Staff


Our Team


Bruce Reznik, Executive Director
Michael Quill, Marine Programs Director
Melissa von Mayrhauser, Watershed Programs Manager
Arthur PugsleySenior Attorney
Kelly Clark, Staff Attorney
Liz Jones, Staff Attorney
Rebecca Light, Office Manager
Sharon Soormaghen (Licht), Communications Manager
Geraldine Burrola, Development Manager
Mithsy Hernandez, Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator
Jes Tormoen, Creeks to Coast Intern
Maricarmen Hernandez, Watershed Programs Intern
Kristin McCarthy, Legal Extern

*MEDIA INQUIRIES: please contact press@lawaterkeeper.org


Our Stories


_9M27513-1Bruce Reznik – Executive Director

Bruce Reznik took the helm of LA Waterkeeper (LAW) in September 2015, where he directs the organization’s advocacy and programmatic work. Reznik previously spent eleven years running San Diego Coastkeeper, where- under his direction- the organization grew into the region’s most effective voice for clean water and helped dramatically reduce sewage, stormwater and industrial pollution of area waterways and educated and engaged tens of thousands of San Diegans in clean water efforts.

Immediately prior to joining LAW, Bruce served as Executive Director for San Diego Housing Federation, where he promoted affordable housing and sustainable community development to ensure all San Diegans could afford a safe and stable place to call home. He also has led the Sacramento-based Planning Conservation League, where he directed the organization’s efforts to promote sustainable water, land-use and transportation policies for California, as well as the Sustainable San Diego collaborative dedicated to ensuring the long-term vitality of the San Diego/Tijuana region’s communities, environment, and economy by strengthening and integrating regional planning. Bruce also worked to promote sustainable land-use and transportation planning for the LA based consulting firm Gladstein, Neandross & Associates.

A California-licensed attorney, Reznik holds an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and his law degree from the University of San Diego.

Reznik has served as an Alternate on the California Coastal Commission, and has sat on numerous local, state and national boards and commissions, including the international Waterkeeper Alliance for six years. After too many years away from Los Angeles, Bruce is thrilled to be back home with his rescue dogs, Sasha and Bandit.

> CONTACT BRUCE


captn quill 3-9-14Michael Quill – Marine Programs Director

Michael Quill is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute where he holds a MA in the field with a focus in Community, Liberation and Ecopsychology. He also holds a BA in Urban Community Environment & Psychology from Antioch University.

Michael is leading the expansion of LA Waterkeeper’s Community Programs, which are focused on building bridges of dialogue between diverse community stakeholders through various outreach, education and interactive, environmental advocacy activities in, on, and around the waters of Los Angeles County.

Michael began as a LA Waterkeeper volunteer diver in 2008, and later joined the staff in 2012 both as Marine Protected Areas Watch Program Manager, and as a Dive Team Leader for the world renowned Kelp Restoration Project.

> CONTACT MICHAEL


Picture for BioMelissa von Mayrhauser – Watershed Programs Manager

Melissa is a strong believer in the importance of increasing access to healthier waterways and she is an avid water mapper and monitor. Melissa previously worked at an environmental design firm in Brooklyn, New York as a water education project manager and at Columbia University’s Earth Institute as a communications intern. During college, she enthusiastically served as the President of the Aquanauts, the student water club, bringing together a diverse group of students to research water challenges.

Melissa previously conducted hydrological fieldwork in Jordan, Morocco and India. Most recently in India, she researched the interconnections between saline intrusion and mangrove reforestation, canoeing around the Ashtamudi Lake to test water quality. She also previously volunteered as a Hudson Riverkeeper ambassador, leading coastal clean-ups and taking water samples under the Manhattan Bridge. She is excited to continue as part of the Keeper family in Los Angeles and to work with a new group of volunteers!

She holds an MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management from the University of Oxford and a B.A. in Sustainable Development and French Studies from Columbia University.

> CONTACT MELISSA


Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.29.29 PMArthur Pugsley – Senior Attorney

A long-time California transplant from Boston, Arthur Pugsley comes to LAW with extensive experience with environmental issues as both an attorney and as a government environmental administrator. Prior to law school, Arthur worked in both local and state environmental agencies in Massachusetts, including several years as Executive Secretary of the agency charged with implementing wetlands, tidelands, and water quality laws in Boston. After being admitted to the California bar, Arthur worked in private practice representing and litigating on behalf of plaintiffs/petitioners under various federal and state laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and the California Coastal Act. Immediately Prior to joining LAW, Arthur served as Staff Counsel to the California Coastal Commission for the South Central and Central Coastal Districts. His work included advising the Commission on emerging water quality, water supply, and water rights issues, including several novel legal issues given short term urgency by California’s historic drought and long term importance because of climate change.

Arthur holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and Environmental Science from Harvard University; a Master of Science Degree in Oceanography from the University of Massachusetts; a Juris Doctor from UCLA with a specialization in Public Interest Law; and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Law (LL.M.) from UC Berkeley.

Arthur has published several peer reviewed articles on environmental topics including CEQA, the federal Clean Water Act, and the federal Clean Air Act, as well as an article exploring environmental issues facing California winegrowers. Arthur is an avid hiker and also enjoys exploring the many off-the-beaten-track attractions afforded by living in Los Angeles.

> CONTACT ARTHUR


Kelly Clark – Staff Attorney

As a native Californian, Kelly understands the importance of protecting LA’s water resources.  LA Waterkeeper represents a driving force to ensure that these resources are available to all, and she was thrilled for the opportunity to join the team.  Prior to joining LA Waterkeeper, Kelly represented clients in all areas of litigation in both state and federal courts.  After law school, she clerked for the Honorable David Ezra in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas and was admitted to the Massachusetts and California bars.

Kelly received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University in Astrophysics, and a Master of Science from UCLA in Astronomy. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Cornell University where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Legal Information Institute Supreme Court Bulletin.

> CONTACT KELLY

Liz Jones – Staff Attorney
A native of Redondo Beach, California, Liz is excited to return to Southern California to join LA Waterkeeper.

Prior to joining LA Waterkeeper, Liz worked as an Associate Attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Charleston, South Carolina office.  Her work at SELC focused on increasing investment in energy efficiency and solar, opposing unnecessary transportation projects, and stopping continued water contamination at coal ash, coal tar, and gasoline pipeline spill sites.

Liz received her joint Juris Doctor and Master of Science in Environmental Resources from Stanford – writing her Master’s thesis on water quality in schools across California.  She has interned with NRDC’s litigation team, Communities for a Better Environment, Community Water Center, and the California Attorney General’s Office.

Liz is admitted to practice law in South Carolina, but not yet admitted in California.

> CONTACT LIZ

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Rebecca Light – Office Manager

Rebecca joins LAW with nearly a decade of experience in non-profit administration, beginning at the administrative offices of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts. She has worked for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Foundation in operations and donor services, and is a company member of Theatre of NOTE where she served as Co-president of the Artistic & Management Committee and now volunteers as chair of the Marketing Committee spearheading their social media campaigns. Most recently Rebecca worked as Program Administrator and eventually Operations Manager for The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company. In her time there she focused on strengthening the organization’s best practices in areas of human resources and finance, aiding a 100% growth of the organization over a five year period.

She holds a BFA in Acting from Boston University and can occasionally be seen performing in theatre throughout Los Angeles. Rebecca grew up in Sacramento, travelling west to visit the sea as often as possible. As a newly-certified diver with a passion for the California coastline, Rebecca is honored to support the pivotal work of LAW.

> CONTACT REBECCA


photo-2Sharon Soormaghen (Licht) – Communications Manager

Sharon is a people person with a natural aptitude for effective communication. Raised in Huntington Beach, she is a lifelong ocean lover and passionate conservationist. From a young age, Sharon volunteered at local nature reserves and botanical gardens doing restoration work, and took an avid interest in the health of her environment. She likes strong coffee. Prior to joining LA Waterkeeper, Sharon worked on communications and event planning at a nonprofit organization that advocates for organic and sustainable family farmers throughout California.

Sharon holds a B.S. in Conservation & Resource Studies from UC Berkeley, where she focused on agricultural ecology and conducted her thesis research on the bioremediation of soils contaminated with heavy metals. She is humbled to contribute to an organization that carries out such vital work to conserve and protect our waterways.

> CONTACT SHARON


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Geraldine Burrola – Development Manager

Originally raised in California’s Central Valley, Geraldine has always been well aware of water resource politics within the state. Her passions for environmental justice and representation stem from her studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she obtained both a BS and BA in Society & Environment and Geography. While at Berkeley, her research centered on natural resource valuation in developing regions as well as political economic theory. She spent much of her time volunteering at environmental organizations, working with human trafficking survivors, and teaching community-based environmental justice courses in the surrounding area.

Prior to working with LA Waterkeeper, Geraldine worked in operations for a nonprofit organization seeking to improve the foster care system for youth throughout the United States. As a result of her experiences in the nonprofit sector, she has become passionate about fundraising, grant writing, and colorful spreadsheets. In her down time she enjoys eco-friendly beach bonfires and sampling any sort of dish containing avocado.

Geraldine has always dreamed of residing near, and advocating for, California waterways and is extremely excited to be a part of the LA Waterkeeper team.

> CONTACT GERALDINE


mithsy

Mithsy Hernandez – Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator

A Los Angeles native, Mithsy grew up with the hustle and bustle of the city.  Despite the traffic and urban pollution, she often found herself biking to the beach or making her way to the nearest hiking trails. Her love for the great outdoors developed into a passion for environmental conservation and preservation. Her desire to pursue a career in the environmental field led Mithsy to graduate from the University of San Diego with a BA in Environmental Studies and minor in Sociology. During this time, she participated in research studies surveying local coastal ecology and geology, and interned with the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department. Her interest in environmental justice and public health encouraged her to work with her local communities toward creating an equitable and healthy environment.

Prior to joining LA Waterkeeper, Mithsy worked as the Administrative Assistant with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance in Seattle, Washington. She is excited to continue with the Waterkeeper family and protect the waterways of her native city.

> CONTACT MITHSY


Jes Tormoen – Creeks to Coast Intern

Growing up in the majestic wilderness of Minnesota, nature, wildlife, and water have always been integral parts of Jes Tormoen’s life. Following a decade-plus career in the Minneapolis restaurant management industry, Jes returned to school and graduated with honors from Normandale Community College with an Associate of Arts in Bioscience. She then relocated to Los Angeles to continue her educational journey at California State University Long Beach. During her last semester at CSU-LB, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science coupled with a minor in Biology, Jes worked on two water projects with the Catalina Island Conservancy and held an internship with East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice.

In her spare time, Jes is a mom, bartender, soccer player, runner, yogi, and a volunteer for numerous homeless outreach programs. She is an avid promoter of people’s right to clean air and water and is obsessed with stormwater management. Jes is excited to join the LA Waterkeeper team and further her knowledge in the environmental sector.


Maricarmen Hernandez – Watershed Programs Intern

Maricarmen grew up in the city of South Gate just in the outskirts of the Los Angeles County. She recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a Molecular and Cell Biology and Integrative Biology Bachelors’ Degree. Maricarmen is passionate about understanding human health and diseases. Prior to joining LAW, Maricarmen worked at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH). She was responsible for participant recruitment, enrollment and data collection from patients and caregivers being seen in the SFGH Pediatric Urgent Care and conducted follow-up visits. She is passionate about working with low-income and underserved communities. She believes everyone is entitled to living in a clean, healthy atmosphere.

Maricarmen believes that the work that LAW does is crucial for not only the LA County but everyone. She is very grateful that she has the opportunity to join the LA Waterkeeper team.


Kristin McCarthy – Legal Extern

Kristin is a recent east-coast transplant who has dreamed of living in southern California since childhood and finally made the move!  She is a third-year law student at William & Mary Law School, where she is studying environmental law and is a staff member on the William & Mary Law Review, former president of the Student Environmental and Animal Law Society, and board member of the Public Service Fund.  Kristin’s prior legal experience includes work in Los Angeles at the California Attorney General’s office and at the law firm Greenberg Traurig.  She has also worked for several non-profit organizations in Virginia including the Virginia Coastal Policy Center, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Historic Virginia Land Conservancy.  Kristin is an alumna of the College of William & Mary, where she graduated with a degree in Environmental Policy and Government.  In her free time, she loves hiking, running, and going to the beach with her corgi Penny.  She is so excited to contribute to LA Waterkeeper’s mission and work to protect the waterways of her new home!

Contact Us

LA Waterkeeper
120 Broadway, Suite 105
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Phone: 310-394-6162
Fax: 310-394-6178

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