My Background

As an undergraduate at Cornell University, I studied participatory action research under Dr. Davydd Greenwood, Dr. John Forester, and Dr. Larry Fisher, among others. The goal of helping people to develop the skills they need to solve their own problems, environmental or otherwise, and democratizing society, captured my soul. I was fortunate enough to couple lectures and seminars with field work along the coast of Vancouver Island, in the rainforests of Queensland, and throughout the northeastern United States.

As a subsequent doctoral student at the University of California at Berkeley, I studied political ecology under Dr. Nancy Lee Peluso, Dr. Louise Fortmann, and Dr. Michael Watts, among others. This approach to understanding resource conflicts — which problematizes the relationships between nature, power, wealth, cultural practices, and technology — undergirds my professional practice. My field research in Sulawesi, Indonesia, focused on how international trade in high value seafoods developed over the past 40 years, including the role of ethnic identity in securing access to capital, labor, and markets, and the role of fisheries and aquaculture in national industrialization.  Subsequently, I completed post-doctoral work at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies and, after moving back to California, the CALFED Science Program.

Selayar, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Thereafter, I worked for eight years at the Center for Collaborative Policy, apprenticing under former Associate Director Lisa Beutler and former Executive Director Susan Sherry, and eventually becoming Director of our Southern California Office. During this period I facilitated and mediated over 30 large and small collaborative processes seeking to manage and restore water, wetland, forest, and agricultural resources throughout California, with 10 of these involving landscapes. My work spanned from the headwaters of the Sierra Nevada down through the Central Valley, Sacramento, and Delta out to the San Francisco Bay Area, and south to the greater San Diego region, Inland Empire, and Mexican border.  See for example

Currently I work for a state agency, the California Tahoe Conservancy, and serve as their Chief of Natural Resources. I manage all our programs — including adapting to climate change, restoring forest and watershed resilience, protecting wildlife and native aquatic species, treating storm water, preventing wildfire, stewarding over 4,700 quarter-acre urban lots, fostering sustainable communities, and providing equitable access to outdoor recreation for all communities.


My curriculum vitae (May 2021) is linked here.

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