Carol Smith

Carol Smith, PhD

Executive Director
Email: | 360-407-6201 | 360-584-3184 (cell)

Carol was appointed as Executive Director in May 2019. She previously worked for the Washington State Conservation Commission from 1998-2014 managing the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program — Washington’s largest streamside habitat restoration program for salmon — and science-related issues. She returns to the Conservation Commission after spending the last four and a half years at the Washington State Department of Ecology where she managed the Environmental Assessment Program, which is the science-arm of the agency. Smith also has worked for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Morehouse School of Medicine, and she directed a chemistry laboratory in California. Smith grew up near McCleary, Washington. She worked for Simpson Timber Company for several years while attending college at Saint Martin’s University. She has a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in various biological sciences from the University of Hawaii.

Mike Baden

Mike Baden

Regional Manager – North Central and Northeast | 509-385-7510

Mike Baden started as the Southeast Regional Manager in January 2015. Mike serves the following conservation districts: Cascadia, Ferry, Foster Creek, Grant County, Lincoln County, Okanogan, South Douglas, Pend Oreille, Stevens County, and Spokane.

Full bio coming soon!

Mike’s areas of expertise

  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service relations and programs
  • State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) representation
  • Grant writing
  • Geographic Information Systems(GIS) and Conservation Practice Data System (CPDS)
  • Conservation planning
  • Technical employee training
  • Engineering area coordination
Larry Brewer

Larry Brewer

Special Project: Cultural Resources Program | 360-701-7859

Larry is a project staff responsible for developing and implementing the Cultural Resources Program for the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) and conservation districts. Larry also assists the SCC and districts with technical development related to conservation planning and implementation of best management practices.

Larry’s areas of expertise...

  • Cultural resources
  • Conservation planning technical development
  • Implementation
photo coming soon

Allisa Carlson

Regional Manager – South Central | 360-480-6686

We welcomed Alissa to our team on September 3. Her biography will be added soon!

Alissa serves the following conservation districts: Benton, Central Klickitat, Eastern Klickitat, Franklin, Kittitas, North Yakima, South Yakima, Walla Walla.

Brian Cochrane

Brian Cochrane

Habitat and Monitoring Coordinator | 360-407-7103 | 360-701-5749 (cell)

Brian Cochrane is the Habitat and Monitoring Coordinator for the Commission. He graduated from UC Davis with a Wildlife and Fisheries bachelor’s degree and has since worked in the natural resources field for Idaho Fish and Game, private consultants in California, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, US Army Yakima Training Center, and Yakima County’s Flood Control and Stormwater programs. Brian brings his habitat monitoring and restoration experience to the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), and coordinates salmon restoration efforts, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and stormwater activities. In addition to playing music and tinkering with boatbuilding and old car projects, Brian enjoys getting outdoors hiking, snowshoeing, and sailing.

Brian’s areas of expertise...

  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
  • Riparian habitat and salmon restoration
  • Stormwater management
  • Geographical Information System (GIS)
  • Monitoring design and data analysis
  • Hydraulics and hydrology
  • Floodplain management
  • Water quality
Jon Culp

Jon Culp

Water Resources Program Manager | 509-385-7509

Jon Culp joined the Commission in 2001 and serves as the Water Resource Programs Manager. Previously, Jon worked for the Okanogan Conservation District where he was a Natural Resource Planner, and he spent four years in the US Army as a High Frequency Radio Direction Finder. He has a B.A. from Central Washington University. Jon has been a councilmember for the City of Okanogan from 1999 through 2013 and Mayor since January of 2014. He is a life member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and enjoys the outdoors through camping, hiking, hunting, and raising organic chicken, eggs, and vegetables.

Jon’s areas of expertise...

Areas of expertise:

  • Irrigation Efficiency Program management
  • Drought coordination – Surface Water Advisory Committee
  • Office of Columbia River Policy Advisory Group
  • WA Prescribed Fire Council
  • Training on programmatic, irrigation water management planning, and basic irrigation water meters.
  • Irrigation water meters
  • WA Trust Water Rights Program
  • Grant writing
  • Open Public Meetings Act
  • Local governments
  • Conservation planning
Eleanor Dovey

Eleanor Dovey

Fiscal Manager | 360-407-6211 | 360-790-3501 (cell)

Eleanor joined the Washington State Conservation Commission as our fiscal manager in June 2016. Biography coming soon!

Bill Eller

Bill Eller

Voluntary Stewardship Program coordinator | 509-385-7512

Bill Eller joined the State Conservation Commission in 2007. He became the Voluntary Stewardship Program coordinator in 2015 after previously serving as Technical Coordinator of the Columbia River Basin Water Management Program and Central Washington Regional Manager. Bill is also the Commission Elections Officer. Bill was born in North Dakota, but grew up in Alaska. He attended the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where he graduated with a B.A. in Political Science in 1990. In 1997, he graduated from the Gonzaga University School of Law with a Juris Doctorate degree and practiced both criminal and civil law while at the Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for nine years. In 2010, he graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security with a M.A. in Security Studies.

Bill’s areas of expertise...

  • Voluntary Stewardship Program
  • Supervisor election and appointments
  • Emergency management coordination
  • District operations
  • Review of Contracts
  • Agreements and other legal issues
  • Public Records Requests (as needed) and review of contracts
Jean Fike

Jean Fike

Regional Manager – Puget Sound | 360-764-0533

Jean joined the Conservation Commission in 2019. Prior to joining the Commission, Jean served for five years as the Northwest Region Manager for the Washington Department of Natural Resources overseeing land management, forest practices, and wildfire for five counties. Before that, Jean served for nine years as Executive Director of the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District in Oregon where she converted a funeral home to a demonstration headquarters and started a farm business incubator. Prior experience includes coordinating the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program and serving as Chief of Ecological Services for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources.  She holds masters degrees in Botany and Public Administration.


Josh Giuntoli

Josh Giuntoli

Office of Farmland Preservation Coordinator | 360-407-7474

Josh joins the Conservation Commission as the Project Coordinator for the Office of Farmland Preservation. Josh is a 4th generation Washingtonian and was born and raised in the Yakima Valley where he grew up farming mint and grapes. Josh graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2005. Prior to joining the Commission, Josh worked as a Legislative Assistant for the Washington State Senate, where he worked on issues related to land use, parks, and international trade. Josh also worked for the Walla Walla Community College under contract with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Walla Walla Conservation District to develop and implement a nationally recognized voluntary Fish Screen Program in the Walla Walla Basin. He enjoys spending time with his three kids outdoors and fishing in both salt and freshwater for salmon and steelhead.

Josh’s areas of expertise...

  • Agricultural conservation easements
  • Succession planning coordination
  • Policy/program development and implementation
  • Land use planning
  • Grant writing assistance
  • Habitat Lands Coordinating Group representative
  • WA Food System Roundtable representative
Lori Gonzalez

Lori Gonzalez

Executive Assistant | 360-407-7417

Lori Gonzalez joined the Commission in November 2007 as an Administrative Assistant. Prior to joining the Commission, she worked for the Department of Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program for five years. Lori assists with all aspects of administrative work and provides direct support to the Executive team and Commission members.

Lori’s areas of expertise...

  • Agency executive assistance
  • Commission meeting coordinator
  • Human resources liaison
  • Commissioner assistance and compensation
  • IT/agency needs
  • Regular meeting planning and coordination
  • Supervisor elections and appointments
  • Record keeping
Sarah Groth

Sarah Groth

Interim Fiscal Manager / Fiscal Analyst | 360-407-6205

Sarah Groth joined the Conservation Commission in January 2015 as a Fiscal Analyst. Prior to being hired on at the Commission, Sarah was a Fiscal Analyst for the Department of Enterprise Services, Small Agency Client Services division. Sarah provides financial support to District and Commission staff.

Sarah’s areas of expertise...

  • Agency accounting
  • Contracts payment
  • Agency budget
  • Office of Financial Management – finance assistance
  • Allotments
  • Payroll
Karla Heinitz

Karla Heinitz

Management Analyst | 360-407-6212

Karla Heinitz graduated from The Evergreen State College with a B.A. Degree in Pre-law/Political Science. She worked for the Washington State Senate as a Senate Intern during the 2001 Legislative Session. Karla then worked at the Washington State Dairy Federation as the Research Analyst for several years researching environmental issues, growth management issues, federal rules, and state statutes, and bill tracking during the legislative session. Karla joined the State Conservation Commission in 2005 as a contracts specialist. She works with the Livestock Program, manages agency contracts, and serves as the public records officer. Karla also is a licensed notary.

Karla’s areas of expertise...

  • Inter-agency contracts
  • Special projects
  • Agency ‘Lean’ coordinator
  • Shellfish program
  • Cost-share
  • Public records
Alison picture

Alison Halpern, Ph.D.

Policy Assistant | 360-407-6209 | 360-280-5556 (cell)

Alison joined the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) in July 2018. She came to the SCC after working for the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board for thirteen years, first as its Education Specialist and then its Executive Secretary. She earned her Ph.D. in Ecology from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY, where she studied the ecology of a freshwater invasive plant. Although Alison and her husband Curt are New England natives, they have lived in the Midwest, Southern California, and Upstate New York before calling the Pacific Northwest home.

Areas of expertise coming soon!

Laura Johnson

Communications Coordinator | 360-407-6936 | 360-701-9455 (cell)

Laura holds a Master’s degree in environmental communication from Prescott College and a BA in film and video from Grand Valley State University. Her graduate research explored how to design conservation campaigns that foster stewardship behavior, particularly in rural, low-income communities. Laura grew up in a small, rural town in northeast Michigan along the shores of Lake Huron. She moved to Washington in 2006 and enjoys the activities, beauty, and food afforded by the state’s diverse landscapes.

Laura’s areas of expertise...

  • Annual Report publication
  • Adobe Creative Suite (publication layout and design)
  • Community-based social marketing
  • Editing/proofreading
  • Facebook/social media
  • Grant writing
  • Messaging / talking points
  • Presentation design
  • Program fact sheets
  • Targeted/persuasive communication design
  • Web content and design (WordPress)
Shana Joy

Shana Joy

Regional Manager Coordinator | 360-480-2078 | 360-407-6215 (cell)

Shana Joy joined the Conservation Commission in July 2014. Prior to joining the Commission she worked for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources as the Executive Director of the Natural Resource Conservation and Development Board, a position she held for five years. In this role Shana worked closely with 12 diverse conservation districts statewide as well as state and federal agency leaders to advance conservation districts in Alaska. Shana graduated with honors from Oregon State University with a B.S. in natural resource management focusing on fish and wildlife conservation. A native of Pend Oreille County, Shana enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, fishing, and birding. In addition to managing the regional manager staff, Shana provides service and support as a regional manager to these conservation districts: Asotin County, Columbia, Palouse, Palouse-Rock Lake, Pine Creek, Pomeroy, and Whitman.

Shana’s areas of expertise...

  • Policy/program development and implementation
  • Puget Sound District Caucus liaison
  • Puget Sound programs
  • Partnership development
  • National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA) National Officer
Alicia McClendon

Alicia McClendon

Administrative Assistant | 360-407-6200

Alicia joined the Conservation Commission in May 2014 as an Administrative Assistant. Alicia provides agency administrative support to District and Commission staff. She is the agency Safety Officer, Service Coordinator, and Agency Transportation Officer. She also administers state vehicle lease agreements with districts, oversees agency inventory and archiving, and is involved in the district appointment process for the Commission.

Alicia’s areas of expertise...

  • Agency administrative support
  • Travel planning
  • Meeting coordination
  • Inventory
  • Archiving
  • Receipt books
  • Agency Safety Officer
  • Agency Transportation Coordinator
  • Agency Service Coordinator
  • Web assistance
  • Friday Updates
Jack Myrick

Jack Myrick

Irrigation Efficiencies | 509-301-2498

Jack Myrick comes to the SCC from Walla Walla Community College where he was an instructor in the Irrigation Technology/Water Management Program. He brings 40 years of experience in large scale agricultural irrigation system design, construction and management, and has worked in several states and foreign countries.

Jack’s areas of expertise...

  • Water rights investigation
  • Irrigation system design and evaluation
  • Fish screen design for pumped systems
  • Pump station design
  • Training sessions on irrigation water management and pump and irrigation system design
Ron Shultz

Ron Shultz

Director of Policy and Inter-governmental Relations | 360-407-7507

Ron Shultz is the Director of Policy and Inter-governmental Relations. He is the agency lead on the Puget Sound Partnership, wetland mitigation issues, and he also supports the Office of Farmland Preservation. Ron was formerly the Director of Programs and the Acting Executive Director at the Puget Sound Partnership and was the Natural Resources Advisor to Governor Gary Locke. He was also Policy Director for Audubon Washington from 1995 to 2001. Ron is an attorney and a fourth generation Washingtonian.

Ron’s areas of expertise...

  • Lead policy director for all programs implemented at the SCC, including:
    • Voluntary Stewardship Program
    • Puget Sound District Caucus
    • Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
  • Agency Tribal Liaison
  • Shellfish project implementation
Stu Trefry

Stu Trefry

Regional Manager – Southwest / Conservation District Development and Capacity Coordinator | 360-584-5213

Stu Trefry is a graduate of WSU. He has worked in the agricultural and natural resource policy arena since 1981, providing guidance on water quantity and quality, wetlands, endangered species, energy, forest practices, growth management, and related congressional and legislative issues. He represents the National Association of State Conservation Agencies on the National Association of Conservation Districts Urban and Community Resource Policy Group and is a 1992 graduate of and seminar coordinator for the Washington AgForestry Leadership Program. Stu provides direct service and support to these conservation districts: Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Lewis County, Pacific, and Wahkiakum. As the Conservation District Development and Capacity Manager, Stu also develops and implements ongoing agency leadership and training curriculum for district supervisors and staff.

Stu’s areas of expertise...

  • Conservation district capacity building
  • District supervisor orientation and training
  • District employee training
  • Assisting regional managers on capacity building
  • District special assessments, rates and charges, long-range planning
  • Washington Association of District Employees (WADE) liaison
  • Urban and Community Conservation Committees (Washington Association of Conservation Districts and National Association of Conservation Districts)
  • National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA) Policy Committee
Melissa Vander Linden

Melissa Vander Linden

Program Specialist | 360-407-7617

Melissa grew up in Thurston County and has been with the Conservation Commission since November 2013. As a Program Specialist, she works with the financial team to administer programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement (CREP) and the Natural Resource Investments (NRI) Grants. Melissa also works closely with the Conservation Practice Data System (CPDS).

Melissa’s areas of expertise...

  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement (CREP) Grant
  • Natural Resource Investments Grant
  • Conservation Practice Data System (CPDS) coordinator
  • Cost Share
Courtney Woods

Courtney Woods

Grants / Programs | 360-407-6114

Courtney graduated from Saint Martin’s University with a bachelors degree in Business Administration. As a program specialist, she works with all programs, which include the Implementation, Puget Sound, Engineering, and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).

Courtney’s areas of expertise...

  • Shellfish Grant
  • Implementation Grant
  • Technical Service Providers Grant
  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Grant
  • Cost-share
  • Agency ‘Lean’ coordinator
  • Conservation Practice Database System (CPDS)