Board of Directors
elizabeth panetta, chair
Elizabeth Panetta is currently the business and operations manager for Loaves, Fishes and Computers located in Salinas, California. Over the last 25 years, Elizabeth has focused on strengthening communities through organizing and education. She currently works with Loaves, Fishes & Computers, a non-profit organization devoted to refurbishing donated computers and distributing them to low income families and schools in Monterey County. She is a recent graduate of the LEAD program of the Center for Non-Profit Excellence through CFMCO. Although Elizabeth has lived in Monterey County for over 30 years, it was only a few years ago that she spotted her first condor. She is excited to contribute to the mission of VWS through her work on the board and says, "I would like to pass that gift on to others.
steve dennis, Vice-chair
Steve Dennis founded two Silicon Valley software firms. Both firms were ultimately acquired and became divisions of large public companies. Steve also served on the Board of Directors of numerous software firms. Currently, Steve serves on the Board of the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History in addition to BuildingWise a green building consulting firm. Previously, he was on the Board of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, Sealife Conservation, the Point Lobos Foundation, the Family Service Agency and Sea Studios Foundation. Since moving to Carmel, California is 1996, Steve and his wife Sona volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium where he lectures on jellies, white sharks and deep-sea research. In 2002, Steve was awarded the Lucile Packard Volunteer of the Year Award. Steve has taught Strategic Management in the School of Business at California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB). In recent years, Steve has worked with numerous non-profits on strategic planning and visioning. As a result of this work, he received a Jefferson Award in 2015. Steve is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a BS degree in Management Engineering. Steve & Sona have two married sons and six grandchildren.
jay sinclair, treasurer
Jay Sinclair’s introduction to the Monterey Peninsula came while attending basic training at Ft. Ord in 1962. Mississippi-born and Arizona-raised, he fell in love with the Central Coast and vowed to make it his home one day. Thirty years later this became a reality with the purchase of Peninsula Laser Print in Carmel. During those 30 years, Jay earned an accounting degree at Arizona State University and moved to Southern California to begin his career as a CPA with Haskins and Sells. Various positions in the accounting and finance fields led to multiple moves to Woodbridge, CT, Palm Desert, San Diego and Saratoga, CA before finally making it back to the ocean. Always an ardent volunteer, Jay is past President of the Monterey Museum of Art, served as Vice President of Arts Habitat, tax preparer for low-income seniors at Alliance on Aging, and past Treasurer and Board member of Point Lobos Foundation. He is currently a docent at Point Sur Light Station, a volunteer for VNA Hospice, and a 23-year volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Jay and his wife Pat, a Point Lobos docent, enjoy hiking, photographing and relaxing along our beautiful coast, between travel adventures and spending time with their son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren in Lake Oswego, OR.
virdette l brumm, phd, secretary
Pediatric Neuropsychologist. A native Californian, Virdette Brumm received her Bachelor's and Master's degree from U.C. Berkeley and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Southern California. She was Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology & Pediatrics at the University of Southern California/Keck School of Medicine prior to moving to the Monterey Peninsula. She is currently a neuropsychologist at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. She has a long-standing commitment to habitat restoration, species preservation, and protection of the California Coast. She is a member of the Sierra Club, Monterey Bay Aquarium and the League of Women Voters of Monterey County.
richard h anderson, phd
Richard Anderson completed his Ph.D. in Romance Linguistics and Language Learning at the University of Washington, Seattle. He retired after 38 years of teaching, which included positions in California, France, American Samoa, and as a Fulbright Professor in Laos. Currently, he sits on the Board of the Arts Council for Monterey County as the immediate Past President, and the Board of the International Language and Culture Foundation in Monterey. He is a long standing member of the National Audubon Society, the Nature Conservatory, Defenders of Wildlife, the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, and the Wilderness Society among others. He resides in Prunedale with his wife, Sherree, who is retired and enjoys painting local seascapes and landscapes.
Alec Arago is a Monterey based attorney specializing in land use and real estate law. From 2001 to 2017 he served as the District Director for Congressman Sam Farr and briefly as a Special Assistant to Rep Jimmy Panetta. Prior to 2001, Alec also held legislative staff positions for Congressman Farr and Senator Barbara Boxer in Washington DC. In his Congressional staff work, Alec frequently touched on natural resources and wildlife conservation policy. He even had the opportunity to regularly interface with VWS leadership to support Condor Recovery. Alec lives in Salinas. His son is a High School student and his daughter is studying Marine Biology at UCLA.
Sanford "Sandy" Decker is a sculptor whose primary medium is bronze and continues to exhibit his art nationally and internationally. As director and proprietor of his fine arts foundry, Decker Studios, for the past 40 years, Sandy carries out sculptural projects on a small to monumental scale for individual artists, museums, collectors and major corporations, as well as to local, state, national, and foreign governments. He also acts as the bronze casting consultant for decorative arts and sculpture for The J. Paul Getty Museum and he is the primary supplier of bronze Disney characters for all of the international Disney theme parks. Sanford majored in Fine Arts at Wayne State University and completed his master's work at Beacon College in Washington D.C. Throughout his career, Sandy has also been an educator, teaching sculpture and fine arts casting at the college and university level.
Bill Eckert is a native Californian who, after earning a BS in Chemistry at Stanford, immediately switched to software development. He founded two high tech companies, the most recent of which develops customer service call center software. Bill is now retired and is an avid hiker and backpacker. He attributes his love of the outdoors to his parents who, very much out of character for them, took their young family on a 2-week backcountry burro trip in the Sierra. Bill lives in Carmel Valley with his wife, Priscilla, who is a long-term guide, mentor and animal care volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They have two daughters, a school teacher and a nurse midwife. Bill is a past board member and secretary of the Point Lobos Foundation and continues to volunteer with that organization.
Ana González was born and raised in the Salinas Valley by farm working parents. She completed her bachelor's degree from Stanford University and later obtained her masters from Golden Gate University. Ana currently serves as the Director for Adult Education and Workforce Development for Hartnell Community College. Prior to Hartnell, Ana has worked at CSU Monterey Bay and First 5 Monterey County. Ana is married and has three children and loves to spend time outdoors camping, hiking and gardening with her family. She is excited about joining the board and supporting VWS's mission to provide public outreach and education to inspire the next generation of wildlife stewards.
With over 25 years in book publishing, Karen Kreiger brings a wealth of communications and branding experience. Karen has held senior positions in top companies, including HarperCollins, and she is currently president of Evolve Publishing, a leading non-fiction publisher. A member of the Point Lobos Foundation, Audubon Society, Hawk Mountain, and the California Native Plant Society, Karen is also a wildlife photographer, whose work has appeared in numerous international publications. Karen received her BA from Barnard College and completed her Medical School requirements from Harvard University.
Dave Parker has deep roots to the Monterey Peninsula as his family has lived in Carmel continuously since their arrival in 1870. He has enjoyed a successful career in Hawaii, California and Switzerland as an investment manager helping clients manage their wealth. Wherever he has lived he has actively volunteered his time and expertise to various health, arts, community and environmentally oriented non-profit groups and has participated on many non-profit boards. Most recently he was chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sunset Center in Carmel, and remains on the Pacific Grove Public Library Foundation Board and Point Lobos Foundation’s Investment Committee. Dave and his wife enjoy travelling, reading spending as much time outdoors as possible and sharing their never ending love and respect for all animals. Their son Jack is in college and they live with their five dogs and cats in Pebble Beach.
William R Hearst III
Venture Capital and Philanthropy
DVM, Carmel Valley
Fenton & Keller Attorneys at Law