green raiteros

Huron Mayor Rey Leon, at the podium, addresses the crowd of people gathered to mark the start of the Green Raiteros program in Huron in 2018.

published on December 14, 2020 - 1:30 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has announced the six recipients of its inaugural 2020 Clean Energy Hall of Fame awards. Two of them hail from the Central Valley.

James OBannon
Rey Leon


Huron Mayor Rey Leon has been recognized by the CEC as a “Clean Energy Champion” for his work as the driving force in creating a ride share program to offer farm workers transportation to and from critical services and errands such as doctor and social services appointments.

Fresno’s Dr. James O’Bannon was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award O’Bannon is an award-winning engineer and co-founder and chairman of Richard Heath & Associates, Inc. (RHA) in Fresno, which has developed and administered more than 50 innovative programs for utility customers, schools and businesses to advance clean energy.

The CEC recognizes individuals who have made exceptional contributions in their communities by helping California advance its clean energy goals. The awards are meant to motivate and inspire all stakeholders to continue to lead California to a 100% clean energy future by 2045.

A virtual ceremony was held last week with recorded opening remarks from Gov. Gavin Newsom. The event was launched as part of the CEC’s 45th anniversary.

Leon, who is also the executive director of the Latino Equity Advocacy & Policy Institute, was crucial in bringing the innovative Green Raiteros electric vehicle ridesharing program to help Central Valley residents, especially farm workers, receive transportation for critical needs.

Over the last 40 years, O’Bannon has been instrumental at RHA in leading millions of California families and businesses to save money while protecting the environment. RHA has provided 2.3 million low-income households and 19,149 small businesses with energy and water efficiency improvements.

Companies including Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Diego Gas and Electric Co., and Southern California Gas Co. are just a few of the companies that have benefited from RHA’s efforts.

The other Clean Energy Champions awarded are Community and Workforce Development Coordinator for GRID Alternatives Eddie Price, Lead Installer for Luminalt Energy Corporation Pamela Quan, Vice Chair of Blue Lake Rancheria Arla Ramsey and senior at Saint Francis High School in Mountain View and founder of the Climate Youth Ambassador Program Kaushik Tota.

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