Our interdisciplinary team of environmental science and ecological design experts examine problems from multiple perspectives. We create individualized solutions tailored to each of our clients’ specific needs. Great Ecology’s staff members are trained in ecology, hydrology, planning, environmental sciences, landscape architecture, and ecological design. Our field staff are OSHA-certified to conduct work on hazardous sites.
Mark S. Laska, Ph.D. – President
Dr. Mark Laska is the Founder and President of Great Ecology. He has over 25 years of experience as an ecologist, focusing on wetland and habitat restoration, habitat and species assessments, ecological planning and design, and Natural Resource Damage (NRD) Assessments and Planning. His work in ecological restoration involves the planning, design, evaluation, permitting, and management of restoration projects. The author of more than a dozen scientific papers, Dr. Laska has developed a niche practice at the intersection of business and science with significant focus on environmental credit trading of habitat restoration projects. Dr. Laska holds a Doctorate in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University.
Trey Munday – Chief Financial Officer / Chief Operations Officer
Trey Munday is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Great Ecology, including execution of the overall business strategy, development and implementation of operational policies to support the technical team, and development and execution of performance goals for the company. In addition, Trey is responsible for Great Ecology’s financial management. Prior to joining Great Ecology, Trey successfully founded and operated a business consulting firm focusing on accounting and financial management services. Prior to the consulting business, Trey spent 15 years in the investment and commercial banking industry providing financing vehicles for middle market businesses and institutional investors. Trey holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from San Diego State University.
Barbara Barnes, RLA, LEED AP – Director of Design
Barbara Barnes is a landscape architect with a decade of experience and holds licensure in both New York and Connecticut. She has collaborated on award winning projects focused on sustainability for The Nature Conservancy, Scenic Hudson, and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. She has extensive experience integrating the concepts of sustainably with the urban fabric to develop successful projects. Barbara is a LEED Accredited Professional and holds a Bachelors of Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington.
Timothy Hoelzle, M.S. – Ecology Team Manager
Timothy Hoelzle specializes in the repair of degraded ecosystems, with particular expertise in the reclamation of lands disturbed by mining and energy extraction, invasive species management, and wetland habitat restoration. Timothy’s expertise lies in experimental design, conducting biological field analyses, and developing revegetation and soil reclamation protocols. With a strong eye for detail, Timothy is highly proficient in data analysis and interpretation, as well as preparation of technical reports. He holds a Master’s degree in Rangeland Ecosystem Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Restoration Ecology from Colorado State University.
Ecologists & Environmental Scientists
Nick Buhbe, M.S. – Director of Ecology
Nick Buhbe has 18 years of experience, specializing in sediment testing, ecological health assessments of various biological communities, water quality studies, preparation of environmental planning compliance documents, and freshwater wetland-related project work. His portfolio includes physical, chemical, and biological evaluations of sediments in three major southern California harbors, as well as ports across the Pacific. He is well versed in the Clean Water Act and the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act. His extensive knowledge of the marine environment has been instrumental in informing environmental planning, National Environmental Policy Act compliance, and California Environmental Policy Act documents. He holds a Master’s degree in Biology and a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology.
Jessie Quinn, Ph.D. – Senior Ecologist
Dr. Jessie Quinn is an ecologist with over 15 years of experience. She has a strong background studying habitat use, developing species occurrence models, and leading multi-agency studies supporting wildlife management and habitat planning. She develops and conducts habitat and ecological risk assessments, develops standardized methodologies and novel technical tools for quantitative analysis, and oversees fieldwork protocols. Dr. Quinn specializes in Habitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA) for Natural Resource Damage Assessments (NRDA), wetland functional analysis, experimental design and analysis, and inventory and monitoring methods. Dr. Quinn holds a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology from University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a Master’s degree and Doctorate in Ecology and Conservation from University of California, Davis.
Puja Batra, Ph.D. – Senior Ecologist
Dr. Puja Batra is an ecologist with over 15 years of experience using science, culture, and innovation to build ecological and social resilience, in both urban and rural environments. Through her work in biodiversity conservation and international sustainable development, she has developed expertise in ecosystem services, market-based approaches, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and community engagement. Applying her training in biomimicry she brings a unique ecosystem-based approach to solve ecological design problems. Dr. Batra holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Texas, Austin, and a Doctorate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Michigan State University.
Lauren Alleman, M.S. – Associate Ecologist
Lauren Alleman is a wetland ecologist specializing in the evaluation and restoration of degraded wetland systems. She has experience researching and conducting functional assessments in a number of habitats, including coastal marshes, mangroves, fens, riparian zones, and stream systems throughout the country. She leads the New York Ecologists on a number of Great Ecology’s projects that involve biological surveys, environmental education and outreach, data analysis and reporting, and habitat mapping. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University. She received a Master’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, where she studied mangrove ecology and coastal restoration.
Jill McGrady-Steed, Ph.D. – Associate Ecologist
Dr. Jill McGrady-Steed has over 10 years of experience in the fields of ecology and ecosystem studies. Her work focuses on restoration evaluation, planning and development of Natural Resource Damage (NRD) strategy following environmental impacts from mining, refinery, oil spill, and other contamination events. Dr. McGrady-Steed currently manages a large-scale, comprehensive restoration planning project spanning several coastal states. She has multiple publications in leading academic journals and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Allegheny College, a Master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Purdue University and a Doctorate in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University.
Zachary Lehmann – Associate Ecologist
Zachary Lehmann has over six years of experience as a field biologist and GIS specialist in New York City and the surrounding wetlands. He specializes in wetland delineation, wildlife and plant inventory and monitoring, with a focus on bird and mammal species. Zachary leads Great Ecology’s team of GIS technicians, performing geospatial analysis, and constructing spatial images, maps, and graphic outputs. Most recently, Zachary used GIS analysis to model site specific sea-level rise vulnerability in the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary. Zachary holds a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Conservation and Forestry from Unity College.
Tim Jackson – Associate Ecologist
Tim Jackson is an accomplished stream and wetland ecologist with seven years of environmental consulting experience throughout the country. His extensive portfolio includes agency coordination, delineation of waters of the U.S., plant taxonomy, hydric soil identification, commercial mitigation banking, mitigation site assessment, ecological restoration (natural stream channel design), morphological stream surveying, biological monitoring, GIS, technical report writing, project management, and problem solving. In addition, he is well versed in the Clean Water Act and Section 404 permitting. Tim is a member of the Society of Wetland Scientists and holds his Professional Wetland Scientist Certification. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Clemson University.
Joshua Eldridge – Associate Ecologist
Joshua Eldridge is an ecologist with eight years of experience, including five years as an ecological consultant. He specializes in the management, development, and evaluation of habitat restoration and ecological research projects. His extensive portfolio includes more than 80 reclamation or rangeland monitoring projects across the Western U.S. and Australia. He assessed disturbed riparian and upland systems, performed erosional soil stability modeling, mine land reclamation, evaluated acid rock drainage, surveyed rare or endangered species, and sampled surface and ground water. Joshua is skilled in the principles of restoration ecology, quantitative assessments, statistical analysis, and technical writing. He received both his Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree from Colorado State University in Restoration Ecology with a minor in Watershed Science.
Alejandro Baladrón Julian - Associate Ecologist
Alejandro Baladrón Julian is an environmental scientist specializing in hydrology. Before receiving his Certificate in Conservation Biology from Fordham University, he worked as an environmental consultant in Spain for five years. He has extensive experience performing Environmental Impact Assessments and hydrology modeling, including the design of drainage networks for highway and railway lines, the analysis of evacuation capacity in wastewater drainage systems, and flood risk studies. In addition, he has developed technical reports and cost-benefit analyses for European water supply projects, including the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) and Cohesion Fund Programs. Alejandro holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences, a Master’s degree in Applied Hydrology, and a Master’s of Advanced Studies in Environmental Sciences.
George Patten – Associate Ecologist
George Patten is an environmental scientist with experience in water quality assessments and watershed planning in Colorado. He has extensive experience assessing ecological and human health risks of contaminated soils, sediments, and groundwater. His portfolio includes field investigations and technical support to evaluate Superfund and other contaminated sites, as well as Natural Resource Damage Assessments and litigation support for environmental injuries. George also has a strong background in geospatial analysis, GIS, and other data visualization tools. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the Colorado College and a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Tyler Nicoll – Ecologist
Tyler Nicoll is an Ecologist with experience managing invasive species and native plantings on large scale mining restoration projects in Florida. In addition, she has an extensive background conducting biological surveys for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and NYC Parks Department. Tyler is certified in Wetland Delineation and Section 404 Permitting and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources with a Minor in Animal Science from the University of Delaware.
Ashley Tuggle, M.E.M. – Ecologist
Ashley Tuggle is an environmental scientist specializing in freshwater ecology and stormwater management. She has significant experience in water quality modeling, wetland field surveys, and land use planning in North Carolina and the Appalachian region. Ashley also has a strong technical background in geospatial analysis, GIS, and statistical analysis. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Franklin College Switzerland and a Master’s degree in Environmental Management and Certificate of Geospatial Analysis from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.
Ecological Designers & Planners
Jeffrey Harlan, Esq., LEED AP – Senior Planner
Jeff Harlan has over 15 years of experience as a community planner, specializing in sustainable development, strategic planning, and environmental design. Trained as an environmental attorney, Jeff has an expert understanding of all aspects of community development, from land use planning and design to environmental analysis and open space conservation to public engagement and policy development. He also brings a unique perspective to challenging land use and regulatory problems, shaped by his experience as a deputy to an elected official, planning director for a California state land conservancy, and as a private consultant. Jeff is a LEED Accredited Professional, and holds a Bachelor’s in Design of the Environment from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Juris Doctor, with an emphasis on environmental law, from Vermont Law School.
Chris Keil, M.L.A. – Associate Designer
Chris Keil uses his background in construction, landscape design and computer drafting to create engaging and functional sites that contribute to human and ecosystem health. He integrates CADD, GIS, and GPS technologies to optimize design and construction workflows by providing efficient and accurate solutions that effectively communicate design intent. Chris incorporates ecological restoration and sustainable resource use when applicable. In addition, he is an ISA Certified Arborist. Chris graduated from Cornell University with a Master of Landscape Architecture, magna cum laude, and is an ASLA Student and DREER Award recipient.
Carl Carlson – Associate Landscape Designer
Carl Carlson is Registered Landscape Architect with over six years of experience in the design and construction management of large scale landscape projects. His background covers a wide spectrum of projects from designing private estates to managing green infrastructure construction projects for the city of New York. Carl graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a Bachelor’s in Landscape Architecture. In addition, he holds licensure in the state of Connecticut and is a LEED Green Associate.
Erin Hathaway, B.S. – Associate Designer
Erin Hathaway is an associate designer specializing in interdisciplinary communication and collaboration uniting engineering, ecology, architecture, and urban planning concepts. She excels in the visual representation and development of highly complex ideas into simple and elegant graphical solutions. Erin has an expert understanding of all phases of restoration – from permitting to construction administration. She has successfully collaborated on restoration, mitigation, and public park projects in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Kentucky, and the Gulf Coast. Erin holds a Master’s in Professional Studies in Business of Art and Design degree and a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture with a focus in Ecology and Restoration. She was recently elected to the executive committee of the Kentucky ASLA Chapter.
Charlie Howe – Designer
Charlie Howe is a landscape and urban designer with experience in the United States, Argentina, and Mexico. His unique global perspective enables him to communicate with a diverse group of clients. Charlie believes that design innovation occurs when an interdisciplinary firm combines ecological performance, site infrastructure, and public space together as one project. Charlie received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Biology, magna cum laude, from Allegheny College and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Sales and Marketing
Sarah Stevens – Marketing Associate
Sarah is responsible for sales and marketing initiatives within the firm. Sarah is instrumental in communicating Great Ecology’s message to the world. Prior to joining Great Ecology, Sarah Stevens worked on integrated marketing campaigns for several large, global brands. For each brand Sarah created innovative marketing plans which were effective, efficient, and delivered ROI. In addition to a strong background in Marketing, Sarah is an experienced Sales Manager. Sarah’s strong multi-cultural background has enhanced her communication skills and contributed to her unique perspective. Sarah received a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies; with an emphasis Economics from the University of California, San Diego.
Rachel Saldivar – Director, Product Excellence
Rachel Saldivar is business development professional with 25 years of experience helping companies successfully market and sell solutions and services. She has worked for Fortune 500 companies as well as for a variety of small and mid-sized firms that provide information technology, engineering, heath care, and energy services to Federal, State, and commercial clients worldwide. Formerly a professor of English at the University of Maryland, Rachel designed and taught courses in Competitive Proposal Writing and Marketing Communications. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has completed all but her dissertation for a Doctorate in English Literature and a Doctor of Arts degree in Comparative Literature from Syracuse University. Rachel adds value as an excellent communicator and quality assurance specialist.
Bojana Micic – Director of Human Resources / Office Manager
Bojana Micic oversees all matters relating to human resources within the company. She is also responsible for administrative tasks at Great Ecology’s New York Office. Bojana is responsible for managing all aspects of office organization, administrative support, and some aspects of financial operations. Bojana holds a BBA in International Business and Management.
Wendy Para – Executive Assistant / Office Manager
Wendy Para is responsible for assisting the CEO in the day to day operations of the company. In addition, she manages the San Diego office and provides administrative support. Wendy has over 10 years of experience as an Executive Assistant.
Jessa Spainhower – Operations Associate
Jessa Spainhower is responsible for assisting with project and operations administration. She has six years of experience as a research analyst providing analytics and reporting support. Jessa is proficient in analyzing and organizing large amounts of data while maintaining data integrity. She has a double major in Business Management and Marketing from Northwest Missouri State University.
Lilia Gavrilenko – Controller
Lilia Gavrilenko handles the daily accounting activities for Great Ecology. She has over seven years of experience in accounting and budgeting. Lilia holds Master’s degree in Mathematics and Bachelor’s in Accounting.