Biographies of the OCWC Board Directors 2015
The following are the biographies of the 9-member Board of Directors in 2015.
Kurt Harris, Chair and Director, is a licensed professional civil engineer (PE) with a broad spectrum of environmental experience. His professional goals are to direct Arizona towards becoming a world leader in water conservation/reuse from stormwater design, rainwater harvesting to tertiary treated wastewater application and overall sustainability.
Kurt has a BS in Geological Engineering at U of A in 1986 and following certificates: Certified Leadership in Energy, Environmental Design (LEED), March 30, 2009; Green Building Council Institute (GBCI) No. 10368136; Certified Erosion Control Coordinator 16-Hour AGC-ADOT, November 2008; and Certified Professional Erosion Control Specialist (CPECS) Certification, October 2008, expires 1/1/2015, No. 4864
Kurt has over 27 years of environmental work experience. His professional career started in geotechnical engineering and continued into the hazardous substance assessment and remediation field (leaky underground storage tanks – LUST). His expertise in geology, hydrology, health and safety with construction management provided an international opportunity to work in New Zealand and Australia for over a year opening offices and training new employees. This followed by engineering review experience with Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) in Aquifer Protection Permitting (APP), PE authority for Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Certification and drinking/waste-water facility inspections. Currently, Kurt is the Flagstaff District Maintenance Engineer for Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). Previously, he worked as a sub consultant to ADOT as the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) Coordinator and the Certified Professional Erosion Control Specialist for the SR 179 Phase 2 project within City of Sedona and the Oak Creek unique water designation (12/07 to 11/2010). Kurt was responsible for overseeing contractors for all environmental, storm water, contract and permit compliance.
He and his family enjoy the great outdoors (international travelling, white water rafting, hunting, skiing, backpacking and mountain biking). We ran the river through the Grand Canyon on one 18’ raft in 2011. Kurt ran solo for his 50th birthday in 2013.
Steve Estes, Vice Chair and Director has served as Community Outreach Director for Verde Valley Land Preservation since October, 2010. He is responsible for the development and successes of projects that conserve open space and ensure the health of the Verde River watershed. Liaison work with river involved landowners, partnering with allied non-profit organizations, working with policy makers and municipalities, engaging the private business sector, and even leveraging the power of the arts are part and parcel of Steve’s work in the Verde Valley.
Prior to this, Steve’s career had been focused in the human services. In 1997, Steve was conferred a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in environmental policy. Water issues in the arid west became a particular focus.
MPA in hand, resume inertia drew him back to human services, resulting in chief executive assignments in community mental health organizations in Oregon, Iowa, and Arizona. Remaining abreast of environmental matters, however, Steve served for 2 years on the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee and has since served as Vice President of the Oak Creek Watershed Council.
Cindy Dunn, Secretary and Director of Cornville, Arizona, has been working for Arizona Game & Fish Department for 24 years. She started her career in research working on stream surveys throughout Northern Arizona and then was part of the Glen Canyon Environmental Study on the Colorado River before moving into the hatchery system. In 1995 Cindy moved from Canyon Creek Hatchery near Forest Lakes to Page Springs Hatchery near Sedona, Arizona. She was recently appointed as the Western Regional Hatchery Manager overseeing Page Springs, Bubbling Ponds and Sterling Springs Hatcheries all of which are located on Oak Creek.
Cindy is a native Arizonan and a graduate of Arizona State University. She enjoys hiking along Oak Creek, dog agility training with her corgi, Chuzzle, and traveling.
Kathy Dunham, Treasurer and Director
After completing the Master Watershed Program in 2010, Kathy began volunteering with water sampling. For the past 4 summers, she has assisted team leaders in obtaining baseline samples at strategic areas throughout Oak Creek. Kathy has also been part of the “Hot Shot” team which involves water sampling after storm events. In addition to volunteering time with litter clean up in Oak Creek Canyon and along Oak Creek, Kathy has been involved as Assistant Project Manager with the OCCOP.
Kathy’s early career included 10 years in banking as a loan workout specialist and teaching loan operations and then 12 years as a Certified Legal Assistant in a law office. For the past 20 years, her career has been in real estate. She owned an independent brokerage company in Houston for 10 years. After moving to Sedona in 2009, Kathy opened an independent real estate brokerage company here. Simultaneously, for six years, she was Vice President and on the board of directors of a closely held corporation that manages over $50,000,000 in assets. That responsibility ended November 30, 2012.
Kathy has been on the board of OCWC since January 2013 and have been the Treasurer since 2014. Sedona is her home; she is very passionate about water and plans to be of service to the OCWC for many future years!
Charlie Ester, Director, is a 32-year veteran of SRP, is currently manager of Water Resource Operations. This group is responsible for watershed monitoring, runoff forecasting, reservoir operations planning, emergency reservoir operations, and drought preparedness. He has been in this position for 18 years. Previously, he was a hydrologist in the same division. Charlie is a 1983 Hydrology graduate of the University of Arizona.
When away from work, Charlie is an avid cyclist and enjoys both mountain and road biking as well as hiking and camping in the great outdoors. He loves weather watching and thunderstorms, and finds some time to do a little gardening.
Laura Jones, Director, is the Community Outreach Coordinator with Friends of Verde River Greenway. She has over 20+ years of non-profit management, human resources and volunteer management experience. She has lived in Clarkdale for the last eight years where she was co-owner of a local deli and has become an active member of the community through volunteer work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Verde Valley Land Preservation VVLP) and Friends of the Verde River Greenway (FVRG).
Her position requires her to spend an extensive amount of time talking with private landowners on the Verde River and its tributaries, especially along Oak Creek. This time has given her an understanding of the concerns of private landowners and public land managers alike. In addition to her professional experience, Laura has a Master's of Education (MSEd) in Counseling and a Non-Profit Management Certificate from Columbia University's Graduate School of Business.
Laura loves living the small town life in her historic Clarkdale bungalow and is an avid kayaker and spends as much time on water a she can.
Bob Kampfe, Director and Volunteer Coordinator, is a Certified Master Watershed Steward from the University of Arizona, Maricopa County Cooperative Office. Bob’s main focus, as a Master Watershed Steward, is to support the Oak Creek Watershed Council and it’s volunteer group, “Friends of Oak Creek.” He has his formal education from Northern Arizona University-Flagstaff, AZ (Organic Chemistry) and the University of Arizona- Tucson, AZ (Turf Grass Agronomy).
Raised in Flagstaff and Sedona, Bob has always felt the need to come back to Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon, to make a positive difference, which he has found, by volunteering with “Friends of Oak Creek”, as it’s volunteer coordinator. Along with volunteering with Friends of Oak Creek, Bob continues to support the mission of the Oak Creek Watershed Council, by consistently traveling up to Sedona from Chandler, to participate with OCWC meetings and OCWC out reach programs.
Bob is currently on the following boards; City of Chandler’s Neighborhood Advisory Committee (Chair), which advises the Mayor and City Council on how to strengthen the City of Chandler’s neighborhoods, Cooper Commons HOA (Secretary). Past Board Director for LD 17 (Vice Chair), and a current elected office holder (precinct committeeman). His current volunteer commitments include, but not limited too; Grand Canyon Association, University of Arizona Master Garden and Watershed Steward Programs, City of Chandler’s “For Our City”, Grand Canyon National Park Volunteer-Vegetation Crew, University of Arizona Project WET.
Bob currently resides in Chandler, Arizona with his wife of 18 years and enjoys retirement from over thirty plus years, as a land development professional. Having held positions as a project manager, division manager and director.
Bob is an avid outdoorsman that includes hiking, fly-fishing and hunting. Bob likes to consider himself a stay home husband, taking care of our two spaniels’, vegetable garden, and most important, and his wife, who is currently working in the banking industry. Bob interest includes music, cooking, stock market, craft beer, wine, politics, college sports, Native American art, and environmental issues (Clean Water & Water Conservation) and mentoring our youth, with water issues. Bob’s affiliations include; Arizona Hydrological Society, University of Arizona Wildcat Club, Oak Creek Watershed Council, Trout Unlimited, and the Grand Canyon Association.
Ryan Matson, Director, holds a BS in Community Development and Sustainability from Portland State University (PSU). A product of Seven Corners in Southeast Portland, Ryan served on the HAND Neighborhood Association, the Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition, and the Council of the City Repair Project, and has been involved with many student groups, among other activities. Awarded a Green Investment Fund grant in 2005 by the City of Portland, he co-championed a green building installation in the South Park Blocks by PSU.
In 2009 Ryan moved to Cornville and later began caretaking at an amazing outdoor art installation, Eliphante, Ltd., eventually becoming Executive Director for the nonprofit. In 2011 his engagement with the City of Sedona toward stormwater mitigation led him to the Oak Creek Watershed Council and Gardens for Humanity. Prior to this, he began a career as a freelance web developer in 1996, and still spends quite a lot of time in front of a computer when he’s not outside digging in the earth.
David Peck, Director, moved from Upstate New York to the Paso Robles area of California at the age of six. Two of his aunts had purchased a large ranch there, and asked that his father move the family out west so he could manage the ranch. Growing up on that ranch was what gave David a great appreciation for the outdoors.
David married in 1986; he and his wife moved from San Luis Obispo, CA to Sedona in 1990 (two months after their first visit here). They actually bought a house in the Village of Oak Creek on their first day ever in Sedona.
In 1994, David and his wife moved to Forest Houses Resort in Oak Creek Canyon as managers of the resort. They left the resort in 2000, but have remained in Oak Creek Canyon. In the 20 years now that they've lived next to Oak Creek, they have gained a great appreciation for the beauty tranquility it has added to their lives.
David has been employed by the City of Sedona since 2001, and is currently an Assistant Engineer with the City. David is also a board member of the OCWC. David's hobbies include avid table tennis playing, music, reading, and hiking.