MALIBU—Sara Wan was recently elected to her second term as chair of the California Coastal Commission.
Wan has enjoyed a long, active career fighting for environmental causes associated with the California coastline, reportedly arguing for the incorporation of Malibu, which enabled a host of environmental protective measures to be implemented. Wan has been involved with the California coastline for nearly 50 years, serving with various private and public organizations, including the Malibu town council, the League for Coastal Protection and Vote for the Coast, to preserve California’s many majestic vistas.
Originally from New York, conservation was not always a major focus of Wan. Wan has a B.A. in Zoology from Vassar College, a M.S. in Biology from Yale and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from UC Irvine. She is married to Dr. Lawrence A. Wan, whose last name she bears. They have two sons together, Mark and Eric.
Initially, Wan founded and chaired Maric Inc., an engineering firm that manufactures electronic time devices for sports. Conservation did not become a full-time career for Wan until 1992, when she sold Maric to devote all of her energy to environmental causes.
Wan is the longest-serving member of the California Coastal Commission, a 12-member agency divided by region. Charged under the Coastal Act to protect the entire California coastline, and not just the regions assigned to individual commissioners, Wan undertook a number of battles, some significant, e.g. the majorly contested Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and some small, to enforce coastal protections. Canyon News reported recently on the decision to deny a local Malibu resident the right to rebuild an aging staircase on a protected coastal bluff. Wan was a major part of this decision.