Under the academic leadership of Dean Emeritus and Professor J. Keith Gilless, Wolf Prize Laureate Professor David Zilberman, and George Pardee Chair and Professor of International Sustainable Development Max Auffhammer, our program partners with the great minds of UC Berkeley and industry leaders, who are all passionate about developing environmental leaders.
Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program
J. Keith Gilless is Dean Emeritus of the College of Natural Resources (CNR) at UC Berkeley, and holds a joint professorial appointment in CNR’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and its Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
Gilless’s research program has encompassed issues in forest products trade and markets, regional economic analysis of resource-dependent communities, wildland fire protection planning, forestry decision support systems, and international development. He holds an appointment from California Governor Jerry Brown to the chair of the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, where he leads the development of general forest policy for the state and represents the state’s interest in federal forestland. He is a recipient of Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and the co-author of two textbooks on forest resource management and economics. He has previously held visiting professor and researcher appointments at Beijing Forestry University and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Gilless earned his B.S. in Forestry from Michigan State University and a joint Ph.D. in Forestry and Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program
Dr. David Zilberman is a professor and holds the Robinson Chair in the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department at UC Berkeley, where he has been since 1979. He was awarded the Wolf Prize in Agriculture in 2019. In his time at UC Berkeley, he served as Department Chair of Agricultural and Resource Economics from 1994 to 1999, as Director of the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics and the Center for Sustainable Resource Development, respectively; the Faculty Director of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program; and as a consultant to the World Bank, the USDA, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Environmental Protection Agency, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Professor Zilberman’s areas of expertise include agricultural and environmental policy; biotechnology; bioenergy and climate change; and the economics of innovation, risk, marketing, water, and pest control. He has edited 16 books and coauthored 270 papers in refereed journals ranging from Science to the Quarterly Journal of Economics. During the 1980s, his work served as the basis for several projects on the adoption of modern irrigation technology and computers in California agriculture. These studies demonstrated that farmers adopt new technologies when it makes economic sense and that extreme events, such as droughts or high prices, can trigger changes in farming practices. During the early 1990s, his research on pesticide economics and policy made the case against policies that called to ban pesticides, and advocated instead for smart policies that take advantage of the vast economic benefits that pesticides generate while using incentives to protect against side effects.
Dr. Zilberman is one of the most cited scholars in agricultural, environmental, and resource economics with 28,980 citations on Google Scholar as of October 2019. He is a current fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA), the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERA), and the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association.
George Pardee Jr. Professor of International Sustainable Development
Dr. Max Auffhammer is the George Pardee Jr. Professor of Sustainable Development and Associate Dean in the Division of Social Sciences at UC Berkeley. He is also an Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics and International and Area Studies at UC Berkeley and Chair at the Political Economy. He specializes in environmental and resource economics, energy economics and applied econometrics, focusing his research on forecasting greenhouse gas emissions and the agricultural effects of air pollution. Along with his academic contributions, he is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Humboldt Fellow and the co-editor of the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
He has been invited to present his research at conferences and seminars around the world, and he co-chaired the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE)’s annual conference in 2011. Prof. Auffhammer earned his Ph.D. in economics from UC San Diego.
Watch Professor Auffhammer's webinar, Biden Administration and Global Environmental Regulation on the Beahrs ELP YouTube channel. https://youtu.be/1yJ-rUCK31s
International and Executive Programs, Rausser College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley
Dr. Mio Katayama Owens is the Assistant Dean of International and Executive Programs in the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley. She earned her Ph.D. in the Department of Anthropology as an international student at UC Berkeley, specializing in Anthropology of Food and East Asian Prehistory. With ten years of managing anthropological fieldwork projects in Japan, Owens examined the long-term environmental impacts of food consumption behaviors and the role cultural factors play in societal definitions of food. After earning her Ph.D., Owens oversaw a variety of graduate student initiatives including business model development, revenue stream identification, public health, and impact assessment as an academic coordinator for an international nonprofit. She has taught Anthropology of Food and Archaeology courses at UC Berkeley and St. Mary's College in Moraga, California. At the College of Natural Resources, she leads the International and Executive Programs, collaborating with UC Berkeley faculty, staff, experts, and external stakeholders to effectively link academic and professional entities and develop professional programs in Berkeley and overseas. Together with the Academic Directors, Dean Emeritus and Professor J. Keith Gilless and Professor David Zilberman, Owens leads the internationally acclaimed Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program.
Advisory Board Members
Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program
Dick Beahrs had a 35-year career as a media executive with Time Warner. During that time, he served as the President of Court TV and the Comedy Channel, which evolved into Comedy Central. He also served as the head of New Business Development for HBO, where he oversaw the launch of Cinemax. As the Director of Sports Illustrated Enterprises, he also managed the development of ancillary businesses for the magazine.
In 2001, he and his wife Carolyn funded the launch of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program at UC Berkeley. This multidisciplinary program has trained over 500 environmental professionals from over 100 countries in sustainable development skills.
Beahrs served on the UN Hunger Task Force as part of the Millennium Development Goals Initiative. He is currently focused on efforts to enhance school feeding programs with locally produced foods on the African continent. He served as a trustee for the University of California, Berkeley Foundation as well as on the Advisory Boards of numerous University initiatives and programs. He has served on the Leadership Council of the Initiative for Global Development and the Boards of The School of Management at St. Petersburg University in Russia, the World Agroforestry Centre in Kenya and as Chairman of the Arbor Day Foundation. His current business activities include serving on the Board of the San Jose Giants (a minor league affiliate of the San Francisco Giants), and as a Senior Advisor to Revolution Foods.
He graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 1968 where he served as the Student Body President his senior year. He and his wife Carolyn reside in Berkeley. They have four children and six grandchildren.
Advisor to the Dean and Executive-In-Residence
Rausser College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley
Mike Cheng is the Advisor to the Dean and Executive-In-Residence in the Rausser College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley. He transitioned to this current role after his nine-year term as a RCNR Advisory Board member with the aim of exploring opportunities to enhance collaborations between Rausser College of Natural Resources (RCNR) and the industry. Mike is also a faculty member in the Master of Molecular Science and Software Engineering (MSSE) Program from the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and an advisory board member of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program.
Mike had a 30-year career as an executive in the technology industry before pursuing his current interest in academia. He has served as the MBA Director at Golden Gate University where he led the redesign and launch of their current MBA and EMBA programs. He is an adjunct professor of management in the Ageno School of Business and has served on the School’s Advisory Board.
During his time in the technology industry, Mike served as the Corporate Vice President and President of the Eimac Division of Communications & Power Industry Inc. (CPI), a successor company of Varian Associates in Palo Alto, CA. Prior to that he held management positions in Marketing and Operations at both CPI and Varian Associates.
Mike is a graduate of the Management of Technology Companies program from the American Electronics Association/Stanford Executive Institute. He holds an MBA in General Management from Golden Gate University and received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mike and his wife, Ruth, also an alumna of UC Berkeley, are active supporters of numerous academic units on the Berkeley campus. Together, they have two grown daughters and four grandchildren.
Rausser College of Natural Resources Advisory Board
John Pardee ‘69 is a real estate and transactional attorney. He previously served as Counsel for The Trust for Public Land in San Francisco and as Senior County Counsel for San Diego County. He currently serves on the Land Protection Advisory Council for the Pacific Crest Trail Association and is a former member of the California Advisory Board for the Trust for Public Land. He is also a member of the Rausser College of Natural Resources Advisory Board. In 2008, John, his wife Vera, and other members of the Pardee family established the George M. Pardee, Jr. Family Chair in International Sustainable Development at the Rausser College of Natural Resources. John holds a B.A. in Political Science from UC Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of Southern California.