Who We Are


Our Board of Advisors guide the strategic direction of STAY COOL. This dynamic team of leaders volunteer their time at quarterly meetings where they advise direction of STAY COOL’s events and programs.

Robert A. Leiter, FAICP

Robert A. Leiter, Advisory Council Chairperson

Bob Leiter has had a distinguished career in city and regional planning for over 40 years, including service as planning director for four California cities. In 2003, he was appointed as Director of Land Use and Transportation Planning for the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). While serving in that position, Bob was responsible for overseeing regional planning activities in the areas of transportation, land use, public facilities, environmental management, and interregional and bi-national collaboration. After retiring from SANDAG in 2009, Bob worked as a part-time planning consultant, assisting regional and state planning agencies and organizations with the implementation of SB 375, California’s pioneering climate change legislation. For several years Bob also served as an adjunct lecturer in UC San Diego’s Urban Studies and Planning Program. Bob holds a BA in political science and MA in economics from UC Santa Barbara, and was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Planning Association in 2008.


Emily Young, PhD

Emily Young, PhD, Advisory Council Vice Chairperson

In August 2016, Dr. Emily Young joined the University of San Diego as the new Executive Director for the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Institute (NPI), part of the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES). Emily was previously the Vice President of Community Impact at The San Diego Foundation (TSDF). She was a lead author of TSDF’s Regional Focus 2050 Study, San Diego, 2050 Is Calling. How Will We Answer? She holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (BS, MS) and the University of Texas (PhD).

Peg Engel

Peg Engel, Founder, Secretary/Treasurer

Peg is Natural Resources Chair for the League of Women Voters of San Diego and likes to work with the “Lagoon Platoon” on restoration projects for the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy. With a BA in Geography from the University of Washington, she worked a few seasons as a national park ranger before settling in a career of administrative support to biomedical researchers, while continuing to support Seattle-area parks and conservation organizations. Married to STAY COOL co-founder David Engel, she shared in the thrill of becoming a grandparent, and now especially enjoys time outdoors with their granddaughter, whose curiosity and delight in the natural world continuously rekindle her passion for conservation.

David Engel

David Engel, Founder and Executive Team Member

David has served as the vice chair of The San Diego Foundation (TSDF) Climate Initiative, and as chair of TSDF’s Environment Working Group.  He has also served on the boards of several non-profit environmental organizations.  David is retired from the faculty of the University of Washington and holds degrees from the University of Minnesota (BS, DDS) and the University of Washington (MS, PhD).

Tracy Delaney

Tracy Delaney, PhD, RD

Tracy Delaney, PhD, RD, is the founding director of the Public Health Alliance of Southern California – a regional coalition of nine local health departments whose members have statutory responsibility for the health of 60% of California’s population. Her work advances population health and equity through multi-sector initiatives addressing policy, systems and environmental change. She has spearheaded multidisciplinary projects integrating land use and transportation, food systems, climate and water resources and community equity indicators. During her tenure at the County of San Diego, she was Principal Investigator for Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, the nation’s largest federal obesity prevention award, and the CDC’s Community Transformation Grant. She holds a doctorate in Nutrition from University of California, Davis. Dr. Delaney was honored with the 2014 Leadership Award by the Southern California Public Health Association. She has a voluntary Clinical Professor faculty appointment with the University of California Department of Family Medicine and Public Health.


Dennis Griffin

Dennis Griffin

Dennis Griffin is a grandfather who is concerned about climate change and protecting future generations. He is active with several local climate change action organizations. Dennis spent years as a proactive manager in the facilities management field, where he oversaw complex facilities relocation, upgrades, and build-outs. Dennis holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BSE) and National University (MBA).


Nicola Hedge

Nicola Hedge

Nicola is the Director of Environmental Initiatives at The San Diego Foundation. She works with donors, nonprofits, businesses and government partners to deepen community awareness about the local impacts of climate change and help spur regional action to address it. Nicola earned a BSBA degree from Hawaii Pacific University and an MPIA in International Development and Nonprofit Management from the University of California, San Diego.

Linda Giannelli Pratt

Linda Giannelli Pratt

For more than 30 years, Linda Giannelli Pratt has successfully built a professional career focused on community-based environmental protection. Her experience is broad, and includes positions as a laboratory analyst, regulatory compliance specialist, consultant, director of regional environmental programs for the City and County of San Diego, director of a community sustainability program for The Natural History Museum, and managing director of a statewide nonprofit organization, Green Cities California, which serves local government leaders to advance more sustainable policies and practices. She is currently an adjunct professor at UCSD. Linda received a BS in Microbiology and Chemistry from CSU Long Beach, and an MS in Environmental Science from CSU Dominguez Hills. Linda is also a proud grandmother!


Sue Randerson

Sue Randerson

Sue leads nature walks for children at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and recently served as Children’s Program Director. She served on the Environment Working Group at the San Diego Foundation (TSDF) and now participates on TSDF’s Opening the Outdoors Vision Action Team. She teaches classes in Ocean Science to elementary school students and has also taught Global Climate Change. Sue received a BA from Stanford University and a Fulbright fellowship to the University of Tuebingen in Germany, then taught Spanish, German and English in the San Diego Unified School District.

Laura Schumacher

Laura Schumacher

Laura is a long-time PTA board member involved in child advocacy. She currently serves on the executive board of the San Diego Unified Council of PTAs. She has served as president of the San Diego Unified Council of PTAs and the Ninth District PTA executive committee. In 2014, Laura chaired a local PTA committee which wrote a resolution “Climate Change is a Children’s Issue”. The resolution was adopted by the California State PTA Convention in 2015 and authorizes PTAs throughout California to advocate for climate change legislation, and encourages teaching climate science and sustainability in California public schools. Laura holds a BS from the University of Texas.


Founding Members

Wenda Alvarez, Lisa Bicker, Carolyn and Cliff Colwell, Joan Dahlin, Marty Eberhardt, Paul Eichen, David and Peg Engel, Philip Hastings, Nicola Hedge, Ann Hunter-Welborn, Robert Leiter, Patricia and Mike McCoy, Phyllis McGrath, Art Miller, Sue Randerson, Richard Somerville, David Welborn, Emily Young, Bradley Zlotnick

Community Supporters

Michael Beck, Endangered Habitats League Conservationist

Rafael Castellanos, Partner, Solomon Minton Cardinal Doyle & Smith LLP

Aaron Contorer, Board Member, Equinox Center

Tony Haymet, Distinguished Professor, University of California San Diego (UCSD), and Director & Vice-Chancellor Emeritus, Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO), UCSD

Len Hering, RADM, USN (Ret.), Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Energy

Charles F. Kennel, Distinguished Professor, UCSD & Director Emeritus, SIO

Andy Mauro, Audubon Society Conservationist

Michael McDade, President, McDade Strategic Consulting

Veerabhadran “Ram” Ramanathan, Distinguished Professor and Climate Scientist, UCSD and SIO

James T. Waring, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, CleanTECH San Diego

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