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Board of Directors
We are led by an experienced volunteer Board of Directors, which includes experts in international conservation, salmon research and management from Russia, Canada, and the United States.
Mitch Zuklie, Chairman
San Francisco, California
Mitch Zuklie, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the law firm Orrick, is a seasoned business and legal advisor. He counsels innovative companies at all stages, as well as their founders, boards, advisors and investors, and has been named one of the top ten Most Innovative Lawyers in North America by Financial Times.
Mr. Zuklie serves on the board of Fisker Inc., as a Trustee of his alma mater Bowdoin College, and on the advisory board of and several non-profits dedicated to inclusion and innovation in the legal profession. He also serves as chairman of the board of Wild Salmon Center.
A passionate fly angler, Mitch has a lifelong interest in conservation. See our profile of Mitch Zuklie.
John W. Childs is the Chairman of J.W. Childs Associates, L.P., a private equity and special situation investment firm founded in 1995, currently focusing on life science, real estate and consumer brands investments.
Previously, Mr. Childs was Senior Managing Director of the Thomas H. Lee Company from 1987 to 1995, where he had broad responsibilities for originating, analyzing, negotiating, and managing leveraged buyout transactions, such as Snapple and General Nutrition Company.
Prior to that Mr. Childs held various executive positions in the investment area at the Prudential Insurance Company of America, ultimately serving as Senior Managing Director in charge of the Capital Markets Group. He is currently a Director of Realm, LLC, a premium Napa wine company, Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, Pyramid Biosciences, OMAX Health, VeraDermics and Basin Holdings. Prior to their sale, he was Chairman of the Board of Kosta Browne, Sunny Delight and CHG Healthcare Services.
Mr. Childs is also on the board of Delta Waterfowl, Waterfowl Research Foundation and Wild Salmon Center, focusing on wildlife conservation. Mr. Childs has a B.A. from Yale University and a M.B.A. from Columbia University. See our profile of John Childs.
Tatiana Degai, Ph.D.
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Dr. Tatiana Degai is an Indigenous scholar from Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. She is a member of the Council of Itelmens “Tkhsanom,” based in Kovran, Russia, and a Postdoctoral Scholar with the ARCTICenter at the University of Northern Iowa’s Department of Geography in the United States.
She received her Ph.D. through the University of Arizona’s American Indian Studies program, with a focus on language revitalization. She earned her MA at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working within the Department of Anthropology on issues of religiosity among Indigenous peoples of Kamchatka and sacred places.
Dr. Degai’s research interests are concentrated around Indigenous knowledge systems and Indigenous visions of sustainability. These include Indigenous knowledge and biocultural diversity, cultural landscapes and technology, language revitalization and technology, and Indigenous education. She also works on issues pertaining to Indigenous youth in urban and rural contexts. See our profile of Tatiana Degai.
Rocky Dixon co-founded Endeavour Capital in 1991. Since that time, he has worked with companies in the retail, business services and manufacturing industries. Rocky serves on the board of the Bi-Mart Corporation and was previously a Director of Deschutes River Broadcasting, Lone Star Plywood and Door, and Michaels of Oregon. Mr. Dixon additionally serves on the boards of El Aero Services, Adventure Funds, Beef Northwest, and Oregon Health & Science University.
Prior to co-founding Endeavour, Mr. Dixon spent six years as the West Coast Director for Earl Kinship Capital, a diversified equity investment company that specialized in real estate, technology startups, and oil and gas exploration. He is also the Chairman of the Kinship Trust Company. In 1983, Mr. Dixon co-founded Support Technologies, Inc., a computer-test equipment company. He received a B.S. from the University of Oregon. He has two sons and currently lives with his wife in Asotin, Washington.
Eagle River, Alaska
Rick Halford is a lifelong Republican who served for nearly 25 years in the Alaska State Legislature. He retired as Senate President in 2003. He was an Alaska State House Representative from 1978-1982, and an Alaska State Senator from 1982-2002, during which time he served multiple terms as both Senate Majority Leader and President.
As a commercial bush pilot, he launched the Halford Guide Service and served as owner and operator of the Susitna Lodge and Flying Service. From 1968-1975 he was a member of the Alaska Air National Guard.
Former State Senate President Halford is well-respected for his role as a political leader in Alaska. And with about 10,000 hours in the air over Alaska as a commercial pilot and big game hunting guide, Mr. Halford has a 54-year view of Alaska’s incredible values in renewable and nonrenewable resources. He is an avid outdoorsman, and now spends his time working to protect Bristol Bay fisheries. He and his wife Rona have three daughters and three sons.
San Francisco, California
Loretta Keller began her San Francisco culinary career at Jeremiah Towers’ revolutionary Stars. She opened Bizou in 1993, and transformed the concept and menu in 2005 into COCO5OO, a San Francisco Chronicle “Top 100” restaurant. In 2009 she garnered a James Beard nomination for Best Chef California/Pacific region.
In 2008, Chef Keller partnered with Charles Phan of The Slanted Door to launch the Moss Room Restaurant and the Academy Cafe at the California Academy of Sciences. Since selling COCO5OO in 2014, she has focused on developing educational programs, such as through her partnership with the Exploratorium and SEAGLASS Restaurant. CUESA, Street Smart, Share Our Strength, Meals on Wheels, Food Runners, and Tibetan Aid are among her charity interests.
Chef Keller was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, raised in Los Angeles, and has a literature degree from the University of California Santa Cruz. She has a lifelong passion for the natural world and enjoys fly fishing, hiking, hunting, and foraging. See our profile of Loretta Keller.
David E. Kelley
Santa Monica, California
Multi award-winning writer/producer David E. Kelley is the mind behind some of America’s most groundbreaking and distinctive television dramas that address contemporary issues such as social justice, diversity, and privilege. He is the creator of the Emmy, Peabody and Golden Globe Award-winning shows “Big Little Lies”, “Boston Legal,” “The Practice,” and “Ally McBeal,” the critically acclaimed dramatic series “Boston Public,” “Chicago Hope,” and “Picket Fences.”
Before venturing into the world of entertainment, Kelley was an attorney practicing law in Boston. While still a lawyer, he wrote the feature film “From the Hip,” which earned the attention of “L.A. Law” co-creator Steven Bochco. He joined “L.A. Law” as a writer in 1986, quickly climbing the ranks to producer. Mr. Kelley has gone on to create over twenty television series, credited with writing over 500 episodes.
Born in Waterville, Maine, Kelley graduated from Princeton University in 1979, where he served as captain of the hockey team. He received his law degree from the Boston University School of Law in 1983. Kelley’s background in law has greatly influenced his storytelling and ability to create thought provoking television that resonates with viewers across the world. Kelley also has a large interest in wild fish conservation, which led him to found the sustainable aquaculture company Riverence, which has fourteen land-based trout and trout-egg farms across Idaho and Washington State.
Steven G. Kohl is a retired Russia-East Asia Branch Chief with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He served in many capacities over the course of his long career in government service, with the USFWS as well the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the former U.S. Information Agency.
As Eurasia Branch Chief of the USFWS’s International Conservation Division from 1996-2017, Mr. Kohl was responsible for negotiating and administering essential bilateral agreements and overseeing annual exchanges of U.S. and foreign scientists to learn from each other and achieve conservation goals.
Following his 38-year USFWS career, Mr. Kohl has remained active in conservation work, volunteering at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Russia’s Lake Baikal Nature Reserve and Central Siberian Botanical Garden. Kohl is an optimist, seeing in his work to build bilateral cooperation among biologists and ecologists an example of partnerships that transcend politics for the larger work of salmon and wildlife conservation. See our profile of Steven Kohl.
Kirill Kuzishchin, Ph.D.
Dr. Kirill Kuzishchin is a fish biologist and professor with Moscow State University, where he has taught and researched since 1988. His major scientific activity includes the study of the morphological and genetic diversity in brown trout, Salmo trutta, from the watersheds in the White Sea region.
Since 1994, he has worked with the international Kamchatka Steelhead Project. Additional major projects include serving as science coordinator for the joint Russia-U.S. project Salmonid Rivers Observatory Network (SaRON), focused on studying the linkages between riverine geomorphic complexity, salmonid rivers productivity, and fish diversity. Since 2011 he has served as senior research scientist for a Russian national project on fish diversity in the Lower Volga region.
Dr. Kuzishchin is a member of the Editorial Board of the Russian Journal of Ichthyology as well as at the angling magazines Fisherman and Elite Fisherman. He holds a Master of Science, a Ph.D., and a Doctor of Science in fish biology from Moscow State University.
Ray Lane is an American business executive specializing in technology innovation in data science, machine learning, foodtech and information strategies. Mr. Lane is best known for a “go to market” overhaul of Oracle Corporation in the 1990s, which led to a ten-fold increase in revenues and a 65X increase in market valuation. He is cited as being the catalyst for Oracle turnaround in the 1990s, establishing the platform for Oracle’s remarkable growth since then.
Mr. Lane is currently a Managing partner at GreatPoint Ventures, a firm he co-founded. GPV invests in early-stage technology companies innovating in Enterprise Data Strategies, Personal Wellness and Digital Health. He is also a partner emeritus at Kleiner Perkins, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley where he was a Managing Partner for 14 years.
He has served as the chairman of the board of trustees at Carnegie Mellon University, and led the institution’s capital campaign to establish a Silicon Valley campus in 2002. He has also served as Chairman of the Hewlett Packard Corporation where he continues to serve on the board of HPE. Mr. Lane’s philanthropic interests include work in higher education, the Special Olympics and cancer research. See our profile of Ray Lane.
Nate Mantua, Ph.D.
Santa Cruz, California
Dr. Nate Mantua leads the Salmon Ecology Team at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Santa Cruz, California. From 1995-2012, Dr. Mantua worked at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he co-directed the Climate Impacts Group.
In 2000, Dr. Mantua received NOAA’s Presidential Early Career Award for his work on the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and its impacts on Pacific salmon. He has served on multiple national and international scientific advisory panels, including the Royal Society of Canada’s Expert Panel on Climate Change and Oceans, the National Research Council’s panel on Alaska Stellar Sea Lions and the Groundfish Fishery, and the Pacific Salmon Commission’s Fraser River Sockeye Panel.
Dr. Mantua grew up in Bodega Bay, California, earned a B.Sc. in atmospheric sciences from the University of California Davis, and a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Washington. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Institute for Oceanography in a project focused on seasonal climate forecasting. His passion for the ocean, salmon, and steelhead guides his research, service, and recreation activities. See our profile of Nate Mantua.
Nikita Mishin is a Russian entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a passionate fly fisherman since his first trip to Kamchatka in 1997.
Mr. Mishin received a degree from the Philosophical Faculty of Moscow State University in 1993. In April 1996, he and his partners founded the N-Trans Group, a large investor in transportation infrastructure. He is a co-owner of Globaltrans Investment PLC, a leading private group operating in the Russian freight rail market, founded in 2004 and listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2008. He is also involved in various international investment projects in high tech, real estate, and biotechnology.
Mr. Mishin is active in various charity programs, and founded the charity foundation Dar (which translates to “gift” in English) to enhance access to modern educational programs for children. In September 2017, Dar’s New School opened its doors to 600 children. Mr. Mishin is married with three children. See our profile of Nikita Mishin.
Under Mr. Rahr’s leadership, Wild Salmon Center has developed scientific research, habitat protection and fisheries improvement projects in dozens of rivers in Japan, the Russian Far East, Alaska, British Columbia and the US Pacific Northwest, raising over $100 million in grants, establishing eight new conservation organizations, and protecting three million acres of habitat including public lands management designations and eight new large scale habitat reserves on key salmon rivers across the Pacific Rim.
Mr. Rahr earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Oregon and a Masters of Environmental Studies from Yale University. Before coming to the Wild Salmon Center, he developed conservation programs for Oregon Trout, the United Nations Development Programme, the Rainforest Alliance and Conservation International. Mr. Rahr is a member of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Salmon Specialist Group, and is a passionate fly fisherman and fly tyer. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, Lee, and their three sons. Learn more about WSC President Guido Rahr.
Andrea Reid, Ph.D.
Dr. Andrea Reid is a citizen of the Nisga’a Nation and an Assistant Professor with the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries.
She is helping to launch and lead the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries, working to build a national and international hub for the study and protection of culturally significant fish and fisheries. Her research program adopts highly interdisciplinary and applied approaches to improving our understanding of the complex interrelationships between fish, people and place.
Dr. Reid holds a B.Sc. in Environment and a M.Sc. in Biology from McGill University. Dr. Reid’s PhD in Biology from Carleton University centered on multiple stressor effects on Pacific salmon, using tools and insights from Western and Indigenous sciences in tandem.
Dr. Reid is a cofounder of Riparia, a Canadian charity that connects diverse young women with science on the water to grow the next generation of water protectors. She is also a National Geographic Explorer and a Fellow of The Explorers Club. See our profile of Andrea Reid.
Mary Ruckelshaus, Ph.D.
Dr. Mary Ruckelshaus is the director of the Natural Capital Project and a Senior Research faculty at Stanford University. She has also led the Ecosystem Science Program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. Before that, she was an assistant professor of biological sciences at Florida State University. The main focus of her recent work is developing ecological models including estimates of the flow of ecosystem services and changes in human wellbeing under different management regimes around the world.
Dr. Ruckelshaus serves on the Wild Salmon Center Board, and the science council of The Nature Conservancy, and is a past trustee on its Washington Board and worldwide Board of Directors. She also has been a member of the United Nations’ High Level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy, and is a past chair of the Science Advisory Board of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and of COMPASS. She was Chief Scientist for the Puget Sound Partnership—a public-private institution charged with achieving recovery of the Puget Sound terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.
Dr. Ruckelshaus has a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University, a master’s degree in fisheries from the University of Washington, and a doctoral degree in botany, also from Washington. See our profile of Mary Ruckleshaus.
Ilya Sherbovich is a Russian investor and fly-fisherman. He is the founder, president and managing partner of UCP Investment Group, the owner of the Ponoi River Company, and a member of the Supervisory Board of the Russian Salmon Association.
From 1995 until he joined UCP in 2007, Mr. Sherbovich was one of the largest shareholders and the President of United Financial Group (UFG), a leading Russian investment bank which was acquired by Deutsche Bank in 2006. From 1994 to 1995, he served on the Capital Markets Surveillance Unit of the Russian Federal Commission on Capital Markets. He began his career in 1992 with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) office in Moscow.
During his career Mr. Sherbovich served on the boards of directors of several major Russian companies including Sberbank, Transneft, Rosneft, FSK (Federal Grid Company), and Uralmash Drilling Equipment. Mr. Sherbovich holds a degree in Economics and Business Management from the Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Ivan Thompson is a fellow at University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies where he works in close association with the Polis Project on Ecological Governance. From this platform he researches and supports collaborative efforts to safeguard wild salmon watersheds in British Columbia, advising a variety of regional conservation initiatives, biodiversity funders and associated intermediaries.
Ivan was employed 2007-2017 as a program officer for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Wild Salmon Ecosystems Initiative, and then oversaw the associated Pacific Salmon Watersheds Fund at MakeWay (Tides Canada) Foundation for five years. Earlier, he worked on successful campaigns to protect the Great Bear Rainforest, safeguard the Skeena watershed and estuary from industrial development, and double British Columbia’s protected areas network.
Ivan began his professional life as a counselor and educator, culminating in the roles of Regional Director and Dean of Education at Northwest Community College. He holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Economics from the University of London, an M.Ed. in Counseling from University of Victoria, a B.Ed. in Outdoor and Experiential Education from Queens University, and a B.A. in Psychology from McMaster University. He currently resides in Victoria, Canada.
David K. Welles
David “Deke” Welles is a trustee of the Wetlands America Trust, the foundation arm of Ducks Unlimited. A life-long water fowler, he is a member of the Winous Point Shooting Club of Port Clinton, Ohio, the oldest duck club in North America. He serves as president of the Winous Point Marsh Conservancy and Waterhen Lodge duck club in Manitoba, is an advisor to the Black Swamp Conservancy, and is a member of the Castalia Trout Club and the Anglers’ Club of New York.
Mr. Welles retired as chairman of Therma-Tru Corp upon its sale to Fortune Brands in late 2003. During his career, he was a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, served on the boards of the Homebuilding Community Foundation and the National Building Materials Distributors Association, and chaired the Policy Advisory Board to the Harvard Joint Center on Housing Studies.
He is a former director of the Chief Executives Organization, a former trustee of Phillips Exeter Academy, the Toledo Community Foundation and Toledo’s Center of Science and Industry. He graduated cum laude from Yale in 1974 and resides in Vero Beach, Florida. See our profile of David Welles.