In Spotlights

Trina Martynowicz currently works at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in San Francisco overseeing a national partnership to help bring clean air and energy technologies to market. The EPA initiative uses innovative solutions and non-traditional forms of funding to test and demonstrate technologies that will bring major emission reductions to the most polluted areas of the nation. Trina also works in the goods movement sector with the West Coast Collaborative, a voluntary public-private partnership to deploy cleaner technologies and fuels though various tools and practices. Trina earned dual Bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Science and Politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Master’s in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University.

What do you like best about being part of WEN?

WEN serves both as a great professional resource and social outlet. I’ve enjoyed attending talks and lectures in areas I know very little, as well as networking with people who I would not have necessarily met if it wasn’t for WEN! The events are always of high caliber. I applaud the leadership of the WEN Board and leadership team- thank you for all of your work to help better educate and connect women in the environmental field!

Tell us more about yourself.

I’ve worked for the same employer, the EPA, since the day after graduating from undergrad 12 years ago! While in DC, I helped set guidance on cleaning-up the nation’s most contaminated military and DOE for several specific contaminants. I also oversaw a national work group that provided policy direction to the EPA to ensure the concerns of community members living around these sites were adequately addressed. I especially enjoyed working with Native American Indians, who unfortunately had to bear the brunt of these adverse environmental impacts. I helped create metrics and quantify our work in cleaning up these contaminated sites and developing EPA’s headquarters and regional budgets.

What are some of your other activities?

I feel strongly about engaging with and giving back to my community through volunteer and philanthropic activities. I serve on the leadership teams of the Full Circle Fund, an engaged philanthropy organization cultivating the next generation of leaders while driving lasting social change by providing financial and human capital assistance to local non-profits. Our newest partnership is with Impact Carbon, which helps people access new technologies like providing clean cooking stoves and water treatment systems to underprivileged Africans, through carbon and social finance while bringing these products to scale. I’m also on the Board of the Young Professionals in Energy, which provides a forum for networking and career development. I encourage you to check out both organizations!

What environmental issues are of most concern to you?

California  has the worst air quality in comparison to the rest of the nation. Breathing highly polluted air, such as particulate matter or black carbon, can cause major health problems including respiratory and cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even premature death and birth defects. Black carbon, which is primarily emitted from diesel vehicles and wildfires, also contributes to climate change because of its ability to absorb light as heat. Southern California and San Joaquin Valley bear the brunt of air pollution, with 77% of particulate matter concentrated in these two areas with the highest number of people exposed than anywhere else in the nation. Through testing and demonstrating technologies that produce essentially no air pollution, such as electric trucks and cleaner fuels, I hope to significantly improve the air quality and health of people in these two regions!