Climate-change strategist to head Acterra


Adam Stern, a San Francisco Department of the Environment climate-change strategist, has been chosen as the new executive director of Palo Alto's Acterra. He succeeds retired director Michael Closson, who left the nonprofit environmental organization in August after 10 years.

Stern will take over on October 14. Longtime associate director Debbie Mytels will serve as interim executive director until that time, the organization announced. He has worked in the environmental and energy fields for more than 25 years in nonprofit, government, and corporate organizations. Most recently, he developed and managed climate strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for San Francisco.

In 2010, Stern worked with Environmental Entrepreneurs, public health, and business groups to defeat Proposition 23, the ballot measure that would have rolled back California's climate and clean energy law. In earlier positions in the Bay Area, he served as vice president for policy and strategy at TerraPass, a carbon-offset company, and he was vice president for business development at, a web-based community for healthy and green living.

Stern worked for the Environmental Defense Fund, a national advocacy group in New York, for nine years as a science associate on waste-management issues and later as deputy director. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Stanford University.

"I am personally thrilled to welcome Adam as Acterra's new leader. I am confident that he is the right person to work with our wonderful staff and board to take our organization to the next level and to deepen Acterra's positive impact on Silicon Valley," Laura Teksler, president of the Acterra board of directors said.

Stern said he is delighted to join Acterra.

"I come to this job with great admiration for Acterra's environmental legacy and the visionary people, including my predecessor Michael Closson, who have carried out its vital work," he said.

At Acterra, Stern plans to work with the board and staff to strengthen Acterra's core programs of land stewardship, carbon reduction, and business environmental awards. He will design initiatives to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and address the changing climate.

"We live in a region with a dynamic economy that is the world's center of technological innovation. It's also a place of incomparable natural beauty and heightened environmental awareness. Working together, I believe we can create sustainable models that others can follow around the globe," he said.

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