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 (she/her)

Andrea Barnier’s work experience within affordable housing spans over 10 years. Currently, she specializes in energy efficiency and sustainability within the multi-family, asset management department of Self-Help Enterprises. In addition to working with IOUs to achieve solar PTO and resolve diverse administrative issues, Barnier has years of experience working with public agencies administering grants, developing and implementing program policies, and advocating for low-income families and individuals.

Agustin Cabrera, Director, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) (they/them)
Agustin Cabrera, Director, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) (they/them)

Agustin Cabrera has nearly a decade of experience developing strategic campaigns and leadership development programs that center workers, clean energy, and equity. Cabrera leads a city-wide coalition that has successfully advocated for utility debt relief, energy affordability, community solar programs and career path opportunities for low-income communities of color at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Before joining LAANE, Cabrera was a lead organizer at Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, where they spent over three years organizing socio-economically diverse groups of hospital workers across California. They are passionate about climate justice, workers rights and Queer/Trans visibility.

Andres Ramirez Advisory Council Member
Andres Ramirez, Policy Director, Pacoima Beautiful (he/him)

Andres Ramirez is Policy Director at Pacoima Beautiful, an environmental justice organization based in the Northeast San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. He has over 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 in the California Public Utilities Commission/California Energy Commission CPUC/CEC Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group.

Jose “JB” Tengco Advisory Council Member
JB Tengco, West Coast Director, BlueGreen Alliance (he/him)

Jose "JB" Tengco currently 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.

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

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.

Allan Rago, President, Energy Efficiency Council (he/him)
Allan Rago, President, Energy Efficiency Council (he/him)

Allan Rago serves as President of the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC), a nonprofit trade organization, and President of Quality Conservation Services (QCS), a Los Angeles-based weatherization contractor. Rago has directly managed programs serving more than 125,000 residents in California’s low-income, hard-to-reach, and disadvantaged communities. Rago has served on the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Low-Income Oversight Board and several CPUC mandated working groups. He regularly provides technical expertise to the CPUC and IOUs on the California Statewide P&P and Installation Standards manuals for the CPUC’s Energy Savings Assistance Program.

Carlos Aguilar, Director of Organizing, Coalition for Economic Survival (he/him)
Carlos Aguilar, Director of Organizing, Coalition for Economic Survival (he/him)

Carlos Aguilar is the Director of Organizing at the Coalition for Economic Survival, a grassroots, multi-ethnic, tenants’ rights organization that supports and empowers low and moderate-income renters throughout the greater Los Angeles area. As Director of Organizing, Aguilar strategically manages the organization’s outreach and education efforts to address housing and habitability issues as well as fights against threats to housing security. Aguilar has over 15 years of labor and community organizing experience he uses to ensure that tenants have the right to healthy, safe and affordable housing and are empowered to demand these rights be respected.

Elizabeth Elliott, Executive Director, Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority (she/they)
Elizabeth Elliott, Executive Director, Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority (she/they)

Elizabeth Elliott is a 36-year-old nonbinary person hailing from the village of Oleta in Northern California. Elliott is the Executive Director at Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority in Northern California promoting adverse childhood experiences prevention and education in Indigenous communities to address the ways in which the government designed public and Tribal housing are failing due to redlining and depleting funding sources. Elliott and their staff also serve in a technical assistance capacity for sister Tribes throughout California and Nevada. They have also provided cultural humility training to many state and federal partners. Elliott dedicates their time outside of work teaching traditional skills to awaken resiliency within the communities they serve.

 

Jakobi Ewart, Director of Fundraising, The Niles Foundation (he/him)
Jakobi Ewart, Director of Fundraising, The Niles Foundation (he/him)

Jakobi Ewart is the Director of Fundraising for The Niles Foundation, and a realtor that focuses on helping low- to moderate-income families have the same access to resources everyone else has. Being a sustainable individual helps him put these values to practice as he is constantly thinking of how his actions impact others. Ewart is excited to work with SOMAH because of the incredible vision of the program that matches his love of pragmatism and green energy solutions. He is excited to be moving the needle in the right direction.

Nicole Lim, Executive Director, California Indian Museum and Cultural Center (she/her)
Nicole Lim, Executive Director, California Indian Museum and Cultural Center (she/her)

Nicole Lim is the Executive Director of the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center. She is Pomo and has worked for the National Indian Justice Center and the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center (CIMCC) since 1996. As Executive Director of the CIMCC, she works to develop exhibits, educational programs and curricular resources that represent Native American perspectives. California Governor Jerry Brown appointed her to the Board of Directors, 4th District Agricultural Association, Sonoma-Marin Fair, where she served from 2013-2017. Lim served as the Vice President of the California Association of Museums (CAM) and formerly co-chaired CAM’s Government Relations committee.

Alma Marquez, Climate Change Advocate (she/hers)
Alma Marquez, Climate Change Advocate (she/hers)

Alma Marquez was formerly Executive Director of Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice  (CCAEJ). During her time with CCAEJ, Marquez developed organizational systems aimed at coalition building to address regional environmental inequities, and at bringing CCAEJ to the forefront of key decision makers in a region that has historically been dismissed. Before joining CCAEJ, Marquez was Executive Director at Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL). She led the organization to address water inequalities throughout California especially in the hard-to-reach communities of our state. Despite the challenges this last year has brought due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was successful in her mission to educate more Latino elected officials on timely regional water topics. Marquez began her professional career as a Community Organizer at the Orange County Congregation Community Organization (OCCCO), an affiliate of PICO Faith In Action International where she learned grassroots community organizing while working on local and statewide campaigns.

 

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

Somah Advisory Council Meetings