Member Interviews – 2011

Two interviews were submitted in 2011- Laura McKaughan and Jordan Figueiredo:

Laura McKaughan, Green Programs Manager, San Francisco Conservation Corps (SFCC)

What You Do: I began at SFCC, a non-profit job training program, in July 2006 as the Recycling Projects Manager managing 3 recycling crews and an 8000 sq ft recycling facility located in the Presidio of San Francisco. In late 2009, I worked with my employer to change my title to be Green Programs Manager, which is the position I am still in today. This new title is more descriptive of the projects I work on while still maintaining all of my previous duties including managing 5 staff members directly and 30 Corpsmembers indirectly.

I design and implement green programming such as zero waste projects and green jobs technical trainings for at-risk young people ages 18-26. Projects include but are not limited to: collecting recycling from businesses, sorting materials into 12 different materials types, providing zero waste services for special events, administering environmental literacy curriculum, organizing recycling presentations and doing waste audits and litter abatements.

Accomplishments: BA in Psychology and Creative Writing, University of Arizona, 1999 (graduated Magna Cum Laude), MBA in Environmental Entrepreneurship, New College of California (program now housed at Dominican University), 2003, SFCC Directors Award for Outstanding Service 2008, Certified Forklift Instructor 2009-2013

Activities/Interests: Rock climbing, dancing, bike riding, outdoor adventures and spending time with my family (mom, dad, step-mom, step-dad, and all the myriad of step and half brothers and sisters. I haven’t thought yet to add to the madness by having kids of my own :))

What Would People Be Surprised To Know About You: I have a secret desire to be known as a dancer.

If You Could Travel To One Place For A Week, Where Would You Go?:  The place that is coming to me now is NYC. For any place abroad, I’d like to have at least 2 weeks.

Favorite Book: Gone Tomorrow. It’s all about trash…that was too easy! It may not be the best page-turner I have ever read but I definitely reference it more than most books.

Favorite Movie: Based on the number of times I have watched it, Dirty Dancing takes the cake!

Favorite Restaurants: Beretta (SF), Gather (Berkeley), Gracias Madre (SF)

Favorite Person: My dad

Favorite Recycled Product: It’s not a recycled product but I think bagasse, made from sugar cane pulp (an agricultural byproduct), is pretty awesome for food service ware.

If You Could Invite Any Three People To Dinner – Dead Or Alive, Who Would You Invite And Why?:  Malcolm X, John Muir and Greg Mortensen (author of book, “Three Cups of Tea”). I went back and forth about whether or not I’d rather have dinner with MLK Jr. But ultimately I think Malcolm X would bring a perspective that might push mine to the left, a gesture I think he was famous for. Plus, oddly enough, I imagine him as being funny. As for John Muir, I would love to hear the epic stories of the treks and terrain he has seen. As for Mortensen, the book he wrote was all about the work he has done building schools for girls in Pakistan. I think he’d have some interesting ideas about how to end the conflict in Afghanistan that are unlike anything we’re witnessing now.

Jordan Figueiredo, Environmental Technician, City Manager’s Office, City of Dublin, CA

What You Do: Responsible for Solid Waste and Recycling contract management, outreach, program development and grant writing, Clean Water (Storm Water) outreach and inspections and other environmental programs. In addition, researched and analyzed city, county, state and national policies, laws and regulations relating to: climate protection, bay-friendly landscaping, composting, energy, green building, recycling, source reduction, water efficiency/conservation and zero waste management. Work with schools on the Go Green program and have successfully written grant proposals for: junk mail recycling bins for multifamily residences, recycling containers and retrofits for parks, recycling retrofits for public spaces and a bring your own bag campaign.

BA in Sociology with a Minor in Business Administration from California State University East Bay. Masters of Public Administration with emphasis in Public Policy from California State University East Bay. Leadership in Sustainability and Environmental Management Certificate from University California at Berkeley Extension (expected Feb 2011). Board Member, Municipal Management Association of Northern California (MMANC) – 2011 Membership Director, 2010 East Bay Region Co-Chair

Married my lovely wife Ellie last May in Maui, and we have a three month old named Evan. Movies, baseball games, football games, basketball games, UC Berkeley sports, going on walks with my family, traveling, continuing my never-ending education (formal or informal), impressionist art, glassblowing done by someone else – tried it once and it was fun but wow it was hot!

What Would People Be Surprised To Know About You?:
I love baseball and I have been to 32 major league parks.

If You Could Travel To One Place For A Week, Where Would You Go?:
Greece, I have never been and I can’t wait to go. Athens, Santorini, the Acropolis, the Parthenon, Gyro’s, Baklava…..

Favorite Book:
Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman. He said it clear and simple “We need a green revolution.”

Favorite Movie:
Any Jason Bourne movie. I’m a sucker for international spy movies.

Favorite Restaurant:
Olive Garden, it’s simple but the pizza, pasta and breadsticks are soooo good.

Favorite Person:
Right now it’s my 3 month old son. He doesn’t do too much yet, but when he smiles and laughs it’s amazing.

Favorite Recycled Product:
Glass, any kind of recycled glass. Whether it’s a vase or bowl or cup, I love glass and recycled glass is just so beautiful and cool. Buy more recycled products and recycled glass and support our recycling markets!

If You Could Invite Any Three People To Dinner – Dead Or Alive, Who Would You Invite And Why?:
Mahatma Gandhi: How did he maintain the strength and determination to do what he did and change his society and the world?
President Obama: How does he balance it all? Domestic economy, education, health care, the environment and international affairs…..And then I would push my agenda for more support of local environmental services.
Fareed Zakaria: His pieces in Newsweek and now Time and his books are so insightful and accessible to someone like myself, who is clearly not a wonk.
Questions for all three: How do we get to a sustainable society today? (socially, environmentally, economically) What can be done at the local level to support this, whether you are in public service or not?


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