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Ayala, Alberto

Adjunct Assistant Professor - Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


  • Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Davis 1997
  • M.S.E. Engineering, University of California, Davis 1993
  • B.Sc. Aeronautical Science and Engineering, University of California, Davis 1991

Alberto has nearly 30 years of professional experience, having spent the last two decades primarily as a technocrat conducting policy-relevant research and directly involved in developing some of California’s most widely recognized air quality and climate change polices. He is a mechanical engineer with B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Davis and author/co-author of more than 150 refereed publications and reports, including several regulatory statements of reasons supporting California’s leading clean and zero emission vehicle regulations.

Alberto is Air Pollution Control Officer and Executive Director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and former Deputy Executive Officer of the California Air Resources

Board. He served on the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering faculty at West Virginia University, where he still holds an Adjunct Professor appointment. His private sector experience includes work as a Design Engineer for Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical and internships with General Electric’s Corporate Research Center, the California Energy Commission, and the University of California, Davis’ Atmospheric Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory.

Alberto is co-author of the book “Ambient Combustion Ultrafine Particles and Health” and author of “Three Forks in the Road, the Volkswagen diesel cheating scandal,” an upcoming book about his insider account of the decisions that led to the uncovering and resolution of the VW violations of California’s emission standards. Because of his role bringing VW to justice, he appears in Hard NOX, the first episode of the Netflix documentary Dirty Money; in Engine Trouble, the season 2 episode of the PBS series Playing by the Rules, Ethics at Work; in many TV media reports in Germany and elsewhere; and is featured in Jack Ewing’s book Faster, Higher, Farther, The Volkswagen Scandal..

Research Interests

  • Air quality monitoring and management
  • public policy
  • combustion emissions
  • aftertreatment emission control technology
  • characterization of engine exhaust aerosols
  • international developments in air pollution public policy

Teaching Interests

  • Air Quality
  • Vehicle Emissions
  • Clean Transportation
  • Public policy and governmental intervention
  • Future mobility

Special Interests

Quality assurance protocols for emissions research.

Professional Societies

  • Society of Automotive Engineers
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • National Association of Environmental Professionals
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers