Pepperwood’s board of directors and staff bring more than 75 years of combined onsite experience to their positions.
Pepperwood Foundation Officers
Herb DwightCo-founder & Chairman, Pepperwood Foundation
Jane DwightCo-Founder, Secretary, and Board Emeritus, Pepperwood Foundation
William DwightTreasurer, Founder & CEO, Famzoo.com
Herb Dwight attended Stanford University, receiving a BSEE in 1953 and an MSEE in 1959. He was Founder, President and CEO, of Spectra-Physics (San Jose, CA), the first commercial laser company to be formed after the invention of the laser (1961-1988). He was President and CEO of Superconductor Technologies (Santa Barbara, CA), one of the first companies to commercialize newly discovered high temperature superconductor technology (1988-1991). He was President and CEO of Optical Coating Laboratory, Inc. (subsequently acquired by JDSU), the leading producer of optical thin film coatings, fiber-optic telecom components and color-shifting pigments for security applications (1991-1998). He served as Chairman of Optical Coating Laboratory, Inc. (1991-2000).
Herb’s current commitments include: Chairman of the Pepperwood Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to research and education in land conservation and environmental sciences; member and past chairman of the Board of Overseers, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; member of the board of 10,000 Degrees, a Marin based scholarship organization and chairman of their Sonoma County Advisory Board; member of the Strategic Advisory Board of the Genstar Capital, a private equity firm; member of the President’s Advisory Board at Sonoma State University; and member of the board of Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa.
Herb is a past Chairman of the Community Foundation Sonoma County, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital Board, American Electronics Association Board and Stanford Alumni Executive Board. Former trustee of Stanford University.
Herb and his wife, Jane, have two sons and nine grandchildren. His hobbies include golf, fishing, hiking, bicycling, and flying.
Born in Oklahoma, Jane graduated with a BA from the University of Colorado in Boulder. She and her husband, Herb, lived in Silicon Valley for 33 years before moving to Santa Barbara for three years and to the Santa Rosa area in 1991. On the Peninsula, Jane participated in a wide variety of volunteer, community, business and philanthropic ventures, including environmental education initiatives and in patient relations in pediatrics and the developing field of gerontology at Stanford Hospital. In Santa Barbara, Jane was involved with the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Music Academy of the West. Once in Santa Rosa, Jane served as a director of the Santa Rosa Symphony and the Green Music Center. She is also a cofounder of Scholarship Sonoma County, which recently merged with 10,000 Degrees to form 10.000 Degrees Sonoma County, where Jane is a member of the Advisory Board.
In 2005 the Dwights purchased the Pepperwood Preserve from the California Academy of Sciences and placed it under the ownership of the Pepperwood Foundation to permanently protect the nature preserve as an education and research facility.
Bill Dwight is the Founder and Chief Dad of FamZoo.com. FamZoo, short for “my family is a zoo,” is a Web-based family banking service that helps parents teach kids and teens good personal finance habits through hands-on practice. Parents set up a private, fully customizable “Virtual Family Bank” to manage their children’s earnings, spending, saving, and charitable giving. FamZoo has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TIME, NPR, the PBS TV Series BizKid$, Doreen Bloch’s book “The Coolest Startups in America”, and best-selling author Bruce Feiler’s book “The Secrets of Happy Families.” In both 2011 and 2013, FamZoo was voted Best of Show at Finovate, the premiere showcase conference for emerging financial technologies.
A graduate of Princeton, Bill has been building software for 30 years in areas as diverse as artificial intelligence, database systems, application development tools, business analytics, distance learning, Internet advertising, online marketplaces, and personal finance. He has held executive product development positions at Oracle Corporation and two innovative Internet startup companies: Netgravity and Elance. Bill founded FamZoo in 2006 to help parents be more effective mentors to their kids for critical life skills like personal finance.
Bill and his wife, Selina, have 5 children and reside in Silicon Valley.
Lisa Micheli, PhDPresident & CEO, Pepperwood Foundation
Lorez BaileyPublisher, North Bay Business Journal
Julie A. KawaharaFounder, Kawahara & Associates
Lisa CarreñoPresident and CEO, United Way of the Wine Country
Paul DowneyInvestment Banking Consultant
Frank Chong, EdDPresident, Santa Rosa Junior College
Mark DwightFounder & Owner, Rickshaw Bagworks
Shannon Bennett, PhDChief of Science, California Academy of Sciences
Kate EckerAudit Committee Chair, Consultant to Social Enterprises
Julianna GrahamGovernance Committee Chair, Senior Business Development Officer, Wells Fargo Bank
Rob DasCo-Founder, Splunk
Roger NelsonPresident, Midstate Construction
Lisa Micheli, PhD
PhD, UC Berkeley (Energy and Resources)
MS, UC Berkeley (Civil Engineering, Environmental Water Resources)
MPhil, Cambridge University, King’s College (History and Philosophy of Science)
AB, Harvard College (History and Science)
Dr. Micheli joined Sonoma County’s Pepperwood Foundation in October of 2009 as its inaugural Executive Director and now serves as the organization’s President and CEO. She brings more than 30 years of experience applying her technical, policy, and fundraising expertise to the design and implementation of ecological restoration, research, and education programs. She started her career at the US Environmental Protection Agency and then completed her graduate studies at UC Berkeley as a NASA Earth Systems Research Fellow in 2000. She now focuses her research on relationships between climate, watershed health, wildfire, and biodiversity, and has published numerous peer-reviewed studies.
Dr. Micheli specializes in facilitating interdisciplinary collaborations focused on using relevant research to craft collective solutions to today’s most pressing landscape conservation challenges. She serves as the co-chair of Pepperwood’s Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative (TBC3) with Dr. David Ackerly, Dean of UC Berkeley’s Rausser College of Natural Resources. She has been recognized as a Phi Beta Kappa scholar, a Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation Environmental Leader, a Bay Nature Local Hero, a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and a 2020 Global Fulbright Fellow. She is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the Society for Conservation Biology. Dr. Micheli serves on the Board of After The Fire, and as a Science Advisor to the Golden Gate Biosphere Network, and the California Biodiversity Network supporting statewide implementation of 30×30.
Chornesky, E. A., D. D. Ackerly, P. Beier, F. W. Davis, L. E. Flint, J. J. Lawler, P. B. Moyle, M. A. Moritz, M. Scoonover, K. Byrd, P. Alvarez, N. E. Heller, E. R. Micheli, and S. B. Weiss. 2015. Adapting California’s ecosystems to a changing climate. BioScience 65:247–262.
Cornwall, C., S. Moore, D. DiPietro, S. Veloz, L. Micheli, L. Casey, and M. Mersich. 2015. Climate Ready Sonoma County: Climate Hazards and Vulnerabilities. Prepared as part of Climate Action 2020 by North Bay Climate Adaptation Initiative for Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority, Santa Rosa, CA.
Halbur, M., E. R. Micheli, and S. Funke. 2015. Combining people, place and science: lessons learned from citizen science at Pepperwood. Poster presentation at Citizen Science Association, San Jose, CA.
Heller, N., J. Kreitler, D. D. Ackerly, S. B. Weiss, A. Recinos, R. Branciforte, L. E. Flint, A. L. Flint, and E. Micheli. 2015. Targeting climate diversity in conservation planning to build resilience to climate change. Ecosphere 6:65.
Micheli, L., L. E. Flint, S. Veloz, and N. Heller. 2015. PA13B-05: Generating relevant climate adaptation science tools in concert with local natural resource agencies. Oral presentation at American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, CA.
Funke, S., M. Halbur, N. Barden, C. Dodge, J. Robinson, and L. Micheli. 2014. Pepperwood’s TeenNat Diverse Youth Contributing to Conservation Science. Poster presentation at Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowship Conference, Washington, DC.
Gillogly, M., M. Halbur, C. Dodge, and L. Micheli. 2014. The Pepperwood Conservation Grazing Pilot Project: Managing for complexity in our coastal California grasslands. Poster presentation at California Invasive Plant Council, Chico, CA.
Ackerly, D., M. Oldfather, M. Britton, M. Halbur, and L. Micheli. 2013. Establishment of woodland vegetation research plots at Pepperwood Preserve. Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative. Dwight Center for Conservation Science at Pepperwood, Santa Rosa, CA.
Halbur, M., M. Kennedy, D. Ackerly, L. Micheli, and J. Thorne. 2013. Creating a detailed vegetation map for Pepperwood Preserve. Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative. Dwight Center for Conservation Science at Pepperwood, Santa Rosa, CA.
Heller, N., J. Kreitler, S. Weiss, D. Ackerly, and L. Micheli. 2013. Targeting climate diversity to increase the resilience of the Conservation Lands Network to climate change. Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative. Dwight Center for Conservation Science at Pepperwood, Santa Rosa, CA.
Micheli, L., and D. Ackerly. 2013. The Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative (TBC3): An interdisciplinary strategy for advancing science-based conservation. Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative. Dwight Center for Conservation Science at Pepperwood, Santa Rosa, CA.
Micheli, L., and D. DiPietro. 2013. North Bay vital signs: An integrated ecosystem-climate monitoring framework for Sonoma County. North Bay Climate Adaptation Initiative, Santa Rosa, CA.
Weiss, S. B., A. Flint, L. Flint, H. Hamilton, M. Fernandez, and L. Micheli. 2013. Climate scenarios for San Francisco Bay Area. Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative. Dwight Center for Conservation Science at Pepperwood, Santa Rosa, CA.
Micheli, E., L. Flint, A. Flint, S. Weiss, and M. Kennedy. 2012. Downscaling future climate projections to the watershed scale: A North San Francisco Bay case study. San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 4.
Townsend, S. E., L. Micheli, and M. Halbur. 2012. Using the Wildlife Picture Index to measure ecosystem health and connectivity. Poster presentation at The Wildlife Society, Reno, NV.
Jensen, M., M. Gillogly, M. Kennedy, and L. Micheli. 2011. Monitoring long-term vegetation response to climate change: Setting a baseline. Poster presentation at Organization of Biological Field Stations, Bodega, CA.
Micheli, E. R., and E. W. Larsen. 2011. River channel cutoff dynamics, Sacrament River, California, USA. River Research Applications 27:328–344.
Flint, L. E., A. L. Flint, S. B. Weiss, and E. R. Micheli. 2010. Hope for the forests? Habitat resiliency illustrated in the face of climate change using fine-scale modeling. Page 0834 American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA.
Micheli, L., L. Flint, A. Flint, M. Kennedy, S. Weiss, and R. Branciforte. 2010. Adapting to climate change: state of the science for North Bay watersheds a guide for managers. Dwight Center for Conservation Science at Pepperwood, Santa Rosa, CA.
Ridolfi, K., P. Vorster, and L. Micheli. 2010. Indicators and performance measures for North Bay watersheds. North Bay Watershed Association.
Hayes, G., and E. Micheli. 2009. Monitoring plan for the Rutherfor Reach of the Napa River. State Water Resources Control Board, Sacramento, CA.
Micheli, E. 2004. Limiting factors analysis (salmonid abundance and distribution), Sonoma Creek watershed. San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, Oakland, CA.
Micheli, E. R., J. W. Kirchner, and E. W. Larsen. 2004. Quantifying the effect of riparian forest versus agricultural vegetation on river meander migration rates, central Sacramento River, California, USA. River Research and Applications 20:537–548.
Avery, E. R., E. R. Micheli, and E. W. Larsen. 2003. River channel cut-off dynamics, Sacramento River, California, USA. Page 84 (46) American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting.
Micheli, E. R., and J. W. Kirchner. 2002. Effects of wet meadow riparian vegetation on streambank erosion. 1. Remote sensing measurements of streambank migration and erodibility. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 27:627–639.
Micheli, E. R., and J. W. Kirchner. 2002. Effects of wet meadow riparian vegetation on streambank erosion. 2. Measurements of vegetated bank strength and consequences for failure mechanics. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 27:687–697.
Larsen, E., and E. Micheli. 1997. Controls on bank erosion and migration of the upper Sacramento River. American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting. Baltimore, MD.
Micheli, E., and J. W. Kirchner. 1997. Quantifying how herbaceous vegetation stabilizes stream banks: Monache Meadow, South Fork of the Kern River, Southern Sierra Nevada. American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting. Baltimore, MD.
Kondolf, G. M., and E. R. Micheli. 1995. Evaluating stream restoration projects. Environmental Management 19:1–15.
Micheli, E. 1994. River and watershed planning: The San Luis Rey River case study EPA/600/R-94/213. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Research Laboratory, Corvallis, OR.
Leidy, R. A., P. L. Fiedler, and E. R. Micheli. 1992. Is wetter better? BioScience 42:58–65.
Publication list last updated April 2016.
Bio coming soon…
Julie A. Kawahara
Julie Kawahara has dedicated her life to the public sector, focusing on government, educational institutions and nonprofit service organizations that support individuals and communities to thrive. She has over 25 years of experience in organizational development, strategic planning, program and evaluation design. She is the lead consultant in her own business, Kawahara & Associates, focused on healthcare, education, human services, workforce development and climate justice. Throughout her career, Ms. Kawahara has always been at the forefront of progressive initiatives designed to improve community and system outcomes. Working with larger institutions such as Santa Rosa Junior College, Sonoma State University, California Department of Health Services, Sonoma County Department of Health and Human Services Department, and Sonoma County Indian Health Project, Ms. Kawahara has conducted evaluations, designed and implemented programs, developed policies and procedures and facilitated diverse groups in strategic action planning. One significant project with the Santa Rosa Junior College was to establish a health career center for Latinx students fulfilling the vision of increasing the Spanish-speaking workforce in healthcare for the local hospitals and clinics.
Smaller organizations have also benefitted from Board development and training, strategic planning, fund development planning and improvements to their human resources processes. These include local grassroots organizations such as Los Cien, Positive Images (LGBTQ+), Latino Service Providers, Asian American Pacific Islander Coalition of the North Bay, and the Community Baptist Collaborative.
In 2020, Kawahara & Associates broadened their client base to include organizations focused on climate solutions and environmental justice. The inter-relationship and inter-dependencies of humans and earth’s ability to thrive has become more critical and apparent to even those who are not working in health and environment. Applying her knowledge and experience in the healthcare sector, Ms. Kawahara has easily translated how the human ecosystem is a smaller model of the earth’s ecosystem. Furthermore, natural and man-made disasters have exacerbated the inequities and disparities experience by the poor and communities of color. Ms. Kawahara has been appointed to the Climate Action Advisory Council for the Regional Climate Protection Authority and has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors for Pepperwood Preserve in Sonoma County.
Paul Downey has been an investment banker for more than 50 years, advising American and international clients on global financing, mergers and acquisitions. Raised in New England, Paul began his investment banking career in New York with First Boston in 1966, following graduation from Yale College and three years in the U.S. Navy. He was a partner with White Weld from 1971 to 1978 in San Francisco and New York, before returning to First Boston as a Managing Director, and as Executive Director of its affiliate, Credit Suisse First Boston. He was based in CSFB’s London headquarters and the New York offices of First Boston for the next ten years, responsible for raising capital through international equity and debt financings on behalf of the firm’s U.S. clients. In 1989, he returned to San Francisco to head the firm’s West Coast banking operations, where he advised large and small clients on financings, mergers and acquisitions. In 1991 he retired from First Boston to open Downey Capital, working primarily with privately-owned U.S. companies on capital structure, financing and M&A. He serves on the board of Seven Hills Group and is a past board member of White Weld, First Boston, CSFB & Flynn Olympic, the Santa Rosa Symphony, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Repertory Orchestra, and The Keystone Center. He lives with his wife, Hallie Beacham, MD, in Healdsburg, California, where they grow zinfandel. Between them they have six children and eight grandchildren.
Frank Chong, EdD
Prior to joining Santa Rosa Junior College as superintendent/president in 2012, Frank served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges at the United States Department of Education in Washington, D.C., shaping President Barack Obama’s community college agenda. He formerly served as president of Laney College in Oakland and Mission College in Santa Clara and dean of student affairs at San Francisco City College. He served as special assistant to Willie Brown, speaker of the California Assembly, from 1987 to 1991, and in that position created legislation in higher education, mental health, small and minority business affairs and local government. He was a member of the San Francisco Children and Families Commission and San Francisco Human Rights Commission, and was elected to the San Francisco Board of Education in 1998.
Dr. Chong is an experienced nonprofit administrator and worked in Oakland as director of special services for the Asian Community Mental Health Services and executive director of Asian Manpower Services. He currently serves on the boards of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and the Sonoma County Health Alliance, in addition to Pepperwood. He is a former president and founding member of Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education and has served on the Chief Executive Officers Board of the California Community Colleges and the American Council on Education’s Commission on Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity. Frank has his BA from UC Berkeley, an MA from Harvard University, and his doctorate in educational administration, leadership and technology from Dowling College in New York.
Born and raised in Los Altos, California, Mark Dwight is the founder and owner of Rickshaw Bagworks (rickshawbags.com), a San Francisco-based manufacturer of custom messenger bags, backpacks, briefcases, tote bags, and related everyday carry accessories. Prior to founding Rickshaw, Mark was the CEO of Timbuk2Designs (2002 – 2006), another San Francisco-based bag manufacturer. Before he started designing and making bags, Mark spent 20 years working in various Silicon Valley technology companies including, Spectra-Physics, KLA Instruments, Digital Microwave, Kensington, and Cisco Systems (1997 – 2001). Mark is also the founder of SFMade.org, an organization supporting San Francisco-based manufacturers. Mark has served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and the San Francisco Small Business Commission. Mark has a BS in Mechanical Engineering (1982) and an MBA (1989), both from Stanford University.
Shannon Bennett, PhD
Dr. Bennett is the Chief of Science and Harry and Diana Hind Dean of Research and Collections. She was the Academy’s first ever Associate Curator of Microbiology, helping broaden the Academy’s research scope to include a dedicated focus on viruses and bacteria. Her specialty lies in infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.
From 2004-2011, Bennett was an Associate Professor at the Asia-Pacific Institute of Tropical Medicine & Infectious Diseases, part of the School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. During her seven years at the Institute, she led a number of research projects on virus evolution, identification, and transmission with funding from the National Institutes of Health. She applies advanced technologies from genomics and bioinformatics to study dengue, hantavirus, influenza, and other viruses, and also bacteria such as leptospirosis and those found in mosquito vectors. She is especially interested in the nature of genetic mutations that give viruses the potential to cause epidemics or switch to new hosts.
Prior to her work in Hawaii, Bennett researched the dengue virus in Puerto Rico and parasitic roundworms in Texas and Vancouver. She received her B.Sc. from McGill University and her Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of British Columbia.
Kate’s career has focused on working with organizations and individuals to define appropriate goals, devise strategies to accomplish them, and then to successfully implement. Her skill set combines an analytical problem-solving orientation with a big picture perspective and a strong drive for quality results. Since 2007 she has been an independent consultant, assisting nonprofit clients with setting strategic direction, aligning their operations to support the strategy, strengthening governance, developing and focusing resources and branding. Clients have included the California Primary Care Association, Ceres Community Project and 10,000 Degrees.
Kate served as Acting Executive Director of Dovetail Learning (formerly Toolbox Project) where she had primary responsibility for transition from informal all-volunteer organization to established nonprofit. She was Chair of the Board of Trustees at Sonoma Academy, where during a three year term (volunteer position) she led the board in overseeing construction of a $40 million new campus, moving, ensuring a successful transition of the school culture, reinvigorating the capital campaign, and developing a new strategic plan for the institution. Kate was Vice President of Development at Community Foundation Sonoma County, where she had primary responsibility for growth of the Community Foundation’s donor community and funds. She earned her AB at Harvard College, and MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Julianna Graham is Senior Business Development Manager and Market Manager for the North Bay for Wells Fargo Bank. Her banking career spans over 30 years with experience in commercial lending, business development, sales management, strategic planning and project management. She also served as CEO of Western Independent Bankers, a community banking member association and is a faculty member of Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington teaching leadership. She graduated from University of San Francisco with a BS in Organizational Leadership and an MBA in Finance from Golden Gate University. She is married, has three daughters and three grandchildren
Rob Das, a California native, is a retired entrepreneur in the software industry. He has over 35 years of experience designing and building real-time data analytics platforms, operating systems, networking infrastructure, group collaboration, and financial information delivery systems. Rob was an early member of the team at Lotus Development Corporation (original inventors of the spreadsheet application), a senior architect at Sun Microsystems, and a senior engineer for a joint partnership between Apple, Hewlett Packard, and IBM. Since the late ’90s, Rob focused entirely on venture capital backed, early-stage companies where in addition to hands-on development, he held the roles of VP of Engineering, Chief Technology Officer, and board member. Most recently, Rob co-founded Splunk (NASDAQ: SPLK) and saw it through a very successful IPO in 2012. Splunk is currently a large, fast growing international company that empowers businesses with Operational Intelligence by collecting, routing, and analyzing huge amounts of real-time data from a multitude of sources. Rob owns a working vineyard, makes wine and olive oil, and generally enjoys good food and friends.
Roger joined Midstate Construction (Petaluma) as President in 1977, leading the company’s work on award-winning projects in the hospitality industry, multi-family residential and affordable housing, education, retail, office, winery, and medical facilities. The firm has developed a portfolio of award winning projects, including many LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-level projects, including the Pepperwood Preserve (LEED NC 2.2 Gold Level), the h2hotel in Healdsburg (LEED Gold), The Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa, Lawrence A. Bertolini Student Services Center of Santa Rosa Junior College, East Washington Center, Petaluma (LEED Silver), Harmon Gardens, Berkeley (LEED Platinum), and the Petaluma Health Center. Midstate has received several Gold Nugget Best in the West Awards, the first Non-Profit Housing – Partners in Community Development Award, a Top 500 North Bay Company and numerous Best Project awards by the North Bay Business Journal, the National Preservation Award, and Best Places to Work in the North Bay Award. Roger currently serves on the board of the Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation; he formerly served on the State Board of Associated General Contractors, Associated General Contractors of CA, North Bay Industries, the Kenwood School District, and Sonoma Country Day School. Roger earned his BA in economics from Claremont Men’s College and a BS and two MS degrees from Stanford University. He lives in Sonoma with his wife, Monica Soiland Nelson. The couple has one son, Marc, and a ‘blue’ Newfoundland, Pearl.