“[Mr. Polakovic] has demonstrated a remarkable breadth of knowledge about environmental issues. I have the highest regard for his intelligence and professionalism.” - Arthur Winer, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, UCLA Institute of the Environment.
Long recognized as a voice of environmental expertise, Gary Polakovic narrated and shaped environmental policy for more than 20 years. His front-row seat and backroom access at many of the country’s biggest natural resources controversies gives him a command of issues and a better sense of how public policy decisions get made than all but a handful of the most experienced insiders. Honed in excellence by prestigious institutions such as the Pulitzer Prizes, Stanford and the Los Angeles Times, he developed acute analytical skills to sift data, spot trends and translate complex information into forward-thinking strategies and game-changing messages. His strategic insight and pragmatic sensibility has earned accolades and the trust of executives in business, government and the environmental community. And his non-partisan background puts him in a better position to access leaders and render strategic advice because he operates with high credibility and without political baggage. This unique blend of expertise creates an invaluable specialty in his work today as an environmental policy and communications strategist.
Mr. Polakovic is president of Make Over Earth, Inc.®, a public affairs firm specializing in environment and energy issues. He earned a B.S. in communications and environmental science at Cal Poly Pomona and attended the graduate program in Environmental Policy and Planning at California State University, Fullerton. He was the recipient of the John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford, where he studied environmental economics, climate change and corporate social responsibility. A pioneer of environmental news, he collaborated with broadcasters and writers nationwide to build the Society of Environmental Journalists - a trade group that transformed America’s environmental awareness and policies - and chaired the SEJ’s national conference at UCLA. He shared the Pulitzer Prize with the Times Metro staff and launched and managed a new section of the Times. His work has also been recognized by the American Institute for Biological Sciences, American Council of Engineering Companies, Society of Professional Journalists and the American Lung Association. He has been published in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times and many other outlets and appears as a guest commentator on NPR CNN and PBS programs. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Coalition for Clean Air and the Board of Advisory Trustees for the California State Parks Foundation.
Kash Dadvand has two decades of experience in multimedia communications, computer technology, website development, social media and marketing for corporate image campaigns. He’s done work for Sony, Warner Bros., BP and the City of Los Angeles. His images, artwork and designs have been published in numerous magazines and featured on Oprah. He is the recipient of several MarCom and PRism awards honoring excellence in communications. He serves on the governing boards for the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club of America and Friends of L.A. Animal Shelters and is a founding member of the Association of Marketing Professionals. He attended California State University, Northridge, New York University and Art Center College of Design.
Megan Chao sees stories through a lens and reveals them using video technology and narrative technique. She has one foot planted in the world of visual communications and the other in hard science. As a video producer and editor, she makes documentary programs and develops concepts for television networks, such as Discovery Channel, TLC and National Geographic. She was part of a team that won a silver Telly Award for the documentary, “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story" on PBS. As adjunct faculty at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, she teaches students in long form production and produces Annenberg's award-winning newsmagazine, Impact. Previously, she did broadcasts and website content for CBS Radio-KNX. She was a reporter for the National Academy of Sciences and published articles in the NAS’s In Focus magazine. She earned a master’s degree in broadcast journalism at USC and undergraduate degrees in biology and creative writing at UC Riverside.
VICKI CHO ESTRADA
Vicki Cho Estrada is organized like a laser beam and an empathic person who can grasp the big picture and execute with a keen eye for detail. She’s a seasoned communications professional with more than 20 years of experience in media relations, employee and financial communications and executive speech writing. She’s worked as a public relations consultant and freelance writer for 10-plus years for clients such as Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Co., AEG, California Film Commission, Milken Institute and New Century Financial. Previously, she was the Assistant Director of Corporate Communications at Times Mirror (former parent company of the Los Angeles Times) and Communications Manager for Pacific Enterprises (now Sempra Energy) and its subsidiary, Southern California Gas Co. She holds a B.A. in Public Relations from USC.
Laurel Moglen is an award-winning online media producer, earning marketing and communications honors from the Higher Education Advertising and MarCom awards. She creates audio, video and podcasts for the web, skillfully using a variety of styles to capture a client's vision. She researches, records, interviews, edits audio, and writes scripts. Before working in new media, she worked as a producer for the NPR award-winning programs “To the Point,” “Which Way, LA?” and “Talk of the City.” Prior to radio, she was an award-winning filmmaker and actress and worked with Anthony Hopkins, Alfred Molina, and Jack Black. Her philosophy is whether through a character, fictional tale, or straight-up marketing – it’s all about telling a good story. She earned a B.A. in history from UCLA.