Board of Directors
Sandy Buechley, President
Business Intelligence Manager, Patagonia, Inc.
Sandy moved to her home in Ojai in 1964, raising her two now grown sons who attended local schools including Monica Ros, San Antonio, and Nordhoff. They and their families remain frequent visitors to the Ojai home of their childhood and they all have a passion for the outdoors, the mountains, trails and beauty of the Ojai Valley and for their current homes in the mountains of Colorado and Utah. Sandy and her late husband, George, shared a deep appreciation for the work of the OVLC and have been friends and supporters for nearly ten years. While her children were young, Sandy managed the business office for Monica Ros School and later assisted in establishing, building and managing the Ojai Valley Racquet Club (now known as the Ojai Valley Athletic Club). Sandy has spent the last 30 years as a manager in both Finance and Information Technology at Patagonia, where there is a strong shared commitment to environmental, community and social responsibility.
Meredy Benson Rice
Director of Teaching & Learning, Oak Grove School
Originally hailing from Canada and the U.K., and drawn by her interest in Krishnamurti and his unique vision for education, Meredy moved to Ojai in 1993 with her three children so they could attend Oak Grove School. She has worked in many capacities for the school over the last 23 years, including residential counselor, HS English teacher, Director of High School, and Head of School. Meredy has served on the boards of Oak Grove School, Krishnamurti Foundation of America, Ojai Valley Community Hospital Foundation, California Association of Independent Schools, and Ojai Art Center. Now part of a blended family, she and her husband Dennis feel tremendous gratitude to have been able to raise their five, now grown, children and young granddaughter amongst the natural beauty of the Ojai Valley. An avid hiker, and lover of all things outdoors, as well as a long time supporter of the OVLC, she is delighted and honored to be able to serve on the board and do everything possible to conserve, preserve, and protect the special gift of this beautiful valley.
A recent resident of Ojai, Bill has been coming to the Valley for over thirty years. When he sold his business in Boulder, he had the opportunity to finally move to Ojai. After a forty year career in animal welfare, Bill still supplies custom vehicles of all types to organizations who work on behalf of animals. Bill maintains a summer home in the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York (on Cayuga Lake) and a cabin in Colorado. Bill is an avid hiker and trail volunteer for both OVLC and USFS and is committed to preserving as much open space and recreational areas as possible.
Retired Business Executive, Equestrian
Having been interested in the protection of environmental resources all her life, and an active OVLC member and volunteer, it was natural for Stefanie to re-join the board after 2 years away. If you have been at OVLC events, you have likely enjoyed some of Stefanie’s creativity and dedication. Born and raised in Germany, she came to Ojai to be with her sweetheart Willi, an airline pilot, now her husband. Stefanie brings two valuable assets to the OVLC, a degree and career in business and a passion for the outdoors. She especially loves riding her horse and hiking on the Ventura River Preserve which she is lucky enough to call her backyard. She has been instrumental in watching over the VRP on our behalf.
Roger Essick, Secretary
Avocado Grower and Orchard Manager
Roger Essick, an Ojai resident and avocado and citrus farmer for 36 years, returned to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy Board of Directors after a year off. Roger served as board President during his previous term and has a long history with the OVLC after having served several times on the board since the beginning days. Roger has enjoyed raising his family of two grown children and four grandchildren in the Ojai Valley and looks forward to helping to preserve Ojai’s natural places for generations to come. He lives on the east end of Ojai on a large avocado ranch with his wife Pat, a Topa Topa school teacher, who shares his love for the Ojai Valley.
Martha has held senior management positions in manufacturing and retail organizations for the last 30 years, most recently as CEO of Griplock Systems. She previously served as CFO of Patagonia, Chief Accounting Officer of Lucky Brand Dungarees, Director of Finance and Administration of Rampage Clothing Co/Rampage Retailing, and Senior Auditor with Price Waterhouse Coopers. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Accounting from Cal State University, Northridge. She has held Board positions with the Outdoor Industry Association and the Womens Leadership Council, and was a former advisor to the Marketing Committee for the City of Ojai. She has lived in Ojai for the last decade, where she is an avid hiker.
Marketing, Patagonia Inc.
Jim was born in Port Hueneme, grew up in Santa Barbara and has lived in Ojai since 1995. Both his wife, Tina, and daughter, Callie, were born at Ojai Valley Hospital. Jim works as a writer/editor in the marketing department at Patagonia, developing copy for the outdoor clothing company’s many mediums. He came to Patagonia in 1998 from the world of weekly newspapers, where he spent a decade covering everything from general plan updates to coastal erosion, as well as planning, editing and producing papers. Jim loves mountain biking and spends a lot of his recreational time riding Ojai trails. He has great love and respect for the natural world, which to him means not only getting out to enjoy it, but also doing what he can to preserve and protect it.
Don Reed, Treasurer
Retired Teacher and Headmaster
Don initially taught in New England but moved to Ojai with his family in 1970 to The Thacher School. At Thacher he taught physics and astronomy, served in several administrative positions, coached gymkhana, and lead backpacking trips in the Sespe backcountry. Don left Thacher in 1985 and became headmaster at four independent schools during the next twenty-one years, one each in Illinois, California, Colorado and Virginia. In 2008 he and his wife Susan fulfilled a life-long dream to return to Ojai for their retirement. Don maintains his interest in education and board governance by serving as treasurer of the Monica Ros School and chair of the scholarship committee of the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of Ojai Educational Foundation.
Larry Rose, Vice President
Both Larry and his wife Lisa Larramendy are from fourth generation Ojai families. Larry’s affinity for the natural surroundings of Ojai Valley began with exploring Sulfur Mountain where his family lived. Larry has been active in conservation in Ventura County for 30 years as a leader on a number of County Supervisor committee’s on conservation policy development. Larry is recognized internationally for his expertise in avocado and citrus where he spent his career. Larry, Lisa and son Peter are all active volunteers supporting the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy.
Though originally from San Diego, Sarah lived in Alaska for twelve years before moving to Ojai. An attorney by training, Sarah has clerked for both the Superior and Appellate Courts of Alaska and has practiced criminal defense for seven years. She, her husband, and two boys moved to Ojai so they could be in a small mountainous town yet also be closer to family. Sarah has been involved in her childrens’ school, many local non-profits, and helped start and organize the Telluride Mountainfilm festival in Ojai as a fundraiser for OVLC. In her free time, she loves to hike, run, camp, and be outdoors as much as possible.
Owner Artistry in Motion, Inc.
Roger has lived in the Ojai Valley for the past 20 years, moving here from Los Angeles with his wife, Kathy. All three of their children have been locally grown and educated in the Ojai Valley. Roger’s background is in business administration and investing. In his free time, Roger enjoys hiking, freediving, surfing, and spearfishing. In addition to serving on the Board at OVLC, Roger also serves as a Trustee for Monica Ros School.