The National Wildlife Refuge Association recently welcomed six new board members: Maya Kepner, Marc Meyer, Chad Brown, Marge Kolar, Don O’Brien, Andy Woolford. The board also bid farewell to three board members and our board Chair whose terms expired: Stuart Watson, Bill Buchanan and Larry Ross.
Maya Kepner gained substantial knowledge of ecosystem functions and their importance in habitat management during her time working for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Black Bear, Wild Pig and Mountain Lion Program. She worked collaboratively with the Tule Elk Program, participating in helicopter elk captures as well as conducting aerial surveys using radio telemetry to monitor Tule elk populations throughout Cache Creek, East Park Reservoir and Lake Pillsbury, California.
After gaining considerable experience working in the field, Ms. Kepner partnered with Steve Thompson of Steve Thompson, L.L.C. to work with private landowners and business interests for the conservation of land, water and wildlife. She currently specializes in regulatory issues at local, state and federal levels, relative to challenges pertaining to land, water, and endangered species.
Marc Meyer is the Robert J. Shillman Professor of Entrepreneurship and the Matthews Distinguished Professor of Business at Northeastern University, known as the leading Cooperative Education academic institution in the U.S. He is the founder of Northeastern’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group in the D’Amore McKim School of Business, ranked a top 10 undergraduate program in the U.S., and serves as a founding Co-Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship Education, a university-wide resource of student and alumni startups. He is also the lead faculty on a number of executive education programs for industry and is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship, the author of numerous books and academic journal articles for both academics and practitioners.
Dr. Meyer is a graduate of Harvard College and holds graduate degrees from M.I.T. While a PhD student in his mid-20s, he left MIT for five years to build his first software company, a leader in real-time embedded operating systems and development tools. Since then, he has been a Visiting Professor and a Scientist at M.I.T, a Visiting Professor at Delft Technical University in the School of Industrial Design and is presently part of Climate Kic, an EU-sponsored program to deliver energy and environmental entrepreneurship courses for universities in member countries. Dr. Meyer has worked on a number of sustainability initiatives with corporations and startups and using these as base level material for this initiative.
Chad Brown joined the U.S. Navy in 1991, a decorated Navy veteran who received multiple honors. After serving, he received a BFA in Communication Design at the American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, Georgia, received his MSc in Communication Design at Pratt Institute, and went onto receive the American Association of Advertising Award through the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program.
While building his career in freelance design, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was a daily reality and struggle. Then, Chad was introduced to the sport of fly fishing and he found solace in the sport. He still recalls the feeling of the first time he hooked in on a fish where he felt himself filled with happiness, smiling for the first time in months. This was his sign to connect with the outdoors, as well as to advocate for all people to have access to the outdoors. Out of this healing experience came Portland’s first outdoor lifestyle apparel brand inspired by fly fishing, Soul River Runs Deep.
With Soul River, Chad infuses style and substance into outdoor apparel. The apparel line is inspired by fly fishing and aims to promote environmental advocacy as well the healing powers of the river. It aims to reach a younger diverse demographic, with the intention of promoting a love of and investment in the outdoors. Alongside the apparel company, Chad created the nonprofit Soul River Inc. to work in tandem with his retail business, with 15% of profits from sales going to the outdoor, water-based organization that brings youth and veterans together to the river and home to themselves and their communities as inspired ambassadors of nature.
Marge Kolar recently retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the Pacific Southwest Regional Refuge Chief with oversight of 50 National Wildlife Refuges covering about 2.5 million acres of habitats in California and Nevada. During her 37-year career with the Service, she worked at National Wildlife Refuges, Ecological Services field stations, area offices and regional offices in Michigan, Washington state, and California, as well as the national office in Washington, DC.
Prior to working for the Service, Marge was employed by several private consulting and manufacturing firms in Ohio, Washington state, Washington, DC and Maryland, She also taught high school physics and math in West Africa with the Peace Corps. Marge has a B.S. degree in Physics and Math from the University of Detroit, and a Masters degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University.
Marge is now Vice-Chair of the Yolo Basin Foundation, on the board of directors for the California Institute of Environmental Studies, and is an active volunteer environmental education docent at a state wildlife area near her home in Davis, California.
Don O’Brien is the Managing Principal of Entry Point Capital, a private real estate investment and management company based in Stamford CT, which he co-founded in 2009.
Entry Point applies a value-oriented investment discipline with hands-on real estate expertise in purchasing and managing office, retail, industrial and multi-family products nationwide. The firm approaches its investments on a non-discretionary basis with financial partners who are comprised of institutional and individual investors. Donal has over 25 years of experience in development, investment, asset management, brokerage and finance. His prior positions include: Senior Managing Director & Co-Head of CIT’s Commercial Real Estate Group, Executive Vice President of Acquisitions with Collins Enterprises, Senior Vice President & Regional Manager for Heitman Properties, Managing Director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Transaction Consulting Group and Project Manager with the Trammell Crow Company.
A graduate of Dartmouth College, Donal majored in Environmental Studies and Art, and holds an MBA from New York University. A life-long student of nature and the outdoors, he’s the past Board Chair of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and currently serves on the National Council of the American Prairie Reserve.
Andy Woolford is currently Managing Director and Co-Head of Leveraged Loan Sales and Syndications for Jefferies & Co. in Stamford, CT, where he has worked since 2004. He has extensive experience in Private Placements, dating back to 1989, with BT Securities, followed by Morgan Stanley, and most recently with CIBC World Markets, all in New York, NY.
Mr. Woolford majored in English Literature at Middlebury College in Vermont and holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His varied community service includes service as board member for the Norwalk community College Foundation, coach and judge for the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, and founder and former treasurer of Shakespeare on the Sound.
A resident of Norwalk, CT, for more than 20 years, Mr. Woolford is a life-long enthusiast of the outdoors. His hobbies include ice hockey, boating, biking, skiing, hiking, fishing, beekeeping, gardening, and guitar.
The departing board members were given commemorative Apple books featuring some of their favorite wildlife and refuge scenery photographs. They will be missed on the board, but will remain close friends of the National Wildlife Refuge Association.