About Us Office of Planning and Research Staff
Meet OPR’s talented team.
Scott Morgan is OPR’s Chief Administrator and Senior Advisor, 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.
Saharnaz was the Deputy Director of Community Investment and Planning at California Strategic Growth Council overseeing more than 3 billion dollars of investment in infrastructure programs and community driven policy solutions. She worked with local and regional governments to pilot new initiatives for bridging climate and equity goals including Transformative Climate Communities program.
Saharnaz has over fifteen years of experience working in the public and private sectors on infrastructure development, climate resiliency, and community development. Before joining the SGC, she worked for the City of Thousand Oaks, supporting the development of the City Municipal Sustainability Plan and Community Climate Action Plan. Saharnaz also worked with ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability for more than three years, supporting local governments in combating the impact of climate change through local actions. As a consultant in the private sector, Saharnaz worked on multiple community revitalization and urban design projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities in Iran.
Saharnaz has a Master of Urban and Regional Planning with a Certificate of Sustainable Urban Infrastructure from University of Colorado Denver, a Master of Urban Design and Planning from Shahid Beheshti University, and a B.A. in Architecture from Iran University of Science and Technology.
As a Program Manager for Regional Early Action Planning Grants program, Helen delivers guidance to state partners and local communities on planning and land use issues to advance equity and reduce impacts to our climate. Her responsibilities include coordinating on the development of related programs, policies, and legislation. She brings a unique evidence-based spatial analysis background to her work and regularly directs GIS efforts to assist in decision-making.
REAP 2.0 is a $600 million state and federal investment to advance the implementation of adopted regional plans by funding planning and implementation efforts that accelerate infill housing and reductions in per capita vehicle miles traveled. As a program manager, Helen coordinates with the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the California Air Resources Board, the California Strategic Growth Council, regional governments, and tribal entities across the state on the implementation of this innovative new program.
Helen has nearly two decades of policy planning experience in the nonprofit, local, and state government sectors to advance equitable outcomes in housing, transportation, environmental justice, and community economic development efforts. She holds an MA Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA and is an AICP certified planner with the American Planning Association.
Austin Kerr is an Air Quality & GHG Analyst in the Planning & Community Development team, where he focuses on implementation of the SB 7 Program. Austin provides guidance about the quantification of GHGs associated with projects seeking Environmental Leadership and Development Project certification. As a CEQA practitioner, Austin brings more than 20 years of experience preparing air quality, GHG, and noise sections of Environmental Impact Reports for land use development and infrastructure projects. He has also managed preparation of CEQA guidance on behalf of air districts and CARB and more recently examined the role of carbon offsets as GHG mitigation. Austin has also overseen the preparation of Health Risk Assessments and noise constraint analyses to support local long-range planning and CEQA documentation. Austin spends his free time coaching youth sports and enjoys traveling and the outdoors.
As an associate program analyst on OPR’s Planning and Community Development team, Beth is responsible for updating OPR's general plan guidelines, coordinating OPR's Annual Planning Survey, and managing a WUI Best Practices project contract. Prior to this role, Beth worked as an assistant program analyst where she split her time between OPR's planning, climate, and learning lab teams. Beth approaches her work through an interdisciplinary lens centered around sustainability and equity. Beth graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2017 with a BS in Civil Engineering and three minors focused on science, technology, and society. Beth also holds a certificate from MITx in Data, Economics, and Development Policy.
As a Senior Planner on OPR’s Regional Early Action Planning Grants (REAP) 2.0 team, Brianne Masukawa supports the program’s interagency coordination and implementation efforts to expand California's housing supply and reduce vehicle miles traveled. Her responsibilities include technical assistance to applicants, innovative tool and resource development, and other stakeholder assistance.
She brings to the team her extensive experience developing and implementing thoughtful solutions, performing extensive community engagement, and securing funding for communities of color in Southern California to improve access to safe and convenient transportation choices for all ages and abilities. Her body of work previously focused on safe routes to school, complete streets, and active transportation plans.
Brianne earned her BA in Urban Studies and Planning from UCSD and her MA in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA.
As Senior Advisor for Land Conservation, Emily works to develop policy and planning strategies to better integrate conservation priorities within the context of land use and infrastructure planning, including the California High-Speed Rail project. Prior to joining the state, she was the Director of US Relations for The Nature Conservancy’s Asia Pacific Region, developing political and programmatic strategies to advance multi-national marine and forest conservation priorities, working at the highest levels of government in the US and internationally. Additionally, she served as a consultant with the Environmental Defense Fund’s Oceans Program to advise staff as they worked to develop a presence and open a country office in Indonesia. Earlier in her career, she created and pioneered development of the Conservancy’s first-ever transportation program at the California and national levels, one result of which was the creation of hundreds of millions of dollars for conservation through federal legislation. She earned an M.S. in Natural Resource Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. in Religion from Wesleyan University.
Kim Danko is an Associate Program Analyst on the Regional Early Action Planning Grants (REAP) 2.0 team. As a member of the REAP team, Kim coordinates internally and externally to ensure delivery of this innovative statewide program aimed at accelerating housing in California, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a decrease in vehicle miles traveled.
Kim has years of public service in the planning and sustainable communities field. She has experience in advancing climate change initiatives at the state, regional and local levels and is passionate about helping California reach its climate goals in practical and equitable ways. Most recently, she has helped rural and under-resourced cities secure California Climate Investments grants that address community resilience and transform their communities into walkable/bikeable thriving destinations and has worked with the Central Valley to create community-led emissions reduction plans to address poor air quality and declining public health.
Kim was born and raised in Sacramento and obtained a BA in Communications from California State University, Long Beach. Her enthusiasm for government started during a public relations internship for the U.S. Coast Guard and since then she has continuously developed those communications skills to connect with government officials and staff who are navigating the complex challenges of climate, transportation, housing and community engagement.
Leila Hakimizadeh, AICP, is a Senior Planning Advisor at the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. She manages and engages in a broad range of statewide planning and policy initiatives related to land use, housing, transportation, infill and transit-oriented development, and other issues, with a focus on advancing the State’s climate and equity goals.
She has 15 years of experience in housing, land use and transportation planning, urban and building design, and transit-oriented development. Her management experience includes leading multidisciplinary groups of consultants, supervising planners, facilitating community workshops, and collaborating with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and neighborhood groups.
As a Planner IV-Supervising Planner with the City of San José, Leila directed the approval for over 50 development projects and four long-range plans. In addition, she was the Lead Project Manager for updating San José’s Downtown and Citywide Design Guidelines and managed several programs. As a Long-range planner for the City of Los Angeles and urban designer in Toronto, Canada, Leila had a key role in the approval of several master planning, transit-oriented development, streetscape, and bike and pedestrian planning projects.
Leila has masters’ degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design and a graduate certificate in Applied Digital Geography and GIS.
Ryan manages OPR’s judicial streamlining for Environmental Leadership Development Projects covered by Senate Bill 7 (2021), coordinates OPR's racial equity action plan development, and assists with housing and land use policy. Prior to this role, Ryan managed the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program at the California Strategic Growth Council. He previously served as a CivicSpark Climate Fellow at the San Luis Obispo Air Pollution Control District and worked as an Asset Movement Associate at Securian Financial Services. Ryan holds a B.B.A. in Finance, Economics, and Operations Management with an Environmental Studies certificate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Parker is a CivicSpark Fellow, 2022-2023, with Planning and Community Planning Team. During the next year, he will be assisting OPR with updating General Plan Guidelines (GPG) to help jurisdictions throughout the state with capacity building and resilience. He will specifically be helping in updating the community engagement section of GPG with an equity focus and doing research and recommendations on making the GPG be more user-friendly and easier to navigate.
Parker recently graduated from UC San Diego with a bachelor's degree in Urban Studies & Planning and a minor in Real Estate & Development. After CivicSpark, Parker plans to either continue working in the public sector or go to graduate school to get a master's degree in urban planning, real estate development, landscape architecture, or a similar field.
Abby Edwards is the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program’s Adaptation Planning Grant Program Manager. In this role she will lead and manage the development, implementation, and administration of three rounds of adaptation planning grants. Abby brings to her work a commitment to equity, innovation, and evidence-based decision making. Prior to working at the OPR, Abby was a manager for the Local Government Commission’s AmeriCorps program, CivicSpark. In this role she managed state and federal grants, conducted regular monitoring and evaluation, coordinated with state and local partners, and oversaw day-to-day operations. Abby also served in the Peace Corps as a Sustainable Agriculture volunteer in southeastern Senegal. During her service, Abby worked side-by-side with farmers and community leaders on a variety of food security interventions. Abby is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on Environmental Management and Policy in the School of Public Affairs from UC Denver Online. Her Master’s studies build upon her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and Education. In her spare time, Abby is the chair of the Fundraising and Finance committee for the Sacramento chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice.
Prior to joining the ICARP team, Brandon was a full-time affordable housing and climate resiliency planner. Though born and raised in California, his expertise in urban innovation and community planning enabled him to work on social and environmental justice projects as far as Cuba, Kenya, Nicaragua, Portugal, Taiwan, and Turkey. Brandon has given lectures about city planning and development in the United States and the Caribbean, as well as taught at UC Berkeley. As a contributing author and facilitator, his work can be seen in the Redwood City’s Anti-Displacement Strategy, San Mateo County’s Climate Ready Collaborative, City of Emeryville’s Housing Element 2015–2023, the Emeryville Berkeley Oakland Transit Study, Alqueva: Changing Ecologies of the Montado Landscape, and Slum Sanitation and the Social Determinant of Women’s Health in Nairobi, Kenya. Brandon holds a Master’s degree in City Planning from UC Berkeley, a BA from the University of New Mexico and a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Urban Permaculture Institute of San Francisco.
Dolores Barajas is the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program’s Regional Resilience Grant Program Manager. In this role, she leads the implementation of three rounds of regional grants, to accelerate regional-scale climate resilience action. Prior to joining OPR, Dolores worked for the City of Fresno as Chief of Staff to a Councilmember, where she contributed to citywide policies and programs including critical COVID relief efforts. Prior to her work in local government, she served as Executive Director to the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition (CVAQ), an environmental justice organization focused on air and climate policy advocacy in the San Joaquin Valley. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.
Elea Becker Lowe is a Senior Planner for Climate Science and Resilience as a part of the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program’s Fifth Climate Change Assessment Team. Prior to her role with OPR, Elea worked as an Environmental Scientist with the California Natural Resources Agency. She holds an MA in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and a BS in Applied Mathematics from the University of Vermont.
Kate Lyons (she/her) is the Assistant Planner for the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program's (ICARP) Regional Resilience Grant Program. Before joining OPR, Kate was a CivicSpark Fellow serving the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in the Bay Area. As a Fellow, she applied her policy analysis and research skills to a variety of resilience planning initiatives, including sea level rise, wildfire, and conservation projects. Before CivicSpark, Kate worked as an Energy Analyst with an energy engineering firm, where she supported municipalities and companies by tracking building energy usage and implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Kate holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from Temple University.
Kristyn Vega-Payne is the Associate Planner for the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program’s Regional Resilience Grant Program. Prior to her time with OPR, Kristyn worked for the City of Long Beach as a Sustainability Analyst where she developed and administered ongoing public facing sustainability programs and led several climate action and adaptation initiatives. Before joining Long Beach, Kristyn served as a CivicSpark Climate Fellow where she supported the County of San Luis Obispo in monitoring and analyzing energy use for Community Service Districts. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master of Science Degree in Environmental Studies from California State University, Fullerton.
Lauren Marsiglia, AICP (she/her) is the Senior Planner for the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program’s (ICARP) Regional Resilience Grant Program. Before joining OPR, Lauren worked as an Associate Planner and eventually Interim Advance Planning Manager with the City of Culver City. While there, she focused on the City’s first comprehensive update to its General Plan. She joined Culver City after working as an Assistant Planner with the City of Santa Maria, where she worked mainly on short-range planning projects. She also worked as a research analyst on homelessness for a nonprofit in Austin, Texas after serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the City of Austin’s Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homeless. Lauren holds a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Michigan, where she focused on Environmental, Land Use, and Transportation Planning. She received her Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, where she majored in urban studies and minored in public policy.
Neil Matouka is the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program's Fifth Climate Change Assessment Program Manager. Prior to joining OPR, Neil was the Local Government Climate Action Planning Liaison at the California Air Resources Board. He has a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University and a BA from the University of Michigan.
As Associate Planner specializing in Climate Resilience at OPR, Nikki manages the State Adaptation Clearinghouse and supports climate services and technical assistance under OPR’s Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP). Nikki brings a commitment to accessible climate communications, equitable community engagement, and holistic, equitable planning and implementation of climate solutions to her work. Prior to OPR, Nikki spent two years with Sierra Business Council as a policy analyst and Project Manager for the Sierra Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership, advocating for and coordinating local and regional solutions to the Sierra Nevada region’s climate vulnerabilities. Nikki also served as a 2016–17 CivicSpark Climate Fellow at Sierra Business Council, providing climate planning and implementation technical assistance to local governments. 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 the 5th Assessment Tribal Program Manager, Patricia is the lead staff for the coordination and engagement with California Native American Tribes and facilitating integration of tribal knowledge and science into the Fifth Climate Change Assessment. Patricia brings with her a passion for partnering with the original stewards of CA as an integral component to the future of climate planning. Most recently, she was the Tribal Affairs Coordinator for CA EPA Department of Toxic Substances Control. Prior to that she worked as Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indian’s Tribal Climate Resilience Coordinator and headed region-wide efforts in creating climate adaptation tools for local, state, and federal governments to more meaningfully work alongside Tribes. Patricia earned a B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy from CSULB and a M.Sc. in Environmental Conservation from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
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.
Sloane Viola is the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program's Council Program Manager. She previously served as the Legislative Director at OPR, representing the office’s interests in the legislative process. Prior to working at OPR, Sloane was the Staff Scientist and a Sea Grant Fellow for Lieutenant Governor Newsom. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aquatic Biology and Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Emily Breslin is the Deputy Director of Communications and External Affairs of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the California Strategic Growth Council. She brings 10 years of communications, transportation planning and policy, and nonprofit management experience to the role.
Prior to joining OPR, Emily was the Climate Program Manager for the City of San Jose. In this role she oversaw the implementation of Vehicle Miles Traveled under SB 743; developed and codified progressive parking and demand management policies; oversaw a suite of transportation electrification projects, and equitable engagement and implementation for San Jose's "Climate Smart" Plan. Prior to her work in San Jose, Emily oversaw communications, branding, and marketing for the venture capital and consulting firm SVG Ventures and managed communications and community platforms for the global software company SAP. In her spare time, Emily is an active community-based climate advocate through her work for San Leandro 2050, a 501C3 she co-founded in 2018.
Emily has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the Technical University of Berlin and a Bachelor’s Degree in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis.
Lauren Perrin is a Graphic Designer for OPR, with a focus on human centered design, user interface, and illustration. Prior to joining OPR, Lauren was working for a public health non-profit, focusing on improving the access to health equity and creating meaningful and useful digital products. Lauren has been working in public sector design for over four years and freelancing for over five years.
Lauren has a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from Sacramento State University and is an active member in the Sacramento design community.
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.
I was born and raised in Sacramento, California. I graduated from Sacramento City College in 2019 with an Associate's Degree in Anthropology. I have worked previously as a Seasonal Clerk with the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities and as an Excel Data Analyst with Physicians For A Healthy California. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, listening to music, reading science fiction and fantasy novels, and traveling to new places.
Shannon Clark is Land Use Counsel at OPR, where she works with the Legal, Legislative and Planning and Community Development teams on issues related to CEQA, housing, transportation planning and administrative law, including implementation of the CEQA Judicial Streamlining program. Prior to working at OPR, Shannon was a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice’s Environment Section, where she litigated CEQA and other administrative law issues on behalf of the People of California and agency clients in both federal and state courts. Before attending law school, Shannon worked as a project manager for an energy efficiency nonprofit.
William Robinson is the Legislative Director of OPR and SGC where he brings over seven years of legislative and transportation policy experience to the role. Prior to joining OPR, William was a Legislative Liaison at the California Department of Transportation and California High-Speed Rail Authority where he represented the Administration’s transportation policy interests and helped manage the legislative programs of each department. Prior to his work in transportation, William served in various roles in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. William has a Bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology from U.C. Davis.
I am a third-year law student at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, and a legislative intern for OPR and SGC. My passions and education focus on policy, legislation, and government work. I received my bachelor's degree from the University of California, Davis, where I majored in political science with an emphasis on public service and minored in religious studies. Prior to pursuing my bachelor's degree, I received my AA in paralegal studies at Santa Rosa Junior College where I worked in family law and civil litigation. I plan to sit for the California Bar Exam in July 2023 upon completion of my J.D. degree in May.
Christine Asiata Rodriguez, is the Manager 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.
Mikayla Vaba is a Clearinghouse Technician in the State Clearinghouse. She processes and reviews documents submitted to the CEQA Database, assisting with quality assurance and providing technical assistance to public agencies and the general public.
Dr. Dennis Grossman is the Senior Advisor for Environmental Science and Policy at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. He comes to OPR after serving in conservation science leadership positions in non-profit conservation organizations for the past 25 years. These positions and organizations include Senior Scientist at the Conservation Biology Institute, Senior Environmental Policy Advisor for The Nature Conservancy, Vice President for Science at NatureServe, and Chief Ecologist at The Nature Conservancy.
Dr. Grossman has a broad background in regional assessments of biodiversity and environmental services, regional conservation planning, and evaluation and 1400 10th Street mitigation of environmental impacts. He has helped develop significant advances to the classification and mapping of terrestrial, freshwater and coastal/marine ecosystems at the local, national and global scales in order to improve the conservation and resource management decision-making with regional and ecosystem approaches. Dr. Grossman has worked to integrate conservation values to improve sustainable development objectives through appropriate use of scientific knowledge coupled with decision support technologies. He serves as co-chair of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Section of the International Association for Impact Assessment.
Dr. Grossman completed his Ph.D. in Plant Ecology through the East-West Center Environment and Policy Center at the University of Hawaii. He completed his M.S. and B.S. degrees in Botany and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
Lark Park is Director of the California Education Learning Lab, a grantmaking program at OPR focused on supporting improved human learning and reducing equity gaps in California’s public institutions of higher education.
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.
Morgan Rose serves as Graduate Assistant for the Coast to Coast initiative at OPR. She is an urban planning master’s student at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy where she is concentrating on clean and accessible transportation, urban green space, and community engagement. Morgan has previously held positions with Here LA, Sundance Institute, and the Child Care Law Center. She grew up in Berkeley and received her bachelor’s degree in international development studies from UCLA.
Prior to joining OPR, Mary was the Managing Director for the American Jobs Project, a non-profit think tank founded by Jennifer Granholm that focused on place-based economic development strategies to decarbonize our economy. She was a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley, working on the US-Mexico Binational Laboratory. Most recently, Mary was a policy advisor to the Norwegian government and served as a Climate Attache for COP26. She served in Peace Corps Panama, working hand-in-glove with farmers, community members, and the Panamanian government.
As the Senior Program Analyst, Fabiha Zaman supports interagency coordination, stakeholder engagement, and communications operations for the Just Transition Program. Fabiha previously held the Special Assistant role at SGC, where she worked closely with the Executive Director and was responsible for day-to-day administration of the office. Before working at SGC, Fabiha was an intern at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research where she helped consolidate best practices for climate adaptation in local California communities, led racial equity initiatives within the office, and conducted research on wildfire resiliency. Fabiha has a wide range of experience in State government, as she also interned in the California State Senate and California Department of Justice.
Fabiha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science-Public Service with a minor in Professional Writing from the University of California, Davis. She also has a certificate from the London School of Economics for Global and International Studies.
Jesus Salazar is a Senior Program Analyst with the office of Planning and Research (OPR) working on the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF). As a Senior Program Analyst, Jesus provides strategic direction of program development and day to day management of key operations of the CERF program. Additionally, Jesus assists with outreach to state, local, and regional entities to implement program objectives. Prior to working with OPR, Jesus worked with the Blue Green Alliance, the California Labor Federation, and the UC Berkeley Labor Center on a just transition for communities impacted by California's energy transition. Jesus has also worked as a Labor Organizer for SEIU United Service Workers West, a union that represents and empowers service workers across California.
Jesus Salazar holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in communications from San Francisco State University and a masters from the Goldman School of Public Policy.
Matt is a Senior Program Analyst on the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) team. He works at the intersection of economic development, labor, and climate resilience planning. Prior to joining OPR, Matt conducted and lead research on climate change adaptation and workforce development with local governments, labor unions, and academic partners. He has a wide range of experience in community planning processes and prioritizes equity, transparency, and shared decision-making among stakeholders. Matt holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA.
Nader Afzalan is the Advisor for Community and Economic Resilience. His work intersects urban and regional planning for resilience and climate change, innovative stakeholder engagement, and data analytics.
Before joining the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Nader served in various leadership and advisory roles in the U.S. and overseas. These include serving as the Chair of the American Planning Association (APA)- Technology Division, leading the Data Integration Unit at California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH), managing community resilience programs funded by the World Bank in the Middle East, advising the Yunnan Province in China on using new data sources for economic development, and leading academic initiatives at multiple universities in California and Colorado.
With 30+ published articles and policy reports on issues that intersect collaborative planning, urban resilience, and technology, during the past 20 years, Nader has been working with and learning from diverse stakeholders. These include public officials and business owners across California, farmworkers in the Central Valley, indigenous communities in Panama, and academics across the World. Nader holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Design at the University of Colorado.
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.
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.
Ernest manages the Sierra Army Depot Resilience Review Program (SIAD RRP). Focused in Herlong, CA the goal of the Program is to understand localized threats to installation resilience and respond to impacts on critical infrastructure by developing a series of recommendations with community members that support installation resilience, sustainable growth, and quality of life for current and future residents. Prior to joining OPR, Ernest served as an Analyst for the State Water Board where he provided public participation assistance on a variety of water resources issues impacting disadvantaged communities, environmental justice communities, and Native American tribes.
Ernest is a first-generation college graduate and received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations with a Minor in Climate Science and Policy from the University of California, Davis. Ernest approaches his work on the Military Affairs team with inspiration from his lived experiences in disinvested and environmental justice communities in California’s San Joaquin Valley and his 9 years of service in the California Army National Guard as a multidisciplined intelligence analyst and Spanish linguist.
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.
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.
Jessica Lumian is pursuing a PhD in Microbiology at the University of California, Davis in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Michigan State University. Her thesis research focuses on environmental tolerance mechanisms of Antarctic cyanobacteria using a variety of bioinformatics techniques. She enjoys promoting data availability and reproducibility in scientific research and has served as a prior instructor for The Carpentries, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching fundamental computational skills and fostering an inclusive data science community. She also assists with the organization of science outreach events through STEM for Girls at UC Davis and is interested in increasing science literacy for all ages. In addition to her graduate work, Jessica studied the accessibility of dialysis treatment centers in California using geographical and statistical analyses. She is enthusiastic about contributing to work promoting equity and accessibility in healthcare.
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.
Marie Her is the small businesses (SB) and disabled veteran business enterprises (DVBE) Liaison and oversees all functions of the Business Services Office. In this role, she leads OPR’s commitment to helping SBs and DVBEs thrive. Marie comes to OPR from the California Victim Compensation Board where she was responsible for the activities and operations of the Business Services, Human Resources, and Training Units providing policy direction, priorities and management support. In this role, she led the Board’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic by implementing regulations and requirements issued by the various control agencies and instrumental in the shift to telework by providing policies and guidance to Board employees. Prior to that role, she has held a variety of management roles in all areas of State administrative. Marie holds a Bachelor’s in Biological Science from CSU Fullerton and a Master’s in Accountancy from CSU Sacramento.
Mark Hedlund is a GIS technician supporting the work of the CaMEO CAMP program and other geospatial projects at OPR. He is a geographer whose interests are in human and cultural geography, and automation with very large datasets. He graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in geography and metropolitan planning in 2018. He is currently finishing a Master of Science program in geographic information systems at Johns Hopkins University.”
As Special Assistant, Mitchell Iwahiro serves as lead support for OPR’s Director, providing a variety of analytical and administrative operations tasks. Under the general direction of the Director, Mitchell’s support duties span across a range of programs, initiatives, and activities that contribute to long-range planning and research.
Prior to joining OPR, Mitchell earned his MS in Community Development and BS in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis. Previously, he has held positions in local and state government agencies, and worked at SMUD developing non-profit partnerships to achieve more equitable, sustainable communities.
Supports the accounting activities across all of the OPR budget programs.
Manages mailroom Services and Travel Services and supports the office’s procurement team.
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.