About Us Office of Planning and Research Staff
Meet OPR’s talented team.
State Clearinghouse Director
Scott Morgan is OPR’s Chief Deputy Director, overseeing the daily operations of the office and leading the Administrative, State Clearinghouse and Military Affairs Teams. Scott coordinates efforts across all of OPR’s Budget Programs.
As Program Manager for Planning and Community Development, Erik leads, coordinates, and supports the team’s efforts on policy development and developing local and regional planning guidance in furtherance of the State’s planning priorities and climate goals. Key focus areas include sustainable land use, housing, transportation, and infrastructure; infill development and finance; climate action, adaptation and resilience planning; community-based investment; and social equity, public health and environmental justice.
Erik has over 20 years of public, private and non-profit sector planning experience. Prior to joining OPR, he worked as a senior project manager for seven years with Ascent Environmental Inc., and he served as a public-sector planner for nine years at the City of Sacramento. He also worked for several consulting firms in the New York City metropolitan area in community and transportation planning, and served in the AmericCorps VISTA program in Grand Rapids, MI. He holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Hunter College, City University of New York, and a bachelor’s degree in geography from Calvin University.
Chris Ganson is the Senior Advisor for Transportation at OPR. He manages implementation of SB 743 and OPR’s work on Automated Vehicle deployment. Chris previously held positions at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the World Resources Institute, and US EPA Region 9.
As a Senior Planner, Helen works on a variety of planning and land use policies in advancement of the State’s planning priorities. She provides planning related guidance and technical assistance to the public with a focus on land use, housing, and equity. Prior to joining OPR, Helen worked as a planner for the City of Los Angeles for ten years and as a housing policy planner for community-based non-profit organizations for four years. She holds an M.A. degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA.
Nuin-Tara Key is Deputy Director for Climate Resilience at OPR and Chair of the Technical Advisory Council for the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program. Prior to joining OPR, Nuin-Tara co-founded an international initiative on community-based climate action and has worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors on sustainable urban and regional planning and policy, with a focus on social equity and climate change. She has a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University and a BA from Lewis and Clark College.
Juliette Finzi Hart is the Program Manager for the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program. Prior to joining OPR, Juliette was an Oceanographer and Director of Outreach at the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center. Earlier in her career, Juliette was a Research Assistant Professor in the Marine Environmental Biology program at the University of Southern California, where she also served as the Marine and Climate Science Specialist at USC Sea Grant. Juliette has a Ph.D. in Ocean Sciences from USC and a BA from Columbia University.
As an Assistant Planner at OPR specializing in climate resilience Nikki serves as staff lead on the Adaptation Clearinghouse and supports the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP). Her prior experience as a resilience specialist includes serving as a 2016–17 CivicSpark Climate Fellow, and two years with Sierra Business Council as a Government Affairs analyst and Project Manager for Sierra CAMP, the Sierra Nevada regional climate collaborative. Nikki has a B.A. in Anthropology and a Concentration in Environmental Studies from Williams College, where she graduated in 2016 as a Class of 1960 Environmental Scholar.
As an Assistant Planner on the OPR Climate team, Sarah serves as a project manager overseeing the day to day implementation of the FEMA-OPR Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) Grant. The CTP grant will support California’s climate resiliency goals and streamline federal and state funding programs, as well as advance the statutory charge of the Integrated Climate Adaptation Resiliency Program (ICARP). Prior to joining OPR, Sarah served as the 2019-20 Executive Fellow at California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) through the Capital Fellows Program. In this capacity, she supported SGC's grant programs and policy initiatives by providing research and analysis on issues related to housing, sustainability, land use, and racial equity. Sarah is a first-generation college graduate and received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning from the University of California, Davis.
Taylor Carnevale (she/her) is an Executive Fellow through the Capital Fellows Program working with OPR’s Climate Team. In this capacity, she supports the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program’s work to coordinate climate resiliency strategies at the State, regional, and local levels, while advancing social equity. Taylor is a recent graduate of Gonzaga University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Economics. Prior to her role at OPR, Taylor fostered her passion for public service through positions in international advocacy, government relations, political consulting, and community health planning.
Sandra Lupien leads the External Affairs and Communications team to harness the power of stories, design, and collaboration to maximize the reach, impact, and accessibility of OPR’s and California Strategic Growth Council’s (SGC) diverse programs and initiatives.
With over two decades of diverse leadership experience, Sandra brings expertise across climate, resilience, natural resource, community development, active transportation, and equity topics core to OPR’s mission.
Prior to joining SGC as Chief External Affairs Officer in 2019, Sandra’s policy and communications consulting practice focused on an array of urban and rural climate resilience topics: the intersection of forest resilience and value-added wood product development; access to water and sanitation by Californians experiencing homelessness. Earlier, Sandra led regional communications and campaign strategy at a national environmental non-profit; developed and implemented a community-driven communications and outreach strategy for a County agency; served as Outreach Director at an active transportation non-profit; and worked in public radio as a news anchor and public affairs producer. Sandra holds a Master of Public Policy from University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science from University of San Francisco.
Luis Jimenez Romo serves as Communications Officer across both OPR and the California Strategic Growth Council, working collaboratively with our program and policy teams to optimize access to our programs and services and to share stories from our work.
Luis joined the SGC/OPR team after serving as External Affairs and Digital Media Associate at California Volunteers, Office of the Governor (CV), where he helped conceptualize and execute campaigns, maintain partnerships with an array of stakeholders, and produce compelling multimedia and digital collateral for a wide array of audiences.
Prior to joining CV, Luis served on the California State Parks Foundation’s advocacy teamworking with stakeholders on initiatives to advance programming for underserved youth, increase access to green spaces in park-poor communities, and conserve California’s natural treasures.
Luis started State service in Speaker Anthony Rendon’s Office, where he helped revitalize the Office of Protocol and International Relations by coordinating special projects, hosting international dignitaries, and creating briefing materials for Assembly delegations.
Luis has also served as public affairs intern at the California Special District’s Association, legislative affairs director for the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, and a steering committee member of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights’ (CHIRLA) California Dream Network.
Michael Wilson is the Senior Graphic and User Interface Designer for OPR, where he manages their website as well as designs visual communication pieces such as fact sheets and information graphics.
He also serves as the webmaster and designer for the Strategic Growth Council, where he has worked on projects such as the 2018 website redesign as well as the design for the Fourth California Climate Assessment website. Prior to his appointment with OPR, he was the graphic designer and art director for the California Energy Commission.
Jeannie Lee is Chief Counsel at OPR where she works on a broad range of legal and policy issues related to CEQA, land use, climate, and transportation. She also provides technical assistance to the public on these topics. Before coming to OPR, Jeannie was a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice and an associate in private practice. Before attending law school, Jeannie was an environmental planner focused on CEQA and NEPA review.
Natalie Kuffel is Land Use Counsel at OPR, where she assists the legal, legislative, and planning teams with work related to CEQA, housing, and transportation policy. Prior to serving in this role, Natalie was OPR’s Legislative Director. She has previously worked as a land use attorney for two law firms in the Sacramento area and clerked for the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of California. Before attending law school, she worked for a local homeless services nonprofit.
Sloane Viola is the Legislative Director at OPR, representing the office’s interests in the legislative process.
Prior to working at OPR, she was the Staff Scientist and a Sea Grant Fellow for Lieutenant Governor Newsom. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Christine Asiata Rodriguez, is the Manager and Assistant Planner of the State Clearinghouse (SCH) at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR). With a tenure of over 15 years, her focus is on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process and guidance. Christine is the Project Leader and Manager who facilitates training on the new CEQA database pursuant to the SB 122 which requires environmental documents and notices prepared pursuant to the CEQA, to be available online. The CEQA Guidelines governs the operation of the SCH, and defines its roles and responsibilities. Consecutively, the SCH serves government agencies and the public by coordinating state-level review of environmental document distribution, providing assistance with the environmental review process, and managing the environmental information collected.
Peter van Deventer, is the Director of the Coast to Coast Smart e-Mobility program at OPR, where he connects governments, industry and academia on smart and clean transportation solutions. Before joining OPR in 2013, Peter worked in the Netherlands and Africa where he was responsible for transportation and land use departments both within local and regional governments as well as within consultancy. Peter holds Engineering degrees from Ohio State University (PhD) and Wageningen University (MSc and BSc) and a Master of Public Administration from the Dutch School for Public Policy.
Sarah L. White is Senior Advisor for Jobs and the Economy at OPR, where she leads state efforts to map an equitable high road transition to carbon neutrality. She works at the intersection of labor, workforce, and climate policy across OPR concerns.
White served in the Brown Administration as the inaugural Director for Equity, Climate and Jobs at the California Workforce Development Board, where she designed the High Road Training Partnership Initiative and the equity + job quality agenda that now anchor the state’s jobs and climate vision. Before heading west, White spent a decade at COWS — a national policy center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison — working on economic inequality, decarbonization, and social change. A national expert on jobs and training in the low-carbon economy, she holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and a B.A. from Wellesley College.
Allison serves as Policy Advisor to the Governor’s Military Council (GMC) which works to sustain and enhance the national security posture in the state by bridging the gaps between citizens, public servants, industry, and military on myriad topics that touch on military operations. GMC works with active duty and reserve forces, community stakeholder groups, veterans, aerospace and defense industry members, as well as military spouse and children advocates throughout the state and informs and advises the state government’s executive, legislative, and local level leaders on issues that impact national security such as: environment, energy, transportation and infrastructure, housing, technology, education and workforce development and economic opportunity in the state.
Dana Nothnagel is a researcher for OPR’s Military Affairs Team. She works in conjunction with the California Research Bureau to develop a report examining the economic impact of military investment in the state of California.
Dana previously served as an Executive Fellow at the California Research Bureau through the California Capital Fellows Program. She earned a B.A. in Political Studies from Pitzer College.
Ms. Eileen Sánchez serves the California Governor in the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) military affairs team where she leads Defense Industry Cybersecurity Resilience. Prior to OPR, Ms. Sánchez served as director of economic development for Los Angeles Mayor, overseeing the small and minority business team, contracting relations and a broad range of entrepreneurship initiatives. Ms. Sánchez previously served as a U.S. Small Business Administration associate administrator in Washington, D.C., reporting to the Administrator and serving on the SBA Management Board. In her role, Ms. Sánchez spearheaded SBA's small business global and international trade initiatives and programs, including the $1.45 billion SBA guaranteed export lending portfolio and field staff located at U.S. Export Assistance Centers. She led several government initiatives to improve the economic environment for American small businesses and entrepreneurs in the United States and abroad, and she was responsible for ensuring small business interests were represented in trade negotiations and commercial dialogues. Ms. Sánchez also oversaw the launch and implementation of the State Trade Expansion Program.
Sumeet Bedi is an Associate Research Analyst with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) Military Affairs team. He works with OPR and the California Research Bureau to produce a report highlighting the economic impact of national security investment in the state of California.
Sumeet holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UC Berkeley, and a Master in Public Policy and Administration from CSU Sacramento.
Julianne McCall is a Co-Diorector of the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine. She has also worked as a Consultant with the Senate Office of Research, a Neuroscientist at Heidelberg University Laboratory for Neuroregeneration, Founder of TEDxFulbright, and Director of the International Brain Bee Neuroscience Olympiad.
Shannon Muir is a Co-Director of the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine. She was previously a Director of the Research Proposal Development Service at UC San Diego, a Senior Associate for the California Council on Science and Technology, and a Science and Technology Policy Fellow for the Senate Health Committee.
Megan Varvais is a Science Communications Specialist and Administrator in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. She helps run the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine and maintains the Precision Medicine Asset Inventory. She has also worked for the Consumer Federation of California, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation, and the California Faculty Association. Her professional and volunteer experiences include graphic design, event planning, grassroots organizing and outreach, database management, legislative advocacy, and coalition building.
Aiyana Emigh Cortez is a computational biologist and PhD candidate in Biophysics at the University of California, Davis. Her research aims to identify the molecular interactions that determine cardiotoxicity of medicinal drugs. During her graduate studies, she has dedicated her time to advocating for student needs and promoting equity in STEM. Before graduate school, Cortez served for over two years in the United States Peace Corps as a Math and Science Teacher Trainer in The Gambia, West Africa where she advocated for volunteer needs and rights and successfully inspired organization-wide policy reform. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Long Beach in Microbiology and Cell and Molecular Biology, with minors in Chemistry and Applied Mathematics, and completed her single-subject teaching credential in Biology.
Hyunsoo Gloria Kim is a Policy Fellow for the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, currently pursuing a PhD in Microbiology at the University of California, Davis. Kim holds Bachelor's degrees in Molecular & Cellular Biology and Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her current and previous research projects span the fields of synthetic biology, metabolic regulation, tissue engineering, cancer epidemiology, cognitive neuroscience, and science education. Kim is passionate about exploring the intersections between science and equity, policy, education, & public engagement.
Denise Gutierrez is the Personnel Technician for OPR, where she provides assistance to the Personnel Officer on matters related to attendance, payroll, recruitment and retention, and employment verifications. She also works the front desk and provides administrative support, including but not limited to: travel, meeting planning, and scheduling.
Lynn Walters is an IT professional that is part of your Governor’s office technology unit. This September I have been with OPR for forty years. I am a retired annuitant working part time to support technology needs. I support the OPR Blue Anchor building fielding all hardware and software helpdesk questions.
Supports the accounting activities across all of the OPR budget programs.
Manages mailroom Services and Travel Services and supports the office’s procurement team.
OPR’s Budget Officer overseeing and coordinating across OPR’s budget programs and the office’s liaison to the Department of Finance.
Oversees office operations and building management.
Supports the accounting activities across all of the OPR budget programs.
Supports the accounting activities across all of the OPR budget programs.
OPR’s Chief Accountant managing the accounting team and responsible for accounting activities across all the OPR budget programs.