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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Board Table Wind Power Man in Field Kid ‘n tree rings


Founders: Marcia Pagels & Ruth Peterson

Current Board
Chair Emeritus:William Schulte
Board Chair: Bryan Chen
Vice Chair: Afsoon Shahrdar
Secretary: Seamus Murphy
Treasurer: Barbara McHugh
Board Members: Terry Nagel,Patrick Wooliever

Marcia Pagels, Founder
Marcia was Editor-in-Chief of the 2002 edition of the Indicators for a Sustainable San Mateo County; A Yearly Report of Our County’s Quality of Life. Marcia was a graduate of Stanford University and worked there as a Library Specialist for many years. Marcia also volunteered with the Foundation for Global Community. She was a bio-intensive gardener and landscape painter who donated many works to SSMC auctions. She passed away in 2010; a memorial gallery of her art may be seen here.

Ruth M. Peterson, Founder
Ruth was the owner and manager of Bovet Professional Center, a business that she started in 1981. The business is an executive suite designed primarily for attorneys and other professionals. She was involved with SSMC for 12 years and was Chair of the Business Task Force prior to becoming Chair of the Steering committee. She led the effort for SSMC to become a stand-alone nonprofit in the fall of 2002 and was the Chair of the Board until 2012. She has been recognized on many occasions for her community involvement which included six years on the Board of Shelter Network. In 2002 she was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame. Ruth attended USC for 3 years, moved to San Francisco and graduated from San Francisco State with a secondary teaching major. She decided to forego teaching when she decided she had an affinity for the business world.

William Schulte, Chair Emeritus
Bill Schulte devoted 29 years to the California Public Utilities Commission, retiring in 2000 after heading its Consumer Services Division. After “retirement” he has been engaged as a regulatory and consumer affairs consultant for a number of public agencies and private industry. In addition to his own practice, he is a partner in Training Partners LLC, which provides consumer affairs and call center training to governmental agencies.

Bill has also conducted a number of poverty-reduction missions for the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Eastern Europe and West and South Africa. He is a member of the Board of Self Help for the Elderly, the Institute of Environmental Entrepreneurs (which created the Green MBA program at Dominican University), and a large private transportation company in California. He is also associated with the Center for Sustainability at Dominican. He holds a BS in Management Engineering from UOP and a MS in Civil Engineering from Stanford. Bill is a registered Civil Engineer in California. Bill served as the Chair of the Board of Directors for SSMC from 2009-2015.

Bryan Chen, Board Chair
Bryan Chen has spent his professional career focused on air quality and human health issues. Bryan is currently the air quality and greenhouse gas lead in Northern California at ARCADIS, a multinational engineering company. Prior to that, he was the Director of air quality programs at the environmental planning firm Christopher A. Joseph and Associates. He has been a regular contributor to SSMC’s Annual Indicator Report since 2010 and currently serves as SSMC’s city and county survey coordinator. He joined the board in Summer 2014 and became Chair in Fall 2017.

Bryan graduated with a B.A. at Pomona College and a M.S. in environmental engineering at Johns Hopkins University. His interest in sustainability has led him to pursue and receive a sustainability professional certificate from the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate credential, and Environmental Sustainability Professional accreditation from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI).

Afsoon Shahrdar, Vice Chair
Afsoon Shahrdar is an active and well respected Realtor in San Mateo County since 1988. She graduated from the School of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley with major in Architecture. Afsoon has been a board member in the local chapter of the League of Women Voters. She has also served at the local board of Realtors (SAMCAR) as Grievance Committee Chair, and currently is on the Professional Standard Committee and an Arbitrator. Afsoon has many designations from the National Association of Realtors. Among them is NAR GREEN council which enables her to educate her clients on how to take advantage of GREEN building design to add value and live in energy efficient homes. She has been involved with SSMC since 2011 and was Chair of the Board from Fall 2015-2017.

Seamus Murphy, Secretary
Seamus Murphy is the Director of Government and Community Affairs for SamTrans, Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. Murphy has been recognized as a leader and rising star in the California transit industry. Recognized widely for his passionate advocacy on behalf of an industry that has been the victim of unprecedented state budget cuts, Murphy shows a savvy ability to weave through the legislative thicket of state and federal governments and to convert elected officials and the public into transit advocates.

Murphy’s primary responsibility is legislative advocacy on behalf of the three local agencies he serves, but he has become a key player on the California Transit Association Executive and Legislative Committees and a crucial strategist in the efforts of the San Francisco region and the state to go forward with plans to build a statewide high-speed rail network that has as its centerpiece the Caltrain right-of-way. In 2009, Murphy was named one of the industry’s “Top 40 Under 40” by Mass Transit Magazine.

At a time when public support for transit is more critical than ever and when the issues of land use and transit funding and public perception of the industry are inextricably interwoven, Murphy brings a broad range of political and policy-related experience that is ideal for the circumstances the industry faces. Murphy serves on the Board of Directors for several local non-profit organizations including the Service League of San Mateo County and the San Mateo County Union Community Alliance.

Barbara McHugh, Treasurer 

Terry Nagel, Board Member

Terry Nagel is a veteran journalist who was elected to the Burlingame City Council in 2003 and served 12 years, including three terms as mayor. During her first term as mayor, she appointed a Green Ribbon Task Force that created the city’s first Climate Action Plan. After the plan was adopted in 2009, she helped form the Citizens Environmental Council of Burlingame, which champions a more environmentally and economically sustainable community. Terry worked as a writer and editor at the San Mateo Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and Forbes magazine. After her election to the council, she served in communications roles for various nonprofits, the Skoll Foundation, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Stanford Law School. She has been a Burlingame homeowner and active community volunteer since 1978.

Patrick Wooliever, Board Member
Patrick has worked as an environmental engineer for 20 years with small companies, multinational manufacturers, governments, and the United Nations helping organizations reduce their environmental impact, improve worker conditions and productivity, and reduce operating costs. He’s worked in California, across the United States, and internationally in Mexico, Japan, China, and Micronesia. Locally, he helped the City of San Francisco develop and implement policies for environmentally preferable purchasing, works with the U.S. EPA to advance sustainability initiatives, serves on the City of Half Moon Bay’s Sustainability Task Force, and advises the California Regional Progress Report in assessing sustainability issues across the state.

Patrick was born in Japan, grew up in the Bay Area, graduated from U.C. Davis, and has lived with his family on the San Mateo County Coastside for more than 15 years raising his children, traversing Montara Mountain and Tunitas Creek Road on various bicycles, and enjoying the natural beauty of the coastal region.

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From the 2017 Indicators Report

Between 2010 and 2015, the average rental cost rose by 49% and the median house sale price rose by 52% in San Mateo County.

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‟The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired in value.”—Theodore Roosevelt