Staff and Board


Kara Heckert, Executive Director
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Kara has successfully administered several million dollars in competitively sought state, federal, and local government grants over the last 6 years. Kara provides oversight for all of the RCD's programs and grants, and builds partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies, local non-profits, landowners, and commodity groups throughout Sonoma County. Kara has had over 13 years of experience working in the field of natural resource management and has a strong background in on-farm conservation planning, habitat enhancement, and restoration project management in watersheds throughout Sonoma County. She authored the “Stewardship Guide for the Russian River Watershed” and “Management Tips to Enhance Land & Water Quality for Small Acreage Properties : Laguna de Santa Rosa Watershed.” She previously worked at the Sotoyome RCD as Restoration Project Manager implementing erosion control, habitat enhancement, and watershed planning and outreach projects for the Fish Friendly Farming, Arundo donax removal, and Rural Road Improvement Programs.  Kara also worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service as the Russian River Soil Conservationist working with dozens of landowners on conservation planning and project implementation.

Becky Tillman, District Administrator
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Becky Tillman began working with the RCD in December 2011. She grew up in Sonoma and her family raised their own beef and spent a lot of their time gardening. Becky reared bummer lambs as 4-H projects and,as an avid equestrian, rode and showed her Quarter horse on trails and in horseshows all around Northern California. She graduated from Sonoma Valley High School and continued her education at Sonoma State University. Becky's love for Sonoma Valley prompted her to apply for the District Administrator position at the RCD where she was drawn to utilizing her extensive administrative skills working in an environment that promotes conservation and contributing to the cause.

Alicia Moss, Project Coordinator
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Alicia Moss started with the RCD in April of 2012. As Project Coordinator, she >works on various programs offered through the RCD including the Water Resource Management Program, LandSmart and the Levee Permit. Alicia enjoys working collaboratively with staff, landowners and partners to conserve the County's natural and economic resources. She was born and raised in Sonoma County and graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2007 with a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection with a concentration in Watershed Management and Hydrology. Alicia brings nearly four years of RCD experience as Program Specialist with the RCD of Santa Cruz County before relocating to Sonoma County. In her free time Alicia enjoys sports, camping, and traveling.

Alison Malisa, Education Manager
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Alison began working with the SSCRCD in July of 2012 to manage the Agricultural and Environmental Education Program. Alison is a credentialed teacher in the state of California, and has worked internationally on environmental and agricultural education programs for over fifteen years. Her interest in the relationship between healthy lands and communities is what drove her to earn a Master of Public Health after serving two years in the Peace Corps. Before the RCD, she initiated a training program in international agroecology, guiding walks through the family farms of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Alison is delighted to continue this exciting work in her home of Sonoma County and is honored to work with the RCD's many amazing partners to provide students off all ages an opportunity to be stewards of the land. When not at work, Alison teaches Spanish and raises two sons and a variety of animals with her husband- having outdoor adventures as much as possible!

Board of Directors

Delmar Friedrichsen, President

Delmar was born and raised in Petaluma. He took over his parents' poultry (Friedrichsen Egg Ranch) and sheep ranch, producing eggs and lambs. Delmar's family is involved in agriculture and assists him with the ranching; his grandson attends Cornell University. He also serves as a board director for Two Rock Fire Department.  Delmar is currently the president of the Board of Directors and has served as a director for 10 years.

Garry S. Mahrt, Vice President

Garry was born, raised and resides on a farm in Petaluma.  With a B.S. in Agricultural Science and Management from UC Davis and a M.S. in Animal Breeding from Virginia Tech, he continued a career in agriculture and has farmed sheep and cattle since 1987, dairy farmed since 1997 and has been an agricultural consultant since 2002. Garry is a Certified Rangeland Manager, former President of North Bay Wool Growers Association, 1996 recipient of the Outstanding Young Farmer Award and member of the California Pacific Section of the Society of Range Management. He enjoys the ecology and systems aspects of farming and believes soil and water are the driving forces of ecological systems and farmers are the working ecologists. Garry joined the board of directors in February 2012.

Patricia (Tish) Ward, Director

Tish resides in Glen Ellen, CA. Since 1984 Tish has worked in ranch development (horse ranches, cattle ranches, vineyard development) as ranch manager and grape grower for Atwood Ranch in Glen Ellen. She has served as president of Mayacamas Fire Department Board. Prior to 1984 Tish worked in marketing and public relations for BART. Tish has served on the SSCRCD Board of Directors for over 20 years and previously served two terms as president.

Tom Scott, Director

Tom was born and raised in Petaluma. He is a third generation owner of Scott Ranch where wine grapes are grown and cattle are raised. Tom's father was one of the founders of the Southern Sonoma County RCD. Tom has served on the Board of Directors for over ten years and also served as board president.

Vickie Mulas, Director

Vickie was born, raised and resides in Sonoma Valley. She is the CFO for Mulas Dairy Company and Alta Vista Vineyards Inc. and the Managing Member of Alta Vista Vineyards, LLC and Mulas Family Farms, LLC. Vickie’s education was in business law and with 37 years as a CFO she has acquired advanced knowledge in finance. As a partner in the family dairy and vineyard operations, she has firsthand knowledge of the importance in maintaining water quality and conservation practices. Vickie is the most recent appointee to the Board of Directors.

Associate Directors
Wendy Eliot

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