Board Member Biographies

Cathy Rivera

Born and raised in Sacramento, CA, Cathy was inspired by her first experience of Earth Day (1971) in Davis, CA. She helped to establish two community stores, the Sacramento Natural Foods Coop, and the Chico Natural Foods Coop, and she then joined a work collective that ran a natural foods business and lived communally. After three years struggling to go “back to the land,” she returned to college to study plant science (UC, Davis, BS and MS degrees). She retired from a 25-year career in plant cell biology that included starting and running her own plant biotech company, Summit Plant Labs.

She has pursued an encore career in music therapy since 2003 (Colorado State University, Master’s in Music). While a music therapist in Austin, TX, she served as board member and officer of the Capital Area Parkinson’s Society for 2 ½ years. She enjoys organic gardening, outdoor adventures, music, and the beauty of the Central Coast with her husband and grandchildren.

Laurie Eavey
Vice-President for Local Action Group Coordination

Laurie moved permanently to Monterey in 2015 after living part-time in her second home in Pacific Grove since 1995.  Laurie has a B.S. in Systems Analysis and Business and an MBA.  Her career has been spent with software companies HP and Adobe Systems where she held a variety of management, executive, and professional roles in a number of functions; Customer Support, Human Resources, Marketing, Executive Education, and IT.  Her role before retirement as a Business Solutions Analyst brought to bear her skills in working in cross-functional teams and database technologies to develop efficient processes and systems.  Outside of work, she is most comfortable in the kitchen, cooking and preparing food.  Her passion for the environment was sparked in reading books and participating in a ‘Be the Change’ environmental awareness program.  She went on to attend an intensive permaculture design two-week course during her work sabbatical.  Laurie is Co-chair of Sustainable Monterey aiming to apply her passion, skills, and experience in business systems, food, and permaculture practices to address the multi-faceted challenge of climate change and protecting our planet.

Matt Hess

Matt’s long history in non-profit and corporate management has allowed him to serve proudly as CSMC’s Treasurer since 2018. More recently, his deep curiosity and fascination for our natural environment have led him back into academia. He currently studies giant kelp as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in pursuit of his MS at Moss Landing Marine Labs, working part time as a scientific diving instructor. He is deeply honored to have the privilege to serve his community by facilitating CSMC’s enormous local impacts.

Catherine Crockett

A native of Texas, Catherine moved to the Monterey area in 1998.  She retired in 2013 after 32 years in Information Technology and now devotes much of her time to volunteering for several nonprofits.  She joined Sustainable Seaside in 2009 and has served as chair since 2016. Catherine received a B.A. in Business Computer Information Systems from Midwestern State University in Texas and an Associate of Arts in Computer Science from Long Beach City College.  She has held the position of board president for the Monterey Peace and Justice Center since 2015.  She joined Veterans For Peace, Chapter 46 as an associate member in 2017, and currently serves as board secretary.  She also publishes the digital Weekly Peace Calendar, a project of the Peace Coalition of Monterey County.  She enjoys gardening, listening to music, exploring Fort Ord National Monument trails, and applying her professional skills to causes she’s most passionate about — a healthy planet, social justice, and nonviolence.

Robert Frischmuth

Robert is a founder of CSMC, and has focused on volunteer work for over 20 years. Currently he is a tour guide for California State Parks at the Point Sur Lightstation and is a docent at the Point Pinos Lighthouse. He served two terms on the Sanctuary Advisory Council of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS).

Robert draws from a broad industrial R&D background in the energy and electric power industries: Program manager, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) (15 years) – Section Manager; Occidental Petroleum (8 years) – Research Engineer, Shell Development Company (5 years) – Chief Engineer, Plastonium, Inc. (1 year) – Rocket Scientist, NASA, Lewis Research Center (6 years).

He received his M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and his B.S. from Case Institute of Technology. He is a member of the Sierra Club, the American Cetacean Society, Save Our Shores, the United Nations Association of the USA, and Friends of Moss Landing.

Ellen Gannon

Ellen first joined sustainable organizations upon returning to the U.S. in 1994. After living in Japan in the 70′s and Hong Kong, China, and Tibet from 1985-1994, she began to understand food as medicine, health, and life, and dependent on the quality of air, water, and soil, balanced with sunlight. Her volunteer efforts are focused on restoring balance to our planet, the relationship to nature, and ensuring the perpetuation of our planet for future generations.  She is a member of the Sustainable Carmel Steering Committee, Central Coast Sanctuary Alliance, CERT certified volunteer, Sustainable Pacific Grove Community Garden, Monterey Peninsula Volunteer Service, Women’s Council of Realtors, NAR, CAR, MCAR, Professional Women’s Network, the American Massage Therapy Association, and the Zero Balancing Health Association.

Robin Lee

Robin has a background in geology, residential construction, archeology, wastewater plant operations and urban and regional development with an emphasis on the community participation and community outreach components of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. (NPDES). She has done extensive bicycling including commuting, courier, and touring. She has successfully pushed for the inclusion of a bicycling green way to be included in the future growth area of the City of Salinas. She has also been involved in obtaining state funding for a restoration project on Santa Rita Creek managed by the Central Coast Wetlands Group. She is a founding member of Sustainable Salinas and Salinas Neighborhood Council.

She is currently directing the Santa Rita and Bolsa Knolls Watershed Group to bring awareness to the needs of the urbanized areas of the Santa Rita Creek Watershed. This group conducts community projects that include community native plant garden installation at Santa Rita Park, annual Santa Creek Fair, storm drain stenciling, and other project s to demonstrate best practices for property owners to prevent pollutants from entering the creek and for creating native plant habitats. The group also aims to develop community environmental activism through its projects.

She has a B.SC. in Geology with minors in anthropology and biology, Masters in Regional and Urban Planning.

Karen Anderson

Karen moved to Marina in 2019 after a lengthy career in Women’s Health with Kaiser Permanente in the SF Bay Area. Eager to leave the years as a lab biologist behind, Karen quickly found her way into the local sustainable living scene. Long interested in non-toxic, natural, and minimal-waste living, the programs held by the Monterey Bay Aquarium (where Bea Johnson spoke, and Sustainable Seaside recruited for a zero-waste grocery and household goods coop), and Plastic-Free Sustainable Pacific Grove were appealing. Karen also became involved in the local songbird banding project, the Marina Tree and Garden Club, the local chapter of the CNPS and native plant nursery, while converting her 1296 sq. ft. front yard to a CA native plant habitat, becoming involved with Citizens for Just Water, and, finally, a volunteer with the MBA as a Sea Otter field tracker (trading the microscope for a spotting scope). With a lengthy background in environmental activism, including newspaper drives with her 4-H club, running the campus Ecology Center recycling program at CSU Fresno, signing up Fresno households for curbside recycling, participating in CA Native Garden and Urban Homesteading tours, and completing the Permaculture Design Certificate, Karen is enjoying being a part of this vibrant community.

Tom Ward

Tom retired and moved permanently to the Monterey Peninsula in 2012 after a 30 year career in management positions in the computer hardware industry. Tom holds a B.F.A. degree from Drake University and a MBA from Golden Gate University. He serves on the Board of Land Watch Monterey County. He is on the Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency (SVBGSA) Advisory Committee and Saltwater Intrusion Working Group. Tom volunteers at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve and is an avid hiker with the Monterey Bay Area Hiking Group.

Carol Kaplan

Carol is a native Californian who has lived on the Monterey Peninsula for the last 44 years.  Her interest in the environment began when her daughter was born on the first Earth Day. She has a BA from Stanford University in English Literature, an MA from Antioch University in Clinical Psychology, and an MA from the Franciscan School of Theology in Theology.  She has worked as a high school teacher, a Marriage and Family Therapist, and as a retreat leader. She volunteers as a Master Gardener, a member of Sustainable Del Rey Oaks, the chair of Care for Creation (a group she began at San Carlos Cathedral), voter registration chair for the League of Women Voters, and as a literacy tutor.

Susan Myers

Susan is a relatively new resident of Monterey County. She moved with her husband to Pacific Grove from the Bay Area in early 2020 and has never been happier. Susan is an attorney and spent her career practicing real estate law. In her professional life, she was involved in the “greening” of her employers’ properties (LEED certification, solar energy, wetland protections, charging stations, etc.). Newly retired, Susan is now able to use her experience in efforts to protect the local environment.  Aside from serving on the Board of CSMC, she is a member of Sustainable Pacific Grove and the Pacific Grove Community Garden. In addition, she volunteers at Meals on Wheels and Second Bloom.