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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, Programs
Rachel Tornek is Vice President of Programs, where she is responsible for managing the program implementation staff and overseeing the reporting and verification of carbon offset projects in the Reserve program. She also leads the Reserve’s work to serve as an offset project registry for the State of California. Rachel acts as a technical consultant on domestic and international carbon market initiatives and represents the Reserve with a variety of audiences to promote the development and use of high quality GHG accounting standards.
Most recently, Rachel served as Policy Director at the Reserve, where she planned and managed the development of new offset project protocols and helped develop the policies and strategic vision that have supported the Reserve in becoming the most successful carbon offset registry in North America. She previously managed the technical support and training programs at the California Climate Action Registry, an organization that supported companies in developing and verifying GHG emissions inventories. She has worked on climate policy for over 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.
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 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 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 Vorperian’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 hiking, biking, working on her photography skills or racking up travel miles (Antarctica being a recent conquest).
Senior Policy Manager
As Senior Policy Manager, Teresa Lang manages 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 Mexico Ozone Depleting Substances Project Protocol.
Teresa also currently serves on the Board of Directors for Paso Pacífico, a non-profit focused on ecosystem conservation in Central America, where she was employed immediately prior to the Reserve. As a Board Member, Teresa participates in setting overall policy and programmatic direction for Paso Pacífico, while her responsibilities in her previous role as Program Development Manager included the development of new restoration and adaptation projects, research on REDD for reforestation projects, launching a new organizational website, and working with rural communities in Nicaragua on a new eco-tourism training program. Previously, Teresa 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. 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.
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.
As Program Manager, Mark Havel provides account holders with support in project development, verification, and registration under the Reserve’s standards and the California Air Resources Board compliance offset program. His responsibilities include reviewing verification documentation, organizing presentations and trainings, and conducting project oversights. Mark serves as the Program Team Lead for the livestock, coal mine methane, and agricultural protocols.
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 University. 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 Associate, Sarah Wescott supports Reserve account holders with project development, verification, and registration. Her responsibilities include: reviewing project submittals and verification reports, providing policy interpretation and clarification, coordinating verifier trainings and workshops, and providing technical assistance on the Reserve program and software. Sarah serves as the implementation lead for the ODS and Nitric Acid Production project types.
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.