Sub-Committee Leadership

Our organization relies on the time of our volunteers to accomplish the goals outlined in our vision and mission. We encourage your involvement in any of the current sub-committees to help  us bring high-speed rail to Los Angeles.

Jefferson Schierbeek, AIA, LEED AP BD+C – Governance Committee Chair

Mr. Schierbeek is a founding principal and current Vice President of Design forCADFORCE. 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 – Marketing and Strategy Committee Chair

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 – Finance Committee Chair

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.

Jonathan Louie – Outreach Committee Co-Chair

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.

Erik A. Alden, LEED AP – Call for Ideas/Venues Co-Chair

A native Angelino, Erik received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Southern California in 2005 and works as a Project Manager and Designer for Lehrer Architects in Silverlake.  He resides in Cypress Park, a community neighborhood of Northeast Los Angeles, where the northern leg of the High Speed Train will likely pass through.  His desire for friendly public transportation has been life-long, and his primary reason for joining railLA is to help his community embrace the concept of rail as an alternative, friendly, mode of transportation, instead of another government-imposed blight on the community that should be opposed.

Artur Grochowski, LEED AP – Call for Ideas/Venues Co-Chair

Artur Grochowski, LEED AP works as a Junior Designer and Assistant Construction Manager for Richard Seltzer Designs & Construction Inc. He recently received his Bachelor of Architecture with honors from Woodbury University in Burbank, administers construction in Venice Beach and lives in Huntington Beach. His daily commutes across Los Angeles pushed Artur to invest his last year of school into infrastructural planning & intermodal forms of transportation. He became part of the Woodbury University Urban Studies Program and used his Degree Project to design a new bicycle and train based infrastructure for San Fernando City. He firmly believes that smart infrastructure allows for locally responsive and logical solutions to problems perpetuated by LA’s existing transportation systems.

Albert Sawano, AIA – Recommendations Committee Co-Chair

Albert Sawano’s interest in high speed rail started in a seminal 1972 ride on the Japanese Shinkansen and has persisted ever since. He is Architecture Leader for the West Region operations of Harley Ellis Devereaux, a national Architecture and Engineering firm involved in public, commercial, residential, education, and health care projects.  In his 25 years of professional experience, he has held senior roles at Gensler and Johnson Fain directing teams to produce several milestone Southern California projects, including some of the only new large-scale office centers to be constructed in the last 19 years: Century City’s 2000 Avenue of the Stars and MGM Tower projects, and the 21st Century Insurance headquarters building in Woodland Hills. Albert has a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley. He has been a member of the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles Chapter since 1992.

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