Eleni Kounalakis, MBA 92, California's 50th Lt. Governor, at her inauguration in Sacramento.
The Haas alumni community now counts California's first elected female lieutenant governor among its ranks after Eleni Kounalakis, MBA 92, took the helm on Jan. 7.
Kounalakis, the state's 50th lieutenant governor, will help guide the future of UC Berkeley as a member of the UC Board of Regents and the California State University Board of Trustees. During her inauguration speech, Kounalakis said she would focus on protecting California's environment and on offering avenues to affordable education.
"I am committed to expanding access to public education here in our state," she said. "It is most important now as we face the rapidly changing digital economy."
Kounalakis previously served as President Obama's U.S. ambassador to Hungary. At 43, she was one of the youngest women to head a U.S. embassy. Follow her tweets: @EleniForCA.
Prof. Severin Borenstein
Prof. Severin Borenstein will help oversee California's sophisticated power grid. Borenstein, the faculty director of the Energy Institute at Haas, was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to the board of the California Independent System Operator, which maintains an accessible wholesale energy market and ensures that the state's electric power system and transmission lines operate reliably and transparently. The board has an important role in preparing for the effects of climate change and reliably integrating renewable power from wind and solar.
Happy 30th anniversary to Boost, Haas' youth outreach program that prepares low-income and first-generation high school students for college. Since its inception, every Boost graduate—nearly 1,000 students—has attended college. Over four years, Boost participants utilize Haas facilities, professors, and Haas student mentors to learn how to prepare case studies and a business plan in addition to gaining leadership development, college readiness, and career preparedness.
The UN calls the Bay Area homeless situation "cruel and inhuman," and across the UC system, 44 percent of undergrads and 26 percent of graduate students report being food insecure. So Asst. Prof. Omri Even-Tov recruited Haas MBA students and alumni to launch a new initiative—This is Haas—to help those in need. In February, the group partnered with the East Oakland Burrito Roll—part of a national movement to combat hunger—to serve 620 vegan burritos and 80 sandwiches to the community. "This is Haas" aims to host Burrito Rolls each quarter; to raise $600 per event to cover ingredients; and to provide a meaningful opportunity for Haas alumni, students, and faculty to connect with one another. To help, join the Facebook group: haas.org/this-is-haas.
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The first-ever student-authored Berkeley Haas Sustainability Report is helping the school understand energy, waste diversion, and water use in its buildings, classrooms, and centers. Chou Hall, for example, uses about half as much water per square foot as other Haas buildings. Haas students print 77,000 pages of paper annually. Report co-authors Tim Tembrink, BS 19; Berklee Welsh, BS 20; and Shane Puthuparambil, BS 22 (environmental science), hope it will help Haas remain a leader in sustainability.
The Congressional Gold Medal given to Kenneth Taylor, MBA 59, now on display in Haas' Thomas J. Long Business Library
Haas' Long Library recently added a new item to its permanent collection: the Congressional Gold Medal given to Kenneth Taylor, MBA 59, for his heroism during the Iran hostage crisis. As the Canadian ambassador stationed in Tehran, Taylor hid six American embassy workers and helped them escape the country after Iranians stormed the American embassy and took hostages—events that inspired the Oscar-winning movie Argo. The medal was a gift from Taylor's wife, Pat, PhD 64 (bacteriology), whom he met at Berkeley. Taylor died in 2015 at the age of 81.
Berkeley MBA students have crushed recent real estate competitions, winning both the National Real Estate Case Challenge at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business and the Golden Shovel against Stanford GSB.
In Texas, Haas students bested other top b-schools with their creative investment strategy surrounding a new commercial property. It was the first such competition for Claire Collery, MBA 19; Joe Dembesky, MBA 19; and Mike Wiedman, MBA 20, while the remaining team members—Matthew Hines, MBA 19; Robert Kelly, MBA 20; and Mark Trainer, MCP 19 (city planning)—also helped win the Golden Shovel trophy back from Stanford earlier in the year, along with teammates Breck Baird, MBA 18, and Peter Fritz, MBA 19.
The annual, semester-long Golden Shovel competition—which Haas leads 16 to 13—pits Haas students against Stanford MBAs to determine the best use, design, financing, and marketing of a commercial real estate project, in this case Bay Area Rapid Transit's Warm Springs/ South Fremont station property. With the tagline "Make Warm Springs hot again!" the Haas team proposed office development, a parking structure, facilities for startups conducting research and development, and spaces for community and educational services.
Prof. Nancy Wallace
Prof. Nancy Wallace has been honored with UC Berkeley's prestigious Berkeley Faculty Service Award for her lasting and significant impact on the university—particularly by helping the campus navigate complex financial and real estate issues.
Wallace, the chair of the Haas Real Estate Group, advised campus on the budget for intercollegiate athletics as well as on strategic banking relationships and a sustainable funding model for the Lower Sproul Plaza redevelopment project. She also served on the Systemwide Committee on UC Faculty Mortgage Programs and played a major role in the financial planning for Memorial Stadium, helping to deliver a blueprint for expanding the stadium's uses.