Member Highlights

Yue Rong, Ph.D.

In 2018, SCCAEPA members published a book entitled “Fundamentals of Site Assessment and Remediation” (CRC Press, Taylor & Francis). The book was edited by Dr. Yue Rong. SCCAEPA contributing members included Dr. Ning-wu Chang, Dr. Jian Peng, Dr. Jason Wen, Dr. C.Y. Jeng, Dr. Weixing Tong, Dr. Jun Lu, Dr. Xihong Zhai, Dr. Zhong Xiong. The Foreword of this book was written by Dr. John Wilson. The book covers the subjects from risk assessment to groundwater hydrology, from vapor intrusion to environmental forensics, from remediation methods to nano- and bio-technologies, from environmental regulations to environmental statistics. During 2018 LAEF convention at Los Angeles, the authors held a book signing ceremony to celebrate the book publication credited to SCCAEPA.

 On the Earth day of April 22, 2019, Dr. Yue Rong had the honor to receive the “Earth Caretaker Award” by his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he received his Master degree. The prestigious Award is only given one person a year. Dr. Rong is the first Asian American to receive this honor. An award ceremony was held exclusively for this annual award event on campus. Dr. Rong was invited to deliver a 15-minute acceptance speech. This is certainly an honor not only for Dr. Rong himself, but also to Chinese Americans working in the environmental field, like SCCAEPA members. Dr. Rong would like to thank everyone for supporting him over the years!

Dr. Yue Rong and Dr. Jason Wen have served on International Training Programs, California State University of Long Beach (CSULB) International Training Programs (ITP). CSULB offers a variety of educational opportunities for delegations and students from various countries. The program goal is to bring academic and professional programs to a global audience.   Dr. Yue Rong (YR), Dr. Jason Wenand many SCCAEPA members have been invited as instructors in the training classes. SCCAEPA has been a supporter to the program for the training classes in a variety of environmental subjects and many site visits. 

Jian Peng

To me, SCCAEPA is like family. There are statesmen such as Weixing Tong, YR, Jason Wen, and many before them who brought SCCAEPA from obscurity in 1991 to its current glory. There are youngsters such as Pianpian Wu, Ethan He, and many others who are the future of the organization. And there are many more such as Scarlett Zhai, Eric Wu, and others who work tirelessly and consistently over many years to keep the organization operating at very high levels. I have fond memories about many events I participated in or organized and people I made friends with. Many of them are still my special friends to this day.

SCCAEPA is also a springboard for my professional career. When I first joined SCCAEPA as a regular member in 2009, I was still fresh in my new job at Orange County Public Works, where I was the only mainland-born Chinese. I worked very hard on my job and was able to quickly establish a professional network. In comparison, SCCAEPA opened a door for me not only based on what I do, but also on who I am. I remember attending the first SCCAEPA annual conference and meeting Dr. Eric Wu, who I admired because his line of work that closely matched mine. We clicked right away, and I was ever since hooked with SCCAEPA, through which I met so many highly accomplished environmental professionals. I soon found out that they were not only good at what they do professionally, they were high quality human beings that I truly admire, and they became kindred spirits and lifelong friends. I soon found myself elected to the SCCAEPA board, then became the vice president. Through various networking events and conferences, including those with environmental professionals from China, my professional network grew exponentially. I and other SCCAEPA members visited many universities and institutions in China and networked with many fellow environmental professionals. Through our collective professional connections in nearly every city, I was able to do something true and dear to my heart, which is to help our motherland restore and improve its deteriorating environmental quality. Working through the SCCAEPA platform, we brought to China the US’ best science and management practices on watershed management, stormwater, and related disciplines that could take decades longer to be developed internally. We can proudly say that SCCAEPA has made significant contributions to the recent advancements in China’s surface water management.

I also benefited professionally myself from the involvement with SCCAEPA. My promotion in 2014 to the most challenging supervisory position in my organization (Section Chief on Water Quality Planning) benefited from my broadened perspectives in surface water management because of SCCAEPA. My involvement with the influential California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) became highly visible when I promoted CASQA-China collaboration through the SCCAEPA platform.

In recent years I have been less involved with the association due to work and family commitments, but I hope I will be back soon. I sincerely hope that the current Board of Directors (with many younger generation members) will take over the heavy torch passed on from the prior leadership and carry on the mission of this great organization.

Cindy J. Lin, Ph.D.

Dr. Cindy J Lin is an ecologist, environmental engineer, environmental and data scientist, and expert on the environmental impacts of land use and human activities on ecological habitats. She previously worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she designed national environmental standards, worked on cutting edge research, implemented policy to address environmental pollution and sustainability, and managed multiple government and private entities to meet environmental standards. She was the US Regional Expert on the Clean Water Act, Expert Scientist with the U.S. Applied Climate Change National Work Group, Water Adviser at the U.S. Embassy, Beijing, andUS EP A’s Top Science and Policy Advisor on the US-China Team.

Dr. Lin is now the CEO and Co-Founder of Hey Social Good, a social impact data analytics tech company that rapidly assesses and verifies the sustainable, environmental and social practices of private and public companies. The data-driven automated social good optimization assessment tool easily and comprehensively translates environmental and social data by using machine learning and domain expertise data analytics to credibly verify an enterprise’s socially responsible practices. Medal rankings are awarded to sustainable and ethical companies based on applying a 500+ decision-points data model that considers a company’s environmental, social, and governance impact.

During her tenure at the US EPA, Dr. Lin was an active board member of SCCEAPA from 2010- 2017, where she offered her experience and resources to help expand the exposure of Asian American professionals working on environmental research and education. She spent 15 years working with the People’ Republic of China’s government and scientific community to help improve technical and regulatory knowledge of environmental science and protection.

Dr. Lin is highly involved in the larger San Diego community where she is the President of the San Diego Coastkeeper Board, Board Director of Business for Good, and a member of the City of San Diego’s Climate Equity Index Stakeholder Committee. She received her Doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering, Masters in Environmental Chemistry, and Bachelors in Biology, all from UCLA.

Guangyu Wang, Ph.D.

Congratulations SCCAEPA, on your 30th anniversary! This congratulation comes from both myself and me on behalf of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission (SMBRC), a long-time proud sponsor of the SCCAEPA. Thirty year would be an important milestone for any organization. But SCCAEPA deserves to be especially celebrated for its remarkable achievements in so many areas and fields, and we should all be proud of, and give ourselves a pat on the shoulder for being the active participants and contributors of these achievements. At the same time, we are all indebted to the SCCAEPA for the benefits we leveraged to advance the mission and agenda of the organizations we worked for, and in many cases, to advance our own professional careers.

I can speak and contest credibly these achievements and mutual benefits based on my personal experience that spans throughout my 30+ professional career. Whether by coincident or not, it happens that the history of the SMBRC, where I spent my entire career, overlaps almost completely with that of the SCCAEPA. The SMBRC was initially established as one of the National Estuary Program in 1988. Over the last 30 years, the SMBRC has achieved the purposes and goals intended by enabling federal and state laws through monitoring, assessment, coordination, and other types of assistance to state programs and prioritizing earmarked bond funding. Major achievements of the SMBRC include the landmark epidemiological study on health risks associated with swimming at urban runoff contaminated beaches, which led to new State laws and regulatory standards that have improved water quality monitoring and reduced potential health risks at beaches throughout California and the United States; more than 30 contaminated stormwater runoff reduction projects funded through the leveraging of $65 million of earmarked state bond funding; and the restoration of kelp, coastal dune, and wetland habitats, including most prominently the Malibu Lagoon. Not only I’m proud to contribute and lead many of these efforts, but I myself have also gained a wide array of expertise related to ocean ecosystem protection, which I volunteered or was called upon to share with my peers.

The year I started to work for the SMBRC, called Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project at that time, was 1991, the same year the SCCAEPA was established. I still remember attending the very first meeting in Chinatown commencing the SCCAEPA’s establishment. I admit that for many years since that meeting I was a SCCAEPA member on paper only, as I had reservations about the mission of the organization then, and as the organization itself also underwent some growing pains. But thanks for the persistent efforts of successive leadership, the organization ultimately evolved and transformed into a well-organized, recognized, broadly inclusive organization that are enthusiastically embraced by all of us today.

Nonetheless and above all, it has been an amazing and rewarding journey for both the SMBRC and SCCAEPA. The two organizations supported each other along the way, and I’m proud of my role in facilitating these collaborative efforts, especially during the years when I served in the leadership positions of both organizations simultaneously. Among many ventures we established and worked together, the best example is the collaboration in community outreach, for that the SMBRC and myself are good sources of information on beach and fish contamination, marine habitats, climate change, etc. while SCCAEPA provided an ideal platform to get the information disseminated to the underserved Chinese ethic community. On top of this, the SCCAEPA also facilitated the international contact and exchange of knowledge, expertise, and lessons learned with our counterparts, especially with the broader global Chinese community through forums, field trips, attendance and presentations at conferences abroad etc.

Although I had retired from the Board of the SCCAEPA for several years and I’m also retiring from the SMBRC this year, I treasure forever my experiences with both organizations and look forward to see and celebrate more amazing successes in the next 30 years.

Lida Tan

The impacts of climate change have caused a significant shift in the business world over the last decade and are driving companies to incorporate sustainability into their values and mission statements. For many large corporations, the sustainability focus goes beyond their corporate walls and is expanding into their supply chains with multiple tiers across the globe. After 23 years at USEPA and 3 years at Apple in the domestic, global environmental and sustainability field, I founded Anew Global Consulting to provide supply chain sustainability consulting services to the businesses that are leading and expanding this shift.

Our core sustainability business includes supply chain energy efficiency assessments, water conservation, waste minimization, and green and safer chemistry. On energy conservation, we work our clients to first understand different energy uses in its supply chain and build a strategy first targeting high spend and high energy use suppliers. We develop an energy conservation plan with specific energy efficiency projects, identifying energy use improvement technologies, energy saving measurements and verification all of which support our clients in achieving their Scope 3 energy saving goals.

One of our clients is a leading consumer electronic product brand company. The client has set very ambitious overall carbon footprint reduction goals not only for its own corporate offices and facilities (Scopes 1 & 2) but also its entire manufacturing supply chain (Scope 3) with many suppliers in the APAC region. Anew Global Consulting energy consultants support our client’s carbon reduction goal by conducting onsite energy audits, designing individual facility energy conservation plans, providing technical support during project implementation, energy efficiency training program, and Measurement and Verification (M&V) services.

James Lu, Ph.D.

Dr. James C. Lu, the 1992-1993 SCCAEPA President and one of the Board Directors from 1991 to 2004, was awarded a patent recently entitled “Method and System for Generating Large-Scale Renewable Energy by Pressure-Enhanced Osmosis and Synergistic Effects – US 11,092,141B1” on August 17, 2021. This patented technology, in addition to the existing major renewable energy sources such as hydropower, wind power and solar power, may become another major renewable source for the solution of the global warming problem. According to Dr.

Lu, the subject new form of osmotic energy can also be developed in a small scale, such as supplying clean power for small islands, large ships, small communities, or even developed for high-speed trains’ self-sufficient power supply in the future.

Besides this newly awarded patent, Dr. James Lu has been awarded about twenty-five patents in both USA and China so far after his retirement about 12 years ago. These patents are all in the earth’s ecologic protection field, cover subjects such as solid waste recycling, soil and groundwater remediation, desertification control, and nano-fertilizers for air emission control. Any members who are interested in Dr. Lu’s technologies are welcome to contact him directly for the information.

David Chou, Ph.D.

Dr. David Chou works as a manager for the California Air Resources  Board. He is a licensed Chemical Engineer and holds a doctorate in Environmental Science & Engineering from UCLA. He manages a team of scientists and engineers supporting air quality research, emissions inventory modeling, and regulatory programs. David has experience coaching school teams competing for the Odyssey of the Mind, Science Olympiad, National Science Bowl, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Invention Challenge, and National Ocean Science Bowl. Working with junior high and high school students, he hopes to encourage and inspire them to tackle the environmental challenges facing their generation.

The Defying Gravity team from Diamond Bar High School gathers beside the creation that enabled them to win the 2019 JPL Invention Challenge after going into double overtime. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Chaparral Middle School recently won first place in Cal State LA’s 11th Annual Middle School Regional Science Bowl. The Chaparral team also earned a spot to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl in Washington D.C. in April, 2018