Tahoe Fund Board Members provide generous support, leadership and inspiration.
*Read full bio’s below by clicking the Board Member’s name above.
Las Vegas native Tim Cashman currently serves on the boards of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Nevada Taxpayers Association. Following graduation from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, he joined his family’s heavy equipment business in Reno, eventually managing operations in Reno and Elko before being named Vice-President of Cashman Equipment. He is co-owner of the Harley-Davidson dealerships in Southern Nevada and Utah.
In addition to his business endeavors, Tim has also served on the Nevada Department of Transportation’s Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Nevada Electric Energy Policy Committee and the State of Nevada Commission on Ethics. Since 2004 he has served as a trustee of the Keyser Foundation.
Tim enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, and is active in fishing, riding and boating.
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Art Chapman has served as President of JMA Ventures for 20 years and has over 30 years of professional experience in real estate management and development. Before joining JMA, Chapman was Vice President of Campeau Corporation California, a $2 billion real estate development company. At Campeau, Chapman served as General Manager of Housing where he was responsible for multiple residential projects throughout California, including high rise condominiums in West Los Angeles, apartments in conjunction with the San Francisco and San Jose redevelopment agencies and the luxury condominium project at 333 Bush Street in the San Francisco Financial District.
JMA owns the Alpine Meadows and Homewood Mountain ski resorts at Lake Tahoe and has plans to expand hotel and other facilities in the Tahoe Truckee area. Prior to Campeau, Chapman worked 11 years as the Executive Director of the City of Long Beach Redevelopment Agency. Chapman received his Bachelor of Science in Finance Degree from California State University, Long Beach, with graduate work in Management and Public Administration at Cal State and at the University of Southern California.
Chapman currently serves as the Chair of the Founders Committee of the Tahoe Institute for Rural Health Research and lives in Truckee.
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Tom Mertens, a native Californian, first visited Lake Tahoe as a child over 50 years ago. A communications and media consultant with a background in print and broadcast media, he has designed and implemented communications plans for multiple high technology and renewable resource entities.
In 1991, Mertens joined the board of directors of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, an advocacy organization known for its slogan “Keep Tahoe Blue.” He has served as chair of the League board and headed committees on forest health and communications. In 2012, he was awarded Tahoe’s top environmental honor, the Dwight Steele Award.
He also serves as an advisor and is a former chair of the board for the non-profit Tahoe Baikal Institute, involving top graduate students, young professionals and promising undergraduate students from Russia, the United States and other nations in hands-on scientific research and policy study at Lake Tahoe and at Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia. Tom has been a guest lecturer on Tahoe environmental issues and non-profit organizations at California State University-San Jose, and is a former chairman of the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau and the San Jose Elections/Ethics Commission.
An avid outdoorsman, Mertens and his family spend as much time as possible at their Rubicon Bay cabin and hike, fish, backpack, snowshoe and ski in the Tahoe area.
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Allen Biaggi is a third generation Nevadan from Douglas County and is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno with degrees in Hydrology and Architectural Engineering Design.
Mr. Biaggi served as the Director of Nevada’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (a cabinet level position) under governors Guinn and Gibbons and as the Administrator of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection under governors Miller and Guinn. During his tenure with the State of Nevada, Mr. Biaggi served on numerous boards and commissions including The Commission on Workplace Safety, the Governor’s Climate Change Committee and the State Petroleum Board. Most notably for the Lake Tahoe Basin, Mr. Biaggi served on the Bi-State Fire Commission in the wake of the Angora Fire and sat on the Governing Board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for six years, including three years as its chairman.
Mr. Biaggi retired in 2010 after more than 30 years of service. He is the Principal of A. Biaggi & Associates, LLC and is an avid cyclist, skier and hiker. He resides in Douglas County with his wife Linda.
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Jim Boyd was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to a second five-year term on the California Energy Commission on February 2, 2007. He was first appointed to the commission on February 6, 2002, and he was appointed to the Vice Chair position on June 16, 2006.
Prior to his appointment, Boyd was Deputy Secretary and Chief of Staff of the California Resources Agency. He created and chaired the state’s first Joint Agency Climate Change Team and the state’s Natural Gas Working Group.
Boyd served for 15 years as the Chief Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), directing the nation’s largest state air pollution control program. During this period, CARB led the nation in establishing new pollution control programs for motor vehicles and fuels, toxic air contaminants, consumer products and industrial and area sources.
He currently presides over the Energy Commission Transportation Committee and currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the University of California Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. Boyd is the Energy Commission’s representative on the Steering Team of the California Fuel Cell Partnership and has served on the Governor’s Hydrogen Highway Network Implementation Advisory Panel. He led the commission’s efforts to develop the state alternative fuels plan, which was requested by the governor and California State Legislature. He oversees the implementation of Assembly Bill 118, which established an Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program at the commission.
Boyd chairs the Bio-energy Interagency Working Group that developed and is now implementing the Governor’s Bio-energy Action Plan and also serves as the state’s liaison to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and as California’s representative on the Border Governors’ Conference Energy Worktable. He presently serves on the Governor’s Climate Action Team.
A California native, Boyd received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.
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Warner Chabot is the CEO of Warner Chabot and Associates, an independent environmental policy, strategic planning and political advocacy consulting firm. For over 30 years, he has managed strategic and successful regional, state, and national programs and campaigns to design, enact and implement landmark environmental laws and policies and to elect progressive, environmental candidates to public office. His strategic advocacy work has focused on grassroots efforts to enact and support effective and sustainable land use, energy, water quality, forestry and ocean policies.
Warner Chabot & Associates provides strategic advice to private, public and non-profit organizations that are committed to improving the health and productivity of their community and the earth. His past roles include serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV), the political arm of California’s environmental movement and as Vice President for Campaign Strategies at the Ocean Conservancy a national ocean policy organization.
Warner Chabot & Associates believes in building alliances of unlikely allies to change the course of history to pass on a healthier environment for future generations and to have fun doing so….because life is too short to do anything else.
Warner graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz with honors with a degree in environmental planning. He and his wife live in Emeryville to ensure close proximity to their lifestyle coach, train and dinosaur expert – their four year old grandson.
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Scott Gillespie is Principal of SANDBOX, an award-winning design and engineering firm based in Tahoe City, founded by Scott and his wife in 2001. Scott has designed more than 120 homes in the Tahoe and Truckee region, and was recently the recipient of 5 Tahoe Quarterly Mountain Home awards, as well as a TRPA “Best in the Basin” award. His aesthetic spans the full spectrum from rustic mountain architecture to contemporary work. He has designed more than forty homes in the Martis Camp community, along with numerous Lahontan and lakefront estates.
An 18-year resident of Lake Tahoe, Scott began his career on the East Coast working in the fields of architecture and construction. He followed his heart to the mountains, moving toTahoe City in 1994, where he worked for a local architectural firm for several years while pursuing the US Freestyle Ski Team.
Scott received a Bachelor’s of Art in Architecture with honors from Middlebury College,Vermont in May 1993. He supplemented his education at Middlebury with studies at ColumbiaUniversity’s Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning, in New York City.
An avid outdoorsman, Scott enjoys spending time on the Lake, biking and skiing with his wife and two young children.
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Cindy Gustafson is General Manager of Tahoe City Public Utility District (TCPUD), which serves the entire west shore of Lake Tahoe. Her passion for Tahoe brought her to the Lake 30 years ago and during that time she has served on numerous boards, committees and volunteer community efforts. Over her 19 years with TCPUD, Ms. Gustafson has successfully secured grant funding for and administered $30 million in a variety of capital projects including bike trails, sidewalks, water and sewer system upgrades, community buildings, public parks, beaches, and environmental restoration projects.
In addition to her professional career, Ms. Gustafson has served in a wide variety of appointed and elected positions requiring complex public policy strategies. She served four years as one of the State’s five Fish and Game Commissioners, appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger. Most recently she chaired the Marine Life Protection Act Blue Ribbon Task Force, charged with developing recommendations for the protection of the State’s waters along the North Coast of California. She also served for two years on the Lake Tahoe Basin Federal Advisory Committee, five years on the Truckee Tahoe School Board of Trustees, two years on the Tahoe Baikal Institute Board, and six years on the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency Board of Directors.
Ms. Gustafson and her husband and sons enjoy Lake Tahoe’s many outdoor recreational activities.
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Mr. Merrill was born and raised in San Francisco and received a BA degree from Stanford University and an MBA degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. Following graduation, he began his career in venture capital by joining BankAmerica Capital Corporation. In 1976 he became president of BankAmerica Capital Corporation and managed this very successful venture activity until 1980 when he formed and managed Merrill, Pickard, Anderson & Eyre (MPAE), a privately held venture capital partnership.
During his venture capital career, Mr. Merrill was involved in the start-up funding of Federal Express, Advanced Micro Devices, America Online, Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Aspect Telecommunications, Cypress Semiconductor, LSI Logic, Synopsys, Grand Junction and Kalpana (acquired by Cisco), Maxim Integrated Products, Palm Computing, and Rambus.
In 1996 MPAE stopped making new investments and Mr. Merrill helped form Benchmark Capital with several of the MPAE partners. He continues to be a special limited partner in that firm.
Mr. Merrill is presently devoting a significant amount of time to civic and non-profit activities as well as his private investments. He was chairman of the Board of Trustees of Town School for Boys, a member of the Committee to Restore the San Francisco Opera House, and is a past director of the Children’s Health Council and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Mr. Merrill currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Aspire Public Schools, the largest Charter School organization in California. He is also on the Board of the UCSF Foundation and the Haas Center at Stanford University, as well as an investment partner in New Schools Venture Fund.
Mr. Merrill is a past president of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists, a past director of the National Venture Capital Association, and was a director of numerous privately-held companies.
Mr. Merrill lives in San Francisco and is the father of two grown sons. He maintains a summer home near Tahoe City.
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Since 2009, Hilary Newsom has served as the President of hospitality and management for the PlumpJack Group. Newsom began her career with the PlumpJack Group in 1996, when she was first hired as the Director of Marketing. As President, Newsom collaborates with all department heads, and spearheads the day-to-day operations, finance and marketing of the company’s 15 individual portfolio businesses. She also focuses on development opportunities and collaborates with the executive vice president and business partner on business development sourcing. Newsom has been, and continues to be, highly instrumental in the concept and development process surrounding numerous PlumpJack entities from inception to launch.
Newsom has deep roots in Tahoe, having grown up skiing at Squaw after her grandfather signed a 99-year lease on property in Olympic Village in 1960. Passionate about philanthropy since childhood, she is a compassionate and committed fundraiser on behalf of several charitable organizations. Newsom is also on the board of Holy Family Day Home and the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) and serves on countless benefit event committees yearly. Most notably, she and her husband founded the annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic 14 years ago, that has raised more than $2.8 million dollars for the fight against breast cancer. Newsom resides in her hometown of Marin with her husband and two young daughters.
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Jim Porter is senior partner in the Truckee-based law office of Porter Simon. For over 35 years, he has practiced law in the Truckee/Tahoe and Reno areas, and is a licensed California real estate broker.
His weekly column, “The Law Review,” has appeared in the Sierra Sun for over 30 years. He pens a bi-monthly California Law column in the Washoe County Bar publication, The Writ. He has taught classes at various local colleges and is a member of several bar associations. In 1995, Jim was the first recipient of the “Attorney of the Year” award presented by the Tahoe-Truckee Bar Association. He was the Governor’s appointee to the Bipartisan McPherson Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
In 1998, Jim helped form and is Chairman Emeritus of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation – initiated with a $1 million donation from William Hewlett of the Hewlett-Packard Company. The Foundation is in its 13th year and has an endowment totaling nearly $15 million. Jim has served on numerous local and regional boards.
Jim is a fourth generation Northern Californian and grew up visiting the Tahoe area for family vacations since he was in elementary school. In 1964, his family bought a vacation cabin in Crystal Bay, which they owned until 1994.
A University of California, Davis graduate, Jim received his law degree with honors from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. Jim, his wife and two daughters, both in college, enjoy life in Truckee – mountain biking, cross-country skiing, hiking, camping, fishing and gardening.
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Cory Ritchie is an active supporter of environmental causes, bilingual education and equal access to youth sports at Lake Tahoe.
She has been a volunteer for numerous organizations, including South Lake Tahoe’s Sustainable Rebuilding Expo, Youth Task Force, Boys and Girls Club, Girls on the Run Sierra, and the League to Save Lake Tahoe.
She is chair of her Family Council, a family business that promotes the philanthropic legacy as well as the human and intellectual capital of family members, and is active with the Parasol Foundation in Incline Village.
Ritchie and her husband, Ryan, live in Stateline, Nevada, where they are raising two young daughters. She enjoys spending time with her family skiing, backpacking and mountain biking.
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Bill Rock has been the chief operating officer of Northstar California, operated by Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, since November 2010. He joined the Company from Intrawest’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia, where he served as president and chief operating officer since 2005. From 2003-2005, Rock was chief operating officer and general manager of Durango Mountain Resort in Colorado.
During Rock’s tenure at Snowshoe, the resort was awarded the Silver Eagle Environmental Award for Excellence in Fish and Habitat Protection for completing West Virginia’s first Habitat Management Plan with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The project was featured in the USFWS document, “Habitat Conservation Plans, Working Together for Endangered Species,” as a best practice for private/public partnerships.
Environmental innovation and community involvement are key focus areas for Rock. He is proud to continue the work of his predecessors at Northstar implementing a first in Tahoe, the Habitat Management Plan; creating new sustainability programs; and working with community stakeholders to enhance the quality of life in North Lake Tahoe.
Rock serves on the board of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, The Tahoe Forest Hospital Foundation, the National Ski Areas Association, and the executive committee of the California Ski Industry Association. He was recognized as the 2009 Tourism Professional of the Year by the WV Division of Tourism, and in 2005 received a SAMMY award from Ski Area Management. Rock lives in Truckee, Calif. with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children.
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Trish Ronald has been a conservation advocate in the Lake Tahoe Basin for over 30 years, involved in critical policy, regulatory and communications endeavors impacting the Tahoe basin.
The Tahoe-Baikal Institute and the League to Save Lake Tahoe honored Trish as the recipient of the 2004 Dwight Steele Tahoe Environmental Steward Award. The award is given every year to an individual who has shown exceptional dedication and commitment towards the preservation of Lake Tahoe. Other winners included Richard Goldman, Helen Pickering, Bill Lane, Fritzi Huntington and Dennis Machida. Among her accomplishments was her key role in successful negotiations between the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Heavenly Valley Ski Resort relating to the Heavenly Valley expansion plan several years ago.
Trish has been given numerous awards such as the League’s “Friend of the Lake” award; the Volunteer of the Year award from Soroptomist of San Mateo; and election to the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame for her volunteer efforts that coincided with a successful entrepreneurial business career on the San Francisco Peninsula. She has served as chair of the San Mateo League of Women Voters and as California chair of the Family Service Agency. Trish graduated from Iowa State University and earned a Masters in Human Relations from San Francisco State University.
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Chuck Scharer has lived and worked in Lake Tahoe for 29 years and currently lives with his wife Susan in Zephyr Cove, Nevada. Mr. Scharer is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Edgewood Companies, a closely held diversified real estate company, which has owned over 500 acres of land in Lake Tahoe since 1896 including the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. A veteran of the hotel/casino industry, prior to joining Edgewood Companies, Scharer completed an 18-year career with Harvey’s Casino Resorts based in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada. He served as President and CEO from 1995 to 2001 and Chief Financial Officer from 1988 to 1995. During his tenure, Scharer helped lead Harvey’s to become one of the most respected and successful companies in the hotel/casino industry.
In addition to his affiliation with the Tahoe Fund, Mr. Scharer is a member of the Board of Directors of Barton Healthcare System in South Lake Tahoe, California, the Tahoe Prosperity Center, and the South Tahoe Association of Resorts. He also served as a Commissioner on the Nevada Commission on Tourism from 1999 to 2008.
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Katy Simon retired in 2013 after serving in local government for more than 25 years, most recently as the Washoe County (NV) Manager for 15 years. As County Manager, she oversaw a budget of $800 million and 3200 employees serving a population of 423,000 residents. During her administration, Washoe County was named the #1 Digital County in the US (midsize), was awarded the Cashman Good Government award three times by the Nevada Taxpayers Association, was three times named the #1 Local Government in the US for Waste Reduction, among many other awards, and, despite losing 40% of its budgeted resources during the recession, Washoe County received a bond rating upgrade and a 90% voter approval rating for its handling of the fiscal crisis, while increasing measured citizen satisfaction by 44%.
Ms. Simon has returned to consulting as President of Simon and Associates, and in that capacity has worked with local and state government clients in California, Nevada, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Florida, as well as non-profits and corporations such as Qualcomm, Baxter Healthcare, Sony, Mitsubishi, Amoco Oil, USWest technologies, and others in leadership development, vision, strategy, and innovation.
Once named one of Twenty People to Watch in the New Millenium by the Reno Gazette-Journal, she is a Credentialed Manager through the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and has served on the Boards of the Alliance for Innovation, the National Association of County Administrators, the ICMA Center for Performance Measurement, and many other civic and non-profit entities including the United Way, the Children’s Cabinet, the Nevada Land Trust, Truckee Meadows Tomorrow, and the Access to Healthcare Network. She was recently named a Senior Consultant with ICMA, and serves on the faculty and as Innovation Mentor for the Alliance’s national Innovation Academy, as well as having served as a guest lecturer and Manager in Residence for the USC Sol Price Graduate School of Public Policy.
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Terry Watt brings a wealth of experience in planning and implementation efforts focused on projects that promote resource conservation and sustainable development patterns and practices. Prior to forming her own consulting firm, she was the staff planning expert with the environmental and land use law firm Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger. Terry is an expert in general and specific planning and zoning, open space and agricultural land conservation strategies and environmental compliance.
Facilitation, public outreach, project management and negotiation are among the skills Terry offers to a wide variety of California clients including non-profit organizations, government agencies and foundations.
Recent clients include the Marin Countywide Plan Update and its Environmental Impact Report; the California Attorney General’s Office on a project related to climate change, CEQA and general plans; an environmental coalition that secured an Agreement with the Tejon Ranch Company for the permanent protection of 240,000 acres of the ranch; and several coalitions and organizations studying infill methodology dedicated to sustainable development patterns as a key strategy to achieving California’s emissions reduction targets.
A graduate of Stanford and of the University of Southern California Graduate School of Urban and Regional Planning, Terry is a frequent presenter at regional, national and statewide workshops and symposiums on general plans and sustainability best practices and case studies. She has been honored with the California State Association of Counties Distinguished Service Award, the Environment Now Award, state and national American Planning Association awards and the Carla Bard Award for Individual Achievement.
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Wirth brings a long-time passion for the mountains, business and ski industry acumen to the Tahoe Fund board. He was named Squaw President & CEO in August 2010 after a successful career as a senior executive with Intrawest, based out of Vancouver Canada and working with various multi resort ownership groups based out of Steamboat, Colorado.
In his twenty five years in the mountain resort industry, Wirth has worked with over twenty one mountain resort operating companies across North America and Europe. Conservation and the outdoors runs through Wirth’s background and family, as he was a Backcountry Ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, a Wilderness Ranger in San Pedro Parks Wilderness Area, New Mexico and a member of Hot Shot wild land Fire Crew based out of Northern New Mexico. Moreover, his grandfather, Conrad Wirth was Director of the National Park Service for eleven years, under Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.
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Advisory Council Members
Jim Lawrence is the Special Adviser of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. His prior role was the Administrator of the Nevada Division of State Lands, the state’s lead agency for Tahoe when Nevada committed to the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program at the 1997 Presidential Summit. This commitment was recently renewed by the Nevada legislature for the next decade.
In addition to Tahoe programs, Lawrence is responsible for administering Nevada’s state owned land and implementing a statewide resource and conservation grant program, which has been instrumental in providing recreational trail opportunities and protecting important resource land throughout the state. Lawrence also serves as executive officer of Nevada’s State Land Use Planning Agency and the State Conservation Commission.
He is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz with Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Environmental Studies and Politics. In 1989, Lawrence received his Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon.
He lives in Carson City, Nevada with his wife Kathi and one son.
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Patrick Wright is Executive Director of the California Tahoe Conservancy, a state agency charged with protecting and enhancing natural resources and recreational opportunities in the Lake Tahoe Basin. He was previously Director of the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, where he led a consortium of agencies and stakeholders in managing one of the nation’s largest collaborative water management programs.
Wright also served as Deputy and Assistant Secretary for the California Resources Agency in the administrations of former governor Gray Davis and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and served on the board of the California Coastal Conservancy.
Prior to these appointments, he was a senior policy advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Interior and the Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
He lives with his wife and two daughters in Incline Village, Nevada.
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