Solar Panels Field in the Desert

A Clean Energy Community Advisory Commission provides input to the City Council. It’s composed of community members with technical, business, and other areas of expertise who advise and make recommendations to the City Council about SJCE. They help identify both proven and innovative methods for reducing carbon emissions, increasing energy efficiency and developing new, local energy programs and facilities. Most of all, they are your liaison to SJCE.

The Advisory Commission meets monthly in City Hall. Please email to be notified about Commission meetings and agendas. You can find past and upcoming agendas and meeting on the Advisory Commission page.

Commission members include:

Ben Foster – Chair

Term Expires: 12/31/2021

Benjamin “Ben” Foster is a clean energy consultant. Ben recognizes the importance of his role as a member of the commission which is to provide community-based input for programs and policies and to ensure that the goals of the program are met to provide cleaner, cost-effective electricity. He brings years of experience and insight which will assist SJCE with innovation and support the program’s success. Ben is appreciative and proud of the great city he lives and works in. He appreciates the green energy choice that residents and businesses in the community now have. Ben has resided in San José for the past 10 years.

Daniel Zazueta – Vice Chair

Term Expires: 12/31/2021

Daniel Zazueta is currently Deputy City Attorney for the City of Redwood City. He earned his undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley and spent four years as a high school teacher before attending law school at Santa Clara University. Following law school, Daniel joined the Obama Administration as a political appointee in the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Energy. He later converted to a federal position as a trial attorney for DOE and served a brief stint in the Office of the White House Counsel as Deputy Ethics Counsel under President Barack Obama. In 2017, Daniel returned home with his wife to San José where he grew up as the youngest of three children to a Mexican immigrant father and American mother. Daniel’s return to San José has allowed him to become involved with local government, be close to family, and start a family of his own. In addition to serving as the Chair for CECAC, he also serves as the Treasurer and Judiciary Chair for La Raza Lawyers Association of Santa Clara County.

Gerald Gottheil

Term Expires: 12/31/2021

Gerald Gottheil has 20 years of experience leading successful marketing programs for start-ups and Fortune 500 companies in multiple markets, including: telecommunications, office automation, graphic arts, computer and network technology, virtual reality, renewable and clean energy. He believes that energy policy and programs are critical to our local economy, health, and safety. His background in energy has included primary research into phase-change energy storage; utility marketing and program management for energy conservation, demand management, and time-of-use metering; and branding, public relations, and marketing communications for utility-scale solar energy systems. Gerald holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Delaware, an MBA from San Diego State University, and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of California. He has lived in San Jose for over 25 years.

Matt Mahan

Term Expires: 12/31/2021

Matt Mahan is CEO & Cofounder of Brigade, a venture-backed startup that is building the world’s first voter network to help citizens get organized and take action on issues and candidates they believe in. Matt was previously the CEO of Causes, one of the first Facebook Apps, which reached 185M people in over 150 countries and raised over $50M for nonprofits from small-dollar donors. Prior to his career in tech, Matt taught middle school in Alum Rock, San Jose. Matt attended Bellarmine College Prep and went on to Harvard University, where he was student body president and a magna cum laude graduate in Social Studies. Matt is passionate about environmental issues, including decarbonizing the economy, preserving open space and protecting biodiversity. He and his wife Silvia love hiking, camping and being outside together with their daughter, Nina.

Ruth Merino

Term Expires: 12/31/2021

Ruth Merino worked at the City of San José’s Office of the City Auditor for 24 years where she was a Senior Program Performance Auditor. She retired in 2010 to focus on her environmental/energy advocacy interests of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by using more renewable energy, electric/hybrid vehicles and electric home appliances. In 2012, Ruth attended the Climate Reality Leadership Corp Training Conference given by Al Gore on how to present an updated slideshow similar to that shown in the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” In 2013, she completed an online course, Climate Literacy: Navigating Climate Change Conversations. She is the Board Secretary for the Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters and Chair of San Jose Community Energy Advocates, a community group, which together with partner organizations successfully advocated for the San José City Council to approve the San José Clean Energy program in May 2017. Ruth joined the San José Clean Energy Advisory Commission because she wants to give input and help ensure a successful implementation of the program. Ruth received her B.A. from UC Berkeley and has been a member of the Sierra Club since 1992. Ruth has been a resident of San José for over 35 years and drives a 2017 Volt!

Reza Sadeghian

Term Expires: 12/31/2019

Reza Sadeghian is an innovative senior executive and consultant with more than 40 years of success spanning technology and IT, software and SAAS, and startups. Reza Sadeghian joined the commission to learn about San José Clean Energy initiatives and leverage his experience at SAP dealing with PG&E, Exxon and other companies. Reza has held leadership positions with SAP America and SAP AG, Synopsys Inc., Veritas Software, Applied Materials, and Nestle USA. He served as a Board Advisor and Angel Investor to numerous companies, including Clever Sense, PassBan Intelligence Security, BINA Technology, Genome Analytics, and currently works with exciting startups such as, VMDOC, BaseHealth, Atheer Labs, PuraCath, and Trayt. He has been resident of San José for the past 24 years.

Tony Strawa

Term Expires: 12/31/2021

Dr. Anthony Strawa is recently retired from NASA – Ames Research Center where he was an Atmospheric Scientist, studying climate change for 20 years. He is deeply dedicated to mitigating the effects of climate change through sustainable energy use and development. He has been involved in many climate related organizations and spoken at a variety of venues on the need, policies, and technology needed to address the ecological crisis. He is one of 20 Catholic Climate Ambassadors nationwide who speak about the Church’s position on climate change. He joined the commission so that he could use his expertise as a scientist and engineer to promote San José Clean Energy and further the City’s climate action plan. Dr. Strawa has lived in San José since 1991.

Richard R. Zahner

Term Expires: 12/31/2019

Richard Zahner has over 40 years of experience related to planning, design, permitting, construction, operations, and development of electric power systems. His major interest and contribution has been integration of new technologies into commercial buildings and power generation. He held senior positions at Bechtel, where he founded and organized the Operation Group and was an independent power consultant for Calpine. Richard’s experience includes gas-fired combined-cycle cogeneration systems, utility scale solar projects, biomass and waste coal fluid bed combustors, and new technology evaluation and demonstration. Richard has worked on a variety of projects including Gilroy Energy Company 120 MW, the Capco Biomass to Energy plants 12MW, Diamond Energy’s Doswell Project 680 MW, a 2 MW Fuel Cell power plant, the 20MW Rough & Ready Solar project, and conceptual design of an LNG production facility. Before co-founding Next Energy Concepts, he was responsible for Western Region Business Development at Calpine Corporation where he managed the acquisition of the 870 MW PG&E Geysers Complex. Richard most recently served as Vice President of Operations where he coordinated the company’s 90 plus plant fleet and managed the company’s vertical integration strategy in capital parts manufacturing.

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