Kelly Schmandt Ferguson is LACI’s Director of Pilots where she leads ideation, conceptualization, stakeholder engagement for upcoming pilots, and manages the team leading community benefit pilots.
Prior to building the LACI Pilots program, Kelly was a Regional Director for the Energy program, connecting stakeholders and startups from Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties into the LACI ecosystem. She was also responsible for implementing the first California Climate Cup startup competition held at the Global Climate Action Summit in 2018.
Before LACI, Kelly led the Environmental Department for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians working in all facets of environmental issues including renewable energy, climate adaptation, emergency management, habitat mitigation, water quality, waste management, and workforce development. While with the Chumash, Kelly also represented Southern California tribes at the EPA’s Regional Tribal Operations Committee. Kelly’s start in the environmental field began after graduate school when she founded a green modular housing company formed out of her graduate thesis project. In another life, Kelly was a professional tennis player and won several challenger level events in doubles.
Kelly holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy from Vanderbilt University and a Masters in Environmental Science and Management from University of California, Santa Barbara’s Bren School.