WHO WE ARE
The Board of Trustees at AltaSea
Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D.
Geraldine Knatz is Professor of the Practice of Policy and Engineering, a joint appointment between the University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy and the Viterbi School of Engineering. She previously served as the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles from 2006 to January 2014. She was the first woman to serve in this role and made a significant impact through the creation and implementation of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, an aggressive plan that reduced air emissions by combined port operations of over 70% within five years. Prior to that, she was managing director of the Port of Long Beach. She is past president of the American Association of Port Authorities and past president of the International Association of Ports and Harbors. She served for 10 years (2007-2017) on California’s Ocean Protection Council from 2007 to 2017, first appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and reappointed by Governor Brown. In 2014, she was named a member of the National Academy of Engineering in recognition of her international leadership in the engineering and development of environmentally clean urban seaports.
Knatz is currently a member of the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Marine Board, a member of the advisory council for the Center for the Blue Economy at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and a senior advisor to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Port Network. Knatz is currently the vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees of Altasea, a 30 acre campus located within the Port of Los Angeles devoted to marine and maritime research, education and business entrepreneurialism.
Knatz has authored numerous publications as well as two award-winning books on the Port of Los Angeles. Her most recent book is a political history of the Port of Los Angeles, co-published by the Huntington Library’s Institute for California and the West and Angel City Press, titled, Port of Los Angeles, Conflict, Commerce and the Fight for Control. She co-authored Terminal Island, Los Communities of Los Angeles Harbor. Knatz’s career has been featured in several popular books, most notably in Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Edward Humes’s Door to Door and David Helvarg’s The Golden Shore.
From his youth in Australia to career experiences in Europe, Africa, China and across the United States, Terry has developed expertise in business, farming, education, non-profit, the environment, the arts, and government. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and later Cabinet Secretary, the Chief Policy Advisor to the Governor, where Terry was the architect of many groundbreaking sustainability policies, including California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the Hydrogen Highway Network, and the Million Solar Roofs initiative. In 2010 Terry cofounded the R20 Regions of Climate Action, a new public-private partnership, bringing together sub national governments; businesses; financial markets; NGOs; and academia to implement measurable, large-scale, low-carbon and climate resilient economic development projects that can simultaneously solve the climate crisis and build a sustainable global economy. He also provides advice through 7th Generation Advisors to Pegasus Capital Advisors, the Green Climate Fund and numerous global businesses on sustainability and “green” investing, as well as assisting governments and philanthropists with climate solutions, including Fiji, India, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. An accomplished author, Terry’s books include “Cracking the Carbon Code: The Keys to Sustainable Profits in the New Economy” (Palgrave Macmillan). In 2011, Terry was one of six finalists for the Zayed Future Energy Prize and The Guardian ranked Terry No. 1 in its “Top 50 People Who Can Save the Planet.”
Martin H. Blank Jr
Martin H. Blank, Jr. is an attorney specializing in all aspects of real estate law, including financing, leasing, purchasing, selling and the formation and management of corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and other entities. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association as well as the State Bar of California. Mr. Blank serves as a Co-Trustee and COO of The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation. Headquartered in Century City, CA, the foundation which makes grants in the areas of education, health care, cultural programs, Jewish organizations and the support of a variety of causes in Israel. He is also a trustee of the Gilbert Collection Trust, which is responsible for ownership and management of an art collection now located at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He is also on the advisory board of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen
Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen has more than 40 years of construction and program management experience and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Management from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He immigrated to San Diego in 1979 to work in construction and real estate development. In 1987, he and his wife founded Gafcon, Inc. with the purpose of assisting owners to deliver complex projects that power vibrant communities. Under his leadership as CEO, it has grown into a globally respected program and construction management consulting firm. It has been responsible for the success of hundreds of projects including high profile projects such as: The City of San Diego North Embarcadero Visionary Plan; the Port of Los Angeles Waterfront and Promenade; the recent redevelopment of the Los Angeles Forum; multiple large projects on the UCLA campus as well as over $45 billion in K-14 education bond programs throughout California.
In 2016, after a heavily competed international competition the Port of San Diego awarded Protea Waterfront Development an exclusive agreement for a $1.2B redevelopment of 70 acres of the San Diego Waterfront known as the Central Embacadero. As the active Managing Partner, Gaf will steward the project to its successful completion by providing leadership and direction for the strategy and execution with Gafcon, Inc. providing program management services. To be completed over the next decade, Seaport San Diego will be an interactive, diverse new downtown district offering recreational, commercial, cultural and educational attractions with vital, ongoing programs and activities while incorporating the rich aquatic heritage of the region.
Gaf currently serves on the boards of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the Downtown San Diego Partnership and Hazon. He has previously served on the boards of Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, Meridian Residential Association and Wende Museum Advisory Group, San Diego Taxpayers Association, San Diego Hebrew Homes, San Diego Jewish Federation, Explorer Charter School, New Americans Immigration Museum and Learning Center, and the UCSD Cancer Center.
Cynthia Hirschhorn is an environmental designer, and advocate for healthy civic life, who believes in aligning missions to amplify resources for more impact at the civic scale. Cynthia founded Unycyn Civic Arts, a non-profit dedicated to connecting visions that create more harmonious civic environments.
Cynthia is proud to serve on the boards of AltaSea, River LA, and UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation, to which she brings her passions for water resiliency, public art, community gardens, economic opportunity and environmental equity. She founded flowproject.la, a resource site promoting civic arts and water resiliency, civicas.net, a women’s civic leadership network, and CivicASK, a platform connecting civic needs with community resources.
A native of Los Angeles, Cynthia earned a BA in Cultural History and a Masters in Architecture from UCLA. She and her husband Charles have three adult children, live in Pacific Palisades and love to travel.
Matt Horton is a director at the Milken Institute’s Center for Regional Economics and California Center. In this capacity, he interacts with government officials, business leaders, and other key stakeholders in directing statewide programming and policy initiatives. Horton’s programmatic work at the Institute is focused on identifying a variety of financial tools, public policies, and collaborative models that leaders can deploy to increase investments in education, community development, housing, employment, and other areas supporting human capital and place-based economic development. Previously, Horton worked for the Southern California Association of Governments, the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization. There, Horton served as the primary point of contact for external and government affairs, coordinating regional policy development with elected officials as well as subregional, state, and federal stakeholders in Los Angeles and Orange counties. In this role, he developed plans with leaders across Southern California to address growth, resiliency, and improve quality of life.
Carolyn M. Hull
Carolyn M. Hull was confirmed as the new General Manager for the Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD) by the City Council on January 29, 2020. Hull was nominated for the position by Mayor Eric Garcetti on December 30, 2019.
Hull was most recently the Vice President of Strategic initiatives and Industry Cluster Development at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), where she oversaw strategies and programs to promote job creation, business investment, and workforce development initiatives to strengthen the alignment of LA County’s workforce and education systems with industry needs.
Prior to joining LAEDC, Hull was the South Los Angeles Regional Administrator for the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) where she managed all redevelopment programs, activities and staff for South Los Angeles. During her tenure at CRA/LA, Hull was the CRA/LA’s Manager of Capital Finance. In this capacity, she analyzed project-financing plans, and developed financing structures to optimize the utilization of public and private resources for all of CRA/LA’s priority projects. At the same time, Hull served as the co-founder and President of the Los Angeles Development Fund (LADF). Under her leadership, LADF received and managed a $75 million New Markets Tax Credit Allocation. In addition, she managed CRA/LA’s $700 million portfolio of conduit bonds.
Prior to joining CRA/LA, Hull served as a Director at CB Richard Ellis Consulting (CBRE Consulting), based in Los Angeles. At CBRE Consulting she provided consulting services for a wide range of real estate development projects for corporate, institutional, nonprofit, and governmental clients in key service areas all over the United States, including economic development and redevelopment, development feasibility analysis, highest and best use studies, fiscal and economic impact analysis, policy analysis, transit-oriented development, and corporate location strategy.
Hull holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Master of Science degree in Economics and Urban Planning from the London School of Economics, in addition to a Certificate in Real Estate Finance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Eric Johnson is a principal of the Victory Group of Companies, headquartered in San Pedro California. Mr. Johnson’s current positions include president of Jerico Development, Inc. and Victex, Inc. real estate development companies with operations in California, Colorado, and North Carolina. Jerico Development in partnership with the Ratkovich Company is currently developing the 42-acre waterfront West Harbor retail, dining, and entertainment complex, adjacent to AltaSea in the Port of Los Angeles. Mr. Johnson is also the CEO of Crail Capital LLC a venture capital investment, financial services, and family office accounting firm.
Mr. Johnson has been active in the Los Angeles philanthropic community for over 30 years as the founding board chairman of the Crail Johnson Foundation, his family’s foundation serving underprivileged youth in urban Los Angeles since 1988. The Crail Johnson Foundation supports local nonprofit programs in education, social services, and family self-help. Mr. Johnson’s personal interests are focused on enhancing K-12 public school opportunities in at risk communities, expanding STEM education broadly and ocean science in particular. Mr. Johnson served for over two decades as a member of the Accelerated School board of trustees, with 10 years as board president. The Accelerated Schools is a charter management organization comprised of three public charter schools serving 2,500 students (in grades Pre-K – 12) in South Central Los Angeles. Mr. Johnson is also the chairman of the board of directors of The Los Angeles Maritime Institute. Founded in 1992, the mission of the Los Angeles Maritime Institute is to provide urban youth with real-life challenges that develop knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to live healthy, productive lives, through its Topsail Youth Program. The Institute is a public-private partnership with the Port of Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and private funders.
Mr. Johnson’s educational and professional background is in the earth sciences and engineering, receiving undergraduate degrees in geology and chemistry from the University of Colorado. Mr. Johnson’s personal interests include experiencing the outdoors with family and friends, primarily in alpine, desert, and ocean environments. Mr. Johnson has extensive hiking, climbing, and blue water sailing experience and holds a 100-ton Master Mariner license from the USCG.
Monique Johnson, an executive banker in the industry for close to 35 years, is Beneficial State Bank’s Senior Vice President, Director of Client and Community Partnerships in addition to the Bank’s CRA Officer. Ms. Johnson was initially hired as the Head of Retail Banking in California in 2016.
Monique has been on executive management teams for the past 20 years. Before joining Beneficial State Bank, her previous position was Chief Operating Officer of SunPac, LLC, a banking investment vehicle with the strategy of starting up a new bank in Los Angeles. Prior to that role, Monique was Director of Relationship Management and Marketing in addition to serving as CRA Officer and Co-Chair of the enterprise-wide company giving program at Wedbush Bank in Los Angeles, California. Her extensive background includes working in every type of banking department from de novo banks to those with $15 billion in assets including the former Imperial Bank. Ms. Johnson has been an anchor in Southern California over the past 27 years with private, community and commercial banks overseeing regional banking offices while instrumental in managing the entire sales and client relationships in addition to all marketing and branding initiatives, operational processes and efficiencies, high touch service, technological advances within systems and products, positive compliance and training cultures, facility management and community, corporate and investor relations.
Ms. Johnson earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance with a specialization in commercial loan management from Iowa State University. She is a board trustee, treasurer and secretary at AltaSea, an organization bringing together leaders in science, business and education to generate innovative solutions to global challenges of human and environmental sustainability. From feeding the earth’s growing population to providing long-term employment and ocean-related careers, AltaSea is a unique model at the Port of Los Angeles. She is also an advocate, board member and the current education committee chair of Junior Achievement of Southern California reaching from Bakersfield to Orange County. Junior Achievement’s mission is to empower young people to own their economic success and stay in school through financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness programs. She was a founding committee member and remains active in Community Resource Exchange (CREX) which develops introductions and new initiatives between CRA-qualified, community-based organizations and banks in the Greater Los Angeles area. In 2015, she was honored by the California “got milk” Foundation with the Better Future Moms – Los Angeles award for her role as a professional, community advocate and mother. She has been involved in other community organizations over the past few decades including Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation and Culver City Chamber of Commerce.
Monique lives in Hermosa Beach, California, with husband and two daughters who are focused on global environmental sustainability and green commercial architecture.
About Beneficial State Bank:
Beneficial State Bank’s mission is to build prosperity in our communities through beneficial banking services delivered in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. Beneficial State Bank grew from the vision of Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor and the team they formed to create a triple bottom-line (planet and people before profit) bank and a supportive nonprofit foundation of the same name. In 2007, that vision was realized when OneCalifornia Bank and OneCalifornia Foundation opened in Oakland. Fashioned in the image of the great socially responsible banks and credit unions of national and international fame, the Bank is mandated to produce meaningful social justice and environmental benefits at the same time that it is financially sustainable. The Foundation owns a majority of the economic rights of the Bank — when profits of the Bank are distributed, they can only be distributed to the Foundation which is mandated to reinvest those proceeds back into the communities and the environment on which we all depend. In our theory and experience, this ownership model aligns our incentives with the triple bottom line and the values of our bank customers. Today, Beneficial is in 7 locations within California, Oregon and Washington, an FDIC-insured commercial bank, a “Best for the World since 2013” Certified B Corporation, a Community Development Financial Institution, a member of Global Alliance for Banking on Values in addition to Just and supports 150% of living wage in all markets.
In March 2017, Doane Liu was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development (CTD), with the goal to further enhance and increase Los Angeles’ prominence and attraction as a world class tourist and convention destination.
Liu joined the CTD after serving as Deputy Executive Director and Chief of Staff at the Port of Los Angeles, where he was the second in command at the busiest container port in North America and head of the Port’s External Affairs Bureau.
Before the Port, Liu was Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles. He managed the
Mayor’s Office of City Services and helped the Mayor oversee 15 City Departments, including the Los Angeles Department Water and Power, Public Works, Transportation, Recreation and Parks, Public Library, and LA Zoo. He also established the Great Streets Studio and LA RiverWorks in the Mayor’s Office. A first-generation Korean-American, Liu also was a liaison in the Mayor’s Office to the Korean-American community in Los Angeles.
Liu was previously Chief of Staff for Councilman Joe Buscaino and served as Chief of
Staff for Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Deputy Mayor for Mayor James K. Hahn and District Director for Congresswoman Jane Harman. He was also Senior Vice President of Government Banking at JP Morgan Chase and Vice President in the Real Estate Industries Group at Security Pacific National Bank.
Liu currently serves on the boards of the Los Angeles Fleet Week Foundation and Sister
Cities of Los Angeles. He has previously served on the boards of LA County Business
Federation, Harbor Interfaith Shelter, Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative, Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Mary Star of the Sea High School, and Holy Trinity School.
Liu graduated from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and received an MBA from University of Southern California. He and his wife have four grown children and have lived in San Pedro for over 30 years.
Dr. Melanie Lundquist
Dr. Melanie Lundquist, LHD, is an activist philanthropist whose voice is as fearless as her charity work. Melanie and her husband Richard are agents of change and two of California’s most significant philanthropists. The Lundquists are signatories of the Giving Pledge and have appeared four times on The Philanthropy 50, the annual list of America’s 50 most generous philanthropists.
Their gifts have created the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a sustainable, national transformation model for underserved non-charter K-12 public schools and they have made the largest single donor contribution to a non-teaching/training hospital in the United States to establish cardiovascular, neuroscience and orthopedic institutes and the expansion of the emergency department at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. The Lundquists have also spurred biomedical innovation and research through their significant gifts to The Lundquist Institute and have supported McPherson College with the largest-ever gift to a private liberal arts college in Kansas. They also support innovative solutions to climate change through AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles and the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California.
Melanie was named “Philanthropist of the Year” in 2019 by the Los Angeles Business Journal. She is a member of the University of Southern California President’s Leadership Council, the Board of Councilors of the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education and Vice Chair of the Board at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.
Additionally, Melanie is also actively supporting passage of The ACE Act (Accelerating Charitable Efforts Act), bipartisan legislation that has been introduced in both the House and Senate that provides solutions to outdated charitable giving laws. Melanie guides her and Richard’s efforts with the goal of leveraging their philanthropic commitments to affect significant and measurable impact through driving systemic change.
Melanie is a sought-out voice on public education and philanthropic issues. She has been quoted in multiple national and international outlets, including the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. In September 2020, the Chronicle of Philanthropy hosted Melanie for a webcast with over 1,400 registrants: One on One: A Giving Pledge Donor Calls for Change in a Time of Tumult. The editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy called Melanie’s webinar “among our most favorites” where Melanie “offered fascinating insights that could help fundraisers and other donors.”
Melanie holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Southern California in communicative disorders/speech pathology and audiology, as well as a credential as a specialist in special education. In 2020, McPherson College recognized Melanie’s significant body of philanthropic work by conferring upon her a Doctor of Humane Letters (LHD).
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Wendy Neu is a grassroots community organizer and activist that brings decades of knowledge and experience on environmental boards. She is the Chairman and CEO of Hugo Neu, a company that invests, builds, and manages businesses in industries such as recycling and real estate. Additionally, Neu is a Trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the world’s largest nonprofit environmental organizations that works to protect the world’s natural resources. She also serves on the boards of the New York/New Jersey Baykeeper; the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law; and the Basel Action Network.
Patricia Galarza Ramos, Ed.D.
Dr. Patricia Ramos holds the position of Academic Affairs Dean at Santa Monica College (SMC) one of the nation’s premier community colleges, serving nearly 30,000 students annually. As the administrative leader in Academic Affairs over Career Education, she assists the College by developing partnerships with business & industry, labor, NGO’s, and other educational institutions, to align SMC’s career technical education programs to the current and projected workforce needs of the Los Angeles region and the State of California. Her civic engagement spans over two decades. Dr. Ramos has served as an appointed official as a member of the Woman’s Commission and the L.A. County Workforce Development Board. She is the Dean at the SMC’s Center for Media & Design (CMD) located in the heart of “Silicon Beach.” The CMD prepares students for careers in media, design, and technology fields such as entertainment technology, graphic design, interior architectural design, film production, broadcasting, journalism, and the only community college bachelor degree program in interaction design (IxD). She serves on educational and workforce committees at local, state, and national levels. Dr. Ramos holds a doctorate from the University of Southern California.
Tara Roth is the president of the Goldhirsh Foundation, a $70 million foundation that supports social innovation via its financial, human, and social capital.
Tara oversees all aspects of the foundation, including sourcing and vetting investments that connect profit with impact to make its endowment 100% mission-aligned. Sustainability and climate efforts have been top of mind in this process. Tara advocated for investments in FAVES, a climate-friendly candy that upcycles fruits and vegetables, thereby diverting them from the landfill. The Goldhirsh Foundation is a limited partner in Lowercarbon Capital, a venture fund focused on slashing CO2 emissions. Additionally, Tara is an advisor to the Shared Future Fund which is focused on deploying resources to early-stage entrepreneurs working to solve the climate crisis.
Tara has worked extensively with local non-profit organizations that are creating a more sustainable Los Angeles. This includes the LA Sustainability Council, formed by former Mayor Eric Garcetti and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, which was focused on transforming LA into a sustainable megacity. Tara has also engaged with UCLA Grand Challenges initiative which won a grant from the Goldhirsh Foundation for its “Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles” project. As a judge for the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge in 2020, Tara helped determine which team would take home the top prize. In addition, Tara worked with Caltech to help kickstart a graduate fellowship program at the Caltech Resnick Institute of Sustainability, which worked on more efficient ways to harness solar energy. Caltech also won a Goldhirsh Foundation award for its “Cleantech 2 Edtech” program which helped LAUSD schools track their water and energy efficiency.
Under Tara’s leadership, the Goldhirsh Foundation spearheads LA2050, a community-guided initiative creating a shared vision for LA’s future. The largest activity of LA2050 is the LA2050 Grants Challenge, a $1 million crowd-sourced program that engages Angelenos in a public vote to determine the funding priorities each year. Via LA2050, Tara has secured partnerships with organizations such as the Snap Foundation, Hilton Foundation, Calley Foundation, Citi, and the Annenberg Foundation,,resulting in adding millions of dollars to the Goldhirsh Foundation’s existing prize money in order to support more nonprofits who apply to the grants challenge.
Prior to the Goldhirsh Foundation, Tara began her career in marketing and business development with NBCInternet and Infoseek. She then transitioned into the world of cause marketing as the founding COO of GOOD. Tara managed Choose GOOD, an affinity marketing campaign that served as GOOD’s initial circulation program. She also helped launch the agency GOOD Corps, with its first project, Pepsi Refresh.
Tara received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and has an MBA from Oxford University where she was awarded a Skoll scholarship in social entrepreneurship. Tara was a founding member of the Lyft City Works Advisory Council and is a member of the L.A. Sustainability Leadership Council, the Instil Product Advisory Council, the 2023 Zócalo Book Prize selection committee, and is a judge of the 2021 and 2022 Anthem Awards. Tara serves on the boards of the Ad Council and UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture. She previously sat on
the board of Southern California Grantmakers, USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, regional advisory boards of Opportunity Fund and 826LA, and was a Senior Fellow at USC’s Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab.
Greg Thorpe, Esq. represents developers, tenants, and lenders in the acquisition, development and financing of office buildings, hotels, casinos, retail and entertainment centers, mixed use facilities, master-planned communities and other facilities. He also has assisted developers of real estate projects in creating the leasing, financing and operating structure for a variety of real estate developments. Mr. Thorpe is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, J.D., cum laude, where he served as Chief Articles Editor. O’Melveny is a global law firm with broad practice with a strong focus on CSR and ESG.
Founding Board Chair
Camilla Townsend is Emeritus, Founding Board Member, retired educator and foundation executive director. She has served the city of Los Angeles and the Harbor community in many other capacities as a professional educator and as a city and community volunteer leader. Ms. Townsend is a past Board Member of the San Pedro Historic Waterfront Business Improvement District (PBID) and the Board of Trustees to Marymount California University. She is the Founder and President Emeritus of the Port of Los Angeles Charter High School. She has also served as President of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce from 2006 to 2011. Ms. Townsend has been appointed to numerous city and county commissions including the Harbor Area Planning Commission, the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, the City of Los Angeles Commission for Children, Youth and their Families, and the Presidents’ Joint Commission on LAUSD Governance. She is a native Angelino and 35-year resident of San Pedro.