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Honorees

Recipients of South Coast AQMD's 32nd Annual Clean Air Awards

2021 Program & Award Recipients

Shanna Mendiola is an Emmy Award-winning meteorologist for NBC4 during weekend Today in LA newscasts from 7 - 8 a.m. and weekday newscasts. She is part of the award-winning weather team that has earned Most Accurate Weather Team in Southern California by WeatheRate for five consecutive years. Since joining NBC4, Shanna has appeared nationally from 30 Rockefeller Center in New York for NBC’s TODAY and MSNBC covering Hurricane Joaquin and the historic Carolina Floods of 2015, Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and Hurricane Florence in 2018. Chasing storms is one of her favorite past times and when she's not in studio, you can see her out in the elements throughout Southern California along with the NBC4 Weather Team in the NBC4x4Caster. Her passion for science and technology began at an early age when her mother, a nurse inspired her passion for STEM fields. She also was inspired by watching the TODAY’s Al Roker every morning growing up. After college, she launched her career in San Francisco and quickly began an upward progression working in the Oregon and Colorado markets. There, she delivered weathercasts in everything from snowstorms to wildfires, and floods - including chasing tornadoes during severe weather along the Eastern Plains. Prior to her arrival at NBC4, she worked at KDVR and KWGN in Denver, KGO-TV San Francisco and KTVZ-TV in Oregon. Another strong interest of Shanna’s is supporting communities in need throughout the Southland, including speaking to students about careers in meteorology and science. Shanna graduated from San Francisco State University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio and Television. She also received a Meteorology Certificate from Mississippi State University. She is a member of the National Weather Association and the Asian American Journalist Association.
Tim Kepler was born in Riverside, California and has been singing and composing since age 14. Tim is a Gospel recording artist currently leading worship at New Hope Church in Clovis, CA. He is also the principal National Anthem performer for the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Angels.
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger encompasses Supervisor Wilson’s exceptional leadership in government and steadfast voice for healthy air and a strong economy. Governor Schwarzenegger helped California lead the way on groundbreaking environmental legislation and continues to help global leaders to combat climate change. Governor Schwarzenegger has been a champion for sustainability and air quality in California and around the world. He signed AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, groundbreaking legislation that set a precedent nationally for the transition to sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. After Governor Schwarzenegger's term ended, he co-founded R20, a global nonprofit organization of subnational governments and regional leaders to address climate change and build a green economy. In 2012, Schwarzenegger founded the University of Southern California Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy which focuses on leadership in education, energy and environment, fiscal and economic policy, health and human wellness, and political reform. Governor Schwarzenegger has continued to use his platform to push for green policies and educate future leaders on the importance of a sustainable future. He advocates for better communication on a global level to address the root causes of environmental, climate change and for a new approach to green solutions.
Dr. Ryan Sinclair has exhibited a deep commitment to improving public health by reducing air pollution. He is a Coachella Valley native who is originally from Desert Hot Springs and Morongo Valley. Dr. Sinclair has active research questions investigating health risks and exposures that are unique to vulnerable communities. He has spent over two years collecting data on algal blooms in the Salton Sea, tracking its receding shoreline and forecasting the human exposure to airborne dust from Salton Sea. He is also collaborating with the Thriving Earth Exchange community science group to build capacity of Eastern Coachella Valley (ECV) youth in the topics of lake Water Quality and Exposure Science. Dr. Sinclair also serves on two AB 617 Community Steering Committees in San Bernardino, Muscoy and the ECV. His contributions were instrumental in developing the Community Emissions Reduction Plans and Community Air Monitoring Plans for both communities. Dr. Sinclair helped build a community evaluation group to pilot South Coast AQMD air monitors in the San Bernardino, Muscoy area. He is also working to establish South Coast AQMD monitors in the ECV by co-leading the Monitoring Working Team and assessing specific community needs regarding the sustainable use of air monitors from South Coast AQMD and AB617. Previously, Dr. Sinclair assisted in the AB 1318 mitigation fund process to support organizations and communities most impacted by air pollution. Dr. Sinclair has consistently dedicated his time and expertise toward efforts to reduce air pollution in Environmental Justice communities and fight for the health of all Southern California residents.
Judith Mitchell served for approximately ten years on the South Coast AQMD’s Governing Board representing the cities in western Los Angeles County. She also served on the California Air Resources Board as the South Coast AQMD Representative. As a vanguard for clean air policies and environmental justice, her leadership contributed to the research, development, deployment and emerging commercialization of near- and zero-emissions heavy-duty trucks and equipment, fenceline air monitoring around refineries, air toxics rules to protect public health from lead and hexavalent chromium, and the AB 617 community led air pollution program. During her tenure, Ms. Mitchell pushed to end the RECLAIM Program, which South Coast AQMD’s Governing Board voted to end in 2017. She also attended nearly every AB 617 meeting in all communities to actively in engage in the program to fight for environmental justice communities in our region.
Sixteen-year-old Daniel Randall has spent his years helping to improve the environment and air quality since he was in preschool. Daniel got his start in air quality issues in preschool when he learned about pollution and when it is safe to play outdoors. In elementary school, Daniel participated in local programs to plant trees in disadvantaged communities with little or no green space. Now as a high school student, Daniel has taken on leadership roles through being a Green Team Leader that regularly met with school staff to monitor school-wide recycling efforts and the replacement of cleaning products known to off-gas and linger in the air in classrooms. For the past 3 years, Daniel has been selected to serve on Jane Goodall’s National Youth Leadership Council powering a global program to care for animals and the planet through community projects. Daniel was a recipient of a youth scholarship to attend Bioneers, a non-profit with innovators working to solve environmental and social challenges. As a youth leader in environmental issues, including air quality, Mr. Randell is an inspiration to people of all ages.
Volvo Group North America is an industry leader in zero tailpipe emission technology development and deployment. Volvo has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to improving air quality through innovative clean technology programs. Volvo Group North America is currently engaged in three visionary zero emission technology projects: Volvo LIGHTS, Switch-On and the Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative (JETSI). Volvo LIGHTS focused on developing and promoting battery-electric truck technology, including the product launch and commercial deployment of the Volvo VNR Electric regional hauler, and related facility infrastructure. The Volvo Switch-On project builds on the success of Volvo LIGHTS project by funding community outreach and infrastructure improvements. Through outreach to businesses and residents, the project aims to increase zero emission technology visibility and promote sustainable practices at the local government level. The Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative, or JETSI, is a historic initiative to deploy 100 battery-electric regional haul and drayage trucks across California. The project is poised to make significant emission reductions along Southern California’s I-710 corridor and improve air quality for impacted communities in the region. Volvo Group North America’s involvement in these unprecedented public-private partnerships exemplifies strong leadership in air quality.
Breathe Southern California (Breathe SoCal), a non-profit focused on programming, advocacy efforts, communications, and community engagement. Breathe Southern California was formed in 1903 as an independent lung health organization called the Los Angeles Society for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis. Over the years Breathe SoCal has reorganized to remain current with developments in technology and medicine. The organization continues to pursue its mission of achieving clean air and preventing lung and other air pollution related diseases. Committed to meaningful community engagement and bold policy advocacy, Breathe SoCal has a strong track record of advocating for clean air for all communities in the South Coast Air Basin. Breathe SoCal is dedicated to improving air quality through youth engagement, public policy advocacy, supporting lung health research, and public education campaigns. Along with advocating for stronger environmental legislation, Breathe SoCal has implemented their “End Diesel Now” campaign to raise public awareness of the negative impacts of diesel emissions on public health in Southern California. Breathe SoCal also partners with organizations and public agencies to further promote air quality education and programs. In partnership with Electrify America, Breathe SoCal developed an electric vehicle (EV) education program to inform residents of the benefits of clean energy vehicles and their contributions to improving air quality. Breathe SoCal continues to provide strong leadership on air quality issues through their commitment to green solutions and meaningful community partnerships that focus on reducing air pollution and creating a healthy environment for all residents in Southern California.



Award Recipients

In 1989, the South Coast AQMD hosted the first annual Clean Air Awards and recognized outstanding businesses, organizations, municipalities, and individuals who have championed the southland's fight for clean air. Since then, nearly 300 Clean Air Heroes have been awarded for their efforts to clean the air. Each year, awards are presented in five categories which include Air Pollution Technology, Innovative Transportation Projects, Model Community Achievements, Promotion of Good Environmental Stewardship, and Public Education on Air Quality Issues. In addition to the five awards presented each year, the South Coast AQMD honors two faithful clean air advocates by presenting the Robert M. Zweig, M.D. Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award and S. Roy Wilson Memorial Award for Leadership in Government.




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