Google's new self-driving car lobbyist; from Walmart to fighting food waste

Names in the News

Google's new self-driving car lobbyist; from Walmart to fighting food waste

Waymo, Salesforce, Walmart sustainability careers
Clockwise from top left: Nathaly Agosto Filion, city of Newark; Henk Campher, Salesforce; Ed Quevedo, Aligned Growth Partners; Chris Cochran, ReFED; Marty Neese, Velodyne LiDAR; Tekedra Mawakana, Waymo.

Who said a Trump presidency automatically meant a slowdown in sustainability hiring? The state of California, for instance, is busy trying to poach disgruntled (and potentially soon-to-be-jobless) EPA officials from the executive branch.

That's one approach, but a range of companies also have made new hires with intriguing implications for the environment. This month's Names in the News roundup of hires, promotions and other job news related to green business spans industries from transportation technology to food to marketing.

Have a tip for our next installment? Shoot us an e-mail at [email protected].

Who's news

Tekedra Mawakana, Waymo

Waymo, the self-driving car subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, has hired eBay's former vice president of global government relations to get ahead of the regulatory curve on autonomous vehicles.

At Waymo, Tekedra Mawakana will serve as vice president of public policy and government affairs, Recode reports. Mawakana, who is also a veteran of Yahoo and AOL, will focus on conveying the economic and safety benefits of autonomous technology.

As GreenBiz and others have reported, however, the future of the industry is also likely to help determine how sustainable — or not — transportation systems are in the future.

Marty Neese, Velodyne LiDAR

Elsewhere in the realm of self-driving car technology, former SunPower COO Marty Neese has been hired by auto tech company Velodyne LiDAR. The company's sensor hardware is used by none other than Alphabet-owned Waymo.

Neese also will serve as COO at Velodyne, which raised $150 million in Series A funding from Ford and Chinese tech giant Baidu last year. 

Henk Campher, Salesforce

After stints at public affairs firms Fenton, Alison+Partners and Edelman, corporate responsibility marketing veteran Henk Campher has taken on a new role at Salesforce.

Campher was hired in February as vice president of marketing at the San Francisco tech giant, which has set environmental goals including a 100 percent renewable energy target.

Chris Cochran, ReFED

ReFED, a research effort formally called Rethink Food Waste through Economics and Data, has hired Walmart’s senior manager of corporate sustainability, Chris Cochran, to serve as its first executive director.

Formed in 2015, the group backed by 40 businesses, non-profits, foundations, investors and policymakers aims to cut food waste by 50 percent by 2030. Cochran has seen the food supply chain up close at Walmart, where he developed the company's first model to curb food waste.

On the move

— Northern California consulting and executive search firm Aligned Growth Partners has hired Ed Quevedo to lead a new corporate responsibility and sustainability practice.

— Late last year, the city of Newark hired its first chief sustainability officer. Nathaly Agosto Filion, a former manager at Sustainable Jersey, has accepted the role.

— Beer companies are increasingly big on sustainability, and Colorado's New Belgium Brewing is getting on board by appointing Sarah Fraser sustainability specialist.