Board of Directors

The ICLEI USA Board of Directors is a body of local leaders from across the country, including mayors and county executives representing each region, as well as global representatives. The Board helps drive the organization strategically and ensures that ICLEI’s value to its local government members continues to meet and exceed expectations. We extend our deepest appreciation to our Board of Directors:

Corporate Officers

    Valerie Brown

    Board Chair

      Former Supervisor Valerie Brown was appointed to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors by the Governor in August of 2002 to fill former Supervisor Mike Cale’s vacated seat on the Board. After collecting over 4,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot Supervisor Brown was re-elected to the Board by the people of the First District in March of 2004 and served two terms through 2012.

      Valerie Brown is involved in advisory committees locally in the Sonoma Valley supporting the activities of the Sonoma Valley Art Museum, the Ecology Center, the Mentoring Alliance, and others.

      Currently Valerie Brown serves on the Board of Directors for the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) where she Chaired the Housing, Land Use and Transportation Policy Committee and was Vice-Chair of the Indian Gaming Working Group.

      At the national level Supervisor Brown was elected to a leadership position and currently serve as the First Vice President of the National Association of Counties (NACo), an organization that represents more than 2400 counties nationwide. In 2009, Valerie Brown served as President of NACo with a presidential initiative of health care reform.


        Jeb Brugmann


          Jeb Brugmann serves on ICLEI USA’s Board of Directors as he continues a 25-year career in the municipal and urban sectors. For the last five years he has worked intensively in the private sector with major multinational corporations helping develop new products and business models to serve large low-income populations in developing countries.

          In 1990, Brugmann founded the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and served as ICLEI’s Secretary General from 1991-2000. In this capacity, he conceived and founded the worldwide ‘Local Agenda 21’ initiative, which since its high profile endorsement by 178 countries at the 1992 UN ‘Earth Summit’ has engaged nearly 10,000 communities in 115 countries in community-based sustainable development planning and implementation. In 1991, Brugmann and Philip Jessup also co-founded ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection Campaign, which has since involved more than 800 cities and towns in more than 50 countries in a coordinated effort to quantify and reduce their local greenhouse gas emissions.

          Between 1985 and 2005, Brugmann worked directly with 49 municipalities and urban slum communities in 21 countries on their local sustainable development projects. From 2000-2003 he was Principal of City-States urban strategies consulting, serving as a strategy consultant to the cities of Barcelona, Metro Vancouver, Honolulu, and Kitakyushu, and managing a multi-year capacity-building program for Asian municipal leaders through a partnership between the Asian Development Bank, Honolulu and the US-AID Asia Environmental Program.

          In 2003, Brugmann joined Prof. CK Prahalad, the world’s leading global business strategist, as a Founding Partner of The Next Practice, a business consultancy specialized in developing businesses that serve the “base of pyramid” (very low income) households in India, S. Africa and other parts of the world. . Brugmann’s clients have included bp (formerly British Petroleum), Barclays, Nestles and Reuters.

          Brugmann is an economist by profession. He holds a B.A. in economics with highest honors, specializing in regional economics, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government. He has received a variety of international awards and recognitions for his work in the urban sustainability field. He has served on numerous international “best practice” awards panels and published in a number of scholarly journals including Harvard Business Review, Third World Development Review, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, and Local Environment . He is a founding and continuing editorial board member of Local Environment. His critically-acclaimed book, Welcome to the Urban Revolution: How Cities Are Changing the World, was released in 2009 by Bloomsbury Press (USA) and Penguin Books (Canada), as well as in China, India, Australia, Poland, Netherlands and elsewhere.


            Pegeen Hanrahan

            First Vice President

              Throughout former mayor Pegeen Hanrahan’s tenure as mayor support for her elections has been broad and bipartisan and has included endorsements from diverse groups such as the Sierra Club, the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida, the Gainesville Sun, the Alligator, Satellite Magazine, the Iguana, and the North Central Florida Labor Council. During her Commission service, by vote of her peers, she was elected to serve as Mayor-Commissioner Pro Tem for three years. In addition to her public service, Pegeen is a registered Professional Engineer. She currently is a consultant to the Trust for Public Land in their Conservation Finance Program, and has spent five years with Terra-Com Environmental Consulting, a groundwater remediation firm where, in 2003, she was promoted to Senior Vice President. Pegeen is a native and lifelong resident of Gainesville, and is married to Tony Malone, a civil engineer with CH2MHill. Their daughter, Evyleen Mary Malone, was born in September 2005 and their son, Quinn Joseph Malone, was born March 2007. In 2010, Pegeen Hanrahan completed her tenth year of elective service with the City of Gainesville, and stepped down as mayor in May 2010, in accordance with the City’s term limits.

              In 1999, Pegeen developed a successful ,000 grant application to the US EPA Environmental Justice through Pollution Prevention Program to employ urban-area African American teenagers, and continues as a volunteer with that effort. She developed and teaches learning modules in topics such as brownfield redevelopment and stormwater management for the participants in this “Environmental Ambassadors” program. Pegeen also designed and co-wrote a successful EPA Sustainable Development Challenge Grant and a U.S. Brownfield Pilot Project Grant. Vice President Al Gore and Congresswoman Karen Thurman recognized her leadership in the latter at the White House. She has participated in obtaining numerous other grants from the Florida Communities Trust, and conceived and authored a 2001 grant of .88 million for acquisition of Blues Creek Ravine and Fox Pond, which were purchased by the Trust for Public Land.

              Under contract with the St. Johns River Water Management District, in 1999 Pegeen developed “WaterSmart Communities,” a decision-making toolkit for elected and appointed officials. She has worked on sustainability issues for the Florida Center for Construction and Environment, and was an engineer and manager with the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department’s Hazardous Materials Program from 1992 to 1997. She received her Bachelor’s (1989) and Master’s (1992) degrees in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida, as well as a BA in Sociology (1989), also from UF.


                Michael Schmitz


                  Michael is the Executive Director of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability USA, the leading membership association of cities & counties committed to climate action, clean energy, and sustainability.  A recognized leader in the sustainability and climate change field, he has consistently achieved success through building strong and dynamic teams.

                  Michael is an attorney and non-profit leader with business experience who brings to the job over two decades of experience in policy at the federal, state, and local levels. Before joining ICLEI, Michael was Principal of Go Forward Consulting specializing in strategic research, analysis and policy development. The firm managed and advised non-profit, business, and political clients on a range of issues including environmental regulation, land use, and economic development. In this capacity he served as Executive Director of CLEEN, a statewide coalition of environmental and public health organizations advocating for the protection of California’s clean water and environmental health.

                  Prior to founding the firm in 2003, he was a civil rights attorney and senior legislative counsel for the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus focusing on environmental, trade, and economic development policies.

                  He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Stanford, a law degree from UC Hastings in San Francisco, and a master’s degree in Urban Planning from UCLA.

                  Michael’s civic activities include four years as Economic Development Commissioner in the City of Alameda and Board Member of the Restoration Advisory Board at Alameda Point NAS charged with overseeing the clean-up of the former Naval air station.

                  He and his wife Catherine have a sophomore and a seventh grader and live in the Bay Area.



                  Board Members

                    Mayor Frank Cownie

                    Mayor, City of Des Moines, Iowa

                      Des Moines Mayor T. M. Franklin Cownie has spent much of his time in leadership roles on the national and international stage representing issues that he is most passionate about; local control, green initiatives, jobs and the economy.  Most recently Mayor Cownie represented America’s cities and the United States at the International Climate Meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark where he was invited to participate as a local government delegate.  Cownie has been invited to the White House on several occasions to share the local government perspective on jobs, the economy and the environment.  He works extensively with the US Conference of Mayors, ICLEI USA, and many others.  Frank is the father of four children and has deep ties to his community. His goal has always been to build a better future and a better community for the next generation.

                      Frank was elected to an At-Large Council seat in January 2002.  He was then elected to the mayor’s seat in January 2004 and was re-elected in January 2008, winning 80 percent of the votes cast.  With this overwhelming vote of confidence from the community Cownie continues his leadership role in the business community and across the city.

                      Mayor Cownie created and led the Mayor’s Task Force on Energy and Environment, which brought together representatives from across the community to collaborate on environmental and energy-efficiency issues. This task force ultimately led to the Des Moines City Council adoption of guiding principles for the city’s green initiatives.  He led the initiative to have the first LEED Certified Building constructed in Des Moines – the Park and Recreation Department’s Glendale/West Zone Maintenance Facility.

                      Mayor Cownie has been a long-time proponent of adding hybrid vehicles to the city fleet operations and it was through his efforts that the city has developed alternative transportation initiatives, and received a federal grant to purchase a fleet of energy-efficient hybrid automobiles.

                      Frank has been on the front line of the battle for trees.  Pushing to increase the urban forest and to save trees from destruction, he led the effort to adopt the new City of Des Moines Tree Preservation Ordinance.    Other recent successes include community partnerships to re-forest the city.

                      Cownie is also rapidly gaining national recognition through his leadership roles with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.  He is a member of The U.S. Conference of Mayors Advisory Board and is a Co-Chair of the Hunger and Homelessness Task Force.  He was one of only eleven U.S. mayors chosen to travel to Israel in 2005 as a member of the International Council of Mayors; and one of only eight U.S. mayors chosen to formulate regional environmental policies for American cities through his work with the international group, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI). Mayor Cownie is an active member of the progressive group, the New City Project, and was an early signer of the US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.


                        Mayor Michael A. Nutter

                        Mayor, City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

                          Recently re-elected to his second term as Mayor of his hometown, Michael A. Nutter has set an aggressive agenda for America’s fifth largest city – devising the City’s innovative school reform strategy, vowing to strengthen community policing through Philly Rising, a unique partnership between vulnerable neighborhoods and the City, and continuing to implement the nationally recognized GreenWorks Philadelphia initiative that is helping to make the City of Philadelphia become the greenest city in America.

                          Since taking office in January 2008, Michael Nutter has vigorously managed city government through the worst recession since the Great Depression by maintaining core services and reducing the City’s spending – most notably closing a .4 billion gap in Philadelphia’s five year plan without compromising a single police officer, fire fighter, sanitation, or health center worker.

                          Born in Philadelphia and educated at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Michael Nutter has been committed to public service since his youth in West Philadelphia. He served almost 15 years on the Philadelphia City Council, earning the reputation of a reformer, before his election as Mayor of Philadelphia. He is happily married to his wife Lisa, and a proud parent to Christian and Olivia.


                            Council Member Pam O’Connor

                            Council Member, City of Santa Monica, California

                              Council Member Pam O’Connor has championed policies and partnerships that enhance community livability and wellbeing on the Santa Monica City Council since 1994 and has served as Mayor five times. She is particularly interested in issues that advance sustainability and mobility.

                              Council Member O’Connor serves on Advisory Boards for the Santa Monica College Public Policy Institute and UCLA’s Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies. She participated in the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is an active member of the National League of Cities having served on its Transportation Infrastructure and Services Committee, Information Technology and Communications Committee, and on the Board of Women in Municipal Government.

                              Council Member O’Connor also served on the California Coastal Commission as an alternate from 2010 to 2012. This quasi-judicial regulatory body oversees land use issues that impact California’s coastline, with the goal of protecting and conserving the environment and preserving public access to this natural resource.

                              As a professional urban planning consultant, Pam O’Connor specializes in historic preservation. She has worked on significant historic buildings throughout Southern California including the Los Angeles City Hall Seismic Rehabilitation, and at institutions. Her expertise includes environmental review and rehabilitation of historic resources. Other previous positions of note include: Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Northridge Earthquake Recovery Partnership Program; Planner for the City of Pasadena; and Research Associate at the Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

                              Pam O’Connor holds Masters’ degrees in Planning and in Technology Management from Eastern Michigan University and a B.S. in Communications from Southern Illinois University.

                              Council Member O’Connor views community wellbeing as the natural next step in the evolution of local government, as well as a way to advance the connection between mobility and sustainability issues by looking at their impact through the lens of human flourishing.


                                Honorable Harvey Ruvin

                                Clerk of the Courts, Miami-Dade County, Florida

                                  Harvey Ruvin is a graduate Industrial Engineer (University of Florida 1959). He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami Law School, 1962. Mr. Ruvin lives in Miami Beach with his wife, Risa. He has two sons, an adult son Eric and Zachary, a teenager.

                                  He was first elected to public office in 1968 at the age of 30. Serving as Mayor of the City of North Bay Village, he became one of the youngest mayors in Miami-Dade County history. In 1972, Ruvin was elected to the Metro Dade County Commission where he served till 1992, becoming the only person ever to be elected to five consecutive 4-year terms to the Commission.

                                  In 1992, he was elected to the Office of Miami-Dade County Clerk and in 1996 and 2000 was re-elected without opposition. The Office’s constitutional responsibilities include interaction with the County’s Billion plus budget and financial management, Clerk of the Courts, Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, Recorder of Deeds, Records Management and much more. The Agency has 1400 employees and a million budget funded mostly from its own revenue collections. The Office serves a myriad of functions and touches all branches of local government.