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The Precourt Institute for Energy is part of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.

Stanford Memorial Church

Local Governance Summer Institute @ Stanford

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Local Governments are the new hotbeds of policy innovation and governance most affecting people's day-to-day lives in the United States. They are the epicenters of societal transformation occurring in the global rush towards smart, zero emissions and carbon neutral futures.  Local governments are providing policy leadership on issues of national and global significance such as equity, climate change, and broader sustainability. These new roles require strong, innovative, and inclusive leadership from local government executives.

Apply to the LGSI Program

LGSI@Stanford offers city managers, county executives, regional directors, and other senior local government officials the opportunity to exchange and acquire tools for improving local government performance and enhancing prospective analytical capacity to innovate and anticipate societal change. This program will strengthen individual capacities in public finance, negotiating and strategic planning skills, while exposing participants to innovative solutions and technological advance supporting the emergence of smarter, more resilient, sustainable, and equitable communities in California and around the world.

Stanford University faculty, Silicon Valley visionaries, and highly experienced leaders in the local government management profession challenge participants to consider long-view policy considerations and issues, such as technological advances and the transition to a low carbon economy in local government decision-making, while at the same time addressing current challenges facing our communities. Themes covered have included strategic thinking in problem solving, smart financial management practices, community engagement, ethical practice and negotiations skills, regional energy transition and water management policy challenges, smart transport and urban infrastructure upgrading to enhance economic competitiveness at the local and regional level, and many others.

Each year the program selects a set of salient and pressing challenges for local government and brings together Stanford, industry, and local governance experts to help participants innovate appropriate solutions for their communities.

LGSI@Stanford fosters active participation and provokes insightful discussion and debate on public management issues.  The program encourages networking and collaborative exchange of participants among each other, with instructors, and with dedicated coaches.  Participants work through salient group projects which allow them to merge their own professional experience with the training and guidance being provided through the program.  At the onset of the program, participants are paired with a senior executive coach with whom they meet at select intervals throughout the seminar, focusing on goals, professional development, and the application of lessons learned in the program to the specific context of the participants’ careers. The program is held in the stimulating environment of Stanford University, Silicon Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

2024 Brochure Cover


Sample Topics 

California State Capitol building
  • Leadership, Innovation & Change in Local Government
  • Problem Solving and Strategic Thinking
  • Economic Prospective Analysis
  • Sustainability and Local Government Action
  • Evolving Challenges Covid-19 for Local Governments
  • Public Finance and Budgeting
  • Clean Disruption and Transport Innovation
  • Smarter Communities
  • Negotiations
  • Building Equity and Inclusivity
  • Community Engagement
  • Navigating Community Advocacy Group Engagement
  • Federal & Local Cooperation on Energy and Environment
  • The Future of Energy
  • Ethics and Public Service
  • Public Safety Reform
  • Politics & Institutions
  • Infrastructure of the Future
  • Governance and Problem Solving: Water Resilience in the West
  • Adaptive planning for Wildfires and Wildfire Smoke Impacts
  • Innovation and Economic Development
  • High-Tech, Entrepreneurship and Growth
  • Smart Growth & Planning
  • Public Housing and Homelessness
  • Investment, Policy and Innovation for Job Creation


Tuition includes instruction and all materials. 

Tuition: $7,500*

*Applications received before March 1, 2024: $7,000


Welcome Reception & Orientation: July 21 @ 5-7pm

Instruction & Site Visits: July 22-26, 2024

Program Closing/Graduation Dinner: July 26 @ 6:30 - 9pm


Blas L. Pérez Henríquez

Blas L. Pérez Henríquez
Director of the LGSI

Pérez Henríquez directs the Local Governance Summer Institute @ Stanford (LGSI). He founded and serves as director of the California Global Energy, Water & Infrastructure Innovation Initiative at Stanford University, sponsored by the Bill Lane Center for the American West and the Precourt Institute for Energy. His research and teaching focuses on advancing innovative technological, business, policy, and social solutions for a new clean economy and a carbon neutral future.

Pérez Henríquez is a Distinguished Professor at the School of Engineering and Sciences of the Technological Institute of Superior Studies of Monterrey (ITESM) in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and visiting faculty at Imperial College in London, United Kingdom. He has served as Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in London, United Kingdom, and as Guest Professor at the Centre of Economics Research and Teaching (CIDE) in Mexico City, Mexico.

He is the author of “Environmental Commodities and Emissions Trading: Towards a Low Carbon Future,” Resources for the Future – RFF Press/Routledge, Washington, DC (2013) and co-editor of “Carbon Governance, Climate Change and Business Transformation,” Routledge Advances in Climate Change Research, Taylor & Francis Group, Oxford, UK (2015). Most recently co-edited: "High-Speed Rail and Sustainability, Decision-making and the political economy of investment," Routlege Explorations in Environmental Studies, Taylor & Francis Group, Oxford, UK (2017). He has written on public-private environmental and energy collaboration in Silicon Valley, the use of information technology to support environmental markets and smart policymaking, as well as about innovative policy and technological solutions at the water-energy nexus in California.

Bruce Cain

Bruce Cain
Spence and Cleon Eccles Family Director, Bill Lane Center for the American West

The distinguished political scientist Bruce E. Cain is the Spence and Cleone Eccles Family Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West, and Charles Louis Ducommun Professor in Humanities and Sciences. Professor Cain succeeded the Center's founding faculty co-director, David M. Kennedy, and is tasked with carrying on the Center's study of the past, present and future of the American West.Professor Cain brings a wealth of experience in U.S. and California politics. A pioneer in computer-assisted redistricting, he is a well-known expert on elections, term limits, polling, and the relationships between lobbyists and elected officials. He is a frequently cited source in media coverage of politics.

Sally Benson

Sally M. Benson
Precourt Family Professor, Professor of Energy Resources Engineering and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy and at the Woods Institute for the Environment and former Deputy Director for Energy and Chief Strategist for the Energy Transition at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Sally M. Benson, who joined Stanford University in 2007, is the Precourt Family Professor in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; she studies technologies and pathways to reducing greenhouse gas emissions including geologic storage of CO2 in deep underground formations and energy systems analysis for a low-carbon future. She is the Co-Director of the Stanford Center for Carbon Storage and the Stanford Carbon Removal Initiative. She served at the Director and Co-Director of the Precourt Institute for Energy from 2013 to 2020. She also served as the Director of the Global Climate and Energy Project from 2009 to 2019.

Prior to joining Stanford, Benson was Division Director for Earth Sciences, Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences and Deputy Director at LBNL.

Inez Azevedo

Inês Azevedo
Associate Proessor of Energy Science Engineering; Senior Fellow, The Precourt Institute for Energy

Professor Azevedo is passionate about solving problems that include environmental, technical, economic, and policy issues, where traditional engineering approaches play an important role but cannot provide a complete answer. In particular, she is interested in assessing how energy systems are likely to evolve, which requires comprehensive knowledge of the technologies that can address future energy needs and the decision-making process followed by various agents in the economy.

Ram Rajagopal

Ram Rajagopal
Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy; Professor, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering

Ram Rajagopal is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, where he directs the Stanford Sustainable Systems Lab (S3L), focused on large-scale monitoring, data analytics and stochastic control for infrastructure networks, in particular, power networks. His current research interests in power systems are in the integration of renewables, smart distribution systems, and demand-side data analytics.

He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and an M.A. in Statistics, both from the University of California Berkeley, Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Texas, Austin and Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, Powell Foundation Fellowship, Berkeley Regents Fellowship and the Makhoul Conjecture Challenge award. He holds more than 30 patents and several best paper awards from his work and has advised or founded various companies in the fields of sensor networks, power systems, and data analytics.

Coaching Element 

LGSI includes a coaching component where attendees are matched with seasoned local government professionals for two “coaching” discussions. Past coaches have included current and recently retired city managers, assistant city managers and department heads and county executives and department leaders. The two coaching discussions, which are scheduled by the attendee and the assigned coach occur before and after LGSI, could focus on career development, challenging work issues or other topics chosen by the attendee. All coaches attend a training session conducted by Dr. Frank Benest, leader of the ICMA Next Generation initiative, who also provides all attendees a virtual orientation to coaching prior to the start of LGSI.

Frank  Benest

Frank Benest
Lecturer in Public Policy &
LGSI Coaching Element Lead

Until August 2008, Dr. Frank Benest served as the City Manager of Palo Alto, California. Frank is a noted consultant and trainer on entrepreneurial government, civic engagement, leadership development and succession planning. 

Prior to his appointment in Palo Alto, Frank served as City Manager in Brea and Colton, California. He has a doctorate in management from Brigham Young University; a Masters in Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach; and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University. 

Frank has been inducted into the National Academy of Public Administration and co-teaches the Public Policy course “Regional Politics and Decision-Making in the Silicon Valley and Greater Bay Area.”

Contact Us

For questions about the content or structure of the program, please contact Blas Pérez Henríquez at or