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The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and Hawaii Energy are sitting down with Mayor Rick Blangiardi, City & County of Honolulu and Matt Gonser, Chief Resilience Officer & Executive Director of the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability & Resiliency to discuss the contributing role clean energy will play in Hawaii's COVID-19 economic recovery and resiliency plans.
Join us for this fireside chat, moderated by Hawaii Energy Executive Director Brian Kealoha, to hear directly from our new Mayor on his Roadmap to Recovery, including the City's Climate Action Plan, green job creation strategies, clean energy sustainability benefits and more. Participate in this informative forum on the intersection of clean energy and economic recovery/revitalization by submitting your questions beforehand to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor Rick Blangiardi
City & County of Honolulu
Rick Blangiardi was elected the 15th Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu and assumed office on January 2, 2021. Blangiardi was most recently, General Manager of Hawaii’s largest multimedia company, Hawaii News Now, KGMB (CBS), and KHNL (NBC). He has held senior executive positions in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Among his many awards is the 2010 Salesperson of the Year award from the Sales and Marketing Executives International Chapter. He lives in Honolulu with his wife, Karen Chang and is proud father of two sons, a daughter and five grandchildren.
Matthew Gonser, AICP, CFM
Chief Resilience Officer & Executive Director
Office of Climate Change, Sustainability & Resiliency
City & County of Honolulu
Matthew Gonser serves as the City and County of Honolulu Chief Resilience Officer and Executive Director of the City’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. He joined the City and the Resilience Office in October 2017 and previously served as Coastal and Water Program Manager. Prior to joining the office he served for nearly six years as the Community Planning and Design Extension Agent with the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program. With the office Matt led the City’s development of the Ola: O‘ahu Resilience Strategy, which was adopted as a guiding policy document by the City Council via Resolution 19-233 in 2019, and, in concert with City departments, has been leading the development of a climate adaptation strategy, “Climate Ready O‘ahu.” Matthew serves as an advisory council member for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program and is one of two Directors-at-Large with the Hawai‘i Chapter of the American Planning Association. Matthew holds a BS in Natural Resources from Cornell University, and holds masters in both Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture, respectively, also from Cornell.
U.S. Senator Brian Schatz
Brian Schatz is Hawaii’s senior United States Senator. He serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee; the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; the Foreign Relations Committee; and the Select Committee on Ethics. Schatz also chairs the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and serves on the Senate Democratic Caucus’s leadership team as Chief Deputy Whip.
Brian has been involved in energy and sustainability for over 20 years. Brian began his career developing and implementing energy programs with various utilities including Pacific Gas & Electric in California, Avista Utilities in Washington, and Maui Electric Company. Upon the establishment of the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative in 2008, Brian launched the Hawai‘i division of Chevron Energy Solutions and ran the group for 8 years. In 2016, Brian joined Leidos to serve as the Executive Director of Hawai‘i Energy to lead the program’s evolution in helping Hawai‘i’s families and businesses to reduce energy use and carbon emissions.
Brian earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Gonzaga University, majoring in both Economics and Marketing. He also earned a Master of Business Administration from Gonzaga University and holds a certificate in negotiation from the University of Oxford. Brian serves on the Board of the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace, ‘Ahahui Koa Ānuenue, the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, and the Diamond Head Classic.
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