Manfred Grunert is Vice President, Government Affairs and Communications Americas. In this role, Grunert is responsible for government affairs and corporate communications for product, technology, production plants and business in the U.S. and the entire Americas region.
A 19-year employee of the BMW Group, Grunert has a deep understanding of the company’s history, having spent time as an archivist in his first role and later as Head of the Archives and the Historical Collection at BMW Group Classic. Additional key positions have included Head of Communication for MINI, BMW Motorrad and Aftersales and Head of the Digital Communications Team at the BMW Group Media House. In 2018 he became Head of Communications and Government Affairs for India, Asia and the Pacific. He began his current role in February of 2023.
Neil Pedersen recently retired as Executive Director of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a position that he served in from 2015 to 2022. In that role, he provided strategic direction and oversight for TRB’s technical activities, including its annual meeting, which attracts 14,000 attendees; its 177 standing technical committees; its conferences and workshops; its webinar program, its library services; and its bibliographic database with over 1.4 million entries. He also provided executive leadership for TRB’s multi-modal cooperative research programs and its advisory services to the federal government.
Prior to joining TRB, Mr. Pedersen served in leadership positions for the Maryland Department of Transportation for 29 years, the last eight years as State Highway Administrator and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. While at Maryland DOT, he served in a number of volunteer leadership positions for both TRB and for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, including as Chair of the TRB Executive Committee in 2011.
Marlon Boarnet is Professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and Director of the METRANS Transportation Consortium. METRANS is the center for transportation research at USC, and a partnership of the Price School of Public Policy, the Viterbi School of Engineering, and California State University – Long Beach. METRANS spans over 15 academic departments and programs at USC, with links to over a dozen universities in the U.S. and abroad. Prior to directing METRANS, Boarnet was the founding chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Spatial Analysis at USC (2016-2022) and he served as Vice Dean for Academic Affairs in USC’s Price School from 2014 through 2015. Boarnet was chair of the Department of Planning, Policy, and Design at UC-Irvine from 2003 through 2006. Boarnet served as president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, the scholarly association of university planning departments and faculty members in the United States and Canada, from 2019-2021. Boarnet’s research focuses on land use and transportation, links between land use and travel behavior and associated implications for public health and greenhouse gas emissions, urban growth patterns, and the economic impacts of transportation. He is a fellow of both the Weimer School of the Homer Hoyt Institute for Real Estate and the Regional Science Association International. Boarnet has advised California state agencies on greenhouse gas emission reduction in the transport sector, the World Bank on transportation access as a poverty reduction tool, and numerous other public and private entities. He has been principal investigator on over four million dollars of research supported by agencies that include the U.S. and California Departments of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Boarnet’s academic web page is: https://priceschool.usc.edu/people/marlon-boarnet/.
Margo T. Oge is the former Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ) at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a position that culminated a 32-year career with the EPA. During her 18-year tenure as Director of OTAQ, Margo Oge was the chief architect of the most important achievements in the history of air pollution control in the U.S. transportation sector. These included programs that reduced emissions from gasoline and diesel-fueled automobiles, trucks, buses, and off-road vehicles by up to 99 percent. She led the EPA’s development of the first-ever national greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and heavy-duty trucks, helped establish the Renewable Fuels Standard, and was instrumental in establishing the United Nations process onglobal harmonization of transportation emissions standards, worldwide.
She is the Chair of the board of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)and the Chair of the external Advisory Council for the Deloitte Center for Sustainable Progress(DCSP). She also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the board of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Distinguished Fellow with ClimateWorks Foundation, member of the advisory board of UCDAVIS Institute of Transportation and member of the advisory board of Climate Imperative Foundation. She has served as a member of the Volkswagen Group’s International Sustainability Council, a director of the National Academy of Science on Energy and Environment board and member of advisory committee of the US Global Change Research Program. She is the author of “Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Clean Cars” and is a contributor to Forbes. She has been a contributor tothe New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, PBS, NPR, The Hill, Forbes, Fortune, Time and Huffington Post.
Mr. Robb brings a wealth of knowledge to his new role and looks forward to leading HATCI in greater capacity as President. He brings more than 30 years of electronics and automotive experience.
Most recently, at HATCI, Mr. Robb served as Director of the Electronic Systems Development Group. At the forefront of the multimedia, telematics, and autonomous aspects during his tenure in the automotive sector, he has held roles with he U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command (TACOM), OnStar, and Daimler Chrysler. At Daimler Chrysler, he lead a team of Engineers and Developers that launched approximately 42 domestic and global products for multimedia and telematics.
John’s expansive knowledge of the vehicle development process will serve HATCI well. His experience represents a solid foundation to formalize the newly created organizational structure announced in March.
Mr. Robb received an MBA from the University of Michigan, Dearborn and a BSEE from Lawrence Technological University.
Izuru Kawahira is a Vice President at NASI and an Executive Engineer in the Washington, DC office. In this position, he is responsible for overseeing the technological policy, regulation and new technology trends research related automobiles, and technical affairs in the United States. Previously, in Japan, he was the Director of the Certification Department, where he was involved in global certification operations and was exposed to regulatory changes and responses in various countries.
Kawahira’s career started in the engine development department of Subaru (formerly Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.) in 1985, and has been involved in the development of power units for the US market for many years, including work at Subaru R&D. Since 2010, he has been the Deputy Director of Subaru R&D Michigan, a position he has held for four years.
Kawahira holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kyoto Institute of Technology.
Prior to becoming Director of OTAQ, Sarah was the Director of EPA’s Office of Atmospheric Programs (OAP) where she and her staff worked to improve regional air quality, address climate change, and protect the ozone layer. During her tenure with OAP, Sarah worked with the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards on some of EPA’s most high profile regulatory programs. She also was at the center of some of EPA’s most important work on climate change and oversaw the continued success of OAP’s market trading programs and implementation of the Montreal Protocol.
Before leading OAP, Sarah was the founding Director of the Transportation and Climate Division in OTAQ where she was instrumental in the growth of the SmartWay program, developing an updated fuel economy label, and developing the analytical framework for the original Renewable Fuel Standard program regulations. Prior to her work at EPA, Sarah worked at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency designing market-based programs to reduce air and water pollution.
Jordan Choby is Group Vice President, powertrain for Toyota Motor North America, Research and Development. In this role, Choby is responsible for the development and integration of a wide range of powertrain technology into Toyota’s North America’s vehicle lineup, including engines, transmissions, and electrified powertrains including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, Battery-EV and Fuel Cell-EVs . His team’s focus is delivering products that meet the needs of the North American customer spanning from driving enjoyment to carbon reduction. Also, as Toyota moves into a New Mobility future, this team is also actively developing propulsion systems for commercial vehicles and energy ecosystem products. Choby has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Grove City College and a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University.
Michael Pimentel is the Executive Director of the California Transit Association, a nonprofit trade organization representing California’s transit industry, including more than 85 public transit and rail agencies statewide. In this role, Michael oversees the Association’s advocacy and member education programs, with special focus on transportation funding, climate change, and air quality initiatives. Before being selected as Executive Director, Michael was the Association’s Deputy Executive Director and Legislative and Regulatory Advocate.
Prior to joining the Association, Michael held various appointed positions in the administration of Governor Jerry Brown, serving most recently as Senior Legislative Analyst at the California High-Speed Rail Authority. In this role, Michael developed and managed the Authority’s legislative program, advised its CEO on legislative and budgetary issues and developments, and served as the Authority’s primary liaison to the State Legislature, the California State Transportation Agency, and the Office of the Governor. Previously, Michael served as a Legislative Assistant in Governor Brown’s office.
Michael received a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2023, Michael was recognized for his advocacy on behalf of California’s transit industry in leading industry publications, including Capitol Weekly’s Top 100 and Mass Transit Magazine’s 40 under 40. Michael currently serves on the California Energy Commission’s Advisory Committee for the Clean Transportation Investment Plan and on the Advisory Boards for the multicampus University of California’s Institutes of Transportation Studies as well as for the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies and the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. He was a fellow with the New Leaders Council in 2015 and served on the NLC Sacramento Chapter’s Advisory Board from 2019 to 2021. He was a fellow for the California Association of Councils of Governments’ California Academy for Regional Leaders in 2019.
Sarah Ladislaw is senior vice president and director and senior fellow of the Energy Security and Climate Change Program, where she leads CSIS’s work in energy policy, market, and technology analysis. Ladislaw is an expert in U.S. energy policy, global oil and natural gas markets, and climate change. She has authored numerous publications on the geopolitics of energy, energy security and climate change, low-carbon pathways, and a wide variety of issues on U.S. energy policy, regulation, and market dynamics. Ms. Ladislaw formerly worked in Office of the Americas in the Department of Energy’s Office of Policy and International Affairs, where she covered a range of economic, political, and energy issues in North America, the Andean region, and Brazil. She is a member of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Strategic Analysis Technical Review Panel, the Strategic Advisory Council for Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Initiative, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ms. Ladislaw received her bachelor’s degree in international affairs/East Asian studies and Japanese from George Washington University and her master’s degree in international affairs/international security from George Washington University as part of the Presidential Administrative Fellows Program.