Board of Directors

David Morris - President

David is retired from the National Parks Service and is very involved in the local community serving on the Boards of the Feiro Marine Life Center, YMCA and Friends of Olympic National Park.  When asked about how he feels about serving this community David said “This community has served me very well for 20 years and I take a lot of pleasure in sharing whatever time and talent I have to making Port Angeles and the Olympic Peninsula a better place to live.”  David added “I am supportive and enthusiastic about what the Land Trust is all about and its positive role in preserving land on the Peninsula.”

John Marrs - Vice President

John taught for 15 years in Washington and Illinois colleges before retiring in 2005 to live full-time at Lake Sutherland. He earned a Ph.D. at the University of Washington in mass communication history, after his first career as a daily newspaper editor and reporter in Alaska and California. He has served as president of several community organizations, including the Kenai Peninsula United Way in Alaska and and the local District 15 of the Washington Old Time Fiddlers. John states, “Our rich environment is the key to Clallam County’s future.”

Karen Westwood - Treasurer

Karen states “Part of the appeal of buying property, building a home and moving to the North Olympic Peninsula was the rural background. … Eventually, the economy will turn around and growth will come back to the Peninsula, and I want to help ensure farmland is preserved so agriculture remains a viable part of the community.” Her professional experience includes investment management with Seattle banks and she has also volunteered with Streamkeepers and was Trustee and Treasurer for the Museum and Arts Center in Sequim.

Ruth Jenkins - Secretary

Ruth was a computer scientist working in central California in the public utility industry before retiring to the North Olympic Peninsula in 2003 with her husband, John Warrick, a biologist, agricultural land use planner and avid fisherman.

  Ruth and John donated a conservation easement on their property in the Agnew area, which comprises forested land, wetlands, and former agricultural land.  They have worked on many conservation and restoration projects on their land and they promote responsible land stewardship.

Coleman Byrnes

Coleman has worked as a fish and wildlife biologist for much of his adult life. His work has involved working with marine and freshwater fish, marine mammals and birds.  He has been involved with over 60 stream projects here in Clallam County and is very familiar with local fisheries issues and the state of aquatic health of our local streams. He is also am an avid birder and has excellent knowledge of local natural history.

Gerry Christensen

Gerry has worked in telecommunications and digital media since 1988.  This has provided him with an opportunity to develop a keen business acumen including the ability to develop business plans, assess investments, and projects.  He was a co-founder and CTO for a start-up company that raised a total of $60M in venture capital, and now he currently runs his own business focusing on technology research and business consultation in the telecom and digital media arena.

Dennis Dickson

Dennis comes to us with a background in the legal field.  Upon moving to Port Angeles he joined the legal department of the City of Port Angeles. While at the city he dealt with a wide variety of legal issues including municipal law, property law as city property manager, criminal law as city prosecutor, personal injury, environmental and government contracting laws. Dennis believes in the work that the land trust does and states” I have been a longtime supporter of the land conservation movement. While I continue to be a member of Ducks Unlimited, The Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy on a national level I am very interested in seeing that this fantastic place on the Olympic Peninsula we live in is preserved, protected , restored and enhanced where possible.”

Reed Wendel

Reed’s professional experience includes forestry and restoration work for a variety of government agencies and private companies. Reed states, “I grew up in Port Angeles, and I love the North Olympic Peninsula. … The Land Trust does important work in conserving the parts of the character and community of Clallam County that I returned to the area to enjoy.  My primary interest is in conservation of working forest and farms, but I also want to offer my skill-set in forest ecology and restoration.”

Ron Puff

Before joining the Board, Ron was an established Land Trust volunteer on the Standards and Practices Committee. “Becoming a member of the board was the next logical step from being a committee volunteer,” he said. “I wanted to continue to help support North Olympic Land Trust mission to preserve the land for future generations.” Ron, now retired, devoted most of his career as a business systems analyst and is therefore skilled at finding solutions to problems, and enjoys working on team projects.

Jack Williams

Jack has had a lifelong interest in the environment and sustainability of ecological diversity, and thus joining the Land Trust board was a natural fit. “Seeing a herd of elk cross the river in front of you is a kick,” he said, noting his love of living on the North Olympic Peninsula. “Watching a doe teaching a fawn how to get across the little rapids, otters, eagles, beavers – it’s a kick up here. There’s hiking, fishing, a lot of water sports, and snow sports. It’s kind of paradise.” As a retired health care administrator, Jack brings his extensive knowledge and experience in working with both public and private boards, committees and commissions, as well as strong analytical and collaborative skills.

 

Richard Tucker

Richard holds a BA and JD from Florida State University, and an MPA in Coastal Resources Management from the University of West Florida. Richard’s career has been devoted to conservation, beginning as a city planner in Pensacola, Florida, where he helped create the Escambia Bay Bluffs Park. After moving to the Northwest almost 30 years ago, he worked for the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority and then spent 15 years working for King County. While there, he focused on protecting habitat, working farms and forests, implementing a public benefit rating system and managing a multi-county salmon recovery effort. He then joined the Trust for Public Land in Georgia, creating new parks in Atlanta for the Atlanta Beltline and preserving land along the Chattahoochee River. His conservation experience spans large and small projects: in Alabama he worked for both the Nature Conservancy and a local land trust.

Laurie Szczepczynski

Laurie is the Port Angeles Sound Community Bank Branch Manager. She has been in the banking industry for 32 years, starting her banking career as a teller, and subsequently serving in many roles in branch banking. A long-time resident of Port Angeles, Laurie was raised in a retail environment in downtown Port Angeles where she learned from her parents that providing phenomenal customer service and developing strong, positive relationships with people are the key drivers of a successful business. Laurie’s focus is to invest her time, talent, and resources in the community where she lives and works. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and is active with Rotary, the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce and North Olympic Land Trust.

Gary Colley, emeritus

Gary worked with other area residents to establish the North Olympic Land Trust in 1990 and he was responsible for legal work related to the Land Trust’s conservation easements and led the Standards and Practices Committee for many years culminating with achieving accreditation through the Land Trust Alliance. Gary is a recipient of the Clallam County Community Service Award, he was named Cox Conserves Hero for Western Washington in 2009.

John Willits, emeritus/in memoriam

John retired from Peninsula College where he taught forestry and survey courses and he joined the Board in 1994. Since then he has played a pivotal role in the organization and in the landscape of Clallam County, donating four conservation easements and working with numerous other landowners to create permanent legal agreements in the Lower Dungeness Valley and throughout the County.