Board of Directors

Samantha Martinez | Chair

Samantha has over twenty years of experience in advocacy, community engagement and government affairs. Prior to starting Kindel Gagan, Samantha was a principal with Rose & Kindel from 1996 through 2009. Samantha has a breadth of experience managing a diverse combination of clients in industries and interests ranging from entertainment and education to public works and technology. She represents clients before multiple jurisdictions in Southern California and has experience working with officials at all levels of government. On behalf of both public and private sector clients Samantha develops and executes comprehensive public affairs programs to gain support for a broad range of issue areas. In addition to her work, Samantha is involved in many civic and non-profit activities. Samantha serves on the Board of Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles, sits on the executive board of Los Angeles Conservation Corps, and is on the board of Mujeres de la Tierra. She is a past-president of the Los Angeles County Young Democrats, a graduate of the Anti-Defamation League’s Salvin Leadership program and is an alumna of the Leadership LA Program of the Los Angeles Business Council. A former White House Intern, Samantha received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master’s Degree in International Political Economy from the University of Southern California. Samantha lives in Cheviot Hills with her husband David and their two children.

Dawn Wilson | Vice Chair

Dawn Wilson is Director, Environmental Affairs for Southern California Edison (SCE), responsible for the development of an integrated environmental strategy in support of Company objectives. These responsibilities include Environmental Policy, Natural Resources & Public Lands and the administration of the Corporate Responsibility Program. Prior to her current role Dawn served as the Director of Corporate Resources where she directed the strategy and operations of a $1 billion portfolio of SCE’s non-electric facilities. Her responsibilities extended to back office functions such as mailing operations, drawing management and event management and the corporate travel program. She had management responsibility for a budget of approximately $300 million with approximately 300 employees. Over the years Dawn has held a variety of management positions including Director of Business and Organizational Support, Manager Transportation Services, and Manager of Environmental Health & Safety. Dawn began her career as a real estate transactional attorney and practiced with two private law firms before joining the law department of Southern California Edison where she practiced environmental law for 14 years. Dawn has served on various non-profit boards and currently serves on the board of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps and the executive board of the Pasadena Chapter of Jack & Jill of America. Dawn has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wellesley College and a law degree from the University of Michigan. She is a licensed attorney in the state of California.

Frank Lopez | Secretary

Frank Lopez, senior government affairs manager for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), is responsible for managing government relations at Los Angeles City and County. Previously, Lopez served as director of public policy at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. In his role, Lopez oversaw the development of the Chamber’s energy, water, transportation and environmental policy agenda, and co-led the development of the Chamber’s annual advocacy trips to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. During his tenure, Lopez created an annual infrastructure conference for utilities, water agencies, transportation providers, and energy companies to discuss and advocate for large-scale, regional infrastructure projects.

 

Prior to his role at the LA Chamber, Lopez was social equity caucus coordinator for Urban Habitat—an environmental justice non-profit organization based in Oakland, CA. In that role, Lopez led a coalition of seventy-five non-profit, foundation and advocacy organizations focused on transportation, housing, energy and environmental policy issues. Before joining Urban Habitat, Lopez served as a Bohnett Fellow for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In his role, Lopez worked on economic development initiatives, including the development and implementation of the Mayor’s clean technology policy agenda.

 

Before working on Mayor Villaraigosa’s staff, Lopez worked for the U.S. Treasury Department, Financial Management Service in Washington, D.C. as an intern with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities National Internship Program. Lopez serves on the boards of the Central City Association, Project Restore, Koreatown Youth Community Center, Southern California Water Committee, and Mobility 21. Lopez also serves as co-chair of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s Energy, Water & Environmental Sustainability Council, Central City Association’s Transportation, Infrastructure, and Environment Committee, and BizFed’s Advocacy Committee.

 

Lopez majored in business economics at the U.C. Santa Barbara and holds a master’s degree in public policy from UCLA.

Tom Eisenhauer | Treasurer

Tom Eisenhauer is a Principal at Renewable Resources Group, which owns, manages, and develops agriculture, land, water, conservation and renewable energy assets in the United States and internationally. Previously, Tom worked in senior positions in politics and government, including in the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and on Presidential, Congressional, and U.S. Senate campaigns around the country.

 

Tom serves on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters (President, 2013-2017), as well as of a local youth baseball league. He formerly served on the Board of the Mid City West Neighborhood Council. Tom earned a B.A. from Washington and Lee University, and a M.A. from the University of London. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children.

Rosalie Barcinas

Rosalie Barcinas has over 20 years of experience that span across multiple areas of Southern California Edison (SCE) and include policy development and advocacy, operations, external engagement, permitting for major infrastructure projects and land rights management. Her current position is serving as the Director of Catalina Operations & Strategy. In this position she oversees operations of the electric, water, and gas systems, special projects, and overall strategy for the long-term sustainability of the island operations. Rosalie also supports multiple Employee Resource Groups and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts across the company. Rosalie has a B.S. in mathematics from the California State University of Long Beach.

Albert Chavez

Albert Chavez has served as CFO of KCET since 2011. Mr. Chavez was part of the leadership team to usher through the merger between KCET and Link Media to form KCETLink, and retained his position as CFO for the new organization. Prior to joining KCET, Mr. Chavez was the Chief Financial Officer of Grupo Radio Centro’s (RC) broadcast operations in Los Angeles. He was previously the Chief Operating Officer of Lombardia Capital Partners, LLC, a $1.7 billion institutional investor, where he managed all administrative areas of the firm and was the Chief Compliance Officer from 2006 to 2009. Previously Mr. Chavez served as the SVP/CFO for Si TV, Inc. (2003-2006), a digital television network in Los Angeles. From 1998 to 2003, Mr. Chavez provided financial consulting services to a variety of early stage or troubled companies in the technology, media and financial services areas.

 

Prior to that Mr. Chavez co-founded and was the SVP/CFO of El Dorado Communications, Inc. (1991- 1998), a radio broadcasting company. Before El Dorado Communications he worked for the RCA Corporation and General Electric Company (which merged in 1985) in various financial positions in New York City, Mexico City and at GE’s corporate headquarters in Fairfield, Conn. (1985-1990). Mr. Chavez began his career with Deloitte in Los Angeles where he earned his CPA. He received a bachelor’s degree in history and mathematics from the University of Texas at El Paso and went on to earn his MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Jasson Crockett

Jasson Crockett joined Snap Inc in 2021, where he leads Public Policy and Government Relations for the Greater LA Area. Jasson’s responsibilities include liaising with local elected leaders, City and County agencies, and community organizations, to advance strategic partnerships and civic initiatives. Prior to joining Snap, Jasson was Director of Community Business in the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. In this role, Jasson led engagement with small businesses, and oversaw policy and business development in the life science, healthcare and tech sectors, as well as sports and tax policy. Jasson worked to connect companies of all sizes to resources within City Hall to enable their growth in the City of LA and develop a more connected ecosystem wherein companies can thrive. Jasson also led the creation of several major initaitives, including Pledge LA in partnership with the Annenberg Foundation, and WiSTEM LA. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Jasson worked with a national consulting firm, specializing in strategic financial management consulting for nonprofit organizations. Additionally, Jasson has experience as a teacher and case manager for the LA Conservation Corps and worked for a mid-cap asset management firm. Jasson holds a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University where he majored in Finance and Management and is currently earning his Executive MBA at the University of California Los Angeles.

Anne Freiermuth, CPA

Anne Freiermuth, CPA is a Principal at Mission Math and has 15 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations in the areas of accounting, audit preparation, human resource management, board presentations, and governance policy development, working with over 40 nonprofit organizations. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Vassar College in New York, Anne worked for JP Morgan Chase as a credit analyst in Connecticut. Looking for a milder climate and a more personally meaningful career, Anne returned to Los Angeles, where she grew up. She soon began bookkeeping for a tiny nonprofit with a staff office located in the room behind the garage of the board chairman’s home. It was love. Anne pursued her interest in accounting by taking coursework at UCLA Extension while working full-time and received her Certificate in Accounting in 2009. She then became a California-licensed Certified Public Accountant in 2011. Anne has also taught nonprofit accounting for UCLA Extension, the California Society of CPAs, American Jewish University and Riordan Leadership Institute.

Tony Gingiss

Tony Gingiss is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite-based solutions primarily serving the aerospace and defense industries. Tony is responsible for daily operations of the company.

Tony has more than 30 years of aerospace and defense experience in design, production, operations, and leadership. He spent more than two decades with Boeing Satellites Systems in roles spanning space, ground, engineering, operations, and leadership. He supported and led programs across the Commercial, Civil/Defense, and National Security Space Customer sectors. He concluded his time at the defense giant as the Director of Strategic Integration and National Space Communications Programs.

Subsequently, Tony helmed Airbus OneWeb Satellites (AOS) as Chief Executive Officer, where he led Design, Low-Rate-Initial Production, Pilot Launches, and Full Production. Under his leadership, AOS revolutionized a new approach to aerospace manufacturing, building a 100,000-square-foot factory, and scaling production to greater than two satellites per day. Prior to Terran Orbital, he served as Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Orbit where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations. His team achieved incredible milestones in the industry such as the first liquid-fueled air-launched rocket, four successful Customer launches, and a first-ever launch from Spaceport Cornwall.

He received his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University and was awarded Purdue’s 2019 Outstanding Aerospace Engineer award. He was also awarded a Charles Stark Draper Laboratories Fellowship and received his Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT.

Tony has a passion for and has been active in Corporate Citizenship events and outreach activities at the local, state, and national levels. He is a passionate advocate for a diverse and inclusive workforce in the Aerospace industry and industry at-large. Descended from generations of Midwestern farmers, Tony learnt to respect, appreciate, protect, and nurture our natural environment. He is an ardent proponent of conservation and service projects that benefit our community. Outside of work his personal interests include, multimedia design, artistic pursuits, and landscaping his home in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, near Los Angeles, where he and his husband Sean reside.

Bryan LeRoy

Bryan LeRoy is a Los Angeles partner at the law firm of Nixon Peabody where he specializes in land use, real estate and environmental compliance matters. Bryan advises public and private entities regarding the processing of land use permits and other approvals for development, energy and infrastructure projects, as well as strategies to manage environmental concerns and other project impacts. He specializes in the application of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including the review and processing of environmental assessments, environmental impact statements/reports, and negative declarations.

 

Bryan previously served as city attorney for a number of cities in southern California, and as general counsel to the Orange County Council of Governments, a joint powers agency made up of 29 cities and eight special agencies. He has passionately served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Conservation Corps for more than six years, and is currently the Chair of the Program Committee.

Mercedes Salomon Morton

Mercedes has been an active member and advisor to the Board of Directors for over 15 years. She is committed to providing opportunities for underserved youth to transform their lives through work experience and education while caring for our environment and revitalizing our communities. In addition to serving as the President and Chair of the LA Conservation Corps, Mercedes was a founding board member and served 7 years as Vice Chair the Board of the YouthBuild Charter School of California, and serves on the Advisory Board for Walk with Sally. She is also an active volunteer in her local community, her childrens’ schools, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and sports teams. Mercedes is a corporate attorney, advising companies with start-ups, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and governance matters as well as advising entrepreneurs, executives, and partnerships. Prior to her own legal practice, Mercedes was a corporate and securities attorney at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, LLP. Prior to Manatt, she was a corporate attorney at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP.

 

Mercedes earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School. Mercedes graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Political Science and Beta Gamma Sigma with a MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship from the University of Arizona. She resides in Manhattan Beach with her husband and three children.

Nicolo Rusconi

Nicolo Rusconi is a downtown Los Angeles-based entrepreneur specializing in real estate development and hospitality. Nico, along with co-founder Jon Blanchard, owns and operates BLVD745 and BLVD Hospitality. BLVD focuses on all aspects of real estate and hotel development, from concepting to acquisitions to project and construction management. BLVD’s most notable project to date was the conversion of downtown’s United Artist Building and Theatre into a 182 key Ace Hotel. BLVD is currently working on multiple hospitality developments throughout Los Angeles and abroad, and recently expanded their company to include in-house Food and Beverage concepts, development, and operations. They recently opened up Chicas Tacos in downtown Los Angeles – the first of many food and beverage concepts to come from BLVD.

 

Previously, Nicolo brought modern branding strategies into the food service industry with his import and wholesale distribution company, Paradise Spice Foods, making it a major player in the West Coast food service market in just two short years after founding the company. Upon leaving Paradise Spice in 2012, Nicolo joined with Mitch Carricart, Justin Weiss, and Paul Vizcaino to create the renowned downtown Los Angeles promotional and event brand, LaunchDTLA. Since their inception, LaunchDTLA has proved to be the go-to company for outreach to Los Angeles’ most significant stakeholders. Rusconi and his associates have built one of the strongest social networks in Los Angeles and continue to introduce downtown’s newest and best venues to their private, invite-only member-base.

 

Nicolo has lived in downtown Los Angeles for the past 6 years and is a large proponent for the continued growth of the downtown community. He stays actively involved in the neighborhood and is constantly looking for new business and real estate opportunities.

Kamara Sams

Kamara Sams works in Boeing’s Sustainability business unit and manages site closure and future land-use strategy for Boeing’s portion of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a former rocket engine testing facility that sits within a critical wildlife corridor in Southern California. In this role, Sams is also responsible for leading remediation community outreach activities, coordinating engagement with Native American tribes, maintaining relationships with conservation organizations and coordinating with regulatory agencies (California Department of Toxic Substances Control and Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board), as well as the other onsite responsible parties, NASA and U.S. Department of Energy.

In addition to her program director responsibilities in Southern California, Sams also leads strategic community outreach activities, including stakeholder relationship building, public meetings and tours, collateral material production, key message development and photo and video storytelling for more than 10 remediation sites in the United States. She also works closely with Boeing’s State & Local Government Relations on elected official updates and lobbying and Boeing’s Global Engagement organization for environmental charitable giving.

In her 17-year tenure at Boeing, Sams has held several communications positions and has provided support to the Commercial Airplanes Leadership Team, Engineering, Ethics, Export Compliance, Human Resources and Remediation. In addition, Sams served as lead communicator for UAW 887 labor negotiations.

Prior to joining Boeing, Sams worked at a number of Southern California-based organizations including The Salvation Army Southern California Divisional Headquarters where she served as Senior Director of Marketing and Communications; PR Newswire, where she held the position of Editorial Supervisor; and The Associated Press where she worked as a Broadcast Editor.

Sams holds two Bachelor’s degrees in Communications and Black Studies from U.C. Santa Barbara, a Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California (USC) and is working on a Graduate Certificate in Business & Sustainability from USC.

In her spare time, Sams writes children’s books using her family as inspiration. Her first book, Clark’s Summer Vacation, takes readers on a journey with her son Clark as he visits grandparents in California and Washington. Cole’s Family Reunion chronicles the adventures of her younger son Cole as he attends family reunions in Louisiana and Washington.

Sams is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and enjoys participating in numerous community service projects. She lives in Woodland Hills with her husband, two sons and three cats.

Dana S. Treister

Dana S. Treister focuses his practice on a wide variety of real estate transactions, with an emphasis on the acquisition and sale of commercial properties, real estate finance, land use and entitlement work, and commercial leasing transactions. He also has extensive experience representing parties in the formation of joint ventures and in structuring tax-advantaged real estate transactions. In recent years Dana has represented borrowers in hundreds of millions of dollars worth of conduit loan transactions, and has coordinated the defeasance, re-financing and restructuring of existing debt instruments. Dana also serves as an adjunct professor of law at the USC Gould School of Law. He lives in Pasadena with his wife and four children.

Becky Warren

Becky is a founder of Elevate Public Affairs and heads up the strategic communications practice, which includes media relations, public affairs, and crisis and litigation communication. With over 25+ years of experience, Becky provides communications counsel to several Fortune 200 companies, including some of the most disruptive and talked-about technology companies in the world. She has also been the spokesperson for various statewide and regional initiatives as well as handled challenging crisis communications issues. Becky was named one of the Sacramento Capitol’s 100 Best & Brightest: “She’s one of the Capitol’s hardest-working professionals, and easily one of the most effective behind-the-scenes political operatives in the state.”

Prior to founding Elevate, Becky was a partner at a Los Angeles public affairs firm. She previously was the managing director for the Sacramento office of Mercury Public Affairs – a national communications and public affairs firm. Before that, she served as the Deputy Communications Director for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger managing his public appearances, crafting his messaging, and driving media coverage.

Prior to her tenure with the Schwarzenegger Administration, she served as the Communications and Legislative Director for California legislative leadership and headed up public affairs for the state’s restaurant association.

She is on the Board of Directors for the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and served as Chair of the Board in 2020-2021. She also serves as a member of Santa Monica’s Experience Management Committee and a vice-chair of the subcommittee “Ensure Santa Monica Is a Safe and Clean Place to Live and Visit”. She lives in Santa Monica.

Kecia Washington

Kecia M. Washington is the Director of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). In this role, Kecia has a leadership role in various relationships and initiatives involving diversity, innovation, and a sustainability workforce. Her responsibilities run the gamut from Co-chairing the Economic Activities work group for the South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone to serving as the LADWP lead on the Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator’s Diversity Committee to creating partnerships with nonprofits to funnel foster youth into careers in the energy and water sectors. Kecia has also partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Innovation in securing and implementing a Living Cities Grant on Procurement reform.

 

Prior to this Kecia was the Director of Economic Development for the LADWP. In that role she was tasked with managing legacy economic development programs as well as developing and implementing initiatives that focus on the retention, expansion and attraction of business customers.

 

Other past roles include the Executive Director of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Office of Contractor Relations, Assistant Director of Supply Chain at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), and the Director of Education and Outreach for LADWP. In that position she was able to establish and maintain beneficial relationships with education institutions and other stakeholders to both educate them on water and power issues and create beneficial partnerships to provide training and education to LADWP customers. Additionally, in this role she was tasked with managing LADWP’s Job Opportunity and Training Program wherein a small percentage of contracting dollars were set aside to provide training and jobs for the unemployed and underemployed.

 

Kecia also served as Mayor Villaraigosa’s Associate Director for Energy.

 

Kecia is a voluntarily inactive member of the California Bar. She obtained a Juris Doctorate from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Kecia is on the Executive Management Committee of the Valley Economic Alliance. Kecia is a charter member of the Omega Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Kecia sits on the Board for the Los Angeles Business Council Institute.

Caroline Wittcoff

Caroline is a former federal prosecutor and currently teaches at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. She spent the first four years of her career as a trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. prosecuting criminal civil rights violations throughout the United States. From 1997-2008, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, where she specialized in prosecuting hate crimes, police misconduct, human trafficking, and sex trafficking of minors. Caroline was Chief of the Civil Rights Section of the United States Attorney’s Office for four years and also co-chaired the Los Angeles Metro Task Force on Human Trafficking. Since 2008, she has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

 

Caroline earned an A.B. at Stanford University and a J.D. at Harvard Law School. She clerked for Ninth Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima while he was a U.S. district court judge. Caroline is currently President of the Board of Trustees of the John Thomas Dye School, an independent elementary school in Los Angeles. She is married and has three children.

Elizabeth Levin is a Manatt Real Estate partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Her recent representations include representing a museum client regarding its real estate design, development and construction in its ambitious plan to transform its existing museum campus and representing a national grocery chain in leasing, warehousing and acquisitions. Liz regularly represents landlords and tenants in connection with office, industrial and R&D leases.

She is a native Southern Californian, a graduate of Pomona College and UCLA Law, and a former Fulbright Fellow.

Board Diversity Statement:

LA Conservation Corps’ commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) expands beyond words and is something that we strive to embed in all of our work – including the work of the Board.  As a Board, we are deeply committed to realizing DEI in the communities where our Corpsmembers live and work, while creating a safe space for all individuals to bring their full identities to the spaces in which we work without judgment. For us, this means ensuring that our Board is representative of more Black and Latinx voices, Corps program alumni, and educators who work in the education systems we serve so that we are inclusive of the perspectives of those most directly impacted by our mission.  Ultimately, we strive to be a Board whose diversity reflects both the now and the future of our core work, honoring multiple dimensions of diversity and the intersectionality that each Board member will bring to their work.

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