Connie Adams

Bookkeeping Assistant

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Phone: 530.582.4800

Connie Adams

Bookkeeping Assistant

From earliest memories the Sierra Nevada has been Connie’s favorite destination, especially enjoying many stays in Tahoe as a child and sharing her love of the mountains exploring and camping with her four children. A northern California native whose grandfather planted orchards, including the one she grew up on, Connie also has a great appreciation for local farms, farmers, and community. She recently relocated from the North Bay area to Truckee, finally avoiding the weekend commutes to visit family and to have more time exploring the endless gifts of these mountains. Appreciative of the diversity and beauty of nature and people, Connie took her children camping throughout the United States over many years with a National Park card in hand. Along with her passion for community service through work and volunteering in numerous organizations, Connie brings over 30 years of office administration and bookkeeping experience in her own and other small businesses, non-profits, corporations, and educational institutions. She is now thrilled to be part of the enthusiastic, talented, and creative team at SBC who lead and support the Sierra sustainability mission.  

 

Personal Highlights

Playing and exploring with her five grandchildren, learning and teaching the health benefits of nature's gifts, especially essential oils and herbs, herbal and nature crafting, organic gardening, hiking, camping, traveling back roads, watching documentaries, and reading keep Connie's days filled with wonder. 

Paul Ahrns

Program Director


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Phone: 530.559.9505

Paul Ahrns

Program Director

Paul grew up in Nevada City, spending his summers exploring the mountains and valleys around Truckee. His summers in the Sierra fostered his passion for protecting and sustaining the natural wealth and beauty of the Sierra Nevada region. Paul returned home to the region in 2010 to join the Climate Planning team and work on the first phase of the Green Communities Program. Paul has served as a Planning Technician and Project Manager for the Climate Planning team providing technical expertise and project management support to assist over 30 local governments, special districts and private developers with climate planning assistance. Paul brings his experience in sustainability, planning, community engagement and project management to his new role as the Climate Planning Program Director for the Sierra Business Council.

Personal Highlights:

Paul earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Policy from California State University, Long Beach where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was selected as the Department’s Outstanding Graduate for 2009. Paul combines his passion for the environment and desire to explore the world. He has had the pleasure of exploring 5 different continents and more countries than he can keep track off. The highlights of which have been working with communities in Kenya to drill water wells without using electricity or fuel and exploring the incredible history and culture of China.

Becky Bell

Project Manager


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Phone: 530.318.6454

Becky Bell

Project Manager

 

As Project Manager of the Lake Tahoe Water Trail, Bell brings 26 years of marketing experience to expand the trail into a market-driven, educational trailhead system with planned paddle routes sustained by businesses and individuals that support stewardship of the Lake Tahoe watershed.

Recently, Bell was the Website and Marketing Manager for Sierra Nevada Geotourism. In 2010, Bell designed the Tahoe Keepers non-motorized Aquatic Invasive Species education program, which teaches paddlers how to inspect and decontaminate their gear. Combining her marketing experience with her own travel behavior, Bell launched the Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture website in 2007 to showcase local artists and entrepreneurs who give the destination life and distinction. 

Becky holds a B.A. in Advertising/Communications from Cal State Fullerton which landed her a position at Foote Cone and Belding Advertising in Santa Monica, California prior to her move to Lake Tahoe in 1989. Becky’s career in tourism marketing commenced at the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority in 1991, followed by 16 years at Strategic Marketing Group as the senior marketing strategist for several tourism related clients throughout California.

Bell understands that the success of any sustainable marketing program is a strong brand identity and communications strategy that motivates target market behavior. Bell has authored white papers about the value of authenticity, ecotourism, shifting demographics and consumer behavior, and the conscious traveler.

Personal Highlights

When Becky is not developing competitive marketing strategies, she can be found biking, hiking, skiing, sailing or paddling. She is the co-owner of Sierra Ski and Cycle Works in South Lake Tahoe, opened in 1980 by her husband, Gary.

Brittany Benesi

Communications Director


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Phone: 530.582.4800

Brittany Benesi

Communications Director

Brittany Benesi is the Communications Director for Sierra Business Council, promoting programmatic work that catalyzes community, economic, and environmental vitality throughout the Sierra Nevada. Originally from Seattle, Brittany has lived and worked in the Truckee/Tahoe area for the past four years. While finishing her degree, Brittany worked as a Youth Mentor with Seattle Tilth’s Youth Garden Works Program, helping homeless and disadvantaged adolescents develop job skills through urban agriculture. Once in Tahoe, Brittany started her work with Sierra Business Council as a Communications Intern and quickly made her mark with her focus on positivity, team building, and a commitment to the triple bottom line. Brittany is a graduate of Seattle University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies, a specialization in Education and Communications and a minor in Psychology. 

Personal Highlights:

As a child of the Pacific Northwest, Brittany grew up with a full appreciation for the natural world and the amazing recreating opportunities found therein. As a Sierra Nevada resident, Brittany especially enjoys running, hiking, snowboarding, stand up paddle boarding, and any time she gets to be outside with her husband, Steven, and canine companion, Shasta.

Nikki Caravelli

Climate Technician & Sierra CAMP Project Manager

 

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Phone: 530.582.4800

Nikki Caravelli

Climate Technician & Sierra CAMP Project Manager

Nikki is a Sierra Nevada local, born in Truckee and raised on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. She graduated in June 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a concentration in Environmental Studies from Williams College. At Williams Nikki studied abroad in Italy in a Sustainability Program, served in student environmental clubs, and collaborated with college staff, students, and facilities on campus sustainability initiatives. Nikki has also interned with an environmental non-profit in San Diego developing a K-12 food system educational program, and directed a Colorado campaign office during the 2016 election. Following her 11 month Civicspark Americorps term in 2016-2017, she joined Sierra Business Council full time as a Climate Technician to work in Government Affairs, Sierra CAMP and Climate Planning.

Personal Highlights

Nikki Enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and skiing with her parents, younger brother and friends. Her other hobbies include baking pies from scratch, Vipassana meditation, and fire staff spinning. 

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Jessica Carr

Program Manager - SBDC


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Phone: 530.582.5022

Jessica Carr

Program Manager - SBDC

Jessica comes to Sierra Business Council with experience working for small businesses and nonprofits all over Northern California. She thrives in dynamic work environments contributing to all aspects of operating and growing independent companies focused on sustainability. Jessica received BA degrees in both Geography and Spanish with a minor in General Business from the University of Denver and was able to participate in many field study and study abroad programs throughout North and South America. While in college she also discovered a passion for the rivers of the West and has spent her summers rafting them and educating others about them for the last eight years.  

Personal Highlights

Jessica grew up in and out of Marin County hiking, biking, and exploring the outdoors all over Northern California. From the granite of Yosemite to the rolling foothill rivers, Jessica has always been passionate about loving and protecting the beauty of the Sierra Nevada. She has called the Tahoe region home for four years and loves living in a place where she can get outside all year round. If you see her out and about, she is likely on a trail run around Paige Meadows, swimming in the lake near her house in Tahoe City, or skiing at Squaw Valley with her husband Mike. 

Suzie Cordero

Vice President Finance & Operations

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Phone: 530.582.4800

Suzie Cordero

Vice President Finance & Operations

On top of an enthusiasm and love for her community, Suzie brings to SBC over 30 years of financial management experience and has a talent for meticulous accounting and audit accountability. As the former Executive Director of READ (Rural Education and Development), she was able to take her passion for literacy and community development overseas and enjoyed traveling to Nepal on a number of occasions. Suzie held a real estate license for 15 years, has a background in property management, and has successfully overseen the financial management of several local businesses.

Personal Highlights:

Suzie’s interests include snowboarding, sewing, biking, golfing, waterskiing, hiking, and cheering on her favorite sports teams. 

Steve Frisch

President


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Phone: 530.582.4800

Steve Frisch

President

Steve is President of Sierra Business Council and one of its founding members. Over the last 20 years Sierra Business Council has leveraged more than $100 million of investment in the Sierra Nevada and its communities through community and public-private partnerships.  Sierra Business Council also manages the Sierra Small Business Development Center focusing on advancing sustainable business practices and linking new and expanding businesses to climate mitigation and adaptation funding. Steve manages SBC’s staff and programmatic development.

Prior to joining the Sierra Business Council, Steve owned and operated a small business in Truckee. Steve serves on the board of the California Stewardship Network, the Large Landscape Practitioners Network, the National Geographic Geo-tourism Council, Capital Public Radio, and Leadership For Jobs and a New Economy.  Steve is also a former Fulbright Exchange Program Fellow, sharing information and knowledge gained in the Sierra Nevada in China and Mongolia.  Steve is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Political Science.

 

Personal Highlights:

Steve lives in Truckee with his wife Lisa. He is an avid reader of history, politics, community planning and Sierra issues. Steve enjoys traveling the back roads, connecting to local history, camping and cooking.

 

Tyra Frizelle

Office and Operations Manager 


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Phone: 530.582.4800

Tyra Frizelle

Office and Operations Manager

Tyra joined Sierra Business Council as our Office and Operations Manager April 2017. She comes to Sierra Business Coucnil with a strong history in office management. Born and raised in the small mountain town of Whitefish, Montana, Tyra has a deep love for small mountain towns and has loved calling Truckee her home for the past five years. In addition to her office management experience she also received several merit scholarships for her dedicated volunteer time with the Violence Free Crisis Line- helping families and children in domestic violence cases. 

Personal Highlights

In Tyra's free time she can be found painting furniture, thrift store shopping, skiing, biking with her family, enjoying the lakes and rivers and snuggling with her dog, Montucky or sitting around a campfire with friends. She truly feels that there is nothing better than playing in the mountains and breathing in the wild air. Tyra is thrilled to be a part of the SBC team! 

 

Michelle Gartner

SR. Program Manager


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Phone: 530-582-4800

 

Michelle Gartner 

SR. Program Manager

Michelle's passion to use her more than 25 years of experience at the forefront of technology to help the local community and the greater good has led her to Sierra Business Council. Early in her career Michelle worked designing and creating Apache helicopter 3D flight simulator graphics used for Desert Storm training. At Eastman Kodak, Avid Technology and Thomson Multimedia/Grass Valley Group Michelle collaborated on the design, marketing, and user training of emerging film technologies. Migrating to the Internet world in 1997, Michelle worked for Netscape and Swan Systems engaging in product management, technical marketing and production of some of the first internet portals. At Broadvision, as a senior management consultant, she helped to produce the first eCommerce websites for Sears Roebuck, Grainger and United States Postal Service. Her more recent endeavors are community focused and include managing the development of an online community for the Levi Strauss Foundation and performing business analysis and program development for several Tahoe area non-profits. Shortly before coming to SBC Michelle wrote the IT Strategic Plan for Placer County.

 

Personal Highlights

From the time she was a child Michelle always wanted to be outside in nature, making mud pies with dandelions, playing in the rain, riding her bike through the forest or swimming in Lake Michigan. Moving to the Tahoe area felt like home18 years ago and enabled her to enjoy the miracles of nature everyday through skiing, biking, paddling, swimming in the mountain lakes and hiking.

 

Benjamin Maritato

Planning Technician, Climate Planning

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Phone: 530.582.4800

 

Benjamin Maritato

Planning Technician

Ben is a New York native and new resident of the Sierra Nevada region. He recently graduated from Binghamton University with a degree in Environmental Studies and Mathematics. While at Binghamton, Ben interned for a solar nonprofit where he helped develop solar energy and energy efficiency throughout the Southern Tier of New York. Through his work in the region he discovered his interest in community outreach and development. He is excited to pair this newfound interest with his love for the environment as a member of the climate planning team at SBC. He can’t wait to become an active member of the Sierra Nevada region through his work and outdoor activities.

 

Personal Highlights:

Ben is excited to combine his passion for the environment with quantitative and qualitative analysis. He is looking forward to exploring his new home and the numerous opportunities it has to offer. In his free time you can find him mountain biking, snowboarding, bouldering or enjoying the outdoors in some other fashion.

 

John Plaggmier

Project Manager


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Phone: 530.913.3608

John Plaggmier

Project Manager

John is happy to return to his hometown to work with the Sierra Nevada Energy Watch team. He is excited to continue the efforts of the SNEW team with their goal of reducing impact on the Sierra through energy efficiency. Before joining the Sierra Business Council, he worked with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority helping numerous Humboldt County small and medium businesses save energy.  A graduate of Humboldt State University, John earned his B.S. in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Energy and Climate.

Personal Highlights

Spending his free time at the Yuba River during the summer and snowboarding in the Sierra during the winter, John finds the most happiness outdoors. John is a runner at heart who has completed a trail marathon and hopes to run many more in the future.

Justine Quealy 

Planning Technician, Climate Planning 

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Phone: 530.582.4800

Justine Quealy 

Planning Technician, Climate Planning 

Justine Quealy is a Planning Technician on SBC’s Climate Planning team, assisting communities in the Sierra to plan for climate change through both mitigation and adaptation strategies. Originally from New Orleans, Justine has spent most of her life in Northern California and has developed a deep appreciation for the natural world, especially the Sierra Nevada. Many of her summers were split between exploring the swamps of Louisiana, and road trips through the Sierra Nevada, often finding herself at Lake Tahoe. 

Her background in Environmental Studies at Clark University sparked a passion for environmental sustainability and urban planning, and exposed her to work with water efficiency and geographic information systems (GIS). Her postgraduate year at Murdoch University in Australia brought her a broader understanding of environmental ethics and building sustainability on both a small community as well as global scale. Justine received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Clark University (Worcester, MA) and her Postgraduate in Sustainability and Environmental Ethics from Murdoch University (Perth, Australia).

 

Personal Highlights:

Justine and her husband Dano call Grass Valley home and love everything their small community has to offer – amazing hiking and fishing spots, delicious food, wine, and beer, and music festivals at the fairgrounds. Justine is a passionate knitter who can often be found with her current project in hand, and when she isn’t knitting socks for loved ones, she writes knitting patterns and teaches knitting classes.

Clarke Stevenson

Civic Spark Climate Fellow 


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Phone: 530.582.4800

Clarke Stevenson

Civic Spark Climate Fellow 

Having grown up in the Sacramento area visiting the mountains frequently, Clarke has enjoyed the wonders of the Sierra since childhood. He moved to Oregon for college and pursued a double degree track in Human Geography and Intellectual History at Oregon State University. In 2014, Clarke studied abroad in Argentina where he gained a deep understanding of the global attention put on sustainability and climate issues. Returning with a minor in Spanish and a new perspective, he invested his time studying natural resources, sociology and ecology as well as starting a political activist organization at school. Since graduating, Clarke has worked as a crew leader for Northwest Youth Conservation Corps and was part of the first generation to be accepted into the California Land Trust Apprenticeship Program where he was paired with the Mendocino Land Trust. He is grateful to be working with SBC as the new CivicSpark AmeriCorps Climate Fellow and hopes to continue working in the Sierra Nevada after the fellowship.

Personal Highlights:

Clarke will be teaching snowboarding on the weekends at Squaw and spends his free time playing soccer, finding the perfect curry recipe and improv comedy.



BJ Schmitt

Analyst and Planning Technician


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Phone: 530.582.4800

BJ Schmitt

Analyst and Planning Technician

BJ Joined Sierra Business Council as an intern in 2010 to work on the first phase of greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories. She has helped with most of the GHG inventories SBC has provided for Sierra cities and counties since then. BJ earned her Bachelor’s degree in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California - Irvine. BJ brings her extensive experience as an energy engineer to her role as GHG Analyst and Planning Technician for the Sierra Business Council.

Personal Highlights:

Working as an energy engineer, watershed scientist and more recently as a greenhouse gas analyst, BJ has been able to combine her love for the earth and her passion for energy issues in her work.  In her spare time she loves to travel (she has been lucky enough to live in France, Korea and Japan), ski (mostly cross-country since she is currently located in the flatlands of Wisconsin), snorkel (anywhere is good!) and read (one favorite is “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer).

Kari Sinoff

Project Manager


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Phone: 530.582.4800

Kari Sinoff

Project Manager

Kari joins the SBC team as a Sierra Nevada Energy Watch Project Manager. Kari grew up in the Bay Area and is a longtime Sierras resident. She brings a background in both liberal arts and accounting and has been an instrumental contributor to multiple Truckee-Tahoe businesses. Her project management and booking experience in the film and construction industries are a great compliment to her keen eye for detail. Kari also brings deft office management skills and is a great resource for the growing number of small businesses that make up the economic footprint of the Sierras. Kari is deeply involved in the local community through several education advisory roles and has sat on the board of the Mount Shasta Education Foundation. 


Personal Highlights:

Kari is an avid trial runner, mountain biker, and Nordic skier, and has explored the Sierra backcountry extensively. She and her family make their home in the Truckee area and spend as much time as possible outside enjoying everything the Sierras has to offer.

Kerri Timmer

Vice President, Climate & Energy


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Phone: 530.582.4800

Kerri Timmer

Vice President, Climate & Energy



As Vice President of Climate & Energy, Kerri works in partnership with local, regional, state and federal agencies and officials to advance sustainable communities strategies, climate action planning, energy efficiency programs and other SBC activities.

Kerri is a communications and management specialist with more than 25 years of public- and private- sector experience in community and government relations, business communications, land and water conservation, and nonprofit management and capacity building.  Prior to joining SBC, Kerri spent six years with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, where she served most recently as that agency’s Regional Policy and Program Manager.  Before that, she was Executive Director of a non-profit conservation group, operated her own consulting practice where she cultivated relationships with watershed organizations, land trusts and other community groups within and outside the Sierra, and served as account executive and creative director for a community and government relations firm in San Francisco.  Kerri holds a B.A. in English Literature from San Francisco State University and a certificate in Land Use and Natural Resources planning through UC Davis Extension.  Kerri has also authored a number of publications addressing land and water conservation and community sustainability issues in the Sierra Nevada. 

Personal Highlights

Kerri and her husband John live in the foothills of the western Sierra Nevada, where they enjoy hiking, biking, boating, camping and hosting backyard barbeques for friends and family.

Chelsea Walterscheid

Program Manager


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Phone: 530.582.4800

Chelsea Walterscheid

Program Manager

 SBC Chelsea Walterscheid ProfilePic 2017 07

Chelsea is a new member of the Small Business Development Center.  Not new to the needs of small businesses, Chelsea worked with the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association, helping to promote local businesses as well as working on beautification projects and infrastructure improvements in Historic Downtown Truckee. She helped produce many successful fundraisers for the TDMA, including managing Truckee Thursdays.  Chelsea loves to show off Truckee's historic charm, so she is proud of her work producing a large, successful event right in the heart of her hometown.

Personal Highlights:


Chelsea was born and raised in Truckee and has always been passionate about Truckee's unique history.  She is a twenty + year volunteer with the Truckee Donner Historical Society, ran the Old Jail Museum for many years, and puts together the annual Old Timers' Picnic. Chelsea and her husband, John, have two teenagers who keep the family busy as members of the Truckee High Trap Shooters Club, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts.

Kristin York

Vice President of Business Innovation


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Phone: 530.582.5022

Kristin York

Vice President of Business Innovation

Kristin leverages her 20 years of experience in strategic planning, finance, operations, marketing, training, and business transformation to assist businesses in the Sierra thrive economically while understanding their environmental and social impact.

Kristin’s life work is focused on creating a more sustainable, equitable economy. Through her work with Cutting Edge Capital and Sustainametrics, she deeply engaged with mission driven clients to design alternative financing strategies and climate action plans for local governments and businesses. Previous experience includes Marketing Manager for Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, Lean Manufacturing Director for Hexcel Corporation and Senior Manager at Andersen Consulting where she specialized in financial and operational restructuring, strategic business planning, crisis mitigation, and advising businesses in their return to financial viability. Kristin is also a Professor of Sustainable Urban Development and Implementation of Sustainable Business at Presidio Graduate School and dedicates time to two of her passions, recreation and food by serving as Board Chair for the Truckee Donner Parks and Recreation District and on the Board of the Tahoe Food Hub.

Personal Highlights

More than anything in the world, Kristin loves spending time with her family, exploring, traveling, cooking and just generally laughing. She finds her zen in the outdoors trail running, backcountry skiing, mountain biking and dipping into remote alpine lakes.