Leadership

The Point Lobos Foundation is a legally constituted 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is governed by a Board of Directors representing a broad cross section of the community. Six of the elected Board members must be active Point Lobos Docents.

Board of Directors

Cynthia Vernon, President
As the chief operating officer for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cynthia oversees exhibits, husbandry, facilities, education, guest experience and visitor research and evaluation. Cynthia has more than 30 years of experience in informal science and conservation education at aquariums and zoos. In addition to leading the education programs, guest experience and visitor research teams, she serves on the aquarium’s Executive Committee, which makes strategic and financial decisions for the organization. Part of her job is to oversee the creation of the Ocean Education and Leadership Center, two Cannery Row buildings that were purchased in 2014 for $12.4 million and are being converted to increase the aquarium’s offerings for school groups. Cynthia has a BA in zoology from DePauw University and an MS in biology (animal behavior) from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is an active member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, having served on its national Board of Directors and now on its Ethics Board. Cynthia has a special interest in understanding the role of visits to aquariums and zoos on conservation behavior and has led several large visitor research studies to investigate it. She is also involved in a national coalition to encourage more effective interpretation and action about climate change. She is an enthusiastic Girl Scout volunteer, and enjoys choral music, international travel, playing golf and being in nature.

Kit Armstrong, Vice President
Kit has spent her working career in the environmental field. This included regulation and planning with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, managing environmental and social issues for a global energy company, and currently as an independent environmental consultant.  Her experience encompasses environmental law and strategy, government and community relations, and strategic and operational planning, among other areas.  Her professional focus and personal passion have always been natural resources conservation, especially through organizational collaboration and partnerships.  She feels deeply privileged to be able to put that passion to work as both a member of the Point Lobos Foundation Board of Directors and as a docent at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

Julie Oswald, Treasurer
Julie is a CPA with extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, most recently as the senior financial analyst for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Prior to becoming an accountant, her passion for wildlife conservation led her to obtain a degree in Environmental, Population & Organismic Biology and partner with her husband studying bobcats for the National Park Service. Point Lobos has long held a very special place for her and her family. As an avid birdwatcher, hiker and outdoor enthusiast she is honored to serve on behalf of the Point Lobos Foundation.

Joe Vargo, Secretary
Joe Vargo is a retired Project Management professional whose career included management positions with Bank of America, Visa International and Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and the UK.  Before retiring he was Vice President and Manager of Project Managers for Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco. Joe has had a family presence on the Monterey Peninsula since 1981 and currently resides in Carmel Highlands at the South Point of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Joe also serves as an Events Director with the Big Sur International Marathon and has been the Operations & Venue Manager for the Carmel International Film Festival since 2013.

Sue Addleman, Docent Administrator
The common thread in Sue Addleman’s work pursuits, ranging from disaster relief and preparedness to technical sales and support, and management roles has been the joy of working with and helping people. Her happiest habitat has always been outside though, so her work as a Naturalist and Point Lobos Docent feels like home. Sue is excited to have this opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors. She hopes her efforts will help more people connect with and protect natural resources.

 

Fred Brown
Until 2005, my wife Carolyn and I lived in Southern California.  I attended UCLA and CSUN, graduating with a Business Administration Degree as a Finance Major in 1969.  We have two boys and two grandsons who all live in Oakland.  I am a semi-retired tax consultant and portfolio manager now living in Carmel and a volunteer at the Point Lobos Natural Reserve.  Currently I am the Website Administrator for the docent website and active in leading public walks at the reserve. I am the president of U S Tax Systems, Inc., a privately held tax software company.  I designed the professional tax preparation software for the company and presented tax update seminars to thousands of tax professionals for over 30 years.  Ever since our 1968 honeymoon in Carmel, Carolyn and I have been frequent visitors to Point Lobos, and we are now enjoying the benefits of living in this beautiful and exciting area.

John Drum
John has worked in the medical imaging field for over 40 years.  He has a B.S. degree in Organizational Management from St. Joseph’s University and an MBA from Temple University and also spent 4 years in the Air Force. John has two children and 3 grandchildren. Fell in love with Point Lobos over 20 years ago during a West Coast vacation and fulfilled a life’s dream of retiring to the Monterey Peninsula. He has been an avid birder most of his life and since retirement, has become passionate about digital photography. John is currently a volunteer photographer for the SPCA of Monterey County, photographing dogs and cats for their web site.

Jacolyn Harmer
Pictured here savoring cool Arctic Circle temperatures, Jacolyn Harmer was born and educated in the United Kingdom. After graduation, Jacolyn built a busy practice as a professional translator and conference interpreter based in Brussels, working for international institutions and businesses throughout Europe and beyond. In 1985 she was invited to cross The Pond and join the faculty at the (then) Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) where, to her own astonishment, she has just completed 30 years as a professor of translation and interpretation. Jacolyn now calls Pacific Grove home and her volunteerism is as important to her as her professional and academic activities. She trained to be a Point Lobos docent on her arrival in 1985/6 and has happily served in the rank and file ever since. She is deeply honored to join the Point Lobos Foundation Board and will do her best to help protect and preserve the quiet splendor of Point Lobos for future generations to enjoy. 

Ben Heinrich
Raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Ben met his wife, Carole, at the University of Oklahoma. They moved to Carmel with their son in 1976. Ben’s real estate career began in 1978 and he is now consistently ranked in the top 1% of Coldwell Banker agents. In 2015, the Heinrich Team was ranked in the top 1,000 of all agent teams in the USA. As a Carmel area resident, Ben is committed to giving back to the surrounding community. He is recent past President of the Carmel Public Library Foundation, and has also served as President of the Family Service Agency, and the Monterey County Boys and Girls Club. In his free time, Ben enjoys playing classical music and cool jazz on the piano and is an accomplished golfer. In his previous life Ben was an officer and jet pilot instructor in the United States Air Force. 

Karen Hewitt
When Karen moved from Illinois to Pacific Grove in 2014, she knew she wanted to volunteer with local organizations. When she learned about the docent program at Point Lobos she jumped at the chance! She loves learning about the environment and natural habitats and sharing her knowledge with others. Before she retired, Karen worked at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana as an acquisitions editor at the University of Illinois Press, as Deputy Director of the university’s art museum, and as a coordinator of educational training programs for school teachers, faculty, and students. She has a master’s degree in library and information science, has served on numerous non-profit boards in the arts and social service sectors and is a freelance editor, publishing consultant and grant writer. She’s thrilled to be able to join the Point Lobos Foundation Board to help promote and preserve this very special place.

Diana Nichols
Point Lobos Docent Diana Nichols holds a B.S. Ed in Biology from Bridgewater State Teachers College, Bridgewater, Massachusetts and a Masters in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling from Santa Clara University. She taught Biology, General Science, A P Biology, and Environmental Science at various High Schools in Massachusetts from 1963 to 1978. In 1978, she became an administrator at the Harker School, San Jose where she later became Head of School and was instrumental in founding Harker’s Upper School (1978-2005). Diana has received much recognition for her outstanding career in education. Early in her career she was the recipient of three National Science Foundation Awards, granting her further study in field biology and ecology. In 1990 she was honored by the Peninsula Conservation Society for work in environmental education. In 1993 Nichols was presented the “Clean Air Award” by the American Lung Association for work in bringing awareness of the need to protect our air. In 1994 she received a mayoral citation for her work in bringing awareness of the need to protect our air. In 1994 she received a mayoral citation for her work on educating students and the community.

Ken Ruggerio
Ken is a self employed entrepreneur, who has owned and run many small businesses over the past 20 years. He currently co-owns, and serves as CEO of Ruggerio Installation, LLC. with his wife Cindy. Their company is responsible for building showrooms and displays all over the United States for a national flooring store. Ken studied business management at Sam Houston State in Huntsville, TX.  He is also a father of 4 with 1 grandchild. Ken has always had a great respect for the outdoors, and loves hiking, camping, fishing, and golf. After moving to the Carmel Highlands from Texas, he has developed a deep love and appreciation for Point Lobos as well as the whole central cost.

Jim Rurka
Before retiring in January, 2013, Jim spent 45 years in executive marketing and business development positions at large pharmaceutical companies as well as both established and start-up biotechnology firms. Over the course of his career, Jim successfully closed more than 25 licensing, partnership and venture deals, launched new pharmaceutical products into U.S. and European markets, and served as CEO and member of the Board of Directors of both private and public U.S. healthcare companies. He is also a former director of the Emerging Companies Section and Governing Board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Jim holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature with a minor in Business from Seton Hall University, where he also attended its Graduate School of Business. Jim served in the U.S. Navy, and is a 2014 graduate of PLSNR Docent Training Class 36. Jim and his wife Anne reside in Carmel, have two children (Mark and Jennifer) and three grandchildren (Isabel, Nathan and Haley). They are thoroughly enjoying family, friends, travel and volunteer work in the community.

The Board of Directors works with California State Parks Cooperating Association Liaison (CAL) Jim Bilz, Sector Superintendent for the Monterey District of California State Parks and is supported by:

Anna Patterson, Development and Communications Director
Anna has been working as a professional fundraiser for many years, managing the development departments for four wonderful organizations for the past 12 years. Growing up in Northern California, she developed a great respect for our coast and its preservation. Along with her goals of generating awareness of the Point Lobos Foundation and increasing private and public contributions, Anna is working towards her CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) certification with the national Association of Fundraising Professionals. Anna and her husband of 10 years, Rich, have one daughter, Lucy. Contact Anna at 866-338-7227 extension 101 or anna@pointlobos.org.

 

Ali Cameron, Grants and Special Projects Coordinator
Ali graduated from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey in 2009, and holds a Master’s degree in International Policy and Development. Prior to working with Point Lobos, she spent four years managing the Annual Fund for the Middlebury Institute. She also has several years of experience working with grants and operations for environment, humanitarian aid, and refugee resettlement projects in the U.S. and the Middle East. Originally from Minnesota, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies in 2007 from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact Ali at 866-338-7227 extension 103 or ali@pointlobos.org.

Tracy Gillette-Ricci, Development Coordinator
Tracy is a graduate of Florida State University and started her career as a Social Worker. She grew up on the West Coast of Florida and has always had a love of marine areas and a passion to help protect natural resources. After moving to California in 1999, she discovered the Monterey Peninsula and in 2005 made it her home. She lives in Carmel with her two school aged daughters. Contact Tracy at 866-338-7227 extension 107 or tracy@pointlobos.org.

 

Reg Henry, Editor, Point Lobos Magazine
Reg is a former editor of The Herald who had a 45-year career in journalism and in retirement still writes a nationally syndicated column for the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette. Born in Singapore, where his father headed the Reuters news agency, Reg grew up in Australia, where he started as a cub reporter for the Courier-Mail in Brisbane. After service in the Australian Army in Vietnam, he moved to England and worked at The Times of London. After he married his American wife Priscilla in 1976, he moved to Pittsburgh and joined the Post-Gazette. Reg was the Herald editor from 1988 to 1993 and returned to Pittsburgh after the Herald was sold. He was the Post-Gazette's deputy editorial page editor when he retired from full-time journalism at the end of 2014. He moved back to this area in March 2015 and is now a Point Lobos docent and member of the foundation. Reg can be reached at regwriter43@gmail.com.