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.

 

Michelle Bassard 

Vice President, Finance & Operations


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Phone: 530.582.4800

Michelle Bassard

Vice President, Finance & Operations

As the VP of Finance & Operations, Michelle is responsible for the overall financial management of the organization including accounting, audit, reporting, financial planning and analysis, and human resources.  Her career spans more than 20 years of varied financial management experience across multiple industries with corporations in various stages of growth.

Prior to joining SBC in 2018, Michelle held previous Controller roles with Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization providing affordable housing to families in need and Crawford Oil Inc., a large fuel distributor as well as senior-level positions with Maverick Aviation Group and CB Richard Ellis where she specialized in cash management, streamlining financial and procedural policies, creating and monitoring accountability systems, and improving financial sustainability, productivity, and growth.

Michelle holds an MBA in Finance from Louisiana State University. 

Personal Highlights

Michelle finds her zen through reading, meditation, and spending time with her family.

 

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.

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.  

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 

Government and Community Affairs Director


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Phone: 530.582.4800

Brittany Benesi 

 

Government and Community Affairs Director

Brittany Benesi is the Government and Community Affairs 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 seven 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.

 

Carissa Bradley

Civic Spark Climate Fellow 


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Phone: 530.582.4800

Carissa Bradley

Civic Spark Climate Fellow 

Carissa Bradley is a CivicSpark Climate Fellow at Sierra Business Council for the 2019-2020 service year. CivicSpark is an AmeriCorps service program of the Local Government Commission dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change, water management, housing and more. Over the course of 11 months, Carissa will assist SBC activities in building climate and energy resilience for rural communities in the Sierra Nevadas. Carissa is a native Sierra Nevadan from Loyalton, CA. She graduated in May 2019 with her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and minor in Public Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno. During her time at Nevada, Carissa was heavily involved in student clubs and organizations and served as student body Vice President her final year. She has also interned for an environmental nonprofit dedicated to restoring Walker Lake, a desert terminal lake on the Western border of Nevada. It was through these experiences that Carissa found her passion for public service and nonprofit work.

 Personal Highlights

Carissa can be found spending time with her friends and family, enjoying the many recreational opportunities of the Sierra, including floating the Truckee River, fishing at some of the most beautiful lakes or camping at one of the incredible fire lookouts. Carissa’s family has lived in the Sierra Valley for seven generations, which makes the opportunity to give back to the community that raised her extra special. Carissa can be found spending time with her friends and family, enjoying the many recreational opportunities of the Sierra, including floating the Truckee River, fishing at some of the most beautiful lakes or camping at one of the incredible fire lookouts. Carissa’s family has lived in the Sierra Valley for seven generations, which makes the opportunity to give back to the community that raised her extra special.

 

Jessica Carr

Associate Director - SBDC


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Phone: 530.582.5022

Jessica Carr

Associate Director - 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. 

Simone Cordery-Cotter

Climate Analyst

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Phone: 530.582.4800

Simone Cordery-Cotter

Climate Analyst

 

Colorado born and raised, Simone Cordery-Cotter got her start in corporate marketing and public relations, where she worked as an account manager for an advertising agency and was the North America public relations director for an international performance brand. After 5 years in the for-profit industry, she looked longingly across the fence at the non-profit, cause-driven industry, and sought out AmeriCorps' CivicSpark program as a way to learn more about the role of small governments and non-profits collaborating to combat global climate change on a local scale. Working with Sierra Business Council on the Sierra CAMP initiative and on Climate Planning and Energy strategies, Simone is thrilled to be a part of something vital, growing, and grassroots, and wants to help save the world, all while serving the triple bottom line. She's thrilled to be staying on with SBC after her service year, acting as program manager for Sierra CAMP and serving as a vital part of the Government Affairs team.

Personal Highlights

As long as it's outdoors, Simone is content doing it, whether it's biking, running, backpacking, snowboarding, or dog-walking. She loves obscure movies, and talking shop with craft brewers. She's very proud of the fact that she ran her first two half-marathons in 2018, and has gone skydiving despite a crippling fear of heights. On a regular Saturday, she can be found walking in the woods with her dog Freya, and working on some kind of functional art project.

 

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! 

 

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.

Jill Sanford

Communications Manager

 

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Jill Sanford 

Communications Manager 

 

A storyteller at heart, Jill is a communications catch-all, specializing in copyediting, content marketing, social media, public relations and crafting narratives for the digital world. She brings clarity and creativity to her work, often condensing complex topics into clear, concise stories. She is a big-picture thinker and excels at seeing connections and areas of overlap.

Outside of her role at SBC, Jill is a nationally published journalist with a passion for the outdoors. The granite slopes and crystalline waters of the Sierra ground her, giving her purpose both professionally and personally. Now based in Truckee, Jill is originally from the Sierra Nevada foothills and has an appreciation for this region that extends past outdoor recreation to the region’s quirky small towns and salt of the earth mentality.

Jill has an English degree (with an emphasis in Rhetoric) from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. When she’s not spinning stories, she either has her nose in a book or is on a trail in the mountains above Truckee with her dog June.

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.

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.

Leslie Williams 

Sierra SBDC Outreach Coordinator

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Leslie Williams 

Sierra SBDC Outreach Coordinator

 

A longtime SBDC consultant, Leslie became an inhouse member of the Sierra Business Council's team in the spring of 2020 to better serve local businesses and entrepreneurs of the Sierra. In her role with the Sierra SBDC, she brings expertise to clients in access to capital, general business, financing, loan readiness, accounting, recordkeeping, and business plan development. Leslie specializes in general business consulting for small businesses looking to grow, as well as assisting entrepreneurs looking to start a new business with strategy and structure. In addition to her work coaching small businesses, Leslie works as the Outreach Coordinator for the SBDC, expanding awareness to potential clients all over the region. Leslie has a 30-year history in banking, most specifically as a Small Business Administration ("SBA") lending programs Business Development Officer.