Chair: Mike Benziger—Mike is a leader in the American biodynamic wine movement and was the winemaker for the first certified biodynamic wine in Sonoma County. Having founded Benziger Family Winery more than a quarter-century ago, Mike’s affinity for the family estate has evolved, and with it, his passion for making the best wines from its 29 distinct blocks. Growing up in New York, he worked for his father Bruno Benziger, a wine and spirits importer. After college, he moved to California to work in a fine wine shop before beginning a winery apprenticeship in 1978.
President: Lynne Deegan-McGraw—From 1978 to 1999 Lynne held various positions with Raychem Corporation, most notably as national sales and marketing manager for a $500,000,000 division, site manager for an organization of 800 people and responsible for human resources, facilities, corporate real estate, procurement and logistics, and Chief Procurement Officer responsible for a budget more than $1 billion with staff located in the USA, Europe, Asia and South America. After retiring from corporate life, Lynne now manages McGraw Vineyards located in Glen Ellen. She chairs the development committee for pancreas cancer at UCSF.
Vice President: Peter Ferris—Peter has held several senior-level positions with Equinix since July 1999 before being appointed Senior Vice President of Global Partner Programs and Strategic Customer Development in 2013. He has a background in developing strategies for growth of the company’s operations. Peter has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry including senior management positions at Frontier Global Center, Genuity and MFS Datanet.
Treasurer: Donna Halow—Donna co-founded and, for 23 years, owned and managed Trinity Capital, a national equipment finance company that specialized in funding small US businesses. The company was sold to Bank of the West in 2002. Prior to this, she worked in several executive positions with Levi Strauss & Company and Ford Motor Company. She has served on the Boards of Okizu Foundation, La Luz, and Sonoma Valley Fund and has done extensive volunteer work with local organizations.
Secretary: Betsy Kutska—Betsy retired in 2006 as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Park District Risk Management Agency, an intergovernmental risk management pool serving over 125 park and forest preserve districts in Illinois. Prior to this, Betsy was responsible for several accomplishments during 13 years of working in parks and recreation at the supervisory, management and executive levels.
Director: Bill Blosser—Over a span of 40 years, Bill has worked intermittently for CH2M HILL, an international engineering and planning consulting firm, as an independent environmental consultant on issues related to water resources planning, sustainable development, transportation planning, land use policy and growth management. He has chaired the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission, the Oregon Water Resources Commission, Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission, Sustainable Northwest and was founding member of the International Sustainable Development Foundation, the China-US Center for Sustainable Development. Bill founded of Sokol Blosser Vineyards in 1971 and Sokol Blosser Winery in 1977.
Director: Gerry Brinton—Gerry, educated at Duke and Harvard Business School, has had several careers—CPA, management consultant, property management, finance and administration of the Wiman Beverage Co., and similar duties with Charles Creek Vineyard, which she founded with her husband Bill. She has contributed to her communities through governing board responsibilities with California Pacific Medical Center and Sutter Health, Sacramento, where she termed out as Board Chair. Education is another interest pursued through board work at Drew School and Enterprise for High School Students in San Francisco. Locally, Gerry is actively involved with Sonoma Plein Air Foundation, Sonoma Valley Hospital and Mentoring Alliance.
Director: Ricardo (Ric) Capretta—Ric has been President of Capretta Properties since 1989. In this capacity, he has completed over 8,250,000 square feet of office, retail, residential and industrial transactions valued over $1.6 billion. He also co-founded Westrust, a CPI subsidiary to acquire non-performing loans and distressed real estate from the U.S. Government and large banks during the 1992 recession. Ric currently serves as the Chairperson of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. He is also a member of the UCLA MBA Ziman Real Estate Advisory Council. Ric resides with his wife Lisa in Mill Valley and Sonoma, California, and has three children.
Director: Karen Collins—Karen is the former Deputy Director of Marketing and Revenue Generation for California State Parks where she established Women in the Outdoors, an outdoor education program for women of all ages. In 1997 she formed “Going Places!” an adventure travel company specializing in high-quality outdoor experiences around the globe. Karen has served on the boards of the Yosemite National Institute, the Headlands Institute, Sonoma Ecology Center, the Bay Institute, Bay Area Ridge Trail and member of the Sonoma County Parks and Recreation Commission (twice serving as its chair).
Director: Katherine Culligan—Katherine has been a teacher for San Francisco State University, Piedmont High and Middle Schools and Oakland Public Schools about general botany, plant taxonomy, math and science. She has acted as a botanical consultant for the Nature Conservancy, State of California and Sonoma Ecology Center. Upon retirement, she has served on the Boards of the Sonoma Ecology Center (Chair) Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation (President) California Native Plant Society (chair) and a docent in natural science at the Oakland Museum.
Director: Sandy Leonard—Sandy graduated with an economics degree from the University of Washington and worked in commercial real estate finance at Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City before being accepted to the Parsons School of Design Environmental Design Program. After having two children, she elected to become a full-time mother and moved with her husband Geoff to San Francisco. She became a volunteer for the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy and currently is a member of the Trails Are Forever fundraising committee which raised $2 million at their annual event this past year. She is also a biodynamic farmer and beekeeper.
Director: Charles (Chuck) Levine—From 1997 to 2002 Chuck served as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Chief Operating Officer and then President of Sprint PCS, growing it from $0 to over $10 billion in revenue. Chuck has successfully built new businesses for Octel, AT&T and General Electric, and was an integral part of business turnarounds. His career began at Proctor and Gamble as a brand manager for its largest business, Pampers. He currently is an independent director for technology-focused companies.
Director: Hank Martinson—Hank retired from Visa in 2006 as a Senior Vice President of Marketing where he was responsible for marketing consulting including consumer research, statistical analysis and direct mail to increase the sales of Visa cards through top member banks. Hank has more than 37 years’ experience in marketing, advertising, branding and sales promotion. He began his career in advertising at Wells Fargo Bank and has held senior level positions with First National Bank of Chicago, McCann-Erickson and US Leasing. In the mid 90’s he managed his own “tactical marketing” firm specializing in incentive travel, insurance and leasing.
Director: Walter (Wally) McGuire—Wally is President of McGuire & Co, Inc., a San Francisco based public policy and public affairs firm. He has served as chief of staff to the Lieutenant Governor of California, and during the Jerry Brown administration was the Director of Administration and Chief Lobbyist for the state in Washington D.C. Over the past three decades, McGuire & Co, Inc. has represented scores of clients on policy matters and campaigns in the fields of environment and health. His activities have included major national event-driven educational campaigns in health such as cancer finding and women’s health; California campaigns in land use, electric vehicle infrastructure and diversity issues; and the historically successful response to the 2001-2002 energy crisis. Wally is Chair of the California Council on Environmental and Economic Balance founded by Governor Brown. He is “Expert Advisor” to the California Emerging Technology Fund whose mission is to provide leadership to close the digital divide by accelerating the deployment and adoption of broadband to underserved communities.
Director: Mary K. McEachron—Mary was the Buck Institute for Research on Aging’s first employee, commencing on October 1, 1987, as its founding executive officer and general counsel. Prior to that time, Mary practiced law at Orrick in San Francisco where she was that firm’s first female litigation partner. While at Orrick, she successfully represented the executor of Mrs. Buck’s estate as a part of a multi-firm defense team representing various interests during the Buck Trust litigation. After the conclusion of the trial, Mary worked pro bono for a full year to incorporate the Institute, appoint its initial Board of Directors, and obtain funding for the creation of the Institute as a Buck Trust Major Project. During the decade from 1987 through 1997, she managed the Institute’s development at every level, from financial to political, to real estate. Once construction was underway, she returned to private law practice, joining the North Bay office of Hanson Bridgett, where she was a partner practicing primarily in land use and nonprofit law. She returned to the Buck Institute in October 2010 as Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel.
Director: Harvey Shein—President of H.J. Shein, Harvey has been active in real estate development and redevelopment since 1970. In this capacity he has developed, constructed and operated 2000 apartment units in the Chicago Metropolitan area; helped reposition 1,000,000 square feet of office buildings in the Chicago metropolitan area for new tenancy and uses; sat on the investment committee of an industrial development and acquisition fund which acquired 1,000,000 square feet of industrial properties; entitled and acquired a 120-acre office park in Fairfield, California for 2,000,000 square feet of office and related uses. He is also a board member of the Quarryhill Botanical Garden.
Director: Dave Stollmeyer—For the first 18 years of his career, Dave held executive positions in the cargo shipping and cruise industries which led to his creation of World Explorer Cruises and America Hawaii Cruises where he served as their presidents. In 1985 he purchased Alert Alarm Co., and over the next 13 years grew it into one of the largest independent home and business alarm companies in Northern California. Most recently he served on the board of the Nelson Family of Companies, an international human resource staffing and management organization. In 1998 Dave began his “third” career serving actively on the boards of several non-profit organizations.