Current Board of Directors
Bill Henry, President
Office Director, SWCA Environmental Consultants
Bill Henry, AICP, is an Environmental Planning Consultant with SWCA. Bill has worked as the Office Director for SWCA Environmental Consultants since 2008, managing the company’s San Luis Obispo office. Prior to that, he worked for and co-owned Morro Group, Inc. (a Central Coast based environmental consulting firm). In addition to his day-to-day Director responsibilities at SWCA, he manages several complex environmental planning projects for local government agencies and private sector clients. Bill has served as a board member for the Bay Foundation since 2009. He enjoys contributing to the Bay Foundation by using his background as an environmental planning professional, office director, and former small business owner. Bill holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management and a Master of City and Regional Planning from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. In his spare time, Bill can be found enjoying his family, the wonderful community of Los Osos where he lives, and the beautiful terrestrial and aquatic environments of the Central Coast.
Dr. Jason Curtis, Vice President
Dean of Mathematics & Sciences, Nursing/Allied Health and Athletics, Cuesta College
Jason earned a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Purdue University and spent 14 years at Purdue University North Central, teaching and conducting research in the areas of parasitology and population genetics. Jason held many teaching leadership positions, including Academic Program Coordinator and Interim Chair for the Biology and Chemistry Department. He returned to the Central Coast in 2014 to serve as the Dean of Sciences and Mathematics at his alma mater, Cuesta College. In this role, Jason manages the academic areas covering biology, physical sciences, mathematics, nursing/allied health, and kinesiology/athletics. He also has served on the steering committee for the Central Coast Biological Society, which highlights much of the region’s outstanding biological research. Jason’s skills in community engagement, leadership, and administration are strong assets in his role as a board member for the Bay Foundation of Morro Bay.
Gary Ruggerone, Secretary
Principal Environmental Planner for Piedra Environmental Consultants
Gary Ruggerone is the Owner/Principal Environmental Planner of Piedra Environmental Consultants, a local environmental planning firm specializing in CEQA and NEPA analysis and regulatory permit compliance for transportation-related projects. A life-long resident of California, Gary earned a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, and a Master of Arts in Population Aquatic Biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Gary worked as an Environmental Planner with the California State Department of Transportation from March 1979 until December 2010. From June 1980 until his retirement in December 2010, Gary was the Branch Chief for the Environmental Stewardship Branch in Caltrans District 5 (San Luis Obispo). Gary has served on the Bay Foundation Board since 1994, including two terms as President. He is an avid sea kayaker and can often be found paddling in Morro Bay and other locations along the Central California Coast.
Kris Vardas, Treasurer
Site Restoration Supervisor, PG&E
Kris Vardas is a Site Restoration Supervisor with Pacific Gas and Electric Company, where he handles project management and land use and environmental planning for the DCPP Decommissioning Program. Kris worked in private consulting for several years and previously worked for two state agencies in Sacramento. In addition to serving on the board of the Bay Foundation since 2015, Kris is also a board member of California Coastal Coalition and the French Hospital Foundation Board. He served two four-year terms on the Pismo Beach City Council and a two-year term on the Pismo Beach Planning Commission. Kris was also a commissioner with the San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission, and a board member of the Zone 3 Water Advisory Board. He has a Master of Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of California, Davis. Kris enjoys spending time with his family, stand-up paddling, surfing, and woodworking.
CalTrans Biologist, Retired
Tom Edell is a longtime resident of San Luis Obispo County, staying in the area after graduating from California Polytechnic State University. Tom joined the Board of Directors in June 2016. Tom recently retired from a career as a biologist with Caltrans, which allowed him to work throughout San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Barbara counties. Tom also served for many years as the Caltrans representative on several of the Morro Bay National Estuary Program’s stakeholder committees. Always interested in birds, an ornithology class at Cal Poly sparked a birding passion that continues today. He has been the San Luis Obispo County bird records compiler for North American Birds since 1983 and the Morro Bay Christmas Bird Count Compiler since 1988. Tom enjoys birding and hiking the many trails of the Central Coast.
Senior Terrestrial Biologist, PG&E, Retired
Sally is a longtime resident of the Central Coast, graduating from Cal Poly with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and serving in many scientific capacities in the region. Sally started her professional career with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and also served as a naturalist for the Kern County Environmental Education Program before becoming a biologist at Pacific Gas and Electric. Sally's work with PG&E included land management, marine science education, restoration, and biological surveys. In additional to her position as a board member for the Bay Foundation of Morro Bay, Sally volunteers her time with Central Coast State Parks Association, Central Coast Aquarium, and the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo. Sally brings in-depth biological expertise and engagement in environmental education to her role on the Board of the Bay Foundation of Morro Bay.
Senior Analytical Research Associate, Promega Biosciences
Leonard brings his extensive background in community service to the Bay Foundation Board. He is a an active member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Los Osos, and has represented the club on the San Luis Obispo Human Trafficking Task Force. From 2010–2014, Leonard was a member of the Los Osos Community Services District (LOCSD) Board of Directors. His tenure included negotiation out of bankruptcy, creation of the Basin Management Committee for the Los Osos groundwater basin, and installation of the wastewater treatment plant. He currently serves on the LOCSD Utilities Advisory Committee. Leonard has also volunteered for local Boy Scouts of America and local youth sports teams. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biology from Western Washington University. Leonard enjoys the many natural resources here on the Central Coast with his family and values the opportunity to give back to his community of more than 20 years.
Dr. Deanna Richards
Financial Advisor, Edward Jones
Dr. Deanna Richards is a local financial advisor who enjoys working with individuals and organizations on strategies to reach their financial goals. Raised in Malaysia, she has spent the majority of her adult life here in the United States, earning a PhD in environmental engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and working as an environmental engineer for many years before “retiring” to SLO County. Previously, she directed a program on Technology and Environment at the National Academies of Science and Engineering. Deanna has served on the Bay Foundation Board since 2014. She brings a useful financial and strategic perspective to the work of the organization. In addition to service with the Bay Foundation, Deanna also serves as board director of the SLO Symphony.
Attorney at Law
Shaunna has been an attorney practicing law on the Central Coast for more than 36 years. Her legal work focuses on trust and estate planning, real property, probate, and environmental issues. Shaunna has served on the Board of Directors for the Bay Foundation since 1996 and applies her legal expertise to further the mission of the organization. Shaunna holds a law degree from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts in history from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. In her free time, Shaunna raises many species of collected or rescued turtles and tortoises with her husband Ron in Los Osos and enjoys canoeing in the bay.
Executive Director, Bay Foundation of Morro Bay
Lexie Bell, Executive Director, plans and directs the work of the Bay Foundation, and collaborates with many partner organizations to further the mission of resource protection in Morro Bay and the Central Coast of California. Lexie first began working in Morro Bay as a graduate student at the UC Santa Barbara Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and has been on the Bay Foundation team since 2010. In addition to her Master’s degree, Lexie has a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and Biology from the University of Miami. Previously, Lexie worked as a marine science educator, scientific diver in the Caribbean, and coastal watershed researcher. Lexie loves paddling the bay and exploring the varied landscapes of the Central Coast with her family.