Jennifer Allen is an alumnus of the Water Education Foundation’s 2011 Water Leaders Program. As the Director of Public Affairs at Contra Costa Water District (CCWD), she oversees the outreach and education programs offered to customers, students, and employees, and facilitates media relations.
Richard Aragon is a graduate of the Foundation’s 2017 Water Leaders class. He is assistant general manager-chief financial officer/treasurer for Rancho California Water District in Temecula, where he has worked since 2015. He helped lead the district’s effort to provide incentives to growers to swap water-intensive crops like avocados for less water-intensive crops like wine grapes.
Thomas M. Berliner is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP. He focuses his practice on water, energy, environmental and governmental/municipal law and is chair of the Duane Morris Water Resources and Renewable Energy and Sustainability practice groups.
Roberta Borgonovo is the Co-Program Director for Water for the League of Women Voters of California (LWVC). During her tenure with the League, she has focused on water conservation issues and protection of the Bay-Delta Estuary.
Gwendolyn M. Buchholz is a Vice President at CH2M is now Jacobs. She has more than 35 years of experience in water resources, wastewater, stormwater and water supply planning, design and construction management.
Mike Chrisman, a fourth-generation Californian, is owner/partner of Chrisman Ranches, a family ranching and farming business in Tulare County.
Chrisman served as California Secretary of Natural Resources from 2003 until 2010. As a member of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cabinet, he served as the governor’s chief adviser on issues related to the state’s natural, historic and cultural resources. Chrisman also chaired the California Ocean Protection Council, Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the Delta Stewardship Council.
Ane D. Deister is the Executive Director of the California Council of Land Trusts, and a consultant for HDR Engineering.
She has more than 30 years of experience in the water resources and environmental management business, with more than 25 years in executive leadership appointments. She was Vice President of Parsons Corporation and Vice President of Cardno ENTRIX where she was a member of the water resources leadership team and a key member of the implementation team of Reach 2B of the San Joaquin River Restoration Project.
As the California Director of Defenders of Wildlife, Kim develops and directs the organization’s work across the state, including determining policy and program work in wildlife, land use, water and energy issues.
She was a gubernatorial-appointed member of the California Water Commission and currently serves on various coalitions and planning efforts, including the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment, Salton Sea Coalition, The California Rangeland Conservation Coalition and the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Stakeholder Committee.
Danielle Duncan works as a Water Resources Manager at The Wonderful Company. Prior to that, she served as a project manager on the water team at Sustainable Conservation, a nonprofit that helps California thrive by uniting people to solve the toughest challenges facing our land, air and water.
Bart Fisher, a third-generation farmer from Blythe, is a 19-year member of the Palo Verde Irrigation District board of trustees, where he has served twice as board chairman, as recently as 2017. He is also serving his 12th year as chairman of the Colorado River Board of California, where he represents California’s rights in the Colorado River to the other six states with entitlements to the river, and also to the federal government and to the government of Mexico.
Pablo Garza is the California Political Director for the Ecosystems Program at the Environmental Defense Fund. He develops and implements policy initiatives to help achieve Environmental Defense Fund’s water and habitat objectives.
David J. Guy is the President of the Northern California Water Association (NCWA). For the past several decades he has worked in various capacities to advance economic interests that promote the conservation of California’s special places and their precious water and land resources. He is also an adjunct professor at San Joaquin College of Law.
Thomas Harter joined the faculty at the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at University of California, Davis in 1995. His research focuses on nonpoint-source pollution of groundwater, groundwater resources evaluation under uncertainty, groundwater modeling and contaminant transport. Dr. Harter’s research group has done extensive modeling, laboratory and field work to evaluate the impacts of agriculture and human activity on groundwater flow and contaminant transport in complex aquifer and soil systems.
Jeff Kivett is Vice President of Brown and Caldwell’s Northern California Region, overseeing a region that extends from Fresno to the Oregon border.
Previously he was the director of operations, engineering and construction at the South Florida Water Management District, a senior project manager at Jacobs Engineering and project manager at the City of Los Angeles.
Cynthia Koehler is Director of Programs for Carpe Diem West, a non-profit organization that focuses on the impacts of climate changes on water in the American West. She has been a leading western water policy expert and environmental advocate for two decades.
Mary Aileen Matheis has served on the Irvine Ranch Water District board since 1988, as President in 2001 and as Vice President in 2005. She is an active member of several committees, including the Water Resources Policy and Communications Committee and the Advisory Committee to the University of California Urban Water Research Center.
A sixth-generation farmer, Cannon Michael is President of Bowles Farming Company headquartered in Los Banos, Calif. There, he oversees an 11,000-acre farm where the company grows cotton, fresh market and processing tomatoes, field crops, and other commodities.
Michael’s great-great-great-grandfather was Henry Miller, a German immigrant whose partnership with Charles Lux became known as Miller & Lux and resulted in the build-up of landholdings in the San Joaquin Valley to more than 1 million acres.
Christopher Park is a Water Resource Planner with CDM Smith in Sacramento.
He has nine years of experience focusing on environmental impact assessment and permitting for both local and statewide water planning projects for clients that include the Bureau of Reclamation, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Cambria Community Services District.
Jennifer is the Executive Director of Leadership California, a network of more than 1,600 accomplished women, dedicated to advancing the leadership role of women in business, communities and public policy.
Previously, she was Deputy Executive Director for external affairs and operations at the Association of California Water Agencies, overseeing the association’s teams that work to advance ACWA’s image/brand, issues, policies and delivery of service to members.
Thomas S. Philp is the executive strategist for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). He works out of MWD’s Capitol office in Sacramento, where he helps with public affairs, local and state outreach as well as drafting key communications for the district.
Sara Reid is Vice President and Credit Manager for CoBank, ACB (part of the Farm Credit System) and an alumnus of the Water Education Foundation’s 2015 Water Leaders Program. Sara oversees the credit review and loan decision-making process for CoBank’s 400-plus borrowers in the Western region.
Ronald B. Robie has served as an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, since 2002. Previously he served as a judge of both the Sacramento Superior and Municipal Courts. He was presiding judge from 1994 to 1995. He was named “Judge of the Year” by the Sacramento County Bar Association in 2002.
Peter S. Silva is the President of Silva-Silva International, an engineering consulting company specializing in water policy and regulatory affairs. He has nearly 37 years of experience in the water and wastewater fields, and is an expert on U.S.-Mexico border affairs in these areas. Mr. Silva served two years as the Assistant Administrator for Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and six years as the Vice-Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board in California.
Rebecca Smith is a graduate of the Foundation’s 2018 Water Leaders class. She is an attorney at Downey Brand specializing in water law, a practice that includes work on groundwater management and the state’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, as well as the firm’s Food and Ag practice.
Yung-Hsin Sun is chief water resources engineer with Stantec, where he has worked since 2001. Dr. Sun is a principal engineer with 29 years of experience leading, managing, and planning large-scale water resource projects for flood management, water supply and ecosystem restoration.