Peter Molnar– Chair
Peter manages Poseidon Vineyard and Obsidian Ridge Vineyard, and is a partner in Obsidian Wine Company and Kadar Hungary wine cooperage. He is the former Board Chair of the Lake County Winegrape Commission and current Co-President of Califrance. He also served as a sea kayaking and sailing instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School in British Columbia, Canada and Baja California, Mexico. In addition to serving on the Baykeeper Board, Peter is a volunteer skipper with Baykeeper’s boat patrol program, which works to find and stop pollution on the Bay, since 1995. He is an avid sailor, open-water swimmer, and enjoys crabbing and abalone diving. Peter brings to Baykeeper a passion for San Francisco Bay and a vision to help it become the healthiest urban estuary in North America.
Diane Livia – Vice Chair
Diane is a retired environmental planner, most recently with the San Francisco Planning Department. She has experience in environmental restoration, permitting, outreach, and program design. Her career included reviewing habitat restoration and mitigation projects at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and a position at the California Coastal Commission, where she helped deny a permit for an off-shore liquefied natural gas processing plant proposed by the world’s largest energy company. From her previous 15-year career in public broadcast media, Diane brings public communication skills to Baykeeper’s Board. Having grown up in the Bay Area, Diane has felt a strong personal connection to San Francisco Bay since childhood and believes the people of California should determine the uses of our natural resources. Diane primarily enjoys the Bay's waters before they reach the estuary—while skiing.
Benjamin Patton – Treasurer
Ben's work is devoted to developing business and market mechanisms for environmental impact. He currently advises renewable energy financing and technology companies on finance and strategy. Previously, Ben directed environmental and humanitarian partnership development at Planet Labs, an early-stage remote sensing satellite technology startup. He launched the emission reductions procurement group at 3Degrees, a San Francisco company that trades renewable energy certificates and carbon emission reductions. He later managed solar power project finance for Chevron Energy Solution and SunEdison. He often serves in a project management role as a liaison between technical roles and business development or management requirements. Ben has a B.S. in Symbolic Systems with a minor in East Asian Studies (focused on Japanese) from Stanford University. Outside of work, he stays busy surfing, kiteboarding, and making Japanese-style pottery.
Jovita Pajarillo – Secretary
Jovita is a retired Water Division manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, in San Francisco. In her 35-year EPA career, she worked in and managed a variety of Clean Water Act programs: the Santa Monica Bay Estuary Program, Los Angeles River restoration, Lake Tahoe, stormwater permitting, total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), and building the nonpoint source pollution program in the states of the region (HI, NV, AZ, CA),the Pacific Basin, and on Indian tribal land. Her work with the agricultural sector focused on water quality, watershed protection and restoration, food safety, and regulation of concentrated animal feeding operations. Jovita is an alumna of UC Berkeley and the California Agricultural Leadership Program, Class 28. She is a current member of the California Roundtable for Water and Food Supply, the California Envirothon, and the California Water Policy Conference.
Tim Eichenberg, J.D.
Tim is Adjunct Professor of Law at the Vermont Law School, where he teaches Ocean and Coastal Law; a member of the Bar in California and Washington DC, and the former Chief Counsel for the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. He holds a BA from Earlham College and a JD from the Washington University School of Law, and was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship in Marine Policy from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Tim co-chaired the Clean Water Network in Washington, D.C., co-founded the Casco Baykeeper Program in Maine, and served as legal counsel for the Ocean Conservancy, Oceana, the Marine Law Institute, the California Coastal Commission, and the Environmental Defense Center. He has authored more than 30 articles and reports on environmental issues, and is an editor of Ocean and Coastal Law, published by the American Bar Association in 2008.
Palmer Hill is a San Francisco Bay Area native who earned a degree in biology from UCLA. He is a landscaping consultant, and recently retired from his position with Cleary Brothers Landscaping, where for 18 years he managed the landscaping for large homeowners’ associations, commercial shopping centers, business centers, and parks in Walnut Creek, Oakland, Alameda, and San Jose. Palmer loves the Bay Area and especially the water. He believes San Francisco Bay belongs to us all and wants to help Baykeeper protect and preserve it for future generations.
Jeff Russell, J.D.
Jeff is an attorney with Baker & Mckenzie LLP. Previously, Jeff was a senior fellow at UC Berkeley Law School, where his research focused on law and policy-based solutions to achieve California's clean energy goals. He was also an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he engaged in litigation and regulatory advocacy to rebuild West Coast fisheries and protect marine habitat. An open-water enthusiast, Jeff swims in San Francisco Bay as a member of the Dolphin Club and enjoys surfing and exploring California’s coastline. Jeff holds a J.D. from the University of Southern California and received his undergraduate degree from Cornell.
Christina (Tina) Swanson, Ph.D.
Tina is the Director of Natural Resources Defense Council’s Science Center, which helps ensure that the nation’s environmental policies are based on sound science. She previously served for 12 years as the lead scientist and then Executive Director of the Bay Institute. Tina brings deep knowledge about the Bay’s ecology and environmental threats, as well as expertise in communicating with public officials about complex scientific issues. A former Fulbright scholar, Tina has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed articles and is nationally known for her expertise in water quality policy and fisheries management.
Photos of Diane Livia, Ben Patton, Palmer Hill, and Christina Swanson by Robb Most. Photo of Jovita Pajarillo by Jane Cleland.