To Our Ojai Community:

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we recover from the damage from the Thomas Fire on our trails. In the coming months trails will likely open and close depending on rain and changing trail conditions. Click here for current information and trail notifications »

Board of Directors

Roger Essick, President
Avocado and Citrus Farmer

The Board of Directors is pleased to welcome Roger as board president. An Ojai resident and avocado and citrus farmer for 46 years, Roger has enjoyed raising his family of two grown children and four grandchildren in the Ojai Valley. He lives in the east end of Ojai on a large avocado ranch with his wife Pat, a retired Topa Topa school teacher, who shares his love of the Ojai Valley. Roger has a long history with the OVLC after having served several times on the board since it was founded in 1987, including as a past-president. He looks forward to helping to preserve Ojai’s natural places for generations to come.


stefanie-coeler

Stefanie Coeler, Vice President
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.


Bret Bradigan, Secretary
Editor and Owner of the Ojai Quarterly and Ojai Monthly

Bradigan’s first job was gathering medicinal herbs — ginseng and goldenseal — in the hardwood forests of western New York. His first writing job was as a reporter for the Kern Valley Sun, in the southern Sierras, where he worked 10 years, the last 7 of those years as editor and publisher.

He’s also been reporter, editor and publisher of the Eastern Arizona Courier, Copper Era, Douglas Daily Dispatch, Sierra Vista Herald and the Ojai Valley News. As a journalist, Bradigan has won 7 national awards and 30-plus statewide awards for features, columns, investigative journalism, general excellence, and sports writing.

As publisher of the Ojai Quarterly, Bret has encouraged his team of writers and photographers to explore every aspect of Ojai culture and its connections to the world, from the Blacklist era, Ojai in the 1960s, the Ojai railroad, Wheeler Hot Springs, the founding of AARP, Edward Libbey’s architectural masterpieces and many more. Bradigan is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast — hiking and fishing foremost among those pursuits.

Before becoming a journalist, Bradigan was a 6-year Air Force veteran, stationed at RAF Mildenhall, England. He is the past president of the Rotary Club of Ojai, past-president of the Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce, secretary and trustee of the Ojai Museum, and a co-founder of Ojai Wordfest. He is the father of Andrew (Andy) and Elizabeth (Betsy) Bradigan.


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Martha Groszewski, Treasurer
Management Consulting

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 Women’s 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.


Bill Brothers

Bill Brothers
Retired businessman

A retired business owner and former teacher with over 45 years dedicated to animal welfare advocacy, Bill studied International Development at Cornell University. He maintains a summer home and forest land in the Fingerlakes region of upstate New York. He put conservation and trail easements on land he owned in the Colorado Rockies and is a strong advocate for permanent preservation of land for climate protection and recreation. Bill is an active hiker and volunteer, helping to build and maintain our Ojai trail system.


Sandy Buechley
Business Intelligence Manager, Patagonia, Inc.

Sandy has spent the last 36 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. An Ojai resident since 1964, many summers spent in Jackson Hole and the Grand Teton National Park and daily life with the natural beauty of the Ojai Valley led to a deep appreciation for the mountains and the outdoors.   Sandy’s years with Patagonia and her work on the Board of Directors of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy have been expressions of her desire to help preserve our beautiful natural environment and facilitate recreational opportunities in the outdoors. Sandy, with her late husband, George, shared a deep appreciation for the work of the OVLC and she has been a friend and supporter for over fifteen years. While her children were young, Sandy managed the business office for Monica Ros School and later played a key role in establishing, building and managing the Ojai Valley Racquet Club (now known as the Ojai Valley Athletic Club). 


Phil Moncharsh
Attorney

Mr. Moncharsh has been an Ojai resident since 1980, was one of the very first OVLC Board members ( 1987-2000), and served as President of the OVLC from 1987 through 1994, leading it from inception through infancy to take-off. Mr. Moncharsh has been a practicing attorney for some 45 years now, in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara. He is a longtime member of the American, California, Southern California, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, and Los Angeles County Trial Lawyers Associations and Bar Associations, and has served as a Judge Pro Tem, Arbitrator, Mediator, and Settlement Master for the Superior Courts in Santa Barbara and Ventura.

Phil is a 1970 graduate of Yale University and received his J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law in 1973. He is a past President of the Yale Club of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties, and has in the past served in an advisory capacity with the Sierra Club, Committee for Environmental Education, Ventura County Agricultural Land Trust, Citizens for Responsible Government, Ojai Music Festival and Ojai City Council, among other organizations.

After taking time to raise his two now-adult daughters, and to begin winding down his legal career, it is Phil’s honor and privilege to re-join the OVLC Board of Directors.


Tonya Peralta
Real Estate Broker

As a 4th generation Ojai native, Tonya has been surrounded by and has enjoyed Ojai’s open spaces her entire life. After completing her degree in Business Administration/ Finance, she began working as a corporate district manager for News America Marketing in their advertising division. About 20 years ago, she took a different path as a real estate appraiser, which eventually led to her current position as a real estate broker. Tonya and her husband of 22 years, John, raised both of their boys in the Ojai Valley. In addition to her role on OVLC’s board, she serves on the Board of Realtors in Ojai, and has a passion for animals, travel, and being outdoors. As a huge fan of the OVLC, Tonya is honored to serve on the board.


Don Reed

Don Reed
Director
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 led 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 has maintained his interest in education, financial management of non-profits, and board governance by serving on the board of directors of a variety of local organizations including, Monica Ros School, Rotary Club of Ojai Educational Foundation, and Help of Ojai.  


Larry Rose

Larry Rose
Retired Nursery Manager

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 over 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.


Lu Setnicka
Human Resources Consultant & Business Coach

Lu Setnicka, a 30+ year resident of Ojai, owns her own human resources (HR) and organizational development consulting firm, Setnicka Consulting. Clients utilizing her services span a variety of industries in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. In addition, Lu serves as adjunct faculty in the MBA programs at both CSUCI and Gonzaga University, and is an Executive/Leadership/Career Coach with Burlington, VT-based FromWithin Coaching. Lu is currently on the Board of Directors of Maine-based Johnny’s Selected Seeds and served 6 years on the Board of Directors for the outdoor industry’s Camber Outdoors.

Formerly the Global Director of HR for Patagonia, Inc., she led all of the company’s global HR-related responsibilities, including recruitment/staffing, employee relations, benefits, employee development, compensation, training, payroll and internal corporate communications.  

Before Patagonia, Lu spent fifteen years working for the National Park Service in national parks throughout North America, including Yosemite, Everglades, Grand Teton and Hawaii Volcanoes. She has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management from Antioch University, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and is a certified Career, Executive and Life Coach with the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara.

Lu enjoys anything outdoors. A runner for 35 years before her knees started complaining, she now focuses her time hiking many of OVLC’s trails, enjoying fly fishing trips in the Pacific Northwest, and spending time with her family.


Sarah Sheshunoff
Attorney/Event Planner

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 children’s 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.

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