OUR PEOPLE

Barry Baker, Ph.D.

Barry Baker, Ph.D.

Member, Advisory Council Read More
Barry Baker, Ph.D.

Barry Baker, Ph.D.

Member, Advisory Council

Location: Fort Collins, CO

Barry is senior research scientist at the Conservation Biology Institute, we previously served as director of The Nature Conservancy’s Canyonlands Research Center in Moab, Utah. He also serves as adjunct assistant professor, Department of Environment and Society, College of Natural Resources, Utah State University. His research interests include bioclimatology, response of terrestrial ecosystems (grassland and alpine) to climate change, and ecosystem modeling of grassland ecosystems. Barry has previously collaborated with LightHawk as a conservation partner.

Betsy Daub

Betsy Daub

Program Manager Read More
Betsy Daub

Betsy Daub

Program Manager

Betsy Daub has dedicated 35 years to ecological conservation, combining field research with environmental policy and advocacy. She holds an M.S. in Resource Ecology and Management from the University of Michigan and has a rich background working with non-profit conservation organizations and the state’s natural resource agency in Minnesota. In her leisure time, Betsy is a writer and an art enthusiast. She resides in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, where she and her wife are restoring a historic house, and they have two adult children.

Brent Blue

Brent Blue

Member, Advisory Council Read More
Brent Blue

Brent Blue

Member, Advisory Council

Location Jackson, WY

Brent attended Vanderbilt University and the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He received his post-doctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Blue practices medicine in Jackson Hole and is a recognized expert in aviation medicine. He also has been on several nonprofit boards, including the Teton Science School, Dancer’s Workshop of Jackson, and the Board of Health of Teton County. Dr. Blue made multiple environmental flight missions for the Vanderbilt Student Health Coalition/Save Our Cumberland Mountains in the early 1970s to document the environmental destruction, cultural devastation, and health impacts caused by open pit strip mining in Appalachia. Those flights made lasting impressions and fostered his commitment to environmental protection.

Brian Williams

Brian Williams

Member, Advisory Council Read More
Brian Williams

Brian Williams

Member, Advisory Council

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Brian is a director at a global consulting firm specializing in the application of information technology. He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Northwest University in South Africa and an MBA from Pace University in New York. Brian earned his pilot’s license in South Africa in 1989 and has flown throughout the region for recreation and business. Early in his flying career, Brian flew to locate a fugitive and endangered black rhinoceros before it crossed the border from South Africa into neighboring Botswana where it was in danger from poachers. The rhino was captured and returned, saving its life. Ever since that experience, Brian has had a keen interest in habitat conservation and environmental policy. In 1998, he emigrated to the USA and in 2007 started volunteering for LightHawk’s Mesoamerica and Eastern region programs. He was Lighthawk’s 2007 “Rookie of the Year” and in 2008 was the “Rockwell Award” recipient. He also volunteers for Southwings concentrating on Appalachian mountain top removal mining. Brian owns a Cessna Cardinal Turbo RG and is a 2800hr commercial pilot with instrument- and multi-engine ratings.

Brooke George

Brooke George

Program Manager Read More
Brooke George

Brooke George

Program Manager

Brooke’s career in wildlife conservation commenced after earning her degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University in 2005. Since then, she has been deeply involved in species management, collaborating with agencies and universities across a spectrum of regions, from coastal Florida to Western Washington. As a biologist, Brooke has excelled in developing monitoring survey protocols, coordinating wildlife health investigations, and contributing to habitat restoration projects alongside conservation partners. Her career highlights include working closely with pilots to capture Rocky Mountain elk and conducting aerial surveys in Washington’s Cascade Range. Brooke is an avid potter, enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and camping, and has a strong love for exploring places across Central and South America.

Chelsea Baird

Chelsea Baird

Office Manager Read More
Chelsea Baird

Chelsea Baird

Office Manager

Chelsea Baird comes to LightHawk with an extensive background in development, administration and finance. The conservation work LightHawk does means a great deal to her and she is looking forward to supporting LightHawk’s mission with her knowledge and experience. She also enjoys the aviation side of LightHawk’s work as her husband Andy is a pilot. She enjoys being outdoors and loves to backpack, hike, fish and cooking.

Chris Lee

Chris Lee

Member, Board of Directors Read More
Chris Lee

Chris Lee

Member, Board of Directors

Location: Austin, TX

Chris Lee is an active aircraft owner and is a Commercial Pilot with Instrument, Multi-engine, land, and sea ratings, and holds multiple jet type ratings. Chris Lee brings an extensive aviation background to the board including experience that began in 1998 at Cessna Finance Corporation. Chris held various positions at Cessna including Regional Sales Manager positions based in Kansas, Washington, Massachusetts, and Texas. In 2017, Chris joined SkyVenture International as their Global Vice President of Sales. In July 2020, Chris joined the 1st Source Bank Aviation team as Relationship Sales Officer/Vice President based in Austin, TX.

Chris has been active in Big Brothers Big Sisters, Junior Achievement and Habitat for Humanity. Chris, his wife Shannon and their two children, Sophia and Samuel currently live in the South Bend area.

Clint Burson

Clint Burson

Strategic Communications Manager Read More
Clint Burson

Clint Burson

Strategic Communications Manager

Clint Burson comes to LightHawk with more than 15 years experience in the communications field. Clint served as Director of Government Relations and Communications for the Missoula, Montana Chamber of Commerce prior to joining LightHawk. In this role, his work ranged from overseeing chamber communications efforts to fostering relationships with elected officials, agency leadership and economic development leaders. He also spent nearly a decade working in media for a daily newspaper in Hamilton, MT. Growing up in the passenger seat of a Mooney, with his dad as pilot, Clint is enthusiastic about aviation. He volunteers as a board member for EAA 517 and creates the chapter’s monthly newsletter. His bucket list includes learning to fly himself. In his spare time, Clint enjoys hiking, skiing, fishing, photography and spending time with his wife (Jessica) and son (Jaxson).

David Kunkel

David Kunkel

Treasurer, Board of Directors Read More
David Kunkel

David Kunkel

Treasurer, Board of Directors

Location: Boulder, CO

David has an extensive and successful background as an entrepreneur. He has lived in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and California, co-founding what is now Johnson, Kunkel and Associates, a civil engineering firm in Eagle, Colorado. He later founded a software and services company which catered to the needs of local governments. After selling the company to Tyler Technologies, he continued to work for Tyler as a division head until 2004. During this time he sat on Tyler’s Executive Committee and the Technology Committee. During the early 1980s he served on the Eagle County Airport (now called the Vail Eagle airport) Commission. David also has served on architectural control committees and a cooperative irrigation company board, and was named to the board of Metcalf Archaeology. He has been a LightHawk Volunteer Pilot since 2002 and flies a number of different aircraft.

Erin Cooke

Erin Cooke

Member, Board of Directors Read More
Erin Cooke

Erin Cooke

Member, Board of Directors

Location: San Francisco, California

Erin is San Francisco International Airport’s (SFO) first Sustainability Director where she is responsible for creating, implementing, and reporting on the Airport’s Strategic, Sustainability, Zero Waste, Resilience and Decarbonization Plans. By brokering and implementing high-impact emissions reduction investments within SFO’s $7.8 billion capital program, the airport has cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 41%, operationalized its first zero net energy building, banned plastic food ware and water bottles, and has become a global leader in Sustainable Aviation Fuel deliveries. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure and the ACI World Environment Standing Committee. Erin previously served the City of Cupertino as its Deputy City Manager and helped launch a countywide community choice aggregation program (Silicon Valley Clean Energy). She is a LEED AP, holds a Master’s in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University, and the proud mama of Izzy and Graham.

Erin Manzitto-Tripp

Erin Manzitto-Tripp

Member, Board of Directors Read More
Erin Manzitto-Tripp

Erin Manzitto-Tripp

Member, Board of Directors

Location: Denver, CO

Erin is a research scientist (and educator) whose work has emphasized plant and lichen biodiversity and its conservation, both throughout the United States as well as around the world, particularly the Neotropics and Africa. At the University of Colorado-Boulder, she is an Associate Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology as well as Curator of Botany in the Museum of Natural History. Her research products/publications include descriptions of hundreds of species new to science, checklists of what plants grow where (and why), and popular color regional field guides. She brings with her ample board and administrative experience as well as community outreach from her academic career, as well as a passion for flying. Erin is a Commercial Pilot who, for fun, flies her Cessna Cardinal across the USA exploring, camping, scoping out new airstrips, traversing new wildlands, and collecting plants and lichens in effort to document biodiversity and promote conservation of Earth’s most remarkable biota.

Greg Bedinger

Greg Bedinger

Member, Advisory Council Read More
Greg Bedinger

Greg Bedinger

Member, Advisory Council

Location: Tucson, AZ

Greg has been involved with LightHawk since first volunteering as a pilot in 2002, then as the staff Pilot Outreach Manager, from 2010-2016. Many of his Pacific Northwest LightHawk flights were in support of maintaining and restoring important coastal salmon habitat. Greg learned to fly in Alaska, where he lived prior to moving to Seattle in 1988, and holds ATP and instructor ratings. He first heard about “flying for the environment” while flying Beaver and Twin Otter floatplanes in coastal British Columbia as an air taxi pilot, an area where LightHawk was actively supporting efforts to highlight excessive and damaging logging practices. Greg moved to Tucson in late 2016 and since that time, the desert Southwest has provided numerous LightHawk flight opportunities in support of watersheds and wildlife, especially as it relates to international border impediments, both political and physical. Though his favorite airplane remains the de Havilland Beaver floatplane, he currently flies his wheel equipped Cessna 172, “Georgia,” an excellent platform for aerial based imagery.

Jim Becker

Jim Becker

CEO

Jim brings extensive experience to LightHawk as both an aviator and a high-tech entrepreneur. He has founded and grown various companies, ranging from pharmaceutical clinical trials to airline data communications and has worked as a consultant to various startup companies in the clean energy and health technology sectors. Jim is a seasoned pilot, with nearly 50 years of flying experience, including eight years piloting C-130s for the USAF with service in Vietnam and the Reserves. While pursuing his graduate studies, Jim taught flying at Lebanon, NH Regional Airport and has owned several twin-engine Piper Aztecs over the years. Jim holds an AB from Dartmouth, BE and ME degrees from Thayer School of Engineering, and an MBA from Amos Tuck School of Business. Apart from spending time with his family, he finds his greatest joy in hiking and rock climbing in the White Mountains, sailing along the Maine coast and offshore, scuba diving, and whenever possible, cross-country skiing.

Joanna Weitzel

Joanna Weitzel

Director of Advancement Read More
Joanna Weitzel

Joanna Weitzel

Director of Advancement

Joanna is a seasoned nonprofit leader with over 20 years of experience in marketing, development, and organizational management. With a deep passion for the natural world, she has dedicated much of her career to expanding the impact of nonprofits working to protect and conserve our natural resources. Prior to joining the LightHawk team, Joanna served as Director of Philanthropy for Welvista and held the positions of Executive Director at Camp Discovery and Carolina Wildlife Center, two conservation nonprofits. Having an M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina and a B.S. in Marketing from Clemson University, she combines her knowledge with a creative vision to drive meaningful change. In her free time, Joanna enjoys birding, hiking, and travelling to new places. She especially treasures time at her family’s cabin in Alaska. Joanna is the proud parent of two children and currently resides on Lake Murray in South Carolina with her husband and beloved pets.

John and Martha King

John and Martha King

Members, Advisory Council Read More
John and Martha King

John and Martha King

Members, Advisory Council

Location: San Diego, CA

Pilots throughout the world know John and Martha King from their fun video presentations in their courses, and regard them as their personal aviation mentors. The Kings’ use of technology and clear, simple and fun teaching have made aviation knowledge more accessible to hundreds of thousands of pilots and maintenance technicians. The Kings’ ongoing love of flying and learning has resulted in their being the first couple to both hold every category and class of FAA rating on their pilot and instructor certificates. Martha is the first and only woman to achieve this complete ratings sweep. Through the years, the Kings have retained their enthusiasm for flying. They fly their own Dassault Falcon 10 jet wherever they go, swapping captain and copilot duties on each leg. They have flown as pilots in every continent of the world except Antarctica, including a trip completely around the world via the length of Russia. John and Martha have had many awards and honors, including enshrinement into the National Aviation Hall of Fame, but they say their greatest honor has been the privilege to play an important role in the lives of so many pilots.

Jonathan Milne

Jonathan Milne

Program Manager Read More
Jonathan Milne

Jonathan Milne

Program Manager

Jonathan’s unique blend of conservation expertise and aviation exposure makes him a valuable addition to the LightHawk team. Growing up with a father who flew iconic aircraft like the PBY Catalina and Martin PBM Mariner, and a younger brother who served as a USMC AH-1 Super Cobra helicopter pilot for more than two decades, aviation has been an integral part of Jonathan’s life. Prior to joining LightHawk, he spent nearly a decade as a park ranger, first with the BLM in Oregon and later at Maine’s Baxter State Park. Throughout his career, Jonathan has been involved in various conservation initiatives across New England. He has contributed to ecological assessments for superfund sites, conducted baseline ecological surveys, monitored extensive conservation easements for multiple land trusts, carried out forestry management surveys, assessed vernal pools, and conducted wetland analysis. Jonathan holds a B.S. in Recreation and Park Management from the University of Maine and an M.S. in Environmental Science/Conservation Biology from Green Mountain College in Vermont.

Josh Marvil

Josh Marvil

Secretary, Board of Directors Read More
Josh Marvil

Josh Marvil

Secretary, Board of Directors

Location: Yarmouth, ME

Josh worked in environmental consulting and finance in a variety of executive and management positions for national and international companies. He currently lives in Maine and works as managing partner for a private investment partnership. Josh is a Director of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, former Chairman of LightHawk, and Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees at the Chewonki Foundation, a non-profit environmental education institution. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, M.S. from the University of Colorado, and MBA/MAFM from the University of Chicago. He is an instrument-rated commercial pilot and flies a Cirrus SR22.

Kimberly Eckert

Kimberly Eckert

Vice Chair, Board of Directors Read More
Kimberly Eckert

Kimberly Eckert

Vice Chair, Board of Directors

Location: Denver, CO

Kimberly was raised in rural Montana and, after graduating from The University of Montana, spent 10 years in New York City working in investment banking and investment management, with a brief hiatus to New Hampshire to earn her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She moved to Denver in 2011 to be closer to the mountains where she continued her career in the natural resources industry. She officially stepped off the corporate ladder in 2017 to pursue her own ventures. She stepped out of her finance comfort zone to launch her own natural foods company, Eva’s Energy, a with a goal to get people back into their kitchens by “making homemade easy”. While working to grow the food brand, she spent a year applying nearly two decades of experience in finance as the Chief Financial Officer of a geothermal energy start up converting existing oil and gas assets into low-temperature power generation facilities, before transitioning to other opportunities. From food to energy and everything in between, she is passionate about evolving the way we extract and utilize the earth’s resources. In addition to her entrepreneurial pursuits, she believes strongly in giving back to the local community. In addition to serving on the Board of LightHawk, she volunteers with the International Rescue Committee – Denver Chapter as a Family Mentor, coordinates the Tuck Alumni Chapter of Colorado, and is the Treasurer of the Junior League of Denver Foundation.

Michael Sutton

Michael Sutton

Member, Advisory Council Read More
Michael Sutton

Michael Sutton

Member, Advisory Council

Location: Carmel Valley, CA

Mike currently serves as Executive Director of Audubon California and Vice President of the Pacific Flyway for the National Audubon Society. He served as Vice President and Director of the Center for the Future of the Oceans for the Monterey Bay Aquarium for eight years, and prior to that he headed the Ocean Conservation Program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in northern California. Mike founded and directed World Wildlife Fund’s Endangered Seas Campaign and before joining the WWF staff, he served as a park ranger with the National Park Service and as a special agent with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Mike has served as a senior advisor on ocean issues to the Departments of Commerce and State and has lectured at graduate seminars nationally. He pursued graduate studies in marine biology at the University of Sydney, Australia, and received a natural resources law degree from George Washington University. Mike is an instrument-rated private pilot and Cessna T210 owner, and enjoys scuba diving, wildlife and underwater photography, and skiing.

Rick Durden

Rick Durden

Member, Advisory Council Read More
Rick Durden

Rick Durden

Member, Advisory Council

Location: Conifer, CO

Rick Durden has been a volunteer pilot for LightHawk since 1990 and has served on its Board of Directors and as executive director. He holds CFII and ATP ratings, is type-rated in the Douglas DC-3 and Cessna Citation. He has written extensively on public benefit flying safety. He currently splits his time between practicing aviation law and editing two aviation magazines. In 2015 he was one of three volunteer pilots who received the Endeavor Award a prestigious honor recognizing service to public benefit flying.

Rudy Engholm

Rudy Engholm

Member, Advisory Council Read More
Rudy Engholm

Rudy Engholm

Member, Advisory Council

Location: Cumberland Foreside, ME and Lake Wales, FL

Rudy Engholm served as LightHawk’s executive director from 2007-2014. He founded Northern Wings, an environmental flying organization that merged into LightHawk in 2003. He joined LightHawk’s board at that time and served as board president from 2005-2007. Rudy holds a commercial pilot certificate and has also been active in a number of environmental issues, including the campaign to create a new Maine Woods National Park. He has a B.S. in computer engineering and a law degree from the University of Michigan. He practiced law in the late 1970s with a Connecticut law firm, then served for ten years as vice president and general counsel of Creative Solutions, Inc., a Michigan-based tax and accounting software company. Rudy spent his childhood in Japan and speaks a modest amount of Japanese.

Russ Cowart

Russ Cowart

Member, Advisory Council Read More
Russ Cowart

Russ Cowart

Member, Advisory Council

Location: Fort Collins, CO

Russ Cowart is the founder of i-cubed, a remote sensing and GIS solutions company recognized as one of the world’s most respected geospatial technology firms. He has also worked as a field geologist. He completed a BS in Geology from Colorado College, graduate studies in Natural Resource Economics with CU Boulder, and Management of Technology with MIT.

Sally Ranney

Sally Ranney

Member, Advisory Council Read More
Sally Ranney

Sally Ranney

Member, Advisory Council

Location: Colorado and Patagonia

Sally has a thirty-year career in the public and private sectors dedicated to environmental, public land and water policy. She is an internationally recognized wildland conservation specialist and activist. Ms. Ranney was a founding LightHawk Board member and has been a long-time advocate of LightHawk. Ms. Ranney is CEO of Stillwater Preservation, LLC, a wetlands mitigation banking company and President of Rising Wolf International, Inc., a natural resource consulting group. She founded and served as President of American Wildlands, an NGO dedicated to protecting wildlands and wildlife through legislative and legal strategies.

Stephanie Wells

Stephanie Wells

Member, Advisory Council Read More
Stephanie Wells

Stephanie Wells

Member, Advisory Council

Location: Arvada, CO

Stephanie Wells is a retired professional pilot now living in Arvada, Colorado. During her 10 years in the active Air Force, she began as a weather forecaster, and after pilot training, instructed in the T-37, T-38 and C-130. This was followed by 10 more years in the Reserves flying C-5s. Stephanie worked for NASA at the Johnson Space Center for 17 years as a staff pilot supporting the manned space program. She finished her government career with the FAA in the Denver FSDO as an operations inspector. She has always been active in general aviation, and now owns an RV-7 and a 1/4 share in a Cessna 182 which she flies donated missions for LightHawk. She has a strong training and safety background, as well as education in meteorology and climatology. Combining flying and her passion for the environment brought her to LightHawk.

Steve Kent

Steve Kent

Chair, Board of Directors Read More
Steve Kent

Steve Kent

Chair, Board of Directors

Location: Warwick, NY

Steve has been involved with the outdoors and aviation from early childhood. He started with Cessna Aircraft Company as an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic with Inspection Authorization. This led to a variety of positions with increasing responsibilities that have included Propeller, Caravan and Citation Sales. A highly experienced demonstration pilot, he loves sharing amazing aircraft with prospective owners. Currently the Regional Sales Director for Textron Aviation Propeller Products for the Northeast US and Eastern Canada. As an avid seaplane owner and pilot he looks forward to leveraging the unique airborne perspective to advance conservation issues around various watersheds as a volunteer pilot and board member for LightHawk. Steve and Kristine reside in southern New York.

Terri Watson

Terri Watson

Member, Advisory Council Read More
Terri Watson

Terri Watson

Member, Advisory Council

Location: Lander, WY

Terri Watson has a long history with LightHawk beginning as a volunteer pilot in 1997. Terri served as LightHawk’s executive director twice (2014-2020 and 2001-2003) and flight services director (2000-2001). Terri is a former EMS pilot and U.S. Army aviator in fixed and rotary wing service. Terri is a 7000+ hour commercial pilot with airplane single / multi-engine land and sea, helicopter, instrument-airplane and helicopter ratings, and flight instructor ratings for each of these. She has flown throughout the world in military and civilian applications, many of them remote area operations. She is currently the Executive Director of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) based in Lander, Wyoming.

Tom McMurray

Tom McMurray

Member, Advisory Council Read More
Tom McMurray

Tom McMurray

Member, Advisory Council

Location: Jackson, WY

Tom is currently the Chairman and President of Marine Ventures Foundation which he created a decade ago with the mission to improve and protect critical marine, coastal and river habitats in North America, South America and the Caribbean. He first flew a Lighthawk mission in 2009 to photo baseline the Henrys Fork of the Snake River and has since flown several other Lighthawk missions. In addition, Tom is the Chairman of the Ocean Foundation, a global community foundation for ocean preservation, board member of the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, Tag a Giant Fund and Lateral Line Fund and also an active investor on conservation causes. Previously Tom was a partner at Sequoia Capital, a venture capital company that invested in Apple, Oracle, Cisco Systems, Yahoo and Google. Tom holds a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University and received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from Duke in 1980.

Will Worthington

Will Worthington

Member, Board of Directors Read More
Will Worthington

Will Worthington

Member, Board of Directors

Location: Carefree, AZ

Will is the founder and president of Pipetech International, an engineering firm that specializes in testing and failure analysis of water and petroleum pipelines worldwide. He graduated from West Point and was a commissioned officer in the regular Army and Arizona Army National Guard for 30 years. He was an officer with the Army Corps of Engineers with many challenging assignments all over the world, including two years in Vietnam. He supervised the design of a $4.5 billion water project for the Bureau of Reclamation and holds three U.S. patents for pipeline diagnostic test inventions. He has over 4,800 hours as pilot in command and holds commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates. Will is a registered professional engineer in Arizona and California. He is a LightHawk volunteer pilot and received the Spirit of LightHawk award in 2012.

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