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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Senior Staff

Kent Schwartz
Kent Schwartz

Chief Financial Officer

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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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Jason Gershowitz
Jason Gershowitz

Senior Director of Collaborative Technology

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Larry Chung
Larry Chung

Director

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Nora De Cuir
Nora De Cuir

Director

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Crystal Jackson
Crystal Jackson

Director, Finance

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Virginia Quiambao
Virginia Quiambao

Director

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Amanda Roberts
Amanda Roberts

Director

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Nick Saffold
Nick Saffold

Director

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Janet Thomson
Janet Thomson

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.

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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.

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Zach Barr

Project Coordinator

Zach Barr is a Project Coordinator 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.

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Alex Braunstein

Senior Associate

Alex Braunstein is a Senior Associate at Kearns & West. Alex specializes in telecom, education, healthcare and environmental issues, applying more than a decade of experience in communications, research, public policy and public involvement. Through his work at K&W, he supports local, state and federal legislative, regulatory and permitting initiatives, as well as stakeholder engagement and sustainability programs. He brings advanced analytical, research and communications skills to every project, including knowledge of quantitative methods and data analytics tools.

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Melissa Conn

Office Manager & Project Coordinator

Melissa Conn joined Kearns & West as an Office Manager and Project Coordinator in May of 2016. Melissa earned a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Nevada, Reno. Her professional interests include restoration ecology, multi-stakeholder collaborative planning and resource management.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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John Goddard

Communications & Policy Consultant

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.

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Annie Kilburg

Senior Associate & Facilitator

Annie Kilburg is a Senior Associate and Facilitator with Kearns & West based out of Portland, Oregon. She has over eight years of experience providing project support for mediation and dispute-resolution processes and has served as a mediator and facilitator in many contexts. Annie is passionate about designing and implementing collaborative conflict management programs and stakeholder engagement, and has worked with non-profits and academic organizations, as well as with water, energy, land use, and natural resource planning entities.

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Carl-Magnus Kjellman

Senior Associate

Carl-Magnus joined Kearns & West in April 2017 as a Senior Associate after earning his master’s degree at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University where he concentrated on energy policy and consensus building. Prior to graduate school, he worked as a district court mediator in Massachusetts, with additional prior experience as a negotiation and mediation trainer, researcher at a national conflict resolution firm, and a lab technician at a wastewater treatment plant. His professional interests include energy and energy resource policy, water resource management, and green infrastructure.

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Matt Marvin

Project Coordinator

Matt Marvin is a Project Coordinator 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.

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Kelsey Rugani

Senior Associate

Kelsey Rugani is a Senior Associate 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.

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Briana Seapy

Senior Associate & Facilitator

Briana Seapy is a Senior Associate at Kearns & West with two years of project management experience in institutional water planning and urban water conservation. Briana has also served as an effective leader both in the office and in the field. Her natural resources knowledge combined with her interpersonal acumen and leadership experience enable her to drive creative problem-solving processes and foster meaningful collaboration.

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Emily Simpkins

Senior Communications Analyst

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.

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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.

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Hannah Waldhorn

Communications Analyst

Hannah joined KW in February 2017. Before that she developed skills in data analysis, needs assessments, communications, training, facilitation, and solution development as a teacher in both public and private schools in the DC metro area. Hannah is interested in developing meaningful and impactful professional relationships and implementing practical, customized solutions to everyday challenges to support clients and colleagues.

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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).

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Taylor York

Associate

Taylor York is an 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.

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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.

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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.

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Cici Vu

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.

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Jason Gershowitz

Senior Director of Collaborative Technology

Jason Gershowitz is a Senior Director at Kearns & West managing the firm’s Collaborative Technology 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.

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Larry Chung

Director

Larry Chung is a Director at Kearns & West in the strategic communications practice. Larry specializes in the field of government and politics, with several years of experience as a public relations professional focusing on legislative and policy issues, infrastructure planning, air quality and the environment, political campaigns, and civic engagement projects. He has worked closely with municipal staff, elected officials at all levels, traditional and non-traditional media, community members, non-profit agencies, and the private-sector.

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Nora De Cuir

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.

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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.

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Virginia Quiambao

Director

Virginia Quiambao is a 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.

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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.

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Nick Saffold

Director

Nick Saffold is a Director for Kearns & West with more than eight years of experience in public affairs, politics, and campaigns. He has worked on issues at the federal, regional, and state levels and currently provides strategic counsel and communications expertise to AT&T California. Nick specializes in providing communications strategy, messaging, and policy analysis on regulatory and legislative issues.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 negation, facilitation and mediation, collaboration, and effective management and communication of scientific information.

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