Tom Ford - Executive Director
Tom Ford is the Executive Director of The Bay Foundation, Executive Director of the Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program, and Co-Director of the Center for Santa Monica Bay Studies at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). As part of his engagement at LMU, Tom is part-time faculty at the Fred Seaver College of Science and Engineering. Tom holds a M.A. from UCLA in Marine Ecology and a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island in Biology. Tom has been engaged in the study and restoration of kelp forests since he moved to LA in 1998. Other current projects include aerial mapping of boats, abalone genetics and disease risk management, sea urchin gonad indices development, coastal climate change vulnerability and resilience, and SCUBA based biological monitoring of Marine Protected Areas. In addition, Tom serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Marine Institute, Joint Strategic Advisory Committee for the Southern, Central-Northern California Coastal Ocean Observing System, Association of National Estuary Programs, Advisory Board of The Ocean School, and the City of Santa Monica Clean Beaches and Ocean Parcel Tax Committee. Tom has dedicated thousands of hours to understanding and correcting sources of pollution in Los Angeles; influencing national and international policies and practices that benefit the environment and public health.
Tom’s diverse background spans the Atlantic seaboard where his research on sea turtles involved nesting beaches, aerial surveys and coastal dredging projects. As a commercial shell fisherman in Rhode Island, he developed his deep appreciation for the working landscapes that our coastal waters comprise. Tom and his family live in Santa Monica where they spend their free time surfing and exploring the beaches of Los Angeles County.
Heather Burdick - Executive Assistant, Marine Programs Manager
Heather Burdick earned her B.S. in Environmental Science with a concentration in Conservation Biology from UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. As the Executive Assistant and Marine Programs Manager for The Bay Foundation, she supports the Marine Programs Group on various projects involving research, monitoring and ecological restoration. She has worked on restoration projects and water quality monitoring throughout the Santa Monica Bay watershed since 2005 and has been working for the Foundation as an independent consultant since 2011 on the Rainwater Harvesting Program and Aerial Monitoring of Ocean Vessels.
Karina Johnston - Director of Watershed Programs
As the Director of Watershed Programs for The Bay Foundation, Karina Johnston develops, manages, and implements federal, state, and non-profit grants to implement the Bay Restoration Plan, which strives to clean up waterways and create healthy habitats in the Los Angeles region. She is currently managing multiple projects to restore and monitor the Bay’s coastal habitats, including wetlands, dunes, beaches, and streams. She also developed and oversees the Center for Santa Monica Bay Studies’ multi-university internship program, leads research projects, and teaches at Loyola Marymount University.
As the leader of the scientific assessment program for the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve and coordinator of regional wetland monitoring efforts, Karina has extensive experience developing, implementing, and directing scientific research and long-term monitoring programs. She earned her Masters of Applied Science in Ecology at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, and her Bachelors of Science in Aquatic Biology with a minor in Geology from UCSB. Karina is also a Board Certified Environmental Scientist, with a Biology specialty (American Academy of Environmental Scientists). Most recently, she was elected as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Academy of Sciences.
Grace Lee - Director of Outreach Programs
Grace Lee joined The Bay Foundation in 2002 and has managed the Boater Education Program since 2008. As Director of Outreach Programs, Grace leads the Southern California Clean Vessel Act Education, Clean Bay Certified, and Table to Farm Composting programs. The programs focuses on the use of collaboration, partnership building, and public engagement to create a culture of sustainability and environmental stewardship. Grace pursued two undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Irvine in Applied Ecology and Studio Art, followed by a Masters degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Planning and Analysis from the University of Southern California and a Certificate of Sustainability from the UCLA Extension Program (Spring 2017).
Scott Valor - Director of External Affairs
As Director of External Affairs, Scott Valor’s activities focus on communicating with and educating local, state and federal government entities regarding The Bay Foundation projects and priorities, as well as monitoring pending local, state, and federal legislative and regulatory issues. Scott previously worked in the California State Legislature where he was chief consultant to the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and senior consultant to the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. His work emphasized the protection of water quality and coastal resources. Scott graduated from Hastings College of the Law in 1991. Prior to working in the legislature, he practiced law in the hazardous waste management, water quality, and air quality fields. Scott also taught environmental law and policy courses for five years in the Environmental Studies Department at San Jose State University.
Marcelo Villagomez - Administrative Director
Marcelo Villagomez completed his B.A. in International Political Economy at the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Public Administration (MPA) with a focus in high performance management in the public and non-profit sectors. Marcelo has helped multiple non-profit organizations grow and have mission impact in the varied fields of childhood adoption and foster care, family and children’s health, community clinics, and immigrant and human rights. Marcelo has also been an international elections observer. As Administrative Director, Marcelo is currently managing the administrative functions of the organization. His efforts include focusing on ongoing improvements in management and strengthening the organization’s financial and human capital to achieve mission critical long-term objectives.
Julie Du Brow - Communications Director
Julie Du Brow is the Communications Director for The Bay Foundation. As Principal for dubroWORKS PR+Marketing firm since 2002, she specialized in local / regional / national campaigns for non- and for-profits in the fields of sustainability & environment, architecture & design, the arts, and technology, including start-ups. Prior to that, Julie spent 16 years in the music industry, variously as Marketing Director to an independent label, Product/Artist manager to global multi-platinum bands, and Production & Inventory Director for Capitol Records. She is on the Steering Committee for the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles Chapter’s Westside Branch, and serves on the Board of the Nonprofit Communications and Media Network. Julie is a native Angelena, and has a B.A. in Communications from UCLA.
Mark Abramson - Senior Watershed Advisor
Mark Abramson is the Senior Watershed Advisor for The Bay Foundation. He has a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona in ecosystem planning and design, specializing in stream and wetland restoration. Mark created one of the most successful community volunteer monitoring programs in the country for the Malibu Creek Watershed and has since created innovative partnerships with State and National Agencies to implement fish barrier removal projects and large-scale stream and riparian restoration projects in the Malibu Creek and Ballona Creek Watersheds. He was awarded the 2014 National Wetlands Award for Conservation and Restoration by the Environmental Law Institute. Mark designs and oversees rain garden and rain barrel installation programs in his ongoing work to make our watersheds more permeable and create a greener more livable city.
Rodney Abbott - Watershed Programs Coordinator
Rod Abbott has a B.A. in Philosophy and a minor in Anthropology, and is finishing a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He started with The Bay Foundation in 2011 as a graduate intern, and soon became an integral part of the scientific wetland monitoring program and the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project. He is the Watershed Programs Coordinator and coordinates independent student projects. Rod also conducts outreach for The Bay Foundation and coordinates the internship program through the Center for Santa Monica Bay Studies at Loyola Marymount University.
Armand Barilotti - Marine Programs Coordinator
Armand Barilotti joined The Bay Foundation in June of 2016 as the Marine Programs Field Technician. As a member of the marine team, he assists with various projects involving ecological monitoring, restoration and research. Before coming to TBF, he received his M.S. from California State University, Long Beach studying the movement patterns of California halibut (Paralichthys californicus) and white croaker (Genyonemus lineatus) in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Armand has previous experience in the fields of ecological monitoring, abalone aquaculture, and specimen collection. In his spare time he enjoys surfing, fishing, playing soccer, and rock climbing.
Victoria Gambale - Water Quality Programs Manager
Victoria Gambale received her B.S. in Marine Biology from Roger Williams University where she conducted research on the giant clam. Victoria came to The Bay Foundation after receiving a M.S. in Fisheries Science with a minor in Environmental Science from Louisiana State University. Victoria’s graduate research focused on oyster production methods for the commercial industry. She now works to improve the water quality of Santa Monica Bay through the Boater Education, Clean Bay Certified, and Table to Farm Composting programs. She recently spoke on oysters for TEDxLSU. In her spare time Victoria enjoys swimming, hiking and SCUBA diving.
Melodie Grubbs - Watershed Programs Manager
Melodie Grubbs joined The Bay Foundation in September 2015 as the Watershed Programs Manager aiding in TBF’s mission to further science, restore habitats, manage field operations and grants, and facilitate the production of GIS integrated program products. Before working with TBF, Melodie served as an environmental consultant providing services to clients like the Morro Bay National Estuary Program and local Resource Conservation District. Prior to working at the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County as Field Operations Manager, she served as scientist and chief mate onboard an oceanographic research vessel. She received her B.S. in Meteorology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology in 2006 and is in the process of completing her M.S. in Geospatial Science and Technology from the University of Southern California.
Parker House - Marine Programs Coordinator
Parker House joined The Bay Foundation in October 2016 as the Marine Programs Field Technician. He received his B.S. in biology from Louisiana State University in 2012 and his M.S. in biology from California State University, Northridge in 2015. His graduate thesis focused on indirect effects of fishing on kelp forest fish communities and population dynamics of the endangered giant sea bass (Stereolepis gigas) off southern California. Before starting with TBF, Parker was a research technician for the LSU Museum of Natural Science, UC Santa Barbara, Occidental College, and the National Park Service. In his spare time he enjoys sailing, diving, hiking, and underwater photography.
Georgia Tunioli - Community Engagement Coordinator
Georgia Tunioli is the Community Engagement Coordinator for The Bay Foundation’s Boater Education, Clean Bay Certified, and Table to Farm Composting programs. Prior to The Bay Foundation, she worked on the Center for Biological Diversity’s Clean Air Cities Campaign and was Assistant Editor and Community Manager at TheKindLife.com. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and B.A. International Relations with a concentration in Sustainable Development from the University of Redlands.
Ben Grime - Abalone Lab Technician
Ben Grime joined The Bay Foundation in March 2016 as the Abalone Lab Technician. He received his B.A. in Marine Biology from Occidental College in 2013 and is currently working on his M.S. in biology from Cal Poly Pomona. His graduate studies are focusing on green abalone (Haliotis fulgens) aquaculture method development and wild population restoration. Ben has previously worked as a research technician for the Vantuna Research Group, Channel Islands National Park, and the Southern California Marine Institute. In his spare time he enjoys playing soccer and surfing.