The American and Canadian Commissioners
Michelle Connor (USA Co-Chair)
Michelle Connor is Executive Vice President of Strategic Enterprises at Forterra, leading innovative projects that link landscape conservation to the creation of livable communities to ensure a sustainable region. Connor has long provided leadership on national, regional and state-wide natural resource and community issues. Over the past 18 years with Forterra, Connor has served in a range of capacities, including: serving as Chief Program Officer, leading complex community negotiations, launching Forterra’s stewardship program, and managing the creation of the Cascade Agenda strategic plan. Connor is currently facilitating an effort among the landowner, county, multiple state agencies, two tribes and concerned citizens to conserve nearly 7,000 acres of prime forestland and 2 miles of shoreline near Port Gamble in Kitsap County. Among Connor’s most notable successes is King County’s recent $36 million dollar acquisition of 250-acres and one mile of Puget Sound shoreline on Maury Island that was subject to a controversial gravel mining proposal. A third-generation Washingtonian, she holds an M.S. from the University of Washington’s College of Forest Resources and a B.A. from the Evergreen State College. Connor grew up on Budd Inlet and enjoys getting outdoors whenever she can.
Re-appointed in July, 2012
Leo Bodensteiner (Commissioner)
Leo Bodensteiner has a Ph.D. in Zoology, emphasizing Fish Ecology, Behavior, and Physiology. Since 1994, he has taught at WWU in Huxley College of the Environment. Classes range from environmental survey courses to specialized courses in aquatic ecosystems and fish ecology. He also instructs a capstone course in environmental impact assessment for seniors at Huxley. During the past nine summers he has taught a flyfishing/stream ecology course that enrolls both university students and community members. Since 2008 he and his students have spent a part of each summer in North Cascades National Park with Park Service professionals, assessing alpine lakes as well as the Skagit River reservoirs.
Appointed July, 2012
Rob Smith (Alternate)
Rob Smith works in downtown Seattle as the Northwest Regional Director for the National Parks Conservation Association. NPCA is a national non-profit organization whose focus is on protecting and supporting America’s national parks for future generations. A major part of the NPCA Northwest program is to preserve and enhance the North Cascades ecosystem, one of the wildest and largest natural landscapes remaining in the Lower 48 states.
Rob’s earlier career involved 32 years with the Sierra Club as a senior manager and team leader addressing air quality and border-lands conservation in the US Southwest. He lived in both Oregon and Washington growing up, and graduated from high school in Seattle. Rob and his wife currently live on Bainbridge Island, and the family has always enjoyed hiking, camping and watching wildlife in parks and other wild outdoor places.
Appointed in June, 2016
Jennifer Watkins (Commissioner)
Ms. Watkins holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the UW College of Forestry. She has worked for several years for area non-profit organizations involved in natural resource conservation and education. Ms. Watkins lives in Seattle and is currently employed by Conservation Northwest, tracking issues in the Wenatchee and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests. She is on the Board of the Municipal League of King County and has volunteered with a variety of local groups.
Re-appointed in August, 2012
Gerry Cook (Commissioner)
Gerry Cook is a recently retired, senior employee at North Cascades National Park, having worked on Ross Lake since before the park's creation in 1968. He is an accomplished artist and naturalist with a passion for backcountry tales and wilderness preservation. Gerry captained the 30-foot Ross Mule, an open-decked boat that shuttles students and trail crew workers alike, Gerry loves the lake as much as the high country. From 1970-72, he served as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak, Copper Ridge and Sourdough Mountain, respectively.
Appointed in August, 2012
Jim Davis (Commissioner)
Jim Davis is Executive Director of the North Cascades Conservation Council. For 16 years, he has developed and managed several not-for-profit organizations addressing conservation and public health issues, including several years as co-director of the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project. Jim has coordinated research on knowledge and attitudes of both recreational visitors and local residents regarding wildlife management, forest and road management, and grizzly bear recovery. Jim received MS and PhD degrees in entomology from the University of Missouri and University of California at Berkeley.
Appointed in September, 2011
Shaun D. Hollingsworth (Canadian Co-Chair)
Shaun Hollingsworth is a former Quality Insurance Inspector for Telus. Within his community, he is the Vice President of Finance for the BC Wildlife Foundation and a Director for the BC Conservation Foundation. In addition, he is a Board Member of the Salmon Enhancement Advisory Board, Sport Fishing Advisory Board, North Shore Stream. Mr. Hollingsworth is also the past President of the North Shore Fish and Game Club.
Re-appointed in November, 2011
Elizabeth (Liz) Johnston (Alternate Commissioner)
Elizabeth Johnson is currently the Interim Director of Marketing for Perkins+Will and the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CrossPoint Strategies.
Previously, she was a Communications Consultant for Ledcor Construction Limited and the Director of Government Affairs West for Newalta Corporation, an oil recovery and recycling company. Ms. Johnson was also the Regional Marketing Manager (BC and Pacific Northwest US) for Stantec Consulting, the Program Manager for BC Hydro Power Smart.
Active in her community, she is a member of the BC Environmental Industry Association, the Zajac Ranch Foundation and past Co-Chair of the Canada Green Building Council. She was also a member of the Westcoast Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Advisory committee. Ms. Johnson completed the Private Public Partnerships program at the University of British Columbia, the Social Media and Engagement program at Simon Fraser University and an Executive Leadership Development program at Simon Fraser University.
Appointed in December, 2014
Nancy Wilkin (Commissioner)
Nancy Wilkin is the head of the Office of Sustainability at Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC. Nancy has a long history in the public sector, most recently as Assistant Deputy Minister for Environemental Stewardship with the BC Ministry of Environment. Prior to that, Nancy was a treaty negotiator. Nancy also serves with the Child & Nature Alliance of Canada as a Director and as a Director of the BC Board with Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Appointed in November, 2011
Thomas Curley (Commissioner)
Thomas Curley, M.M.M., C.D., is the Director of Human Resources for the Layfield Group with operations in Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, California, Texas, North Dakota, China, and Australia. Holding a Bachelor of Arts and Certificate of Business from the University of Windsor, he is also a Certified HR Professional (CHRP). Concurrently, as a member of the Canadian Reserve Forces, he is a Regional Liaison Officer with Joint Task Forces Pacific; a cooperative operational role with the Provincial Emergency Program, and senior member of the Royal Canadian Navy’s regional construct for Western Canada.
Mr. Curley is a corporate officer for a law firm in the Vancouver area, and volunteers as a guest lecturer, mentor and coach for emerging business and Human Resource students from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia Institute of Technology and the BC Human Resources Management Association.
Appointed in February 2012
Gail Ross (Commissioner)
Gail Ross is a Seasonal Instructor at the University of Northern British Columbia where she teaches Environmental Interpretation in the Outdoor Recreation Management Program. Previously, Ms. Ross worked for BC Parks as a Regional Planning and Resource Officer, Provincial Interpretation/Education Project Manager, and as the Visitor Services Coordinator for both the Fraser Valley and Manning Park Districts of BC Parks.
Active in her community, a member of the Park Elders Council and volunteer BC Parks archivist, co-chair of the Conservation Committee for the BC Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and the founding member of the Youth Naturalist Club of Prince George. Gail has taught environmental education at UNBC and is doing volunteer work with Thailand National Parks. Ms. Ross holds her Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of British Columbia and her Diploma in Outdoor Recreation Management from Capilano University.
Re-appointed in April, 2014
From time to time there are vacancies on the Commission. In Canada, see "Apply Online Now" to be considered for future Canadian SEEC Commissioner opportunities. In the US, contact Seattle City Light via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .