Member Interview – Doug Brooms, 08/14

I’m a Bay Area native. I grew up in Oakland, received a BS Degree in Engineering at San Francisco State in 1970, and a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford in 1972.

One of my favorite defining moments was when I worked as a student engineering trainee at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo in 1967. There for 3 months, I designed an air conditioning system for a data center, including all the duct work drawings and A/C specifications. When I returned to work the following summer, all the work had been completed, and the building was considerably cooler. It was my first and lasting validation as an engineer. During 1969 and 1970, 15 months were spent working at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab on an assortment of mechanical projects related to high energy physics research.

From 1972 until 2008, I lived in San Jose. The first 22 years were spent working at IBM, mostly in Advanced Technology and Product Test on high speed printers and disk storage devices. Then-after was a detour selling life insurance, securities, financial and legal services products. Upon returning to Oakland in 2008, my next pursuit was in renewable energy and energy efficiency, taking course work and receiving various certificates.

I first discovered NCRA at the August 2011 picnic and felt an instant camaraderie. NCRA advocates pro environmental policies and principles that long have been near and dear to me. I started attending NCRA events and occasional Board meetings. I formally joined NCRA in 2013.

I have sustaining commitments to waste reduction, climate protection and environmental stewardship. I’ve been an ardent recycler for over 20 years. It’s a personal crusade to be involved in the recycling industry. One of the more important issues we need to address is education and outreach to build awareness around over-consumption, and how to conserve resources and recycle more. We need to get out of that “garbage as usual” paradigm and gravitate toward a Zero Waste mentality.

I’m the recycling coordinator at my eleven unit multifamily residence. Working through property management, recycling participation has improved from infrequent to typically two full carts each week. I’ve had a few opportunities doing recycling and landfill diversion work at public events, which is gratifying work.

People might be surprised to know that I’m passionate about and involved in various social and environmental justice causes. I support campaign finance reform, climate change and global warming initiatives, and campaigns to shift our dependency on fossil fuels towards renewable energy alternatives. I sign petitions in opposition to fracking and the Keystone XL Pipeline, and support GMO (Genetically Modified Foods) labeling.

To stay in shape, I typically run at least 500 miles and bike at least 1500 miles annually. I have run at least one marathon each year since 1994. I typically ride with the Oakland Yellowjackets Cycling Club at least monthly. I enjoy doing videography, shooting occasional weddings and NCRA events. I have a mild addiction to Sudoku, favoring the more difficult puzzles. Usually when I attend street fairs, I bring my tambourine just in case.

I enjoy travel. Apart from my nephew’s wedding in San Diego in 2012, my last real vacation was in 2006. I went on a 7-day cruise to Mexico, San Diego and Catalina. Eventually I would like to visit Australia, as it’s the only continent I haven’t visited, other than Antarctica. I’d spent three weeks in West Africa in 1993, two weeks in Brazil during Carnival in 1994, four weeks in China and Asia in 1995, and several trips to European countries.

How would I describe myself in three words? Caring: I care about a lot of things. Dependable: If you ask me to do something, it will get done. Good-natured: I maintain a glass half full attitude.

Book: The Waste Makers by Vance Packard. It was a very impactful book for me.
Magazine: No favorite, though I used to favor National Geographic and subscribe to vegetarian and health magazines.
Music: Progressive Jazz, Blues and old Motown
Movie: Avatar
TV Show: 60 Minutes (also 20/20 and nature shows).
Sports: Cycling and running
Board Game: Backgammon, although not lately.
Website: Google
Animal: Dogs
Season: Summer
Restaurant/Meal: Herbivore on Shattuck
Place to Visit: Paris, France. I’ve been there 3 times.
Time Management Technique: Planning ahead and having contingency time for any unanticipated delays.