The ICLEI USA Board of Directors are local leaders from across the country, including mayors and county executives representing each region. 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:
Council Member Pam O’Connor
Board Vice-Chair and Council Member, Santa Monica, CA
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.
Former Council Member and Mayor, City of Boulder, CO
Matthew Appelbaum served on the city council of Boulder, Colorado, for 18 years, from 1987 to 1995 and recently from 2007 to 2017, including five years as the city’s mayor and four as its deputy mayor.
Matt has been a member of the ICLEI USA Board of Directors since 2015 and also of ICLEI’s Regional Executive Committee for the North America region. Nationally, he served two terms on the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities (NLC) and was a long-time member of NLC’s Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee (EENR), for which he served as chair or vice-chair for several years; EENR has focused its efforts on national policies and best practices relating to energy efficiency, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and resiliency. Matt also has been a member of the steering committee of the WaterNow Alliance since its inception in 2015, an organization dedicated to helping cities and water districts manage their water supplies, wastewater, and stormwater more sustainably.
Regionally, Matt has served on the Executive Board of the Colorado Municipal League (CML), having been on CML’s Policy Committee for many years, and has also served on the Executive Committee of the Denver Metro Mayors Caucus. He was Boulder’s representative to the US36 Mayors and Commissioners Coalition, a group formed to facilitate the construction of bus rapid transit along US36 from Denver to Boulder, as well as additional mobility/transit improvements.
The City of Boulder is well known nationally and internationally for its many innovative programs and policies related to sustainability, energy, and resilience, and was selected as one of the 100 Resilient Cities by the Rockefeller Foundation. Boulder also is currently attempting to “municipalize” its electric power system as a way to rapidly reduce its reliance on fossil fuels through the purchase of renewable supplies, distributed generation, and other innovative tools. Matt has spoken about these issues and many others at numerous forums worldwide, including the United Nations’ annual climate conference COP21 and COP23, the ICLEI World Congress, National League of Cities, 100 Resilient Cities, and the EcoCity World Summit, and was invited to attend the symposium on climate change at the Vatican.
Although Matt is not a design professional — in real life he designed complex computer software systems — he is a LEED AP (so that he could better understand the components of sustainable design), and was the main designer and energy modeler for his own passive-solar house.
Honorable Harvey Ruvin
Clerk of the Courts, Miami-Dade County, FL
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.
Commissioner Brigid Shea
County Commissioner Brigid Shea, Precinct 2 ,Travis County, TX
Commissioner of Travis County, Texas, Brigid Sheacame to Austin in 1988 to start the Texas chapter of Clean Water Action. Prior to that, she had been an award-winning journalist at NPR stations in Minnesota and Philadelphia. Commissioner Shea served on the Austin city council 1993-1996 and championed consumer, electoral and environmental reforms. Shea is the co-founder of SOS, Austin’s historic law to save Barton Springs, has been an advisor to LCRA, Seton, the City of Austin, etc., and her work with a client won the TCEQ Environmental Excellence award. She serves on many boards, including the national board of Clean Water Action. She is a 2001 graduate of Leadership Austin and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce Clean Energy Council. Shea was elected Travis County Commissioner in 2014. She is a native of North Dakota, has two sons, and is married to John Umphress, Green Building specialist with Austin Energy.
Mayor Frank Cownie
Mayor, City of Des Moines, IA
Frank Cownie was elected Mayor of Des Moines, IA, in 2004. He spends much of his time in leadership roles on the national and international stages representing issues that he is most passionate about: local control, resiliency initiatives, the environment, homelessness, peace, jobs, and the economy. Recently, Mayor Cownie was invited by the Executive Office of the Secretary General United Nations to participate in multiple high-level meetings on climate change. In 2011, Mayor Cownie was named as a local government representative when FEMA led the federal interagency meetings that culminated in the “National Disaster Recovery Framework; Strengthening Disaster Recovery for the Nation. Then, in 2014, he served on President Obama’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Mayor Cownie has also been invited to the White House on several occasions to share the local government perspective on jobs, the economy, the environment, transportation infrastructure and Housing and Urban Development.
Prior to joining the City Council in 2002, Mayor Cownie was a member of the Des Moines Planning and Zoning Commission, serving as chair of the Commission from 1996 until 2002. During his time on the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Mayor led the revised Comprehensive Plan known as Des Moines 2020 to its adoption in 2000. Mayor Cownie served on a number of planning subcommittees, including chairing the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) review for the City Council, which made comment and recommendations on the proposed CIP for consistency with the Comprehensive Plan. The Mayor continued his interest in sound urban planning as Co-Chair of “The Tomorrow Plan, Partnering for a Greener Greater Des Moines” from 2011 to 2013. This was the first regional plan adopted by the metro area and was the recipient of the Daniel Burnham Award for Comprehensive Planning from the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association in 2013, and followed up with a new plan for Des Moines: “Plan DSM”, which also was awarded “Silver Level” recognition for sustainability from the American Planning Association and the Daniel Burnham Award for Comprehensive Planning from the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association in 2016.
Deputy Director for the Office of Planning and Community Development, City of Seattle, WA
David Driskell has led city planning and sustainability efforts as a municipal official, consultant, and university-based researcher, working throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as Europe, East Africa, the Middle East, and India. He currently serves as Deputy Director for the City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development, and previously served as the City of Boulder’s Executive Director for Planning, Housing and Sustainability.
David is an urban planner who is passionate about sustainability, community engagement, and cities. Much of his professional work has focused on developing platforms and processes to engage people and institutions in collaborative problem-solving and coordinated action. In Seattle, he is helping facilitate cross-departmental, cross-sectoral collaboration on integrated approaches to equitable and sustainable development, including public open space planning to support a rapidly densifying city, improving the quality of design outcomes in new development, and developing a people-centered vision for the future of Seattle’s center city. In Boulder, he helped guide a wide range of planning and sustainability efforts, from affordable housing and transit-oriented development to zero waste and energy system change. He also forged partnerships with peer cities on sustainability and climate initiatives, and worked with the University of Colorado and others to launch the Growing Up Boulder initiative to support youth engagement in planning.
Prior to his work with City of Boulder, David was the UNESCO Chair for Growing Up in Cities at Cornell University, leading an international action research program focused on young people as community change agents, partnering with NGOs in New York and Nairobi and serving as advisor and trainer for initiatives in Canada, Jordan, Lebanon, the Netherlands and Russia. He is the author of Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth: A Manual for Participation (Earthscan/UNESCO, 2001) as well as many articles and book chapters on the role of young people in environmental action.
As a consultant, he has led participatory planning projects focused on land use, affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization in California, Oregon, New York and New Jersey, and from 1996 to 1997 led the planning team for the Capital City Master Plan for Doha, Qatar. In addition to teaching at Cornell, he has taught urban planning courses at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. He is a graduate of Stanford (BA, 1986) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MCP, 1991).
Mayor William Peduto
Mayor, City of Pittsburgh, PA
William Peduto was elected to the office of Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh in the General Election on November 5, 2013, and took office as Pittsburgh’s 60th Mayor in January of 2014. Prior to taking office, he worked for 19 years on Pittsburgh City Council — seven years as a staffer then 12 years as a Member of Council. As a Councilman, Bill Peduto wrote the most comprehensive package of government reform legislation in Pittsburgh’s history. He strengthened the Ethics Code, created the city’s first Campaign Finance Limits, established Lobbyist Disclosure and Lobbyist Registration and ended No-Bid Contracts. As Mayor, Peduto continues to champion the protection and enhancement of Pittsburgh’s new reputation — maintaining fiscal responsibility, establishing community based development plans, embracing innovative solutions and becoming a leader in green initiatives.
The Peduto administration is committed to modernizing city government and implementing leading practices to provide taxpayers with an efficient, effective, transparent, and a more accountable government. Under Peduto’s leadership, the City of Pittsburgh has experienced a complete transformation of the city’s procurement process; the reorganization of the Department of Permits, Licenses & Inspections; a commitment to developing a long-term maintenance and investment plan for the city’s assets; the creation of the ONEPGH Resilience Strategy, and technological upgrades including a GPS based Snow Plow Tracker website, 311 Response Center mobile app, an interactive street paving website and several digital tools built with public information in a new open data portal. Setting priorities around strengthening Pittsburgh’s 90 communities, Peduto established the Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment to promote the city’s role in housing, small business, and education; led the development of the city’s land bank; and championed the creation of a neighborhood-strengthening Rental Registration program.
Since taking office, Mayor Peduto has lead a collaborative effort to make Pittsburgh a leading 21st Century city. The Peduto administration has partnered with the White House on numerous initiatives, resulting in direct access to federal support related to affordable housing, education, economic development, energy efficiency, immigration, manufacturing, community policing, workforce development, technology and transportation. Under Peduto’s leadership the City of Pittsburgh has played an active role in National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Pennsylvania Municipal League initiatives. Pittsburgh was recently selected to join the Rockefeller Foundation network’s 100 Resilient Cities, which provides resources to improve city resilience in the face of climate change, globalization and urbanization trends. In 2015, Mayor Peduto signed a unique agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to make the city a world leader in district energy production and Pittsburgh joined the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, a global coalition of climate leaders committed to local action and global impact. Recently, Mayor Peduto joined with mayors across the world to reaffirm Pittsburgh’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and efforts to combat climate change. Mayor Peduto is also a founding member of the MetroLab Network, a national alliance of cities and universities committed to providing analytically-based solutions to improve urban infrastructure, services and other public sector priorities.
The Peduto administration is working to ensure that everyone benefits from Pittsburgh’s transformation and growth because, “If it’s not for all, it’s not for us.”
Managing Partner at Stiles.Legal and Senior Strategic Advisor and General Counsel to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and The Climate Reality Project
Dan Stiles is a passionate climate activist, attorney, business leader and advisor, and tech entrepreneur. Through his private law practice, Dan serves as a Senior Strategic Advisor and General Counsel to former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore and the global nonprofit The Climate Reality Project. Dan also serves as counsel to several other major climate and nonprofit organizations, including Protect Our Winters and Facing Addition, the leading national non-profit addressing addiction issues in America, in addition to many other startups and businesses.
Dan has served in leadership roles in multi-million-dollar organizations ranging from Chief Operating Officer for The Climate Reality Project to helping launch a successful tech startup. Dan helped manage a climate expedition to Antarctica with more than 100 global business leaders, celebrities and scientists, including Al Gore, Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Tommy Lee Jones, Christiana Figueres, Jason Mraz, and others. He provided legal and strategic counsel for a major documentary film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, as well as for the Emmy-nominated broadcast television special 24 Hours of Reality, which was the largest global social media broadcast online to date and reached more than 550 million homes in more than 100 nations on television alone. Dan has managed logistics and risk for clients around the world, including through the Paris terrorist attack in 2015 and the uprising in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2013. He has also served in various leadership roles in federal and state politics from Deputy Chief Counsel to the DNCC for the 2008 Democratic National Convention to National Traveling Press Coordinator for a Presidential campaign.