Storms, Flooding & Sea Level Defense November Conference 2023

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 Bardini

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

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.

Brad Benson

Waterfront Resilience Program Director, Port of San Francisco

Brad Benson

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.

Mario Cordero

Executive Director, Port of Long Beach, California

Mario Cordero

Mario Cordero, an international maritime industry leader, Long Beach resident and attorney, is Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach, California, named to the post by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners in May 2017.

Beginning in 2003, Mr. Cordero served as a member, vice president and president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners for eight years, before resigning to accept President Barack Obama’s appointment to the Federal Maritime Commission in 2011. He served on the FMC until May 2017 and was FMC Chairman from April 2013 to January 2017. 

As Executive Director, Mr. Cordero reports to the Board and leads the Port’s Harbor Department staff of more than 500 with an annual budget of $650 million in fiscal year 2020. 

Mr. Cordero has practiced law for more than 30 years, specializing in workers’ compensation cases. He holds a law degree from the University of Santa Clara, and a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from California State University, Long Beach. He taught Political Science at Long Beach City College, served on the City of Long Beach Community Development Commission, and was Vice-Chair of the Long Beach Ethics Task Force. Mr. Cordero was elected Chairman of the Board for the American Association of Port Authorities in 2020 following a term as Vice Chairman.

Derek Chow

Deputy Director, Hawaii State Harbor Division

Dereck Chow

Derek Chow is the Pacific Rim Business Development Manager for Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company in Honolulu, Hawaii with pursuits in the renewable energy and ports and maritime sectors.  Prior to his joining Burns & McDonnell in August 2022, Derek served as the Deputy Director, State of Hawaii Harbors Division, and various positions with the US Army Corps of Engineers, including Chief of Civil Works and US Forces Chief of the Division of Water and Infrastructure in Afghanistan.  He has been involved in storm damage reduction projects, responses to dam breaks, typhoons and tsunamis throughout the Pacific islands.

Peter Dreyfuss

Peter and Jonathan Dreyfuss, Co-founders, Watermaster North America

Peter Dreyfuss

Peter Dreyfuss and his brother Jonathan founded Watermaster North America, LLC, a US company which has the exclusive franchise for the US and Canada to import components of the Watermaster Amphibious Dredger from Finland, with a hull manufactured in Michigan.  This Jones Act compliant dredger Finland is a 5th generation machine currently being used in over 70 countries.

The AMD 5000 can be driven to a worksite on a standard lowboy trailer, and can then walk off the trailer and into the water, where it is propeller driven to a work site.  Powered by a Caterpillar Acert C7.1 Tier 4 engine, this suction cutter-dredger can pump 20-30% slurry up to a mile away through 10” piping, and further with booster pumps.

This machine can be viewed in action at our website 

Rachael Hartofelis

Project Manager, MTC/ABAG

Rachael Hartofelis a Resilience Planner with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Association of Bay Area Governments. Her work focuses on understanding environmental risk, helping to analyze regional vulnerability, as well as supporting environmental assessments of the region for long-range planning. She has specialized in understanding local and regional vulnerability to sea level rise, providing risk analysis and visualization. Rachael has also specialized in understanding the funding of environmental adaptation, creating unprecedented assessments about regional financial need.

Janelle Kellman

Executive Director, Center for Sea Rise Solutions 

Janelle Kellman, Esq. has spent the last two decades working on challenges that define the 21st Century. Janelle most recently served as the Mayor of Sausalito in 2022 and is still a member of the Sausalito City Council. In her role as Mayor she tackled critical issues facing all of California, including climate resilience, affordable housing, homelessness, economic development, and equity and inclusion. Janelle most recently announced her candidacy for California Lieutenant Governor in 2026.

Janelle began her career as an environmental attorney, and worked across private and public practice in building her legal expertise. She has also launched her own technology startup and served as a trusted advisor to technology entrepreneurs. Janelle has a reputation as a unifying leader who can mobilize diverse constituencies to take action together, applying a unique lens of law, technology and public service to complex problems.

In 2020, Janelle founded the Center for Sea Rise Solutions, a global non-profit focused on coastal resilience and ocean health. She has spent significant time in California and in coastal communities across the United States working directly with elected leaders and their staff to help them find innovative solutions to these emerging climate challenges and to create opportunities for coastal communities to take action towards resilience. Janelle is also recognized as a global leader on coastal resilience and climate change, and what’s emerging as “the blue economy.” She has developed climate partnerships around the intersection of climate resilience, economic prosperity, and equity across the globe. Janelle most recently spent time advancing coastal and ocean health policies and innovation with private sector and government partners in France, Italy, and Portugal.

Janelle holds an undergraduate degree in History from Yale, a Masters in Environmental Management from Oxford, and a J.D. from Stanford Law. She was a two sport collegiate athlete and is currently an avid trail runner.

Justin Luedy

Senior Environmental Specialist, Port of Long Beach

 Justin Luedy has worked as a Senior Environmental Specialist at the Port of Long Beach for over 15 years, where he’s responsible for projects and programs related to climate change adaptation and coastal resiliency planning, harbor-wide biological surveys, wildlife mitigation and management, water quality monitoring, compensatory wetland mitigation, and sustainability. Justin holds a B.S. in Marine Biology and a M.S. in Environmental Science. 

Stas Margaronis

President, Propeller Club of Northern California

Stas Margaronis

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

Adrienne Newbold

Port Engineer, Port of Los Angeles

Adrienne Newbold

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.

Jan Novak

Associate Environmental Planner and Scientist, Port of Oakland

Jan Novak

Jan Novak is a professional wetland scientist who works as an associate environmental planner/scientist with the Port of Oakland. He is responsible for permitting water-based projects and dredging. He recently managed the Port’s AB 691 Sea-Level Rise analysis. Prior to starting at the Port, he worked for 16 years at several environmental consulting firms. He studied soil science at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Charlie Perham

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

Charlie Perham

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.

Emery Roe

Senior Research Associate, Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, U.C. Berkeley

Emery Roe is Senior Researcher at the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, University of California Berkeley. He is a practicing policy analyst with a long-term focus on risk and uncertainty and more recently on society’s critical infrastructures. He is author or co-author of articles and books, including High Reliability Management (2008) and Reliability and Risk (2016), both co-authored with Paul Schulman.  

Danny Wan

Executive Director, Port of Oakland

Danny Wan

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.