Dean's Council

The Dean’s Council was created to support, promote, and guide the Bren School in its quest to become the most outstanding school of its kind in the nation, while also serving as the primary conduit between the school and the community at large. The Council holds three informative, action-oriented meetings per year, one each during the fall, winter, and spring academic quarters. It also sponsors the Breakfast Club, which meets quarterly at the University Club in Santa Barbara for sessions that are open to the invited public.



Dennis AllenDennis Allen, Chair
Dennis Allen is chairman of the board of Allen Construction, a general contracting firm specializing in environmentally friendly custom residential building. The company has won 27 awards from the Santa Barbara Contractors Association for the quality and beauty of its projects, and is the only firm to have received has received the Builder of the Year Award multiple times, in 2000, 2003, and 2004. It has also received the Green Builder of the Year Award six times, and has earned a Green Business Award from the County of Santa Barbara.

A number of its projects have been featured in national publications, and two have earned National Chrysalis Awards. Several years ago, Remodeling magazine honored Allen Construction as one of the top 50 remodeling companies in the country.

Mr. Allen is active in community organizations, including serving as the President of the Board of the Community Environmental Council and as a board member at the Museum of Natural History. For the past ten years, he has served as a consultant on the County of Santa Barbara’s Innovative Building Review Committee, which encourages energy efficiency and sustainable practices in building projects within the county.

Diane BossDiane Boss, Ph.D.
After completing a Ph.D. in social psychology, Diane worked as an Organization Development Consultant for Corning Glass Works in Corning, New York and later for Scallop Corporation in New York City. She created and managed Scallop’s first affirmative action plan. She also worked for Scallop on transfer of technology to developing countries, making films on such projects in Nigeria and Oman. In addition, she wrote educational film scripts on business subjects for McGraw-Hill.

In London, England, where Diane lived for many years, she was one of the founding board members of the Handel House Museum. The house where George Frideric Handel lived for most of his life, where he wrote “Messiah” and where he died, was restored and developed into a now thriving museum.

After moving to Santa Barbara in 2000, she served for many years on the board of the Community Environmental Council (CEC). Afterwards, she established a CEC Board of Directors emeritus group, holding regular meetings of past board members. She is also a member of CEC’s President’s Council. Diane sits on the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Diane and her late husband endowed the Vonk Chair in Environmental Politics in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara in affiliation with UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science.

Brigitte BrenBrigitte Bren
Brigitte Bren is an attorney who co-founded International Strategic Planning, Inc., a business consulting firm, in 1992. She has served as “of Counsel” to the law firm of Arter and Hadden, with an area of emphasis in international affairs and entertainment law, and she was Vice President of International Marketing for Mark Goodson Productions.A graduate of Loyola Law School and the College of Honors at UCLA, Ms. Bren has been a director and member of the Audit Committee of Ambassadors Group, Inc. since 2001. She is a trustee of the California Institute of Technology, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Think Together. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the Hoover Institute at Stanford University and on the Advisory Committee of the Los Angeles Universal Preschool Master Plan.

Tim CohenTim Cohen
Tim Cohen is a Vice President of AECOM, a fully integrated infrastructure firm that operates in 150 countries. Tim serves as a Senior Program Manager and has been involved in a wide range of projects, including power generation and transmission, oil & gas development, site assessment and remediation, CEQA and NEPA analyses, and coastal zone permitting for industrial facilities. Previously at URS Corporation, Tim served as the Regional Operations Manager for the Central Coast area, the Client Account Manager for several key national energy clients, and the National Power Business Line Leader. Tim also serves as the chair of Bren's Corporate and Foundation Partners program.

James Brenton ("Brent") DehlsenJames Brenton ("Brent") Dehlsen

Brent Dehlsen is cofounder and CEO of Ecomerit Technologies, which focuses on investments in Clean Technology industries. Ecomerit’s key areas of interest include marine energy technologies, distributed generation, and energy efficiency. He cofounded Clipper Windpower in 2001 and managed the growth of the Company as COO until 2008 and is currently a non-executive Board Member. At Clipper Mr. Dehlsen was responsible for leading all of the operational activities, including technology development and testing of the Liberty 2.5 MW turbine, establishment of manufacturing and assembly facilities, development of the supply chain, and manufacturing startup with production and deployment of the first 230 turbines, totaling 575 MW. Mr. Dehlsen also had operational responsibility for the project development activities which involved assembling an 8,500 MW wind resource portfolio. Additional operational responsibility included initial turbine sales and administrative coordination of the Company’s IPO.

In 1997, Mr. Dehlsen founded Dehlsen Associates, a research-and-development organization specializing in renewable-energy technologies, and is now again leading Dehlsen Associates, which originated and patented the DGEN drivetrain used in Clipper turbines. Mr. Dehlsen is founder and president of Avianda, LLC, which is utilizing an efficient panelized building systemto develop and construct sustainable residential properties in Mexico. Mr. Dehlsen currently serves on the Board of Directors for Northstar Wind Towers and on the Board of Trustees for Dunn School. He worked previously at Zond Corporation, where he was responsible for assessing and reporting production for 2,500 wind turbines, heading plant operations and maintenance, and commissioning new facilities. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State University and his master's in business administration from the University of San Diego.

Charles EckbergCharles Eckberg
Active in real estate since 1975, Mr. Eckberg has managed the 15,000-acre Hollister Ranch Owners Association residential development and served as a Senior Trust Real Estate Officer for Security Pacific Bank and the Bank of America. Among his personal projects, he created the nationally recognized Rancho San Marcos Public Golf Course, and as vice-president of Investec Real Estate Companies from 1994 to 2009, he planned and entitled environmentally progressive residential and commercial developments.

In 2004 Mr. Eckberg joined the Advisory Board of Sea Breeze Power Corp. and was elected a company director in June 2006. Sea Breeze Power Corp. is a publicly traded Canadian corporation developing wind farms and high-efficiency transmission lines in Canada and the western United States. In 2009 he established MettaEnergy, a consulting company promoting renewable-energy strategies.

Mr. Eckberg has advocated for society’s conversion to renewable-energy technologies for nearly 30 years. As a director of Get Oil Out!, an internationally recognized NGO originating from the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, he successfully sought greater transparency regarding the energy sector and controls over offshore oil development in the Santa Barbara Channel.

In other NGO activities, he spent 13 years as a director and three years as president of Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council, a prominent think tank focused on recycling and the development of renewable-energy policies, strategies, and projects. Mr. Eckberg has also been a director of Santa Barbara’s nonprofit Sustainability Project, which raises community awareness regarding sustainable building design, land use, and resource issues. As a member of the Gaviota Study Group, he represented landowner and environmental interests in proposing land-use protection policies for the Gaviota Coast.

Mr. Eckberg received bachelor degrees in economics and political science from UCSB in 1970. He was honored in 1992 as a Local Hero for his community activism and leadership in establishing Earth Day as a Santa Barbara institution.


John Jostes
John Jostes is a practicing mediator and facilitator specializing in complex environmental and public-policy issues. John has contributed to numerous local and national dialogues, including those related to homelessness, the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Plan, the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation, and endangered species issues throughout California. He has helped parties from all levels of business and government to negotiate agreements over land use policies, public finance, and wetland restoration, to name a few. Locally, Jostes has served on the boards of the Community Environmental Council, The Sustainability Project, and the Southern California Mediation Association. He also served on the Leadership Council and as national co-chair of the Environment/Public Policy Section of ACR. He is a recipient of the Sharon M. Pickett Award for Environmental Protection through Conflict Resolution from the 6,000 member Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR). The award recognizes 'significant and important contributions to environmental protection over the length of one's career'.

Early in his career, John founded Interface Planning and Counseling Corporation, the first locally owned environmental planning firm in Santa Barbara County. As an entrepreneur, planner and mediator, John provided internships to nearly seventy students at UCSB. During the 1980’s, John conducted pioneering research into the environmental accountability of elected officials that resulted in mitigation monitoring being incorporated into the California Environmental Quality Act (AB 884). He attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he received a Master in Public Administration degree.

John has taught negotiation, leadership and project management courses at Bren since 2004. Early in 2017, he represented the Bren School at a convocation of educators from universities in the U.S. and Canada to build a bi-national leadership organization for graduate students in the climate and energy sectors. Over his career he has also served in leadership positions with the Santa Barbara City Planning Commission and other task forces and public and private sector committees.

Kim KimbellKim Kimbell
Charles D. (Kim) Kimbell is a founding partner of the Santa Barbara law firm of Allen & Kimbell, LLP, a medium-size firm specializing in real estate matters, estate planning, general business, and litigation relating to those fields. He has been active in many civic organizations that are involved with improving the local environment.

He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Community Environmental Council and its president for five years; he has served on the Santa Barbara City Downtown Waterfront Visioning Process, and was co-chair of the Committee for Santa Barbara, an ad hoc group formed to help implement the vision for the waterfront. He was also acting chairman of the Gaviota Coast Study Group, a group of diverse local residents working on a locally controlled plan for the long-term preservation of the Gaviota Coast.

Mr. Kimbell received his bachelor of arts degree from Washington and Lee University in 1964 and his juris doctorate degree from Indiana University in 1967. His service in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps included one year of active duty in Vietnam. He is married and has three sons.

John KristJohn Krist
John Krist is the CEO of the Farm Bureau of Ventura County, where he is responsible for managing staff, daily operations, and finances. He recommends policy to the organization's Board of Directors, implements board directives, and represents the interests of the membership at legilsative and regulatory hearings. He also serves as the organization's liaison with the news media, as well as with numerous community organizations and groups.

Before joining the Farm Bureau in February 2008, Mr. Krist worked for 24 years as a reporter, editor and Opinion-page columnist at the Ventura County Star, a daily newspaper in Southern California. During that time, his commentaries on land-use policy, natural resources and environmental issues were distributed by Scripps Howard News Service and published in newspapers throughout the United States. His work has also appeared in California Planning & Development Report, a statewide newsletter for land-use and public policy
experts, and Planning, the magazine of the American Planning Association.

Mr. Krist is the author of three books about California’s parks and wilderness areas, as well as Voyage of Rediscovery, based on his experiences retracing the Lewis and Clark trail. He also has contributed to books on urban renewal and wildfire policy. His most recently published book is Living Legacy: The Story of Ventura County Agriculture. He also has served as a conference organizer, panelist, discussion moderator and lecturer, on subjects ranging from American history to land use and natural-resources policy. Mr. Krist holds a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he graduated in 1980 with high honors. He is a member of the Ventura County Economic Development Association Board of Directors, the UC Hansen Advisory Board, and the Advisory Board for the Henry L. “Hank” Lacayo Institute for Workforce & Community Studies at California State University Channel Islands.

John Onderdonk John Onderdonk

John Onderdonk serves as Director of Sustainability Programs at the California Institute of Technology, where he is responsible for strategic planning to improve environmental performance in the areas of energy, climate, water, waste, supply chain, transportation, and building infrastructure.

Prior to joining Caltech, Mr. Onderdonk worked in the environmental risk management field, serving as Southwest Regional Manager for AIG Environmental, where he developed liability transfer programs for brownfield redevelopment clients. John has also worked as an environmental consultant, helping corporate clients to integrate sustainability into their business practices and address environmental regulations.

Mr. Onderdonk holds a Master of Environmental Science degree, with a specialization in Corporate Environmental Management, from the Bren School (2003) and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Economics from the University of Oregon. He is a Certified Carbon Reduction Manager, a LEED Accredited Professional and a member of the 21st Senate District's Sustainability Advisory Council. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Oregon Alumni Association.

Lindene PattonLindene Patton
Lindene Patton is the Global Head of Hazard Product Development for CoreLogic. In this role, she leads development and research analytics for natural hazard and climate-risk products and solutions.
Ms. Patton also serves on numerous government and non-governmental advisory boards, including the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Financial Advisory Board, the Bureau of National Affairs' monthly publication Environmental Due Diligence Guide, and the US EPA Environmental Technology Verification Program. She is a member of the Low Carbon Finance Initiative and a Steering Committee Member for the Forest Carbon Finance Initiative of the World Economic Forum.

Ms. Patton is an attorney licensed in California and the District of Columbia and an American Board of Industrial Hygiene Certified Industrial Hygienist. She holds a bachelor of science in biochemistry from the UC Davis, a Master of Public Health from the UC Berkeley, and a juris doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law.

Lynn ScarlettLynn Scarlett
The former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior is currently Managing Director for Public Policy at The Nature Conservancy. She became Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2005 after having served four years as the Department's Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget. She served as Acting Secretary of the Department for two months in 2006. Ms. Scarlett initiated Interior's Cooperative Conservation Task Force in 2002 and chaired the Department's Climate Change Task Force. She is author or co-author of recent publications on climate change adaptatio, urban greening, large-landscape conservation, offshore oil issues, science and decision making, and ecosystem services. She serves on the National Research Council Sustainability Linkages Committee and its U.S. Global Change Research Program Committee. She received her MA in political science from UCSB, where she also completed her PhD coursework and exams in political science. Scarlett is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Hiking Society. She also serves on the board of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the National Parks and Conservation Association, and on the boards of the nonprofit environmental mediation organizations RESOLVE and the Consensus Building Institute. She is a trustee emeritus of the Udall Foundation.

Das WilliamsDas Williams
In November 2016, Das Williams was elected to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. He previously spent five years in the California Assembly, representing the 37th Assembly District, which includes over half of the County of Santa Barbara and nearly a quarter of Ventura County.

He was previously elected to the Santa Barbara City Council in 2003, where he led the successful effort to ensure that 34 percent of the city’s energy would come from renewable sources by 2012, while also fighting to preserve open space, keep oil wells out of coastal waters, and expand public transit to reduce traffic and pollution.

In addition to his service on the Santa Barbara City Council, Mr. Williams has been an active participant in numerous community endeavors.  He served for years as a community organizer for CAUSE, a Ventura based nonprofit, and headed the group’s efforts to stop a proposed big-box retail development in Ventura.  Always the education advocate, Williams also served as a Trustee of Peabody Charter School. Until his election, Williams served as a national board member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and taught at Antioch University in Santa Barbara.

Prior to his public service, Mr. Williams worked as a junior high school teacher, as well as a legislative aide to California State Assemblymember Hannah Beth Jackson, also of District 35.In the California Assembly, Mr. Williams focuses on reforming the state budget process to ensure that California children have access to a world-class education, repairing the state’s dysfunctional health-care system, and protecting the environment, primarily through reducing California's ’s reliance on oil and coal.

A Bren School alumnus, Williams holds a Master of Environmental Science & Management degree (2005), with a focus on water pollution, planning processes, and land-use law .

Mel WillisMel Willis
Visiting Lecturer Mel Willis has more than 25 years of experience as a professional environmental planner.

Having entered the Bren School’s Master’s program as a mid-career professional, Dr. Willis graduated in 1999, then entered the doctoral program and received his Ph.D. in Environmental Science & Management in 2003. He also holds a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from California State University, Fresno.

Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Dr. Willis was Vice President for Environmental Sciences and Planning Services with Fugro West, a subsidiary of Fugro NV, an international engineering, environmental, and geotechnical consulting firm. In that position, he supervised the provision of environmental services to government and industry in the western United States, and served as the principal-in-charge of a project office in Moscow, the Russian Federation. Dr. Willis’s experience includes major environmental projects throughout the U.S., Russia, South America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

In addition to serving on the Bren School Advisory Board and Dean's Council, Dr. Willis also serves on the city of Ventura's Historic Preservation Committee and the Central Ventura County Fire Safe Council. He is a past director of the California Association of Environmental Professionals.


Emeritus Dean's Council Members

Jim BoydenJim Boyden

Jim Boyden, is a management consultant and investor in energy and other areas. He served as Director of Energy and Environment Programs at Vulcan, Inc, the investment and project-management company founded by Paul G. Allen. In that role from 2000 to 2009, Dr. Boyden proposed, evaluated, and managed environment- and energy-related investments and grants. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of a Vulcan investment company dedicated to producing clean, low-cost energy without greenhouse gas emissions. Before joining Vulcan, Dr. Boyden was senior vice president at Interval Research Corp., an independent R&D firm financed by Allen, and prior to that, he made significant contributions to computing technology as Laboratory Director at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, where he headed the innovation of the inkjet and laser printers. Boyden received his BS and MS degrees in Physics from Carnegie-Mellon University and his PhD in Physics from Caltech. He has more than 25 patents to his name. As an extension to his career, Dr. Boyden has become a professional photographer. He is a resident of Ojai, California.