Nancy Vogel (Moderator):
Public Affairs Director, Department of Water Resources - Nancy joined the Department of Water Resources in April as director of the public affairs office. A former journalist, she worked at The Sacramento Bee – including stints on the energy and water beats – from 1990 to 2000. She joined the Los Angeles Times’ capitol bureau in June 2000, just in time to cover the electricity crisis. She joined the newly-created Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes in 2008. There she wrote reports about various government operations, including California’s green energy incentive programs.
Nancy has a B.S. degree in Conservation and Resource Studies and a master’s of journalism, both from the University of California, Berkeley.
Jessica R. Pearson (Panelist):
Senior Policy Advisor, Delta Stewardship Council - Jessica Pearson is an experienced professional in the areas of water policy, natural resource management, planning and sustainability. Her experience includes more than seven years as a policy advisor to Cabinet Secretaries and Directors in the Executive branch of California State Government and she currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor at the Delta Stewardship Council, a California State Agency.
Previously, Jessica served as the Deputy Secretary for Sustainable Resource Management at the Natural Resources Agency in Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration. Prior to that she served as a top advisor to the Director of the California Department of Water Resources, where she worked on legislation to increase flood protection in California’s Central Valley and on the landmark 2009 Delta Reform Act and water bill package.
Jessica holds a Masters degree in the field of Community and Regional Development from University of California, Davis. The focus of her graduate studies was on sustainable development. Jessica also holds a BA in Communication from University of California, San Diego. In 2005 Jessica served as Executive Fellow to the Natural Resources Agency as part of the Capital Fellows Program.
Susan Sims (Panelist):
Chief Deputy Director, California Department of Water Resources (DWR); Executive Officer, California Water Commission - Susan Sims was appointed DWR Chief Deputy Director in October of 2008. Her primary responsibilities include advising and assisting the Director in developing and implementing departmental policies, and managing many of the day to day administrative, communications and programmatic activities. Susan is also the Executive Officer of the California Water Commission. In serving in both of these roles, Susan draws on extensive experience in State government.
Prior to assuming her current role, Susan served as DWR's Assistant Director for Public Affairs from August 2004 to October 2008. Susan's State career began as a speechwriter for Governor George Deukmejian. She later served as the Governor's Deputy Cabinet Secretary working on budget, education and environmental issues. Prior to coming to DWR, Susan worked in the California Environmental Protection Agency for 13 years.
A graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles with a degree in Political Science, Susan is also a graduate of the Leadership California program and has a management certificate from California State University, Sacramento.
Michelle Bertolino (panelist):
Electric Utility Director, Roseville Electric - Michelle has worked for the City of Roseville’s electric utility for ten years. At Roseville, she has managed many aspects of the electric utility business including distribution services, engineering, finance and public benefit programs. She was promoted to General Manager of the electric utility two years ago. She is the first woman to hold this position.
Michelle received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in business and economics. She also attended the University of California, Davis' Graduate School of Management. Michelle began her career in San Francisco, in the public accounting industry, where she became a certified public accountant. She later worked for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
Michelle is married, has two adult sons and lives in Placer County.
Tina Cannon Leahy (panelist):
Water Policy Consultant at Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee - Tina Cannon Leahy is the Principal Consultant for the California Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee where she serves as the Assembly's primary expert on water resource law and policy. The primary jurisdictions of the Committee are water resources, flood management, fish and game, parks and recreation, and wildlife. Before coming to the Assembly, Ms. Leahy was Senior Staff Counsel to the California Department of Fish and Game assigned to Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water management and endangered species law and policy issues, including the CALFED Bay Delta Program and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan process. Prior to public service, Ms. Leahy was an associate attorney with the law firm of Somach, Simmons, and Dunn. She is an advisor to both the California State Bar Association's Environmental Law Section and the California Environmental Law and Policy Center at her alma mater King Hall, the University of California, Davis, School of Law.