We are a collaboration of local government, businesses, and residents helpingMenlo Park become climate neutral
WHO WE ARE
We are a nonprofit collaboration of local government, businesses, and residents helping Menlo Park become climate neutral by 2025 as we advance community prosperity, economic vitality, and strong civic heritage.
MenloSpark began when a small group of community members with diverse interests and experience joined together to explore opportunities to promote long-term economic vitality, equity, and quality of life in Menlo Park while addressing the urgent threat of climate change.
We believe that Menlo Park, with its highly engaged citizenry and unique resources in the heart of Silicon Valley, can be a national leader in sustainability and climate action, generating massive local benefits while serving as an example to similar cities and towns across the country.
Moreover, a large-scale community-led movement, including partnerships with business, government, and philanthropy, has the potential within a decade to put Menlo Park well on the path towards achieving the bold goal of climate neutrality.
MenloSpark will be a nonprofit initiative that collaborates with the city government, businesses, and residents to ensure the success of the community’s efforts on climate and sustainability-related issues. By helping to weave together the network of projects and initiatives in the city that may contribute to sustainability, MenloSpark will support a more unified strategy for progress towards the ultimate goal of climate neutrality.
Diane is a climate and clean air advocate with a background in environmental science. She comes from the Natural Resources Defense Council, where she spent almost 14 years working at the local, state, federal and international level promoting improved air quality and public health through reduced fossil fuel use, advances in clean transportation, and pollution prevention in industry. Previously, Diane worked at Citizens for a Better Environment in Chicago and a local transportation planning agency in Houston. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Washington University and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Rice University.
Erik is an energy & environment consulting professional with strong business acumen and proven leadership in strategy and business development. He brings 20+ years work experience including successful startup, regional nonprofit, large public consulting firm, and industry think-tank. Erik has a broad yet substantial knowledge of residential & commercial energy efficiency projects, renewable energy policies & programs, clean-tech evaluation, green building practices, and broader sustainable organizational strategy.
He holds a graduate degree in energy & environmental policy from Duke University’s Nicholas School and a B.A. from UC Berkeley. Erik served in the Navy in the SF Bay Area in the early 1990s, and his grandfather owned a home in Menlo Park while flying for Transocean Airlines in the 1940’s out of Oakland, during the “early” years of commercial aviation.
SUSAN BELL, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Principal, Susan Bell and Associates
Former Vice President, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Susan and her firm provide strategic counsel to private philanthropies and nonprofit organizations to address environmental and social issues, helping leaders develop goals and strategies and build effective organizations. Susan spent fourteen years with The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as Vice President managing the expansion of the Foundation and directing the Foundation’s efforts to improve the practice of philanthropy and also helping launch the ClimateWorks Foundation, an international grantmaking organization working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Susan serves on the boards of the European Climate Foundation, National Audubon Society, and Monterey Bay Aquarium, and on the Leadership Council of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University.
Principal, Local Climate Solutions
Retired Executive Director, Acterra
Michael Closson is an environmental consultant who lives in Menlo Park, CA, with past clients including the Sierra Club, and current work with the Center for Climate Protection. His previous professional experience includes: Executive Director of Acterra: Action for a Sustainable Earth in Palo Alto, CA (2003-2013), Executive Director of Biodiversity Northwest in Seattle, WA (2000-2003), Programs Director for the Earth Day Network in Seattle, WA (1998-2000), Executive Director of the Center for Economic Conversion in Mountain View, CA (1983-1998), Co-Director of New Ways to Work in Palo Alto, CA (1976-1982), and Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Stanford University in Stanford, CA (1972-1976). He holds a Ph.D. (Sociology) and a M.A. from Cornell University and a B.A. from Middlebury College.
CHRIS DECARDY, CHAIR
Menlo Park Environmental Quality Commissioner
Vice President and Director of Programs, David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Chris DeCardy has been chair and serves on the Menlo Park Environmental Quality Commission where he as focused on climate change and water management issues. He has been active in his community since moving to Menlo Park in 2003. He has worked on climate change issues throughout his professional career in running an environmental policy and advocacy non-profit in Washington, DC and currently as Vice President and Director of Programs at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
Menlo Park Planning Commissioner
Head of Community Relations, LinkedIn
Katie Ferrick was formerly the Chair of the Menlo Park Planning Commission and is currently serving her second term, and was former President of the Parent Teacher Organization at her younger child’s school. In recent years, she has worked for Congresswoman Jackie Speier in her district office as a Field Representative and Caseworker. Katie earned a master’s of science degree in Counseling from San Francisco State University and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Oregon. She has focused her professional life on public service and community engagement.
Principal, Redstone Strategy Group
Brent leads the California office of Redstone Strategy Group. He provides guidance on strategy and policy advocacy to several of the nation’s leading foundations and philanthropists. Brent helped author the Redstone Strategies Report for Menlo Spark. In the process, he became a major supporter of Menlo Spark, donating significant personal time. After moving to the Willows neighborhood of Menlo Park with his wife and two dogs, he joined our Advisory Board. Before joining Redstone, Brent was the vice president for operations at ClimateWorks Foundation. Prior to ClimateWorks, Brent served as counsel to the Presidential Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. Earlier in his career, he was a fellow at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
President and Co-Founder, Next Generation
Matt James oversees a team of professionals who promote solutions to two of the biggest challenges confronting the next generation of Americans: the risk of dangerous climate change, and the threat of diminished prospects for children and families. Prior to co-founding Next Generation, Matt was an integral part of the Menlo Park-based Kaiser Family Foundation’s leadership team for 20 years, serving most recently as executive vice president. Prior to joining Kaiser, he worked in national politics as a senior aide to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, Senator Dale Bumpers of Arkansas, and Representative Morris K. Udall of Arizona. Matt was appointed by President Clinton to the board of the Morris K. Udall Foundation, is past-chairman of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health and serves on the President’s Advisory Board of the National Wildlife Federation and on the board of the CDC Foundation. Matt and his wife Donna have long been active in Menlo Park as volunteers and sent both of their children through the Menlo Park public school system.
Managing Editor of Climatic Change
Former Menlo Park Environmental Quality Commissioner
Kristin Kuntz-Duriseti is Managing Editor of Climatic Change, an international journal publishing interdisciplinary research on the description, causes, and implications of climate change. A former Environmental Quality Commissioner for Menlo Park, Kristin has served as Chair and as the commission representative to the Menlo Park General Plan Advisory Committee in support of responsible and progressive sustainability measures and policies. She is also currently collaborating on the development of the Peninsula Advanced Energy Community (PAEC), which will showcase the benefits of the Advanced Energy policies and projects promoting renewable energy and a shift to a low carbon future. Kristin has a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from Stanford University.
MITCH SLOMIAK, VICE-CHAIR
Former Menlo Park Environmental Quality Commissioner (2007-2015)
Consulting Chief Financial Officer
Mitch Slomiak was a founding leader and long-time Co-Chair of Menlo Park’s Green Ribbon Citizens’ Committee in 2007, supporting the research and creation of a substantial set of climate action recommendations to the City Council that involved over 130 participants. Mitch also served on Menlo Park’s Environmental Quality Commission from 2008 to 2015, including two terms as Chairman, with primary focus on developing and supporting the city’s Climate Action Plan. In his professional career, Mitch was CFO for two emerging companies and has served as a Consulting CFO for numerous growth companies over the past 18 years, including several cleantech startups. Mitch also serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto.