Staff

Hannah Bruegmann
Deputy Director
Alex Coba
Communications Associate
Alahas Gumataotao
Administrative Assistant
Cerena Harrison
Director - Programs
Kurt Kniel
Sr. Manager - Operations
Jenny Low
Manager - Programs
Jeremy Madsen
Executive Director
Devani Santos
Manager - Programs
Victor Tran
Engagement Associate

Board of Directors

Karen Kho
Board President

Principal Program Manager, StopWaste

Ray-Boyle
Ray Boyle
Vice Chair

VP of BIG Board and Regenerative Fellow

Mick Penn
Treasurer

Regional Community
Relations 
Manager, Swinerton

Vaidehi Seth
Secretary

CEO + Co-Founder, 
Disruptive Creations

 

David Johnson
Member

VP Projects,
AGI Avant Group

Rob-Larson
Rob Larson
Member

Principal,
Larson Consulting LLC

David Johnson
Member

Principal,
SERA Architects

Rob-Larson
Rob Larson
Member


Principal,
Larson Consulting LLC

Monet Boyd
Member
 
Phil-Williams
Phil Williams
Member

Sustainable Real Estate & Construction Executive, Google


Emerging Professionals

As part of UC Berkeley’s Community Partner Organization Program, Build It Green is pleased to welcome these five first and second-year undergraduate students as part of their pre-career exploration this fall. Each brings a unique perspective and infectious enthusiasm to diving into learning more about the evolution of sustainability and the opportunities ahead. 

Mishelle Abusada
Communications
Sidney Banks
Communications
Sara Ertac
Programs
Piper Wilson
Communications
Viola Xu
Programs
hannah-photo-small
HANNAH BRUEGMANN

Deputy Director

As a fifth generation Californian, Hannah is both proud to call this state her home and sees so much more potential to improve it for everyone who also calls this beautiful place home. She has spent her career working to translate big ideas into action, via teaching, design, and consulting, and from small organizations to large companies. Build It Green uniquely offers an opportunity to be the home for important, but challenging, conversations on how to address the intersection of so many thorny issues, but at an approachable scale: the places we live and care so much about.

Victor Tran

Engagement Associate

Driven by an excitement for civic innovation and design, Victor has focused much of his career to fostering engagement and collaboration between community members to work towards bettering the world and the places we inhabit as well as the institutions and systems that we operate under. He believes work at the local and regional level is often where the greatest and most direct impact can be made, from which we can learn, iterate upon, and scale up the approaches to addressing our most pressing societal challenges.As a native Californian—born and raised in San Jose, but now residing in San Francisco—he is drawn to Build It Green’s mission of fostering a regenerative future for the communities in his home state. This motivates him to show up in his role, working to cultivate the spaces and conditions necessary for innovative ideas to flourish and be realized as well as amplify the power of networks and break down the silos preventing productive collaboration between changemakers.He brings over three years of experience as a community & stakeholder engagement consultant, having partnered with various local and regional government agencies, community-based-organizations, and other mission-driven organizations across Northern California and the broader West region. He also holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University.On his free time, he is likely obsessing over a new hobby. Right now, it’s bouldering, stained glass, and punch needle. That might have already changed so ask him what has currently snatched his attention! 

Alex Coba

Communications Associate

As a proud California native from Stockton, Alex brings a wealth of experience and a versatile skill set. He has a solid communication background with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations from California State University, Chico. Alex is adept at strategic communications and media relations, with experience gathering and sharing stories from his local communities that uplift the unique spirit and values of those places. He is excited to join Build It Green, where he can apply his talents to further BIG’s mission to help communities across California thrive.

DEEPTI HOSSAIN

DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER

Deepti tries to center creativity, intentionality and intersectionality in her communications work. She is excited to uplift Build it Green online using her experience from Southeast Environmental Task Force and the Natural Resources Defense Council. She’s focused on environmental justice and appreciates time to rest, read and rejuvenate with her loved ones and community. Her perfect day includes French press coffee, her new dog, watching a movie and listening to Lauryn Hill. 

Alahas Gumataotao

Adminstrative Assistant

Cerena Harrison

Director, Programs

Cerena is a third-generation San Franciscan-born Californian living in unceded Ramaytush Ohlone land. Her Filipino and Mexican background fuels her appreciation for fashion and community building through food. After a decade in the fashion industry, she sought to refocus her work on regenerative change for people and the planet. She holds an MBA in Sustainable Solutions from Presidio Graduate School. She studied systemic issues, including food access and justice, California farmworker housing, and the impacts of air pollution in Southern California.

As an empath and creative thinker, she values connections and co-visioning new possibilities for complex problems. She currently weaves compassion, emergent learning, justice, and reciprocity into her work. To fill her cup, she enjoys nature walks with her family, daily movement, local coffee shops, and caring for neighborhood cats.

kurt-photo-school
KURT KNIEL

Operations Manager

A lifelong native of California, Kurt has a strong fondness for California’s abundant outdoor activities and its distinguished weather makes it hard for him to imagine living anywhere else. Kurt holds a bachelor’s in Earth Systems Science and a hybrid-masters degree in Environmental Science and Management. Before joining Build It Green, he contributed to the development of Climate Action Plans for the cities of Gilroy, El Cerrito and Piedmont to help meet State GHG emission-reduction goals. He is extremely excited to expand on his work with Build It Green as it evolves from going beyond sustainable aspects of a building to further emphasizing societal health and well-being.
JENNY LOW

Program Manager

Jenny values communication and relationships, and believes that one of the best ways to tackle complex problems is by building strong community connections. She holds a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley. Most recently, she worked on advancing sustainability efforts at college campuses. Now, she is excited to address intersectional issues of sustainability, affordability, and equity in housing as a member of the Build It Green team.

JEREMY MADSEN

Executive Director

Jeremy cherishes great cities and awe-inspiring natural landscapes. The San Francisco Bay Area, his home of the past 20+ years, gives him incredible access to both. A day can literally start with a hike in redwoods, followed by lunch at a sidewalk café serving local specialties, and end with an afternoon at a world class museum. For him, that’s a perfect day.

Jeremy was born and raised in the suburbs of Salt Lake City, Utah by a father who owned a company that built HVAC ductwork, and a mother who was a proud environmentalist. His upbringing and lifelong interest in the intersection between the built and natural environments—and their relationships to social equity, community vitality, and, to say it simply, happiness—led him to spend 10 years as CEO of Greenbelt Alliance, the Bay Area’s leading land conservation and land use advocacy NGO.

Jeremy joined Build It Green in 2021. It was the perfect fit for him. Jeremy was charged with leading BIG into a new era where the organization leans into the complexity of the interwoven affordability, climate and other environmental, health, and social and racial justice issues that present themselves in the housing realm and in California communities. Today, BIG is at the leading edge of addressing these issues holistically, rather than accepting tradeoffs, by bringing together passionate, intersectional changemakers to innovate and carry out programs that will fundamentally transform housing, and how communities develop, for the benefit of human and ecological vitality.

In his free time, Jeremy can usually be found on a soccer field or listening to loud music ranging through all genres of rock (punk, Celtic, classic, grunge).

Two of Jeremy’s most beloved things are great cities and awe-inspiring natural landscapes, and, living in the Bay Area over the past 20+ years, he has had no shortage of these.  A day can literally start with a hike in redwoods, followed by lunch at a sidewalk café serving local specialties, and end with an afternoon at a world class museum. What could be better than that?

Jeremy was born and raised in the suburbs of Salt Lake City, Utah by a father who owned a company that built HVAC ductwork, and a mother who was a proud environmentalist. His upbringing and lifelong interest in the intersection between the built and natural environments—and their relationships to social equity, community vitality, and, to say it simply, happiness—led him to spend 10 years as CEO of Greenbelt Alliance, the Bay Area’s leading land conservation and land use advocacy NGO.

Build It Green was a natural step for Jeremy. As it becomes an organization that doesn’t accept that there have to be trade offs between housing affordability, climate protection and other environmental issues, and social equity and justice, he looks forward to bridging and serving all of the different constituencies in the housing ecosystem to fundamentally change what this state will be like for decades to come and, in doing so, can make California a model for the nation.

In his free time, Jeremy can usually be found on a soccer field or listening to loud music ranging through all genres of rock (punk, Celtic, classic, grunge).

Devani Santos

Program Manager

Born and raised in Oakland (unceded Lisjan/Ohlone land), Devani is a Filipina visionary with a passion for travel, community healing, and restorative justice. Her extensive experience working and living in communities across the globe continuously inspires her to dream of collaborative ways to alleviate housing, food, and environmental injustices in her own state. 

She is proud to work with BIG to bring together folks from all walks of life together in reimagining how we develop housing in California. Her personal mission is to contribute to a cultural shift that not only centers BIPOC and historically oppressed voices, but embeds DEIJ work as a natural component in all that we do. An ideal weekend includes a mountainous hike to a waterfall, warm weather, quality time with family, and a live R&B concert.