Our Board of Directors and Advisory Board consist of involved and committed community leaders who are passionate about the conservation and preservation of California's heartland. Read their biographies and discover the depth of skill and vision that govern SRT.
Board of Directors
MIKE OLMOS, Chair
Olmos joins the SRT Board after his time as Visalia's top administrator. He announced his retirement in 2017 following service to the City of Visalia in various capacities during a 16-year career there.
Olmos started as a city planner and was promoted to development services director in December 2002, overseeing planning, transit and engineering. After a city administration reorganization in 2004, Olmos took over the public works department and was named as community development and public works director. In 2005, Olmos was appointed assistant city manager, then city manager in 2013 when he replaced Steve Salomon. During his stint as city manager, Olmos led Visalia's General Plan update, expected to guide the city's growth through 2030, and Measure N, a local tax measure seeking to fund road maintenance, police, and fire. Olmos also oversaw the development and construction of Visalia's Animal Care Center, Fire Station 53, the Visalia Emergency Communication Center, and a major upgrade to the Visalia Wastewater Treatment Plant.
BRIAN W. GRANT, Vice Chair
Brian Grant serves as Executive Vice President for Nickel Family, LLC, a diversified, family owned agribusiness company with operations in Kern, Fresno and Merced Counties. He previously held Vice President positions with Bolthouse Farms and the Tejon Ranch Company. He brings over 20 years of experience in agriculture, water management, real estate and ranch operations to the SRT Board. He holds a B.S. degree in Agricultural Business from Colorado State University, a Postgraduate Certificate in Resource Studies from Lincoln University in New Zealand, a Master of Public Policy and an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University. In addition to serving on the SRT Board, he serves on a variety of water agricultural boards throughout the San Joaquin Valley. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two young daughters, fly fishing, skiing, or playing tennis. Brian joined the SRT Board in December 2015, and was elected SRT Board Vice Chair in 2018.
DON KAPLAN, Treasurer
Don is a CPA and Investment Advisor who has worked in Visalia for more than 30 years. He has been a longtime supporter of SRT, having served on the Finance Committee since 2007. Don, his wife Sharon, and son Cameron, operate Mirizzi Farms, growing citrus and other tree fruit in the Visalia area, with attention to sustainability and concern for the environment. Don enjoys hiking, exploring the Central California Coast, great blues, and an occasional golf outing.
JULIE ALLEN, Secretary
Julie brings over 30 years experience in the southern Sierra Nevada, where she worked for many years as the land management planning staff officer, or planning director, of the Sequoia National Forest. She serves on the Tulare County Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) and on the corresponding state organization, CALAFCO. She brings considerable knowledge and expertise in land and resource planning in both the public and private sectors of California, along with strong skills in negotiation and facilitation. Julie values conserving healthy natural systems across public and private ownership boundaries, an interest and dedication she brought to SRT's Tule Oaks chapter in 1994. She first joined the board in 2002 and rejoined in 2014 because she believes that land trusts are an important, non-regulatory way to protect conservation values on private land. Julie owns and manages a small ranch in Springville where she has lived for 35 years.
Pete received his B.A. Degree in Business Administration at Humboldt State University in 1971. He worked for 12 years with Union Oil Company of California in Marketing and Distribution, before attended San Joaquin College of Law where he received his J.D. degree in 1988. He was admitted to the bar in 1988 and worked as a Deputy District Attorney for Tulare County before going into private practice in 1991. He practiced law at the firm of McKinney, Wainwright & Saul-Olson until 2009. Pete is a member of the Rotary Club of Visalia, served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Tulare County Library Foundation through 2012, and is a Governor of the Central California Scottish Society. He is a past president of the Valley Oak Region of Porsche Club of America and has served as Vice-President of the Visalia Chapter of the Experimental Aviation Association.
Mark Larsen is General Manager for Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District in the southern San Joaquin Valley. He joined the SRT Board in 2016.
At the district, he manages projects, develops water management policy, and engages in developing and maintaining relationships with various local entities towards groundwater mitigation, water transfers, water education and conservation since 2002.
Mark also serves as the Watermaster for the Kaweah and St. Johns Rivers Association, serves on the board of the Water Education Foundation, is the coordinator for the Greater Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency, and serves on the board of the Tulare County Flood Commission. Mr. Larsen holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from California State University, Fresno.
Rod joined the SRT Board in 2018. In his capacity as owner/President of R J Meade Consulting, Rod provided public policy, environmental planning, regulatory and entitlement guidance to a variety of large-scale public and private clients. He was responsible for formulating regulatory approval strategies for clients, including
The Irvine Ranch, Tejon Ranch, Rancho Mission Viejo and Yokohl Ranch. Rod managed teams of technical and biological consultants necessary during preparation of technical documentation necessary to obtain the local, state and federal agency approvals of proposed residential and commercial development. A key element of Rod’s consultation involved managing the design of permanent natural community reserves to protect sensitive species and habitat and formulating long-term adaptive management and funding programs to support those reserves. On behalf of public sector clients, Rod served briefly as the Executive Director of the Governor’s Delta Vision Initiative, was the Restoration Administrator for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, and served as the Land Use and Agriculture Consultant to the Great Valley Center for the Governor’s San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Initiative. Rod retired at the end of 2017. He continues to provide assistance to environmental organizations.
Kathy joined the SRT board in 2014. She has served in various executive positions in large-scale real estate development and agribusiness ventures for over 30 years, and is a founding/emeritus board member of the Tejon Ranch Conservancy. Kathy is from a farming community in east central Illinois and currently resides both there and in Thousand Oaks, CA.
Gary Smith, from a multi-generational farming family west of Tulare, manages 4400 acres of farm property for a Northern European family with 250,000 acres worldwide. These productive farms include environmental restoration and conservation practices that are critical to sustainable agricultural practices. With a background in economics and banking as well as farming, Gary has worked closely with SRT on various projects and now lends his expertise to the SRT Board, which he joined in December 2015.
Scott Spear farmed most of his adult life in Tulare County and Southern Monterey County. He has been involved with land conservation for the past three decades, starting in 1995 with Four Creeks Land trust, one of SRT's predecessor organizations, and then SRT upon its establishment in 2000. Scott served as SRT's inaugural board chair, a title he held for fourteen years. After a sabbatical, Scott returned to the SRT Board in 2019. He currently serves on the Tulare County Ag Advisory Committee, which he joined in 2012. Additionally, since 2018 he has served on the California Roundtable for Ag and the Environment. Scott has two married daughters and three grandsons, all living in the Bay area.
Ian Treacher is a Financial Advisor and First Vice President at Wells Fargo Advisors in San Luis Obispo. He previously served in the same role at Morgan Stanley in Visalia. In his free time Ian enjoys camping and hiking with his family. He joined the SRT board in December of 2016.
Colby Wells is a Sr. Public Affairs Manager for the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) in Fresno, Kings and Tulare Counties. He represents SoCalGas to local governments, business and community organizations, media outlets, and the community at large. Colby is active in many of the local business and community organizations within the three counties he serves. Through SoCalGas’ charitable giving program, he has participated in Happy Trails Riding Academy, ImagineU Children’s Museum, Foodlink Tulare County, Visalia Emergency Aid Council, Habitat for Humanity, United Way and various other organizations and programs. Colby currently serves on several community boards including the Tulare County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Kings Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County, San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, Sequoia Riverlands Trust and the Redwood High School Band & Color Guard Boosters. Colby joined SoCalGas in 1997 after graduating from California State University, Fresno with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. He currently lives in Visalia with his wife Carrie, 18-year-old son Logan, 16-year-old daughter Bethany, and 14-year-old daughter Shaylee. The family is very involved in Grace Community Church, music activities and horse-riding classes through Happy Trails Riding Academy.
SRT board of directors and staff at Carrizo Plain for the March 2017 board retreat.
Emeritus Board Members
- Mike Chrisman
- Rob Hansen
- Dennis R. Keller
- Mike Olmos
- Jane T. Olson
- Jean Osher
- Sally Pace
- Amy Pack
- Elizabeth Palmer
- Ron Paregien
- Kenneth Richardson
- Cliff Ronk
- Jim Sullins
- Karen Telallian
- William Tweed