Board of Directors | SSMC

Board of Directors

Board Table Wind Power Man in Field Kid 'n tree rings

Founders: Marcia Pagels & Ruth Peterson

Current Board
Chair Emeritus:William Schulte
Board Chair: Bryan Chen
Vice Chair: Terry Nagel
Secretary: Seamus Murphy
Treasurer: Barbara McHugh
Board Members: Catherine Brooker, Nick Heinzen, Kirsten Keith, Georgi LaBerge

Marcia Pagels, Founder
Marcia was Editor-in-Chief of the 2002 edition of the Indicators for a Sustainable San Mateo County; A Yearly Report of Our County’s Quality of Life. Marcia was a graduate of Stanford University and worked there as a Library Specialist for many years. Marcia also volunteered with the Foundation for Global Community. She was a bio-intensive gardener and landscape painter who donated many works to SSMC auctions. She passed away in 2010; a memorial gallery of her art may be seen here.

Ruth M. Peterson, Founder
Ruth was the owner and manager of Bovet Professional Center, a business that she started in 1981. The business is an executive suite designed primarily for attorneys and other professionals. She was involved with SSMC for 12 years and was Chair of the Business Task Force prior to becoming Chair of the Steering committee. She led the effort for SSMC to become a stand-alone nonprofit in the fall of 2002 and was the Chair of the Board until 2012. She has been recognized on many occasions for her community involvement which included six years on the Board of Shelter Network. In 2002 she was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame. Ruth attended USC for 3 years, moved to San Francisco and graduated from San Francisco State with a secondary teaching major. She decided to forego teaching when she decided she had an affinity for the business world.

William Schulte, Chair Emeritus
Bill Schulte devoted 29 years to the California Public Utilities Commission, retiring in 2000 after heading its Consumer Services Division. After “retirement” he has been engaged as a regulatory and consumer affairs consultant for a number of public agencies and private industry. In addition to his own practice, he is a partner in Regulatory Partners LLC, which provides consumer affairs and call center training to governmental agencies here and abroad.

Bill has also conducted a number of poverty-reduction missions for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Western and Southern Africa. He is a former member of the Board of Self Help for the Elderly and the Institute of Environmental Entrepreneurs (which created the Green MBA program at Dominican University). He chairs the Board of Autumn Glow, an Alzheimer’s facility, and also chairs the Board of a low-income senior housing facility in San Francisco. Bill also volunteers delivering meals to homebound seniors. He holds a BS in Management Engineering from UOP and a MS in Civil Engineering from Stanford. Bill is a registered Civil Engineer in California. Bill served as the Chair of the Board of Directors for SSMC from 2009-2015.

Bryan Chen, Board Chair
Bryan Chen has spent his professional career focused on air quality and human health issues. Bryan is currently the air quality and greenhouse gas lead in Northern California at ARCADIS, a multinational engineering company. Prior to that, he was the Director of air quality programs at the environmental planning firm Christopher A. Joseph and Associates. He has been a regular contributor to SSMC’s Annual Indicator Report since 2010 and currently serves as SSMC’s city and county survey coordinator. He joined the board in Summer 2014 and became Chair in Fall 2017.

Bryan graduated with a B.A. at Pomona College and a M.S. in environmental engineering at Johns Hopkins University. His interest in sustainability has led him to pursue and receive a sustainability professional certificate from the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate credential, and Environmental Sustainability Professional accreditation from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI).

Terry Nagel, Vice Chair
Terry Nagel is a veteran journalist who was elected to the Burlingame City Council in 2003 and served 12 years, including three terms as mayor. During her first term as mayor, she appointed a Green Ribbon Task Force that created the city’s first Climate Action Plan. After the plan was adopted in 2009, she helped form the Citizens Environmental Council of Burlingame, which champions a more environmentally and economically sustainable community. Terry worked as a writer and editor at the San Mateo Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and Forbes magazine. After her election to the council, she served in communications roles for various nonprofits, the Skoll Foundation, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Stanford Law School. She has been a Burlingame homeowner and active community volunteer since 1978.

Seamus Murphy, Secretary
Seamus Murphy is the Director of Government and Community Affairs for SamTrans, Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. Murphy has been recognized as a leader and rising star in the California transit industry. Recognized widely for his passionate advocacy on behalf of an industry that has been the victim of unprecedented state budget cuts, Murphy shows a savvy ability to weave through the legislative thicket of state and federal governments and to convert elected officials and the public into transit advocates.

Murphy’s primary responsibility is legislative advocacy on behalf of the three local agencies he serves, but he has become a key player on the California Transit Association Executive and Legislative Committees and a crucial strategist in the efforts of the San Francisco region and the state to go forward with plans to build a statewide high-speed rail network that has as its centerpiece the Caltrain right-of-way. In 2009, Murphy was named one of the industry’s “Top 40 Under 40” by Mass Transit Magazine.

At a time when public support for transit is more critical than ever and when the issues of land use and transit funding and public perception of the industry are inextricably interwoven, Murphy brings a broad range of political and policy-related experience that is ideal for the circumstances the industry faces. Murphy serves on the Board of Directors for several local non-profit organizations including the Service League of San Mateo County and the San Mateo County Union Community Alliance.

Barbara McHugh, Treasurer

Coming up soon!

Catherine Brooker, Board Member
Dr. Catherine Brooker has over 25 years experience in management consulting and organization design. Catherine has partnered with Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and community organizations to design key initiatives, implement cross organization solutions, and manage change. She has a proven track record in strategic planning, thought leadership, and program management. Catherine acknowledges that we live in a time when humanity must choose its future, as the Earth Charter Commission proposed in 2000, and believes that making choices for our common future is a critical agenda for municipalities, communities, and business. Catherine received her MA in Organization Development and PhD in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University, with research on futures expertise and sustainability. Catherine serves as a mediator for Santa Clara County Office of Human Relations, both in community mediations and in small claims court. She is a member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals.

Nick Heinzen, Board Member
As a transplant from the Midwest, Nick found his way to the Bay Area like so many others because of its incredible draw, vibrant communities, and growing opportunity for professional and personal development. Based in Redwood City, he has been an active community volunteer for local environmental initiatives since relocating in 2015. Nick currently leads annual giving and alumni relations at Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. His vision of sustainability is “a culture that values our environment and actively strives to do more to integrate our lives with nature and the Earth”. Nick earned a B.S. in Arts Management from Indiana University.

Kirsten Keith, Board Member
Kirsten Keith is the Former Mayor of Menlo Park, where she served on City Council for eight years. As an elected leader she championed a carbon-free future by supporting the Paris Climate Accord, adopting 100% carbon-free zoning standards, setting aggressive GHG emission targets, approving Menlo Park’s participation in the Peninsula Clean Energy program (a county wide Community Choice Energy initiative to create a carbon-free grid at no additional cost), and supporting Menlo Spark and Grid Alternatives solar installations on Belle Haven homes.

On her watch, Menlo Park expanded its tree investment by partnering with Canopy to plant new trees in Belle Haven and co-hosted a community wide tree planting event. Additionally, Kirsten promoted expanded energy assistance programs for low-income families. Kirsten also championed increasing public EV charging stations, prioritizing safe routes to school and public transit to reduce solo-auto trips.

Kirsten has a law practices in Redwood City and in her free time she enjoys hiking, backpacking, traveling and walking her dogs.

Georgi LaBerge, Board Member
Georgi was born and raised in Colorado, and has lived in Redwood City for 60 years. Her professional career includes serving as executive director of the San Mateo County Community College Foundation and the Redwood City Library Foundation. She was elected to the Redwood City Council in 1986, serving for three terms, two years as mayor. A long-time volunteer, she currently serves on the boards of CityTrees (Redwood City) and League of Women Voters, north and central San Mateo County. She enjoys gardening, hiking, travel, and competing in senior games in the sport of power walking.

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