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John Avella

Executive Director of CSUMB Sustainable Hospitality Programs

John’s background includes 45 years of human resource development and operations experience in the hospitality industry. He has been Vice President of Human Resources for Marriott Corporation, The Rainbow Room and Windows on the World. He was also the Human Resource Director at the 2002 Olympics for all food service facilities. He worked for the Cleveland Browns Stadium to open their upscale food facilities in 1999 and has been the Director of Human Resources for the US Tennis Open food facilities.

Extended Bio

John is presently the Executive Director of Sustainable Hospitality Management Program at Cal State University, Monterey Bay. John has developed a degree in Sustainable Hospitality Management, which commenced on August 2015. He has conducted extensive research in the field of Sustainable Hospitality to develop this cutting-edge degree. He is also President of EQ International Perspectives (New York and Monterey). Their clients include: Google, Coca Cola, Toyota, Columbia University, New Jersey Restaurant Association, Sony Pictures, and Metro-North Railways, to mention a few. He has a Doctoral degree from Columbia University, with a concentration in Adult and Organizational Learning. His research focused on the application of Emotional Intelligence to Guest service training. Dr. Avella has spoken nationally and internationally about the application of Emotional Intelligence to Customer loyalty and leadership. John is also a Master Trainer for the EQi 2.0 and 360, the most validated assessment instrument that measures Emotional Intelligence skills. John has coached senior executives from many national and international organizations. He is a member of the Board of Directors for California Travel Association and the Monterey County Hospitality Association. As a member of the MCHA Education Committee, John helped develop My Monterey, a seminar designed to give guests the highest quality experience, designed for hospitality industry employees who interact with guests. John has also competed nationally and internationally in Triathlons for the past 24 years.
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Ted Balestreri

CEO, Cannery Row Company

In 1957, Ted moved with his family from Brooklyn, New York to the Monterey Peninsula. A 1958 graduate of Carmel High School, he attended Monterey Peninsula College and graduated from Lewis Hotel Management School in Washington, D.C. in 1961. Ted also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration in Hospitality Management from Johnson and Wales University (1987).

Extended Bio

As a young man with a dream, Ted formed a partnership in 1968 and opened the now-famous Sardine Factory Restaurant on Cannery Row in Monterey – with which he remains actively engaged as Chairman and CEO and Co-Owner. However, his entrepreneurial spirit didn’t stop there. Today, he is Chairman and CEO of the Cannery Row Company and Foursome Development Company, which owns commercial buildings throughout Monterey and central California, including shopping centers, offices, retail stores and food and beverage outlets. The companies own 82% of Cannery Row, a renowned and historic tourism area that includes luxury hotels, art galleries, restaurants and shops. For more than four decades, the Cannery Row Company has committed itself to sensitively restoring and revitalizing the area, making it the world-class tourism destination it is today. In 2001, Ted and his partners purchased three boutique hotel properties in the Cannery Row area and formed the Inns of Monterey. A few years later, the historic Casa Munras Garden Hotel& Spa was added to the Inns of Monterey, and most recently, the Otter Inn. Along the way, Ted has been the driving force behind numerous ventures, including Pacific Hospitality (inc .1983 -2007), which held several franchise rights for Wendy’s International. Tirelessly dedicated to the development of the hospitality industry both on the Monterey Peninsula and throughout the United States, Ted has served as President of the following organizations: National Restaurant Association (1985-86), California Restaurant Association(1983-84) and Monterey County Hospitality Association (1974-75). He was Chairman of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation(1990-91) and Chairman of the U.S. Culinary Team Foundation (1989-1992), as established by the National Restaurant Association and American Culinary Federation. From 1992-93 he was Chairman of the Board of the International Gold & Silver Plate Society (under the auspices of IFMA – International Foodservice Manufacturers Association) and Chairman of DiRoNA – Distinguished Restaurants of North America (1992-1994). In 1985, Ted was appointed by Governor George Deukmejian as a Commissioner of the California Travel and Tourism Commission, and served through to 2007, as the longest-seated Tourism Commissioner in the State’s history. In February 1995, he was appointed as the California delegate to the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism, and in December 1996 was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to serve on the California Italian-American Task Force. In January 1993 the Monterey City Council appointed him to the Citizens’ Advisory Committee for Economic Development, (for the City’s General and Economic Strategy Plan). He remains an active member of the World Travel & Tourism Council, (July 1997 to present), and was a featured speaker at the 2013 WTTC Asia-Pacific Summit in Seoul. In 2016 he was appointed to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, under the Department of Commerce. He received the 2016 President’s Award from the Monterey County Business Council, which honors one individual for his or her contributions to the economic vitality, growth and preservation of Monterey County. He was also presented with the 2016 President’s Award from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. In 2015 he received the California Travel Association Tourism Steward of the Year award for extraordinary contributions towards protecting, preserving, and restoring,improving and expanding California’s natural, cultural and historical treasures. California State University at Monterey Bay honored him in 2015 with a Business Leader Award for his exemplary contributions to the business and economic development of the Monterey Bay region. Ever an advocate for education and investing in future generations, Ted currently serves on the Boards of The Panetta Institute for Public Policy, the Boys and Girls Club of Monterey County, the Trustees for Stevenson School, the California State University, Monterey Bay President’s Council and Rancho Cielo Youth Campus. He has been a major contributor to scholarship funds through local and national educational foundations. To help raise money for these causes, he has hosted the annual Ted J. Balestreri Leadership Classic for more than two decades. Always concerned for the welfare of the community at large, Ted also served on the Board for the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula and is a strong supporter of the armed forces, education and the Knights of Malta. Two of the most prestigious awards recognizing Ted’s achievements in the hospitality industry include: ● November 1996,winner of the Boy Scouts of America, Monterey Bay Area Council”Humanitarian Good Turn Award” ● October 1993,winner of the Hall of Leaders Award – given by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) ● May 1984, winner of the Gold Plate Award, (the highest honor possible in the industry), from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association ● June 1982, recipient of the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement Ted has lived the “American Dream,”emerging from humble beginnings to become an instrumental figure in shaping the Monterey Peninsula into a thriving business center and world-renowned tourist attraction. If you ask Ted the secret to his success, he will probably tell you that it’s all about character and courage – and this drive and passion is evident in everything he does. Ted and his wife Velma have been married for more than 40 years and have two sons, Theodore II and Vincent. Both are actively involved in the company business.
Margaret Spring

Margaret Spring

VP of Conservation and Science, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Margaret directs the Aquarium’s conservation and science efforts, which include research programs involving sea otters, great white sharks, Pacific bluefin tuna and other species, as well as its respected Seafood Watch program and ocean policy initiatives. She has served at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as general counsel to Congress, and as coastal and marine program director for The Nature Conservancy. Spring serves on a number of boards including the California Ocean Science Trust, the Ocean Studies Board and Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust.

Tammy

Tammy Blount

President and CEO of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Tammy Blount is a tourism professional with a career of nearly 30 years, starting in the hotel industry in her home city of Vancouver, BC to her current role as the President and CEO of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Extended Bio

Tammy’s career has included participation in a variety of state, regional and national tourism initiatives leading to her current place on the Executive Committee of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). Tammy will be DMAI’s Chair in 2017, only the fifth woman to do so in more than 100 years. She currently serves as DMAI’s Chair-Elect and co-chairs its Destination Next Task Force. She serves on the board of US Travel, and Visit California’s CEO Destinations Council and International Committee. Tammy was recently recognized as one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry, one of the top 25 Most Influential Women in the industry, and as 2015 CEO of the Year. Her background includes the executive leadership position as CEO of the Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau where she was also the architect and inaugural Chair of the Washington Tourism Alliance. Tammy was also on the leadership team of Tourism Vancouver for more than a decade. She holds Fellow Certified Destination Marketing Executive (FCDME) certification and in addition to spending every day focused on driving visitation for Monterey County, she also seeks ways to support the overall development and enhancement of the community she serves.
Anna

Anna Caballero

California State Assembly Member, 30th Assembly District

Anna Caballero was elected in November 2016 to the California State Assembly to represent the 30th Assembly District, which includes the Salinas Valley, parts of Monterey and San Benito counties, South Santa Clara County and the city of Watsonville.

Extended Bio

Anna has a 30 year legacy of public service in her community. She received her undergraduate degree from UC San Diego, and her law degree from UCLA. After graduating law school she moved to Salinas to provide legal services to farmworkers. Along with her partners, Anna made the commitment to open an office in Salinas and Hollister to provide legal services to working families at a reasonable price. She also started a non-profit called “Partners in Peace” to develop strategies to reduce youth and gang violence. At the request of her housing association she ran for Salinas City Council and served for seven years; where she focused on affordable housing, strengthening the business and commercial opportunities for growth, the redevelopment of downtown, and providing more parks and recreational space for kids and families. She became the first female Mayor of Salinas in 1998, and as Mayor she raised over $80,000 in private funds to fund city libraries, and she put a measure on the ballot to raise money for essential services during a state budget crisis. Anna was first elected to the State Assembly in 2006, where she continued to focus on meeting the needs of local residents. She made it easier for farmers to utilize their land to build farmworker housing, gave local governments more time to commit redevelopment dollars to rehabilitate affordable housing units in their communities, and created a parks grant incentive for park poor communities who build affordable housing. She facilitated the transfer of state land to a local community to assist in the expansion of the waste water treatment facility, and facilitated in obtaining funds for a water agency to assist in upgrades and much needed technology. She was also able to access much needed gang intervention funds to help reduce gang violence in the region, creating a partnership with the Highway Patrol and the Department of Justice. An advocate for education, she also voted to extend state student aid to undocumented students applying for citizenship. She showed solidarity with other government workers whose salary was cut due to the budget, by taking a 10% pay-cut in her Assembly salary. From 2010 to 2016, Anna joined Governor Edmund G. Brown’s cabinet as Secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. Under her leadership, 65 million dollars were allocated to build housing and provide services for homeless veterans, provide struggling families access to home refinancing assistance, and establish new funding criteria for affordable housing and sustainable communities. New funding criteria for affordable housing also included rural communities, an effort that aids in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. As Secretary she oversaw the largest civil rights department in the country, the protection of consumer rights through the licensing of over 3 million individuals and businesses in California, and the development and maintenance of affordable housing statewide. During her time working with Governor Brown, Anna was the highest-ranking Latina in state government. Anna’s leadership has inspired generations of young leaders to work hard, and help build a strong community for the future. She has been a tireless advocate for families, farmers, veterans, workers, the disabled, seniors, and teachers. She is honored to continue this work in the state Assembly.
Janine Chicourrat

Janine Chicourrat

General Manager - Portola Hotel & Spa

Janine Chicourrat’s career has encompassed successful tenures at some of California’s most renowned hospitality companies, including Pebble Beach Resorts and the Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group. She now brings nearly 20+years of operations and management leadership to her position as general manager of the Portola Hotel & Spa, where she spearheaded their U.S. Green Building Council LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification.

Extended Bio

Chicourrat spent eight years at the world-famous Pebble Beach Resorts, rapidly moving up through the ranks from room division manager to general manager of Casa Palermo & The Spa at Pebble Beach, and later The Lodge at Pebble Beach. She led the opening team for Casa Palermo, and in 1999 was tapped to take over the operations for the 22,000-square-foot Spa at Pebble Beach. While serving as general manager of The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Chicourrat was involved in all aspects of running the Lodge Division as well as assisting in the coordination of such high-profile events as the AT&T Pro-Am and Concours d’Elegance car show. Under her guidance, The Lodge was touted as the Top Resort in Mainland U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler’s 2003 Readers’ Choice Awards Poll, one of the most prestigious honors in the hospitality industry. Chicourrat began her career in the hospitality industry in 1993 as a sales manager for the Kimpton Group’s Monticello Inn. Seeking to establish herself at the San Francisco-based hospitality management company, she worked in several capacities across various properties before moving up to general manager of Monticello Inn. After seven years with the Kimpton Group, Chicourrat moved to Lake Tahoe to take on the role of director of lodging operations for Northstar at Tahoe, where she oversaw the operations of 260 privately-owned homes and condominiums. Along with her responsibilities at the Portola Hotel & Spa, Chicourrat currently serves on the board of the Monterey County Hospitality Association, the board for the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the board of The Offset Project, the Foundation board for CSU Monterey Bay, the board of Managers for Community Health Innovations and on the board of the Carmel Residents Association. She also served as a hospitality representative for the United States Agency and International Development (USAID) program, working with the City of Monterey,Country of Croatia and The City of Dubrovnik on economic development. Chicourrat currently resides in Carmel with her husband, Dave Potter, a Monterey County Supervisor.
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Bud Colligan

Founder and CEO at South Swell Ventures

John C. “Bud” Colligan is a community activist, social entrepreneur, investor and company builder. He is Co-Chairman of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, a non-profit community-development organization, founder and CEO of South Swell Ventures, a private investment firm, former partner at Accel Partners, a global venture capital firm, and former Chairman and CEO of Macromedia, a multimedia software company.

Extended Bio

John C. “Bud” Colligan is a community activist, social entrepreneur, investor and company builder. He is Co-Chairman of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, a non-profit community-development organization, founder and CEO of South Swell Ventures, a private investment firm, former partner at Accel Partners, a global venture capital firm, and former Chairman and CEO of Macromedia, a multimedia software company. In 1983, Colligan joined Apple Inc. as part of the team that launched the groundbreaking Macintosh personal computer. He later headed Apple’s higher-education marketing group and grew revenues to more than half-a-billion dollars within three years. During his tenure at Apple, Colligan funded and sponsored Apple’s visionary Knowledge Navigator video that premiered at Educom in 1987. As an early expert in education technology, in 1989, Colligan was recruited to be the CEO of Authorware, a computer-based learning software provider. In 1992, he co-founded Macromedia, resulting from the merger of Authorware and MacroMind-Paracomp. He served as CEO of Macromedia from 1992 to 1997 and took the company public on NASDAQ in December, 1993. In 1996, Ernst and Young recognized Colligan as the “Software Entrepreneur of the Year.” He served as Chairman of the Board of Macromedia until July, 1998. During Colligan’s tenure, Macromedia’s annual revenues grew to more than $100 million. In 2005, Adobe Systems acquired Macromedia for $3.4 billion. In 1976, Colligan graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown with a BSFS in International Economics. In 1983, Colligan earned an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Roberto Fernandez

Roberto Fernandez

Owner and GM of Pacuare Lodge

He is owner and GM of Pacuare Lodge, under his administration his property has won many global awards on Sustainable Tourism the most important one and tough to get National Geographic awards because how committed they are on taking care the environment but also succeed in the business of doing tourism and hotel. You can go to their website and take more info if it helps.

Extended Bio

Roberto was born and raised in Turrialba, a small town located to the east of San José near the Turrialba Volcano and some of Costa Rica’s most scenic rivers. Set in a lush valley surrounded by coffee and sugar cane plantations, the town is a white water mecca that draws rafters and kayakers from all over the world. From a very young age Roberto found himself attracted to the area’s abundant natural resources and particularly enjoyed engaging in adventure sports and activities. It was this same restless and adventurous spirit that drove him to begin Aventuras Naturales (Costa Rica Nature Adventures) in 1987. Since then Roberto has worked enthusiastically to promote an innovative and responsible tourism that is distinguished by the excellence and quality of the experience. “I have a wonderful daughter and a lovely wife who shares with me the blessing of managing a company whose staff is a continual source of encouragement and pride.” Roberto is married to Luz Cáceres, the sales and marketing director of Costa Rica Nature Adventures.
José María Figures Olsen

José María Figures Olsen

Chairman of Carbon 21 and the Global Fairness Initiative

The Honorable Mr. José María Figures Olsen was the President of Costa Rica from 1994-1998. He is currently the Chairman of Carbon 21 and the Global Fairness Initiative.

Extended Bio

After a successful business career (1979-1987), José María served as Minister of State and was later elected President of Costa Rica (1994-1998) as the nation’s youngest elected president of the 20th century at the age of 39. As President he created a comprehensive national development strategy based on the tenets of sustainability: sound economics, investment in human development, and a strong alliance with nature. In 2000, he joined the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, and later he worked with Concordia 21 in Madrid. Since 2010, he has been Chairman of the Carbon War Room, an independent non-profit organization focused on the global transition to a low-carbon economy. On March 27, 2012, Sir Richard Branson announced that he was appointed as the new President of the Carbon War Room. José María pioneered the linkage between sustainable development and technology, which he continued after government by helping create and then leading the United Nations ICT Task Force as its first Chairperson in 1999. In 2013, José María helped launch the Global Ocean Commission to formulate politically and technically feasible recommendations that address key issues facing the high seas. He serves as Co-Chair. José María holds an engineering degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and a master’s in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Kurt Gollnick

Kurt Gollnick

COO Scheid Vineyards Inc.

Kurt joined Scheid Vineyards in 1988. He received a BS degree in agricultural business management from CalPoly San Luis Obispo, vineyard manager for Bien Nacido Vineyards in Santa Maria and French Camp Vineyards in Paso Robles, Ag Leadership Class XVI. His non-winery claims to fame are: serving as the Notre Dame High School soccer coach, director of California Association of Winegrape Growers for 9 years, a past Chair of the Community Foundation of Monterey County, a Chairman of 1st Capital Bank, and last but not least ,being awarded the Ben Heller Award for Leadership and Courage by the Center for Community Advocacy to honor his work in improving the quality of life for farmworkers.

Extended Bio

He lists his pet peeves as wilted plants,bent grape stakes, cigarette smoke, botrytis, barbed hooks. Kurt also thoroughly enjoys racing cars and currently his ground speed record was made in a 1999 Porsche Carrera on Highway 5 in Bakersfield going 135 mph. His favorite Scheid wine is the 2nd bottle of Scheid Vineyards “Isabelle” Sparkling Wine, and his favorite al-ism is “May the good Lord willin’ and the crik don’t rise.”
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Alfonso Gómez

Vice President - Azucarera El Viejo

Alfonso joined Azucarera El Viejo in 2010 as Vice President. The company is an agro-industrial company producing both sugar and supplying the National Electric System using a byproduct of the production process. Prior to this he worked in the finance sector in London. He received a Bachelor in Economics from the University College London and a Masters in Philosophy-Finance from the University of Cambridge.

Allison Gosselin

Allison Gosselin

Director of Engineering and Sustainability - Aramark

As Director of Engineering and Sustainability of Aramark, Allison specializes in reducing the environmental impact of large-scale operations and minimizing environmental risks that arise through daily activities and services provided.

Extended Bio

To this end, she and her team design and implement programs that will reduce overall waste generation and natural resource consumption, as well as building robust systems to divert waste from landfills and reduce risks to local watersheds and air quality. In addition to her work for Aramark Leisure, Allison participates in Aramark’s Corporate Social Responsibility Team and the Aramark Office of Environmental Sustainability. Allison earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Bucknell University and an Master of Engineering degree in materials science and engineering from MIT.
Shyam Kamath

Shyam Kamath

Dean, College of Business at California State University, Monterey Bay

Shyam Kamath, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized scholar and educator who has gained recognition as a global innovator and expert in the area of business management, experiential learning and business program innovation. He is the founding Dean of the College of Business at CSU, Monterey Bay and has held academic and administrative positions at leading universities in the U.S., Canada, Asia and Europe.

Extended Bio

He is the recipient of numerous international teaching and research awards. Previously, he was an entrepreneur as a co-founder of three start- ups,has pioneered a number of academic start-ups and has worked for leading international firms in the energy equipment and consumer goods areas. He has been a consultant to four governments and over 100 companies and non-profits worldwide. He has published over 80 articles in leading peer-reviewed scholarly and trade journals and is the author or co-author of three books. In addition to his academic responsibilities and work, Dean Kamath serves on the boards of three non-profits and one for-profit company, including being the CEO of a Monterey- based non-profit organization.
John Laird

John Laird

Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency

John Laird was appointed California Secretary for Natural Resources by Governor Jerry Brown on Jan. 5, 2011. He has spent 35 years in public service, including 23 years as an elected official.

Extended Bio

The son of teachers and raised in Vallejo, Laird graduated with honors in politics from the University of California Santa Cruz in 1972. He then served on the district staff of Representative Jerome Waldie, as well as a budget analyst for the Santa Cruz County Administrator. In 1981, Laird was elected to the Santa Cruz City Council, serving nine years until term limits ended his council service in 1990. He was a two-term mayor from 1983 to 1984 and 1987 to 1988. During his local government service, he was a board member for local transit, transportation, water planning, and regional government agencies. Laird was the executive director of the Santa Cruz AIDS Project from 1991 to 1994 and an elected member of the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2002. In 2002, Laird was elected to represent the 27th Assembly District in the California Assembly, which includes portions of Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara Counties. He was re-elected in 2004 and again in 2006, when he received more than 70 percent of the vote. At the beginning of his second term, Laird joined the Assembly leadership team when Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez named him chair of the Budget Committee, a position to which he was reappointed by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass in 2008. While serving the maximum three terms,Laird authored 82 bills that were signed into law. These bills established the landmark Sierra Nevada Conservancy, restored community college health services, expanded and clarified state civil rights protections, reformed the state mandates system, and significantly expanded water conservation. Laird was a member of the State Integrated Waste Management Board from 2008 to 2009. Most recently, he taught state environmental policy at University of California Santa Cruz. Laird has been a long-time resident of Santa Cruz with his spouse John Flores. He has traveled extensively, is fluent in Spanish, enjoys conducting family history research, and is a life-long Chicago Cubs fan.
Alberto López

Alberto López

General Manager - Costa Rica Tourism Board

Alberto López has been involved in the tourism sector since 2002. He is currently the General Manager of the Costa Rica Tourism Board. Just prior to this appointment he was the Director of the Sustainability Department for the Board. He received his Bachelor in Economics from the University of Costa Rica and an MBA and Doctorate of Administrative Services from the Universidad Estatal a Distancia of Costa Rica.

Brent Marshall

Brent Marshall

Teresa Matsui

Teresa Matsui

President of Matsui Nursery

Teresa is currently President of Matsui Nursery in Salinas, CA. Prior to her return to California, Teresa spent over twenty-five years as a hospitality and travel industry professional. She founded a hotel management and development consulting firm, InnWorks, which operated hotels throughout the US and advised developers on nascent hotel projects. Teresa was particularly adept at forging ties to engender community support and engagement for various hotel projects. She was also a frequent speaker at hotel industry events.

Paul Michel

Paul Michel

Superintendent of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Paul Michel has nearly 30 years of experience in environmental protection at the local, state, federal, and international levels. He is a nationally-recognized leader in wetlands, coast, and ocean management and protection. He has extensive experience in developing and implementing comprehensive natural resource management and protection plans and managing marine protected areas.

Extended Bio

Mr. Michel was named Superintendent of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in April 2007. As Superintendent, he is responsible for all of the science, education, and resource protection programs involved with managing and protecting the nation’s second largest marine sanctuary at over 6,000 square miles. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Michel worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He served in various capacities in Washington, D.C., including a White House assignment in the Office of Management and Budget. In Los Angeles from 1990-1994, he coordinated resource protection programs for the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project. From 1995-2003, he led EPA’s efforts to restore and protect wetlands in southern California. From 2003 to 2007, he directed coastal and wetlands protection programs across California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, as well as bi-national environmental programs with Mexico. Mr. Michel was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He earned a Bachelors degree from the University of Tennessee in political science and a Masters degree from Georgia State University in public administration.
Eduardo M. Ochoa

Eduardo M. Ochoa

President, California State University--Monterey Bay

A native of Argentina, ​Eduardo M. Ochoa​has been​ president ​of Cal State University, Monterey Bay since 2012. He ​has a B.A. in physics and philosophy from Reed College, a M.S. in nuclear science and engineering from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research.​ ​Dr. Ochoa ​has ​worked for 29 years as a faculty member and administrator at campuses in the Cal State system, including Fresno State, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal Poly Pomona and Sonoma State University.

Extended Bio

At Sonoma State, he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2003-2010.​ From 2010 to 2012​, he was ​A​ssistant ​​Secretary for ​Postsecondary ​E​ducation in the Obama ​administration​, acting as the chief advisor on higher-education ​matters​ to the ​Secretary​ of Education ​and head​ing the Office of Postsecondary Education, which administers most of the Department​ of Education’s higher education programs. Dr.Ochoa’s wife Holly Byers Ochoa is a historian, writer and editor. They have two sons​,​ Michael and Eric.
Julie Packard

Julie Packard

Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Julie Packard is executive director of the acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium, which she helped found in the late 1970s as the nation’s first major public aquarium dedicated to interpreting marine life of a single region. She is an international leader in the field of ocean conservation, and a leading voice for science-based policy reform in support of healthy oceans.

Extended Bio

Under her leadership, the aquarium has pioneered innovative exhibits and education initiatives, and has evolved into one of the nation’s leading ocean conservation organizations through its respected Seafood Watch program, its activities on behalf of ocean policy reform, and field research that is illuminating the lives and conservation challenges facing sea otters, white sharks and bluefin tuna in the wild. She is also a leader in ocean conservation worldwide, and brings a lifelong passion for the natural world to her service with many organizations dedicated to conservation activities. She is a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and chairs the board of the independent Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, a world leader in deep ocean science and technology. The 1998 recipient of the Audubon Medal for Conservation, she was elected in 2009 as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was named a 2009 California Coastal Hero by the California Coastal Commission and Sunset magazine. In 2010 she was honored by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation for her commitment to ocean sustainability and leadership. In 2013, she was named to California’s Parks Forward Commission, a group charged with crafting a blueprint for the future of the state’s park system. She was a member of the Pew Oceans Commission and serves on the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative, where she works to implement comprehensive reform of U.S. ocean policy. She has addressed ocean issues as a featured speaker at international conferences, including the World Trade Organization, the International Aquarium Congress and the Seafood Summit. A marine biologist, Packard earned her bachelors and masters degrees in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a focus on marine algae.
Jimmy Panetta

Jimmy Panetta

US Representative for California District 20

Congressman Jimmy Panetta is dedicated to public service and proudly serves California’s 20th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. First elected to Congress in 2016, he was sworn in as member of the 115th Congress on January 3, 2017. Congressman Panetta represents California’s Central Coast, a diverse and beautiful region covering all of Monterey and San Benito Counties and southern portions of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties.

Extended Bio

Growing up in Monterey County, Congressman Panetta knows what makes the Central Coast a special place. The agriculture of this area is the economic engine of this congressional district. From artichokes to strawberries to lettuce to wine grapes, the Central Coast is the epicenter of specialty crop and organic agriculture producing over $5 billion annually. The community of farmers and farm workers that till this fertile area produce more than 100 different crops and help give the area its moniker of Salad Bowl of the World. California’s 20th Congressional District is also home to more than a dozen military installations, which are collectively referred to as Team Monterey, and includes the renowned Naval Postgraduate School and Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. Through Congressman Panetta’s eight years of service with the United States Navy Reserve, he has a deep and personal connection to our nation’s veterans and military families. In 2007, he volunteered for active duty and was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He worked with Special Forces units and as a result of his meritorious service in a combat zone, Congressman Panetta was awarded the Bronze Star. In addition to serving his nation in uniform, Congressman Panetta served as a board member of the Veterans Transition Center where he focused on ending veterans’ homelessness and improving resources for his fellow veterans and their families. He also pushed for the opening of Monterey County’s first Veterans Treatment Court to ensure veterans receive the services they earned. Moreover, Congressman Panetta worked with local leaders and veterans to establish the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery on the former Fort Ord. Based on his commitment to serving those who have served our nation, Congressman Panetta was honored to be named a Monterey County Veteran of the Year in 2015. Stretching along Congressman Panetta’s district lies the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the largest protected ocean area in the continental United States. Anchored around this unique ecosystem are more than 40 world-class universities and marine research institutions working to better understand climate change, ocean acidification, rising sea levels, and more. Congressman Panetta knows how valuable these institutions are and before attending law school, served aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel and more recently as an Advisory Council member for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Travelers from around the world visit Congressman Panetta’s district to explore Pinnacles National Park, Fort Ord National Monument, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Clear Creek Management Area, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Hollister, Gilroy, Santa Cruz and other attractions. The Central Coast boasts a flourishing travel and tourism industry based on a long tradition of providing exceptional hospitality services and unparalleled recreational, historical, scenic, and educational opportunities. Most recently before his election to Congress, Congressman Panetta served his community as the deputy district attorney for Monterey County, which includes the city of Salinas. In this role, he prosecuted violent gang members to pursue justice for victims, protect families and make communities safer. Congressman Panetta graduated from the University of California at Davis with an undergraduate degree in International Relations and received his law degree from Santa Clara University. He is married to Carrie McIntyre Panetta, a Superior Court judge in Monterey County, and they have two daughters, Siri and Gia.
Jane Parker

Jane Parker

Monterey County Board of Supervisor, District 4

Elected in 2008 and 2012,Jane Parker is honored to continue to serve Monterey County as the Fourth District County Supervisor. Her priorities as Supervisor include responsible land-use policy, economic development and local job creation, crime prevention including gangs and juvenile violence, water and mass transit solutions, increased government accountability and customer service for County services, and protecting the County’s natural resources and open space.

Extended Bio

As County Supervisor, Jane is especially proud that her leadership has resulted in fundamental changes in the culture of County government. Board Agenda packets are now posted online demonstrating an expectation of transparency in staff recommendations to the Board. The Board conducted and established an ongoing process for formal performance evaluations of the Chief Administrative Officer and other direct reports for the first time ever. A portion of District 4 (Salinas) was selected as one of 8 cities by the White House to participate in a National Forum on Violence Prevention, bringing much needed federal resources to bear. The County is now one of four in the state to claim a progressive Lactation Accommodation policy for its employees. For the first time in memory the Board rejected two inappropriate subdivisions in North County. These are just a few of Jane’s many successes achieved in a relatively short period of time. Jane has made it a point to understand the perspectives and priorities of her colleagues and work with them to achieve common goals. Prior to her election, Jane has worked as Associate Director of the ACTION Council of Monterey County addressing unmet needs in the county and improving the quality of life for residents through the pursuit of economic and social justice. At the ACTION Council Jane worked diligently to develop affordable housing solutions, to re-design the Child Welfare System working with the County’s Department of Social and Employment Services, and to develop a strong financial base of support for Girls Incorporated of the Central Coast. Jane grew up in Monterey, graduated from Monterey High School, attended UC Santa Cruz then studied International Economics at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (then the Foreign Institute of International Studies). She later earned a Grand Diplome de Cuisine from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris. Before joining the ACTION Council, Jane served for over 5 years as Vice President of Development for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, the largest Planned Parenthood in the country, raising over $5 million annually to support essential family, health, reproductive education counseling and medical services. Prior to her time at Planned Parenthood, Jane founded and managed a healthy meal preparation service designed to serve working families and homebound seniors. As a former local small business owner, Jane understands of the importance of neighborhood-serving businesses. Jane was elected to serve on the Monterey Peninsula College Board of Trustees from 1999-2003 where she proved to be an effective advocate for quality education — fighting unfair education cuts proposed by Sacramento, and leading efforts to attract and retain quality faculty and teaching staff. Under her watch, MPC continued to provide outstanding, affordable education protecting student services despite the state budget crisis. As Chair, Jane brought more responsible and accountable leadership to the Board of Trustees. Jane continues to support MPC as a member of the Presidents Circle of the Monterey Peninsula College Foundation Board of Directors. Jane has also served as President of the Charitable Council of Monterey; Volunteer Director for the Carmel Bach Festival; Board President of the Unitarian Universalist Church; on the Executive Committee of the Democratic Club of the Monterey Peninsula; and a President of the MPC Foundation Board of Directors. She organized county-wide community engagement summits in 1997 and 2007, and served on the Monterey County Social Services Commission from 1994-2000 – presiding as chair for two years. A product of Monterey public schools, Jane inherited a love of education from her father, Brad, who was the education beat reporter for the Monterey Herald. Jane’s mother, Polly, was a local community activist and writer who inspired Jane to public service.
Cody Plott

Cody Plott

President and Chief Operations Officer - Pebble Beach Company

Robert“Cody” Plott has been the President and Chief Operations Officer of the Pebble Beach Company since April of 2002. He is responsible for all resort operations of the Inn at Spanish Bay, The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Casa Palmero, The Spa at Pebble Beach, and both private clubs (The Beach and Tennis Club and The Spanish Bay Club). Additionally, he oversees the Sales, Catering and Conference Services departments, Marketing, and Special Events for the Pebble Beach Resorts. Mr. Plott reports directly to Bill Perocchi who is the CEO of the Pebble Beach Company.

Extended Bio

Plott was appointed Commissioner of the California Travel and Tourism Commission by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in November 2007. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Commission. Prior to joining Pebble Beach, Plott was President of Colliers Seeley, one of the largest commercial real estate brokerage firms in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President-Business Development of Airport Group International (AGI) from 1997 to 1999. Plott also spent 22 years with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts Corporation, where his most recent assignments included Regional Vice President and Managing Director of 10 properties in Southern California, and Corporate Vice President of Sales which encompassed Sales, Catering and Conference Services for 110 Hyatt Hotels. Plott holds a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from the University of Montana. He also served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force in the Strategic Air Command. Pebble Beach Resorts includes The Inn at Spanish Bay, The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Casa Palmero, The Spa at Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, The Links at Spanish Bay, and Del Monte Golf Course.
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Roberto Rodriguez-Levi

United Nations Representative - Costa Rica

Roberto was born and raised in Costa Rica. He is a businessman, entrepreneur, and clinical psychologist. He is a pioneer in Costa Rica on International Education. In the last 8 years more than 2,500 students, professors, deans and presidents had visited Costa Rica with his company, Americas Educational Programs (www.americaseduprograms.com). He serves as President and remains with direct contact with the students when they visit Costa Rica.

Extended Bio

Selected by United Nations as the only Representative for Costa Rica at the Young-Entrepreneur Forum in Sao Paulo, Brasil 2004. He was the youngest professional appointed ever in Costa Rica, by a President of the Republic of CR, to serve as board member in governmental institution, in charge of the creation of public policies, control budgeting,execution and impact of policies for children and youth population. Dr. Rodriguez-Levi has also been involved in the development of small clinics and health care facilities(Private-Public Partnerships) in rural areas of Costa Rica when he served as Project Director for 8 years at the largest private hospital at Costa Rica, Hospital Clinica Biblica. From his daily activity, Americas Educational Programs, he has been inviting international academia to get to know more about key strategic topics from Costa Rica and Latin American region, as a result several MOU´s has been signed between governments and US universities, that facilitates access and funds to Costa Ricans to keep raising the bar in education which is vital for CR´s society and economy.
Tejal Sood

Tejal Sood

Bayside Hotel Group

Julie Packard is executive director of the acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium, which she helped found in the late 1970s as the nation’s first major public aquarium dedicated to interpreting marine life of a single region. She is an international leader in the field of ocean conservation, and a leading voice for science-based policy reform in support of healthy oceans.

Extended Bio

With a definite inclination in engineering and construction, she earned her degree in Architecture and Business at Cal Poly and practiced commercial design for many years. After working in the field, she decided to join forces with her father to further grow and develop the hotel business. Their focus was to develop, operate and hold properties in key local-markets to ensure long-term prosperity for the company and invest in the communities that they have been involved with for over 40 years. Tejal currently oversees the design/construction aspects of the existing and new hotel development and and also serves as the Operations Manager of the business. They have 4 hotel properties currently in the Santa Cruz & Monterey markets in addition to the 1 under development, a Hyatt Place hotel, that is slated to open this year. She had also been elected as a Board Member for the Santa Cruz County Visitor’s Council where she served a 4 year term directing the Council that oversees tourism in the county. Additionally, she also the position of Executive Treasurer for this Board for 2 years, only stepping down to further focus on the business.