DON WOOD, President, joined the Board of Trustees in July, 2017. Born in Western Pennsylvania, Don spent his “wonder years” hiking and biking the hills, waterways and countryside of Ventura County. A graduate of Occidental College, Don recently completed a 34-year career in the telecommunications industry. He and his wife, Stacy, have lived in Ventura for 28+ years, where they raised their daughter, Paige. Don has been actively engaged in the community throughout that time, as a member and past President of the Ventura Education Partnership (VEP), a candidate for Ventura Unified School District Board of Education, long-time emcee of VEP’s Festival of Talent and the “Voice of Relay” for dozens of American Cancer Society Relay For Life events throughout West Ventura County. In addition, Don has lent his voice and emcee talents to dozens of other events and worthwhile causes. Don believes our quality of life is inextricably tied to the environment – our hillsides, waterways and countryside - and is proud to lead the Ventura Land Trust Board.
DENNIS KULZER, Vice President, was born in Southern California and grew up participating in Boy Scouts, camping and visiting national parks with his family. He has had varied professional and volunteer careers that have taken him across the Pacific Northwest and around the world. During the 1970’s – 1990’s, he worked for the City of Los Angeles as a mechanic/supervisor, served as a volunteer Orange County firefighter and, in 1990, with his wife, Jayne, joined the Peace Corps and served in the Kingdom of Tonga as an Industrial Arts teacher and vocational training program developer. In 1993, Dennis and Jayne moved back to the U.S, where he worked as a mechanic/fleet services supervisor for the University of Washington and later, City of Bellevue, Washington. It was here that his two daughters were born. In 1995, Dennis took a leave and spent 14 months working in the Rwandan Refugee Camps in Western Tanzania. He began his service with the International Rescue Committee as Head Mechanic/Logistian and eventually ended up coordinating all programs in support of 400K refugees in the region. Dennis moved to Ventura in 2003, and for 13 years served as Fleet Services Supervisor for City of Ventura. Recently retired from the City, Dennis currently keeps busy volunteering with Channel Islands Restoration, local homeless programs, Channel Islands National Park and, of course, Ventura Land Trust! Dennis and his wife Jayne, who is a program manager of HIV Intervention and Research programs in Western Kenya, for UC San Francisco, enjoy hiking, bicycling, paddle boarding, sailing, running, camping and backpacking and their two young adult daughters.
JOHN HANKINS, Secretary, is a lifelong reporter and editor, writing extensively about the political process, environment and grassroots activism. He owned the Santa Barbara County News Service and companion News Clipping Service, distributing original news stories and features to a dozen newspapers throughout the tri-counties. Now semi-retired, he is editor of Condor Call, the Sierra Club’s newsletter covering Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Known as "Condor John," he serves on the Sierra Club board and as a speaker for the club’s Wilderness Basics Course. Born and bred on the East Coast, he joined the Navy and adopted California during dry dock, reveling in its progressive attitude and expansive outdoor opportunities for hiking, rock climbing and ocean sports. He met and married Suz Montgomery in Ventura and both are enamored with each other and with working in the political realm to ensure a better quality of life for all.
SUNJAY MOORTHY, Treasurer, grew up in India, England, and all over the United States, finally settling in Southern California for life in 1977. He and his wife of 30+ years, Elizabeth, a historian, hypnotherapist, and reiki practitioner, moved to Ventura County in 2007 after sending their daughter and son off to college. The Manager for Graphic Communications at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he has worked for over 30 years, Sunjay was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his leadership role in communications and technical documentation in 2000. With the understanding that we are all one with an awesome universe, Sunjay follows his passions—golf, baseball, and nature—with actions. Sunjay serves on the Board of Governors and is the Men’s Golf Chair at Spanish Hills Country Club; he is a certified umpire for District 63 Little League and Channel Coast Umpires; and he is now honored to join VLT in working to preserve and protect open space in the Ventura region.
KAREN BEDNORZ is the Art Buyer and a loyal employee of Patagonia, Inc. for over 31 years. Her volunteer work with the Ventura Land Trust started even before its inception. She coordinated and managed a media team for the Ventura Hillsides Music Festival and was a key member of the backstage talent compound managing team. Karen helped bring the Wild & Scenic Film Festival (Ventura Land Trust’s largest annual fundraising event) to Ventura raising thousands of dollars for the organization. Now in its tenth year, she and her husband Gary are leaders of the Land Trust’s Film Festival volunteer committee, traveling and viewing films at the national festival, and selecting licensed films to bring back to the committee for review and vote. She loves family and friends, being outside, yoga, gardening, bicycling, films, music, reading, blogging, travel, and creatively decorating her home with beautiful art.
STEVE DOLL is passionate about the community and the causes he serves. He was born and grew up in Glendale, graduated from San Diego State University, moved to Ventura in 1989 with wife Caroline and two children. Being self-employed in commercial real estate has allowed Steve the flexibility necessary for involvement with many organizations. Entrepreneurial in spirit, he is a principal in a startup company making the Raticator, an ecofriendly, and humane rodent control using cutting edged infrared technology. He has served as Chairman of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce and the Ventura YMCA, Commissioner for the Ventura Port District, and President of the Ventura Downtown Rotary and Lions Clubs. In addition to the Ventura Land Trust board, he currently serves on the boards of Ventura Fair Foundation, Pier Into the Future Foundation, and Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau. Through his involvement with Kirwin International Relief Foundation, and with donations from Ventura’s Rotary and Lions Clubs, he traveled to provide disaster relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Nepal earthquake, and flooding in Baton Rouge. Locally he led the committee to pass the first SOAR vote that allowed creation of the successful Ventura Community Park. Co-Founder of the Ventura Marathon as well as the Ventura Turkey Trot (9th year), he has raised awareness and funding for local charities. Steve enjoys ocean swimming, skiing, hiking, and cars! He is a long-time endurance event competitor, including participating in the New Zealand Ironman with wife Caroline in 2009.
SUSAN LEFEVRE is an adjunct professor at CSUCI and an independent education consultant. Prior to this she served as the Program Manager for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy/STEM Initiative, Executive Director of the Ventura County Leadership Academy, and Curator of Education for the Carnegie Art Museum. She has a long history of involvement with non-profit institutions and currently serves on the Oxnard College Foundation Board. Susan’s love for the outdoors comes from being raised in Monterey County by parents who were avid campers. Her parents instilled in her a sense of adventure and awe for the ‘wild country.’ She appreciates the opportunity to foster support and widen public appreciation of the Ventura County’s beautiful natural spaces. Susan, her late husband, Stephen, and son, Aaron (who lives in Asia), enjoyed countless wonderful trips exploring, camping, kayaking, hiking, and sailing together. When she is not engaged in educational endeavors or with family, you will find Susan hiking in the mountains of California.
PAUL MEEHAN, joined the VLT Board of Trustees in January of 2014. Originally from Michigan, Paul arrived in California in 1984 and attended UCSB where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies. Paul’s diverse professional career has ranged from being a Naturalist on the Channel Islands, to a Boat Captain for Island Packers, to serving as a Law Enforcement Ranger for the National Park Service on Anacapa Island & St John's Island in the Virgin Islands and a back country Ranger in Lassen Volcanic National Park. He currently works for FedEx as an IT Advisor. In his spare time, Paul devotes his energies to environmental and animal causes. After Hurricane Katrina, Paul volunteered for the HSUS helping to search through flooded homes for lost and injured pets. In Ventura, Paul promotes the protection of open space and frequently patrols VLT wilderness preserves to keep them safe and clean. Paul lives in Ventura with wife Kellie and their two young children and enjoys camping, boating and snowboarding.
JANE MONTAGUE, a Ventura native, grew up spending time in Ventura’s hills as well as in the Sierras, Channel Islands, National Forests, and bodysurfing at the local beach breaks. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Civil Engineering, Jane is a registered California Professional Engineer and a Certified Floodplain Manager who specializes in land, earth and water. She is the 30-year owner of Lewis Engineering, the first engineering consulting firm to receive the City of Ventura’s Green Business Certification. Jane’s work allows her to advocate for the outdoors as well as support a variety of local nonprofits. In addition to serving on the Ventura Land Trust board, she volunteers with Surfrider Ventura, the Ventura Botanical Gardens, Ojai Valley Land Conservancy and the Sierra Club where she has participated in and helps coordinate the Wilderness Basics Course program. Jane lives in Ventura with her husband Curt and two adult children, Sarah Jane and Jason, She has instilled in her children a great love and respect for our planet and the way we interact with it. Jane loves traveling, gardening and being outdoors and is proud to advocate for Ventura County’s natural areas that need human protection.
SYLVIA SCHNOPP joined VLT’s Board of Trustees in summer of 2019. An Oxnard native who traces her Ventura County heritage back to the early 20th century, Schnopp brings a breadth and depth of experience gained over a business and community service career spanning more than two decades. Sylvia currently serves as REI’s Central Coast Corporate Outreach Coordinator where she advocates for stewarding of the land using collaborative solutions. In addition, she owns Schnopp Consulting Group providing consulting services to an array of businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations, and is currently working on publishing a historical fiction. Sylvia is serving in her third term as a Port Hueneme City Councilmember and has served three times as Mayor. During her tenure on the council, she set the stage for the city’s 70th anniversary celebration, helped the council and city keep focused in spite of contentions, and has been pivotal in working with city and state officials to ensure shoreline protection of Hueneme Beach. Sylvia, who has an MBA from California Lutheran University and B.S. in Business Administration from Cal State Northridge, is currently a longtime adjunct business and accounting professor at Oxnard College. She has served on many nonprofit boards and currently serves as a member of the Port Hueneme Water Agency, Ventura County Council of Government (VCOG), and CA Joint Powers Insurance Authority.
MARK WATKINS, a registered California Civil Engineer, received his undergraduate Civil Engineering degree from California State University Chico and a Masters in Public Administration from California State University Northridge. He has enjoyed a long career of public service working for the County of Kern, as the Public Works Director for the City of Thousand Oaks and most recently as City Manager for the City of Ventura. Mark retired from the City of Ventura in 2017. Mark has been an active hiker and backpacker since his youth and is also a sailor, diver, kayaker, and surfer. He and his wife Amy have lived in Ventura for more than 30 years and his three daughters were born and raised there.
ED WEHAN joined the Board of Trustees of the Ventura Land Trust in 2017 after serving for 16 years on the City of Ventura Parks and Recreation Commission and on the Board of the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau. In addition to being a VLT Board member, he also currently serves as Chair of the Ventura Community Partnership Foundation. Ed graduated from UCSB and USC with an MBA. Having been brought up as a child in the wild and woolly 1950's San Fernando Valley, he acquired a taste for the outdoors and adventure by exploring the mostly uninhabited Santa Monica Mountains. Having watched the Valley change in to what we see today, he wonders how the lack of open space inhibits the appreciation for the natural world in today's youth. Because of that, his passion for VLT is evident. Although retired from the Deckers Outdoor Corporation, Ed stays active in the community as a parks, recreation and open space advocate. He is a regular runner, still competing in races of all distances (including many ultras in his past). Summers are spent backpacking and fishing. Ed's wife, Val, is a 4th grade teacher and his daughter, Mallory, a graduate students at George Washington University in DC.
SCOTT WEISS, has lived in Ventura for more than 50 years and joined the Board of Trustees in July, 2017. He spent his childhood exploring the Ventura hills which led to his interest in the VLT. Scott has been involved in environmental issues for most of his life. In 1990 he was involved in the slow growth movement in Oxnard and was one of only four candidates endorsed by Patagonia in his bid for Oxnard City Council and has been active with the Sierra Club and the Board of Directors of the Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara. Professionally, Scott is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant and a Real Estate Broker. He is the managing partner of the CPA firm; Weiss, Bowens, and Magson, LLP, held a Series 7 securities license for 10 years, served as a mediator to the Ventura County Courts and currently serves as an arbitrator for the Ventura County Bar Association. Scott’s passion is music. He is a semi-professional trumpet player, musical conductor, founder and conductor of the Ojai Pops Orchestra, and has studied and played with some of the top musicians in the world. Scott has produced over 10 videos on world class trumpet players and is the founder and Executive Director of Music 4 Kids. Scott and his wife, who enjoy hiking, biking and traveling, have lived in the Ojai Valley for almost 30 years.