People First
Project Management
Consulting Firm

Michele C. Martinez

Founder and Principal, Emergent P4 Advisors


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.

Before EPA

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. 

Regional and National Experience

  • President of the Southern California Association of Governments “SCAG” ( 2016-2017), the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, representing 6 counties, 191 cities and more than 19 million residents.
  • President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials “NALEO” ( 2015-2016), a non-partisan organization made up of more than 6,000 federal, state and local officials dedicated to all aspects of civic engagement. 
  • The Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors
  • Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Committee
  • Local Government Commission Board of Directors
  • California League of Cities,  Revenue/ Taxation, Public Works & Transportation committees
  •  California League of Cities, Orange County League Division
  • California League of Cities, Latino Caucus Board of Directors
  • Orange County Council of Governments 
  • Orange County Toll Roads Board of Directors 


Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government

  • Certificate of Completion for the Senior Executive in State and Local Government Program 

California State University, Fullerton 

  •  Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.  


  • Santiago Canyon College, Adjunct Professor
  • Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Alumni 
  • SCAG, President Council
  • NALEO, Life-Time Member
  • Santa Ana, City Commissioner


  • Local Government Commission , Ahwahnee Leadership Legacy Award
  • California Walks, Ped Counts Leadership in Sustainable Transportation Award 
  •  Has been listed as one of 25 People to Watch in Orange County by the OC Metro Magazine 
  • Has been listed as one of 16 people to watch in Orange County by the Orange County Register 
  • Has been listed as one of 40 under 40 Latinos in American Politics by the Huffington Posts
  • Latina's Today: Latina Style Magazine: Emerging Latina of the Year 

12 Years of Public Service

Regional Leadership