Western Resource Advocates’ Board of Directors hold an important role in the organization. They are one of our chief assets, providing exemplary leadership that has helped make it possible for us to protect the West’s land, air, and water. Our board members work to further the mission of the organization by leveraging their diverse strengths in areas such as business, fundraising, communications, policy, and more. Board members represent our mission across the region and we are indebted to their commitment and service to our organization. Learn more about each of our board members below.
“WRA’s work is focused on safeguarding the environment for the benefit of future generations and I am committed to working with WRA’s staff to implement conservation initiatives that are environmentally friendly and make economic sense.”
Ruben Alvarez is Managing Partner of Molera Alvarez, an Arizona based government and public affairs firm. Given his extensive understanding of how government operates, Ruben’s expertise is in formulating strategies that impact policy making decisions, resolving bureaucratic challenges and creating business development opportunities for his firm’s clients. He also has vast experience establishing partnerships between corporate entities and community based organizations to align shared values and mutual interest in the enhancement and development of local communities. Ruben graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Political Science.
“WRA is a leading voice in the West for clean energy policy. I am pleased to serve on the board, helping WRA continue its tradition of effective, pragmatic advocacy for protection of the region’s land, air and water.”
Ron Binz is a principal at Public Policy Consulting, specializing in energy economics and policy. He has written, spoken and testified extensively on a broad range of topics in energy policy and regulation. His current focus is on clean energy policy and regulatory reform. From 2007 to 2011 Ron chaired the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, appointed by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. He led the Colorado PUC in implementing the many policy changes championed by the Governor to bring forward Colorado’s “New Energy Economy.” In June 2013, President Obama nominated Ron to become Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). His nomination was opposed by the coal industry and conservative political groups, who argued that he would be biased toward renewable energy and energy efficiency. Following a confirmation hearing in the Senate, Ron asked the President to withdraw his name from consideration. Binz has testified before Congressional committees sixteen times.
“Western Resource Advocates’ mission is grounded in integrity and hard work in defense of the air, water, and land of the West. WRA is a great philanthropic investment because we make wise and steady choices to benefit resource conservation.”
Ms. Carney has 25 years of service to the nonprofit and government sectors. Her areas of expertise include the facilitation of collaborative processes, creation and implementation of strategic plans, capital campaign planning and management, in addition to volunteer training and coaching. She specializes in facilitation, mediation and negotiation. Her experience as a consultant in the non-profit and conflict resolution fields and her previous work as an Instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School provide a strong foundation for her current work. Elaine is a graduate of St. Lawrence University where she studied Environmental Anthropology and African Studies and has completed graduate level courses at Antioch University and the Harvard Program on Negotiation.
Chelsea Congdon Brundige
“Western Resource Advocates looks to leverage the financial investment of our donors with our expertise on the issues, the integrity of our commitment to solutions, and our capacity for strategic partnerships and communication to preserve the legacy of the West for generations to come.”
Ms. Congdon Brundige is writer and producer with First Light Films, an independent film and television company based in Snowmass, Colorado. She has worked in environmental conservation with the Natural Heritage Institute in California and as a water resource specialist with the Environmental Defense Fund in California and Colorado. She has served on many committees, funds, and trusts, and is an accomplished public speaker. Ms. Brundige has written for popular and scientific journals on issues ranging from land and water rights of Native Americans to environmental dispute resolution, water pollution control programs, and international relations related to water resources. She has an undergraduate degree from Yale University and an M.A. from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California in Berkeley.
Patrick de Freitas
“Western Resource Advocates is effective. It’s effective because of the talent of the staff and their approach to issues. There’s no yelling and screaming, no blockading, just deeply informed discussion based on fact, great experience, and an enduring passion for the West.”
Mr. de Freitas has a background in management, with organizational and entrepreneurial experience with profit and nonprofit groups. He was the chair of the boards of directors of both the Institute for Conservation Leadership in Washington D.C. and the Laird Norton Family Foundation in Seattle. Mr. de Freitas was born and raised in England, lives in Salt Lake City, and holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of Utah.
“Western Resource Advocates has a complete environmental advocacy tool kit. It’s scientific, educational, and policy components are reinforced by a strong legal backbone.”
Mr. Feldman is the President and founder of Conscience Bay Company, an organization that seeks to produce economic, social, and environmental returns through multigenerational real estate investments. Prior to forming Conscience Bay, Mr. Feldman practiced water law in Boulder, Colorado, representing diverse clients including municipalities, ski areas, and ranchers. He has a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Hamilton College and a JD from the University of Colorado School of Law.
Nicole González Patterson
“There are many things that stand out about WRA, but it is the organization’s balanced and methodical approach to environmental policy that has been most impressive to me and what drew me to its Board. It is an honor to serve WRA, and to be associated with its impressive reputation for being a thought-leader and influencer on water, land and energy policy.”
Nicole González Patterson is the Principal and owner of Patterson Public Affairs, LLC, a strategy and advocacy firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. She is an experienced attorney and policy strategist with an emphasis on water and environmental policy advocacy. Nicole has strong public policy, advocacy and government relations experience, and deep ties to the business community in Arizona. As an advocate, Nicole brings over 10 years of experience leading stakeholder groups and developing, building and managing coalitions. Nicole provides strategic policy guidance to her various clients and works closely with businesses and diverse constituencies in Arizona to develop effective engagement strategies at the Federal, State, and Regional level. Nicole graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and received her Juris Doctorate from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona.
Andrea J. Grant
“Western Resource Advocates has become one of the most widely respected organizations in the region. WRA is the one group that has the vision and capabilities to help create a future for the West that honors all that the Western region has represented to this country throughout history.”
AJ Grant is president of Environmental Communication Associates, Inc. (ECA), a national consulting firm located in Boulder, Colorado that specializes in social marketing and communicating complex environmental issues to the public. Ms. Grant is a founding partner and Chief Green Officer of The Big Green Company, Inc., a multimedia children’s education/entertainment company. Their Emmy Award-winning PBS children’s show, Big Green Rabbit, brings environmental and health topics to audiences around the world.
“I respect Western Resource Advocates because they are protecting our natural and cultural assets in the Southwest.”
Ms. House is a botanical consultant and researcher for Indigenous Peoples environmental issues and policies, and is a consultant to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Team for Endangered Plant Species, and has worked for the Nature Conservancy’s Indigenous Lands Program. Ms. House is a tribal member of the Navajo Nation, and lives in San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico.
“I am honored to serve on the WRA Board. WRA works hand in hand with stakeholders, are deeply versed in the issues and laws, and work tirelessly to build a foundation of legal policy that honors and protects our natural resources. They are the champions behind the scenes insuring our quality of life for generations to come.”
Carla Johnson has 25 years of experience in 3D geospatial earth modeling, environmental hydrogeology, engineering, virtual earth web and mobile development, and global green initiatives. In 1994 she founded Waterstone, Inc, an environmental consulting firm specializing in complex hydrogeologic flow and transport modeling for cleaning up contaminated groundwater systems, human health and ecological risk assessment associated with environmental damage, and environmental engineering. In 2009, Ms. Johnson formed Earthvisionz, a Web 3.0, location intelligence software company. Ms. Johnson’s vision is to be able to connect people with their passion through place. She envisions using the power of live social interaction combined with beautiful visual realism of the earth, at any scale, and relevant crowd-sourced data through one virtual earth website interface.
Bryan Morgan (Chair of the Board)
“We live where we work and we understand how the issues affect both people and the natural world. WRA doesn’t just point out problems – our approach is to develop solutions to problems.”
Mr. Morgan has been a trial lawyer in the Denver Public Defender’s Office and a partner in his law firm for forty years. He also worked at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and researched legal issues for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare concerning delivery of federal services to Native American tribes. Mr. Morgan has been a staff lawyer in the Denver office of the Environmental Defense Fund, and on the boards of directors of Audubon Colorado, the Yellowstone Association, and the Sonoran Institute. He has a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University and a JD from the University of Colorado School of Law.
“There’s nothing more impressive to me at WRA thus far than the multi-year tenacity with which the staff tackles problems. They work hard with their partners to make change happen and I’m honored to be part of the organization.”
Will Stites is a Partner and Co-Founder of a boutique investment firm KilterHowling LLC based in Boulder, Colorado. Working for most of his career for large financial services firms both domestically and overseas, Will brings his many years of investing and business experience to the board of WRA. Contributing back to the community is an essential part of the his firm’s ethos and WRA is an important part of that mission. Will is a CFA charterholder and graduated from Miami University of Oxford, Ohio.