Group shot of Open Space Authority staff standing and smiling in front of agency sign

Staff

The staff of the Open Space Authority are passionate about conservation and driven to make an impact in the community through their work. Everyone brings a unique skillset to their role and the creative collaboration of all staff maximizes talent to realize the Authority's mission. The staff is categorized by five distinct departments.

Staff Organization Chart

Leadership team

Andrea Mackenzie
Andrea Mackenzie
General Manager
Andrea is the Authority’s General Manager. She is passionate about preserving open space and connecting people to nature. For more than 25 years, Andrea has worked to preserve open space, farmland and wildlife habitat around the Bay Area by creating innovative plans, policies and public finance measures. In 2016, Bay Nature Magazine named her Local Conservation Hero. She serves on Advisory Boards for the Bay Area Open Space Council, San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority and SPUR San Jose. She is a past fellow of the National Conservation Leadership Institute and has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from UCSB and a master’s degree in Urban Planning from UCLA. Andrea loves to hike, backpack, kayak and travel with her family.
Matt Freeman
Matt Freeman
Assistant General Manager
As the Assistant General Manager with the Authority, Matt oversees land acquisitions and leads a variety of strategic conservation planning projects including development of the Santa Clara Valley Greenprint, which serves as the agency’s guiding vision. In this capacity, Matt pursues projects that closely engage partners in the protection and stewardship of landscapes that provide multiple environmental and social benefits. He has a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon. Matt lives in Santa Cruz with his family and can often be found on nearby trails or in his kayak on Monterey Bay.
Lea Rauscher
Lea Rauscher
Assistant General Manager
Serving as the Assistant General Manager, Administrative and Field Operations, Lea is a member of the Executive and Leadership Teams and oversees several functional groups that support the Authority’s daily operations, including accounting, human resources, information technology, facilities, office management, governance, and field operations. With more than 30 years of leadership experience, Lea ensures agency-wide operational excellence through highly collaborative cross-functional teams and continuous improvement. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and minor in Cybernetics from San Jose State University and a certificate of Entrepreneurship from West Valley College. A San Jose native, Lea lives in Gilroy with her husband and two boxers Dude and Clyde. She enjoys the tranquility of soaking in the beauty of nature.
Marc Landgraf
Marc Landgraf
External Affairs Manager
Marc serves as the External Affairs Manager at the Authority and in that role, leads their Public Affairs Team. He has worked in the land conservation field for over 14 years, including three years at the Trust for Public Land and seven years at Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST). As Director of External Affairs at POST, Marc built a broad range of traditional and nontraditional partnerships and also played a strong leadership role in the passing of Measure AA and Measure Q. Prior to working in conservation, Marc was a Design Engineering Manager at Intel Corporation. Marc loves spending time with his family outdoors – hiking, biking and cross-country skiing. He is also an opera fan.
Derek Neumann
Derek Neumann
Field Operations Manager
As the Authority’s Field Operations Manager, Derek oversees the care of open space lands and their natural resources. His primary goal is to provide a seamless experience that gives visitors a sense of enjoyment and leaves them feeling fulfilled and refreshed. Derek has a Park Management degree from West Valley College and brings 16 years of hands on experience to his position. He also enjoys photography and backpacking across the wilderness like a gypsy.

Staff

Abel Castillo
Open Space Aide
After completing his first season with the Open Space Authority, Abel returns as an Open Space Aide to continue preserving our trail systems, tend to the upkeep of our preserves, and engage with visitors who are curious about what the preserve offers. He hopes to continue to serve the Authority by being a steward for the lands and an advocate for accessibility in hopes more people can enjoy our trails. He’s always smiling so if you see him, feel free to say hi! Abel earned a B.S. in Environmental Science from UC Berkeley in 2020, and when off the clock he enjoys playing soccer and painting.
Alisa D'Angelo
Alisa D'Angelo
Staff Accountant
Alisa is the Staff Accountant for the Open Space Authority.  She is responsible for Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Payroll for the Authority.  Alisa comes to the Authority with a B.S. in Business Administration from San Jose State University and 23 years of experience working in accounting.  She enjoys spending time with family and friends in her free time.
Andres Campusano
Andres Campusano
Supervising Open Space Technician
Andres is a Supervising Open Space Technician, responsible for operating and maintaining all the Authority lands. His favorite tasks are building new trail systems and opening preserves, which fulfills his passion to leave a legacy of protected lands for future generations to appreciate. Andres enjoys visiting national parks and spends most of his free time watching his children play sports. Next time you're out on the trails there is a good chance you'll see him, so be sure to say hello!
Andy Burnside
Andy Burnside
Lead Open Space Technician
As a Lead Open Space Technician, Andy gets the opportunity to manage over 22,000 acres of open space with his dedicated and talented co-workers. Andy is a Bay Area native who knew at a very young age that he wanted to work in the golden hills of Santa Clara Valley! When he is not at work, Andy enjoys playing baseball on his travel team, fishing and BBQing as much as possible. GO GIANTS!!!!!!
Annamarie Pilon
Annamarie Pilon
Community Engagement Coordinator
As Community Engagement Coordinator, Annamarie connects people with the Authority's news, programs, and initiatives. A Northern California native, she fell in love with the Bay Area while studying at Santa Clara University, where she received her B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Studio Art. Annamarie brings her years of experience working with community-focused organizations as well as her creative skills as an artist and designer. Her natural habitat is a sunny patch of grass with her sketchbook and some music. Say hi to Annamarie through the Authority's social media, which she manages!
Caroline Hernandez
Caroline Hernandez
Deputy Clerk of the Board
As the Deputy Clerk of the Board, Caroline assists the Clerk of the Board in managing all aspects of Board and Committee business including agenda packets, official documents, and records management. With over a decade of service in the public sector, from working in higher education at UC San Francisco to local municipal government in the City of San Leandro, Caroline has strived to bring community building and operational efficiencies to all her work places. She holds her Bachelors of Science in Exercise and Sports Science at the University of San Francisco (Go Dons!). As a self-proclaimed transient soul, you can often find Caroline driving up and down California searching for the next great hike, swimming hole, or just trying not to be late for her softball game.
Charlotte Graham profile picture
Charlotte Graham
Public Information Officer
As Public Information Officer, Charlotte oversees the Authority’s digital media platforms, press, and works with the Public Affairs team to amplify events and outreach opportunities. Raised in the Bay Area, Charlotte has over a decade of experience in conservation and outdoor communications. She received her education at San Jose State University and holds a Master of Science in Journalism and Mass Communications. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Community and Regional Development from U.C. Davis where she studied environmental policy and agricultural and environmental education. Charlotte enjoys horseback riding, snorkeling, hiking, camping, and spending time with her pets.
Chris Lopez
Chris Lopez
Open Space Aide
Chris comes to the Open Space Authority after working in Latinx Community Outreach in a University setting. As part of the Land Management Team, he now protects and cares for the Authority’s open space preserves. With an education in Mass Media Communications and Ethnic Studies, Chris looks to connect his passion for conservation with his community.
Cliff Irrebaria
Cliff Irrebaria
Open Space Technician II
Cliff is an Open Space Technician for the Authority. His tasks include, patrolling Authority lands, maintaining trails, and educating the public about the Authority’s mission. In 2016 Cliff attended the California Trails and Greenways Conference, where he represented the Authority in accepting a Merit award. He is currently in the Park Management program at West Valley College, and on his days off, Cliff enjoys cycling and day trips throughout California.
Daniel Turner
Daniel Turner
Open Space Technician I
Daniel is an Open Space Technician for the Authority. He gets to work with his hands, mind, and friends; to both help protect nature and make it inviting for people to experience. Daniel graduated from West Valley College with an Associate degree in science for Park Management. The classes taught him a profound respect for nature and changed the very way he sees the planet. It was his awakening to the truth of life and importance of its knowledge. The Earth is speaking, go out and listen.
Dave Tharp
Dave Tharp
Equipment Mechanic Operator
David is the Equipment Mechanic Operator helping to coordinate daily field operations related to project management and equipment usage and operation. David was born and raised in Santa Clara County and has attended both the West Valley College Park Management and the De Anza Environmental Science Programs. These experiences helped fuel his desire to protect the remaining resources in the valley that he grew up in. When not at work he loves to explore nature with his family by going camping, fishing, hunting and dirt biking.
David Mauk
David Mauk
Natural Resource Technician
David is the Natural Resource Technician. He performs the Authority’s field work on projects that protect and restore habitat and natural resources. In this position, David works closely with the Natural Resource Management Specialist as well as with the Open Space Technicians and outside-agency partners. David first joined the Authority in 2018, and brings with him a life-long desire to protect the natural world as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies from San Jose State University and several years of experience working in resource management in California. David is fascinated by birds, and specifically raptors such as the White-Tailed Kite and Northern Harrier. David enjoys photographing wildlife and spending as much time as he can wandering in nature - whether hiking or backpacking, through rolling hills or Coast Redwood forests, around wetlands and shorelines, or anywhere else he can go.
Elizabeth Loretto
Elizabeth Loretto
Human Resources Officer
As the Human Resources Officer, Elizabeth keeps the Authority’s operational systems running smoothly to ensure that the staff of the Agency can effectively advance the agency’s mission. When she joined the Authority in 2015, Elizabeth brought over a decade of experience in business operations, office management and human resources, working in the private and non-profit sectors. Born and raised locally, she holds a B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from San Jose State University and is a Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional. Elizabeth enjoys the outdoors through kayaking, hiking, biking, and archery.
Galli Basson
Galli Basson
Resource Management Program Manager
Galli is the Resource Management Program Manager and works on growing the Authority’s resource management program which protects and restores habitat and natural resources. She enjoys working closely with field staff, other agencies, and researchers to increase stewardship of natural resources on the Authority’s preserves. Galli previously worked as planner with Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail. She holds a Master’s in Environmental Studies from SJSU and a Bachelor’s in Wildlife Conservation Biology from UC Davis. Galli enjoys exploring the Bay Area and spending time with her family.
Gavin Comstock
Gavin Comstock
Volunteer Program Administrator
Gavin is values-based, mission-oriented, and impact-driven. As the Volunteer Program Administrator for the Authority, Gavin engages volunteers through shared passion for open spaces and the desire to awaken our connection to the landscapes we are lucky to call home. Previously, Gavin was the Operations Manager for Save The Waves Coalition, building relationships with other ocean activists to use surfing as a vehicle for coastal conservation on an international scale. He is a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) grad, bird nerd, and can be found surfing the Santa Cruz coast with his dog Odie anytime he is not in the office.
Hanford Kwong
Hanford Kwong
Open Space Aide
As an Open Space Aide, Hanford helps maintain trails and watersheds that are important to our ecosystem and is an outdoor steward in educating guests about the flora and fauna of the Santa Clara Valley. Hanford is currently a Medical III and Rescue Volunteer member for The Marine Mammal Center and an Outdoor School Instructor. During Hanford’s free time, he enjoys winter camping, backpacking, long hikes, and exploring the hidden gems we all call home.
Isabella headshot
Isabella Kressman
Real Property Coordinator
As the Real Property Coordinator, Isabella supports the Authority’s real property program to continue the critical work of land conservation in Santa Clara County. She assists with all aspects of real property acquisitions, grant support, and conservation easement monitoring. Prior to joining the Authority, Isabella was a Contract Administrator for State Parks. Isabella graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2019 with a B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies. She interned in programs that addressed water conservation, geospatial analysis, and global health. Isabella enjoys volunteering with local organizations, camping with her family, and running on the beach with her dog, Pepper.
Ivy Rylander head shot
Ivy Rylander
Office Assistant
As Office Assistant, Ivy keeps the office running smoothly while supporting various departments and welcoming visitors to the Authority. She comes to us from a fast-paced emergency animal hospital where she built an extensive background in client relations, customer service, and office management. She graduated from San Jose State University with a BA in Sociology and a minor in Anthropology. Her passion and desire to spread awareness for the outdoors is what drew her to the Open Space Authority. When she’s not at work, you can find her hiking with her dog and fiancé, camping, or hanging out with her plants.
Jackie Latham
Jackie Latham
Grants Program Coordinator
Jackie focused on Environmental Studies at the University of Michigan and is passionate about environmental education and greening our communities. Prior to joining the Authority, she worked in the outdoor education field and did grant and volunteer work for multiple youth programs. She received a master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management with Arizona State University to continue her passion for learning. Jackie loves to spend time in the Santa Cruz Mountains hiking, being with friends, and painting. In her free time, you can find Jackie grooving in contemporary dance classes, or in the crowd at concerts and music festivals.
Jennifer Hooper
Jennifer Hooper
Associate Open Space Planner
As Assistant Open Space Planner, Jennifer assists with mapping, data analysis, and environmental review. She also provides support in design and reporting for planning and capital improvement projects. She has experience in conservation management and strategic planning for land trusts in Washington and California. Jennifer has a B.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy from The Evergreen State College. She came to the Authority from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a dual Master’s in City & Regional Planning and Public Policy. Jennifer enjoys wandering the sunny oak savanna landscapes, beaches, and redwoods of Central California with her dog, Lucy.
Joelle Garretson
Joelle Garretson
Executive Assistant to General Manager
Joelle is the Executive Assistant to General Manager, Andrea Mackenzie. She supports all departments at the Authority with numerous projects, including accomplishing the processing for closing on the Open Space Authority’s most important acquisition to date, Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve. Joelle holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies and Sociology from UC Santa Cruz. In her free time, she is dedicated to helping animals, including her menagerie at home.
Justina Tien
Justina Tien
Fiscal Services Officer
Justina is the Fiscal Services Officer, overseeing the Authority's general accounting activities, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger, budget, and cash flow. As part of the Administration and Finance Department, she aims to support and take care of the everything else so that her colleagues can focus on the Authority’s missions and goals. Justina has a Master’s in Business Administration and studied Finance and Management Information Systems at Santa Clara University. While she does not believe this to be true, her colleagues think she is obsessed with Fitbit steps. Unfortunately, her weeknight walks and weekend hikes say otherwise.
Katheryn Hill
Katheryn Hill
Volunteer Program Coordinator
As Volunteer Program Coordinator, Katheryn (Kat) leads volunteer projects at Authority open space preserves and coordinates Community Outreach booth events. She studied Anthropology at UC Davis and afterwards worked as a high school counselor and then a National Park Service Ranger in Minnesota. She is currently attending West Valley College's Park Management Program. Besides sharing her love for nature with others, Kat enjoys backpacking, nature journaling, and dancing at folk music festivals.
Katie Simon
Katie Simon
Communications Coordinator
As Communications Coordinator, Katie generates written content to communicate the Authority’s projects, accomplishments, and goals with the Santa Clara Valley community. Hailing from Maui, Hawai’i, she moved to the Bay Area to earn her B.S. in Environmental Studies from Santa Clara University. At the Authority, she hopes to apply her experience with environmental science and communication, as well as her passions for art, environmental justice, and conservation, to contribute to a more sustainable, equitable world. When she’s not at work, you can find her running, attempting to surf, playing ukulele, or enjoying some sunshine.
Kellie Guerra
Kellie Guerra
Clerk of the Board
Kellie is the Clerk of the Board, responsible for the Authority’s Board business, official documents and elections. Kellie recently coordinated the Authority’s 2016 award of a District Transparency Certificate of Excellence from the Special District Leadership Foundation. She started with the Authority in 2011, and has previous experience in Grants, Contracts and Program Management, working with Resource Conservation Districts, the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council, the County of San Benito and California State University at Monterey Bay. Kellie holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management, and is a Notary Public. In their “spare” time, she and her husband enjoy raising their two beautiful granddaughters.
Kyle Biggs
Kyle Biggs
Open Space Technician II
As an Open Space Technician II, Kyle helps protect and manage open space lands as well as conserve farms, ranches, and other working landscapes. He studied Engineering at the University of Illinois, Agricultural Production at Lake Land College, and has work experience in agriculture, heavy equipment, and transportation systems. Kyle enjoys hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and traveling both domestically and internationally. He and his wife recently relocated to the Bay Area, so feel free to recommend your favorite restaurants, things to do, and places to see!
Lena Eyen
Lena Eyen
Community Impact & Policy Specialist
As Community Impact & Policy Specialist for the Open Space Authority, Lena supports the External Affairs Manager and greater Public Affairs team by tracking relevant legislation and political activity and helping to build meaningful partnerships to further the Authority's mission. Lena graduated from Santa Clara University where she double majored in Psychology and Studio Art and minored in Environmental Studies. Her experience in the nonprofit social services realm, where she focused on affordable housing and homelessness prevention, helped spark her passion for seeking equitable solutions to the Bay Area’s most pressing social and environmental issues. She also currently serves as a board member for the Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters. In her spare time, Lena enjoys hiking, painting, and petting any dog within reach.
Linda Kwong
Linda Kwong
Real Property Program Manager
As Real Property Specialist, Linda works on property transactions to advance land conservation in our region. She evaluates and negotiates land acquisitions and conservation easements. She also oversees the conservation easement monitoring program. Prior to the Authority, Linda worked on land transactions at Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST). She has a Master of Environmental Science and Management from UC Santa Barbara and a B.A. in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley. She has been with the Authority since November 2015. In her spare time, she loves to cook and go on outings with her dog Hazel.
Lucas Shellhammer
Lucas Shellhammer
Senior Open Space Planner
As Senior Open Space Planner, Lucas manages a range of planning and capital improvement projects for the Authority. He is currently working on trail and infrastructure plans and permitting for the opening of additional public access to preserves. Lucas is a California registered landscape architect with over ten years of experience in project management, design, and construction. Lucas is inspired by the unique landscapes and microclimates of Santa Clara Valley and Bay Area. He seizes every opportunity to be outside with family and friends.
Megan Dreger
Megan Dreger
Grants Program Manager
Megan manages the Authority’s two urban open space grant programs, which fund local projects such as trails, parks, and community gardens. She also coordinates grants the Authority receives that support the agency’s land acquisition, stewardship, planning, and other work. Megan joined the Authority in January 2016 after several years managing operations at local environmental nonprofits. She has a Master’s in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona, where she focused on environmental planning and green infrastructure. She spends her free time exploring the Bay Area with her dog Trixie.
Megan Robinson
Megan Robinson
Supervising Open Space Technician
As the Supervising Open Space Technician, Megan coordinates daily field operations, projects and staff. Born and raised in Santa Clara County and with deep family roots in the Valley, Megan knew she wanted to work for an agency that helps to protect the area she grew up in. Through a Park Management Internship at West Valley College, Megan started with the Open Space Authority as an Open Space Technician in 2005. When not at work she loves to explore nature with her family by going camping, fishing, horseback riding, and dirt biking.
Michelle Garcia staff photo
Michelle Garcia
Educational Program Coordinator
As the Educational Program Coordinator, Michelle creates and facilitates educational programs that engage the public and foster a love for the outdoors with the help of Open Space Authority staff and volunteers. Michelle was born and raised in San Diego, where she earned a B.S. in Environmental Science. Since graduating she has worked in outdoor education and interpretation with California State Parks and other outdoor agencies. When she’s not wandering the wilderness, Michelle loves drinking coffee and watching reality TV with her cat Daisy.
Nick Perry
Nick Perry
Coyote Valley Project Manager
As Coyote Valley Project Manager, Nick leads the master planning process for nearly 1,000 acres of recently conserved land in Coyote Valley. He brings over twelve years of public space planning and design experience to his role with the Authority and holds a Master’s in City Planning and Bachelor’s in Urban Studies from UC Berkeley. Nick is a descendent of Mexican-American migrant farmworkers and Portuguese immigrants who settled in Santa Clara Valley early in the 20th Century and is deeply inspired by the Valley’s cultural heritage and natural landscapes. He enjoys volunteering for Mountain View’s historical association, hiking, and sketching.
Patrick Stevenson
Patrick Stevenson
Lead Open Space Technician
Patrick is an Open Space Technician at the Authority. As part of the land management team, he works to preserve and maintain the Authority’s lands. Patrick has a BFA from San Jose State University and is also a graduate of West Valley College's Park Management program. In his time off, Patrick likes to backpack and trout fish in the Sierra Nevada high country.
Ron Valenzuela
Ron Valenzuela
Open Space Technician I
Ron comes to the Authority with a long history of working with special needs youth and adults. He attended San Jose City College’s Emergency Medical Technician as well as completed training in Wildlife Search & Rescue. Prior to joining the Authority, Ron volunteered with Santa Clara County Search & Rescue, as well as helped maintain burrowing owl habitats, assisted in clearing San Jose creeks, and aided in the release of native wildlife in the San Jose area. He also has experience working alongside Indigenous Tribes, both locally and in the Southwest. In his free time, Ron enjoys fabrication and restoration of vintage cars and motorcycles, road trips, camping, creating encaustic art, and looking out at the Pacific Ocean from different states and countries.
Rowan O’Brien
Rowan O’Brien
Open Space Technician I
Rowan is excited to be a part of Open Space Authority's field staff team at Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve. She has grown up in the Bay Area and on the trails of both the Diablo Range and Santa Cruz Mountains. Rowan is currently working towards an A.S. for transfer in Conservation Biology and is always looking to expand her knowledge of our unique local landscape and wildlife. Rowan is a UC Certified California Naturalist. If you see her on the preserves feel free to talk to her about our local plant and animal communities - you might leave with a fun fact about your natural neighbors!
Stephen Woodson
Stephen Woodson
Open Space Technician II
As an Open Space Technician, Stephen helps to protect and preserve the lands that the Authority manages for future generations to come. From achieving Eagle Scout as a youth, to getting his Associates in Park Management, to even thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, he has always had a deep connection with the outdoors. As a Bay Area native, Stephen grew up hiking the hills and valleys that he now has the privilege to maintain. Whether at work or at play, you can always find Stephen on a trail. Don’t hesitate to say hi!
Teri Rogoway
Teri Rogoway
Educational Program Administrator
As the Educational Program Administrator, Teri oversees the Authority's docent and educational programming. This includes managing educational partnerships and coordinating public hikes and presentations, astronomy programs, and other educational opportunities for our community and youth. Teri has a background in park interpretation and environmental education from California State Parks, Santa Clara County Parks, San Jose City Parks, and the Youth Science Institute. She has also been faculty for West Valley College's Park Management Program and is currently adjunct faculty teaching Interpretation at San Jose State University. Her personal passion is creating inclusive nature experiences for people with disabilities. In her free time, Teri likes to write fiction and spend time observing wildlife.
Vanessa Roy
Open Space Aide
Vanessa comes to the Open Space Authority with a background in wildlife biology and park management. After receiving a BA in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, she moved back to the U.S. where she decided to shift gears to pursue her love of nature. Vanessa graduated from West Valley’s Park Management program in 2020 and is currently in the process of achieving an AS in Ecology. As an Open Space Aide, she hopes to use her eclectic skills to connect visitors to nature through impromptu interpretation and friendly trail chats. You can find her on the trails working meticulously to maintain our beautiful preserves. Feel free to say hi and ask her any burning questions you may have about Coyote Valley’s amazing fauna.