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Foundation Board

The role of the Foundation Board is to assist in Chabot’s fundraising effort through personal contributions and in-kind resources, and to help promote and build support for Chabot in the community.

The Foundation Board may have a total of 33 Directors which may include up to 11 Public elected Directors of the JPA Board.

Directors serve for a term of 3 years and there is no limitation to the number of terms a Director may serve.


  • Eric Rudney

    Eric Rudney, Chair

    President, Rudney Associates

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    Eric Rudney is a registered investment advisor with over twenty eight years of experience in investment planning and asset management for high net worth and corporate clients. For the past three consecutive years, the East Bay Business Times ranked Rudney Associates among the top-10 largest wealth management firms in the East Bay. Additionally, in 2008 the Winners Circle named Eric the East Bay's best independent wealth management advisor. Eric supports and has served on the board of a number of local organizations that give back to the community and contribute to social change including BUILD, where he was Chairman of the Advisory Board, the Diablo Regional Art Association (former President and on the Board of Trustees), Las Trampas Inc. (Chairman Fundraising) and the Wheelchair Foundation. Eric is a graduate of UC Berkeley and attended CSU Hayward studying for his MBA Business/Finance.

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  • Sheryl Gorchow Stuart

    Sheryl Gorchow Stuart, Vice Chair

    Consulting Partner, Allotrope Ventures

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    Former administrator of the Weston Havens Foundation for medical and scientific research, Sheryl Gorchow Stuart has more than 15 years experience in non-profit philanthropy and development work in education and cultural institutions. An experienced fundraiser, Sheryl was a member of Caltech's senior development staff during the Institute's successful $1.4 billion campaign, overseeing the corporate and foundations departments and projects within CIT's Division of Physics, Math and Astronomy. She has worked at a range of educational institutions and museums, including the Claremont colleges, the Academy of Natural Sciences and The University of Pennsylvania's Museum. A mentor in her profession, Sheryl has lectured and taught in UCLA's Development Professional Certification Program. An active volunteer, she recently served as President of the Claremont Educational Foundation and on the Board of Oak Crest Institute of Science in Pasadena. She is married to Marc Stuart, and they have two children. The family relocated to the Bay Area in 2010.

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  • John Spees

    John Spees, Treasurer

    Founder and Managing Partner, Granite Capital Management

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    John Spees is a co-founder and a Managing Partner for Granite Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisory and Wealth Management Firm located in the East Bay. The firm provides investment advisory services to individuals, families and small businesses.

    Prior to starting Granite with a colleague in 2000, John spent 16 years trading fixed income securities and related derivatives for Bank of America and Security Pacific Bank, with his final 5 years a member of the Bank's proprietary risk taking unit. John is also a manager of and investor in Granite Investors LLC, a leveraged fixed income investment partnership organized to participate in the Federal Reserve's Term Asset Backed Loan Facility. He started his career as a consultant for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).

    John is married to an Oakland Public School teacher and he and his wife have 2 teenage children. He holds an MBA and BS from the HAAS School of Business Administration, University of California, Berkeley, with an emphasis in Finance.

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Committee Chairs

  • Bill Bruner

    Bill Bruner, Chair, Foundation Governance Committee

    Director, Government & External Relations, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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    Mr. Bruner is the Director of Government and External Relations and responsible for strengthening Laboratory communications with all levels of government, the public, and other stakeholders. He oversees the Laboratory's Congressional Affairs, Public Affairs, and Protocol offices. Mr. Bruner has 25 years of experience in strategic communications, government affairs, strategic planning, and national security policy.

    Prior to joining LLNL, Mr. Bruner was the Assistant Administrator for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Administration of President George W. Bush. Under Bruner's leadership, the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs managed NASA's relationships with the U.S. Congress, governors, state legislators and local governments.

    Before his appointment at NASA, Mr. Bruner had a distinguished career in the United States Air Force. Among his decorations is the Bronze Star, awarded for service in the First Gulf War. He then served in several key positions in Washington - among them as a space and airpower expert on the Secretary of the Air Force's Staff Group; as a Military Fellow in the Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; and as an Office Director within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he won the Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul H. Nitze Award for Excellence in International Security Affairs.

    Mr. Bruner is a graduate of the National War College, the Air Force Fighter Weapons School, and the Air Force's School of Advanced Air and Space Power Studies - where his thesis topic was "National Security Implications of Inexpensive Space Access." He has earned master's degrees, with distinction, in National Security Strategy and Airpower Arts and Sciences. His bachelor's degree in Physical Science (Astronomy) is from San Francisco State University.

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  • John Spees

    John Spees, Finance

    Founder and Managing Partner, Granite Capital Management

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    John Spees is a co-founder and a Managing Partner for Granite Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisory and Wealth Management Firm located in the East Bay. The firm provides investment advisory services to individuals, families and small businesses.

    Prior to starting Granite with a colleague in 2000, John spent 16 years trading fixed income securities and related derivatives for Bank of America and Security Pacific Bank, with his final 5 years a member of the Bank's proprietary risk taking unit. John is also a manager of and investor in Granite Investors LLC, a leveraged fixed income investment partnership organized to participate in the Federal Reserve's Term Asset Backed Loan Facility. He started his career as a consultant for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).

    John is married to an Oakland Public School teacher and he and his wife have 2 teenage children. He holds an MBA and BS from the HAAS School of Business Administration, University of California, Berkeley, with an emphasis in Finance.

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  • Nathan Mason Brill

    Nathan Mason Brill

    President & Chief Executive Officer of EP Executive Press

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    Nathan Mason Brill is President and Chief Executive Officer of EP Executive Press, the publisher of such distinguished publications as The Corporate Counsel and Peter Romeo and Alan Dye's Section 16 Treatise and Reporting Guide. In addition, EP Executive Press is responsible for the highly acclaimed websites TheCorporateCounsel.net, Section16.net and DealLawyers.com. He is also co-Chair of the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals.

    Nathan graduated from Amherst College and the University of Chicago Law School. He serves on the boards of a number of private companies and numerous nonprofit boards and committees, including the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Illinois Holocaust Museum, and is a member of the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Law School.

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  • Sandra R. Curtis, Ph.D.

    Sandra R. Curtis, Ph.D.

    International Marketing and Communications Fellow, d.light design

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    Sandra R. Curtis, Ph.D. manages international marketing and communications for d.light design, a for- profit social enterprise providing solar light solutions to the developing world. She started XenoQuest Media in 2010, producing videos for NASA. She has created and is producing other independent media projects, several which focus on popularizing scientific knowledge. She previously served as the Chief Innovations Officer at the Mexican Heritage Corporation and Senior Vice President for Zorro Productions. As head of Creative Development for Zorro for over twenty years, she produced, created, and managed projects across media, including stage, television, film, publishing and brand licensing.

    Sandra brings a love of science education to Chabot. She has developed curriculum materials in health science and physics at Lawrence Hall of Science during graduate school, later serving on the Hall's Advisory Council. She taught at UC Berkeley, where she received her Ph.D., and at San Francisco State. Sandra has served on commissions in the City of Berkeley and on numerous non-profit boards.

    "Chabot Space & Science Center is uniquely positioned to ignite that spark of curiosity in our visitors about the cosmos. We have the potential to create spectacular moments of awe about the mysteries of our universe through dramatic visual exhibits, the planetarium, stargazing, our classes and other special events. The founders had incredible foresight in establishing Chabot, which is a very valuable community resource. I'm eager to foster continuing development of innovative projects like Tales of the Maya Skies and am honored to be a member of the foundation board."

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  • Glen Dahlbacka Ph.D.

    Glen Dahlbacka Ph.D.

    Senior Program Manager, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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    As a founding member of the the New CSSC, Glen began his work on the Center in the late 80's when his wife, Rena Rickles, was approached by the East Bay Astronomical Society to work pro bono on a Joint Powers Agreement for a new astronomy center for the Chabot Observatory which was in need of relocation due to compliance issues with the Ahlquist-Priolo Seismic Protection Act for school facilities.  The plans and ideas were exciting and important.  As an astrophysicist by training, Glen recalled the important facilities such as the Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, that had played an inspiring and informing part in his career in sciences, and saw the value the New Center could play in the lives of East Bay students.  At the time, Glen brought experience in management and development in both the public and private sector.  He was the CEO of a small technology company focused on x-ray laser research after having been an active researcher in fusion at Lawrence Livermore Labs, where he conceived and co-designed the first laser fusion target to generate a fusion reaction.  He had continued that line of research as a group leader at a San Leandro technology company where they were the first to generate conditions that could lead to fusion implosions using very high power electrical pulse generators --perhaps for x-ray lasers.  That line of research continues to this day at Sandia Labs in Albuquerque.

     Soon after the CSSC JPA was signed, Harlan Kessel of the EBRPD Board appointed Glen as one of the members of the new JPA Board.  Harlan had come to know Glen through Glen's involvement and experience in East Bay politics.  Glen was a Planning Commissioner in Livermore and led the Commission in drafting a 20 year General Plan for the City.  He was elected to the Livermore City Council in 1976 and worked to implement the General Plan as well as a pioneering energy retrofit ordinance that required a home, on sale, to meet attic insulation and ventilation standards.  That is State law now, as are the recycling programs Glen worked to initiate in Livermore with a reluctant Waste Management Company.

    During the 90's the dream of CSSC moved from paper to steel and concrete and Glen served as Treasurer during the trying construction project, built at the peak of the Dot-Com boom. He also led the development of a business plan for the new Center. During this time Glen became VP of Business Development at a mid-sized technology company that built and equipped synchrotron x-ray sources for industrial uses such as semiconductor lithography.  When the industry stayed with optical techniques, Glen joined Berkeley Lab as a staff scientist to build the industrial programs of the new Advanced Light Source synchrotron. After successfully launching programs with semiconductor and biotechnology companies he spent the last seven years of his time at the Lab as a Senior Program Manager for a DOE non-proliferation program with Former Soviet Union scientists. He helped them join the international economy with their talents and expertise in technology ventures with US companies.  During his time at the Lab he served on numerous Boards and Advisory Committees.  He also served as the Board Chair and lay leader of the historic First Unitarian Church of Oakland restoration project.

    The Lab was highly supportive of the new Center and Glen served as JPA Board Chair during the transition to a policy board from a working board and during the search for a new executive director. Glen is now retired from the Lab but is active as a board adviser to a renewable energy start-up and a start-up in Targeted Alpha Therapy for treatment resistant cancers.

    Glen was born in Upper Michigan and attended the U of Illinois and earned a BS in Physics with a minor in anthropology and earned a PhD in Astrophysics at the U of Minnesota.  He has lived in Oakland with Rena since 1979 and has three children and four grandchildren.

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  • Chris Ellison

    Chris Ellison

    Founding Partner, Ellison, Schneider & Harris

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    Chris Ellison is an environmental attorney specializing in energy law, with an emphasis on renewable electricity. He is a founding partner in the firm of Ellison, Schneider & Harris, a 17 attorney Sacramento firm focused on energy, water and related environmental matters. Chris has been a leading participant in the restructuring of the electric industry and the promotion of renewable energy, and has been a participant before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission and other agencies regarding a variety of energy and related environmental issues. He was selected by the California Bar Association to serve on its Committee on the Environment (1987-1990) and has been selected by other attorneys and clients for inclusion in "Best Lawyers in America" (2006 to present), "Northern California Super Lawyers" (2005 to present) and by Sacramento Magazine for "Best Lawyers in Sacramento" (2006 to present).

    Chris grew up in the Bay Area (Belmont) and now lives in San Rafael. He has a B.A. in psychology from the University of California at Riverside and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He has been on the Board of the International Child Resource Institute (headquartered in Berkeley) for the past five years and now serves as Board secretary. While he has no formal scientific background he has long-time amateur interest in physics (relativity and quantum mechanics), astronomy and space exploration.

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  • Jerry Fiddler

    Jerry Fiddler

    Chairman, Solazyme; Principal, Zygote Ventures

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    Jerry Fiddler is the Chairman of Solazyme, Principal of Zygote Ventures and Founder of Wind River. Fiddler started Wind River in his Berkeley garage in 1981 along with fellow Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories software engineer David Wilner. Over the next 23 years, Fiddler steered the company to the global forefront of the embedded software industry. Wind River operating systems have guided each of NASA's Mars rovers, and the company flourished with operating systems for products ranging from digital cameras and DVD players to medical equipment and anti-lock brakes. Fiddler retired as Wind River's chairman in 2004.

    "Technology and science is an exciting combination," said Fiddler. "That's what makes Chabot so compelling - and so important. There's not another institution that can lay claim to Northern California's only full-dome digital planetarium, the only research-quality telescopes regularly open to the public in the Western U.S. and dozens of cutting-edge interactive exhibits... all located in one of the most stunning natural settings in California."

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  • Alex Filippenko, Ph.D.

    Alex Filippenko, Ph.D.

    Professor of Astronomy, Richard & Rhoda Goldman/Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences, UC Berkeley

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    Alex Filippenko Ph.D. joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1986, where he is a leading authority on exploding stars, active galaxies, black holes, gamma-ray bursts, and the expansion of the Universe. Elected to the National Academy of Sciences and one of the world's most highly cited astronomers, he is the recipient of numerous prizes for his research. UC Berkeley students have voted him the "Best Professor" on campus six times, and he was named the 2006 Carnegie/CASE National Professor of the Year among doctoral institutions. He has appeared in numerous television documentaries, produced introductory astronomy video courses with The Teaching Company, and coauthored an award-winning textbook.

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  • Garrett Gruener

    Garrett Gruener

    General Partner, Alta Partners

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    Garrett Gruener is a co-founder of Alta Partners, and was also a Partner at Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co., which he joined in 1992. Gruener has more than two decades of experience in the fields of software development, systems engineering and corporate development. In 1982, he founded Virtual Microsystems, a successful communications software company that was later merged with a larger corporation. Garrett also founded Ask Jeeves, now Ask.Com, a leading Internet search engine which is now part of IAC. Garrett specializes in information technology and is on the board of directors of Aegis Lightwave, Ellie Mae, Nanomix and nCircle Network Security. Gruener earned a Masters Degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science from the University of California, San Diego, both in Political Science with a focus on technology policy.

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  • Kevin Leader

    Kevin Leader

    Treasurer, Bechtel

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    As Bechtel’s treasurer, Kevin Leader has global responsibility for all cash operations, short-term investments, foreign currency, and relationships with banks and other financial institutions. Leader also oversees the coordination of project-specific banking matters for Bechtel entities, operations, projects, and joint ventures around the world.

    Leader joined Bechtel in 2001 as director of corporate finance and was appointed treasurer in 2003. He was also elected a principal vice president in 2008.

    Prior to Bechtel, Leader spent more than 15 years in corporate banking, most recently as managing director with Bank of America’s global corporate and investment-banking group.

    He is a member of Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Economic Advisory Council. 

    He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and management from Saint Mary’s College of California and a Master of Business Administration degree from Santa Clara University, both in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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  • Jennifer Liebeler Michael

    Jennifer Liebeler Michael

    Senior Environmental Policy Advisor for Chevron

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    Jennifer, an oceanographer and environmental scientist, has worked on conservation issues throughout her career in the academic, nonprofit, and business sectors. Currently, she is the Senior Environmental Policy Advisor for Chevron’s Corporate Policy Government and Public Affairs Corporate department in San Ramon, CA where she works on issues of energy, sustainability, and environmental policy. Previously she managed biodiversity issues for Chevron in the Gulf of Mexico. Jennifer is an expert on sound and marine life.

    Prior to joining Chevron, Jennifer worked for environmental conservation and non-profit groups. She directed international marine programs for a coral reef conservation and education organization. At the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, she collaborated with exhibit designers and educators to develop exhibits and experiential learning programs on watershed, coastal zone, and ocean conservation issues. Moving to the private sector, Jennifer uses her skills and commitment to a healthy environment to help improve business practices affecting the environment and foster a constructive dialogue on energy development and environmental protection.

    Jennifer has a M.S. in Oceanography from the University of Hawaii and was a Chancellor Fellow at UCLA. She has a B.A. in Biology from Pomona College. She is a PADI Divemaster and holds a commercial pilot license and flight instructor ratings. She is a Next Generation Texas Fellow at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security & Law at the University of Texas at Austin. She has worked with a variety of community non-profits in San Francisco and Houston, and served on the development board of Casa de Esperanza, a children's crisis center, in Houston. Jennifer lives in Walnut Creek California with her husband, two children and Australian Shepherd.

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  • Dan Miller

    Dan Miller

    Managing Partner, The Roda Group

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    Dan Miller  is Managing Director of The Roda Group, a venture capital group focused on clean technology as well as information and communications services. Miller serves on the boards of several Roda Group companies including biofuel manufacturer Solazyme, and he was previously the president of Ask Jeeves, Inc., a former Roda Group affiliate company. He is also a member of the board of the Stupid Fun Club, game designer Will Wright's "entertainment think tank." Mr. Miller was Executive Vice President of TCSI Corporation, a company he co-founded with his Roda Group partner, Roger Strauch. TCSI (now owned by Rocket Software) is a leading provider of integrated software products and services for the global telecommunications industry. Prior to TCSI, Miller was a systems engineer at Hughes Aircraft's (now Boeing) Space and Communications Group where he was responsible for designing communications payloads for commercial communications satellites. He holds three patents in the areas of compression technology and wireless communications systems. In addition to Chabot, Miller serves on the nonprofit board of Climate Healers, and the advisory board of Cornell University's Computing and Information Science and School of Electrical Engineering. Dan is a member of The Climate Project, and has given talks about climate change at conferences across the nation. Miller received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, with distinction, from Cornell University and his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

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  • Bill Nye

    Bill Nye

    Founder and CEO, Nye Labs, LLC

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    Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life.

    Bill's fascination with how things work led him to Cornell University and a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, he headed for Seattle and work as an engineer at Boeing. It was in Seattle that Bill began to combine his love of science with his flair for comedy, when he won the Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Eventually, Bill quit his day engineering day job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle's home-grown ensemble comedy show "Almost Live."

    This is where "Bill Nye the Science Guy®" was born. The show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central, originating at KING-TV, Seattle's NBC affiliate. With fellow KING-TV alumni Jim McKenna and Erren Gottlieb, Bill made a number of award-winning shows, including the show he became so well known for, "Bill Nye the Science Guy."

    While working on the Science Guy show, Bill won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing. The show won 18 Emmys in five years. In between creating the shows, he wrote five kids' books about science, including his latest title, "Bill Nye's Great Big Book of Tiny Germs."

    Bill Nye is the host of three currently-running television series. "The 100 Greatest Discoveries" airs on the Science Channel. "The Eyes of Nye" airs on PBS stations across the country and Bill's latest project is hosting a show on Planet Green called "Stuff Happens."

    Bill's association with Chabot began when he agreed to partner with them on the development of their new, eponymously named climate exhibit, Bill Nye's Climate Lab, which recently opened at Chabot to great acclaim. Bill joined the Foundation Board of Directors of Chabot in January 2011.

    Bill Nye is a graduate of Cornell with a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He holds three Honorary Doctorate degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Goucher College, and Johns Hopkins. He has delivered commencement addresses at the University of California Santa Barbara, RPI, Goucher, Hopkins, Harvey Mudd College, and Caltech.

    Bill is currently the Executive Director of The Planetary Society, the world's large space interest organization.

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  • Anil K. Suri

    Anil K. Suri

    Vice President & Chief Risk and Audit Officer, PG&E Corporation, Pacific Gas & Electric Company

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    Anil K. Suri is Vice President and Chief Risk and Audit Officer for PG&E Corporation and Pacific Gas and Electric Company. He is responsible for overseeing the company's enterprise-wide risk management, internal audit, compliance and ethics, market and credit risk management, insurance and corporate security functions.

    Suri joined PG&E in 2010 after owning and operating a risk management consultancy in New York, where he advised utility-industry senior management in the renewables, fuel supply and new generation markets, and managed market and credit risk of generation assets, pipelines and regulatory assets for utilities and other energy providers.

    Prior to that, Suri founded the electricity hedging business as Managing Director of Wells Fargo Bank N.A. He served as CEO of E-lecTrade, Inc., which provided electricity procurement, sales, structuring and trading services for the energy industry, and was a founding partner of The Risk Partners, LLC, where he marketed risk advisory and risk transfer services to utilities, pension funds and insurance companies.

    Suri has also worked as a scientist at Yale University and as an oceanographer at Harvard University, where he earned his Ph.D. in fluid turbulence. He holds an MBA in finance from Columbia Business School and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.

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  • Nick Vlahos

    Nick Vlahos

    Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Household, Lifestyle and Core Global Functions, The Clorox Company

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    Effective Sept. 23, 2014, Nick Vlahos was named executive vice president & chief operating officer – Household, Lifestyle and Core Global Functions.  In this role, he is responsible for the bags and wraps, charcoal, cat litter, food, water filtration and natural personal care business units. In addition, he is responsible for the company’s four core global functions: Marketing, Sales, Product Supply and Research & Development.

    Previously, Vlahos was senior vice president – chief customer officer, with responsibility for the customer organization worldwide.

    Prior to this, Vlahos was vice president – general manager, Burt’s Bees®.. During his time on the Burt’s Bees business, Vlahos helped drive growth in more than 40 countries where Burt’s Bees products are sold, as well as spearheaded further expansion.

    Vlahos joined Clorox in 1995 as a Chicago regional sales manager for Household Products and over the years has held numerous roles within the sales and marketing organization. In 2006, Vlahos was named vice president – Customer Capability Development, and in 2008, he assumed the role of vice president – general manager, Laundry. In 2009, Vlahos assumed the role of vice president – general manager, Laundry, Brita® and Green Works, where he managed and accelerated growth behind this portfolio of brands.

    Before joining Clorox, Vlahos launched his career at Helene Curtis where he led personal care brands such as Suave and Degree.

    Vlahos lends his support to the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that assists those who have served in the U.S. military. He serves on the board of directors of the Chabot Space & Science Center Foundation in Oakland, Calif., and also has served as a member of the executive committee for the North Carolina chapter of the American Heart Association and on the board of directors for the Natural Products Association, a leading North American industry group supporting the interests of the natural products industry and consumers.

    A native of Chicago, Ill., Vlahos has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.

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