Valerie works with the City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment on climate change and energy efficiency. She hails from a small town in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. After graduating from UC Irvine with a degree in history, Valerie moved to Busan, South Korea, taught English to kindergarteners, housewives, and business executives, and wrote a wildly-popular ESL curriculum. After traveling throughout Asia, Valerie made her way to Seattle in 2008, and she recently earned a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Washington. In 2012, Valerie was awarded Outstanding Student of the Year and Outstanding Teaching Assistant of the Year — accolades from the professors and students she still holds dear. Her culminating project is titled, “Ouch Surfing: Getting Killer Chemicals Out of Your Furniture,” which was crucial in reversing a long-standing but scientifically-discredited flammability standard in California. In her free time, Valerie gorges herself on trashy novels, pulverizes the competition in her fantasy hockey league, and explores the culinary delights unique to the Pacific Northwest. She lives in Fremont with her dashing husband Martin, an affable Newfie named Hattie, and two fiendish cats who’d rather you not know their names.
Mark Wittow is a partner in the Seattle office of K&L Gates, where he leads the firm’s intellectual property/technology transactions practice group. Mark co-chairs the Northwest Chapter of the Copyright Law Society of the United States and is a member of the CLE Board of the Intellectual Property Law section of the American Bar Association. Mark is an adjunct faculty member at Seattle University Law School, where he teaches the Arts Legal Clinic course. He is and has been an active volunteer for many years with Washington Lawyers for the Arts and received that organization’s 2015 Brio Award for outstanding volunteer service as a pro bono counselor and presenter. Mark also serves on the board and as Treasurer of The Westerlies Music.
Mark resided and worked in Alaska in (most of) 1977-1997. From 1989-1997, Mark represented the State of Alaska as outside counsel in the Exxon Valdez oil spill litigation, focusing on natural resource damage assessment and restoration and remediation issues in the litigation and implementation of the litigation settlements. In 1987-1988, while a law student, Mark assisted the plaintiffs’ trial team in the Woburn, Massachusetts toxic tort litigation, the case described in the book and film A Civil Action. (He did not appear in either work.) Mark is a graduate of Hampshire College and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review, and a former Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals law clerk.