture and Politics.
As Program Associate, Andrew is responsible for supporting Reserve account holders with project development, verification and registration. His duties include providing technical assistance on the Reserve program and software, reviewing project submittals and verification reports, providing policy interpretation and clarification, and coordinating trainings and workshops. His previous work includes an internship at Riverside Public Utilities where he helped implement a citywide Green Action Plan striving to increase energy efficiency and improve public awareness of conservation efforts.
Andrew graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2010 where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. In 2011 he received his Masters degree in Carbon Management from the University of Edinburgh. A native of Southern California, Andrew enjoys spending his free time hiking, snowboarding, and going to the beach.
Michael Conrardy’s role as Program Associate is to serve as a technical resource to project developers and verification bodies. He provides customer services to account holders with respect to policy interpretation, methodology, and clarification issues and conducts review of project reporting documentation for GHG emission reduction/removal projects under both the Reserve’s program standards and the California Air Resources Board compliance offset program. Michael also serves as lead on a variety of other program areas, such as verification trainings and account holder communications.
Before joining the Reserve, Michael worked as a technical team leader and manager at AECOM Environment, focusing on GHG assessment and sustainability. He collaborated with engineers, policy analysts and scientists to support clients in multiple sectors, including agriculture, energy, water, and waste. He has also worked at Conservation International researching UNFCCC policy and economic analysis for REDD+, and participated in a collaborative effort analyzing Low-Carbon Communities at the University of Nanjing in China. Michael holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science & Philosophy from CSU Fullerton.
As Program Associate, Mark Havel supports Reserve account holders with project development, verification and registration. His current responsibilities include reviewing project submittals, verification reports, and variance requests; managing and administering Reserve verification trainings; and conducting project oversights. Mark serves as the Program Team Lead for the coal mine methane and nitrogen management protocols, but most of his time is dedicated to forest, livestock, and landfill projects.
Mark is a transplant from Texas, where he worked as an environmental consultant specializing in wetland delineations and endangered species surveys. Most recently, he completed an internship in the international policy department at the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York. Mark is a graduate of the Climate & Society Master’s Program at Columbia, and he received his Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale College. He also studied marine resource management at the School for Field Studies in Turks & Caicos.
Stephen M. Holle
As Reserve Administrator, Stephen Holle is responsible for management and maintenance of Reserve software and account holder services. Previously, Stephen interned at The Climate Registry where he developed sustainable conference and office guides and conducted case studies to increase partner transparency. Stephen has also worked as a lab assistant at UCLA conducting organic carbon and grain size analysis to assess the feasibility of incorporating wetland restoration in a carbon credit system.
Stephen graduated from the University of Southern California in 2012 where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainability. During his time at USC Stephen earned a number of advanced SCUBA certifications such as American Academy of Underwater Sciences and NAUI Rescue Diver. Ultimately, these certifications were used to conduct underwater research in Palau to quantify indicator species and establish baseline conditions for ecosystem management decisions. In his free time Stephen enjoys rock climbing, backpacking, cooking, and photography.
Robert Z. Lee
As Program Manager, Robert Lee provides technical and programmatic support to Reserve account holders with project development, verification and registration issues. He also reviews verification reports, project submittals, and variance requests. Robert acts as the Protocol Implementation Lead for the Reserve’s forest protocol, acting as the point person for all project and protocol related guidance inquiries from project developers and verifiers.
Previously, Robert worked as a research assistant for the Nicholas Institute focusing on insurance mechanisms for REDD. He also interned at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation as an Environmental Impact Analyst, reviewing international development projects for their environmental impacts. Most recently, he worked as a student consultant for EnergetixClimate for his masters project, titled “Expansion of the EnergetixClimate Programmatic Clean Development Mechanism Portfolio in Latin America.” Robert has a Master of Environmental Management degree from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, where he concentrated in Environmental Economics and Policy. He also received a Certificate of International Development from Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy. Robert received his Bachelor of Science in Operations Research from Columbia University.
Sarah J. Wescott
As Program Assistant, Sarah Wescott supports Reserve account holders with project development, verification and registration. Her responsibilities include providing technical assistance on the Reserve program and software, reviewing project submittals and verification reports, providing policy interpretation and clarification, and coordinating trainings and workshops.
Prior to working for the Reserve, Sarah completed an internship with the California Coastal Commission, where she helped the South Coast enforcement team investigate and pursue alleged CA Coastal Act violations through research, analysis, and community outreach. Sarah is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Policy and Planning.