CHAIRPERSON  – LeRoy Westerling, PHD

Dr. Westerling is Professor of Management of Complex Systems at UC Merced’s School of Engineering. His work seeks to characterize drivers of extreme wildfire events in California and western North America, and to model wildfires and their impacts as a function of climate, development, fuels and topography. Professor Westerling has lead wildfire modeling and simulation initiatives in support of all five of California’s State Climate Assessments. His work contributes to understanding changing risks of property loss, habitat change, infrastructure damage, wildfire air pollution and health effects, and carbon release from the biosphere.


Dr. Leitmann is the Executive Director of the UC Disaster Resilience Network and the former Lead Disaster Risk Management Specialist at the World Bank, heading teams on Resilient Recovery and Urban Resilience at the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). Joe has over 35 years of development experience with the World Bank in resilience building, disaster risk management, climate change, natural resource management, urban development, forestry, and clean energy. He has worked in over 40 countries and held long-term assignments in Turkey, Brazil, Indonesia, Haiti, and the South Pacific (the latter as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer). Joe holds a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley and a Master’s from the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the author of a textbook on urban environmental management – “Sustaining Cities” – and numerous articles.


Lead Specialist, UC-wide Initiatives and Strategic Development – NICOLAS ALBERTO PASCAL, M.A

Mr Pascal has spent the better part of a decade having the pleasure of organizing with some of the finest faculty, students, and administrators across the University of California’s world-class system. Alongside them Nico has had the honor of founding the Associated Students’ Human Rights Board at UCSB; the University of California Haiti Initiative (UCHI 2010-14); and now the University of California’s Disaster Resilience Network (UC DRN). His experience representing all ten UC Chancellors and Office of the President with UCHI has fundamentally informed not just UC DRN but also Nico’s PhD interest in learning about the evaluation and assessment of innovative models of the University of California – particularly those system wide manifestations aiming to address society’s most critical challenges. For his work, Nico has been recognized by the UC Regents (Excellence in Student Leadership, 2012), and UCSB (Excellence in Teaching. multiple nominee)