Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Thomas D. Brisbin, Ph.D.
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Willdan Group, Inc.

Thomas D. Brisbin has served as our Chairman of the Board since November 2016, a member of the Board since 2007 and as our Chief Executive Officer since 2007. Dr. Brisbin also served as our President from April 2007 to November 2016. Dr. Brisbin previously was vice president of and consultant for AECOM Technology Corporation, or AECOM, a company focused on infrastructure, environment and facilities engineering contracts, from spring 2004 until he joined us. Prior to joining AECOM, Dr. Brisbin was chief operating officer and executive vice president of Tetra Tech, Inc., or Tetra Tech, a leading provider of consulting, engineering and technical services, for five years. Prior to that, he was employed by Planning Research Corporation, or PRC, a systems analysis and management consulting company and wholly-owned subsidiary of The Black & Decker Corporation, from 1978 to 1995 and was co-founder and President of PRC Environmental Management, Inc. During his tenure at PRC, he was involved in all aspects of operations, marketing and finance. Before joining PRC, he was a research associate at Argonne National Laboratory. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Dr. Brisbin holds a B.S. degree from Northern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. He also completed Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program in 1988. Dr. Brisbin, as our current Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer and our prior President, brings his in-depth knowledge of the day-to-day operations of the Company and its industry to the Board, providing valuable insight to the Board as it reviews our operations, growth and financial prospects. In addition, we believe that his experience as an executive officer at Tetra Tech, a publicly traded engineering and consulting company, benefits our Board by increasing his knowledge of our industry and effective public company corporate governance.

Steven A. Cohen
Lead Independent Director

Steven A. Cohen joined our Board in 2015, and serves as the chairperson of our Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions Committee and is a member of our Nominating and Governance Committee. He is the Senior Vice Dean and COO of the School of Professional Studies at Columbia University. He also directs the School’s Master of Sustainability Management Program. Dr. Cohen is also a Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and Director of its Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy. From 1985 to 1998, he served as Director of Columbia’s Graduate Program in Public Policy and Administration. Dr. Cohen began his career at Columbia in 1981 after working as a policy analyst for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for two years. Over the past three decades, he has served at different times as a consultant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the most recent being from 2005 to 2010. From 2001 to 2004, he also served on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology. Throughout his career, Dr. Cohen has written numerous articles on public management innovation, sustainability and environmental management. He received a B.A. in Political Science from Franklin College of Indiana in 1974, an M.A. in Political Science from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1977 and a Ph.D. in Political Science with a concentration in environmental policy and management from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1979. We believe Dr. Cohen’s extensive background in government policy and environmental sciences, as well as his substantial knowledge of our company through his prior service as a senior advisor to Willdan Energy Solutions, provides our board strategic insight to shape our growth strategy.

Debra G. Coy
COY headshot

Debra Coy joined our Board in March 2018, and serves as a member of our Audit Committee and Compensation Committee. Ms. Coy is a Principal of Svanda & Coy Consulting, which she co-founded in 2010, providing strategic advisory services for water sector investors, corporations, and municipal utilities from a capital markets perspective. She is also an advisory Executive in Residence with XPV Water Partners, a water-focused growth equity fund in North America, where she served as Partner from 2015 through 2019. Ms. Coy served as a member of the board of directors and as a member of the Audit Committee of AquaVenture Holdings Limited from February 2019 and though March 2020, when the company was sold. She also served as Non-Executive Director for Headworks International Inc. from 2013 until 2016.  Prior to 2010, Ms. Coy worked on Wall Street as an equity research analyst for more than 20 years, developing expertise in covering the global water sector. During this time, Ms. Coy served as the Managing Director leading coverage of the water sector for Janney Montgomery Scott’s Capital Markets group and held senior equity research roles with the Stanford Washington Research Group, Schwab Capital Markets, HSBC Securities and National Westminster Bank. Ms. Coy currently sits on the board of directors of the public company, Global Water Resources, Inc., and is chair of its Corporate Governance, Nominating, Environmental, and Health and Safety Committee. Ms. Coy will stand for re-election to Global Water Resources, Inc.’s board in May 2020. Ms. Coy received a B.A. in English and Journalism from Southern Adventist University in Tennessee and an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Maryland. We believe that Ms. Coy’s extensive background in investing, equity research and infrastructure policy will provide the board with valuable insight as we execute our growth and capital markets strategies.

Cynthia A. Downes
Cynthia A. Downes
Cynthia Downes joined our board in August 2021 and serves on the Audit Committee and the Compensation Committee. Ms. Downes is currently serving as Chief Financial Officer of Constant and Associates. In 2017, Ms. Downes established Fide Professional Services, a firm that provides outsourced CFO and high level strategic and financial consulting services. From 2011 to 2017 Ms. Downes was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Versar, Inc. From 2009 to 2011, Ms. Downes was Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Environmental Design International Inc., an engineering firm based in Chicago, specializing in environmental and civil engineering. From 2008 to 2009, she was Vice President of Finance of GDI Advanced Protection Solutions, and from 2005 to 2007, she provided financial consulting services to Huron Consulting Group, Inc. Ms. Downes also spent 15 years at Tetra Tech, ultimately serving as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of its subsidiary, Tetra Tech, EM Inc. Ms. Downes also currently serves on the Board of Trustees and as Chair of the Audit Committee of Riverside Research, a not-for-profit scientific research organization, and on the board of the Women in Business Initiative at George Mason University and was the Co-chair of the CFO Leadership Council of Virginia from 2018-2020. She received a B.S. in 1983 from Purdue University in 1983 and an M.B.A. in 2002 from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Raymond W. Holdsworth

Raymond W. Holdsworth joined our Board in 2009, and serves as the chairperson of our Compensation Committee and is a member of our Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions Committee. Mr. Holdsworth previously served as Vice Chairman of Corporate Development for AECOM from October 2005 through March 2009. Mr. Holdsworth joined AECOM in 1992 and held a number of positions, including President, before being named Vice Chairman in 2005. During his tenure at AECOM, he led a variety of outreach, growth and diversification activities. Mr. Holdsworth began his career at Peat Marwick Mitchell and worked in California’s Office of Transportation Planning and Research. He has also held senior management positions, including president, with DMJM, an engineering/architectural firm in the transportation and infrastructure industry. He worked for International Technology Corp. and Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas Inc., a company that provides strategic consulting, planning, engineering and program and construction management services relating to infrastructure. Mr. Holdsworth received a B.A. in English in 1964 from Lake Forest College and an M.B.A. in 1969 from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business. He is a director of the California Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation and a former Vice Chairman of the Civil Engineering Research Foundation/International Institute. As a past trustee of the California State University system, he chaired the Audit committee for three consecutive years. We believe that Mr. Holdsworth’s background in engineering and experience as the Vice Chairman of Corporate Development for AECOM during the time when it became a public company provides useful insight to the Board with regard to our growth strategy and strategic initiatives.

Douglas J. McEachern

Douglas J. McEachern joined our Board in 2009, and serves as the chairperson of our Audit Committee and is a member of our Compensation Committee. He was an Audit Partner at Deloitte & Touche, LLP, or Deloitte, from August 1985 until May 2009. Mr. McEachern was a staff member and manager at Deloitte’s predecessor, Touche Ross & Co., from 1976 to 1983. From 1983 to 1985, he was the Professional Accounting Fellow with the Federal Home Loan Bank Board in Washington D.C. Mr. McEachern was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Community Bank in Pasadena, California and a member of its Nominating and Governance and Audit Committees until his resignation in October 2015. In addition, Mr. McEachern joined the Board of Directors of Reading International in May 2012 and is chairman of its Audit and Conflicts Committee and a member of its Compensation Committee. He was a member of the Finance Committee and Board of Directors of the Methodist Hospital of Arcadia Foundation until his retirement in December 2017. Mr. McEachern was an auditing and accountancy instructor at Claremont McKenna College until his retirement in December 2015, and he has taught accounting at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona. Mr. McEachern received a B.S. in Business Administration in 1974 from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.B.A. in 1976 from the University of Southern California. We believe that Mr. McEachern’s significant audit experience at Deloitte makes him an important contributor to our Board and its committees, including the Audit Committee.

Vice Admiral Dennis V. McGinn, Ret.

Vice Admiral Dennis V. McGinn, Ret. joined our Board in 2017, and serves as a member of our Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions Committee and Nominating and Governance Committee. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment from September 2013 until January 2017. In this role, Vice Admiral McGinn, Ret., led the transformation of naval installations toward greater resiliency though energy efficiency, microgrids and other technologies. Previously, Vice Admiral McGinn, Ret., served in the United States Navy for 35 years attaining the rank of Vice Admiral. Vice Admiral McGinn, Ret., served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs, overseeing the development of future Navy capabilities, and previously commanded the United States Third Fleet. While in the Navy, he served as a naval aviator, test pilot, aircraft carrier commanding officer and national security strategist. Vice Admiral McGinn, Ret., is a former President of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) where he led efforts to communicate the economic, security and environmental benefits of renewable energy. Vice Admiral McGinn, Ret., is also a past member of the Steering Committee of the Energy Future Coalition, the United States Energy Security Council and the Bipartisan Center Energy Board and the past Co-Chairman of the CNA Military Advisory Board. He has also been an International Senior Fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute. Vice Admiral McGinn, Ret., holds a BS in Naval Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy. Vice Admiral McGinn, Ret., was also a participant in the National Security Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. We believe that Vice Admiral McGinn, Ret.’s background in the energy and engineering fields, as well as his extensive government and military experience, make him an important contributor to our Board.

Keith W. Renken

Keith W. Renken joined our Board in 2006, and serves as our Lead Independent Director and is a member of our Audit Committee. Mr. Renken retired in 1992 as Senior Partner and Chairman, Executive Committee of Southern California, for the public accounting firm Deloitte & Touche. From 1992 through 2006, he was an adjunct professor (executive in residence) in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He is currently the Managing Partner of Renken Enterprises, a family business providing consulting services to growing companies and real estate operations. Mr. Renken formerly served on the Board of Directors and Audit Committees of two other publicly  held companies, East West Bancorp, Inc., from 2000 to 2018, and Limoneira Company, an integrated agribusiness, from 2009 to 2015.and one investment management company, Whittier Trust Company, since September 2006. He also served on East West Bancorp, Inc.’s compensation committee. Mr. Renken was also a member of the Board of Directors of 21st Century Insurance Group from 2002 until 2007, and he serves on the boards of directors and/or audit committees of several other private companies and non-profit organizations. Mr. Renken is a Certified Public Accountant in California (inactive). He received a B.S. in Business Administration in 1957 from the University of Arizona and an M.S. in Business Administration from the University of Arizona in 1959. We believe that Mr. Renken’s considerable knowledge of financial and operational issues facing large companies and his accounting and finance experience at Deloitte makes him a valuable member of our Board and its committees, including the Audit Committee. In addition, we believe that Mr. Renken’s extensive experience on the boards and audit committees of diverse public and private companies, including financial services companies, provides him with increased knowledge of effective corporate governance that benefits the Board.

Mohammad Shahidehpour

Mohammad Shahidehpour joined our Board in 2015, and serves as the chairperson of our Nominating and Governance Committee and is a member of our Compensation Committee and Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions Committee. He is the Bodine Chair Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, where he also serves as Director of the Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation. He has been a faculty member at IIT since 1983 and is a recipient of IIT’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Shahidehpour is the author of six books and 400 technical papers on electric power systems and has been awarded over $50 million in federal research and development grants on electricity grid modernization issues. Dr. Shahidehpour is the founding chair of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Great Lakes Symposium on Smart Grid and the New Energy Economy. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid journal since 2009. Dr. Shahidehpour is an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer and has delivered over 100 invited lectures in several countries on electricity restructuring and smart grid issues. He has been a keynote speaker in 20 International Conferences since 2007 and counseled governments on electricity grid modernization bills throughout the world. Dr. Shahidehpour received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering 1977 from Iran’s Sharif University of Technology, an M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1978 and a Ph.D. in 1981 from University of Missouri. We believe that Dr. Shahidehpour’s more than 35 years of work with government agencies and electric power companies provides the board valuable insight to guide our growth strategy and strategic vision.