Commission Staff

Meet Our Talented Team

The Washington State Conservation Commission is supported by an exceptional team of dedicated professionals. Read more about our staff and find their contact information below.

View the agency Organizational Chart (updated May 2021)

Carol Smith

Chris Pettit

Executive Director

Chris joined the SCC team as our executive director in 2022. He's originally from Chicago, Illinois and grew up between Chicago, Louisiana, and SW Florida. He received his undergraduate degrees in political history/economics and social theory from New College of Florida. He has a law degree from the University of Florida, an LLM from the University of Cape Town, and he undertook doctoral studies at the University of London. Chris most recently held the role of Director of the Office of Agricultural Water Policy for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Office is responsible for the development and implementation of best management practices on agricultural properties related to water quality and conservation, as well as additional policy and regulatory responsibilities in the achievement of environmental restoration and conservation frameworks. Chris previously served in the offices of counsel for two large regional water management districts in Florida, as well as a Policy and Legislation Manager handling water and environmental issues for Palm Beach County. He also dabbles in international consulting projects specializing in holistic watershed management at the local, regional, and national levels.

Mike Baden

Mike Baden

Regional Manager – North Central and Northeast
Phone:
509-385-7510
Cell:

Mike Baden started as the North Central and Northeast Regional Manager in January 2015. Prior to joining the Commission Mike spent almost 18years working at Conservation Districts – most of that time with the Pierce Conservation District.  During his time with districts he worked in several areas including conservation planning, project management, grant administration, contracting, invasive weed control, and property management.  Mike grew up on a dryland wheat and legume farm in south Spokane County and attended Washington State University graduating with a degree in Crop Science.  When not at work Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.

Mike serves the following conservation districts: Cascadia, Ferry, Foster Creek, Grant County, Lincoln County, Okanogan, South Douglas, Pend Oreille, Stevens County, and Spokane.

Mike Baden

Allisa Carlson

Regional Manager – South Central
Phone:
360-480-6686
Cell:

We welcomed Allisa to our team in September 2019. Allisa came to us from the Okanogan Conservation District where she served for four years as a wildlife conservation planner focusing on rangeland management and collaborative resource planning. Allisa grew up on a small sheep farm in Plains, Montana and served in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years as a Marine Science Technician. She holds a B.L.A. in Landscape Architecture and has worked as a private consultant on ecological restoration and visual resource management projects throughout the west. Allisa enjoys hiking, photography, and baking with fresh Washington fruit in her spare time.

Allisa serves the following conservation districts: Benton, Central Klickitat, Eastern Klickitat, Franklin, Kittitas, North Yakima, South Yakima, Walla Walla.

Mike Baden

Brian Cochrane

Habitat and Monitoring Coordinator

Brian Cochrane is the Habitat and Monitoring Coordinator for the Commission. He graduated from UC Davis with a Wildlife and Fisheries bachelor’s degree and has since worked in the natural resources field for Idaho Fish and Game, private consultants in California, Idaho DEQ, US Army Yakima Training Center, and Yakima County’s Flood Control and Stormwater programs. Brian brings his habitat monitoring and restoration experience to the CREP program, coordinates salmon restoration efforts, database management, GIS, and stormwater activities and is the VSP Technical Panel representative for the Commission. In addition to homesteading and tinkering with race car projects, Brian enjoys playing music, snowshoeing, and kayaking.

Mike Baden

Jon Culp

Water Resources Program Manager
Phone:
509-385-7509
Cell:

Jon Culp joined the Commission in 2001 and serves as the Water Resource Programs Manager. Previously, Jon worked for the Okanogan Conservation District where he was a Natural Resource Planner, and he spent four years in the US Army as a High Frequency Radio Direction Finder. He has a B.A. from Central Washington University. Jon has been a council member for the City of Okanogan from 1999 through 2013 and Mayor since January of 2014. He is a life member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and enjoys the outdoors through camping, hiking, hunting, and raising organic chicken, eggs, and vegetables.

Mike Baden

Paul D'Agnolo

Office of Farmland Preservation Specialist
Phone:
Cell:
(564) 669-0945

Paul grew up in Minnesota and moved west in 2008 to work for the National Park Service at multiple parks in the Sierra Nevada range. After finding his way to Washington Paul led a multinational conservation corps crew before diving into agriculture. After spending several seasons working on and managing farms, he started his own farm in 2015. Paul holds a BS in Accounting from Western Governors University and comes to us from Whatcom County Parks and Recreation. In his spare time, Paul keeps a big garden, hikes with his family, and spends time at the beach.

Mike Baden

Paige DeChambeau

Interim Communications Director

Paige joined the Conservation Commission in January of 2022. Paige holds a Master’s degree in public administration from Seattle University and a BA in political science from Western Washington University. Paige has worked at nonprofits, private business, and local and state governments. She came to the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) via the Department of Natural Resources, where she crafted recreation communications. As the Outreach and Engagement Manager, she works with various SCC programs and their communication needs. Paige enjoys painting, gardening, and exploring Washington’s stunning scenery.

Mike Baden

Kate Delavan

Office of Farmland Preservation Coordinator
Phone:
Cell:
360-280-6486

Kate joined the Washington State Conservation Commission in June 2020. She brings a broad understanding of food systems to her work, with experience in farmland conservation transactions and policy, land-use planning, farmers markets, food assistance programs, and the grocery industry. Kate holds a B.S. in Global Business from the University of Redlands and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington. She enjoys gardening, cooking, and exploring Washington’s scenic and wild places.

Mike Baden

Bill Eller

Voluntary Stewardship Program Coordinator
Phone:
509-385-7512
Cell:

Bill Eller joined the State Conservation Commission in 2007. He became the Voluntary Stewardship Program coordinator in 2015 after previously serving as Technical Coordinator of the Columbia River Basin Water Management Program and Central Washington Regional Manager. Bill is also the Commission Elections Officer. Bill was born in North Dakota, but grew up in Alaska. He attended the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where he graduated with a B.A. in Political Science in 1990. In 1997, he graduated from the Gonzaga University School of Law with a Juris Doctorate degree and practiced both criminal and civil law while at the Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for nine years. In 2010, he graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security with a M.A. in Security Studies.

Mike Baden

Jean Fike

Regional Manager – Puget Sound
Phone:
360-764-0533
Cell:

Jean joined the Conservation Commission in 2019. Prior to joining the Commission, Jean served for five years as the Northwest Region Manager for the Washington Department of Natural Resources overseeing land management, forest practices, and wildfire for five counties. Before that, Jean served for nine years as Executive Director of the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District in Oregon where she converted a funeral home to a demonstration headquarters and started a farm business incubator. Prior experience includes coordinating the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program and serving as Chief of Ecological Services for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources. She holds masters degrees in Botany and Public Administration.

Mike Baden

Josh Giuntoli

Southwest Regional Manager

Josh is a 4th generation Washingtonian and was born and raised in the Yakima Valley where he grew up farming mint and grapes. Josh graduated from The Evergreen State College with a degree in environmental policy. In his previous role, Josh coordinated the state’s Office of Farmland Preservation, a program at the Conservation Commission where he collaborated with many stakeholders on issues related to preservation of farmland. In February of 2020, Josh joined the Regional Manger team as the Southwest Regional Manager providing direct service and support to these conservation districts: Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Lewis County, Mason, Pacific, and Wahkiakum. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family outdoors and fishing in both salt and freshwater for salmon and steelhead.

Mike Baden

Lori Gonzalez

Executive Assistant
Phone:
360-407-7417
Cell:

Lori Gonzalez joined the Commission in November 2007 as an Administrative Assistant. Prior to joining the Commission, she worked for the Department of Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program for five years. Lori assists with all aspects of administrative work and provides direct support to the Executive team and Commission members.

Mike Baden

Sarah Groth

Director of Accounting and Budget
Phone:
360-407-6205
Cell:

Sarah joined the Conservation Commission in January 2015. Sarah is the agency’s Fiscal Manager and is responsible for all fiscal and budget matters at the Conservation Commission. Sarah brings over 20years of financial experience in the public and private sectors. Prior to being hired on at the Commission, Sarah was a Fiscal Analyst for the Department of Enterprise Services, Small Agency Client Services division.

Mike Baden

Alison Halpern, PhD

Scientific Policy Advisor

Alison joined the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) in July 2018. She came to the SCC after working for the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board for thirteen years, first as its Education Specialist and then its Executive Secretary. She earned her Ph.D. in Ecology from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY, where she studied the ecology of a freshwater invasive plant. Although Alison and her husband Curt are New England natives, they have lived in the Midwest, Southern California, and Upstate New York before calling the Pacific Northwest home.

Mike Baden

Karla Heinitz

Contracts Manager
Phone:
360-407-6212
Cell:

Karla graduated from The Evergreen State College with a bachelor’s degree in Pre-law/Political Science.  She has experience with the state legislature and provides fiscal notes and bill tracking for the agency during legislative sessions.  Karla previously worked with the Washington State Dairy Federation for several years researching environmental issues, growth management issues, federal rules, and state statutes.  Karla joined the State Conservation Commission in 2005, and works with the NRCS Task Orders and the Voluntary Stewardship Program and manages all the agency’s various contracts.

Mike Baden

Shana Joy

Southeast Regional Manager / Regional Manager Coordinator
Phone:
360-480-2078
Cell:

Shana Joy joined the Conservation Commission in July 2014. Prior to joining the Commission she worked for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources as the Executive Director of the Natural Resource Conservation and Development Board, a position she held for five years. In this role Shana worked closely with 12 diverse conservation districts statewide as well as state and federal agency leaders to advance conservation districts in Alaska. Shana graduated with honors from Oregon State University with a B.S. in natural resource management focusing on fish and wildlife conservation. A native of Pend Oreille County, Shana enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, fishing, and birding. In addition to managing the regional manager staff, Shana provides service and support as a regional manager to these conservation districts: Asotin County, Columbia, Palouse, Palouse-Rock Lake, Pine Creek, Pomeroy, and Whitman.

Mike Baden

Levi Keesecker

Natural Resources Scientist
Phone:
360-789-3650
Cell:

Levi Keesecker joined our team in January 2020 reviewing 5-year reports, providing work group assistance with monitoring design and analysis, conducting spatial analyses for critical area functions that span more than one county, and developing a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) guidance document for VSP monitoring.  His background in study design and GIS, with experience in agriculture, marine, freshwater, and terrestrial systems worldwide is a great asset to this position.  Levi is a graduate of UW and the University of Idaho.

Levi’s primary workstation is in Spokane, serving the 27 VSP counties statewide.

Mike Baden

Alicia McClendon

Administrative Assistant
Phone:
360-407-6200
Cell:

Alicia joined the Conservation Commission in May 2014 as an Administrative Assistant. Alicia provides agency administrative support to District and Commission staff. She is the agency Safety Officer, Service Coordinator, and Agency Transportation Officer. She also administers state vehicle lease agreements with districts, oversees agency inventory and archiving, and is involved in the district appointment process for the Commission.

Mike Baden

Jack Myrick

Irrigation Efficiencies
Phone:
509-301-2498
Cell:

Jack Myrick comes to the SCC from Walla Walla Community College where he was an instructor in the Irrigation Technology/Water Management Program. He brings 40 years of experience in large scale agricultural irrigation system design, construction and management, and has worked in several states and foreign countries.

Mike Baden

Thomas Schienbein

IT Policy and Planning Manager

Thomas is a 1st generation Washingtonian and was born and raised in Seattle.  Being a Seattle native, he graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Sociology. Thomas brings to the Conservation Commission a wide range of knowledge, experience, and leadership in Information Technology. One of his goals for joining the Conservation Commission team is to bring his passion of IT and the environment together. Thomas brings with him a data centric view and an ability for blending business with technology innovation to right size fit the work or goals. When not at work, Thomas finds joy in exploring the Northwest with his family and commits time for coaching little league baseball. He is a lifelong Mariners fan and hopes to see them win a pennant. He is also a committed community leader. As an active parent and youth leader for Boy/Cub Scouts of America he teaches our youth positive conservation habits and educates on responsible outdoor practices.

Mike Baden

Ron Shultz

Director of Policy and Inter-governmental Relations
Phone:
360-407-7507
Cell:

Ron Shultz is the Director of Policy and Inter-governmental Relations. He is the agency lead on the Puget Sound Partnership, wetland mitigation issues, and he also supports the Office of Farmland Preservation. Ron was formerly the Director of Programs and the Acting Executive Director at the Puget Sound Partnership and was the Natural Resources Advisor to Governor Gary Locke. He was also Policy Director for Audubon Washington from 1995 to 2001. Ron is an attorney and a fourth generation Washingtonian.

Mike Baden

Kate Ubermuth

Program Specialist
Phone:
360-407-7617
Cell:

Kate graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2020 with a degree in Gender + Women’s studies, studying many different subjects during her undergrad. She began working at DOL in 2021, and brings with her office, fiscal, and writing experience. She is SCC’s new grants’ specialist, joining in April 2022. She is passionate about conservation, connection with nature, and writing. She will be working with the CREP, Shellfish, and Natural Resource Investments grants as well as PIP loans. In her free time, she freelance writes for Thurston Talk, reads, and enjoys exploring the great PNW. She moved from Connecticut to Washington in 2016.

Mike Baden

Kaisha Walker

Administrative Assistant
Phone:
360.407.6211
Cell:

Kaisha comes to us from the University of Washington Medicine where she served as a Patient Access Representative for five years. Kaisha received her Associate in Science, and is currently working on her Bachelor in Business Administration. Kaisha prides herself in her creativity and professionalism in the workplace. In her free time, Kaisha enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with her husband, son, and other family and friends.

Mike Baden

Ashley Wood

Fiscal Analyst
Phone:
360-407-6202
Cell:

Ashley graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance. Ashley joined the SCC in February2020 after working as a Fiscal Analyst for the Office of the Attorney General. As a Fiscal Analyst, Ashley provides general support to programs and staff at all levels and performs specialized fiscal duties in the financial division. Ashley currently works with the following grants: CTD, Envirothon, Irrigation Efficiencies, Livestock, and Engineering.

Mike Baden

Courtney Woods

Grants Manager
Phone:
360-407-6114
Cell:

Courtney graduated from Saint Martin’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She joined SCC in 2008 and has worked with all grant programs at SCC.  She is the grants manager and currently works with the following grant programs: AGR-Soil Health, DOH-NEP, Fire Recovery, Implementation, NRCS Task Orders, RCO-Flood, and RCPP. Courtney is also a member of the CPDS team and publishes the monthly Financial Times Newsletter.