Board Member Profiles
Maia Bellon is the director of the Washington Department of Ecology, appointed to the position by Governor Jay Inslee in February 2013. As a Mescalero Apache descendent, Ms. Bellon is the first Native American to lead an executive cabinet agency in Washington State. Not new to Ecology, she served as deputy and then manager of the Water Resources program for Ecology. While there, she helped sustainably manage the state’s water resources for communities, farms, forests, and fish. She served for 15 years as an assistant attorney general focusing on complex water law and a broad array of other environmental legal issues. Ms. Bellon also was a special assistant to the president for civil rights and legal affairs at The Evergreen State College. She is a graduate of The Evergreen State College and earned her law degree from the Arizona State University College of Law.
Stephen Bernath represents the Washington Department of Natural Resources, where he is deputy supervisor for Forest Practices. Mr. Bernath is the Commissioner of Public Land’s designee to chair the Forest Practices Board and represents the agency on the newly formed Chehalis Basin Board. He has spent his entire career working on water and forestry issues, including positions with the Navajo Nation and Departments of Natural Resources and Ecology. Mr. Bernath has worked on cross-programmatic and cross-agency projects such as climate change, transportation, biomass, and nonpoint pollution. He has focused his time in forest practices working to implement the Timber/Fish/Wildlife Agreement and the salmon recovery and water quality laws. Mr. Bernath holds a master of science degree in forest hydrology with a minor in agricultural engineering from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor of science degree in watershed science with a concentration in remote sensing from Colorado State University. He and his wife have two grown children. He is an avid cyclist and has completed the Seattle-to-Portland ride numerous times.
Jeff Breckel, Longview, has extensive experience in salmon recovery and natural resource issues. He retired in 2016 after serving for 18 years as the executive director of the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board. While there, he led the board from its inception, through writing the first salmon recovery plan in Washington to be federally approved, to seeing that same plan implemented. Before leading the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board, Mr. Breckel served as a nuclear waste policy advisor for the Governor’s Office and Washington State Department of Ecology. Previous to that, he was the executive director of the Columbia River Gorge Commission, which protects the unique scenic, natural, historical, and cultural features of the Columbia River Gorge. He came to the commission after serving in the Navy, where he earned rank of lieutenant. He received a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from the University of Washington. Term runs to July 15, 2021.
Bob Bugert, Wenatchee, is the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust’s Partnerships director, and was that nonprofit’s executive director for the previous 9 years. Before joining the land trust, Mr. Bugert was the eastern Washington regional coordinator for the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office for 10 years where his principle duties were to engage tribes and local governments in the formation of regional salmon recovery organizations, and to support the Salmon Recovery Funding Board during its initial years. Mr. Bugert worked for 3 years with the Mid-Columbia Public Utility Districts in the formation of The Tributary Fund, an innovative mechanism to provide $50 million in grants for salmon habitat protection and restoration as a part of the districts’ Habitat Conservation Plan. Mr. Bugert also spent 10 years working on habitat and hatchery programs in eastern Washington for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Currently, Mr. Bugert serves on the Board of Directors for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, the Washington Association of Land Trusts, and The Icicle Fund. He has a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from Washington State University, a master’s degree in fisheries resources from the University of Idaho, and is a graduate of the Washington Agriculture and Forestry Leadership Program. Term runs to July 15, 2021.
Brian Cochrane represents the Washington State Conservation Commission where he is the habitat and monitoring coordinator. He graduated from the University of California Davis with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries and since has worked in the natural resources field for Idaho Fish and Game, private consultants in California, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Army Yakima Training Center, and Yakima County’s flood control and storm water programs. Mr. Cochrane’s salmon work has ranged from a summer at a Chinook hatchery in Idaho, to habitat assessments in the San Francisco Bay area, to the intersection between salmon and water quality in north Idaho and central Washington. Mr. Cochrane brings his habitat restoration and monitoring experience to the Conservation Commission, where he administers the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, salmon restoration efforts, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) work, and storm water activities.
Hilary S. Franz is the commissioner of public lands and director of the Washington Department of Natural Resources. Before being elected commissioner in 2016, Ms. Franz was executive director of Futurewise, an organization committed to implementing smart, sustainable land use and transportation policies. In this role, she brought together local governments, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups to blend land use with environmental protection and stronger local economies. She also served 4 years on the Bainbridge Island City Council, where she developed nationally-recognized environmental and energy policies and programs with diverse coalitions of public and private stakeholders. In addition, Ms. Franz has served on numerous state and regional boards and commissions, working to strengthen and protect both the environment and local economies. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a juris doctor from Northeastern University Law School. Ms. Franz is married with three sons.
Susan Kanzler represents the Washington Department of Transportation, where she is the fish passage coordinator. Ms. Kanzler is a biologist with 24 years of experience working for the State of Washington. Before joining the department, Ms. Kanzler worked in the field of fish passage and salmon habitat restoration for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. In addition to other duties there, she served as a technical reviewer of fish passage project proposals being submitted to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. When she’s not planning fish barrier corrections at state highway crossings, Ms. Kanzler enjoys gardening, hiking, paddleboarding, and volunteering with her two teenage kids to plant vegetation along streams. She received her bachelor of science degree in environmental science from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
Roger Millar was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee as secretary of transportation in August 2016. He is a second generation civil engineer with 38 years of experience in the transportation arena. Mr. Millar has served as public works director, city and county planning director, arterial streets manager, and vice president of a multi-national engineering firm, among other assignments. Before joining the Department of Transportation in 2015, he served for 5 years as vice president of Smart Growth America, a national nonprofit organization, providing technical assistance to state transportation agencies in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont. Mr. Millar also served as director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Mr. Millar is a registered engineer in Washington and five other states. He is married and has two teenage children.
Erik Neatherlin represents the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, where he serves as the science director for the Fish Program. Mr. Neatherlin is the department’s representative on the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, an international organization established to promote the conservation of salmon and steelhead in the north Pacific. Before serving as the science director, Mr. Neatherlin was a senior policy advisor in the director’s office for the department. Before joining the department, Mr. Neatherlin worked with nongovernmental organizations on endangered species recovery and conservation issues. Mr. Neatherlin received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and his master’s degree from the University of Washington. Mr. Neatherlin lives in Olympia with his wife and two daughters.
Phil Rockefeller, of Bainbridge Island, is a former member of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council and a former Washington State Senator. Among his legislative accomplishments are the 2007 bill creating the Puget Sound Partnership, a unique state agency dedicated to the protection and recovery of Puget Sound; and legislation enacted in 2011 which transitions Washington State from coal-based power production at the TransAlta facility in Centralia. He also has been one of the strongest advocates of renewable energy investment, fish and wildlife protection, and development of state and local adaptation strategies to address impacts of climate change. His previous work includes service in the U.S. Air Force, federal employment with the U.S. House of Representatives, and various federal agencies in the Pacific Northwest, as well as four years as assistant to former Governor John Spellman. Before his appointment to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, he served 13 years in the Washington State Legislature where he chaired the Senate Environment, Water & Energy Committee. Mr. Rockefeller received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his law degree from Harvard. He and his wife have three daughters and two granddaughters. They live on Bainbridge Island, and spend much of their free time in their community garden where they grow food to donate to the local food bank. Term runs to July 15, 2019.BACK
Chris Endresen Scott is the administrator for the Department of Social and Health Services’ Community Service Office in Omak. Ms. Endresen Scott served as a Kitsap County commissioner when salmon were first listed under the Endangered Species Act in Puget Sound and Hood Canal. She was elected and served as a Kitsap County commissioner from 1997 to 2007 and was very involved in the effort to address the listing of salmon in Puget Sound. During that time, she also served on the Hood Canal Coordinating Council, including several stints as chair. Following her term as a commissioner, Ms. Endresen Scott served as the state director for Senator Maria Cantwell’s Office from 2007 to 2010 and then as the economic development director at the Puget Sound Regional Council until 2013. Before her terms as commissioner, she served on the Poulsbo City Council beginning in 1985. An advocate for lifelong learning, in 2005 Ms. Endresen Scott received her master’s degree in public administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. She moved to Seattle when she was 11 years old, spent 32 years in Poulsbo, and now lives in Conconully with her husband John. Term runs to July 15, 2022.BACK
Dr. Carol Smith represents the Department of Ecology, where she is the Environmental Assessment Program manager, leading a staff of about 155 employees, mostly scientists. Many facets of this science intersects with salmon, including assessing water quality, stream flows, pollution, and salmon habitat. Before working for the Department of Ecology, Dr. Smith was the manager of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), a shoreline habitat restoration program focused on salmon, for the Washington Conservation Commission, and served a salmon biologist and manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, for a total of 25 years of working experience in salmon issues. Although born and raised in Washington State, Dr. Smith lived in the Marshall Islands and Samoa in between earning a bachelor of science degree in biology, a master of science degree in zoology, and a doctorate in zoology at the University of Hawaii. The emphasis of her academic research ranged from marine biology and fisheries to biochemistry. Before working for the State of Washington, she was a researcher at Morehouse School of Medicine and a laboratory director for a commercial lab in California. Dr. Smith has been involved with the Salmon Recovery Funding Board through most of its existence..
Jeromy Sullivan, Kingston, is the chair of the Tribal Council for the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe. He has served as an elected official of the Tribal Council for nearly a decade–as chair since 2010 and as councilman for 4 years. Before being elected to the council, Mr. Sullivan worked as information technology manager for the Tribe and was a commercial geoduck harvester for 19 years. During his time on the council, Mr. Sullivan focused on protection of treaty rights and natural resource and economic development issues. Mr. Sullivan also has served on the Hood Canal Coordinating Council, Point No Point Treaty Council Board, Kitsap Forest and Bay Coalition, and the National Institute of Health's Technical Advisory Committee. He was the recipient of the Billy Frank, Jr. Natural Resource Protection Leadership Honoring Award in 2015. Term runs to July 15, 2019.
Kelly Susewind was appointed director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in August 2018, after spending 28 years at the Washington Department of Ecology. A lifelong outdoorsman and longtime resident of Washington, Susewind oversees 1,800 employees throughout the state, tasked with fulfilling the agency’s mission of conserving wildlife and providing sustainable recreational and commercial opportunities. Mr. Susewind grew up in Aberdeen, and graduated from Grays Harbor College with an associate's degree in engineering before receiving his bachelor's degree in geological engineering from Washington State University. After spending several years working in the private sector in Alaska and Seattle, Mr. Susewind joined the Department of Ecology in 1990. He served in numerous roles during his time at Ecology, including as manager of the Water Quality Program and director of administrative services and environmental policy.