Michele Martinez is considered one of the nation’s political change agent leaders of her time and is recognized for her reputation as an effective regional public policy leader, her understanding and knowledge of government and its political dimension in California, fostering innovation and data-driven policy decision-making, and her ability to connect the dots to build thriving communities that put people first, and lastly, her regional cutting-edge approach on advancing policies and solutions to the unique and complex challenges in navigating the regulatory and political environment in housing, water, air, transportation, economic development, land-use/ zoning, and technology.
Using her 15 years of public policy experience and her influence as a regional and national leader Michele will draw on her experience as a former elected official and her extensive network of relationships to support the firms mission to put people first and create healthy, vibrant, and sustainable communities and to collaborate with municipalities, private and non-profit sector to identify and scale viable 21st century solutions.
Prior to founding EPA , Michele served for twelve years as Councilmember in the City of Santa Ana, CA (2006-2018). During this time, she became the first council member to serve as President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the first council member to serve as President of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), and the youngest woman to serve as the Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Santa Ana.
Among her most significant achievements were spearheading the city’s 30-year-old General plan (in the final phases of being updated) and the 60-year-old zoning code (now awaiting additional funding for modernization), helped stabilized the city budget by creating the first fiscal reserve policy. The general fund reserves grew from 3 million to 41.8 million during the last five years of her tenure, championing the city’s first, five-year Strategic Plan and Economic Development Strategic Plan , increasing the city’s open space by 22 acres, and helping the city secure 44 million dollars for active transportation to ensure pedestrian and bike safety, supporting efforts to improve and repair nearly 300 miles of residential streets and lastly, lead the efforts that helped Santa Ana build a temporary shelter in 28 days—an accomplishment that was unheard of. She has also served as a pro-bono policy advisor for federal court judge David O. Carter on the issue of homelessness for North and Central Orange County, and within a year of this involvement Orange County has constructed 5 shelters and 4 more are in the pipeline.
Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government
California State University, Fullerton