Environmental strategies to make over the world.®
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“Consistently, Mr. Polakovic has delivered value, provided practical advice, proven dependable and trustworthy and remained committed to the goals of our organization.” - Jack Broadbent, executive officer, Bay Area Air Quality Management District

Clients

Newlight Technologies
Newlight Technologies LLC developed breakthrough technology to remove carbon from greenhouse gases and use it to make plastic – for less cost than petroleum-based plastics with the same performance – and that’s never been done before commercially. Entrepreneurs who created the company found the initial creative spark in a L.A. Times article. Gary Polakovic wrote about methane emissions, cows and global warming and spend the next 10 years researching ways to make good use of GHGs, leading to a patented biocatalyst breakthrough. Make Over Earth was hired to help build the company’s communications capacity, tell its story and link it to key influencers to increase Newlight’s profile and publics. We developed strategic communications plans, story pitches, infographics, crisis response plans, fact sheets and other marketing collateral. We helped prepare company officials, most of whom are scientists, for public presentations and media appearances. We linked the chief executive officer to key environmental leaders and government officials in California to increase the company’s influence and allies. As a result, Newlight Technologies garnered earned media coverage in USA Today, CBS This Morning, Scientific American, CNN Money, Fox Business News, NBC Digital, KCET’s “So Cal Connected” program, Popular Science, Al Jazeera America, and many more. The media exposure alone led to surging interest in Newlight, directly contributing to its rapid expansion, going from five product lines of sales to 75 and from 2 million pounds of plastic production annually to 50 million pounds in one year. As this work continues, the client has received prestigious awards, including the coveted Technology Pioneers Award 2015 from the World Economic Forum. And new relationships with environmental leaders, journalists, government officials, elected representatives and foundations help position the company for expansion across the United States and abroad going forward.

Port of Los Angeles
The Port of L.A. is the nation’s biggest portal for imported containers and cargo value; about 40 percent of all the imports reaching the United States come through the Port complex at San Pedro Bay. It is a major engine of commerce for Southern California, generating about 830,000 regional jobs and $35 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. And the Port is also on the cutting edge of innovative efforts to improve goods movement technologies and reduce emissions. We support this work by helping the Port executive office with a suite of communications services. Working for the Port’s executive office, we prepared strategic and crisis communications plans and provided ad hoc communications counsel. We prepared speeches, drafted talking points, wrote white papers, conducted research and executed special projects commissioned by the Port’s executive director. We redesigned the Port magazine, “On the L.A. Waterfront” and wrote articles, shot photographs and assisted with layout and design. We worked as the executive producer for the Port’s web-based video magazine, “LAtitude”, a business-to-business digital communications tool that tells the story of commerce successes. Our responsibilities included conceiving story ideas, writing scripts, supervising film shoots in the studio and in the field and assisting with sound and video editing. In each case, our work received high marks from Port executives and led to increased audiences and praise for the Port’s outreach efforts. The work was guided by the strategic goal of raising the profile of the Port and adjoining waterfront and creating a sense of place at the Port as a destination for commerce, history, recreation and tourism. With a long history of engagement at the Port, Gary Polakovic produced seminal articles for the L.A. Times identifying Port air pollution as a major environmental threat to the region – stories that helped rivet public attention on environmental concerns at marine terminals and played an important role in fostering new leadership and political will that led to dramatic emissions reductions.

The Boeing Co.

The Boeing Co.
When Boeing needed communications solutions for its property at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, the world’s largest aerospace company recruited Make Over Earth Inc. One of the best remaining intact wildlife corridors and natural areas remaining in Southern California, Santa Susana is rich in archeological, cultural and biological resources as well as aerospace history. Research at the former rocket engine and energy test site proved key in propelling the United States into space and securing victory during the Cold War. Santa Susana is also one of the nation’s most controversial contaminant cleanup projects and the subject of intense political, regulatory and media scrutiny, making it a unique location. Our efforts supported Boeing’s goal to clean the four-square-mile site to a very high level of safety, restore beneficial uses and donate it to an entity that guarantees it remains protected as parkland open space in perpetuity. To help achieve these goals, we provided Boeing with solutions that included strategic communications planning, media relations, community outreach, crisis communications responses, visual and digital communications and risk communications. We helped Boeing articulate its vision for the land and communicate the substantial cleanup progress occurring at Santa Susana. Today, thousands of people representing diverse and established organizations participate in research, recreation or restoration at Santa Susana each year as cleanup continues and the site gradually transitions to new, beneficial uses.

EDF-Renewable Energy Corp.
We assist EDF-RE, one of the world’s largest energy companies, with strategic planning, environmental group outreach and media relations to help build wind and solar power plants in California. We work to position the company as an industry leader and problem-solver while increasing its profile among conservation groups and the news media. Working with EDF-RE’s executive office, we operate as a liaison to leading conservation groups to promote understanding and solutions to challenges such as potential impacts on wildlife habitat, local communities and cultural resources. We also advise on public policy matters, siting and construction issues and transmission line development. Specifically, we helped the company develop a program to fund wind energy technician training in the Kern Community College District, build direct dialogue and goodwill with environmental groups and placed company officials in prominent news articles in the Los Angeles Times, Forbes magazine, Greentech Media and other publications. As a result, EDF-RE emerged from a relatively obscure position in California to an industry leader. The company successfully installed more than 400 megawatts of wind and solar power in the Mojave Desert and Tehachapi Mountains while avoiding environmental group opposition, lawsuits, community opposition, negative press or costly delays that affected many similar projects. EDF-RE has installed more wind energy capacity in the United States in recent years than any other company.

City of Riverside
The City of Riverside recruited us to help promote its electric vehicle incentive program. Under the leadership of former Mayor Ron Loveridge, Riverside has long been a leader in the campaign for clean air and advanced technologies in California. Yet the city’s incentives to promote electric vehicle (EV) use – among the most generous by any local government in California – were going substantially unused, resulting in EVs in showrooms, not on the road, and too much smog in the air. So we partnered with the city’s Public Works Department and Mayor Loveridge’s Clean & Green Task Force to develop an EV outreach plan. The goal was to develop basic communications tools the city could use to increase public awareness and availability of the vehicles. Our solution involved three parts: First, we rebuilt the city’s Green Riverside website to create an audience-friendly, one-stop portal so people could learn about rebates, vehicle performance, dealerships, charging stations and air quality challenges. Second, we created a series of 3-minute videos explaining the air quality situation in Riverside, EVs as part of the solution and case studies about EV owners and their cars. Third, we developed marketing collateral, including brochures and signs, city officials could use for public meetings and events. We also laid the groundwork for a strategic partnership between the city and Enterprise Rent-a-Car Co., which seeks locations to offer EVs for rent. And we assisted the mayor’s Clean & Green Task Force with strategic communications planning on EVs, clean technology and air pollution cleanup matters. As a direct result of this marketing campaign, the city expended all its available subsidies for clean vehicles five months ahead of schedule, backfilled it with $60,000 in additional incentives, and expended that amount in a couple more months, resulting in 60 total rebates, mostly to fund EVs and hybrid cars – a three-fold increase in the number of EVs in Riverside in less than one year.

Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust
Building open space in park-poor Los Angeles is a major challenge and success hinges on the ability of organizations such as the L.A. Neighborhood Land Trust to increase its stature and mobilize allies who support its mission. Working with the LANLT, we helped develop a marketing campaign to stitch together disparate groups from across the Los Angeles region. Specifically, we developed key messages, devised a communications strategy and produced collateral materials the LANLT utilized to raise awareness and attract participants to a series of 2011 community events. The work helped the organization grow its political base to gain more clout to build urban community parks in L.A., which has the fewest acres of parkland for any major metro area in the United States.

Caltech
The Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech promotes research and dialogue to help transition to a smart grid laden with renewable energy, fiscal markets and information technologies. It is arguably the most daunting technological challenge since the invention of the light bulb and the stakes include maintaining a reliable electrical system for modern society while protecting Earth’s climate from carbon emissions. To assist in this work, we provide the Institute’s leadership with strategic advice, outreach to key stakeholders and communications services, including writing and editing of research reports. Working with the Institute’s scientists and other technical experts from industry and academia, we played a key role in producing the Institute’s seminal report, Grid 2020: Toward a Policy of Renewable and Distributed Energy Resources in 2012. . We helped the Institute move key findings in the report into news articles that appeared in the electrical utilities trade press as well as in the Los Angeles Times, Forbes and Greentech Media. The collaboration is a good example of how Make Over Earth helps synthesize science, policy and communications to convey complexity simply.

City of Los Angeles
We assisted L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office with developing a comprehensive strategic communications plan to communicate environmental and economic benefits as a result of President Obama's stimulus package. Under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, the City received $37 million in federal funding to promote programs that reduce pollution, grow the economy, invigorate innovation and add jobs. Working with the City's Deputy Mayor for Environment and its Director of Sustainability, we developed a blog site “ReinventLA” and developed video, narrative and graphic content. Subjects included local restaurateurs reducing water and electricity waste, manufacturers staying in business by employing energy conservation, local communities boosting tourism and reducing blight through beautification efforts and government agencies saving taxpayer dollars by upgrading to efficient heating and cooling systems. We developed social media and news media outreach programs to spread the message to political allies, key constituents as well as the press. And we served as executive advisors to the Mayor's environmental staff to provide environmental messaging, strategy and internal processes to facilitate effective communications.

Rypos Inc.
Massachusetts-based Rypos Inc. and the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA) faced a nightmare scenario at the end of 2010 as the state Air Resources Board, under political pressure, prepared to roll back long-awaited controls on diesel exhaust from trucks, buses and off-road construction equipment. While aftermarket diesel particulate filters reduce noxious soot and gas from diesel engines, our clients lacked political or news media muscle in California, so Rypos and MECA recruited us to help stave a collapse of the rules. Our communications plan awakened a disengaged news media to the fact that the proposal would allow the most conspicuous form of air pollution – smoky tailpipes from trucks and buses – to again evade cleanup. We linked our clients to environmental and health advocacy groups to coordinate messages and resources and target key audiences. The key message showed the proposal was harmful to health and the environment and at odds with the state's Diesel Risk Reduction Program and also contradicted attempts to stimulate the economy with green jobs. We conducted editorial board meetings at leading news organizations statewide, including online media, as well as radio and TV programs. We placed a key op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News so the message would resonate with the clean tech community and helped organize a press conference in Sacramento the day of the hearing. As a result, a last-minute reprieve by the ARB retained limited markets for diesel particulate filters for on- and off-road equipment – actions that preserved millions of dollars in market share for our clients and their products. This an example of how Make Over Earth Inc. can mobilize swiftly and effectively on a news media campaign and draw upon contacts at newsrooms and in the environmental community to drive a message and get results.

California Environmental Protection Agency
During Gov. Schwarzenegger's administration, we served as strategic advisor to Director Maureen Gorsen to develop help launch the California Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI) – the nation's most comprehensive toxic chemicals policy to reduce hazards in consumer goods. We helped devise pollution-prevention strategies and communicate GCI to the public while working with executives and senior managers across Cal-EPA as well as university scientists, industry representatives, public health officials and environmental groups. Innovating social media techniques, we helped devise a Wiki-style website to foster dialogue and shape policy options – the first time this approach was used for regulatory policy in California. To communicate the GCI, we wrote speeches, developed talking points, wrote and edited press releases, organized editorial board meetings and conducted briefings with leading journalists across California. We also wrote the Phase One GCI options report. The result was GCI news appeared in virtually every significant newspaper across the state as well as on wire services and public television and radio broadcasts. Legislators introduced bills that implemented key parts of the initiative, building the framework for GCI. It is an example of how Make Over Earth Inc. successfully integrates science, policy and communications, as well as social and traditional media outreach, to drive a policy agenda forward.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District
With deep roots in air pollution science, regulation and policy, California air quality agencies have often recruited Make Over Earth to help solve some of the most challenging issues in the nation’s smoggiest state. In the San Francisco region, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District recruited us at a pivotal moment to serve as strategist for the agency’s executive director and Board of Directors. We provided strategic communications planning, policy research and development, personnel hiring counsel and organizational structure and internal communications reforms. Specifically, we helped the agency revamp its communications department to better serve the news media and the community. We recommended personnel changes, developed strategic plans, helped align communications priorities with other district departments and the objectives of the executive director and governing board. The result was a marked improvement in earned media, press relations and positive feedback from leaders in the business and environmental communities. We assisted the agency’s leadership with the conceptualization and communication of new policy initiatives. For example, we helped the executive office develop a first-in-the-nation regional program to control greenhouse gases from industrial sources and articulate the purpose, goals and methods for this new regulatory regime to key stakeholders. The result was a seamless rollout of the new measure that garnered unanimous governing board support, positive news coverage and endorsements from environmental and community leaders. We also helped the agency expand its successful Spare the Air Campaign to address wintertime wood smoke emissions from residential chimneys. To accomplish this, we worked with agency executives to develop a strategic communications plan followed by tactical measures we implemented, such as publication of a brochure and informational slide show, press releases, town hall meetings, editorial board meetings and greater use of social media.

Calleguas Municipal Water District
We were recruited by Ventura County's chief water importer, the Calleguas Municipal Water District, in to explore how one of Southern California's largest watershed restoration projects along Calleguas Creek had lost its way. The watershed drains 343 square miles of land in eastern Ventura County. The District sought increased community participation and needed solutions to get the effort back on track. We approached this combined research and outreach effort by examining the origins of the project, interviewing stakeholders who had left the endeavor, evaluating the program's objectives and identifying new participants who could energize the work. We discovered key constituencies with a clear interest in the Calleguas Creek waterway had never been engaged, including cyclists, local businesses, birders, some open space advocates, hunting clubs and colleges. We developed a series of recommendations to increase public participation, communicate the importance of watershed management and align the project more closely with community needs. As a result, the Calleguas MWD held a watershed protection conference in 2008 to include new stakeholders, the local chapter of the Audubon Society launched bird-watching tours in the waterway, graduate students at Cal Lutheran University and California State University, Channel Islands, launched research in the watershed and a local bike shop became a catalyst that compelled the city of Camarillo to construct more bike paths along the creek. New participants led to new ideas for watershed protection to better meet the public's needs. Local news media that covered the watershed restoration effort included the Simi Valley Acorn, Ventura County Star, KCLU radio and KEYT TV.

Environmental Defense Fund
Faced with wavering public support for the Western Climate Initiative, the Environmental Defense Fund sought our help to shore up support for the Initiative and tell the story of how renewable energy development transforms poor, rural towns across the Mountain West. We developed a web-based narrative storytelling project, www.CleanEnergyPioneers.com, integrating written, video and social media content to profile renewable energy trailblazers from Idaho to Colorado to New Mexico. We showed how these pioneers transform local economies by adding green jobs and tax revenue for schools, roads and public services. We produced postcards and e-blast mailers sent to environmental and business allies and other stakeholders to drive traffic to the new website. We produced written content, functioned as editor for EDF staff and provided strategic communications planning. We supervised production of a 32-page magazine codifying the web-based content, which was signed by Montana Gov. Schweitzer and delivered it to participants at the Western Governors' Association annual conference. As a result, the Wall Street Journal and local media published stories based on the people and places profiled in the Clean Energy Pioneers project. This demonstrates how Make Over Earth Inc. can wade into highly charged political and environmental controversies, develop powerful messages and actionable strategies and utilize news media and social media to expand audience.

South Coast Air Quality Management District
The South Coast AQMD is the nation's largest and most powerful regional smog-fighting agency charged with restoring healthy, blue skies to the metro Los Angeles region, the smoggiest urban region in the country. Our history of engagement at the AQMD spans nearly 30 years and a series of newspaper articles Gary Polakovic wrote in the 1980s directly led to legislation that overhauled the district, ushered in new leadership and set the district on a path that led to extraordinary gains against air pollution. More recently, Make Over Earth has partnered with top executives at the AQMD as consultants in support it’s the district’s regulatory and outreach programs. Specifically, we participated in a task force constituted to help develop creative measures to attain air pollution standards under the Clean Air Act. We helped transition that effort into a new regulatory approach to dramatically drive down emissions through use of zero-emissions technology and we produced the visioning document, “Powering the Future,” that articulated this new strategy. In addition, we have served as strategic advisors to the executive office, providing counsel on a variety of air quality challenges. In addition, the AQMD governing board selected us to serve on the Health Effects Advisory Council to assist with preparation of the 2012 air quality management plan, the master plan that guides all clean-air policies in the L.A. region. And separate from the AQMD, Gary Polakovic continues to publish op-ed commentaries about air pollution issues in leading California newspapers.

Hydrogen Energy California
Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) was a 390 megawatt hydrogen-fueled power plant that converted waste products, including non-potable water and pet coke, into hydrogen gas to power turbines. Carbon dioxide was to be captured and stored underground in the Kern County oil patch. The project was a joint venture of BP and Rio Tinto with participation by Occidental Petroleum and SCE. Between 2008 and 2010, we worked on a team to educate legislators, business and community leaders about the project. We led the news media outreach effort, which included preparing strategic communications plans and briefing reporters. We wrote news releases, talking points, fact sheets, Q&As, a quarterly newsletter, video scripts, opinion pieces and more. We met with journalists at the Bakersfield Californian, Fresno Bee, Sacramento Bee, L.A. Times and the Associated Press and garnered news coverage in newspapers, radio and TV stations statewide. We also targeted community news outlets and environmental trade publications, such as Industrial GHG Solutions. We developed key messages that emphasized the need to add electricity to meet growing demand, the creation of 1,500 construction jobs and more than 100 permanent jobs, increased tax revenues for Kern County, reduced dependence on U.S. natural gas supplies and the elimination of at least 2 million tons of greenhouse gasses annually. As a result, our successful endeavor to get the message out led to broad political support for the project from businesses, lawmakers, schools, environmental leaders and other organizations. In the end, HECA sold the project to another company after the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Passport Foundation
Working with a group of San Francisco Bay Area hedge fund managers, we developed an outreach strategy that demonstrates how support for environmental health lags compared to other conservation philanthropy to help the Foundation leverage millions more dollars from donors to pay for programs that protect people from contaminants.

California Attorney General's Office
As California expands its climate protection program, we joined a distinguished cadre of experts in science, energy, urban planning and transportation working pro bono to counsel Attorney General Jerry Brown and his senior staff on strategies to reduce greenhouse gases, reckon with skeptics, and communicate climate science to new audiences.

International Council for Clean Transportation
Earth has one billion cars and soon it will have two billion. To reckon with so much tailpipe exhaust, the Council works with the 10 largest vehicle markets in the world to reduce emissions. We helped grow this work by providing strategic communications counsel and website development

Cleaire Advanced Emission Controls
Heavy-duty diesel engines produce the most conspicuous and intractable air pollution – soot. Who hasn't been grossed when buses and trucks belch black smoke? We partnered with the company that manufactures the most state-of-the-art diesel particulate filters to lobby Congress to require construction equipment used to build federal highway projects use best available technology filters.

U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health
Working for the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, we collaborated with experts to use narrative storytelling to communicate the risks associated with cumulative impacts of toxic chemical exposures. So-called cumulative impacts refer to the total health burden that occurs by exposure to numerous dispersed sources of pollution sources in urban areas. The risks can be especially significant for people of color or residents in low-income communities proximate to disparate pollution sources. State and federal regulations do not adequately account for cumulative exposures and remedying the situation requires explaining arcane realms of epidemiology, chemistry and regulatory policy in the context of the urban social experience. We partnered with scientists, activists, regulators and physicians to find ways to explain the problem as a narrative of people living and dying in industrialized communities to complement the relatively drab text in EIRs, health risk assessments and technical papers. The project demonstrates how California's leading institutions trust Make Over Earth Inc. to tell the story of environmental health risks and rely on the firm's expertise to explain and interpret highly complex, high-profile and high-stakes environmental issues.

Natural Resources Defense Council
We assist the NRDC by melding policy initiatives, strategic communications and public health imperatives to build a persuasive case for donors to support work for clean air and water and to generate news media coverage that can benefit fundraising goals.