About Us

railLA Leadership

Jefferson Schierbeek, AIA, LEED AP BD+C – Chairman of the Board

Mr. Schierbeek is a founding principal and current Vice President of Design for CADFORCE. Mr. Schierbeek is a licensed architect with 25 years of experience in design and management in architecture.  His professional career has included tenure in firms as diverse as Franklin D. Israel, RTKL, and his own firm; AddisonSchierbeek Architects.  Jefferson was the founding board president for Ocean Charter School, a K-8 elementary school now in its 6th year on the west side of Los Angeles and currently chairs OCS’s site task force.

Gerhard Mayer, AIA, Founding Board Member

Gerhard Mayer is the founder of MayerArchitects, a planning and design practice in Los Angeles. Gerhard has over 25 years experience working on four continents, in a variety of large firms, including working with Geoffrey Bawa and several years with Frank Gehry.  Gerhard’s passion is to direct the built environment towards a future that includes pedestrian, bicycle, public transit and automobiles in a new American understanding of freedom and independence. Educated in Vienna, Gerhard came to the US on a Fulbright Scholarship in sustainable design.  He learned that a very unsustainable feature of modern life is the almost exclusive reliance on individual automobiles, and on such, planning and design deference. This fact was later confirmed in a study, with colleagues at the Rocky Mountain Institute, which demonstrated that an environmentally apathetic row house in Philadelphia has a noticeably smaller carbon footprint than a super energy efficient, environmentally conscious dwelling outside the urban confines.  The land use pattern due to accommodating cars was the defining factor.

MayerArchitects focuses on mixed use urban infill – highest and best use repurposing of underutilized real estate and on technical and institutional buildings. We aim towards green livable cities which facilitate natural orientation, allow thriving communities and empower individuals. We are a dynamic practice that responds to the advancing social, cultural, political and technological conditions of modern life. Our work reflects an enduring commitment to sustainability and the belief that design is a powerful strategic tool for securing lasting competitive advantage. Additionally, we consider design as one of life’s great joys.

Robert W. Vanech, CFO/Founding Board Member

Robert “Bob” Vanech is Treasurer of railLA and Co-Chair of Sponsorship and Finance Sub-Committee. Robert Vanech is an outspoken advocate for creative entrepreneurial catalytic change as a means to improve broken social and economic systems. His public experience ranges from educational reform as a Founding Director and Treasurer with the most successful charter school in LAUSD to a gubernatorial run in his homestate of Connecticut. On the private sector side, Robert Vanech is a leading Venture Capitalist, as partner at ETF Group, a $250M Swiss-based technology fund, and a well-known Serial Entrepreneur who has funded and started successful technology companies including Eureka Broadband Corporation where he served as President and Director and CADFORCE, Inc. where he served as President, CEO and Chairman of the Board. Raising over $70M in venture capital for these ventures, Eureka was sold for over $100 million in 2005 to Broadview Networks and CADFORCE sold in 2009 to global engineering firm, Neilsoft Pvt. Ltd.

Robert Vanech holds a Bachelor of Finance from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and contributes as an active alumnus of Choate Rosemary Hall. Robert Vanech lives in Venice, CA with his three children and is an avid football coach, basketball player, and competitive Scrabble player.

Stephen Glassman, Founding Board Member

LA-based sculptor Stephen Glassman first caught international attention in the early 1990s when he began creating free-form bamboo installations in devastated urban sites following the aftermath of the Rodney King Riots, Malibu Fires and Northridge Quake. These works became symbols of resiliency in their LA communities and have evolved to become the permanent monumental sculptures he creates today.  Currently, Glassman’s Venice studio is engaged in the creation of large-scale national and international public art works including architecturally integrated courtyard sculptures, civic monuments, plazas, bridges, and waterfront developments.  He represents a new generation of public artists that, in addition to a studio and gallery history, have always created work on the street — art for art’s sake in a social context.

Recent and significant projects by Glassman include sculptures and installations for a 4,000 square foot corporate plaza for the LNR Warner Center, a skate park in Salt Lake City, Utah, Southeast Shear in Pine Bluff, AR (an NEA & White House Millennium Project), a Fire Station in Seattle and The Sylvia Campuan Bridge in Ubud Bali and more. In addition to commissions and awards, Glassman has collaborated with graffiti artists, bamboo workers, circus performers, dancers, engineers, scientists and more.  Notable collaborators and clients include Philippe Petit, Jonathan Borofsky, Perry Farrel, Robert Wilson, filmmakers Kevin Kerslake and Catherine Hardwicke,  Paris Opera and Moscow Circus.

Glassman’s studio work has exhibited in Southern California at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum, L.A.C.E., Fahey / Klein, Thomas Solomon…  in New York City with Artists’ Space, White Columns, and Holly Solomon Gallery, and internationally in Belgium, Japan, and Indonesia. He is in the private collections of Peter Norton, Holly Solomon Estate, Zenith Corporation, and Gemini Gel; is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including the NEA, Nathan Cummings Foundation Grant, and LA Cultural Affairs Endowment; and was a 2000 Chrysler Design Award nominee. He has lectured at schools and universities including SCI Arc and USC, has served as an artist in residence in disenfranchised communities across the country, and is a founding board member of the Ocean Charter School.

Jonathan Louie, Program Director

Jonathan Louie is a designer and urbanist currently interested in the spatial and social relationships between the community and private individual within the urban environment. In an aim to better understand the urban realm he has worked under OMA-NY (New York, USA), Koetter Kim Associates (Boston, USA) and MVRDV (Rotterdam, NL); and has been a lecturer or guest critique at Syracuse University, Rhode Island School of Design, Northeastern University and Boston Architectural College.  His work has been exhibited in Boston, Syracuse, and Rotterdam.  Currently he is living and working in the Financial District of Los Angeles.

Anne Guillebeaux, Secretary, Recommendations Co-Chair

Gina Gonzalez, Recommendations Co-Chair

Gina Gonzalez’s love for public transportation transpired during her days of dependency upon the “L” as an undergraduate student and from observing how public transportation could quell many of the problems prevalent to our society (obesity, drunk driving, overpopulation, climate change…). She imagines high speed rail serving as the catalyst to ignite more transit-oriented policies and infrastructures that can better address these problems while expanding travel options for fellow Southern Californians. Currently,  Ms. Gonzalez is pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Policy and a Certificate in GIS at the University of Southern California. When she is not studying or volunteering for RailLA, she serves as the Chair for the Habitat Young Professionals Network of Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity, interns at the City of West Hollywood, and explores this magnificent “City of the Angels.”

Alex Webb, Digital Media Chair

Alex Webb is a multimedia designer who has designed and fabricated architectural projects, digital applications, art installations and furniture while working with firms like Marmol Radziner + Associates, Coop Himmelb(l)au, PATTERNS, Xefirotarch and Gensler.  During his time with Gensler, Alex was not only one of the Design Performance Leaders for the Southwest Region, but also took an active role in developing the region’s Transportation Practice Area. Alex blogs on sustainable design at alexwebb.com and regularly teaches classes and workshops on parametric modeling and environmental analysis.

Alex Webb holds a Masters of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Colorado College, and has also studied architecture and design at the Berlage Institute and Columbia University.  Alex is an active volunteer with STOKED mentoring, a member of Woodbury University’s Adjunct Faculty and a passionate backcountry snowboarder.