Partnerships on Public Lands


October 29 and 30, 2014

Asilomar Conference Grounds

Pacific Grove, California


Welcome to the sixth Partnerships on Public Lands Symposium at Asilomar Conference Grounds. These Symposiums originated in 2005 to share best practices and creative ways that concessionaires and park and public land managers are collaborating to be relevant to California’s emerging demographics, optimize visitor services, and ensure resource stewardship and sustainability. Additionally, since the last Symposium, private- public partnerships have taken on additional importance in helping keep parks and public lands open in the face of public agency shortfalls and threats of facility closures to the public. We invite you to learn from these 2014 Symposium presentations and thank you in advance for your participation. Ask questions; share your ideas and best practices. Network with each other while enjoying the hospitality and healthy food at Asilomar over the next day and a half in this beautiful setting. Thank you again for making this Symposium a priority in your busy lives and limited budgets! Our intent is that all of us will take home new insights, ideas and strategies that we can adapt to enhance our operations and services to the public.


With appreciation, we acknowledge and thank the following organizations and individuals for donating funds, products, and time on behalf of the 2014 Partnerships of Public Lands Symposium.

Major Sponsors



East Bay Regional Park District

California State Parks Foundation

California Roundtable on Recreation, Parks and Tourism

Vendor Sponsors

The California Parks Company

Regional Parks Foundation

Ventek International

Quagga Inspection Services

Interwest Insurance Services

Symposium Planning Committee

Ray Murray - National Park Service

John Koeberer - The California Parks Company

Jack Harrison - California Parks Hospitality Association

Mairead M. Hennessy – Aramark

Jim Luscutoff - California State Parks

Jim O’Connor - East Bay Regional Park District

Elizabeth Goldstein - California State Parks Foundation

Russ Guiney – Co. of Los Angeles Dept of Parks and Recreation

Amanda Cundiff - U.S. Forest Service

Trystan Stern - National Park Service

Faith Parducho - Co. of Los Angeles Dept of Parks & Recreation

Mimi Waluch - East Bay Regional Park District

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2014 Partnerships on Public Lands Symposium

11:30 am - 12:45 p.m. REGISTRATION – Kiln Patio

1:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. WELCOME & LOGISTICS – Fred Farr Forum

Ray Murray & John Koeberer, Moderators

1:15 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Opening Session - Elizabeth Goldstein, Moderator

Ken Wiseman - Executive Director, Parks Forward Commission

Parks Forward Commission Report

Aaron Robertson - Chief Deputy Director State Parks

2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Session One - Mairead Hennessy, Moderator DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES: CONNECTING PEOPLE TO PARKS & PUBLIC LANDS

Dr. Manual Pastor - Professor, University of Southern California

California Demographic Changes

James Hekkers - Managing Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Building Audience Diversity

3:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. BREAK – Fred Farr Forum Patio

3:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Session Two - Ray Murray, Moderator


Jeanne Heagele - Marketing Manager for Delaware North Companies

Parks & Resorts in Yosemite National Park

Adapting to Demographics

Antonio Solorio - Park Ranger and Youth Program Manager for the

National Park Service at Santa Monica Mountains NRA

Addressing Changing Demographics

Chuck Ross - Founder and President of Old Town Family Hospitality

Corp., Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Attracting and Engaging Customers

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Aramark Hosted Reception – Social Hall

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Dinner – Seascape Dining Room - John Koeberer, Moderator

Caroline Beteta, President & CEO, Visit California, and Director of

Tourism, Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development


Thursday, October 30, 2014

2014 Partnerships on Public Lands Symposium

7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. BREAKFAST – Seascape Dining Room

8:45 a.m. - 10: 00 a.m. Fred Farr Forum

Session Three - Jim O’Connor, Moderator


Stephanie Campbell - Los Angeles Historic State Park

Getting the Most Out of Social Media

Craig Glassner - National Park Service, Golden Gate NRA

Social Media at Golden Gate NRA

Robin Garrison - Social Media Marketing Specialist, Aramark Leisure

Reaching Audiences Through Social Media

10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. BREAK – Fred Farr Forum Patio

10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Session Four - Faith Parducho, Moderator


Norma Garcia - Deputy Director, Planning & Development Agency, County of Los Angeles, Dept of Parks & Recreation

Climate Change - Adapting to Drought

Jim Smith – Chief, Development Division, County of Los Angeles

Department of Parks and Recreation

Jay Chamberlain – Chief, Natural Resources Division, California State Parks

CSP Adapting to Climate Change

Kris Koeberer - Executive VP, The California Parks Company

Coping with Drought in a Water-Based Business

Thursday, October 30, 2014

2014 Partnerships on Public Lands Symposium

Noon -1:00 p.m. LUNCH - Kiln Patio

1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Session Five - Amanda Cundiff, Moderator


Bob Asquith – Member, Board of Director, Yosemite Gateway Partners

Yosemite Gateway Partners

Amy Ohran - President & General Manager, Boreal Mountain Resort, Woodward Tahoe & Soda Springs Resort on Tahoe National Forest

Boreal Ridge Adapting to Year Round Recreation

Rick Hoeninghausen – Director, Sales & Marketing, Xanterra Parks and

Resorts in Yellowstone

Building Off-Season Visitation

2:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Session Six - Jim Luscutoff, Moderator


Warren Meyer – President, Recreation Resource Management

Making Parks More Friendly for Singles, Families

Tracy Hild – Sr. Lake Lifeguard, Castaic Lake Recreation Area, Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation

Fam Camps

Dr. Emilyn Sheffield – Professor, Recreation & Parks Management, California State University at Chico

Partners Faces of Field School

3:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. WRAP UP & EVALUATION - Ray Murray & John Koeberer, Moderators

Raffle drawing - Jack Harrison, Moderator

4:00 p.m. ADJOURN

Ken Wiseman is the Executive Director of the Parks Forward Commission, a partnership between the California Natural Resources Agency and a group of charitable foundations working together to chart a vibrant and sustainable future for California State Parks. From 2007 to 2013, Ken was Executive Director of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. The MLPA Initiative, through a public process overseen by an independent Commission, established the locations for a network of marine protected areas that were put into effect by the California Fish and Game Commission and now encompass 16% of the California coastline.

Both the MLPA Initiative and the Parks Forward Commission have been funded by a group of charitable foundations that provide Ken as a loaned executive to the California Natural Resources Agency. He has spent over thirty years in the private sector as an executive with Belridge Farms and Packing, Lockheed Martin IMS and Affiliated Computer Services. Ken served as Chair of the Board of Governors of the California Independent System Operator, the public benefit corporation that oversees the state electrical power grid, and is currently Chair of the Board of Trustees of the California Ocean Science Trust. He is a graduate of the University of California at Davis, where he also received a Master’s in Business Administration.

Aaron Robertson was appointed Chief Deputy Director at the California Department of Parks and Recreation in 2012. Prior to that he was Deputy Director of Administration at the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Deputy Director of Administration at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control from 2010 to 2012, Administrative Analyst for the City of Rocklin from 2005 to 2010 and Manager of Strategic Planning, Corporate Development and eBusiness at Vision Service Plan from 2002 to 2005. Aaron was Senior Associate at Claggett Wolfe Associates in 2001, Program Manager at Science Applications International Corporation from 1998 to 2000 and strategic programs officer for the Central Intelligence Agency and National Imagery and Mapping Agency from 1992 to 1998. Robertson served in the United States Marine Corps since 1986.

Caroline Beteta serves as President & CEO of the industry-led Visit California, a nonprofit organization created to market California as a premier travel destination and to increase the state’s share of tourism-related revenues. Caroline recently finished a term as Chair of the Board of Brand USA, where she provided strategic direction for the $200 million global program. Before that, she served two years as Vice Chair of Operations. During a two-year term as National Chair of the U.S. Travel Association, she guided the successful merger of the Travel Industry Association with the Travel Business Roundtable (to form the U.S. Travel Association). Additionally, she has received numerous awards for her creative work and leadership in the travel industry, including 2009 State Tourism Director of the Year and the Robert Mondavi Wine & Food Award in 2013.

Caroline simultaneously serves as the Director of Tourism in California’s Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz). In her dual capacity, she is responsible for implementing Visit California’s $50 million global marketing program and serves as the lead spokesperson for California’s $109.6 billion travel industry. Caroline holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of California at Los Angeles. She obtained a master’s degree in Public Administration/Intergovernmental Affairs from the University of Southern California. She has also completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Marketing Management Program.

Robert (Bob) Asquith moved to Pine Mt Lake on Memorial Day 2007 with his wife Laurie. They have 5 kids and 9 grandkids. They moved from their home in Burlingame, in the shadow of SFO following a career in Silicon Valley spanning 40 years. Bob graduated from San Jose State with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and graduate work in Cybernetic Systems. He has held jobs in the high tech industry with familiar organizations: IBM, Bank of America, Arthur Anderson & Co. Bob started his own consulting practice helping SMB determine IT needs, and serving as the Chief Technology Officer for as many as 35 organizations. He started a 501 (c)(3) corporation to build and place computer systems in law enforcement agencies to help find missing & abducted children. He established and maintained partners: Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, United Way, and the Center for Missing & Abducted Children. Additionally Bob has served as a Director in the Yosemite Chamber of Commerce in Groveland, has been an officer and Director with the Yosemite Gateway Partners for more than 6 years, and is on the Advisory Board for the Tuolumne County Transportation Council.

Stephanie Campbell is the Associate Park and Recreation Specialist for California State Parks, Los Angeles Sector. Ms. Campbell graduated with a BA in Anthropology from the University of California at San Diego and an MA in Humanities from Mount Saint Mary’s College. She has been with State Parks in Los Angeles for the past six years working closely with Superintendent Sean Woods in the implementation of the State Parks Urban Strategic Initiative. Stephanie works as the lead environmental planner for the Sector and a principal member of the sector management team. She is responsible for planning, project, and program management in multiple areas including resource protection, public information, interpretation and education, public art, and special events. She implemented the Sector’s social media campaign in early 2009 and has continued working with partners at UCLA in the development of digital interpretive media applications for Los Angeles State Historic Park. Stephanie has worked with the State of California for the past 17 years, previously with the Department of Developmental Services and then the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, both focused on civil rights issues.

Jay Chamberlin is Chief of the Natural Resources Division for California State Parks. He and his team provide overall policy and program direction for the stewardship of natural resources in the 1.5 million acre State Park System. Prior to working for State Parks, Jay led a habitat mitigation and ecosystem restoration program in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for the California Department of Water Resources; served as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the California Natural Resources Agency; and developed a private land conservation program for the California Bay Delta Authority. Over the course of his career, he has held other resource related positions with government and non-profit organizations in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Washington, D.C. Jay grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and his Masters from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. He is an enthusiastic
backcountry skier, backpacker, and cyclist.

Rick Hoeninghause has served as the Sales and Marketing Director for Xanterra Parks & Resorts in Yellowstone since 1998 and has over 30 years of experience in hospitality and recreation marketing and management. Aside from his current job, Rick has held positions in Yellowstone that included Assistant Director of Sales and Marketing and Lodge Location Manager. He has also held positions of Marketing Manager in Everglades National Park, FL; Manager of the Armed Forces Outdoor Recreation Management Training Center, ID; Program and Site Director of the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area, NC; and Vacation Rental Office Manager at the Savannah Beach and Racquet Club, GA. Rick is active in the tourism industry currently serving or having served as an officer on both the Park County Travel Council and the Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition, and regularly participates on committees and task forces for Montana’s and Wyoming’s Offices of Tourism. Rick lives in Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park.

Norma Edith Garcia graduated from UCLA, earning a B.A. in Political Science and a M.A. in Urban Planning. She presently serves as the Deputy Director for the Planning and Development Agency for the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation. As the Deputy Director, Norma oversees environmental & regulatory permitting, land acquisition & obligation, park & facility master planning, architecture & design, and water & environmental planning for an inventory of 177 local and regional parks, 14 lakes and lagoons, 15 natural areas, 4 arboreta and botanic gardens and over 65,000 of recreational acreage. She is an ardent believer of building better communities, and works to achieve this through her active participation in numerous civic and professional organizations, including: El Monte Promise Foundation, Latino Urban Forum, and Hispanics Organized for Political Equality (HOPE). Norma currently serves as the Chair of the California Community Foundation’s ‘Community Building Initiative’, which is a 10-year effort to strengthen children and families. She formerly served as the Chair of the El Monte City Planning Commission and the Watershed Conservation Authority for the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles River Watersheds (RMC). Most importantly, Norma enjoys spending time outdoors and in
Parks with her adventurous toddler boys and Cozmo (the family dog).

Robin Garrison is the Social Media Marketing Specialist for Aramark Leisure. She oversees social media for the company's brands, which include lodges, resorts, conference centers and attractions across the United States. Prior to joining Aramark, Robin spent over 4 years at the Arizona Office of Tourism where she managed the agency’s digital and social marketing efforts, CRM and fulfillment operations. She has also held positions at
Nintendo and Motorola. A graduate of Arizona State University, Robin enjoys camping, travel and is a cellist in a local community orchestra. Follow her on twitter @robin_garrison.

Craig Glassner (who wonders why we write our bios as if someone else wrote them) started working for the National Park Service after moving to San Francisco in 1988. He created a demo BBS (Bulletin Board System) for the NPS Western Regional Office in 1990 on an 8-bit Atari computer, which the scientists he worked with loved, but others were confused as to “who would want to get information from a computer". BBS’s were “social media” before the Internet came along in the mid-1990s effectively, but temporarily, killing social media online. Craig created the first NPS website in the nation, for Alcatraz Island, in 1995 and began using new tools like Twitter and Facebook starting in 2008, long before they were sanctioned by the NPS, as he felt there was great potential to engage in a conversation rather than just pumping out information. He’s taught classes regionally and nationally on digital media and helped form existing NPS policies on the use of social media as part of a service wide team. He currently jointly manages about 20 social media accounts for the NPS in the Bay Area as well as tweeting as the National Park Service (@natlparkservice) and continues to be interested in emerging technology (or as he calls it, "things my bosses don't quite understand so they might leave me alone to do it").

Jeanne Haegele is the Marketing Manager for Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts (DNC) in Yosemite National Park. Previous to joining DNC, she served as the E-Marketing Manager for IES Abroad, an educational organization that provides study abroad programs for U.S. college students. Jeanne has also worked with the American Red Cross in Chicago and spent a year teaching English in Germany through a Fulbright Scholarship. She holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana–

Jim Hekkers is the Managing Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and oversees its senior management team, day-to-day operations and long-term planning. He is responsible for the organization’s marketing, communications, outreach, education, research, facilities, human resources, guest experience, exhibits, facilities, and finance divisions. Regarded as one of the world’s premiere aquariums, the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium hosts an average of 1.8 million visitors a year and is a world leader in inspiring conservation education and action. Hekkers previously had served at the non-profit aquarium as vice president of communications and external affairs between November 1993 and December 1997.

Between December 1997 and March 2001, Jim was president and chief executive officer of the Colorado’s Ocean Journey aquarium in Denver. He directed Ocean Journey through completion of construction and its grand opening in May 1999. Prior to coming to Monterey in 1993, he was director of marketing at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga and manager of public relations, marketing and education programs for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. He also worked as a newspaper editor in Colorado, and taught college courses there. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Colorado State University and a master of nonprofit management degree from Regis University. He currently serves on the boards of the National Steinbeck Center and the Pacific Grove Museum Association; he previously served on the boards of the Denver Audubon Society and convention and visitors bureaus in Chattanooga, Denver and Monterey. He is an advisor to The Ocean Project, and a
member of the American Association of Museums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Tracy Hild has been a lake lifeguard for 27 years with the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation. She started her career as a seasonal lake lifeguard at Castaic Lake. In 1993, Tracy was promoted as the first female Senior Lake Lifeguard for the Department. She has worked at all three of the Department’s lakes located at the Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park, Castaic Lake Recreation Area and Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area. She started the Jr. Lake Lifeguard Program at Bonelli Park and expanded the program at Castaic. The program started with only having 50 participants to now having over 600 during the summer sessions. She was an active member of the dive team and graduated with highest honors as Outstanding Instructor from the Los Angeles County Underwater Instructor Certification Course in 1995. Today, she continues to teach SCUBA to lifeguards and to the public.

Tracy works closely with the Superintendent of Castaic on the FamCamp® program. She was brought on board due to her aquatic background and experience working with youth. Tracy also has a strong camping background due to her extensive experience as a Girl Scout Leader in Los Angeles. She graduated from Cal State Northridge with a BA degree in Liberal Studies. She was the team captain for their swim team and competed on the National Championship NCAA Team. In 1993, she married her husband Gary (who also is a Senior Lake Lifeguard) and has three children Sydney 17, Emma 14 and Quinn 11.

John Koeberer is the President of The California Parks Company and The Redwood Parks Lodge Company. These business entities are involved in managing recreational enterprises statewide for public agencies, utility districts and non-profit organizations with emphasis on inland lake marinas, corporate event and catering venues, restaurants, RV and mobile home parks, campgrounds, gift and grocery retail operations and guest lodges. John has taken an active, leadership interest in both professional and community organizations for the past 30 years.

He has served as a Member of the Board of Governors of the California Community College System and as a past
Chairman of the California State Chamber of Commerce and a former member of the U.S. Chamber Board of
Directors. He is a past member of the California Travel & Tourism Commission. John is the Founding Chairman of the Lassen National Park Foundation, President of the California Parks Hospitality Association, and a Member of the California State Roundtable on Parks, Recreation and Tourism and has served on the Advisory Council of the School of Parks, Recreation & Tourism at California State University, San Luis Obispo. He is also a past member of the Board of Directors of the California Lodging Industries Association. John has previously served as Chairman of the Board for both Tehama and Humboldt Banks and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Fibreboard Corporation.
John has been the recipient of many statewide and local community honors and was the winner of the Norman P. Clark California Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2001. He was inducted into the California Tourism Hall of Fame in 1999. John frequently speaks on topics such as tourism, California business and personal development on a statewide basis. John has also written a book entitled “Green-Lighting Your Future” available
on Amazon. Most recently, John was inducted into the "California Outdoors Hall of Fame" in 2014.

Kris Koeberer is Executive Vice President, joined The California Parks Company (Company) in 1995. During this time, he has successfully managed numerous facilities including all concession operations in Lassen Volcanic National Park and USDA Forest Service recreation operations for the Shasta Trinity National Recreation Area at Shasta, Lewiston and Trinity Lakes. During his tenure with the Company, he gained a reputation for cooperation and professionalism with many company agency partners including the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, California State Parks, East Bay Municipal Utility District, East Bay Regional Park District, and the City of San Jose. At the present time, Kris is Operations Vice President for Lake Camanche, Big Basin Sate Park, Angel Island State Park, Lake Chabot, The Explore & More Store at Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, and the Ranch at Little Hills.

Warren Meyer is President of Recreation Resource Management (RRM), a private operator of approximately 150 public recreation facilities in 11 states. He is also president of the National Forest Recreation Association and a board member of the California Parks Hospitality Association. In November of 2011, Warren organized
the first ever national conference on private operation of public recreation sites. Prior to RRM, Warren held a series of senior marketing and planning roles at AlliedSignal, Honeywell, and Emerson Electric. He also ran several Internet companies during the Internet boom. Warren has an MBA from the Harvard Business School
and a mechanical engineering degree from Princeton University. In his spare time, he is a writer and has a weekly column at Forbes.com as well as three different blogs. Several years ago, he started a blog at ParkPPP.com that remains the best, and only, website dedicated to public-private partnerships to keep public parks open and well- maintained.

Ray Murray is Chief of Partnership Programs for the National Park Service. He coordinates fundraising and partnership activities and programs and tourism for 60 National Park units and recreation grants and technical assistance programs for state and local agencies in the six states and territories of the Pacific West Region. Ray also administers the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Federal Lands-to-Parks and the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Programs and serves as Partnerships Programs and Tourism Lead for the Pacific West Region. He has provided leadership in recent years on: Connecting People to the Outdoors, Children in Nature, Healthy Parks, Urban Parks, Economic Impacts of Parks, Rivers, Trails and Greenways, Visitor Use Management, Conflict Resolution, Arts in Parks, Fund Raising, Planned Giving, Park Friends Groups, the California Roundtable on Parks, Recreation and Tourism, the California Watchable Wildlife Committee, and Pacific Coast Immigration. Board experiences include: the Freight and Salvage Coffee House, the New Games Foundation, and the American Adventure Play Association.

Amy Ohran has been a professional in the ski industry for 25 seasons and has held the positions of Snowsports School Director and Executive Director of Staff and Snowsports. Amy has served 10 seasons on the PSIA Northwest Divisional staff and was a board member for Oregon Adaptive Sports. Her current position is President & General Manager of Boreal Mountain Resort, Woodward Tahoe, and Soda Springs Resort in Lake Tahoe California. Amy is an active board member of California Ski Areas Association. She won the 2012 NSAA Conversion Cup for the “Best beginner ski and ride program in America” and the first annual “Excellence in the Employee Experience” award at Mt. Bachelor.

Dr. Manuel Pastor is Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. As Funding Director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Dr. Pastor currently directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at USC and co-directs USC’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. He holds an Economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has received fellowships from Danforth, Guggenheim, and Kellogg foundations and grants from the Irvine Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the W.T. Grant Foundation, the California Endowment, the California Air Resources Board and many others.

Dr. Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities – and the social movements seeking to change those realities. His most recent book, Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions, co-authored with Chris Benner (Routledge 2012), argues that growth and equity can and should be linked, offering a new path for a U.S. economy seeking to recover from economic crisis and distributional distress. Dr. Pastor speaks frequently on issues of demographic change, economic inequality, and community empowerment and has contributed opinion pieces to such outlets as the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, the Huffington Post, and many others. Dr. Pastor has also been recognized numerous times for his many research partnerships with social justice organizations.

Chuck Ross is Founder and President of Old Town Family Hospitality Corp. and a 30-year member of the San Diego business community with decades of experience in the hospitality business. Old Town Family Hospitality Corp. operates the Fiesta de Reyes village within Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and is credited with the revitalization of the State Park. Ross has invested in the Old Town community with his personal leadership, donation dollars, community events and collaborative efforts, which has brought the entire community together in a one-for-all, all-for-one attitude. Recently, he took over the reins of The Cosmopolitan Restaurant & Hotel, one of the most historically significant buildings in California. Previously, Ross operated South Bay Fish & Grill and San Diego Catering Concepts in Chula Vista as well as several Baja Fresh restaurants in San Diego, Marin, and Sonoma counties. Ross is a board member of the Old Town Chamber of Commerce/Business Improvement District Council, California League of Parks Association, California State Parks Hospitality Association, Boosters of Old Town, Historic Old Town Community Foundation, California Restaurant Association San Diego Chapter, River Park Foundation, and Teatro Máscara Mágica. He is active with the San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego Convention Center, Old Town Chamber Promotions Committee as co-chair, and is the founder of the Old
Town San Diego State Historic Park Events and Marketing Committee. He has produced events that benefit local charities, including Relay for Life, Meals on Wheels, YMCA, Volunteer SD, and California League of Park Associations.

Dr. Emilyn Sheffield is a Professor of Recreation and Parks Management at California State University, Chico where over 500 students volunteer their time and talents to public lands though Field School each year. Dr. Sheffield works with interdisciplinary teams on community-based projects involving scenic byways, alternative transit, long distance trails, tourism infrastructure, and visitor services throughout California and the western United States. Projects increase access to and support for public lands through branding, identity systems, strategic planning, or product development. She is the past president of the board of directors for the Associationof Partners for Public Lands (APPL).

Jim Smith is Chief of the Development Division, Planning and Development Agency, for the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation (Department). Jim is a native Angelino, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Geography from California State University Northridge and a Master’s Degree in Architecture from UCLA. He is a licensed Architect in California. Jim is responsible for design, facility planning and water and energy conservation of parks and open space for the Department. He is part of the County’s Energy users group and Healthy Design Ordinance Work Committee. The Development Division is also involved in collaborating with the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works Watershed Division on multi-beneficial projects in regards to open space and water. Jim represents the Department on the L.A. County Energy and Environmental Task Force which develops county policy on Water Conservation Green House Gas Emission and Energy Conservation. He is a Commissioner on the Burbank Sustainable Commission and a member of the Urban Design and Healthy Community Design subcommittee. Additionally he has been an instructor for the UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Program for 35 years, teaching design courses as well as electives in sustainability and open space, recreation, urban spaces and connectivity master planning and has also been an instructor for the Thesis courses over the years.

Antonio J. Solorio is a Park Ranger and Youth Program Manager for the National Park Service at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Southern California. Growing up in East Los Angeles with limited access to nature; his life was transformed once he had the opportunity to experience the great outdoors as a teenager. Antonio has worked at Yosemite National Park, Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, Deschutes National Forest, and taught at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, Griffith Observatory, and California State University Northridge. He currently manages the SAMO Youth employment program at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, where he advocates for the safe and positive development of youth so they can explore, enjoy, and become better environmental stewards for parks and their communities.