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LACOE’s Green Team is a project of the Division of Facilities and Construction as a way to connect with other Divisions to share best practices and strategize on how to be more energy efficient as a whole organization.  The Green Team was established in 2006.  The team consists of the following collaborative partners from various Divisions throughout LACOE: 

Top Row (L to R): David Albright, Jim Fahey, Bill Deegan, Matthew Jaffke, Carl Burns, Tyler Cook, Jake Ramos
Bottom Row (L to R): Denise Fay, Yvonne Contreras, Jema Estrella, Tony Lucich, Laura Verbryck, Kristen Kenton

Alicia Fernandez, Program Manager, Head Start
I've come a long way down the path to being a more conscientious and mindful citizen of the Green world.  Initially, my interest was fueled by the mountain of packaging and non-recyclable items I carted home each week as I shopped for my family (this includes two rapidly growing children). This awareness, was coupled with my exposure to wonderful programs and informative documentaries from PBS, the Discovery Chanel and Netflix. Together, these influences formed the catalyst for a new way of thinking about the environment, and my place in it. It became quickly apparent to me, that the natural world we live in is being harmed to the point of irreversible damage. The load of so many man-made materials,  toxic to the environment, is simply unsustainable.  I am very excited to be a part of the Green Team, now I can finally harness my interest in being a better shepherd for our environment, at work and at home with my family.  I believe this will better help me to nurture an interest in the environment with my colleagues, my family and looking towards the future, my children. My wish is that these changes to our behavior and consumption habits will positively affect the world around us and ensure the safety of the environment for generations to come.

Bill Deegan, Business Advisory Services Manager
It wasn’t long ago that I was the opposite of GREEN (RED, I guess). I drove a 345-hp, 13-mpg vehicle, I smoked, and I didn’t think much about water conservation or recycling and waste reduction. Now, I've turned a new leaf, actually a bunch of them. I quit smoking, I learned about water by taking classes at the local water district. I learned about solar and energy efficiency via Prop 39 at my new job, and I even drive an electric car. These changes were not that hard to make and they make me feel much better about my place in the world. I look forward to helping facilitate change at LACOE and amongst my coworkers, if I did they certainly can. 

Carl Burns, Interim Maintenance and Operations Officer
From the beginning of my career, my passion has been designing the most energy efficient building possible.  Now, as LACOE's Building Systems and Energy Engineer, I am able to assess LACOE's current facilities and see where there are opportunities for efficiencies.  I have become uniquely prepared for this task as I've been in the industry since the 1970's, when these technologies were just being developed.  Over my career, I helped develop efficiency techniques and was able to test them on a variety of building types.  It is now very affordable to monitor the energy usage of a building.  When you couple that with energy savings systems and programs to reduce consumption, dollars spent on the operation of the building go down.  This makes sense not only from a profitability sense, but from the side of environmental social responsibility.  My professional certifications are for Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Certified Energy Auditor (CEA), Certified Demand Side Manager (CDSM) and LEED Green Associate.

David Albright, Facilities Planning Officer
I have been pursuing GREEN aspects as they relate to the built environment for over eight years to varying degrees both professionally and personally.  Professionally, we have implemented both LEED and CHPS construction type projects and I keep up regularly with attending building code (green) workshops and conferences put on by various organizations such as CAL Green, So Cal Edison and So Cal Gas.  I am excited about actually helping with implementing energy saving ideas and concepts throughout LACOE’s schools and administrative facilities via our own LACOE Green Team.  Hope to be able to help employees get excited and see the value in what they can do day to day in achieving energy reductions and conservation in helping make a real difference.

Denise Fay, Facilities Planning Specialist

As an architect by profession and urban designer by training, I have a great interest in bettering the environments in which we all live and work.  Having the privilege of working with our students and educators has brought many challenges and opportunities to explore new avenues to bring about positive change in our environments.  As a member of the LACOE Green Team and participant in the Sustainability Circle, I have broader knowledge of programs and policies available to assist us with implementing sustainable green projects at LACOE.  I am particularly interested in the human impact of applied green design and look forward to developing a Green Facility Master Plan that encompasses features of landscape, walking paths, shade structures as well as daylight havesting in office buildings and corridor spaces.  In the long term, I hope we can implement the green building code changes in our off-site facilities and classrooms and strive for LEED and CHPS certified projects.



Jema Estrella, Director, Facilities and Construction (DFC)
As the Director of the Division of Facilities and Construction I see a great opportunity to guide LACOE towards a bright GREEN future.  DFC cuts a wide and diverse path through many aspects of our organization. Through environmentally sound maintenance practices and product integration,  we have demonstrated that we can be kind to our employees, customers and the environment, while still getting the job done. Our new building construction and our remodeling projects are also focused on implementing some of the most cutting edge green building processes available. Most importantly, I believe it is the wonderful people that I work with that have made the biggest impact on LACOE’s green future; they come up with innovative solutions, they have patience and conscientiousness with new procedures and I couldn’t do it without them. On a more personal note, the neighborhood that I live in is fast becoming a mecca for innovative, environmentally sound transformations which excites me as I've had a green home for years!

Laura Verbryck, School Facilities Compliance Manager
I’ve long been referred to as a tree-hugging hippie due to my reusable bag and cup (before it was popular), mostly rabbit-like diet and natural lifestyle in which I raise my two kids. Professionally, I’m a LEED AP and am ecstatic to be the chief instigator behind LACOE’s Green Team, with the full support of the Division of Facilities and Construction and the Superintendent. I hope to provide more visibility for LACOE’s green initiatives that were in place long before I arrived, an educational platform for staff to learn why we do the green things we do and establish additional green initiatives that will help LACOE become more efficient and save resources.

Kristen Kenton, Administrative Services Coordinator
My original quest to be more “green” began by accident. My husband and I started our lives together eating off of paper plates using plastic utensils while drinking from disposable cups just to avoid the daunting task of washing dishes. When I realized that I was the only one in the household taking out the garbage, I quickly converted to real dishes and invested in an energy efficient dish washer. I now think in more global terms when making “green” decisions to help preserve future life on earth. I have the opportunity in my professional role at LACOE to see the enormous amount of paper being purchased, distributed, and disposed on a daily basis. In our electronically driven society, this seems to be an enormous waste.  I would like to be a part of the social movement within LACOE to slow down the unnecessary use of resources. I am proud to be a member of a LACOE team that is ready to make changes and inspire others to do the same.

Matthew Jaffke, Emergency Preparedness and Security Officer
Matthew has been with LACOE for 18 years and has worked for multiple divisions.  Since 2008, his work has revolved around emergency planning and security operations here at LACOE.  Matthew likes to look for efficient ways in which to get things done, and he believes that the simpler the process, the more likely people will conform to it.  This is no different for the Green Team as it works to carry out and promote its green efforts throughout LACOE.  Matthew believes that LACOE staff will embrace sustainability concepts when they are presented in a simple and common-sense manner, and he looks forward to participating on the Green Team to implement those concepts.

Paul Landry, Project Director, BEST Project and Director, IA&A, Technology Services (TS)
The GREEN Team’s energy and enthusiasm is exciting and contagious. As many who know me will attest, I promote process improvement, driven by hard gathered, well tested and meticulously vetted data. The GREEN Team is on this path, as evidenced by the recently conducted energy audit, which has identified process improvement opportunities.  The combination of observation, behavioral modification and awareness of results found in the LACOE GREEN Team initiative reminds me of playing tennis, one of my passions.

Tony Lucich, Director, Technology Infrastructure Services and CyberSecurity
I love the ever-changing, fast-paced nature of working in high technology. The near constant innovation, with newer, faster, often cheaper products and bold new processes that keep you sharp and your job interesting. I find many parallels between my technology work and the GREEN revolution that is currently occurring. New ideas, cutting edge technological innovation, better outcomes with reduced cost! What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, and this change is better for the environment, and healthier for our colleagues, win, win! LACOE’s GREEN team is positioned squarely in the middle of this fast-paced tide and I could not be happier than to be a part of it, and honored to help guide the technological components of this inevitable change.

Tyler Cook, Multimedia Production Manager
I’m a writer, filmmaker, avid outdoorsman, and eco-wacko.  I compost, recycle, use a clothesline, grow my own food, walk whenever possible, produced and directed an award-winning film about subsistence living, and carry a handkerchief rather than tissues.  I’m proud to be a part of LACOE’s Green Team!  

Yvonne Contreras, Assistant Director, Curriculum and Instructional Services
Green has become my favorite color. About two years ago I visited an elementary school in one of our districts that was a candidate for the California Distinguished School Award as well as the National Green Award.  I was amazed how students, as young as kinder, were so aware of the importance of recycling, composting and planting the school with drought resistant plants. Everything was recycled.  Lunch waste was sorted and composting was as important as a writing assignment. As a thank you gift for our visit, each team member received a large bag of lettuce grown in the school’s garden.  I had to admit I was embarrassed by how wasteful I was.  I vowed to “change my ways”.  While I am still a work in process, I am now a proud member of LACOE’s Green Team! 


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