Includes the Board of Directors and the individual ECOS members. The Membership elects the at-large board members and votes on changes to the Bylaws.
ECOS Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is comprised of the elected officers (which includes the chairs of Standing Committees), elected at-large board members, and representatives of ECOS organizational members. The Board of Directors elects the officers and the chairs of standing committees.
CHAIRS OF STANDING COMMITTEES
AT-LARGE BOARD MEMBERS
ECOS ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERS
Habitat2020 is ECOS’ Habitat Committee. It is a coalition that works to protect the lands, waters, wildlife and native plants in the Sacramento region. With the following member organizations, H2020 presents a united voice for the environment to local decision-makers and our fellow citizens:
Matthew Baker began working for Habitat 2020 and the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) in 2008 and served as our Land Use and Conservation Policy Director for many years. In 2017, Mathew became the Policy Director for our partner Planning and Conservation League but continues to work with ECOS as a policy advisor with a primary focus on equitable infill development and anti-displacement issues. Working at both state and local levels, Mathew is dedicated to fostering cross-sector solutions to achieve California’s climate goals, conserve natural and working lands, improve public health outcomes, and provide equitable access to opportunity for all Californians. In 2018, Matthew received an Environmentalist of the Year Award for his work with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), specifically his valuable analysis of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS). Also recognized with the award is his work on the California Heartland Project, including cutting-edge work with UC Davis in the mapping and analysis of the region’s natural resources, habitat and ecosystem services.
Gabriel Balensiefer is an industrial non-destructive evaluation technologist specializing in computed tomography and digital radiography at a lab researching advanced manufacturing.
Chris Brown is a nationally recognized expert in water conservation and drought. He left his position as Executive Director of the California Urban Water Conservation Council in 2014 to work on climate issues as well as his ongoing water-related work. He also serves as the coordinator of the Sacramento Climate Coalition.
Rob Burness graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Biological Sciences. He was an early employee of Jones and Stokes Associates and was a principal contributor to a proposed Consumnes River Parkway Plan. He worked for 30 years as a land use planner for the Sacramento County Planning Department, where he focused on compact, efficient urban growth that minimizes impact on natural habitat. He was a principal architect of the County’s Urban Service Boundary. Rob also serves on the Conservation Committee of the Sierra Club’s Mother Lode chapter and on the Board of the Friends of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
May-Lin Chang is a licensed architect and senior associate with HGA, a national interdisciplinary design firm rooted in architecture and engineering. She is based in Sacramento and focuses her architectural practice on sustainability. She is credentialed as a LEED Green Building Design + Construction expert. May-Lin is a member of the Central Valley American Institute of Architects and its Housing Task Force.
John has been a board member of ECOS since 2005, and has served as Treasurer (2007-14), and as Chair/Co-Chair of the Transportation, Air Quality & Climate Change Committee since 2015. He is a passionate advocate of non-auto modes of transportation and rides his bicycle frequently. He is retired, after 30 years of astronomical research at the University of Washington.
Jon is an attorney in private practice in the Sacramento area with expertise in disabled peoples’ rights, elder law, Social Security, housing law, nonprofit law and a passion for preserving the environment. A father and grandfather, Jon joined the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) board of directors in 2006 and became President of the Board for 2011- 2012. He has also been co-chair of the Organizational Development Committee.
Heather Fargo is a former Mayor of Sacramento CA (2000-2008); following 11 years as council member, working to improve the safety, economy and neighborhoods of Sacramento. After elected life, Heather became the first Executive Director of the CA Strategic Growth Council (2010-2012), where she pursued a more sustainable future for CA and the world. She recently spent 4 years working with the Sacramento Tree Foundation to expand tree canopies in our underserved communities. She is President of the Capital Women’s Campaign, guiding Sacramento women to flex their power in pursuit of gender parity; and serves on the Northern CA chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society among many civic pursuits.
Susan Herre is an urban planner and architect, with expertise in transportation and land use planning. For Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad Administration in Washington, she managed capital projects and wrote guidance on station planning and project management. Previously, Susan worked as an architect on institutional buildings in San Diego and St Louis. Over the years she has been an activist for public transit and the preservation of open space.
Nancy Hughett is retired from the California Air Resources Board, where she developed educational materials about the health effects of air pollutants, among other duties. She has worked with a variety of environmental and community groups over the years. Before joining the ECOS Board, she co-founded and helped lead the Science Project Mentoring Program, which advises students as they design and conduct experimental science projects at a local Sacramento school.
Ron Maertz spent his entire career working as an urban/environmental planner. Ron was an early proponent for the integration of land use, transportation and air quality in the planning process. Since his retirement, Ron has become actively involved in ECOS, serving as ECOS’ Land Use Chair / Co-Chair for over 10 years. Ron was selected as Environmentalist of the Year in 2012.
Ralph retired in 2015 from the California Air Resources Board’s Air Quality and Climate Science Research Section. Until becoming ECOS President, he was an adjunct chemistry professor at UC Davis and Sacramento City College. He is also a board member of Breathe California Sacramento Region, and Sacramento’s “Green Incubator.”
Ted Rauh has over 30 years of executive management experience with the State of California directing energy conservation and power plant siting programs, hazardous waste and hazardous site cleanup programs, and solid waste management and recycling programs. He chairs the ECOS Water Committee and represents ECOS on the Water Forum.
As the Director of Operations, Alexandra runs the day-to-day operations of ECOS. At Sacramento State University, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Child Development with a minor in Ethnic Studies. Alexandra is grateful to be able to work for ECOS in fighting for environmental justice in our region. Issues she works on include expanding public transportation, reducing urban sprawl, encouraging infill development, and promoting other climate solutions such as lowering fossil fuel usage and decreasing heat island effects.
Brandon is a past-president of ECOS and the 2020 Environmentalist of the Year award recipient. He currently serves on the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Board of Directors and is the 2022 Board President. Brandon works for the California Air Resources Board with an emphasis on heavy duty vehicle electrification and previously focused on renewable energy at the California Energy Commission. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy from UC Davis.
Andy is a past president of ECOS, a former chair of Sierra Club California, and chair of the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter. An environmental lawyer, Andy has served as chair of the California State Bar Environmental Law Section and the Sacramento County Bar Association Environmental Law Section.
Quincy Stivers is a lifelong resident of Sacramento and started out as an intern for ECOS. She is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a current Senate Fellow at the California State Senate. She is dedicated to building a more sustainable Sacramento.
Tina Suarez-Murias represents Save Our Sandhill Cranes, a local group advocating for preservation of habitat vital to migratory Sandhill Cranes, a State-listed threatened species that overwinters in the Sacramento region. She retired from the California Air Resources Board where she analyzed the sources and movement of particle pollutants in the air. Trained as a biologist and a regional planner, her professional career focused on the regulatory aspects of environmental protection. Her experience spans private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, throughout the United States. Her areas of expertise also include wetlands protection and restoration, floodplain and coastal resources management, internal industrial compliance, harbor management, integrated waste management, cautious land development, and water resources management.
Edith Thacher is the Sacramento chapter leader for Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a nonpartisan, grassroots, advocacy group focused on strong climate policy at the national level. She worked for 20 years as a management consultant, serving the public sector. Her areas of specialty include project management, and change management.
Earl Withycombe is a consulting air pollution engineer currently working for the California Air Resources Board, community activist and recovering elected official. Earl’s direct participation in ECOS’ work began in 1992 with advocacy and testimony on the 1993 county general plan update. He has been an indispensable leader on the ECOS board of directors ever since.
After retiring from a career in real estate investing, Sean has dedicated his life to saving habitat in our region. He is currently the conservation chair for the Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club, Co-Chair of Habitat 2020, on the board and executive committee of ECOS and a founding member of Save Our Sandhill Cranes.