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Local Government Commission


Winter 2014

Pat Stoner Retires, Joseph Oldham is the New Statewide Coordinator

By Joseph Oldham

Good-bye to Pat Patrick Stoner, California’s first Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator (Coordinator), retired at the end of 2013. Pat was the ‘energy guy’ at the Local Government Commission since 1993 when he joined the organization. His last big effort was to help the California Public Utilities Commission update the local government chapter of the California Long-term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan (see related story). He is living in Port Townsend, WA with his husband, Sam Shusterman, and dog, Hannah.

Hello to Joseph

Joseph OldhamJoseph Oldham joined the team at the Local Government Commission in December to take on the job of Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator when Patrick Stoner retired at the end of 2013.

Joseph is the former Sustainability Manager for the City of Fresno; a position he had held since 2009. During his tenure as Sustainability Manger for the City of Fresno, his Sustainable Fresno Division of the Development and Resource Management Department administered the Fresno Energy Watch program funded by PG&E that offers the “Central Valley Energy Tune-up Program”. This program provides no-cost, comprehensive residential energy surveys to PG&E customers in Madera, Fresno, Tulare, Kings, and Kern Counties, plus no-cost ASHRAE Level 1 and 2 commercial energy audits for business owners in Fresno County. His division also initiated, established, and promoted commercial and residential PACE financing in Fresno along with renewable energy projects for both residential and commercial property owners.

One of the more unusual tasks that Joseph found himself performing while managing the City of Fresno energy programs was producing and starring in television commercials and co-hosting a weekly 30-minute TV show on the local NBC affiliate in Fresno. The weekly TV show was called “Your Green Life” and it was focused on energy efficiency and sustainability issues in the San Joaquin Valley. The show was the “brain-child” of KSEE-24 General Manager Matt Rosenfeld and Joseph and ran for over a year on Saturday mornings and evenings in prime time. Each week Joseph had to come up with fresh topics and work with the show’s producer to tape 5-6 minute segments for airing the following Saturday. It was great fun, but really hard work! One thing from the experience Joseph is most proud of is that people really enjoyed the show and that he was always able to tape the segments on the first “take”!

Joseph graduated from California State University, Fresno in 1975 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and has been very active in promoting climate change adaptation, energy efficiency, alternative fuel vehicles, renewable energy, and “green” living for over 25 years.

Joseph believes that everyone can make a positive contribution to improving air quality and resource conservation. Together with his wife, Donna, and their two children, the Oldham family has made personal commitments to environmental stewardship and sustainable living through energy efficiency upgrades, the use of solar power and advanced evaporative cooling their home, and driving a PEV Chevy Volt.

During his leisure time, Joseph enjoys flying his 1949 Piper PA-17 Cub Vagabond aircraft around to various parts of the State. Joseph has a Private Pilot Certificate and has been flying since 1974. His plane, named “Baby”, is a fairly rare classic from the “Golden Age of General Aviation” in the 1940s and is only one of six PA-17 Vagabonds, still flyable in California. Joseph takes her to antique aircraft fly-ins and she has won several awards. “Flying keeps me sane” is one of Joseph’s favorite sayings and cruising about the sky at 90 mph and 2,500 ft. really does help keep one’s perspective centered on reality!

Joseph Oldham - PlaneJoseph plans to spend much of the first six months, and a considerable amount of time thereafter, traveling around the state meeting with local government energy efficiency program implementers to get a good feel of the progress currently being made toward achieving the goals of the Strategic Plan. Joseph will also be meeting regularly with CPUC Energy Division staff and utility representatives to get their input and to pass on information gleaned from his local government contacts. Joseph will be working very closely with the LGC, ILG, and ICLEI to bring greater synergy between the Coordinator position and the various programs being implemented by the three non-profit agencies. Discussions are already underway about changing the current position title to something shorter and more easily recognized; the current leading idea for the name change is Statewide Energy Efficiency Advisor (SEEA), but no final decisions have been made. All of the same resources that Pat developed over the years will still be available, but there may be some additional resources in the not-to-distant future based on feedback Joseph gains from his outreach.

Pat StonerSo stay tuned to Currents and the web site at for updates! As a final observation about the “changing of the guard” with the position it is interesting to note the following. One of the most memorable photos to Pat Stoner was shown at the last SEEC Forum when his retirement was announced. It showed Pat wearing a “Superman” outfit and certainly was appropriate since Pat did a “super” job developing the position to where it is today. Pat is keeping the suit, so Joseph doesn’t have it; but he does FLY! So to take some lines from the old “Superman” TV series, “Look there in the sky…it’s a bird…no, it’s a plane…yes, it is a plane with the “Statewide Energy Man” coming to help us!” So watch the sky!!