Board of Directors
Sam Ross, Chairman
Sam Ross is a resident of Carlsbad and serves as the executive director of Visit Carlsbad, a non-profit organization created to market Carlsbad as a premier travel destination in Southern California and to increase the city's share of tourism-related revenues. Sam is responsible for implementing Visit Carlsbad's business and marketing plans and serves as lead spokesperson for Carlsbad's tourism industry.
Rachel Ivanovich, Vice-Chair
Rachel grew up in the Pacific Northwest and moved to Carlsbad in August of 2000. She has spent the past twenty plus years raising her two children and honing her skills as an income tax expert. Her company, ELM Tax, was founded in 2006 and is committed to helping local business owners. In 2010,she graduated from SDSU with her MBA, with an emphasis in Finance and Taxation. Rachel loves kids and the environment and is passionate about health, fitness and helping others. She joined the AHLF Board in 2017.
Kimberly Holmes, Treasurer
Kimberly is the VP of Financial Reporting for WESTliving, a senior living group dedicated to delivering exceptional service and experiences, and a resident of the Lagoon area who enjoys taking advantage of all the lagoon has to offer whether the trails or kayaking on the lagoon. Just like trying to make a meaningful difference for seniors, as a 2012 transplant from the East Coast, she joined AHLF board as a continuation of her support of water and land preservation which started with the York Land Trust.
Jani Jackson, Secretary
Jani Jackson is a Carlsbad resident and the founder of Develop Your Team, where she is thrilled to work with individuals and teams to help them grow and excel. Jani has a master's degree in Adult Education and Training and an extensive background in corporate training and development. Her customized programs combine fun with purpose to develop highly-engaged and effective top-performing teams.
Christopher Crespo recently became of member of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation at the end of 2017. He is a practicing independent Surgical Physician Assistant and president of Coastal Surgical Physician Assistants Inc. here in north county San Diego. He received his B.S. in Nursing from SDSU in 2003, M.M.S. from St. Frances University and graduate of Stanford’s Primary Care Physician Associate Program in 2010.
He became a resident of Carlsbad in 2013 and is passionate in bettering his community and utilizing the resources within to encourage the Development of an incorporated trail system around the Lagoon. A husband and also a father of two small girls with whom he plans to educate and share his passion with nature and the lagoon.
Gary is a California native living in North San Diego since the 50s. He attended Cathedral Catholic and San Dieguito Academy and graduated college from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1978 with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Marketing.
Gary's career as a financial advisor in North County started over 30 years ago.
Gary's interest in Aqua Hedionda Lagoon started years ago boating with his family on the lagoon "before freeway days, when you could actually drive your boat under the bridge to the middle lagoon."
"I found I want to do something more to help other's learn about and enjoy what I have for decades... our own Carlsbad lagoon."
Gary's community involvement over the years includes directorships and past president of multiple youth sports programs and clubs and a private member owned tennis club. Gary also has volunteered his time to the YMCA, home building "Missions" projects in Mexico, and other organizations.
Board of Director member elected 10-2017, Fred is a Carlsbad LOCAL since 1973! He is the founder of Hale & Associates, a local family law practice. He also serves as a Judge pro tempore twice a month as a means to give back to the community. Fred is an avid mountain biker, road cyclist, surfer, hiker, Fred knows the special gift of Nature here in North County, and is proud to be able to work to ensure the continued health, access, and preservation of “The People’s Lagoon.
Stacy Hall is a resident of Oceanside and native to North San Diego County. She is a financial analyst at Medtronic which is a global leader in medical technology, services, and solutions. Her love for the lagoon started with growing up in Carlsbad and enjoying the water activities the lagoon has to offer. She joined the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation Board of Directors in 2019 as a way to support her community and to be part of the preservation and education of the unique ecosystem.
Ian McDaniel is a Carlsbad attorney whose practice focuses on corporate and securities transactions. His commitment to the Agua Hedionda Lagoon is closely tied to the mission of the Foundation to preserve the Lagoon as healthy and accessible. Ian is a graduate of the University of Arizona and the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a member of the State Bar of California, the San Diego County Bar Association, the University of Arizona Alumni Association, the Southern California Penn Law Alumni Society, and BDG. He is also a director of North County Board Meeting, a 501(c)(3) organization composed entirely of surfers dedicated to helping the communities of North San Diego County.
George Piantka is the Sr. Director of Environmental Services for NRG Energy’s California operations in Carlsbad. Since joining NRG in 2007, George has overseen permitting, compliance, regulatory policy, and company ecoNRG initiatives for NRG’s power generation assets in the West Region. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from UC Berkeley and a Master of Science in Civil/Environmental Engineering from USC. George and his family reside in San Clemente. He feels fortunate to live and work in both coastal communities with a commute to Encina Power Station where he has a daily view of the lagoon and the Carlsbad coast. George and his colleagues appreciate the partnership with Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation and the fine stewardship and education programs provided through the Foundation.
Diane has lived and worked in Carlsbad for over 20 years. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Cal State University, San Bernardino. Diane is passionate about the Carlsbad Community and has served on the Parks and Recreation Commission and Envision Carlsbad Committee. She has participated in the San Diego Water Authority, Carlsbad Chamber Candidate and Carlsbad Citizens Academies. She has served on the Carlsbad High School Site Council, and Carlsbad High Touchdown Club and Pop Warner boards, as well as coached basketball, baseball and football. Diane loves what the Lagoon Foundation brings to our community through educating residents and visitors about our local environment and history.
Kourosh Rahmanian recently became a member of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation in 2019. He has been Carlsbad resident since 2015 and serves as the accounting and financial specialist of Poseidon Water. He earned his Master of Accountancy (MAC) from National University in 2018 and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Staffordshire University in 2016. An adventurous resident who loves nature, environment and traveling.
Thomas E. Stewart
Tom Stewart was invited to join the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Board at the end of 2018 after volunteering for the annual Lagoon clean up event. He is very passionate about the environment and doing what he can to keep Carlsbad one of the most sought after places to live in Southern California. Tom is a Real Estate Advisor with Engel and Völkers at their Carlsbad office in the village. He has been a North County resident for over 20 years and is an avid surfer who values the environment and fell in love with the mission to be a steward of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. He is currently co-chair of the trail committee working to make the lagoon more accessible so visitors to the lagoon and residents of Carlsbad will be able to fully enjoy all that the Agua Hedionda Lagoon has to offer.
Jennifer joined the AHLF board in 2019; a resident of North County who has called San Diego home for the past twenty years, she is passionate about protecting the region for future generations. Jennifer graduated from UC San Diego in 2002 and received her J.D. from California Western School of Law in 2005. After a decade practicing law, she embarked on a second career at SDG&E, where she has focused on the regulatory process and clean energy development and policy. Jennifer is SDG&E’s Tribal Liaison, supporting Native American governments and communities within the region. Jennifer has been actively involved on her neighborhood board for years and spends her weekends watching her two young children play sports and explore the region, including the Agua Hedionda Lagoon.
As a second generation native of North San Diego County, I have seen the area transition from farm land and rural communities to modern cities and one of the most coveted areas to live in the entire United States. My philosophy has always been focused on integrity and customer service. It has served me well for my entire career. After receiving an Associate of Arts Degree in Business Administration, I have focused my career on Real Estate, Management and sales. Personally, I have raised three wonderful sons and put them through college. I’m proud to say they are beginning their own careers and have become responsible members of their communities. When they were growing up, I served as PTG President in their school, I managed some of their sports teams and I lead fund raising campaigns. In addition to my real estate career, I’m an active participant on the board of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation, my Church’s Migrant Worker Food Program, BHHS Charitable Foundation, Resource Center for Women, and The Assistance League of NC.
Members of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation are welcome to nominate individuals to the Board of Directors. Nominees should submit a resume and contact details to the Discovery Center.
In accordance with the October 2008 bylaws, these nominees will be vetted by the Board Development Committee before going to the Board for election. New Board members shall be ratified during the Annual Meeting of the Members in October of each year.
Lisa Cannon-Rodman, Chief Executive Officer
Lisa has been a part of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation team for 9 years with decades of business development experience, raising funds, building relationships, and developing markets in various settings. She holds a B.A. in Communication from California State University, San Marcos. A Carlsbad resident since 1983, Lisa is passionate about building awareness of Carlsbad's most unique lagoon, "The People's Lagoon". Lisa is the Fund Development Chair of Hospice of the North Coast Board of Directors, a member of North County Philanthropic Council Programs Committee, a member of Oceanside-Carlsbad Soroptimist, a Past President of Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary and current member, Past Co-Chair for the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Green Business Committee, Past Carlsbad Planning Commissioner, and served 12 years as Carlsbad Unified School District School Board Trustee. She was named Woman of the Year 2019 in Senate district 36. She has been married for 38 years and both sons graduated from UC Berkeley.
Samantha Richter, Chief Operations Officer
Samantha has been with the AHLF team for 6 years, graduating from the University of Alabama in 2013 with a B.S. degree in Biology and Marine Science. Samantha has previous experience in research, operations, and tutoring, and currently oversees operational functions at the Lagoon Foundation. Growing up in Vista, she developed a passion for the ocean and the natural environment and continues to advocate and educate people about this natural resource near her home town. Samantha completed her certificate degree in non-profit management through the University of San Diego, is a previous secretary of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce's Education Committee, and currently sits on the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce's Green Business Committee. She is also a member of the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary Club.
Cierra Russo, Director of Education
Cierra graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a B.A. in Human Development with a concentration in Health Services. She also studied at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa where she gained knowledge and experience working hands on with children of diverse cultural backgrounds. Developing a love of the great outdoors from her travels, she was drawn the AHLF Discovery Center for their commitment to their lagoon and local watershed. Furthering her interest in working with people and communities, Cierra began interning at the DC in August 2015 and started as the Administrative Manager in November of the same year. Cierra is currently the Secretary for the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce's Education Committee and participates in the Environment Water & Sustainability Advisory Council for the 76th District.
Lauren Rabak, Discovery Center Associate
Biography coming soon!
Julia Duffey, Director of First Impression
Julia is a student at Cal State San Marcos studying Business Marketing. She recently graduated from MiraCosta College with two Associate’s Degrees, one in Liberal Arts-Social Sciences, and the other a business ADT for a transfer degree. Julia began at the center volunteering with critter care for a year and a half before becoming a team member in June 2017. Some of her passions include animals, communication, and people. Julia enjoys nature and the ocean, while also showing guests all the different animals, and learning new information she can share. She hopes to encourage others to meet new critters and to enjoy their visit to the AHLF Discovery Center.