Chris Buchbinder, Board Chair
Partner, Capital Group Companies
Chris Buchbinder is a Portfolio Manager and Senior Vice President at the Capital Group Companies, the manager of the American Funds family of Mutual Funds. He is also a Vice President of the Investment Company of America and of the American Mutual Fund. Chris has been with the Capital Group since 1995, first in a rotational development program, then as the analyst responsible for the telecommunications and auto industries, then as Director of Research for the U.S., before moving into his current role.
Prior to joining the Capital Group, he graduated from Brown University with degrees in Economics and International Relations. He and his wife Nina have four children. In his (limited) free time he enjoys biking and skiing.
Owner, Charles Ahlem Ranch and Hilmar Cheese Company
Board Member Charles Ahlem, a lifetime resident of California's Central Valley, has been one of the region's most active and prominent advocates for many years. After graduating from California State University, Fresno, Charles began his own farming operation. Charles is the owner/operator of Charles Ahlem Ranch, a 6,000-cow, Grade-A Jersey dairy, which he began in 1975 with just 100 cows. In 1984, Charles became one of the founding partners in the Hilmar Cheese Company, which accepts milk from nearly 250 dairies — from Hilmar, California, and Dalhart, Texas. Hilmar Cheese Company is the largest single-site cheese plant in the world, producing up to 2.5 million pounds of cheese per day.
Charles serves on the California Dairy Council, University of California President's Advisory Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, and many other state and local agricultural groups. Charles is also a former member of the US Department of Agriculture's Trade Policy Committee.
Charles was a founder of the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program and has been a Sustainable Conservation Board member since 2003.
Partner, Bain & Company
Laura Beaudin is a partner in Bain & Company’s San Francisco office. She is a leader and active contributor to the firm’s Customer Strategy & Marketing and Telecom, Media and Technology practices. Since joining Bain in 2000, Laura has focused on the intersection of media and marketing, helping media, entertainment and technology companies develop sales effectiveness and customer-led growth strategies, and brands define high impact marketing strategies. Laura has deep expertise with sales force effectiveness and go-to-market strategy, revenue management, pricing, cost and change management efforts and she has worked extensively with traditional and digital media clients. Laura is also highly committed to the social and public sectors. She is on the board of an environmental non-profit in San Francisco and is an active contributor to Bain's multi-year partnership with KIPP Bay Area Schools. Within the office, she leads Associate Consulting recruiting for the Bay Area.
Laura earned her Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen's University in Canada. Laura also earned her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. While pursuing her MBA at Stanford, Laura was a Summer Associate for Sustainable Conservation, conducting exploratory research on sustainable seafood, smart growth and green building.
California Program Director, Defenders of Wildlife
Kim Delfino is the California Program Director for Defenders of Wildlife, where she oversees Defenders’ work to protect and restore California's imperiled wildlife and the places in which they live. She is also a former member of the California Water Commission. Before joining Defenders, Kim worked for the US Public Interest Research Group as a staff attorney and for CALPIRG as Legislative Director. She began her career as an associate attorney in Washington, D.C. with the public interest law firm of Meyer & Glitzenstein, where she specialized in cases involving the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and other environmental laws.
Kim holds a BA in political science, public service (environmental policy emphasis) from the University of California, Davis and a JD, cum laude, from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific.
Daniel M. Dooley
Principal, New Current Water and Land, LLC.
Daniel M. Dooley is principal of New Current Water and Land, LLC., which provides strategic planning services for water supply and water management projects, as well as agricultural investments, in California. Prior to New Current, Dan served the University of California for seven years, first as Vice President – Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and then as Senior Vice President External Relations. Dan’s External Relations responsibilities included directing the University offices of State and Federal Government Relations, Alumni Affairs and Institutional Advocacy, and Communications. He reported directly to the President of the University of California System.
Before his tenure with the University, Dan distinguished himself as an agricultural and environmental attorney with extensive experience in California. He was a partner at Dooley, Herr and Peltzer, LLP, a law firm emphasizing agricultural, environmental, business and water rights law, where he represented both public agencies and private parties on water-related matters. He was recognized for successfully bridging environmental and economic considerations in a number of controversial legal cases. Dan was also a partner from 1980-2002 in the family-owned Dooley Farms, a diversified San Joaquin Valley farming operation producing cotton, alfalfa and walnuts, which continues operation under next generation family management.
Dan previously served as Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (1977-80) and Chair of the California Water Commission (1982-86). He has served on the National Academy of Sciences, Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Western Rural Development Center Board, and the Board of Trustees of Children's Hospital Central California, which he chaired. He currently serves on the Board of Sustainable Conservation.
In 2007, Dan was cited by California Lawyer magazine's Lawyer of the Year publication for his work to achieve settlement of two-decades-old litigation relating to the San Joaquin River. In 2004, he was inducted into the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service Research Hall of Fame. He also received the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Award of Distinction in 2000.
He is married to Diana and has two grown children, Megan Hargraves and Katharine Dooley.
Partner, Holland & Knight
Jennifer is a partner in Holland & Knight’s Government Practice Group in their San Francisco office. She co-chairs their National Environmental Team and leads the West Coast Land Use and Environmental Practice Group. Jennifer works on projects in Northern and Southern California, as well as the Central Valley. Her practice focuses on all aspects of natural resource and environmental transactions, regulatory and legislative development, complex project permitting, and compliance counseling. She represents clients in the private, public, and non-profit sectors in land use and environmental project permitting, compliance, litigation, and public advocacy work. Jennifer has achieved national prominence in her work on brownfields redevelopment, wetlands and endangered species, and master planned community projects. She teaches land use and environmental law at Stanford Law School, the University of California, and several professional education sponsors, and has written two books and more than 30 articles on environmental and land use law.
Jennifer co-founded and served as the first Board Chair and General Counsel for Landbank, Inc., was appointed by President Clinton and served on the Board of Trustees for the Presidio Trust for the Presidio National Park in San Francisco, and currently serves on the Boards of the California Center for Land Recycling (California’s leading non-profit supporter of Brownfields redevelopment projects and policies), the California League of Conservation Voters, and Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition. She is a member of the Urban Land Institute, and formerly served on the founding Boards of the California Environmental Law Forum, Sustainable Conservation, and the Executive Committee of the Environmental Section of the California State Bar Association.
She was ranked by her peers as a “Superlawyer” in Northern California, and is listed among northern California's top 100 lawyers and top 50 women lawyers, in the August 2004 issue of San Francisco Magazine. Mayor Brown proclaimed October 9, 2002 as “Jennifer Hernandez Day in San Francisco” for her work on sustainable land use and for being a “warrior on the brownfield.”
A native of California, Jennifer received her undergraduate degree cum laude from Harvard University and her law degree from Stanford University.
Director, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
Peter Kareiva is the director of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA. Prior to UCLA, Kareiva was the Chief Scientist and Vice President of The Nature Conservancy, where he was responsible for maintaining the quality of over 600 staff engaged in conservation science in 36 countries around the world. He is also Chairman of the Board for Science for Nature and People (SNAP), a new scientific collaboration among the Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis that is designed to rapidly respond to critical questions involving nature and human well-being.
Kareiva studied political science and zoology at Duke University for his bachelor’s degree and ecology and applied mathematics at Cornell University for his Ph.D. He is the author of more than 150 scientific publications and author or editor of eight books, including a textbook on conservation science. Kareiva is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of The National Academy of Sciences. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, Kareiva was the Director of Conservation Biology at the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, and prior to that he was a Professor at the University of Washington and Brown University, with teaching or faculty stints at Stanford University, University of Virginia, Uppsala University, and Oxford University. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Science.
His current research concerns the connection between human activities and changes in ecosystem services, as part of the Natural Capital Project, which he co-founded with Gretchen Daily (who serves on Sustainable Conservation’s Advisory Board), Steve Polasky, and Taylor Ricketts.
Chip Koch, Secretary
Principal Land Consultant, Safety, Health and Environment, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Chip Koch combines 20 years of experience as a geologist, environmental consultant, and general manager with a long-standing focus on the energy industry. Chip currently works for Pacific Gas & Electric Company, and is the founder of Petrosus Energy, an environmental and management consulting firm focused on delivering renewable energy to the market. Chip recently served as Vice President of Marketing and Investor Relations at Mineral Acquisition Partners, Inc., a $1 billion private investment group focused on natural gas and renewable energy royalty acquisitions. Prior to that Chip was President of TRC-Essex (NYSE: TRR), a consulting firm focused on planning, permitting, and environmental compliance of major energy infrastructure projects. Chip previously held positions at Levine-Fricke (a 500-person environmental consulting company) as Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning, and as a Senior Exploration Geologist at Exxon Company, USA.
Chip holds an MBA from Stanford University, an MS in geology from Ohio State University, and a BS in geology from St. Lawrence University.
Co-Founder, Earth Genome Project
Steve is co-founder of The Earth Genome, a start-up venture to create the first global, open-source database on ecosystem services and natural capital. Steve served as President of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, one of the largest Foundations in the U.S., from 2007-2014. He led the Foundation through development of new strategies in each of its three Programs — Environment, Science, and Patient Care.
Steve served as President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) from 2000-2008. As president, Steve led the organization into becoming a truly global enterprise, operating in 30 countries as well as every state in the U.S. Steve began his career with TNC in 1976 as western regional legal counsel and rose through the ranks to spend 16 years as executive director of the California state program and Western Region. In that role, he led an organization-wide effort that created Conservation by Design, the strategic framework that now guides all of TNC's work around the world.
A leader in the social innovation sector, Steve serves on the boards of Independent Sector, Sustainable Conservation and the California Wildlife Officers Foundation. He has also served on the U.C. Berkeley College of Natural Resources Advisory Board.
Adán Ortega, Jr.
President, Ortega Strategies Group
Adán Ortega, Jr. is president of OSG (Ortega Strategies Group) which is a practice specializing in government, media, and public affairs statewide in California. He has over twenty-five years of experience and understanding of resource and environmental issues through senior leadership roles in Southern California, California, and U.S. government, business and environmental organizations. Recent accomplishments include successful formation and management of the California Association of Mutual Water Companies, Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL), and a Joint Powers Risk Insurance Management Authority for small water systems in California. Adan is Chairman of the the board of Mujeres De La Tierra, a member of the board of directors of Sustainable Conservation, and a trustee of the Southern California Water Committee. He is a former board member of the California Water Commission, the State Board of Food and Agriculture, Heal the Bay, the National Audubon Society, and Whittier College. Before creating OSG, Adán was Managing Director of Rose & Kindel; Vice President of External Affairs at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; Chief California Deputy Secretary of State; and Assistant General Manager of West and Central Basin Municipal Water Districts. He is a graduate of Whittier College.
Co-Founder, Sustainable Conservation; Personal and Snall Business Coach; Manages Family-Owned Real Estate
Tina co-founded Sustainable Conservation and served as the organization’s Executive Director from 1990-1993. She currently serves on the Board of Sustainable Conservation, is Chairman of the Board of Advisors at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES), Board Member of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change & the Environment at UCLA’s School of Law, and on the Board of Councilors for the UC Natural Reserve System. With her family, she sponsors the Oppenheim Lecture Series at UCLA, which presents world-class speakers to educate, inform and build community discourse about the diverse environmental issues of our time. In her local community, Tina served as President of the PTA Council for representing 17 schools in her district. Tina received a BA in International Politics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Partner, Latham & Watkins
Cindy Starrett is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins. She chairs Latham’s global Energy and Infrastructure Project Siting and Defense Practice. Ms. Starrett formerly chaired the Los Angeles Environment, Land and Resources Department.
Ms. Starrett's practice includes approval for real estate development and infrastructure projects, advising on government contract issues, as well as related environmental and transactional matters. Her California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) practice focuses on administrative and pre-litigation counseling. Ms. Starrett is registered as a lobbyist with the City and County of Los Angeles and with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
She co-chairs the Environmental Regulatory Committee for the California Chamber of Commerce and serves on its Board. Ms. Starrett chairs the Los Angeles Parks Foundation and serves on the board of the Los Angeles Dodger Foundation as well as Abode Community Housing.
Ms. Starrett is assisting the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce on CEQA reform initiatives.
Mark Valentine, Treasurer
Mark Valentine was a founder of Faculte, Inc., a startup that helps professionals and businesses produce, publish, and distribute on-line videos, presentations, and slideshows. He formerly served as Chairman of the Board at SigmaQuest Corporation, a startup software company that provides an on-demand suite of solutions to help companies build better products using business intelligence techniques for product design, manufacturing, supplier quality, repair, and returns.
Prior to joining SigmaQuest, Mark was Vice President of Operations at Geyser Networks, an optical networking startup. Mark started his career with Tandem Computers, where he spent 10 years moving through Tandem's management structure, including a two-year period establishing the company's manufacturing facility in Scotland.
Mark serves on the Board of Directors of the Valentine Family Foundation and also on the board of Sustainable Conservation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that believes promoting a healthy environment can be good for business.
Mark received a BS in industrial engineering from Stanford University in 1986 and an MS from Stanford in 1987.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Woolf Farming Company
Stuart Patrick Woolf is President and CEO of Woolf Farming & Processing. Woolf Farming & Processing is a family owned operation whose primary business is the production and processing of specialty crops. The company was named the 2004 Agribusiness of the Year in Fresno County and the Family Business of the Year (2004) by the Family Business Institute at Fresno State University. Stuart also serves as the managing partner for two related entities: Harris Woolf California Almonds and Los Gatos Tomato Products. Stuart received a bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA at Boston College. He has served as Chairman of the California League of Food Processors and the Almond Board of California. He currently also serves on the boards of Ruiz Food Products and Western Growers.