Storms, Flooding & Sea Level Defense November Conference 2022

LTC Kevin P. Arnett

PhD, PE, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Commander, San Francisco District

Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Arnett hails from just outside of Anderson, California. He was commissioned in the United States Army Corps of Engineers on 2 June 2001 from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the states of Missouri and California within the sub-discipline of Civil Engineering. 

LTC Arnett’s prior assignments include service at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii from 2002-2005 in the 65th Engineer Battalion (Light) and the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, including a deployment to Kirkuk, Iraq with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. During that period, he served as Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, Army Facilities Engineer for Forward Operating Base Warrior, and Battalion Maintenance Officer. LTC Arnett returned to Schofield Barracks from 2006-2009 and served as the Deputy of the 25th ID Joint Visitor’s Bureau and as the Division Engineer’s Commander’s Emergency Response Program Supervisor during the 25th Infantry Division Headquarters’ deployment to Contingency Operating Base Speicher. He served as Assistant S3 for the 84th Engineer Battalion (Construction) and deployed to Mosul, Iraq as the Commander of the 643rd Engineering Company (Vertical), 84th Engineer Battalion. From June 2011 to June 2014, LTC Arnett served as an Instructor and Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the US Military Academy. From 2014-2016, LTC Arnett served as Executive Officer of the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division and as the S3 of the 92nd Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade. 

LTC Arnett earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy, a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California Berkeley, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Structural Engineering from the University of California San Diego. Additionally, he is a graduate of the Command General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and the Engineer Officer Basic and Captain’s Career Courses, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. 

LTC Arnett’s military awards and decorations include: the Combat Action, Airborne, and Air Assault Badges; the Ranger and Sapper Tabs; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Army Achievement and Commendation Medals, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Bronze Star Medal. He has also been awarded the Bronze Order of the DeFleury Medal. 

LTC Arnett is married to Emily Arnett of San Mateo, California. They have two children. 

Arvind Acharya

President, Society of American Military Engineers- San Francisco Post, Sr. Project Executive, GES-AIS

Mr. Acharya currently serves as the President of the Society of American Military Engineers, San Francisco Post and coordinates programs and events locally with a focus towards security and infrastructure resiliency and related challenges. Mr. Acharya is an experienced Project Executive with GES-AIS (an ASRC Industrial Company, ANC) with over 30 years in managing large-scale multi-project contracts that involves Environmental and Civil infrastructure construction activities. He has managed varied regional and national contracts with several federal agencies including the US Navy, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Air Force, Department of Energy and GSA.

Gary Bardini, P.E.

Director of Planning, Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency

Gary Bardiniis the Director of Planning for the Sacramento Flood Control Agency since September 2017 with 35 years of public service with the State of California and the Sacramento area providing strategic planning, policy development and engineering services to promote integrated and sustainable management of the state’s water resources. At SAFCA he directs the formulation, refinement, coordination and policy administration for SAFCA’s strategic and project-level planning initiatives. Prior to working for SACFA, he served as the Integrated Water Management Deputy Director for the California Department of Water Resources from 2011 to 2017.  

A Professional Engineer and graduate of the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, Bardini received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.

Tim Barrett

Environmental Conservation Manager, Port of San Diego

Tim Barrett is a Program Manager with the Port of San Diego’s Environmental Conservation Department. Through academia and professional growth, he has developed a unique background and skillset that blends strong environmental science with fundamental design, planning and construction. In his current role at the Port, Tim is actively pursuing innovative approaches to natural resources management and regularly works across multiple disciplines to reach creative solutions that improve the health of San Diego Bay.

Matthijs Bouw

Founding Principal, One Architecture & Urbanism & Weitzman School of Design/University of Pennsylvania

Matthijs Bouw is the Dutch founder of One Architecture and Urbanism (ONE), an award-winning Amsterdam and New York-based firm. ONE is a global leader in the use of design to conceive and advance climate adaptation and mitigation projects, including Manhattan’s coastal protection, and many large scale nature-based solution projects around the world. He directs the Urban Resilience Certificate Program at the Weitzman School of Design, where he is a Professor of Practice, the McHarg Center fellow for Risk and Resilience and a fellow at the Institute of Urban Research. 

Bouw’s work at UPenn theorizes and positions design as an integrator and innovator among scales, disciplines, actors and issues in urban resilience and water management  projects.Additionally, he researches how to achieve and increase ‘resilience value’ in the implementation of complex projects. He is a member of the ULI panel that writes the ’10 principles for building resilience’.

Bouw’s practice is known for its unique approach in which programmatic, financial, technical and organizational issues are addressed, communicated and resolved through design. Bouw has been a pioneer in the use of design as a tool for collaboration, for instance through the development of ‘Design Studios’ as an instrument to support the Netherlands’ Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment with its long term planning, with such notable projects as the Deltametropolis Studio and Randstad 2040.

The office works on flagship resilience projects in New York, Boston and Houston. A co-leader of the BIG Team that won the Rebuild by Design competition for the flood protection of Manhattan, ONE is currently part of the multi-disciplinary teams executing the first phase of the East Side Coastal Resiliency project for Lower Manhattan, as well as the Financial District/Seaport climate resilience masterplan. In Panama City, Bouw is the urban designer in the ‘Water Dialogues’ team. In the Philippines, he is the urban planner for the Asian Development Bank on New Clark City, works on nature-based disaster reduction in Tacloban, and leads the design for Building with Nature Asia. In the Netherlands, One are part of the ‘Hackable City’ team for Buiksloterham, a large scale brownfield redevelopment in Amsterdam-Noord based on the principles of the circular economy, and is currently working on the climate adaptation strategy for the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region and the long-term future of the IJsselmeer.

He is the co-editor of Building with Nature: creating, implementing and scaling Nature-based Solutions (nai010publishers, 2020). In 2022, his book Managing the Climate Crisis: Designing and Building for Floods, Heat, Drought, and Wildfire (co-authored with Jonathan Barnett) was published by Island Press.

Dr. Todd S. Bridges

U.S. Army Senior Research Scientist, Environmental Science U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Dr. Todd Bridges is the U.S. Army’s Senior Research Scientist for Environmental Science.  He leads research and innovation to support national resilience and sustainability goals.  Todd is the National Lead for the USACE Engineering with Nature® Initiative (, which includes research, field-scale applications, collaborations, and communication activities to advance the delivery of nature-based solutions.  He led the 5-year collaboration to develop publish the International Guidelines on Natural and Nature-Based Features for Flood Risk Management and is working across the public and private sectors to integrate nature and infrastructure engineering.  Dr. Bridges received a Distinguished Presidential Rank Award from President Biden in 2021 for exceptional leadership, accomplishments, and service.

Kelly A. Burks-Copes

PhD Chief, Program Support Branch, Mega Project Division U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District

Dr. Kelly Burks-Copes currently serves as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Galveston Distrtict’s chief of the Programs Support Branch, in the District’s new Mega Projects Division. She manages schedule, budget and public outreach for the Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay Mega Program (S2G), a $4.4B civil works program focused on increasing the storm resiliency of the upper Texas coast.

With nearly 30 years of experience in civil works and military projects, Dr. Burks-Copes specializes in hybridizing engineering and environmental strategies to tackle tough coastal storm risk management, flood damage reduction, navigation, and ecosystem restoration problems. 

Early in her career, she worked for the USACE’s Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), where she developed practical ways to transfer research and technology to the field. Most notably, she provided R&D support for post-Superstorm Sandy recovery initiatives for the North Atlantic Coastal Comprehensive Study (NACCS) and served as the Project Manager for a Strategic Environmental R&D Program project quantifying coastal storm and sea level rise risks to Naval Station Norfolk.  

In 2016, Dr. Burks-Copes served as the Project Manager for the USACE’s largest-ever civil works study addressing coastal storm risk management and ecosystem restoration study for the entire Texas coast (aka the Coastal Texas Study). She led the $20-million team effort to produce a $30B Recommended Plan to the Chief of Engineers in 2021. 

Dr. Burks-Copes’ awards include two Army Civilian Service Awards, an Army Superior Civilian Service Award, five individual Commander’s awards, five R&D Achievement awards, and the Outstanding Planning Achievement Award for the NACCS study in 2014. She is also a graduate of the Eckerd College Leadership Development Program.

She holds both a Bachelor and Master of Science in Biology and earned her Doctorate in 2015 by double-majoring in Interdisciplinary Ecology and Urban/Rural planning from the University of Florida.

Dr. Burks-Copes was also an instructor for the Association of Climate Change Officers, teaching courses on sea level rise, coastal infrastructure, and climate hazards. She has written more than 20 peer-reviewed reports and papers on ecosystem restoration, engineering with nature, and climate change topics.

Sarah Chang

Project Analyst at State of Hawaii, Office of Planning

Sarah Chang is a Project Analyst with the Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program. She coordinates the Hawaii Ocean Resource Management Plan (ORMP), a statewide plan that seeks to resolve coastal problems and issues that are not adequately addressed by existing laws and rules. The 2020 ORMP highlights three areas of need within the coastal zone: (1) Development and Coastal Hazards, (2) Land-based Pollution, and (3) Marine Ecosystems. The ORMP relies on collaborative implementation and facilitates cross-agency projects with partners that include Federal, State, County, and community representation.

Brad Benson

Waterfront Resilience Program Director, Port of San Francisco

Brad Benson joined the Port of San Francisco in 2005. As the Waterfront Resilience Program Director, he oversees the Waterfront Resilience Program efforts, including the up to $5 billion Embarcadero Seawall Program and the United States Army Corps of Engineers/Port of San Francisco Flood Study.

Before he was named Waterfront Resilience Program Director in early 2019, he was Director of Special Projects and oversaw the Port’s local, state, and federal legislative program.  During this time, Benson developed the state legislation that guides two of the Port’s largest development projects at Pier 70 and Mission Rock.  Additionally, he developed the state and local legislation that allows the Port to form infrastructure financing districts on Port property, to leverage private dollars for the benefit of the public. He collaborated in the preparation of the Port’s Ten Year Capital Plan to ensure an economically stable Port. Moreover, he managed the Port’s role in the Golden State Warriors Chase Center development project in the central waterfront. In addition to Director of Special Projects, he also served as the Port’s Pier 70 Waterfront Site Project Director to oversee a new proposed transit-oriented, Type 1 Eco-District neighborhood in the southern waterfront. 

From 2010-13, Brad served as the Port’s project manager for the 34th America’s Cup, that attracted millions of visitors and generated $1.4 billion in economic impacts to San Francisco.

Derek Chow

Deputy Director, Hawaii State Harbor Division

Derek J. Chow is the Deputy Director, Harbors Division, Department of Transportation, State of Hawaii. He oversees the operations, maintenance, improvements, and modernizations of the Hawaii Harbor System that includes 10 commercial harbors throughout Hawaii. Over 98% of all imported goods consumed in Hawaii are shipped through the Hawaii Harbor System. Over 80% of the goods consumed throughout the Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States are also shipped through the Hawaii Harbor System. 

Justin R. Ehrenwerth

President & CEO, The Water Institute of the Gulf

Justin R. Ehrenwerth was appointed the second President and CEO of The Water Institute of the Gulf in January 2017. Prior to joining the Institute, Ehrenwerth served as the inaugural Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council). The Council was created in the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and charged with using billions of dollars in penalties to restore the Gulf Coast’s economy and environment, and adapt in the face of climate change. Ehrenwerth successfully established the Council as an independent federal agency and oversaw all aspects of its programmatic, technical, and operational activities.

Ehrenwerth previously served as Chief of Staff to the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce where he assisted in overseeing issues of policy, budgeting, and strategic planning. He focused on matters impacting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) including complex regulatory and management challenges.

Earlier, Ehrenwerth served as Assistant Counsel to the President where he took the lead on Deepwater Horizon litigation for the White House working with the Department of Justice. He also served as a member of the Oversight and Litigation group representing the White House in Congressional investigations and advising federal agencies on oversight matters. Before joining the White House, Ehrenwerth served in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of General Counsel where he provided support to NOAA leadership on sensitive regulatory and political matters. He received NOAA’s Award for Excellence for work in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Ehrenwerth has held leadership positions on a number of national political campaigns and has been active in the non-profit sector. He served as a Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Teaching Fellow as well as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Touro Synagogue as well as the Anti-Defamation League’s South Central Region, and is a member of the Committee of 100 for Economic Development.

Ehrenwerth is a summa cum laude graduate of Colby College, holds an M.A. in philosophy, politics and economics from the University of Oxford, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He and his wife, Dana Dupré, reside in New Orleans with their two sons.

Justin Goo

Deputy Chief, Engineering and Construction Division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District 

Justin Goo is the Acting Deputy Chief, Engineering and Construction Division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District.  Justin has been with USACE for 14 years working on a variety of Civil Works, Military Construction, and Host Nation projects throughout the Pacific with experience in design and technical and project management.  

He started with the Honolulu District as a Department of the Army Intern in 2008 and served as a coastal engineer in the Civil Works Technical Branch until 2015.  

From 2015 to 2018 he was a Project Manager and Engineering Technical Lead for the Japan Engineer District for the Navy and DLA Military Construction Programs where he managed over $300M Military Construction projects through the planning, scoping, design, and construction phases before returning to the Honolulu District in September 2018.

Justin was born and raised in Honolulu, HI and he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree (2005) in Civil Engineering from the University of Southern California and Master of Science degree (2007) in Ocean and Resources Engineering from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  

Stas Margaronis

President, Propeller Club of Northern California

Stas Margaronis is the California Ports Reporter for the American Journal of Transportation (AJOT)

Adrienne Newbold

Port Engineer, Port of Los Angeles

Mrs. Newbold, P.E., PMP is a Harbor Engineer and Program manager for the Port of Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Loyola Marymount University and a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles. Mrs. Newbold is a registered Professional Civil Engineer in the State of California, licensed Project Management Professional, and certified International Code Council Building Plans Examiner. Mrs. Newbold was awarded the ASCE Metropolitan Los Angeles Section Outstanding Young Civil Engineer.

Mrs. Newbold, P.E., PMP, has over 18 years of program management experience with the Port of Los Angeles specializing in the planning, design, construction, and operation of container terminals, transportation networks, and waterfront development. She oversees the structural and specifications sections of the Engineering Division responsible for over $400 million of Capital Development.

Mrs. Newbold is the program manager for the Port of Los Angeles Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan which assessed the vulnerability, adaptive capacity, and developed resiliency strategies for all port assets. 

Mrs. Newbold is the program manager for the Pier 300 Development which includes a $52 M On-Dock Container Terminal Rail Yard Development project and a 1550 LF Wharf development. This project increases on-dock rail yard capacity and allows the port to import/export containers more efficiently and cost effectively while reducing congestion

As Project manager Mrs. Newbold recently completed the first Automated container terminal on the west coast, an award winning, $200 Million 100-acre container terminal backland redevelopment. As a diligent Project Manager, she led this complex multi-phased project from planning and design through construction and operation. 

Mrs. Newbold is past Board Chair for the COPRI Technical Group, an active member of ASCE, Women Transportation Seminar, Womens International Shipping and Trade Association, Loyola Marymount Council for Industrial Partners, and the IAPH Risk and Resilience Committee. 

Joost de Nooijer

Project Engineer / Project Manager Flood Risk Management Port Development, Port of Rotterdam

Joost de Nooijer is a Civil Engineer and Project Manager Flood Risk Management at the Port of Rotterdam. He is responsible for the technical management of port development projects, like the construction of quay walls, jetties and other maritime infrastructure. Since 2015 he is working as a project manager in the Port’s Flood Risk program. In cooperation with many stakeholders, like the Municipality of Rotterdam, federal agencies, many companies, utility services, etc. he developed adaptation strategies for future flood risks in the different subregions of the Rotterdam Port area, which is one of the most valuable outer dike areas in Europe.

Jim Patti

President, International Propeller Club of the United States

Throughout his more than 50 years working for the maritime industry Mr. Patti has played an active leadership role in all major legislative efforts affecting the operation of U.S.-flag vessels in the foreign and domestic trades and the employment of American mariners.  

C. James Patti started working on behalf of the US-flag maritime industry in Washington, DC in 1970 and became President of the Maritime Institute for Research and Industrial Development (MIRAID) in 1985, a position he still holds today.  The MIRAID represents and lobbies on behalf of the U.S.-flag shipping companies having a collective bargaining relationship with the Masters, Mates & Pilots Union.  

Mr. Patti is also currently Chairman of the USA Maritime Coalition which represents shipping companies operating U.S.-flag vessels in our nation’s foreign trades as well as the maritime unions which provide the licensed and unlicensed crews for these vessels and their related maritime associations.   In addition, he is currently a Member of the Board of the United Seamen’s Service.

Mr. Patti is First Vice President of the International Propeller Club of the United States and is a past recipient of the International Propeller Club’s Maritime Person of the Year award.

Mr. Patti and his wife Beth have been married since May 1970 and live in Frederick, Maryland.  They have three children and seven grandchildren.  

Charlie Perham

President-elect SAME National; Vice-President, Matrix Design Group

Charlie Perham is President-elect of the Society of American Military Engineers.  He has been a member for 25 years and has prior experience as a post president, an elected director, a vice president, and Chairman of the Academy of Fellows. While not volunteering with SAME, Charlie is the Director of Government Consulting Services for Matrix Design Group, an employee-owned civil, environmental, planning and consulting firm.  Prior to joining Matrix, Charlie served a career in the US Air Force retiring at the rank of Colonel. He served in a variety of engineer positions at all levels, as speech writer to the Commander of Air Combat Command, as Defense Fellow to Senator Hillary Clinton, and Deputy Director of Basing for the Secretary of Defense.  He also commanded three times, culminating in command of the garrison at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.  He and his wife, Crissy, reside in San Antonio, TX.

Colonel Estee Pinchasin

USACE, Baltimore District Commander

Colonel Estee S. Pinchasin became the 69th Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, on July 16, 2021, where she commands a workforce of approximately 1,200 employees, overseeing a multibillion-dollar program that provides vital engineering, design, construction and water resources management solutions to the mid-Atlantic region. The district’s area of responsibility spans the Susquehanna River, Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds, and 7,000 miles of coastline.

Prior to command, she served as the Engineer Branch Chief in the U.S. Army Human Resources Command from August 2018 to August 2020, overseeing the assignment and talent management of 4,300 active-duty Engineer Officers and Warrant Officers.

This is COL Pinchasin’s third assignment with USACE. Previously, she was assigned to the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, deploying several times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. From January 2003 to July 2006, she served as the Battalion Logistics Officer, Commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Battalion Liaison Officer in Iraq, and Battalion Adjutant. Following graduate school and promotion to major, she served as the Area Engineer for the New York City Metro Area Office in the New York District. From New York, she deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, to serve as Area Officer-In-Charge for the Kandahar Area Office in Afghanistan Engineer District – South.

COL Pinchasin is originally from Long Beach, New York, and commissioned as an Engineer Officer through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in July 1998. As a lieutenant, she served as a Platoon Leader, Training Officer, and Company Executive Officer in the 30th Engineer Battalion (Topographic) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Upon promotion to captain, she completed the Aviation Captain’s Career Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and the Combined Arms and Services Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

From June 2011 to June 2013, she served as the Operations Officer and Battalion Executive Officer of the 84th Engineer Battalion (Construction Effects) at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. COL Pinchasin returned to Fort Leavenworth to attend the School of Advanced Military Studies and was subsequently assigned to I Corps Headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. From August 2014 to June 2016, she served as a Corps Plans Officer followed by Deputy G35 (Future Operations). From July 2016 to July 2018, she commanded the 19th Engineer Battalion (Construction Effects), 20th Engineer Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps, at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

COL Pinchasin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from Boston University, Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, a Master of Military Arts and Science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and a Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. COL Pinchasin holds a Project Management Professional Certification.

COL Pinchasin’s awards and decorations include two Bronze Star Medals, six Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, NATO Medal, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge and the Army Engineer Association’s Bronze de Fleury Medal.

Prof. Nicholas Pinter, PhD

Associate Director, Center for Watershed Sciences, UC Davis

Prof. Nicholas Pinter is the Roy J. Shlemon Professor of Applied Geosciences and Associate Director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California Davis. He is an expert in earth-surface processes, including flooding, river systems, hydrology, and natural hazards assessment. In 30 years of professional experience, Dr. Pinter has worked on a wide variety of projects. He is the author of several geoscience books and has received a number of awards, including from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Charles A. Lindbergh Foundation, Fulbright Scholars Program, and from the European Commission.

Professor Pinter studies earth-surface processes and hydrology applied to a range of problems. The main thrust of this research is on river dynamics, flooding, floodplain management, and mitigation of flood risk and other natural hazards.  Professor Pinter’s work also involves assessing and guiding state and federal policy on rivers and flooding.  As part of that policy focus, Professor Pinter has been the subject or a scientific source for over 250 articles in newspapers, magazines, radio and television interviews, and web-based media outlets in the US and around the world. A particular focus of recent research by Prof. Pinter and his group is “managed retreat,” meaning the mitigation of flood risk through avoidance and other adaptive and nature-based solutions 

Kathleen Schaefer

PhD candidate and former FEMA engineer, “Natural Disaster Risk: Liability or Asset?”

Ms. Schaefer is a nationally recognized expert in flood risk management. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the UC Davis Watershed Science Center, examining opportunities to convert flood risk into value. Ms. Schaefer is a passionate advocate for replacing our nation’s antiquated flood control philosophy with a modern, science-based, data-driven, integrated, flood risk management philosophy that engages the whole community.  

Ms. Schaefer has over 30 years of water resources management experience, working in both the public and private sectors. Before leaving to pursue a Ph.D., Kathleen worked as a FEMA Regional Engineer managing over $10M in new mapping projects in California –projects that included a new coastal study of the San Francisco Bay. Kathleen believes in the power of innovation and collaboration. 

Eugene Seroka

Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles

Gene Seroka is the Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles, which has experienced a series of historic, record-breaking performances since his appointment in 2014. 

A respected global trade expert, Seroka has distinguished himself as a leader throughout his illustrious career in shipping, global logistics and executive management. 

As Executive Director of the busiest container port in North America, Seroka is responsible for managing a budget that exceeds $1.9 billion, advancing major capital projects, growing trade volumes and promoting innovative, sustainable practices that strengthen the region’s economy. 

Prior to joining the Port, Seroka held several key positions—both nationally and internationally—in sales and management for American President Lines (APL) Limited. He holds an MBA and Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of New Orleans. In addition to his role as Executive Director, he concurrently serves as Chief Logistics Officer for the City of Los Angeles. 

Raghuveer Vinukollu, SVP

Climate Resilience and Solutions Lead at Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.

Raghuveer Vinukollu is a Senior Vice President for Climate Resilience and Solutions at Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. based in Princeton, New Jersey. He is a member of the Strategic Products team and also a core member of the Nat Cat Solutions group focusing on development of innovative products designed to cover various natural catastrophe exposures, either through traditional reinsurance structures or private label approaches. 

Raghuveer has a PhD in land surface hydrology and has often expressed his thoughts on the impact of flooding on personal property and local businesses. He is a passionate advocate for climate adaptation and resiliency with emphasis on the role of insurance and public private partnerships in building resilient communities.  Raghuveer’s expertise in Climate Resilience is reflected in the recent studies titled “Re | imagining resilience in a post pandemic world” and “Nature’s remedy: Improving flood resilience through community insurance and nature-based mitigation”, in which he was the main contributor. 

Raghuveer is also one of the members of the State of California Climate Insurance Working Group and a board member of Helvetas USA (non-profit).  He has also served on the Corporate Advisory Board for the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI).

Danny Wan

Executive Director, Port of Oakland

Danny Wan was named  the Port of Oakland’s Executive Director in Nov. 2019 by the Oakland Port Commission.  Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) in October 2022. The AAPA is the unified voice of the seaport industry in the Americas, representing more than 130 public port authorities in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America. Danny Wan, who is also President of the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA), will serve as the U.S. South Pacific Ports delegate on AAPA’s governing board. Mr. Wan first advised the Port in the 1990s as an external legal counsel. From  2005 to 2008, Mr. Wan was Deputy Port Attorney. From 2008 to 2012, Mr. Wan was the City Attorney and Risk Manager for the City of Morgan Hill. In 2012, Mr. Wan became Port Attorney and advised the Port Board and staff on a broad range of issues in the conduct of the Port’s Maritime, Aviation, and Commercial Real Estate businesses. 

Mr. Wan has been a public servant, local community leader and policy maker.  He started his career in the late 1980s as a public-school teacher in Oakland and San Francisco. In 1996, he was  elected to the Board of Directors for the East Bay Municipal Utilities District. In 2000, he was appointed to the Oakland City Council to represent the Chinatown/Grand Lake district, becoming the first openly-LGBT council member in Oakland, and was elected to the position by voters two years later. Mr. Wan received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Rhetoric and Masters in Education from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Juris Doctorate from the UCLA School of Law. He lives in Oakland with his partner.