Executive Management

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Barbara Romero
Director and General Manager

A native Angeleno born and raised in East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights, Barbara has spent her career serving the City’s residents. In June 2021, she was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti as Director and General Manager of LASAN. In her first year, she successfully tackled a number of priorities such as expanding the cleaning of public rights-of-way; launching LA’s curbside organics collection; leading the recovery of Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant; securing funds to create new positions and replace inefficient equipment; improving morale across the organization with a culture shift and focus on upward mobility; and much more. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.
 
Most recently, Barbara served the City of Los Angeles as Deputy Mayor of City Services.  Previously, she also served as a Commissioner on the Board of Public Works overseeing the LASAN, and as a City Planning Commissioner. Prior to those positions, she spent a decade working for the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) as its Chief of Urban Projects and Watershed Planning.
 
Early in her career, she worked as a community organizer for the Roosevelt High School’s Healthy Start Program. She also worked for the Los Angeles Conservation Corps running a federal AmeriCorps jobs program in East Los Angeles. Barbara has always been involved in community service. She founded the Girls Today, Women Tomorrow Leadership Mentoring Program, and has served on the boards of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation (now River LA), the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, Los Amigos Council for Para Los Niños, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Community Nature Connection, Hollywood Sign Trust, and Los Angeles Conservation Corps.
 
In recognition of her work, Barbara received the “Outstanding Young Californian Award” from the California Junior Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the “Aztec Award” from the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, the “Environmental Justice Civic Leadership Award” from Pacoima Beautiful, “Las Mujeres Award” from From Lot to Spot, the “La Adelita” Award from Mujeres de la Tierra, the “Muxer of the Year Award” from Las Fotos Project and the “Nuevo Amanecer Mujer integral dia Internacional de la Mujer Award” from Avanca.
 
Ms. Romero is a proud graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles.
 
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Traci J. Minamide, P.E., B.C.E.E.
Chief Operating Officer
Traci serves as Chief Operating Officer for City of Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment, a department of over 3,500 employees with an annual revenue of over $1 billion.  She has been with the City for over 30 years serving in many capacities, including water reclamation, environmental regulations, biosolids, watershed protection, and solid resources. 
 
Traci holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, a Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from Loyola Marymount University, and certification in Executive Management for State and Local Government from Harvard University. She is also a licensed professional Civil Engineer in the State of California and a Board Certified Environmental Engineer through the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. She is past President of the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) currently serving on its Board of Directors, and is also a board member for the Southern California Alliance of POTWs. Traci also served as a member of the State of California’s Advisory Panel on Direct Potable Reuse.
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Sarai Bhaga
Chief Financial Officer
Sarai is responsible for the formulation of long- and short-range fiscal management programs, developing financial resources for capital improvement projects, maintaining accounts for a variety of special funds, managing debt resources, and financial analysis activities. She previously worked at the Office of the City Administrative Officer for 21 years and has broad experience in the areas of budget, public finance, capital projects, contracts, human resources, policy, and legislative issues. Sarai received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Business Administration from UC Riverside and her Master’s in Public Policy from the Claremont Graduate School.
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Mas Dojiri, Ph.D., B.C.E.S.
Assistant Director, Technical Services
Mas oversees the Technical Services Divisions, which is comprised of Environmental Monitoring, Industrial Waste Management, Regulatory Affairs, Information Control Systems, and Industrial Safety Compliance Divisions. He is also designated as the Chief Scientific Officer for LA Sanitation and serves as a member of the Board of Governors and the Joint Strategic Advisory Team of the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS). He also serves as the Vice-chair of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, and served as both the Chair and Vice-chair of the Board of Commissioners for the Southern California Coastal Waters Research Project.  Mas is also currently the Chair of the Environmental Biology subcommittee of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists and was instrumental in creating the national Board Certification for Environmental Scientists.  Mas received his BA from UC Santa Barbara, his MA from California State University, Long Beach, and his PhD from Boston University.  He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and is the author of 38 peer-reviewed scientific publications and two technical books on crustaceans.
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Alex E. Helou, Ch.E.
Assistant Director, Solid Resources Program Development
Alex heads the Solid Resources Group that is responsible for managing solid waste for the entire City of Los Angeles, including collection, transport, and processing of source separated recyclables, green materials, and municipal solid waste from 750,000 residential customers. Alex leads a workforce of over 1,300 employees in five Divisions, with an annual operating budget of over $180 million. He is in charge of implementing many key solid waste management strategies to help the City of Los Angeles achieve Zero Waste by 2025, including the Solid Waste Integrated Resources Plan and the Commercial Franchise System. The City has exceeded the 75% diversion rate and continues moving toward the zero waste goal. A 22-year veteran of the City of Los Angeles, Alex is a Board registered Professional Chemical Engineer with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering.
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Jose "Pepe" Garcia
Assistant Director, Solid Resources Operations

Jose “Pepe” Garcia serves as the Assistant Director of Solid Resources Operations.

Pepe began his 30-year career with LASAN as a Refuse Collection Truck Operator in the West Los Angeles Yard. He has worked as a Crew Instructor, Supervisor in Safety and Training, Alternative Fuel Program, and Container Replacement, Superintendent at Customer Care and North Central and Solid Resources Manager at Clean Streets LA.

Most recently, Pepe was in charge of the Solid Resources Collection Divisions.

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Timeyin Dafeta, P.E.
Executive Hyperion Plant Manager
Tim is the Plant Manager of the City of Los Angeles Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant
Hyperion is one of the largest plants in the world with an annual operating budget of over $80 million, annual capital budget of over $40 million, and staff of 372 employees of all trades and professional classes.

During his 29 years with the City of Los Angeles, he has worked in process engineering, capital projects planning, industrial pretreatment, environmental regulations, wastewater treatment, and biosolids management. Tim is a licensed civil engineer with the State of California and has a Master’s degree in Applied Math.
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Nicole Bernson
Assistant Director, Special Projects
Stay tuned - details coming soon!
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Julie Allen, P.E.
Assistant Director, Clean Water
Julie leads the Clean Water Program, which includes a staff of about 500 people, and manages the following key programs: wastewater conveyance, watershed protection, green infrastructure, wastewater engineering and planning, flood protection, and Safe Clean Water Program implementation.

She received her Civil Engineering degree from UCLA.  Prior to joining LASAN, she performed water system planning, design, and construction at the LA Department of Water and Power and numerous roles at the Bureau of Engineering, including a development services case manager, Council/Board Liaison, and project manager of municipal buildings and stormwater infrastructure projects. Most recently, Julie was the Program Manager leading the $588 million Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project.  In addition to her work assignments, Julie has volunteered her time and expertise to her local community as a Planning Commissioner and chairperson of a school bond construction oversight committee. She has also earned a certification as a Senior Certified Professional from the Society for Human Resource Management.