Laura Capps has spent over 15 years developing strategic communications and issue advocacy campaigns for some of the nation’s highest profile public officials, including President Bill Clinton, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Secretary John Kerry’s presidential campaign, and other leading organizations. She now runs her own public affairs consulting practice out of her hometown of Santa Barbara, CA. Laura is an active volunteer in her community. In addition to her work on national boards, she is involved locally on the boards of the Community Environmental Council, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and the Interfaith Initiative of Santa Barbara County. She is also an elected member of the Santa Barbara School Board.
Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Jordan benShea has over twenty years of experience in marketing, strategic thinking and nonprofit development. Jordan is a strategic marketing consultant for her business SkyView Projects, providing organizations and nonprofits with innovative ways to share their story and engage their audience. She is regularly engaged in discussions on fundraising, social media, humanizing audience interactions, encouraging stakeholder communications, and producing effective initiatives. Jordan was chosen to participate in and completed a seven month Board Leadership Institute through the Santa Barbara Foundation and recently won the California Cox Conserves Hero award for her environmental stewardship.
John H. Steed, J.D. has 31 years of experience in private practice after earning his degree from Harvard Law School in 1977. He has specialized in corporate law, financial services, and real estate transactions with private law firms in Orlando, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and Tokyo. He continues to investigate opportunities for collaboration between U.S. and Japanese companies in the fields of renewable energy generation and power storage.
Karl Hutterer, Ph.D. is the Emeritus Director at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, after serving a 12-year tenure. He served for ten years as the Director of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington, where he also held an appointment as Professor of Anthropology. Karl has held positions at numerous other universities including in the Philippines, at the University of Hawaii, the East-West Center in Hawaii, Bryn Mawr College, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has served or serves on several national and state boards of museum and nonprofit organizations.
Board Members At Large
Catherine Brozowski has a long history of non-profit stewardship, and is the former Vice President of the Orfaela Foundation. After gaining a Master’s of Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management, she began her career at the National Network of Grantmakers, a network of progressive funders. She went on to act as the Corporate Giving Manager for Washington Mutual, managing their philanthropy throughout the Southeast, and helped the Group Health Foundation form national initiatives. Catherine also served on the Board of Directors of Montana Yellowstone Expeditions Foundation, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, and Donors Forum of South Florida. In Santa Barbara she was formerly Vice President of the Santa Barbara Foundation, and currently is on the Eleos Foundation Board.
Adam Green, Ph.D., is a Biological Sciences professor and the Director of the Center for Sustainability at Santa Barbara City College. In his time at SBCC he has advised in the purchase of 235kW of solar energy generation, designed and planned a food-producing garden on campus to provide produce to food services, implemented a food scrap collection for composting, and helped alleviate the parking and transportation challenges. In addition to his teaching career, Adam has collaborated and co-hosted events with Santa Barbara Permaculture Network, Fairview Gardens, Loa Tree, Quail Springs, UCSB, The Sustainability Project, Citizens Planning Association, the City of Santa Barbara, and Oasis Design.
Bruce Kendall is a professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research seeks to advance the science that underlies endangered species conservation and sustainable fisheries management. Bruce’s broad interest in sustainable development has also led him to work on expanding campus sustainability at UCSB, where as Associate Dean for the Graduate Division he has endeavored to expand opportunities for interdisciplinary research and education for graduate students across the campus.
Kim Kimbell is a founding partner in the law firm of Allen & Kimbell, LLP in Santa Barbara, and has practiced for 41 years with an emphasis on real estate law and practice. An active community member, he previously served on the Community Environmental Council Board of Directors for nineteen years and was President for five. He is also a past President of the Goleta Valley Historical Society and current Chairman of the County-appointed Gaviota Planning Advisory Committee. He is active in numerous other civic and charitable organizations including the Dean’s Council of the Bren School at UCSB, San Roque St. Vincent’s de Paul Society, and the Trust for Public Land California Advisory Board. Kim maintains a working relationship with many elected officials at the state, county and local level.
Charles Newman is a native Southern Californian who received his B.A. from U.C.S.B. and a J.D. from Washington University’s School of Law. In a career spanning 38 years, Charles specialized in the defense of complex, class action suits. Locally, he has served the Montecito Water Board as director and chair of multiple committees. In January 2017 he was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve as a commissioner on the Montecito Planning Commission. Charles is also a member of the Environmental Defense Council, Human Rights Watch, the Montecito Association, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Photo Futures, the Sierra Club, Social Venture Partners, and UCSB’s Capps & Taubman Centers.
Recent Past Presidents
Dennis Allen is the CEO and founder of Allen Associates, an award-winning construction company specializing in green building. For over 30 years Dennis has taught courses on sustainable design and construction through the University of California Extension Program and at the Santa Barbara Community College Adult Education Program.
Dennis is also a Board member of the Museum of Natural History and chair of the Dean’s Council at the Bren Graduate School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB. He is active in the Green Building Alliance, the Santa Barbara Contractors Association, the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and is involved with the Santa Barbara County Innovative Building Review Program. He also is the founder of the Parade of Green Buildings.
Dave Davis was CEO/Executive Director of CEC for 10 years, and co-currently served part of that time as CEC’s Board President. He currently serves as the Chair of the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District Board of Directors, the provider of regional transit services to the Santa Barbara South Coast and a national leader in the electric bus technology. Dave also serves on the boards of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project and the Santa Barbara Built Green Advisory Council.
With a Bachelor and Master of Arts in Economics from University of California, Santa Barbara, Dave served as the City of Santa Barbara’s Community Development Director and City Planner for almost 25 years before retiring from public service. He has also taught planning and environmental studies at University of California, Los Angeles and Moorpark College. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including national recognition for planning innovation from the National League of Cities, social advocacy from the American Planning Association, and lifetime achievement from the American Institute of Architects. He has been named “Planner of the Year” by the Santa Barbara Citizen’s Planning Association, “Citizen of the Year” by the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization, and has been recognized for distinction by the Pacific Coast Business Times in “Who’s Who in Clean Tech and Sustainability.”
Dr. Ivor John has a background in meteorology and climate change with degrees from the University of Reading and the University of Wales. For more than 30 years, he has worked as a consultant on a wide range of environmental, safety and risk management issues, providing services to a broad range of industry sectors, including oil and gas, chemicals, power generation, utilities, and municipalities. In recent years, Ivor has focused on climate change and greenhouse gases (GHGs). He was one of the first verifiers of GHG emissions in California and the United States, and his work has been primarily with energy companies and utilities (including Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and GE Corporation). Board President at CEC from 2007 to 2009, he is currently chair of the ECOFaith Coalition of Santa Barbara County.
Board Members Emeritus
In 1970, Marc McGinnes led the founding of one of America’s first ecology centers, the Community Environmental Council of Santa Barbara, and in 1977 one of the first public interest environmental law firms, the Environmental Defense Center.
Marc retired from his regular teaching duties in 2005 as a Senior Senate Lecturer in the Environmental Studies Program, capping a distinguished teaching career at UCSB that began in 1972. He is a former director of Congress on Optimum Population and Environment, Chicago, and Earth Island Institute, San Francisco. As a legal ecologist, Marc’s presentations on Using and Practicing Law as a Healing Art have been featured at numerous conferences on peacemaking, conflict resolution and environmental law. He is a founder and director of the Peaceful Resolutions Institute and Community Mediation Program of Santa Barbara.
Paul Relis became the founding Executive Director of the Community Environmental Council in 1970, a year after the infamous Santa Barbara Oil Spill of January 28, 1969. Along with wife Kathy and other colleagues, he established the Santa Barbara Ecology Center that included a bookstore featuring the outpouring of new environmental literature, a public meeting center and environmental displays. The Ecology Center was the headquarters for the CEC magazine, “The Survival Times” that offered readers in-depth stories on local, regional and national environmental literature.
In quick succession, Paul led the CEC to establish the Chapala Garden, an organic garden in the heart of the downtown, Santa Barbara Earth Day, and the El Mirasol Polyculture Farm, an environmental education center. In the mid 1970s Paul worked with CEC’s then co-director and later Santa Barbara Mayor, Hal Conklin, to develop recycling in Santa Barbara and later an environmental think tank, the Gildea Center. It was CEC’s pioneering work in developing recycling programs and policies that led Governor Pete Wilson to appoint Paul to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, an executive position in the California Environmental Protection Agency where he oversaw the implementation of California’s far reaching recycling and composting programs from 1991-1998.
Since 1998 Paul has served as Senior Vice President of an environmental services company in Southern California where he has led the development of technology to convert the organic portion of municipal waste to renewable natural gas and soil products–a zero waste technology. He has written many articles on a wide range of environmental topics and remains very involved in California’s recycling and renewable energy programs.
He has been a Lecturer at UCSB, his alma mater, since he was appointed to that position in 1996.
Paul served as a Board Member of the CEC from 1998 until 2010, and served as Board President from 2005-2006. He resigned from the Board in 2010 after forty years of involvement in all aspects of CEC’s endeavors. He continues to provide financial support and expertise to the group.
Selma Rubin moved to Santa Barbara in 1964. During her long and active life, she was a catalyst for change in local politics and environmental issues. She played an integral role in establishing The January 28 Committee formed in response to the 1969 oil spill, which went on to become the Community Environmental Council. On March 16, 1970 CEC became a legal non-profit, and Selma served as the Treasurer, as well as serving on numerous other CEC committees during her many years of service.
In 1970, she played a primary role in halting the proposed development slated to build 1,500+ homes on the Gaviota Coast. In 1995 she received the SB Independent Hero Award recognizing her many contributions. Selma has been honored with numerous prestigious environmental awards over the years. She remained active on the CEC Board continuously from 1970 until March of 2006.
Selma was a Santa Barbara legend and treasure, and has been a founder and/or Board member of at least 42 organizations, including the Environmental Defense Center, Fairview Gardens, the American Civil Liberties Union, SBCAN, PUEBLO, Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee and many other community organizations supporting Santa Barbara’s social and environmental well-being.