DWP board named *

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's appointments to the Department of Water and Power commission are as previously rumored and reported: Mary Nichols, Nick Patsaouras, David Nahai, Bill Burke and Edith Ramirez. Bios follow with the release.

* Media coverage: LABJ, Daily News, Times


(Los Angeles, CA) * Calling for a commitment to a cleaner and greener Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa today announced his appointees to the city’s Board of Water and Power Commissioners.

The five appointees will oversee the largest municipal utility in the nation with a $4.3 billion dollar budget.

“I am proud to name five outstanding individuals to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. Today we begin a new chapter in the history of the department, one that will focus on making Los Angeles a cleaner and greener city, while providing reliable and cost-efficient water and power to 3.8 million customers.”

The five new members of the commission include: Mary D. Nichols, an experienced and nationally recognized environmental leader, former Clinton Administration appointee and current Director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment; Mr. David Nahai, a member of the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the California League of Conservation Voters and longtime environmental advocate; Dr. William Burke, Chair of the South Coast Air Quality Management District; Nick Patsaouras, an experienced businessman, visionary leader and public servant; and, Edith Ramirez, a highly successful Los Angeles attorney.

Biographies of the appointees follow:

Mary D. Nichols
Mary D. Nichols is Director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment (IoE) and holds a faculty appointment as Professor in Residence at the Law School and an appointment in the School of Public Affairs. She teaches a seminar in air and water law in the School of Law, in addition to directing the IoE, an independent, interdisciplinary unit that sponsors research, teaching and public service initiatives across the entire UCLA campus.

Before joining UCLA, she served as Secretary for California’s Resources Agency, where she set policy for 27 departments, boards, commissions and conservancies, including Forestry and Fire Protection, Water Resources, Fish & Game, and State Parks, and led efforts to gain voter approval for four successful bond acts that raised over $10 billion for land and water programs.

In a long career as environmental lawyer and policymaker, Nichols has worked as a senior staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Law in the Public Interest, and headed the Environment Now Foundation as Executive Director. She also co-founded the first environmental justice working group, a multi-ethnic forum for leaders from traditional environmental and community-based organizations to address issues of environmental equity. She served as Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Clinton Administration and was appointed Chair of the California Air Resources Board by Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. Her principal areas of interest are the role of science in environmental decision-making and the creation of new institutions for environmental governance.

Ms. Nichols graduated from Cornell University before receiving her Juris Doctorate from Yale University.

H. David Nahai
H. David Nahai is the President of Nahai Law Corporation, a Century City law firm, specializing in real estate, corporate, environmental and commercial law. Mr. Nahai has practiced law in Los Angeles since 1979.

Mr. Nahai holds graduate and post-graduate degrees in law from the London School of Economics and the University of California (Berkeley) and was a Visiting Scholar at U.C. Berkeley.

Mr. Nahai serves as a member of the Regional Water Quality Control Board. He has served three terms on the board since his appointment in 1997. Mr. Nahai was elected as Chairman of the Commission in 1999, 2000 and 2001, serving an unprecedented three terms as Chairman. During Mr. Nahai’s tenure as Chairman, the Regional Board was awarded the Environmental Leadership Award by Keep California Beautiful, in recognition of the Regional Board’s work in the area of urban run-off pollution. More recently, the UCLA Institute of the Environment awarded the Regional Board an “A” grade for its efforts in this area.

Mr. Nahai also serves on the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, and is currently its Vice-Chairman.

Additionally, Mr. Nahai has served on the Environmental Task Force for Governor Schwarzenegger, and is a member of the Environmental Advisory Committee for Assemblymember Paul Koretz.

Mr. Nahai is a member of the Board of the California League of Conservation Voters and is the Chairman of its Development Committee, and a member of its Executive Committee.

Mr. Nahai has been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations. In 2003, he received the Environmental Champion Award from the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters. He has been twice honored for community leadership. Mr. Nahai is Chairman of the Bnai Zion Foundation and sits on the Boards of numerous charities, including the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, the Iranian American Jewish Federation, the Jewish Community Foundation, and the Magbit Foundation. He is also a member of the Major Donors Committee of the Jewish National Fund. Mr. Nahai is a Director of Security Pacific Bank and serves on its Executive Committee.

Dr. William A. Burke
Currently a member of the California Coastal Commission and a past Fire Commissioner of the City of Los Angeles, Dr. Burke’s accomplishments stretch across a variety of fields.

In 1972 Dr. Burke founded and for two years presided over, the American Health Care Delivery Corporation. He then moved on to become Chairman of the Board position at Genesis International, a Los Angeles based real estate and mining development holding company. From 1981-1984 he supervised the planning and construction of mining concessions in Liberia for the World Mining Development.

Following his executive role in the mining industry, Dr. Burke was appointed Commissioner of Tennis for the Summer Olympic Games in the City of Los Angeles. From this experience Dr. Burke was inspired to organize the first City of Los Angeles Marathon held in 1986. The Marathon, now entering its twentieth year, is the third largest in the world.

In the political arena, Dr. Burke has served as the Consul General to the Republic of Mali for over 15 years. He has also served two terms as President of both the State of California Fish and Game Commission and the Wildlife Conservation Board. Since 1993, Dr. Burke has served on the Board of the South Coast Air Quality management District as the representative of the Speaker of the Assembly. In 2000, he was appointed to serve as a Board Member for the State of California Air Resources Board.

Dr. Burke graduated Miami University and received his Doctorate of Education from the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Burke lives in Los Angeles with his wife Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke. They have two daughters, Christine and Autumn.

Nick Patsaouras
A California State University Northridge graduate, Nick Patsaouras is the President of Patsaouras and Associates Inc. It is a highly successful electrical engineering company that specializes in the design and construction of power, lighting and energy systems, which Mr. Patsaouras has managed for over 30 years. He is also President of Polis Builders, which develops mixed-use projects.

Mr. Patsaouras is a past member of the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and of the Los Angeles City Board of Zoning Appeals. Fluent in both Spanish and Greek, Mr. Patsaouras is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Los Angeles * Athens Sister City affiliation. He is currently the chair of the Project Advisory Committee for the Los Angeles County * USC Medical Center and a member of the American Society of Engineers and Architects.

Mr. Patsaouras has been honored by his alma mater - CSUN - as both an “Outstanding Alumnus” and “Entrepeneur of the Year”. Nick and his wife Sylvia have two children and are long-time residents of Tarzana.

Edith Ramirez
Edith Ramirez is a partner with the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, LLP, specializing in intellectual property and complex business litigation matters. She received her A.B from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1989. Ms. Ramirez obtained her law degree from Harvard Law School in 1992, where she served as a member of the Harvard Law Review. After graduation she served as an associate at the firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher for four years.

Ms. Ramirez has participated in various other professional and community activities, including serving as a member of the board of directors of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Volunteers of America. Ms. Ramirez is former President of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice. She is also a member of the Los Angeles Police Permit Review Panel.

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