Warkomski’s credentials as an environmentalist and background in local politics — as well as his degree in biology from UC Irvine and a master’s in public administration from USC — convinced the foundation board that he was ideal for the job.
A longtime environmentalist, and former Green Party activist — he is now undeclared in party affiliation and describes himself as politically “progressive” — Warkomski has been championing recycling, water quality and “green” building for years. He drives a 55-mile-per-gallon Volkswagen that burns biodiesel fuel — when he can find it.
Warkomski was on the Aliso Viejo City Council for seven years, serving as mayor in 2005. In 2007, he decided to go to North Carolina to help out his widowed sister, and ended up staying a year and a half. During that time, he worked for a recycling company, managing the bioconversion technologies division that uses worms to turn food waste into biodiesel and compost.
Returning to Aliso Viejo, his old haunt, he was delighted when the foundation position opened up.
As executive director, Warkomski said he will focus on outreach, especially outside of Laguna Beach.
“We will reach out to communities surrounding the park,” he said. “The foundation has traditionally been Laguna-centric, but 20,000-plus acres of the park system now reaches Irvine, the Newport Coast, Laguna Woods and Aliso Viejo, and we need to have exposure to those communities.”
The foundation is now focused more on education and restoration of the wilderness, as well as continuing to find new parcels to purchase and add to the park system, he said.