Staff

Executive Director, Bill Higgins.   Mr. Higgins is an enthusiastic regionalist and enjoys working on the day to day policy issues that improve the ability of regional governments to serve their member cities and counties.  Mr. Higgins joined CALCOG as its executive director in 2011.  Previously, he spent 11 years as a senior staff attorney, program manager, and legislative representative for the League of California Cities and its nonprofit affiliate, the Institute of Local Government.   There, he focused his efforts on local and regional planning, housing, economic development, and land use policy.  He has been an adjunct professor at Sonoma State University and teaches periodic classes through the UC Davis and UCLA Extension Programs. In his college years, Mr Higgins demonstrated an odd preference for bucked-tooth mammals, getting a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture & Resource Economics from Oregon State University (Go Beavers) and a law degree from the University of Minnesota (Go Golden Gophers).

Contact:

bhiggins at calcog dot org
(916) 717-8324

Director of Education, Julia Lave Johnston.

Julia Lave Johnston is the Director of Education Services for the California Association of Councils of Government (CALCOG). In this positions she manages the California Academy for Regional Leadership (CARL) and develops and assists in creating education and training opportunities for CALCOG’s 47 member agencies. Previous positions focused on integrating health and sustainability at the local and regional level, and providing cutting edge education for professionals as the Director of the Land Use and Natural Resources program at UC Davis Extension. She developed and implemented climate and planning policy for the State of Californian as Deputy Director for Planning Policy in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) under Governor Schwarzenegger, where she coordinated the Strategic Growth Council during its first two years. Julia has volunteered with the American Planning Association (APA) for over 20 years and is currently the president of the California Chapter of the APA. As the Director of the Sacramento Valley Section APA Board, Julia oversaw the creation of section programming focused on mentorship and leadership development that was recognized for excellence with both state and national APA awards. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon. 

Contact:

julia at calcog dot org

Transportation & Housing Policy Analyst, Natalie Zoma.

Sacramento native, Natalie was born and raised in Citrus Heights, California. Recent college graduate from University of California, Riverside with a degree in Political Science emphasis in Public Service. Spent some of her college career researching affordable housing and transportation for the Inland Empire as well as interning through both public and elected offices within the City of Riverside. She started a position here at CALCOG in the Summer of 2020 as a Loveridge Fellow under the guidance of Former Mayor of Riverside, Professor Ronald Loveridge.

Contact:

nzoma at calcog dot org

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