Team

Principals/Founders

Anna L. West
Anna L. West

Founder and Managing Principal

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Sharif Ebrahim
Sharif Ebrahim

Managing Principal

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Abby S. Arnold
Abby S. Arnold

Principal and Senior Mediator

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J. Michael Harty
J. Michael Harty

Principal and Senior Mediator

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Debra L. Nudelman
Debra L. Nudelman

Principal & Senior Mediator

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Dr. Eric Poncelet
Dr. Eric Poncelet

Principal & Senior Mediator

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Dr. Ken Kearns
Dr. Ken Kearns

Founder and Senior Counselor

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Senior Staff

Kent Schwartz
Kent Schwartz

Chief Financial Officer

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Jason Gershowitz
Jason Gershowitz

Vice President, Digital Collaboration & Senior Facilitator

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Ben Gettleman
Ben Gettleman

Vice President

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Joan Isaacson
Joan Isaacson

Vice President & Senior Facilitator

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Virginia Quiambao
Virginia Quiambao

Vice President

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Nora De Cuir
Nora De Cuir

Senior Director

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Sylvia Ciborowski
Sylvia Ciborowski

Director and Facilitator

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Crystal Jackson
Crystal Jackson

Director, Finance

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Julie Leimbach
Julie Leimbach

Director

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Amanda Roberts
Amanda Roberts

Director

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Kelsey Rugani
Kelsey Rugani

Director

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Nick Saffold
Nick Saffold

Director

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Emily Simpkins
Emily Simpkins

Director

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Janet Thomson
Janet Thomson

Director

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Jenna Tourjé
Jenna Tourjé

Consulting Director

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Meet More of the Kearns & West Team

Morgan Adams


Communications Specialist
Morgan successfully planned and facilitated a kick-off meeting to learn more about requirements for the FM&E Communications role. Her meaningful questions, well thought out suggestions, and trusted relationships at OFAM/FM&E have earned key influencers’ trust. Our client is excited about next steps in developing a communications strategy and plan that will support the FM&E Executive Director’s short and long-term needs.

Terra Alpaugh


Associate
Terra Alpaugh joined Kearns & West as an Associate in 2017, bringing with her five years of communications and project management experience in the conservation and education fields. Leveraged alongside her academic background in water management and climate change science, these skills enable her to support dialogues that facilitate creative thinking and help parties find shared interests around addressing environmental problems.

Zach Barr


Senior Associate
Zach Barr is an Associate at Kearns & West and joined the firm in June 2016. Zach studied energy management and environment and natural resources at University of Wyoming and has experience in GIS and the oil and gas industry. His interests are in energy, natural resource management and policy, land-use planning, infrastructure projects, and environmental policy.

John Bowie


Senior Associate
John Bowie is a Senior Associate with Kearns & West who has been working in public policy and law since 2008. His work focuses on disaster resilience and climate adaptation, as well as regulatory issues in the energy and telecommunications utility sectors. John is interested in the intersection of innovative policy and collaboration as a tools to address the next generation of challenges.

Aileen Carlos


Associate
Aileen Carlos is an Associate with Kearns & West and joined the firm in 2018. Aileen holds an MS/JD from the University of Oregon School of Law, where her studies focused on environmental conflict resolution at the state and federal levels. Her interests include environmental policy, stakeholder engagement, collaborative governance processes, and environmental justice.

Andrew Curtin


Office Manager & Project Coordinator
Andrew Curtin joined Kearns & West in May 2017 as a Project Coordinator and Office Manager. Prior to joining Kearns & West, Andrew worked with political clients at an independent cable advertising firm, at a national urban development non-profit, and for the United States Senate. Andrew holds a B.A. in English from the University of Rhode Island, and his professional interests include government relations, digital communications and stakeholder engagement.

Phil Davis


Staff Accountant
Phil Davis is a Staff Accountant at Kearns & West with 15 years of experience in Finance. During his tenure at K&W, Phil has spearheaded as well as assisted with multiple projects aimed at streamlining Accounting procedures.

Mary Beth Day


Project Coordinator
Mary Beth is a Project Coordinator in Kearns & West's San Francisco office. She has been active in the energy, water, and climate change practices since joining the team in 2017. She holds a bachelor’s degree in geoarchaeology from Hamilton College and a PhD in Earth sciences from the University of Cambridge, where she studied human-climate-environment interactions. She's excited to translate her scientific background into tackling present day challenges.

Patricia Garcia


Project Coordinator, Finance
Patricia Garcia is a Project Coordinator who joined Kearns & West in March 2015. She has experience in meeting logistics planning and support, stakeholder outreach, project management, supporting complex invoicing processes, and supporting the account and business system migration. Her interests include stakeholder engagement, environmental justice, system integrations, system processes and efficiencies.

John Goddard


Senior Associate
John Goddard joined Kearns & West as a Communications & Policy Consultant in April 2016. Prior to joining Kearns & West, he worked on campaigns for several state elected officials and managed the political affairs program for a state-wide trade association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Sacramento Public Relations Association.

Jack Hughes


Associate
Jack Hughes is an Associate with Kearns & West and joined the firm in February 2018. He has a Master of Public Policy from Oregon State University where his studies focused on collaborative land and natural resource management. Prior to joining Kearns & West, Jack served as a conservation manager for an regional watershed conservancy, involving public and government agency coordination during implementation of projects. He is interested in collaborative processes, environmental policy, natural resource and open space management, and land-use planning. His current projects at Kearns & West span environmental and resiliency policy in Southern California.

Matt Marvin


Associate
Matt Marvin is an Associate at Kearns & West and joined the firm in April 2016. Matt is a graduate of the University of Oregon and has a background in environmental justice, project management, and renewable energy in the private industry and with nonprofits. His interests are in stakeholder engagement, environmental justice, energy and natural resource policy, and infrastructure projects.

Melina Smith


Project Coordinator
Melina Smith has been a Project Coordinator at Kearns & West since July 2018. Much of her work is focused in the community and regional planning field, including bilingual public engagement, engagement with underserved communities, and issue and policy research. She has worked with local governments both domestic and abroad and the private sector. Melina holds a Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Planning and a minor in Sustainable Environments from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

Kyle Vint


Associate
Kyle Vint is an Associate at Kearns & West and joined the firm in 2018. He is a Communication Studies Ph.D. candidate at the University of Iowa where he was also a coach of the national championship-winning Iowa debate team. His interests include science and climate communication, environmental policy, stakeholder engagement and environmental justice.

Cici Vu


Senior Associate
Cici joined Kearns & West as an Associate in March, 2017. Cici Vu brings years of experience collaborating and supporting senior mediators to design, convene, mediate and facilitate cooperative problem-solving processes for politically complex environmental disputes involving stakeholders across all sectors in California, the Greater New York Area and New Jersey. Cici also has expertise in legal matters; having worked for the New York Peace Institute mediating community and civil court cases and working for different firms in various supporting capacities. Cici’s key sectors of focus include: energy and marine policy; water quality and resource management; flood planning and flood risk management; air quality; and transportation.

Erica Wales


Senior Associate
Erica Wales joined Kearns & West in February of 2017 as Senior Associate. Before joining Kearns & West, Erica was a Knauss Fellow at the Department of the Interior (DOI) where she worked on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes activities. She also has experience with international ocean policy issues such as sustainable development, climate change, and conservation of the high seas. Erica is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Marine Studies-Marine Policy from the University of Delaware; the focus of her research is on areas beyond national jurisdiction. Her professional interests include all things ocean, mainly marine protected areas, climate change, and marine law and policy (international and domestic).

Devan Willemsen


Senior Associate
Devan joined the D.C. Office of Kearns & West in early 2018 as Senior Associate. Previously, she supported communications and stakeholder engagement around energy projects in both state and federal government and also worked as project director for an environmental non-profit in her home state of Ohio. Devan enjoys helping clients to think of innovative and creative approaches to bring people together and improve their dialogue.

Taylor York


Senior Associate
Taylor York is a Senior Associate at Kearns & West, and has been with the firm since September, 2015. Much of his work is focused in the community and regional planning field, including energy, air quality, transportation, conservation, and education programs, and he has worked in both local government and private industry settings. Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning, from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and currently serves as a Board Member for the Inland Empire branch of the U.S. Green Building Council, Los Angeles.

Kent Schwartz


Chief Financial Officer
Kent Schwartz is the CFO with Kearns & West since October 2016. He brings more than 30 years of experience is building meaningful analysis and processes to serve management, employees and clients. Most recently bringing that expertise to help grow a Professional Services organization by over 500% in 8 years. His main goal is to facilitate and support a company to grow to their full potential.

Jason Gershowitz


Vice President, Digital Collaboration & Senior Facilitator
Jason Gershowitz is a Vice President at Kearns & West managing the firm’s Digital Collaboration Practice which involves connecting people and solutions in innovative ways. His interests include bridging communications, technology, and collaboration skills to create and sustain solutions in changing and complex environments, across a wide range of issues. And coffee.

Ben Gettleman


Vice President
Ben Gettleman is a Vice President at Kearns & West with over ten years of experience managing environmental projects and a current focus on land use, water, air quality, and marine resource projects. His central skillset includes strategic planning and process design, meeting and public workshop facilitation, stakeholder outreach, and materials development. Ben is a member of the National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation and is a graduate of the Coro Center for Civic Leadership Public Affairs Fellowship Program.

Joan Isaacson


Vice President & Senior Facilitator
Joan Isaacson is a Vice President and Senior Facilitator at Kearns & West with over 25 years of experience in community engagement, stakeholder facilitation, and urban and environmental planning. At the core of her work is a commitment to formulating the best strategy to ensure successful, viable project outcomes. Her project experience spans community planning, transportation, water, hazardous materials remediation, environmental restoration, major infrastructure, open space management, climate change, parks and recreation, and environmental review.

Virginia Quiambao


Vice President
Virginia Quiambao is a Senior Director at Kearns & West with more than ten years of experience in public and private sector communication and outreach programs, media relations, and event planning. Her expertise is built on providing strategic counsel; tactical support; organizing national and international tradeshow exhibits; planning press conferences; planning federal government facility ground breaking and ribbon cutting ceremonies; executing communications assessments; developing and implementing communications plans; creating talking points, speeches and fact sheets for senior-level government officials; drafting letters in response to congressional inquiries on behalf of senior-level government officials; and helping federal government clients navigate politically sensitive issues and projects. Ms. Quiambao business development efforts ensure Kearns & West’s continued support within the homeland and border security spaces.

Nora De Cuir


Senior Director
Nora De Cuir is a Director at Kearns & West with over a decade of experience managing land use, transportation, energy and environmental projects. Her experience in long-range planning coupled with her passion for stakeholder collaboration help our clients to conduct meaningful engagement that improves their decision making process. Nora’s core skillset includes strategic planning, public involvement, and facilitation and materials design.

Sylvia Ciborowski


Director and Facilitator
Sylvia Ciborowski is a Director and Facilitator at Kearns & West, with over a decade of experience engaging stakeholders and the public in government decision-making and strategic planning. She works with clients to design processes that meaningfully engage stakeholders and the public, and facilitates meetings to ensure active and informed participation. Sylvia has worked on projects in wide range of fields, including land use and transportation planning, environment and natural resources, parks development, changes in local codes and regulations, and equity and inclusion.

Crystal Jackson


Director, Finance
With over 20 years of financial and management experience, Crystal Jackson, Director – Finance, oversees accounting operations including general accounting, cost accounting, budgets, accounts payable and accounts receivable. She is a member of the Kearns & West team since October 2003. She derives great satisfaction from finding out how ‘things work’, analyzing, dissecting, observing from all angles and formulating long-term solutions that advance company goals.

Julie Leimbach


Director
Julie Leimbach facilitates and engages stakeholders so that people can create collaborative solutions that decrease the cost of conflict and inertia. For more than a decade, Julie has enjoyed bringing together groups of water agencies, resources agencies, local government, and NGOs to find common ground and advance jointly held objectives in water resources, land and forest management, climate change adaptation, hydropower, clean energy, disadvantaged communities, and health. She also brings international experience in peace-building in nations in democratic transitions and transboundary natural resource management.

Amanda Roberts


Director
Amanda Roberts, Director, joined Kearns & West in 2006. She specializes in strategic communications, project management, and leads the firm’s business development efforts. She is interested in helping organizations achieve their strategic communications goals.

Kelsey Rugani


Director
Kelsey Rugani is a Director with Kearns & West who specializes in working on stakeholder outreach, strategic process planning, project management, complex regulatory process coordination, and logistics coordination. Kelsey bring exemplary organizational communication and planning skills to each project she works on. Her key sectors include: transportation; energy policy; water resource management; flood planning and flood risk management; and air quality.

Nick Saffold


Director
Nick Saffold is a Director for Kearns & West with nearly a decade of experience in public affairs. He has worked on issues at the federal, regional, and state levels and currently provides strategic counsel and communications expertise on technology and infrastructure issues. Nick specializes in leading communications campaigns, message development, and policy analysis in the regulatory and legislative arena.

Emily Simpkins


Director
Emily is responsible for supporting personnel with the overall OFAM Knowledge Management Program, to include management, optimization, and standards development for the directorate’s SharePoint presences. This includes facilitating the resolution of technical issues and queries submitted by all of the organization’s KMOs and other users. Other responsibilities include documenting and sharing user best practices based on CBP’s implementation of SharePoint 2013 features, and initiating and maintaining the monthly OFAM KMO Working Group.

Janet Thomson


Director
Janet Thomson is a Director at Kearns & West with 15 years of experience in designing and implementing collaborative processes in the areas of energy policy and siting, marine and terrestrial resource management, threatened and endangered species management, and land use management. Janet focuses on facilitation, public engagement process design and management, and public outreach activities to support multi-party, multi-interest processes.

Jenna Tourjé


Consulting Director
Jenna Tourjé is a Consulting Director at Kearns & West with over a decade of leading community engagement, facilitation, and community planning projects. She is passionate about partnering with communities on the path to creating healthy, whole and equitable places, where people love where they live and have a voice and a stake in the future. She has facilitated collaborative projects with NGOs, municipalities, regional and federal agencies relating to health, active transportation, transportation planning, community planning, flood-risk & resiliency, and parks and open space.

Anna L. West


Founder and Managing Principal
Anna L. West is a Principal and Co-Founder of Kearns & West. She has over 30 years of experience in collaborative solutions, facilitation/mediation, and public engagement, particularly related to water, energy, environmental, natural resource, land use, and infrastructure issues. Anna is a member of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution’s mediator roster.

Sharif Ebrahim


Managing Principal
Sharif Ebrahim is a Principal with Kearns & West. He brings nearly 20 years of experience designing and implementing multi-disciplinary public involvement and outreach programs, including working on numerous complex water, energy and land use issues, initiative campaigns, and state and federal legislation and regulatory proceedings. Sharif has worked with local, state and federal agencies, trade associations, Fortune 500 companies, and various collaborative processes to help them communicate their vision and form productive relationships with their stakeholders.

Abby S. Arnold


Principal and Senior Mediator
Abby S. Arnold is a Principal at Kearns & West, a practicing mediator/facilitator in collaborative solutions for over 25 years. She specializes in creating and managing public private collaboratives. Her expertise ranges a broad spectrum, energy development, production and transmission, fisheries and wildlife conservation, and other natural resources, water quality and quantity, and other public policy issues. Concurrently, Abby is the Executive Director of the American Wind Wildlife Institute, a unique collaboration among the leading wind industry and conservation/science organizations in the United States committed to developing wind power to produce electricity while minimizing impacts of wind to wildlife and wildlife habitats.

J. Michael Harty


Principal and Senior Mediator
J. Michael Harty is a Principal and Senior Mediator for Kearns & West, and brings over 20 years of direct experience in the field of conflict management, mediation, facilitated decision making, and public outreach and engagement to those roles. Mike has substantive experience with water rights, water quality, conjunctive water management, groundwater, flood risk management, oceans, mining, ecosystem restoration, endangered species, and technical information issues, and has worked with numerous local, state, and federal agencies both internally and in multi-agency contexts. Mike oversees the Kearns & West Sacramento regional office located in Davis, California. He was a practicing attorney for eight years prior to shifting his focus full time to conflict resolution and collaborative decision making.

Debra L. Nudelman


Principal & Senior Mediator
Debra L. Nudelman is a Principal and Senior Mediator for Kearns & West with nearly 30 years of experience as a consensus building and dispute resolution professional. She has experience in convening, facilitating, mediating, and managing projections including stakeholder assessments, workshops, strategic planning and agreement-focused processes involving complex public policy, natural resource, land management, and environmental issues, among others. Debra oversees the Kearns & West office in Portland, Oregon.

Dr. Eric Poncelet


Principal & Senior Mediator
Dr. Eric Poncelet is a Principal and Senior Mediator at Kearns & West with over twenty years of experience in designing, mediating, and analyzing complex, multistakeholder collaborative planning and dispute resolution processes. His practice has focused on marine resource planning and conservation, fisheries management, water conservation, flood management, offshore energy, species protection, and land use management. Eric works to facilitate effective communications and agreement building among a broad range of stakeholder interests, including government (federal, state, and local levels), fishermen, farmers, business and industry, environmental organizations, recreational interests, and community groups. Eric leads Kearns & West’s marine practice while also co-leading the training program, providing interactive training courses on such topics as mutual gains negotiation, facilitation and mediation, collaboration, and effective management and communication of scientific information.

Dr. Ken Kearns


Founder and Senior Counselor
Kenneth D. Kearns is a Senior Counselor and Kearns & West co-founder. Since 2012, when he stepped away from the firm’s leadership, Ken has divided his time between a few selected projects and an active retirement. Ken specializes in facilitation and public engagement for high-stakes collaborative projects in water, energy, and environment.