Our Governance Committee is happy to answer any questions you may have about our Board’s credentials or about how to be considered for a Board position.
If you have questions related to this page, please contact the Governance Committee Chair, Nancy Gardner, at email@example.com.
Bob Wilson - President, Executive Committee & Inland Project Committee Chair
Bob Wilson joined the Orange Coast River Park (OCRP) Board in September, 2012. He studied mathematics and computer science at the University of California, Irvine and graduated in 1974. A resident of Orange County since 1961, he has resided in the Newport Heights area since 1977. He currently lives in Newport Beach with his wife, Cheri. Bob retired from the County of Orange in April of 2012 after more than 37 years of public service.
During his tenure with the County, he developed his interests and knowledge in environmental and conservation issues through extensive involvement in the County’s regional open space and environmental resource management programs and its regulatory and stewardship activities. His tenure included serving in leadership positions in such program areas as Housing and Community Development; Public Works; Harbors, Beaches and Parks; Watershed Management; Flood Control and Environmental Health. He has also held leadership positions under Supervisor John Moorlach and District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. He currently serves as President of the OCRP governing Board.
Bob’s interest in serving on the OCRP Board is an outgrowth of a regional perspective gained from his years of service with Orange County combined with a recognition that local involvement and perspective are essential to furthering the goal of an OCRP. Over the past forty years, a realization and an ever increasing appreciation of the truly special environment offered by Newport and the surrounding communities with their unique and priceless bay, harbor, coastal, wetland and river ecologies has reinforced his desire to be a bigger part of local efforts to preserve, maintain and enhance these environments.
Nancy Gardner - Vice President, Governance Committee & Coastal Project Committee Chair
Nancy Gardner was born and raised in Newport Beach, California and served eight years on the city council, including one as mayor. A co-founder of the Newport Beach chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, she also served as president of the national board of directors for that organization. In addition to serving as Vice President of OCRP, she is on the board of the Natural Communities Coalition and Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter.
Bo Glover - Treasurer & Finance Committee Chair
Trail building, habitat restoration and leading educational tours as a volunteer marked the early days of Bo’s career at the ENC after moving to California in 1991. Bo is currently the Executive Director of the Environmental Nature Center (ENC) and has held that position since 1995. When he is not hiking or camping with his family, Bo affiliates himself with a number of worthwhile community organizations. Bo is Past-President of the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) and California Society for Ecological Restoration (SERCAL). He was also a member of the Orange County CREEC Network Advisory Committee, the Chairman of the City of Newport Beach Castaways Park Advisory Committee from 1999 – 2003, a member of the Newport-Mesa Schools Foundation Grants Allocations Committee from 1996-2012, and served on the Environmental Board of the City of Huntington Beach from 2009 to 2012. Bo, a LEED Accredited Professional, serves as a member of the Market Leader Advisory Board of the US Green Building Council Orange County. Bo was recently the recipient of the Lakers Community Champion Award, presented by the Lakers and LG Solar on the court at halftime, to recognize him for his work at the ENC. Bo will receive the 2018 Leadership Award from the Association of Nature Center Administrators in September 2018. He joined OCRP Conservancy’s Board of Directors in 2011.
Phil Greer - Board Member
Phil Greer was born in Long Beach, California in 1953 but spent his formative years along the Orange County coast, usually somewhere between Golden West Street and Salt Creek. He, and his wife of thirty five years, Arlene, have lived in Newport Beach for the past twenty years. Their son, Alex, is a proud graduate of Anderson Elementary, Mariner’s Christian and Sage Hill schools.
An attorney whose practice exists at the intersection of business and politics, Phil has played an instrumental role in some of the most high profile election law cases in Orange County over the past decade, representing Supervisors Janet Nguyen, Pat Bates and Bill Campbell among others. He has also represented the Capistrano Unified School District and Congressman Ed Royce. The remainder of his practice consists of boring business litigation and some lobbying. As such, he understands both the needs of business and the nuances of the political process.
An avid surfer, white water rafter and proponent of all things outdoors, Phil believes that organizations such as the Orange Coast River Park are essential in preserving open space and leaving a legacy for our children. Phil has served on a number of boards including Orange County’s Public Finance Advisory Committee and the Newport Beach Arts Foundation where, in addition to being a member, he provides pro bono legal services.
The Greer’s are active in the arts and a variety of charitable activities.
Lena Hayashi - Advisory Board Member
Lena Yee Hayashi was born in Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA in 1970. She and her husband Steve moved to Huntington Beach in 1972. She taught 5th and 6th grades in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District from 1970-1975, retiring to be a stay-at-home mom. Her children are both married, her daughter living in Newport Beach and son in Costa Mesa. The loves of her life are grandsons Drew, 7 and Scott, 4.
As a 40 year resident of Huntington Beach, Lena appreciates and enjoys the open space areas along the Santa Ana River and the Pacific Coast Highway. It was natural for her to volunteer her time and energy to make sure those areas would be preserved and restored for her grandchildren and future generations to enjoy. Lena had served on the boards of the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy, Sea and Sage Audubon, Shipley Nature Center and on the committee of the OCRP.
Since the birth of her grandchildren, Lena has limited her volunteer time to conducting bird surveys for the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy, Shipley Nature Center and Bolsa Chica.
Lena is active in her church and at age 63, was hired part-time as a Special Events Coordinator. Of trivial note, Lena climbed to Uhuru, the highest point on Mt. Kilimanjaro in 1998 and in 1999, on the year of her 50th birthday, she through-hiked the John Muir Trail in 20 days.
Kristen Petros - Board Member
Kristen Petros is a native Californian raised in Newport Beach. She received a BA from UCSB in Environmental Studies and Geography and soon began a 16 year career as a City Planner for the City of Costa Mesa. Eventually becoming the City’s Environmental Planner she was responsible for CEQA compliance and processing technical documents for large development and transportation projects. Kristen most enjoyed leading the preparation of the Fairview Park Master Plan for a 200-acre degraded area in western Costa Mesa as well as the City’s first Historic Resources Ordinance.
After retiring to continue raising a family, Kristen joined the Board of the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach for a number of years culminating in the construction of their first permanent LEED certified nature center. In 2011, Kristen joined the newly formed Orange Coast River Park Board to continue her desire to see meaningful open space and habitat restoration in Orange County, including Fairview Park.
Ann Harmer - Advisory Board Member
John Villa - Secretary
John Villa has an MBA with an emphasis in Technology Management. He has developed and managed strategies, goals, and budgets at the company, division and departmental levels. His background and experience covers logistics, contracts management, senior negotiator and intellectual property in Aerospace, Consumer Electronics, IP Management and University settings. He has worked with and performed pro bono work for startups in the medical device, health products, consumer electronics, high-throughput screening, and fuel cell devices. He is currently the Executive Director for the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy, CFO and Officer for the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center and board member for the Orange County River Park Group.
Dean Abernathy - Board Member & Fund Development Committee Chair
Dean Abernathy grew up in the beautiful high desert of Southern California, a short drive from mountains, beaches and the density of down town Los Angeles. The richness and intensity of the contrasting environments inspired an appreciation of design and a career in architecture. Dean is an architect, tenured professor of architecture, and current chairman of the departments of Construction and Architecture at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California.
He received his Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, a Master of Architecture in Design and Computation, and a Doctorate in Architecture from University of California Los Angeles. He was an associate director of the Cultural Virtual Reality Lab at UCLA and concurrently was the site architect for the American Academy in Rome excavations at Villa Orazio in Italy. He taught architectural design and visualization in the School of Architecture at University of Virginia where he was associate director of the UVA Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Humanities.
Dean currently has a design and fabrication practice, DLA Architecture + Fabrication, in Anaheim, California as part of the CRAFT consortium. He is also on the board of the Costa Mesa Foundation as well as the Orange Coast River Park, Inc.
Everette Phillips - Board Member & Communications Committee Chair
Everette Phillips is a local business executive and entrepreneur who is also active in the community in a variety of ways. Everette began his interest in conservation and the environment as a Boy Scout and studied in the department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. Although his career after Cornell has been oriented towards robotics, advanced manufacturing and supply chain management, he retained an interest in the biological and environmental systems of nature. Everette had an early involvement in the committee that organized Orange Coast River Park and recently returned to serve on the board of OCRP Inc and currently serves as its President.
In addition to his engineering degree from Cornell, Everette has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School. Everette and his wife, Isabelle, live in Newport Beach with their five children.
Rory Pastor - Advisory Board Member
Rory Paster was raised in West Los Angeles, and developed an adoration of nature and wildlife early in life around his home in the Santa Monica Mountains. His father a home builder and mother an avid gardener, Rory melded his interests in both disciplines, and received a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecure at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1993. After several years of apprenticeship in Sonoma California, Rory moved to Orange County in 1997. Working primarily on housing developments for his first ten years of professional practice, he came to public service in 2002, for the County of Orange. Here, in the Environmental Planning section, Rory returned to his native plant roots, engaging the design, implementation and management of County habitat restoration sites.
Rory Paster came into connection with the Orange Coast River Park in 2010 when Jean Watt contacted Rory regarding the County of Orange 20-acre habitat restoration project at Talbert Nature Park- South. It was then that Rory realized that Talbert Nature Park was a key element within the Orange Coast River Park plan area. The OCRP and its plan to preserve and create open space, emphasizing native plants and wildlife are in direct alignment with Rory’s passions and carreer. To that end, Rory was an eager participant when Dennis Baker requested his involvement with OCRP.
Jean Watt - Advisory Board Member & Honorary Board Member
Jean Watt was raised in Pasadena with summers spent in Newport Beach. She received a BA in Economics at Stanford University just after World War II and moved on to become a Registered Nurse. She married James Y. Watt who started his OB/GYN medical practice at Hoag Hospital in 1953 and together they spent the next years raising four children and attending to the PTA and Girl Scout opportunities.
The 1970s, with the new Federal Air Quality and Water Quality laws as well as California’s Environmental Quality Act, got her attention such that she co-founded SPON (Stop Polluting Our Newport) in 1974. Later Jean served on the Newport Beach City Council from 1988-1996 after which she became a Board member of the Environmental Nature Center and a founding Board member and president of the Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks.
Jean Watt’s interest in the Orange Coast River Park began in the mid 1990s when Bob Fisher, then Orange County’s Harbors, Beaches and Parks Director, and Reed Holderman, then with the California Coastal Conservancy, began planning for such a regional coastal facility. When Jean and others formed the Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks in 1997, they initiated the OCRP Committee, developed a Concept Plan and have worked to implement it since that time.
Elizabeth Flowers - Assistant Secretary, Education Committee Chair
Elizabeth grew up in the concrete jungle of New York City, with Central Park as her haven, playground, and inspiration for her love of the outdoors. Before moving to Orange County, Elizabeth traveled internationally, and spent two years working as a Divemaster at a shark conservation site in Australia. In 2012, she moved to Orange County to obtain her degree and develop her activism. Elizabeth now holds her Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Policy from Chapman University, and remains academically inclined towards biology, chemistry, geographic information systems (GIS), sustainability and marketing. Elizabeth recently founded an environmentally conscious business and runs a digital marketing agency.
Elizabeth became involved in the Orange Coast River Park after interning for the Banning Ranch Task Force of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter in 2016, when she submitted three papers to the California Coastal Commission outlining the protections provided for Banning Ranch under the Coastal Act and other legislation. Prior to 2016, she also helped organize events with OC Coastkeeper within the boundaries of the park. The OCRP is Elizabeth’s main non-profit focus, and she volunteers frequently at organizations that operate within the park. She is Grantsmanship certified and serves on the Fund Development Committee and Communications Committee at the OCRP. Under the Communications Committee, she has overseen intern projects such as the OCRP map and ecological staircase graphic. Elizabeth believes that the OCRP can not only provide significantly restored habitats for suffering species, but it can also inspire the community of Orange County to love the outdoors the way Central Park did for her.
Dennis Baker - Board Member, Stakeholders Committee Chair
In the ‘70s, Dennis left the electronics industry to become a high school industrial arts teacher, specializing in auto mechanics, photography, and computer technology.
In 2000, he retired from 24 years of teaching in a continuation high school and was looking for new challenges. He was provided an introduction to the issues of water quality by joining the Ocean Outfall Group (OOG) and the battle to eliminate the 301(h) waiver held by the Orange County Sanitation District.
In 2001, Dennis became a volunteer naturalist in the Upper Newport Bay. He then joined the Newport Bay Naturalists and Friends board of directors, presiding as president from 2007 through 2009.
In 2003, he was appointed to the City of Newport Beach (NPB) Coastal/Bay Water Quality Advisory Committee on which he still serves. Coincidental with this, he joined Stop Polluting Our Newport (SPON) and currently serves as the treasurer.
Diversifying in 2002, Dennis became a board director for Ballet Pacifica, and also was appointed to the NPB Arts Commission. He then volunteered in 2004 for the Newport Beach Film Festival where he now volunteers as the Director of Short Film Programming. Also in 2004, he became interested in the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory where he serves as a docent and member of the Center’s Community Advisory Committee.
In January, 2011, he and four likeminded friends created Orange Coast River Park, Inc. at the mouth of the Santa Ana River. This was an outgrowth of a committee of Friends of Harbors, Beaches, and Parks.
With his wife, Dennis has traveled independently in over 30 countries on 5 different continents throughout the world, usually traveling by bicycle. Closer to home, he loves to spend time paddling his surfski offshore looking for dolphins and whales or paddling with friends in a 6 man outrigger.
Robert Staples - Board Member
Robert joined the Orange Coast River Park (OCRP) Board in April 2018. He has worked in local government as an employee and consultant for the past 25-years focusing on funding and project management of parks and open space projects. A resident of Newport Beach, he has resided on the Newport Peninsula with his wife Ida, and son Bodie since 2008.
While working with the City of Costa Mesa, Robert secured funding for, and managed the Fairview Park Wetlands Project, a 40-acre native habitat and engineered wetlands restoration site along the Santa Ana River and on the northern boundary of the Orange Coast River Park. During his tenure with the City he collaborated with OCRP, the County of Orange, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on vernal pool and habitat protection projects within the OCRP boundary.
Robert is interested in partnering with OCRP property owners to seek grant funding for the restoration and preservation of native habitat sites along the river and coast. Restoring the habitat back to natives guarantees the River Park will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.
Ed Siebel - Advisory Board Member
Ed Siebel grew up in the Chicago suburbs, attended Ripon College in Wisconsin, then received an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago specializing in manufacturing production and finance. After marrying a Californian, Sue, the Siebels moved to Southern California where Ed earned a law degree from Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles. He started practice in Claremont where his wife was teaching at the Claremont Colleges. As their family grew to five kids – four girls and a boy – the Siebels decided to move permanently to Newport Beach where they have lived since the summer of 1975.
Ed opened his law office on Balboa Island in 1976 where he continues as a solo practitioner. After spending many years advising small business owners and individuals on general issues of law, he and Sue now also work together advocating in schools for children with special education needs. <www.specedlawyer.com> Over the years, Ed has participated in the usual parental volunteer activities – PTA, Girl Scouts, AYSO, etc. He regularly provides legal counsel to members of the Oasis Senior Center in Newport Beach. In addition, he has been active in local professional organizations, chairing the Appellate Section of the Orange County Bar Association. Ed was one of the primary drafters of the Newport Beach Traffic Phasing Ordinance in the mid-1970s, working with Jean Watt, Alan Beek and others to have it adopted as law.