Mark Gold joined OPC in July of 2019. As Executive Director of OPC and the Deputy Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy for the California Natural Resources Agency, Mark serves as a key advisor to Governor and the Secretary of Natural Resources and directs policy, scientific research, and critical partnerships to increase protection of coastal and ocean resources in California. Prior to his appointment, he was the UCLA Associate Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability where he led their Sustainable Los Angeles Grand Challenge effort. Prior to UCLA, Mark was the first hire at Heal the Bay, where he served as their President for 18 years. During that time, he worked on ocean and coastal legislation and policy, stormwater, watershed management, and marine conservation and coastal restoration issues, projects and programs. Over the course of his career, his research focused on beach water quality and health risks, as well as sustainable water resources management. Mark received his bachelor’s and master’s in Biology as well as his doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering, all from UCLA.
Jenn Eckerle, Deputy Director, Ocean Protection Council
Jenn Eckerle joined OPC in December 2016. As OPC’s Deputy Director, she is responsible for supervising staff and helping set the strategic priorities for coast and ocean policy in California. Before joining OPC, Jenn spent eight years as an ocean policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, where she conducted technical analysis and developed policy recommendations to advance ocean conservation. Prior to that, she was a coastal program analyst for the California Coastal Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Jenn earned an M.S. in Marine Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Vermont. She is an East Coast transplant that has spent the last two decades trying to forget the cold winters of New York. Jenn loves being outdoors, especially when it involves camping, hiking, scuba diving or paddleboarding.
Contact: (916) 654-9055 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Justine Kimball, Senior Climate Change Program Manager
Justine joined the OPC in March 2019. Her work involves leading the climate change program, and focuses on sea-level rise adaptation, coastal resiliency, ocean acidification, and other efforts concerning the impacts of climate change on the ocean. Prior to joining OPC, Justine spent five years in Washington, D.C. at NOAA’s Coral Program and as a Knauss Fellow at the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy. Justine earned her PhD from Stanford University studying deep-sea corals in the Pacific Ocean and her B.A. in Biology with a minor in Geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Justine enjoys farmers markets, baking, and all things ocean and wilderness.
Contact : (916) 653-0539 or email@example.com
Whitney joined the OPC in January of 2018. Her work focuses on ocean acidification and hypoxia, sea level rise, and other efforts concerning changing ocean conditions due to a changing climate. She began working with the OPC as a California Sea Grant Fellow focusing on climate change policy. Before the OPC, Whitney worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in the Conservation & Science program. She worked with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Global Marine and Polar Program in Switzerland where she published a report on the potential impacts of deep seabed mining to the marine environment. Whitney spent time working in the South Pacific where she developed a “ridge-to-reef” management plan for the local government of Pohnpei, Micronesia. She earned her Master’s degree in International Environmental Policy, concentrating in Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Whitney loves all things outdoors and is always looking forward to her next adventure.
Contact: (916) 653-9416 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Paige Berube, OPC Sustainable Fisheries Program Manager
Paige Berube joined the OPC in January 2016. Her work focuses on supporting the sustainable management of California’s marine fisheries. She began working with the OPC as a Sea Grant Fellow focusing on climate change policy, including sea level rise and ocean acidification and hypoxia. Before the OPC, Paige worked as a Research Fellow with the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UC Santa Barbara, where she served as the Lead Consultant on a markets project to facilitate the sustainable management of small-scale fisheries in the developing tropics. Paige earned her master’s in Environmental Science & Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara and a B.S. in Environmental Geoscience from Boston College. Working with NOAA and The Nature Conservancy, her master’s thesis group project evaluated management scenarios in the California commercial swordfish fishery, focusing on balancing conservation and economic goals through a global lens. She enjoys going on ocean swims, playing soccer, and cooking up fresh fish tacos.
Contact: (916) 651-1264 or email@example.com
Marina Cazorla, OPC Program Manager & Tribal Liaison
Marina joined OPC in August 2017. Through the Proposition 1 grant program, her work focuses on coastal habitat restoration and multi-benefit projects. Marina is also the OPC Tribal Liaison. Prior to joining OPC, Marina promoted strategic collaboration among private foundations supporting coastal and marine conservation in Mexico. Before that role, Marina worked at the State Coastal Conservancy on San Mateo County coastal projects that included land acquisitions, riparian and wetland habitat restoration, coastal trails and public access improvements; she later worked at the nascent OPC on establishing a fisheries fund, creation of a seafloor mapping program, and MPA baseline monitoring. Marina also worked at the Coastal Commission reviewing energy and ocean resources permit applications. She received her B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and her M.A. in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Contact: (916) 653-0540 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Esgro, OPC Marine Ecosystems Program Manager
Mike Esgro joined OPC in March 2018. As Marine Ecosystems Program Manager, Mike works across program areas to connect science, policy, and people for effective ecosystem-based management in California. His work focuses primarily on marine protected areas, ecosystem restoration and resilience, biological/environmental monitoring, big data, sustainable aquaculture, and biodiversity conservation. Prior to joining OPC, Mike earned a B.S. in Biology from UCLA and an M.S. in Applied Marine Science from CSU Monterey Bay. His graduate research centered around MPA baseline monitoring and the role of “de facto” marine reserves in ocean conservation. When not at work, Mike can usually be found scuba diving, surfing, or backpacking.
Contact: (916) 651-2497 or Michael.Esgro@resources.ca.gov
Tova Handelman, OPC Marine Protected Areas Program Manager
Tova leads OPC’s Once-Through Cooling Interim Mitigation Program while providing support for our other MPA program priorities. Tova joined OPC in March 2017 as a California Sea Grant Fellow in OPC’s MPA program, and has prior experience working on MPA management for Heal the Bay in Santa Monica. She has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Policy from UC Irvine. Her group thesis work evaluated citizen science as a method for monitoring the rocky intertidal zone. At the Ocean Protection Council, Tova manages an on-going effort among several state agencies and partners to effectively collaborate on the long-term management of MPAs across the state. She integrates scientific information to support decision-making regarding MPAs to best protect the health of the ocean and coastal communities.
Contact: (916) 653-9486 or email@example.com
Chris Potter, OPC Program Manager
Contact : (916) 654-0536 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Holly Shand, Associate Governmental Program Analyst
Holly joined OPC in May 2018 and provides contract and grant support to OPC staff. Prior to coming to OPC, Holly worked for the Marine Region of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife processing grants and contracts. Holly has additional experience with the state’s new accounting system (FI$Cal) and developing processes and procedures to increase workflow efficiency. Holly also has over a decade of analytical experience in serious injury claims and settlements. You can normally find Holly with her nose in a book. Her other interests include cooking, baking her own bread, and all things dogs.
Contact (916) 654-2757 or email@example.com
Holly Wyer, OPC Marine Pollution Program Manager
Holly Wyer joined the OPC in March 2016, and her work focuses on marine debris and trash pollution. She started working on coastal and ocean management for the State in 2012 with the State Lands Commission. At the State Lands Commission, her work focused on industrial and emerging uses in the ocean, including offshore renewable energy. In 2011, Holly earned a master’s in Environmental Science & Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara, and she earned a B.A. from Western Washington University in 2008. Her master’s thesis group project worked with Ecotrust and the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans to integrate tribal marine resource use into California’s marine protected area planning process on the north coast. She enjoys traveling, backpacking, and exploring the outdoors.
Contact: (916) 653-0538 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Allison Kellum joined OPC in January 2019 as a CA State Sea Grant Fellow. She supports OPC’s climate change program with a focus on sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and other climate impacts on marine and coastal resources. Allison is an experienced science communicator and project manager. She developed programming and exhibits on topics from marine toxic pollutants to biology and ecology at science institutions throughout the country, including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. She earned her Masters in Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation in 2018 from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD, and holds a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary. Outside of the office she enjoys biking, painting, and camping.
Contact: (916) 651-0237 or Allison.Kellum@resources.ca.gov
Scott Shatto joined the OPC team as the 2019 Marine Protected Area California State Sea Grant Fellow. Scott works on issues concerning MPA monitoring, education and outreach, restoration, policy and permitting, as well as grant management. Scott earned a Masters in Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography where he focused his studies on how a changing climate affects the amount of oxygen found in the ocean and the subsequent impacts of this change. Before coming to the OPC, Scott worked for the National Park Service, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, and the Waitt Foundation. When not working, Scott enjoys hiking, running, scuba diving, and doing all things musical.
Contact: (916) 653-0542 or Scott.Shatto@resources.ca.gov
Matthew Warham, 2020 CA State Sea Grant Fellow – Marine Protected Areas
Matt Warham joined OPC in January 2020 as a CA State Sea Grant Fellow. Matt supports OPC’s MPA program on projects ranging from research and monitoring to outreach and education. Matt earned a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science & Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara and Bachelor’s Degrees in Environmental Studies and Global Studies from UC Santa Barbara. His master’s group thesis work evaluated the potential of commercial aquaculture in Baja California, Mexico as a conservation strategy for an endangered fish species. Prior to his work at OPC, Matt spent time working in both the Caribbean and the South Pacific, as well as his beloved southern California. In his free time, he enjoys diving, climbing, searching for the perfect hammock trees, and adventuring with his dog Fred.
Michaela Miller, 2020 CA State Sea Grant Fellow – Climate Change
Michaela Miller joined OPC in February 2020 as the Climate Change Sea Grant Fellow. Michaela supports OPC’s climate change program focusing on sea level rise, ocean acidification, and other climate change related impacts. Michaela earned a B.S. in Environmental Science from CSU Channel Islands and a M.S. in Applied Marine and Watershed Science from CSU Monterey Bay. Her graduate research focused on assessing major trends in marine debris and microplastic accumulation on the Northern Channel Islands. Prior to joining OPC, Michaela managed a marine debris monitoring and removal project on Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands jointly run by CSU Channel Islands and Channel Islands National Park. In her free time, Michaela enjoys beach volleyball, biking, and hanging out with her dog Mav.
Chris Besenty, Information Systems Manager
Chris Besenty joined the Ocean Protection Council and State Coastal Conservancy staff in November 2007. A graduate of Sonoma State University’s Department of Environmental Studies and Planning (1996), Chris began his career with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission as a volunteer coastal planning intern in 1995, working on the North Bay Wetlands Protection Program, and in 1998 was appointed the Commission’s Chief Information Officer. His interdisciplinary focus lies in exploring ways to economically integrate information technology practices with coastal resource management, including the use of spatial data to inform coastal planning goals and objectives, and the use of the Internet as a publishing medium. His experience with information technology began in 1990 with a Compuserve account, a friend’s TI PPC, and a beta copy of DR DOS. His personal interests include biking, hiking and camping on the beaches, deserts and forests of the western U.S. and strumming the guitar for fun and profit.