Interviewee Profiles - in order of appearance
William A. Burke, Ed.D., AQMD Chairman
Dr. William Burke is the Speaker of the Assembly appointee on the AQMD Governing Board and has served as its chairman for more than 13 years. As Chairman, he has set in motion a decade-long series of precedent-setting policy initiatives, including AQMD’s Environmental Justice program; Asthma and Outdoor Air Quality Consortium; and the Brain & Lung Tumor and Air Pollution Foundation. Dr. Burke also serves on the California Coastal Commission and founded the Los Angeles Marathon.
Barry R. Wallerstein, D.Env., AQMD Executive Officer
Barry Wallerstein joined AQMD in 1984 and has served as Executive Officer since 1997. He has more than 25 years of experience in public policy development and environmental studies. As executive officer, he implements environmental protection policies as approved by the AQMD Governing Board, working proactively with federal, state and local officials, regulated businesses and community stakeholders.
Michael Cacciotti, AQMD Board Member, Councilmember, City of South Pasadena
Councilmember Cacciotti joined the AQMD Board in 2008 to represent the eastern cities of Los Angeles County. He has served on the South Pasadena City Council since 2001 and has been actively involved in raising awareness of environmental issues in the cities he represents. In 2006, the City of South Pasadena won an AQMD Clean Air Award for Model Community Achievement.
Keith L. Black, M.D., Chair, Cedars-Sinai Department of Neurosurgery
Dr. Black is chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai, the Ruth and Lawrence Harvey Chair in Neuroscience and director of the Cedars-Sinai Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute. Dr. Black also oversees research examining the potential connections between air pollution and brain cancer through AQMD’s Brain & Lung Tumor and Air Pollution Foundation.
Otana Jakpor, USC student and AQMD Clean Air Award recipient
Otana is a sophomore at USC studying global health and a 2008 AQMD Clean Air Award winner. She has completed a number of research projects, most notably her research on harmful ozone-generating air purifiers, for which she received the President’s Environmental Youth Award for EPA Region IX in 2008.
Patrick Morris, Mayor of San Bernardino
Patrick Morris has served as Mayor of the City of San Bernardino since 2006. He has been passionately involved in reducing the health impact of locomotives and rail yards on residents in his city. An attorney and judge by profession, he served as a Superior Court judge prior to being elected as mayor.
Rob S. McConnell, M.D., USC Professor, air pollution scientist
Dr. McConnell is Professor of Preventive Medicine and Deputy Director of the NIEHS/EPA-supported Children’s Environmental Health Center. He was the principal investigator of the landmark Children’s Health Study and his work examining the associations between ozone and traffic emissions and the development of asthma has contributed to current policy debates on regulation of these exposures.
Monsignor John Moretta, Pastor of Resurrection Church, Boyle Heights
As pastor for Resurrection Church, Monsignor Moretta has been serving Boyle Heights and surrounding communities for over 25 years. His leadership has raised awareness of environmental justice issues in Boyle Heights and surrounding communities and has led residents to take a stand against projects not in the best interest of their health and well being.
John Cross, West Long Beach community activist
John Cross is a community activist in West Long Beach concerned with diesel pollution from port and rail operations and passionate about protecting the health of residents impacted by these pollution sources. He also serves on the West Long Beach Association and the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency board.
Susana Negrete, San Bernardino resident
Susana has lived in San Bernardino for 25 years and suffers, along with her family, from air-pollution related health problems. She is a community organizer for the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice and participates on the San Bernardino Community Action Team which encourages community members to lead a healthier life.
Elisa Nicholas, M.D., MSPH, CEO, The Children’s Clinic, Long Beach
Dr. Nicholas has devoted her career to caring and advocating for underserved children and families. She established the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, which works to educate parents and children on ways to control asthma, reducing emergency room visits and school absenteeism caused by the disease. Dr. Nicholas was a 2008 AQMD Clean Air Award winner.
Alec Loorz, Founder, Kids-vs.-Global Warming
Alec is a community activist passionate about awakening youth to action. Inspired by Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” Alec founded the non-profit organization Kids-vs.-Global Warming in 2007 -- at age 12. Since then Alec has become an inspirational speaker, addressing audiences around the world on climate change.
Alan Niedzwiecki, President and CEO, Quantum Technologies, Inc.
Since 2002, Alan has served as President and CEO of Quantum Technologies, Inc., a leading alternative energy company. He has more than 25 years of experience in the alternative fuels industry in product and technology development and commercialization relating to mobile, stationary power generation and refueling infrastructure solutions.
Mark Ruffalo, Actor and environmental activist
Mark Ruffalo is an actor and environmental activist. In 2011, Mark received Global Green’s Millennium award, established to honor individuals and organizations that recognize the important connection between humankind and nature.