Ensuring community voices and interests remain at the center of the SOMAH program

Through the advisory council, key stakeholders will contribute to program development and implementation, monitor the progress of the program and provide advice to ensure that the SOMAH program maximizes benefits to low-income housing tenants and disadvantaged communities. The following council members garnered unanimous support from an independent selection committee, and are advising the implementation of the SOMAH program.

Andrea Barnier Somah Advisory Council
Andrea Barnier, Senior Asset Management Specialist, Self-Help Enterprises

Andrea Barnier’s work experience in affordable housing spans over 10 years. She specializes in energy efficiency and sustainability in the multi-family, asset management department of Self-Help Enterprises. In addition to working with utilities to achieve solar interconnection, permission to operate (PTO) and resolve diverse administrative issues, Barnier has years of experience working with public agencies to administer grants, develop and implement program policies, and advocate for low-income families and individuals.

Agustin Cabrera Somah Advisory Council
Agustin Cabrera (Vice Chair), Director, RePower LA

Agustin Cabrera is the Director of RePower LA. They have years of experience developing strategic leadership development programs that center clean energy, equity and good jobs. Agustin leads a city-wide coalition that successfully advocates for scalable community solar programs and career path opportunities for low-income communities of color at the LADWP. Cabrera looks forward to creating high-road career pathways on the SOMAH Advisory Council.

Andres Ramirez Advisory Council Member
Andres Ramirez, Policy Director, Pacoima Beautiful

Andres Ramirez is the Policy Director at Pacoima Beautiful, an environmental justice organization based in the Northeast San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. He has more than 12 years of experience advocating for equity in disadvantaged communities (DACs) through community organizing and policy advocacy. Ramirez brings diverse policy expertise and a keen understanding of strengths and needs of DACs. He also serves on the CPUC/CEC Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group.

Lauren Randall Advisory Council Member
Lauren Randall, Director of Public Policy & Market Development, Sunrun

Lauren Randall is the Director of Policy & Market Development for Sunrun, the leading home solar, storage and energy services company in the United States. Randall works with the policy, business development, and energy services departments to create opportunities for solar and storage, with a focus on affordable multifamily projects in California. Previously, Randall led the public affairs team for Sunrun’s policy department. Prior to joining Sunrun in San Francisco, Randall worked as a Press Secretary for Sierra Club’s national “Beyond Coal” campaign.

Cynthia Strathman Advisory Council Member
Cynthia Strathman, Executive Director, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy

Cynthia Strathmann is the Executive Director of SAJE (Strategic Actions for a Just Economy), a 501c3 that focuses on tenant rights, healthy housing and equitable development. SAJE is a membership-based organization located in South Los Angeles that builds community leadership and housing for economic justice. Strathmann came to SAJE from the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), where she researched ways to increase energy efficiency in homes and businesses.

Jose “JB” Tengco Advisory Council Member
JB Tengco, West Coast Director, BlueGreen Alliance

Jose “JB” Tengco serves as the Western States Director for the BlueGreen Alliance (BGA), a national coalition of union and environmental groups. Over his career, he has worked to combine workforce policies with climate policies to ensure that climate change solutions simultaneously create and maintain family-sustaining jobs.

Sochiata Vutthy Advisory Council Member
Sochiata Vutthy, Senior Asset Manager, Community Housing Works

Sochiata Vutthy is a Senior Asset Manager at Community HousingWorks (CHW). Vutthy oversees the physical plant of 1,500 apartment homes in the organization’s 3,700-unit portfolio and manages minor rehabs across the portfolio. CHW’s strategy is to incorporate energy efficiency and sustainable measures as a part of portfolio upgrades. Vutthy has experience with the Energy Upgrade California, Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing, California Solar Initiative, and various state and regional weatherization programs. Vutthy has more than 15 years of experience in real estate development and operations.

Kenneth Wells Advisory Council Member
Kenneth Wells (Chair), CEO & Founder, O&M Solar Services

Kenneth Wells is a Compton native who is currently reforming and redeveloping underserved inner cities into sustainable green communities. As a Licensed Electrical Contractor as well as a NABCEP Certified PV Professional, Wells has an extensive technical background in solar installations with 9 years of experience. As a volunteer on the Workforce Development Committee of Grid Alternatives, he collaborates with other industry experts to develop training programs for green labor careers.

Esther Portillo headshot
Esther Portillo

Esther Portillo has worked extensively on environmental justice, immigrant, tenant's, and worker rights issues with communities of color in California, New York and Texas. She served as the Interim Executive Director for the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) and worked to improve the Inland region’s air quality through community organizing, coalition building and advocacy. Locally, she has worked on campaigns to eliminate Perchlorate contamination from drinking water, has led electoral campaigns to increase voter turnout in low-income communities of color and stood strong with warehouse workers seeking better working conditions in both Riverside and San Bernardino counties.


Notes on future proceedings will be posted to SOMAH's website each quarter.

Somah Advisory Council Meetings