Alan Sako, LEED AP BD+C
As the Southern California Air Quality, Climate, and Acoustic (AQCA) Director, Alan manages a dynamic team of environmental professionals and provides strategic guidance and technical analysis to our clients’ needs.
Alan has over 19 years of experience in preparing and managing air quality and climate change analyses, performing ambient air quality impact analyses and health risk assessments (HRAs) for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents. In addition to Alan’s extensive air quality and GHG experience, he is experienced in acoustical/noise modeling, and preparing hazardous materials business plans (HMBPs), risk management plans (RMPs) for hazardous substances, and offsite consequence analyses (OCAs) for hazardous substances.
Alan holds a Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Environmental Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a LEED Accredited Professional by the U.S. Green Building Council, and is also a member of the Air and Waste Management Association.
1. What is your favorite ESA moment/memory so far?
My favorite memory was actually being introduced to ESA, as part of the PCR acquisition. I felt excited (and still do) to meet an entire group of new people and to bring a skill set to the company (air quality, health risk assessments, GHGs, noise) that would help us grow and succeed.
2. What does it mean to you to be part of an employee-owned company?
As part of an employee-owned company, I like that we all can share in the success of the company. The company feels more egalitarian than others. Conversely, I think it means that we all need to continuously brush up on our skills and keep up with changing community needs and environmental trends.
3. What has been your favorite job in your career and why?
I have been doing environmental consulting for my entire career, so I have only known this one job. I will say that the ability to work on different types of projects keeps things fresh.
4. What keeps you coming to work here at ESA every day?
Being able to work on so many projects provides me with the opportunity to work across groups and offices. I enjoy that aspect of working amongst other experts. In addition, I am always glad to hear about project success stories, especially those in which I had some level of contribution.
5. What's your favorite thing to do when you are out of the office?
Outside of the office, I enjoy taking advantage of all that the "Big City" (Los Angeles and surrounding communities) has to offer from new restaurants, local concert venues, themed pop-up bars, movies in the cemetery, and others.
6. If you had one free hour each day, how would you use it?
I would say sleep, but I would probably end up laying in bed on my phone scrolling through the news and social media.
7. What are three skills that you bring to the ESA team? In other words, what should colleagues know to reach out to you about?
- Air quality, GHG, noise
- Technical writing
- Strategizing / problem solving
8. In a nutshell, what kind of work does your team do?
The AQCA group (Air Quality, Climate, and Acoustics) provides a wide range of services from emissions calculations, dispersion modeling, health risk assessments, noise/vibration studies, mitigation strategies, energy efficiency analyses, and much more.
9. Describe your role at ESA and the type of work you do.
I serve as the Southern California Director of AQCA. I am involved in the guiding and strategizing of our technical approaches (calculations, modeling, and writing), proposals and marketing, staff mentoring and training, helping clients with "quick burn" requests, and so on.
10. In relation to the work you do, what’s one thing people can do in their everyday lives that can help create a more sustainable future?
Drive less! I know it is difficult, but given the transportation sector is the largest source of emissions, it can make a huge dent in our own health and the health of our communities if we take collective action.
11. Have you had the opportunity to work on any career-defining projects?
I had the opportunity to work on the 8150 Sunset Boulevard Project, which was certified as Environmental Leadership Development Project (ELDP). This was the first ELDP in Los Angeles County and the first mixed-used ELDP in California. I worked with OPR and CARB to help define the analysis methods that would be used for future projects. I have successfully completed ELDP applications for four projects, and have been at least tangentially involved with other ELDP projects at ESA.
Alan and his partner enjoying the sunset view on their vacation in Puerto Vallarta.