Board of Directors
Yesewlik "Leo" Ayalew, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Leo is the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of CALSTART. As CFO, he is responsible for overall financial management of the company including human resources, information system technology and contracts.
As CFO, Leo revamped the organization’s financial and administrative management functions by establishing financial and operational procedures, controlling costs, automating systems and maximizing productivity resulting in a stronger financial position.
Leo has also brought an extensive knowledge and experience in government contract compliance, human resources and information system technology.
Prior joining CALSTART, Leo was one of the principals and president of Accounting & Management Consultants, Inc. in Beverly Hills and Westlake Village providing financial and operational consulting services to firms with revenue in excess of $100 million in revenue.
With more than 28 years of extensive experience in financial management, Leo has successfully assisted financially troubled firms helping them identify operational and financial problems and developing and implementing procedures and processes to control costs, negotiate and restructure debt, resulting in financial viable companies. He has also served in various capacities for numerous non-profit organizations on a voluntary basis.
Leo received Bachelor of Administrative Science (BAS) in Accounting from Guilford College, North Carolina. After one year graduate study in public affairs and finance in North Carolina, he married his college sweetheart and moved to California where he received MBA in Finance and Taxation from Golden Gate University.
Leo, who is an endurance cyclist, enjoys road cycling in his spare time. In 2005, he received the Larry Schwartz award medal from Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (UMCA) in a Year-Rounder Challenge. He completed 1,539 miles in 15 rides of a hundred-miler in that challenge, supported by his lovely wife, Bea.
Kevin Beaty, Vice President and HTUF Director
Kevin Beaty, Vice President & HTUF Director, CALSTART Kevin Beaty joined CALSTART as Vice President and HTUF Director in September 2012. His focus at CALSTART is the accelerated adoption of clean transportation technologies in commercial vehicle fleets.
Prior to CALSTART, Beaty joined Eaton in March 2000 as Business Unit Manager leading the development and commercialization of Eaton’s hybrid electric business. Prior to Eaton, Kevin held several general management roles related to natural gas engines, vehicles, and controls at Woodward, NaturalFuels Corp, and Southwest Research Institute. Kevin has worked as an engineer and business leader in the clean energy transportation field for more than 20 years. He has successfully led innovative growth businesses in consulting, start-up, non-profit, technology and corporate environments. He holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Michigan State University.
Ted Bloch-Rubin, Associate Project Manager
Ted Bloch-Rubin is an Associate Project Manager. Ted is providing technical support for the teams working on the Hydraulic Hybrid Vehicle comparison in Los Angeles, CA, the Hybrid Electric Shuttle Bus demonstrations in Tracy, CA and Monterey, CA as well as the 6T Lithium-Ion battery commercialization project with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).
Prior to joining CALSTART, Ted interned with the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. He also completed a co-op work program with the Spacecraft Engineering Division at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. Ted has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland-College Park.
John Boesel, President and CEO
John Boesel is the President and Chief Executive Officer of CALSTART. The public/private nature of CALSTART is reflected in John's background. Upon graduating from the University of California, Davis, in 1982, John worked in the California legislature as a legislative aide to then Assemblyman (now Congressman) Sam Farr. In that position he managed energy and environmental legislation for nearly four years.
He received his MBA from the Haas School at UC Berkeley in 1989. After graduating from business school he worked as a commercial banker in Wells Fargo's Corporate Headquarters building in San Francisco. In 1993 John joined CALSTART as the Vice President of Technology Programs. In 2001 the Board of Directors promoted him to the position of President and CEO.
John serves on the Advisory Board for the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC) at Stanford University and is also a board member of the Clean Vehicle Foundation.
Tom Brotherton, Regional Director
Tom is responsible for program management of CALSTART’s US Army contract, Technical Advisory Committee, as well as business development and membership outreach. Tom currently manages technology development projects funded through the US Army's National Automotive Center and the Federal Transit Administration. Tom works from CALSTART's Denver office. Tom was Deputy Director of the Colorado Office of Energy Conservation for 10 years, and was responsible for all technical and engineering projects, analysis of energy policy, and constituency outreach. Program areas included alternative fuels, utility restructuring, demand-side management, residential and commercial building energy conservation, renewable energy, and recycling.
Tom developed the Colorado Alternative Fuels Rebate Program to build demand for advanced alternative fuel vehicles in Colorado. Tom has also taught Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and worked as a Mechanical Engineer for Architecture-Engineering firms. Tom has a BSE in Civil Engineering from Princeton (1982), and a MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado-Boulder (1986). He is a registered Professional Engineer in Colorado.
Mary Kathryn Campbell, Project Manager
As a Project Manager: Marketing and Communications, MK works with the communications and marketing team to educate and conduct outreach to industry, government and other stakeholders in the clean transportation and transit sectors.
Prior to joining the distinguished team at CALSTART, MK served as a Co-Director of the Renewable Energy Policy Project, as an Acquisitions Editor for The McGraw-Hill Companies, in Washington, DC, as a Special Projects Editor for The Times Mirror Company and as Database Editor for the Center for Energy & Environmental Management (CEEM) in Fairfax, VA.
She has written for, edited and managed the publication of articles, books, newsletters, and reports covering business management, international standardization, renewable energy and sustainable technology. She holds a Bachelors degree in Creative Writing from George Mason University. MK lives in LA, with her family.
Margaret De Guzman, Human Resources/Payroll Officer
Margaret is responsible for processing CALSTART payroll and maintenance of personnel/payroll files. In addition, Margaret is responsible for administrating company benefits such as insurance, dental, COBRA, and other special benefits offered by CALSTART.
She handles wide-ranging interactions with employees in regard to all payroll/insurance inquiries. Margaret's other duties include but are not limited to actual budget reporting, posting, and updating, as well as preparation of quarterly reports. Margaret has extensive years of work experience in administration in legal environments, finance accounting, and secretarial experience. She acquired a degree in Business Administration, H&R Management.
Jean-Baptiste Gallo, Project Engineer
As a Project Engineer, Jean-Baptiste manages and implements data collection and analysis activities for performance evaluation projects of advanced vehicle technologies such as hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid and battery electric vehicles, as well as Lithium-ion starter batteries. He also works on developing models, tools and calculators for business case analysis and scenario modeling and analysis.
In 2012, he led a major sustainability project to build a 84.5 kW DC solar photovoltaic system that is projected to save over $200,000 in utility costs and offset about 2,000 metric tons of CO2 over the life of the system. In addition, he is leading several energy efficiency efforts to further reduce utility costs and offset greenhouse gases emissions from CALSTART’s energy consumption.
Prior to joining CALSTART, Jean-Baptiste worked for PSA Peugeot – Citroën in France as a Control Systems Engineer, contributing to the conception and development of a comprehensive idle speed control system for gasoline engines meeting the latest European emissions standard (Euro V and Euro VI).
Jean-Baptiste obtained a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique de l’Université d’Orléans in Orléans, France with a specialty in energy and thermal systems engineering. He also holds a Certificate in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California where he studied energy policy, environmental economics, electric power systems and sustainable transportation.
Jamie Hall, Policy Director
Jamie is responsible for many of CALSTART’s policy initiatives, including the California Secure Transportation Energy Partnership and other efforts at the state and national level. Jamie arrived at CALSTART in 2008 with a background in energy and environmental policy issues. Immediately prior to joining CALSTART, he was working with Environmental Entrepreneurs on the implementation of California’s landmark climate change legislation. Jamie holds a Masters degree in Public Policy from UC Berkeley and a Bachelors degree in Political Economy from Princeton University.
Michael Ippoliti, Director Clean Transportation Solutions Group
Michael Ippoliti is the Director of CALSTART’s Clean Transportation Solutions Group (CTSG), the consulting business unit of CALSTART. He leads CALSTART’s work with ports, fleets, and technology developers to improve the environmental performance of their transportation operations and advance clean transportation technology. His mandate is to help grow the clean transportation industry by delivering objective, technology neutral, cost-effective solutions.
Prior to joining CALSTART, Michael was Research Director for Telematics and Automotive at ABI Research, a noted provider of white-paper research and market forecasts in technology. He has also worked as a consultant in new product development and intellectual property research, helping technology start-ups commercialize their innovations.
Michael brings many years of automotive OEM experience, with roles in market research and product planning at Volvo Cars of North America (part of Ford Motor Company) and at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center, where he led projects investigating the future of mobility and automobiles.
He has a Bachelor of Science from Tufts University in Mechanical Engineering and Ergonomics, with advanced work in Engineering Design. After working as a Human Factors Engineer for several years, Michael obtained an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the American Marketing Association (AMA), and the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA). He is a certified New Product Development Professional (NPDP).
Deborah Islam, Staff Accountant
Deborah is responsible for budgeting, account coding, monthly/quarterly/year end closing, grant/contracts management, fiscal reporting and other accounting duties at CALSTART. Deborah’s work experience has centered mainly in the non-profit sector.
Her educational background includes a bachelor degree in business administration, an associate in accounting and small business management, computer network management certificates and experience as a computer instructor.
David Kantor, Senior Project Manager
David is CALSTART’s Deputy Project Manager for the California Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). He also manages the HTUF Hybrid Refuse Truck Working Group and the EPA’s DERA Region II Aerodynamics project. In the past, David has authored reports on Bus Rapid Transit, co-organized multiple projects in hydraulic hybrid technology, managed a hydrogen infrastructure project, as well as a web site for alternative fuels. He has also supported projects in advanced energy storage and alternative transportation.
David obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, MO and a Master’s of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia University, where he studied environmental planning and analyzed brownfield redevelopment policy in the states of New York and New Jersey.
Virginia Ochoa, Office Administrator
Virginia Ochoa serves as CALSTART’s office administrator. She oversees administrative and facility staff and provides support to program teams as needed.
Before coming to CALSTART, Virginia worked in various administrative roles at UCLA, in the business development office, at DirectTV and HerbaLife in their respective human resources divisions, and at Bank of America in customer service.
Andrew Papson, Project Manager
Andrew Papson is a transportation and environmental engineer with seven years of experience in transportation fuel economy, emissions, and alternative fuels, encompassing both passenger and freight movement. He has focused on transportation environmental issues at the regional and state levels, helping environmental and transportation agencies to improve fuel economy, reduce emissions, and institute effective regulations. Andrew works on various CALSTART projects with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, California Air Resources Board, and California Energy Commission.
Andrew holds a master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, where he researched strategies to reduce the environmental footprint of transportation. He received a bachelor’s degree in Materials Science Engineering from Stanford University, where he explored opportunities for new materials in improving fuel cell and photovoltaic technologies.
Whitney Pitkanen, Senior Project Manager
Whitney manages projects in CALSTART's First Mile Program, which fosters the efficiency of community transportation systems by evaluating and implementing new multi-modal choices that enhance system connectivity. Her work has included the deployment of a variety of demonstration projects including MyGo-Pasadena, a financial incentive program that provides significant rebates and cash rewards to commuters who purchase and use an electric bicycle or electric scooter to connect to local transit stations. Whitney also focuses on small zero or near zero emission vehicles including city class and neighborhood class vehicles. Her current duties focus on the development of the Mobility Industry Group which targets the expansion of the market for alternative mobility options that can effectively compete with the Single Occupancy Vehicle.
Whitney obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from U.C. Berkeley and a Juris Doctorate degree from Tulane University Law School, where she received a certificate of specialization in environmental law and was the Notes and Comments Editor of the Environmental Law Journal. While at Tulane, Whitney published several articles on sustainable resource issues, including brownfield/infill redevelopment and sustainable business management. Prior to joining CALSTART, Whitney worked as a legal analyst for the California Department of Justice in the Natural Resources Section, and for the City Attorney of Glendale with regard to water and power issues.
Susan Romeo, Director, Clean Transportation Industry Services
Susan Romeo is the Clean Transportation Industry Services (CTIS) for CALSTART and is responsible for the CTIS business unit. CTIS includes developing and implementing CALSTART’s conferences, events, workshops, and webinars to meet CALSTART and its programs’ strategic goals and objectives. In addition, she oversees CALSTART’s member services unit and Member Services Director.
Prior to joining CALSTART, Susan was media director at a Los Angeles-based political consulting and public affairs firm where she developed and implemented media strategies for its corporate and political clients. Prior to that, Susan worked in other public affairs firms as a consultant doing media and legislative and issue advocacy.
Susan is a graduate of UCLA, where she received both her A.B. degree and Master of Public Administration degree with a specialty in environmental and urban planning.
Fred Silver, Vice President
As Vice President at CALSTART, Fred provides executive oversight on the Low Carbon Bus and Hydrogen Vehicle Programs. He has worked with the Federal Transit Agency for more than twelve years focusing on the commercialization of new bus technologies including Zero Emission Fuel Cell and Battery Buses, Hybrid Vehicles and Advanced Bus Rapid Transit Vehicles.
Fred also acts as the Director of the California Hybrid and Efficient Advanced Truck Research Center administered by CALSTART. The CalHEAT Truck Research Center has developed a Technology and Market Transformation Roadmap which results in California meeting the emissions and environmental policies as they relate to medium and heavy duty trucks.
Fred also provides executive oversight on CALSTART's First Mile Program with a focus of encouraging a modal shift to cleaner mobility, especially as it relates to transit connections, as well as fostering the integration of small electric vehicles and bicycles into the low carbon transportation plans for cities and regions.
Fred's past experience includes Business Development for GM Hughes Electronics and Delco Electronics where he worked on advanced propulsion and battery charging systems. His hands-on experiences include applications such as small electric scooters, electrically propelled passenger delivery and fleet vehicles, and buses. His global background can provide access to a strong network of potential vehicle, system and component partners around the world.
Fred has a background in power electronics including a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University.
Steven Sokolsky, Senior Project Manager
Steven Sokolsky is a Senior Project Manager at CALSTART. His primary responsibilities are centered on the Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF) where he leads the Military Installations, Telecommunications, and Commercial Construction Equipment working groups. He also administers U.S. EPA grants for airport equipment re-powers and retrofits and the installation of class 8 trailer aerodynamics. Steve is an advisor to the California Clean Airport Fleets Partnership—a group that promotes the deployment of clean airside and landside vehicles. He also leads CALSTART efforts to develop a highway of retail biofuels stations in California.
Prior to joining CALSTART, Steve developed natural gas vehicle infrastructure specifications and assisted airports in the deployment of alternative fuels programs while employed by Bevilacqua-Knight, Inc., Resource Dynamics Corp., and the California Energy Commission. He has a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from California State University Sacramento.
Kimberly Taylor, Program Director, Member Services
Kimberly Taylor is CALSTART’s Director of Member Services. As a member of the Clean Transportation Industry Services team, her responsibilities include the development, oversight and implementation of the program and service benefits created for the consortium of clean transportation industry members. She works closely with member companies to identify the synergies between their needs and the services CALSTART offers. Special target interest areas include working with fleet managers, and developing collaborations with new and entrenched public and private entities committed to accelerating the advanced vehicle transportation industry. Kimberly also serves on CALSTART’s High-Efficiency Truck Users Forum (HTUF) team providing project management services and working with industry stakeholders to achieve common goals. Kimberly is the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Transportation Energy Partners (TEP) where she serves as CALSTART’s representative.
Kimberly has worked in the alternative fuels and vehicles industry for fifteen years. Prior to joining CALSTART, she was the Director of Education and Business Programs for the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute, serving as the primary liaison with stakeholders and overseeing industry communications. Prior to that, Kimberly worked for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory as a Senior Project Leader in the Center for Transportation Technologies and Systems. She also managed strategic planning and industry stakeholder relations for DOE’s Clean Cities program, which included lead responsibility for the national Clean Cities Conference.
Kimberly has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Communications from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She has completed two years of study in a Master’s program at the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Kimberly is located in CALSTART’s Lakewood, Colorado office.
Dr. Jasna Tomić, Fuels Program Manager
Jasna leads projects and studies in two main areas: use of alternative fuels (e.g. biofuels, electricity) in transportation, and Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF), bringing hybrid trucks to the marketplace. She is investigating the best opportunities for alternative fuels in transportation sector, with particular emphasis on the use of alternative fuels in the heavy-duty sector. Within HTUF, she led the largest deployment and field testing of twenty-four pre-production hybrid trucks. She is also investigating the best pathways and uses for plug-in and electric vehicles. Jasna’s expertise includes research in vehicles-to-grid power (V2G) – innovative use of electric-drive vehicles for transportation and power generation.
She holds a Ph.D. in Fuel Science from Pennsylvania State University and has over 15 years of experience working in the field of energy and fuels.
Jasna previously held positions as Research Scientist at University of Delaware, Princeton University, and French Institute of Petroleum. She has published extensively on energy conversion processes as well as use of electric-drive vehicles.
Bill Van Amburg, Senior Vice President
Bill is the Senior Vice President of CALSTART, the nation’s leading clean transportation technology organization. He has over 35 years of experience, including technology development, commercialization and marketing. At CALSTART he oversees national programs in hybrid and high efficiency trucks, new fuels, and clean transportation consulting. He is also knowledgeable about environmental market mechanisms such as emission credits.
A key program Bill developed and now oversees is the Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF), a national program speeding medium- and heavy-duty hybrid vehicle commercialization in a partnership with the U.S. Army National Automotive Center. HTUF has directly led to hybrid truck production by four major manufacturers. Bill’s teams also manage an award-winning $39-million Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program (HVIP) for the California Air Resources Board (ARB), have launched the California Hybrid Efficient and Advanced Truck Research Center (CalHEAT) with the California Energy Commission and are working with the L.A. County MTA and South Coast AQMD on developing a zero-emission goods movement corridor.
He is a Board member of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), has an Anthropology degree from the University of California at Berkeley and is a graduate of the Executive Management Program at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. While he has focused on commercializing clean technology for nearly two decades, he did have a previous life! In his earlier career, Bill was an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist reporting on science, technology and the environment. He covered events as diverse as the eruption of Mount St. Helens and the trial of Patty Hearst during his career.
Dr. Lawrence Wnuk, Senior Director
Dr. Lawrence Wnuk, Senior Director
Dr. Wnuk manages hydrogen program activities including the Federal Transit Administration’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program and hydrogen internal combustion engines in transit. He is participating in the CalHEAT Research Center focusing on alternative fuel hybrid trucks. He has performed studies for transit-enhancing services such as FTA Bus Rapid Transit Program including a Vehicle Demand and Supply Analysis of buses for U.S. BRT Communities. Dr. Wnuk has been involved with Alternative Fuel Vehicle development and infrastructure for the past twenty-one years. He has worked at General Motors Advanced Technology Vehicles in Torrance, California, forging strategic alliances, capturing funds and leading the development and the demonstration of advanced propulsion and charging technologies for electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Programs culminated in successful product demonstrations in Europe and in the US for various bus manufacturers and other customers.
Prior to GMATV, Dr. Wnuk worked at Hughes Electronics where he managed programs involving analog and digital control systems, spread spectrum RF systems, electro-optical and laser systems. Lawrence holds a BS, an MS and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of California Los Angeles. He is a board member of the Caltech Entrepreneurs Forum, producing and volunteering in monthly programs at Caltech that encourage the growth and success of technology-based entrepreneurial ventures in Southern California.
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