Speaker Bios: Energy Transfer Technology and Work Development Webinar

Tom Burke

Tom Burke is the Chancellor of the Kern Community College District (KCCD). He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from California State University, Bakersfield.

Tom Burke began his career working as a financial analyst for the Getty Oil Company and Texaco Kern River Operations in 1981. He then filled several roles at Contel (an independent telephone company now owned by Verizon) until his first position in education as director of Business Services at Bakersfield College in 1997. Four years later he began as Chief Financial Officer at KCCD and then transitioned into the Chancellor position in 2017.

Richard Chapman

Richard Chapman was appointed president & CEO of the Kern Economic Development Corporation (KEDC) in November 2006. Chapman's previous positions included Executive Director of the Buckeye (Arizona) Valley Development, Inc., and Vice President for the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County. He has also held a research position with Prudential Securities.

Chapman holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance from Georgetown University and a Masters of Business Administration in International Marketing from American University. Chapman hails from Pinehurst, North Carolina—“The Golf Capital of the World.”

Sonya Christian

An advocate for continued education across social and economic boundaries, Dr. Sonya Christian has worked tirelessly to uphold and further that mission during her tenure as Bakersfield College President.

Christian began her three-decade career in education at BC in 1991, first as a math faculty member and later as division chair, then Dean of Science, Engineering, Allied Health and Mathematics. In 2003, Christian joined Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon as associate vice president for instruction, then vice president of academic and student affairs and chief academic officer. Christian returned home in 2013 after being selected as the 10th President in Bakersfield College's prestigious history.

Christian currently serves as Vice Chair and Commissioner on the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). Christian serves on numerous boards including:

  • Campaign for College Opportunity
  • Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce
  • Homeless Shelter Board in Bakersfield

Christian earned her bachelor of science degree from University of Kerala in Kerala, India; a master of science in applied mathematics from University of Southern California; and her doctorate from University of California, Los Angeles.

Sarah Kurtz

Sarah Kurtz obtained her PhD in 1985 from Harvard University and now works at the University of California Merced after more than 30 years working at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in Golden, CO. She is known for her contributions to developing multijunction, GaInP/GaAs solar cells, supporting the Concentrator Photovoltaic (PV) industry, and leading efforts on PV performance and reliability. Her work has been recognized with a jointly received Dan David Prize in 2007, the Cherry Award in 2012, C3E Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, and induction into the National Academy of Engineering in 2020. At the University of California Merced she is working both to help the university grow and to support the Energy Transition through a variety of studies, including a current effort on long-duration storage.

Kevin McCarthy

Congressman Kevin McCarthy proudly serves California's 23rd district and is currently the Republican Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives. Kevin was first elected to Congress in 2006 and is a native of Bakersfield and a fourth-generation Kern County resident. The grandson of a cattle rancher and the son of a firefighter, Kevin grew up in a working-class family and is committed to preserving and promoting the American dream for hard-working Americans.

In Washington, Kevin fights every day for the constituents of California's 23rd District and for the future of America with the simple promise: to have the courage to lead with the wisdom to listen.

At the age of 21, Kevin started his own small business, Kevin O's Deli, from the ground up. As he worked hard, hired employees, and enjoyed success in his community, he soon learned—as all small business owners do—that the margins are thin, the hours are long, and that often Sacramento and Washington are obstacles, not aids, to success. The redundant and frivolous rules along with tedious paperwork and overburdening taxes compelled Kevin to enter public service.

He sold his business to put himself through college and graduate school at California State University, Bakersfield. While at school, he interned for Congressman Bill Thomas and later became a member of Congressman Thomas's staff. In 2000, he won his first public election as Trustee to the Kern Community College District and then, in 2002, he was elected to represent the 32nd Assembly District in the California State Assembly. As a freshman legislator, he was elected unanimously by his Republican colleagues to serve as the Assembly Republican Leader, becoming the first freshman legislator and the first legislator from Kern County to assume this top post in the California Legislature. Kevin worked with his colleagues in the Assembly and Senate and with the Governor to reduce California's budget deficit, overhaul the state workers' compensation system, and enhance California's business climate to create more opportunities for California workers and businesses.

After he was elected to Congress in 2006, Kevin quickly became Chief Deputy Whip and later served as Majority Whip. In 2014, he was elected Republican Leader in the House, where he now leads Congress in fighting for individual liberty, an efficient and effective government, free markets, and a vibrant civil society.

Since Kevin was elected to Congress, he and his Republican colleagues have blocked the largest tax increase in American history, cut out-of-control government spending, passed bills to create jobs, promoted North American energy independence, and fought to free Americans from the meddlesome influence of Washington in health care and beyond.

Kevin will continue to fight for a strong, fiscally responsible, and free America where every person has the ability to achieve the American dream.

When Kevin is not in Washington working for the constituents of California's 23rd District and for the future of America, he is home in Bakersfield with his wife Judy and two children Connor and Meghan.

David Mooney

Dave Mooney is currently working at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory leading strategic planning and institutional investments and development. Dave recently moved to this role from the Strategic Energy Analysis Center, where he was the Center Director for the largest energy analysis organization in the DOE national lab complex. Prior to his role leading NREL's energy analysis organization, Dave was the Laboratory Program Manager for Solar Technologies, where he was responsible for managing and coordinating NREL's $70M solar R&D portfolio. While at NREL, Dave also led efforts to identify and address technical issues associated with the large-scale deployment and integration of renewable and efficiency technologies into the existing energy infrastructure. In this role, he led 180 researchers conducting $100M in R&D annually. Dave has testified as an expert witness before the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Energy and Environment as well as before multiple U.S. state legislatures. Additionally, Dave has testified before the Brazilian Congressional Permanent Committee on Environmental Changes and Australia's Standing Committee on Environment and Energy.

From 2007 to 2008 he was assigned by NREL to support the DOE's office of the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. On the assignment he conducted analysis of EERE's technology portfolio to quantify energy, environmental, and economic benefits and served as technical counsel to the Deputy Assistant Secretaries. Dave has also worked as the director of business development for a U.S. PV company where he was responsible for launching manufacturing and systems businesses, business planning, and raising investment capital.

Dave is a 30-year veteran of the renewable energy industry, has a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from the University of Arkansas and a B.S. in engineering physics from the University of Tennessee.

Lorelei Oviatt, AICP

Lorelei Oviatt, AICP, is Director for the Kern County Planning and Natural Resources Department in California and has worked in both the public and private sector of land development. Her years of professional planning experience in the public and private sectors focuses on project management of large scale, multiagency planning, moving extremely complex projects through the system under accelerated time frames to streamline business permitting and support quality of life for communities. Her projects while with the County include the Tejon Industrial Center for 20 million square feet of commercial/industrial and the Outlets of Tejon, Tejon Mountain Village Specific Plan for 4365 resort homes with commercial resort development, Tejon Grapevine Specific Plan for 12,000 homes and 2.5 million of commercial/industrial, agreements with the Tejon Tribe Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and facilitating job generating projects such as the Amazon Fulfillment center and other e-commerce projects.

She lead the team on a 2.8 million acre project level EIR and Zoning amendment environmentally protective, streamlined oil and gas permitting for Kern County and State Agencies. She has expedited projects permitting over 15,000 MW of renewable energy in Kern County for wind, solar, battery storage and new alternative fuel type production.

She manages the Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding for the county for Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), Home Program (affordable housing) and ESG (Emergency Solutions Grant). She is a member of the American Planning Association (APA), the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and American Society for Public Administration and past President of the California County Planning Directors Association (CCPDA). She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio and a Masters of Public Administration from California State University, Bakersfield where she is an adjunct lecturer.

Leticia Perez

Leticia Perez is a third generation Bakersfield resident. She is a proud Highland High School graduate who went on to earn her Bachelor's Degree In “Law and Society” at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before journeying to Indiana to fulfill her dream of earning a Juris Doctorate. Leticia was raised alongside a dozen foster children and comes from a family who has been dedicated to public service for more than forty years in Kern County. Following in her father's and mother's footsteps, Leticia has been active in Political and Social Issues, as well as Philanthropic efforts from the time she could walk. She literally accompanied her parents to Bible College in a carriage—sleeping quietly under a seminary desk while her parents prepared for ministry in Kern County.

Leticia returned from Law School in 2006 and chose to work with indigent clients while volunteering her free time on the Boards of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Community Service Organization, and New Life Recovery Training Center. Her dedication to the practice of law and her service to the community earned her the respect of her peers and their selection to her being the first woman to preside as president of The Kern County Bar Association's Criminal Defense Section. Leticia was nominated for, and served as Chair of the Kern County Planning Commission. She later became the consultant for the California State Senate Committee on Economic Development and the State Permitting Process. Currently, Leticia is the Vice Chair of the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

Leticia has received numerous awards for her partnership with local businesses, job developers, and community leaders while spearheading some of the county's most innovative economic development and alternative energy development projects. Leticia was recently elected as the 2nd Vice President of California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and serves as the Chair of the Latino/a Caucus. She is also a California State Governor appointed member of the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) and co-chairs the Executive Steering Committee (ESC) overseeing the Proposition 47 grant process and developing the program criteria.

Leticia is a sought after speaker on issues ranging from the nuances of the California Environmental Quality Act regulations, alternative energy development, socioeconomic policies and procedures affecting the Central Valley, and recipes to the best hard-shell-tacos South of the Kern River. She is a frequent guest on local and valley wide radio and television. Her political career has been reported on by the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and she has been featured on the Daily Show with John Stewart.

Leticia's mother was a Vietnam era Army Nurse and she comes from a family of Veterans. In fact, she married one, and it is because of her marriage to her husband that Leticia has become an avid proponent of Mental Health support for combat veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD. Most importantly, Leticia is the very proud mother of Jude, her 4 year-old son, who can often be found with his “mamma” at events in our community.

Cathy Reheis-Boyd

Catherine Reheis-Boyd has served as the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) since January 1, 2010. She oversees the trade organization's operations and advocacy in five Western states - California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon. Over her three decade career at WSPA, Ms. Reheis-Boyd has held a variety of leadership roles, including a 2003 appointment as Chief of Staff and subsequent promotions to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining WSPA, Ms. Reheis-Boyd was with Getty Oil and Texaco working on environmental compliance at the Kern River Field in Bakersfield, California. Ms. Reheis-Boyd received her Bachelors of Science degree in Natural Resource Management from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and pursued postgraduate studies in environmental engineering at the University of Southern California.

Liz Rozell

As the Director of Energy Transfer Technology & Workforce Development, Liz Rozell is coordinating the planning and development activities surrounding this project. In 2019, Liz retired from Bakersfield College (BC) after serving 30 years. Liz began her career at BC as engineering faculty, served as faculty chair, eventually became Dean of Instruction, and retired as Vice President of Instruction. While Dean of Instruction, her commitment to collaborative teamwork equipped her to assist President Christian in leading the college to establish the only baccalaureate degree program at BC, Industrial Automation.