A native of California, Ann grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Sierra. Living in the Sierra gave Ann her passion for the outdoors and open space. She attended Stanford University where she earned degrees in Math and Computer Science. Her early work was as a computer scientist doing Artificial Intelligence research. She then moved into industry, first programming and then as a manager at Adobe Systems.
Ann and her husband Lou retired and moved to San Luis Obispo in 1994. Here they both volunteered their time for local organizations. Because of their love for the local community and the local environment, Ann and Lou established an Environmental Award at the Community Foundation in San Luis Obispo. That award has since evolved into a grant given annually for local environmental work. Ann has a variety of interests and has served on several boards, including the Community Foundation, the SLO Children’s Museum, Opera SLO, the Women’s Legacy Fund and SLO Village.
Pat is a native Californian and has lived on the Central Coast since 1982 after moving from the Central Valley. He is an avid trail runner, backpacker, skier, pilot and beginning sailor. He enjoys the many trails and open spaces San Luis Obispo County and the Sierra have to offer. Pat is currently the local Los Padres Division Director for PG&E serving San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Kern counties. Pat has worked with PG&E for over 25 years in power generation, government relations and customer service. Pat is an active volunteer in the community and serves as an elected trustee for Cuesta College. In addition to the Land Conservancy, Pat serves on the boards of SkillsUSA CA, the Cal Poly Corporation, the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Forecast of San Luis Obispo County. Pat holds a master’s and bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly and lives in San Luis Obispo with his spouse Laura. Together they have three children, now in their twenties, and have hosted seven foreign exchange students that they also consider family.
Jim Grant is a native Californian and has lived on the Central Coast since 1978 after moving from the northern California town of Chico. Chico is home to Bidwell Park, a massive park of 3,670 acres, nearly 11 miles long, making it the third largest municipal park in California. This amazing park shaped Jim’s views regarding the value of public open space in and around urban areas. Jim has served on The Land Conservancy’s Land Committee and Governance Committee since 2018. He joined the Board in 2019.
Jim worked for San Luis Obispo County for 33 years. His last three years before retirement he served as the County’s top executive and helped lead the county out the great recession. He is an active volunteer in the community. Jim was a member of the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo and served on the Board of the Directors of the Homeless Foundation. He is a graduate of San Luis Obispo’s Leadership SLO and was a facilitator of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Jim has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Services from California State University, Chico.
Jim is an avid mountain biker, hiker, sailor, gardener and traveler. He is also a third-degree black belt in Kenpo karate. He lives in San Luis Obispo and has two grown children.
Jim retired as President/CEO of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Supply Company, a 2700 member agricultural supply cooperative located in San Luis Obispo, having served a total of 52 years with the Cooperative. Upon his retirement, he was appointed as an Outside Director to the Board of Directors, and is currently serving in his second term.
Jim served twenty years as an appointed Outside Director of Farm Credit West, a 6 billion dollar Agricultural Credit Association. He has subsequently served on the board for several other banks, financial institutions, and economic forecast and impact projects. He served for 29 years, on the Cal Poly College of Agriculture Advisory Council, and also served two full terms as a member of the Cal Poly Corporation Board of Directors. He served three full terms as a member of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County.
Jim has been named SLO Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, Santa Barbara County Agribusiness Person of the Year, and SLO County Agriculturalist of the Year. He is an active Rotarian and past President of the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo and served as Vocational Services Director for Rotary District 524.
In addition, he serves our community in several other educational, youth, law enforcement, and non-profit service organizations and has received local, state, and national recognition for his efforts.
Roger has been working in environmental protection since 1972. He earned a BS and MS in Civil Engineering (Environmental), at U. C. Berkeley, and is a Registered Civil Engineer. Roger worked for the Central Coast Regional Water Board, whose Vision is “Healthy Watersheds.” This work included many land conservation projects with LCSLO and other conservancies as well as work on marine preserves, fish migration barrier removal projects, and rangeland practices to improve degraded riparian habitat. Currently, Roger serves on several LCSLO committees and chairs the Governance and Nominating Committee.
Roger enjoys sailing and racing and is working on a new Small Boat Program with the aim of getting younger people out on the water (the ocean is a vast natural open space!). He also teaches/coaches to improve other’s sailing and racing skills. With his wife Marney and several dogs and horses, Roger lives in Nipomo, and they have five children and six grandchildren between San Diego and Portland. Roger also enjoys racquetball, pickleball, writing, playing music, building, horseback riding, camping, hiking, and always learning. “One of the important things I have learned is that we need to visit wild natural places to refresh and rejuvenate.”
Upon graduating from Cal Poly Joy Fitzhugh began living her lifelong dream by becoming partners with her father on their fourth generation ranch in northern San Luis Obispo County. Now as owner and operator of the ranch her desire to protect the land and agriculture grew. She worked with the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo placing the ranch into an agricultural easement. At the same time Joy worked for 31 years as Legislative Analyst for the San Luis Obispo Co. Farm Bureau advocating for agriculture.
Dave is a native Californian who was raised in Los Angeles and escaped to the Central Coast in the 1980s. Dave has always enjoyed the outdoors, and has hiked in many beautiful places around the world. Being on the Central Coast with its wide-open spaces and plentiful hiking trails is like living in heaven, and Dave has long appreciated the work of the Land Conservancy to preserve and protect what makes this area special.
Dave is an attorney with Andre, Morris & Butter specializing in real estate, land use, and business law. Dave has been an involved member of the business community for many years, and currently serves as Board Secretary of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce. Dave is also very involved with local non-profits, currently serving as Board President of Lumina Alliance and Board member of Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.
During his tenure on the Central Coast, Dave has been involved with other non-profits including serving as Board President of the YMCA, Literacy Council and Red Cross. Dave is a graduate of Stanford University and UCLA Law School, lives in San Luis Obispo with his wife Sharon, and is the proud father of twin sons who were raised on the Central Coast and currently live and work in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
A native Californian, Jim attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and graduated with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Natural Resources Management with a concentration in forestry. He did additional graduate course work in forestry and horticulture and is a certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. Jim lives in rural Atascadero in the home he designed and built in the late 70s.
Professionally, Jim has owned and operated a retail nursery and landscaping business, farmed oat and alfalfa hay and served as Water Conservation Manager for the Atascadero Mutual Water Company. He served two terms on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, 2005 – 2013, where he worked to improve resource planning, develop workforce housing, encourage sustainable energy projects, advocate for climate adaptation and supported economic development.
After leaving the Board of Supervisors, Jim volunteered with I Care International which conducts vision clinics in Mexico, Central and South America. He’s traveled for clinics in Guanajuato, Mexico; Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Peru. Jim has served on several local non-profit boards and joined the Land Conservancy Board of Trustees in 2015 where he’s served as president, vice president and on the Governance Committee and Development Committee.
Jim has a special affinity for the Carrizo Plain where he served on the Monument Advisory Committee and helped develop and implement the Monument Management Plan. Jim enjoys all things outdoors and is passionate about ensuring that future generations have the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature. Jim enjoys camping, hiking, kayaking and visiting his son’s family that includes two grandchildren.
Celeste Royer has 35 years of experience as an environmental and outdoor education administrator. As a native Californian who grew up loving the outdoors, she is dedicated to making natural environments and outdoor spaces accessible to all community members.
Celeste is currently the director of equity and inclusion at Ten Strands, a statewide nonprofit focused on centering equity while advancing environmental literacy for all CA students. She was director of environmental and outdoor education at the SLOCOE for over 30 years and directed Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School’s residential, field, and classroom programs. She is a faculty member at Cal Poly SLO and teaches Environmental and Wilderness Education. As director of the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network for the CA Department of Education, she built regional and statewide partnerships to support environmental education initiatives.
A strong advocate of environmental literacy for all, Celeste serves on numerous boards and advisory committees of organizations that advance equity, inclusion, justice, and environmental literacy including Justice Outside and the BEETLES Project at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Celeste holds degrees from UCLA, SFSU, and Cal Poly SLO. She resides in Los Osos with her husband Jim where they get outdoors often. Her grown children reside in New York City and the Czech Republic.
Joel Sheets joined The Land Conservancy Board in 2019. He is a retired scientist who moved to San Luis Obispo with his family in 2014. He earned a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of California, Irvine, CA. He spent over 30 years working for Dow AgroSciences, having various research roles as Research Leader in the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Department.
He has authored/co-authored over 25 patents, over 40 external peer reviewed publications and book chapters, and over 200 proprietary internal research reports in the area of Agricultural Biochemistry. His primary research interests are in the application of insecticidal proteins in agriculture. He is a board member of the San Luis Obispo Rotary Club and currently enjoys many outdoor activities including hiking, biking, sailing and touring.
Val was raised on a dairy farm in Escalon, CA. She enjoyed a 20-year career in the newspaper industry, working with The McClatchy Company. That career led her to the Central Coast in 2015 as Vice President of Advertising for The Tribune. Today she is the Central California Market President for AMF Media Group, specializing in marketing and communications
Val joined the Board of Trustees in 2022. She also serves on the board with the San Luis Obispo County YMCA. Val is a graduate of Leadership San Luis Obispo Class 25, serves as a member of the Economic Development Committee for the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and is active with the South County Chambers of Commerce and Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce.
In her spare time Val enjoys travel, hiking and gardening, serving as a volunteer with Arroyo Grande in Bloom. Val’s favorite place to travel is the Azores Islands. She’s been there 4 times and counting!
John and his family moved to San Luis Obispo in 1978 after escaping from the Los Angeles area! He was raised in Clearwater, Florida as one of the first pioneer families to homestead in the area in the 1860’s. John spent his young years exploring the gulf and undeveloped areas of the county.
“During college summers I journeyed to California and worked as a Forest Service firefighter, carpenter, welder, and wastewater laboratory technician. After graduation in civil engineering, I returned to California permanently to work for the Los Angeles Flood Control District providing flood hazard advice to communities through the LA Basin.
In 1978, I joined the SLO County Engineering Department as the Office Engineer. This position gave me a great understanding of the County and I formed relationships that carry forward to the present time in private practice and volunteer work.
John provided many agencies and private clients with engineering advice over the years. He is past president and remains on the board of the Monterey Co. Chapter of APWA. He volunteers with local and international organizations including Eco Alianza, an environmental organization in Loreto BCS, Mexico. He is a charter member of the Rotary Club de Tolosa of San Luis Obispo and serves on other LCSLO committees including the Governance and Nominating, and Development Committees.
My wife and I enjoy ranch work, outdoor adventures, volunteer work and travel to special places. We have two grown sons who ranch with their own families.
I truly enjoy the work that the SLOLC does and especially appreciate working with all our outstanding staff!
Ron Yukelson is Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer for Wilshire Health & Community Services, which provides home health, hospice, social services on the Central Coast. He has more than 30 years of senior level hospital and health care management experience, the past 17 on the Central Coast.
In addition to senior level positions in the hospital and managed care industry, principally with Tenet Healthcare, Ron was Chief Strategy Officer for the Central Coast Service Area for 13 years. His professional expertise includes operations management, strategic planning and business development, marketing, physician recruitment and retention and media relations.
Ron started his career as a sports writer and covered professional and collegiate sports including the Angels and the Lakers. He also spent five years as the publicist for the Cal State Northridge Athletic Department and was the Venue Press Chief, Boxing for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee at the XXIII Summer Olympics.
Ron holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Journalism from San Diego State University and earned a Masters of Business Administration at the University of La Verne.