Our interdisciplinary team of environmental science, landscape architecture, 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, environmental sciences, landscape architecture, ecological design, hydrology, and planning. Our field staff are OSHA-certified to conduct work on hazardous sites.
Mark S. Laska, Ph.D. – President & Founder
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.
Randy Mandel – Vice President, Technical Services
Randy Mandel has over 32 years of experience as a restoration ecologist. He has been a key revegetation specialist for multiple restoration, reclamation, and remediation projects, including: 14 national parks and monuments; over 26 wetland, 32 lacustrine, and 29 riverine projects; reservoirs; and various mitigation banking, wetland delineation and remediation, and biofiltration projects. He was the Co-Founder and Vice President of Rocky Mountain Native Plants Company and has authored over two dozen publications, including international journal articles and a stand-alone monograph on the use of wetland plant species for biofiltration. Additionally, Mr. Mandel has overseen the installation of over 5,000 restoration projects, and specializes in site-specific native plant ecology and propagation. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Forest Biology from Colorado State University. He also worked on two Masters-level projects focused on Forest Physiology/Genetics at Colorado State.
Jessa Spainhower – Vice President, Operations
Jessa Spainhower is the Vice President of Operations at Great Ecology. Jessa applies her expertise in data analytics, and exceptional organizational skills, to inform short- and long-term strategic planning within the Operations department and across the company. As part of this strategic planning, Jessa participates on the Executive Committee. She acts as Great Ecology’s human resources manager, and oversees the company’s project, business, and IT administration. She creates and rolls out protocol and policies to support the firm’s continued growth; and manages overall business administration, including analyzing and reporting on key business metrics. She has more than a decade of experience as a research analyst and operations manager. Jessa has a double major in Business Management and Marketing from Northwest Missouri State University.
Linda B. Gumeny, RLA, LEED AP-ND – Director, Design and Regional Director, Eastern
Throughout Linda Gumeny’s 30-year career she has worked on a wide variety of public and private sector projects ranging from large-scale master planning to small-scale site design. She has served as both project director in the prime consultant role, and project landscape architect in a sub-consultant role for complex, multi-disciplined projects. Her work is focused on developing sustainable design solutions for parks, open space, residential, commercial, and institutional developments. Linda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University, and is a licensed landscape architect in NY, NJ, & CT. She is also a LEED AP-ND, accredited professional in neighborhood development.
Joshua Eldridge, M.S. – Regional Director, Mountain
Joshua Eldridge is an ecologist with over twelve years of experience, including nine years as an ecological consultant. He directs the Great Ecology Intermountain West Ecology Team and specializes in the planning, design, management, and monitoring of habitat restoration and ecological research projects. His diverse and extensive portfolio includes mine land reclamation, brownfield, and urban restoration projects across the United States and Australia, including Denver, Colorado, Great Falls, Montana, Louisville, Kentucky, and Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. In addition, he has experience collecting vegetation, soil, and water samples from hazardous waste sites in Colorado, Montana, and Nevada. His experience includes project management on complex, multi-year permitting and redevelopment projects, rare or endangered species surveys, assessments of disturbed riparian and upland systems, surface and ground water sampling, park redesign, stream and wetland mitigation design, and wetland delineations. Joshua is skilled in the principles of restoration ecology, ecosystem evaluations, sampling design, and technical writing. He attended Colorado State University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management with a minor in Watershed Science and Master’s degree in Restoration Ecology.
Jill McGrady, Ph.D. – Regional Director, Western
Dr. Jill McGrady 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 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.
Nick Buhbe, M.S. – Senior Managing Ecologist
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.
David J. Yozzo, Ph.D. – Senior Managing Ecologist
Dr. David Yozzo is a nationally recognized estuarine scientist with 19 years of experience. His portfolio includes navigation improvement projects throughout the Hudson-Raritan Estuary, New England, Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Yozzo has conducted research on tidal wetland fish/invertebrate communities in the New York-New Jersey Harbor and has conducted baseline and post-construction environmental surveys for habitat restoration projects conducted by USACE, NYSDEC, NYCDEP, NYCEDC, NOAA, and the Port Authority of NY-NJ. In addition, Dr. Yozzo co-authored the USACE National Guidebook to Hydrogeomorphic Assessments in Tidal Fringe Wetlands and has participated in several regional applications of the HGM methodology in the New Jersey Meadowlands and in the north-central Gulf of Mexico. Recent projects include the planning, design and implementation of several ecosystem restoration pilot projects for the NYCDEP CSO-PlaNYC project; a programmatic review of habitat restoration within NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System, developing an Ecological Site Profile for the Hudson River Reserve, and remedial dredging/habitat restoration at Springfield Gardens Lake, Queens, NY, for NYCEDC and NYCDEP. Dr. Yozzo is Past-President of the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society, and has served on the Governing Board of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. He also serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Purchase College, SUNY. Dr. Yozzo holds a Master’s degree and a Doctorate in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia.
Mitchell J. Hart – Professional Engineer
Mitchell J. Hart is a Professional Engineer (P.E.) with 35 years of experience in mined land reclamation and remediation. Most recently, Mitch managed a large portfolio of historic/legacy mine sites totaling more than 4,000 acres, with annual budgets of more than $20 million, implementing remedial/removal actions to reduce environmental impacts. Mitch builds effective relationships with regulatory agencies at the local, state, and federal levels and served for eight years as a member of the (Idaho and Utah) Bear River Basin Advisory Group, authorizing a multitude of projects related to improvements in water quality, grazing practices, fish passage, and land/water conservation. He has provided expert testimony in “Mining and Reclamation – Customs, Standards and Practices” and is a published author and presenter of topics related to: Selenium Attenuation; Industrial Site Closures; By-Product Re-use; and Carbon Calcining. Mitch is a Past President of the Association of Idaho Cities (AIC), consisting of 200 member cities, and continues to serve as a member of the Executive Committee of AIC. He holds a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Utah.
Chris Loftus, RLA – Senior Landscape Architect
Chris is a Registered Landscape Architect with over twelve years of experience working in the western United States. Chris has worked on projects throughout Colorado and the West, including several award-winning designs. His project experience includes planning and design of parks, trails, and open space; neighborhood and community master planning; innovative stormwater design solutions; urban streetscape design; and ecological restoration. In close collaboration with Great Ecology’s ecologists and designers, Chris develops strategic design solutions that increase ecological functionality and, where appropriate, incorporate public access components. He is registered in the state of Colorado (#849) and is a CLARB Certified landscape architect. He serves as Vice President of Programs for the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Colorado Chapter and on the Ecology + Restoration Professional Practice Network (ASLA) leadership team. He is a member of the Colorado Riparian Association, the Colorado Native Plant Society, and is a Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) Certified Landscape Architect. Chris holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from University or Oregon and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Colorado State University
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 degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Ashley Tuggle, M.E.M. – Associate 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.
Marlene Tyner-Valencourt, M.E.S.M. – Ecologist
Marlene has over 6 years of experience in ecological research and environmental analysis. She specializes in GIS and spatial analysis, climate change science, species distribution modeling, land use planning, market-based conservation strategies, corporate sustainability strategic planning, and environmental law and policy. Her past work includes coastal and near-shore sedimentation modeling, responses of ecosystem processes and communities to climate change, and global habitat modeling under various climate change predictions. Marlene holds a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in Environmental Science & Management from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Emily Callahan, M.A.S. – Ecologist
Emily Callahan is an ecologist, with experience in conducting both international and domestic environmental impact assessments, her key area of expertise is in offshore oil and gas development and decommissioning- with a focus on the economic and environmental impacts of developing and implementing international Rigs-to-Reefs programs. She specializes in ecological evaluations of offshore resources, kelp forests and wetland restoration projects, and biodiversity baseline management studies. Ms. Callahan has had diverse experience in marine and terrestrial field sampling as well as a strong background in biological monitoring programs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Connecticut College and a Master’s degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. She is a PADI certified dive master and an AAUS Scientific Diver with over 800 hours of logged dives.
Sara Copp Franz – Ecologist
Sara Copp Franz is an ecologist with over nine years of experience practicing restoration ecology and natural resource management in a variety of roles. Her portfolio includes ecological restoration, threatened and endangered species surveys, habitat surveys, wetland delineations, environmental assessments, biological assessments, noxious weed surveys, regulatory compliance, experimental design, data management, technical writing, and National Environmental Policy Act compliance. Her professional experience also extends to outreach and education efforts within communities in Colorado, California, Oregon and Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with minors in Biology and Environmental Studies and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and Management.
Michael Kaminski – Ecologist
Michael Kaminski is an environmental scientist and landscape architect with a background in water resources ecology, watershed planning, stormwater management, and green infrastructure implementation. As a scientist and designer, he believes a sound ecological concept presented in a visually compelling manner has the greatest potential to reach the broadest audience. Professional experience includes field assessment of wetlands and forest stands, complex GIS-based spatial analysis for natural resource planning, stream restoration construction oversight, and pollutant load quantification, impervious acreage restoration, and TMDL crediting for stormwater BMP and stream restoration projects. He holds a Master’s in biology from SUNY Binghamton, and a Master’s in landscape architecture and Certificate in GIS-based spatial analysis from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Kay Wiseman – Ecologist
Kay Wiseman is an ecologist with more than eight years of experience in natural resources, land management, and restoration. During her career, Kay has developed a broad range of skills, including developing and implementing management programs for forests and rangelands; contractor management; botanical surveys; habitat assessments; and volunteer coordination. She has experience with various restoration practices and has a strong background in noxious weed management. Kay holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology from the University of Louisville and is a licensed Qualified Supervisor for pesticide application through the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
Alejandro Baladrón Julian, M.S. – Environmental Consultant / Hydrologist
Alejandro Baladrón Julian is an environmental scientist specializing in hydrology with 9 years of experience in public and private sector projects. Before receiving his Certificate in Conservation Biology from Fordham University, he worked as an environmental consultant in Spain for five years. His portfolio includes Environmental Impact Assessments, biological investigations, ecological restoration of urban streams and wetlands, environmental monitoring on construction sites, water quality 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. Alejandro has ample experience performing advanced mathmatical modeling and stats analysis to support decision-making in civil engineering, landscape architecture and environmental projects. He also assisted the Spanish Government for four years in the preparation of technical reports and cost-benefit analyses to request funds for the construction of water supply projects in the Mediterranean Coast under the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) Program. 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.
Carlos Rivero Moro, M.S. – Environmental Consultant / Sustainability Expert
Carlos Rivero Moro is an environmental scientist specializing in sustainability and climate change adaptation. He worked for 7 years as a consultant and participated in multiple public and private sector projects providing assistance in a broad range of subjects, including environmental permitting, the design of Environmental Management Systems, and the design and surveillance of energy efficiency programs and energy efficiency scorecards. He also has worked for 3 years as the Environmental Business Development Manager in a multinational certification company. In addition, he has wide experience performing international projects related to Carbon and Water Footprint, Environmental Product Declarations and GHG emissions management. Carlos holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences, and a Master’s in Environmental Pollution.
Liz Clift, MFA – Copy Editor
Liz Clift is responsible for copy editing of deliverables. She has worked as a technical writer, editor, and grant writer for more than six years, and has taught college composition courses. She is also a creative writer, and has published a variety of short stories, poems, and essays. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Elon University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Environment from Iowa State University.
Lilia Gavrilenko, M.S. – 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.
Julie Nelson – Operations Analyst
Julie Nelson is responsible for supporting overall operational tasks that enable continual business performance and improvement. Previously, Julie assisted top executives with reporting and data analysis to measure productivity and increase efficiency. Julie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in finance from Salem State University.
Daniel R. Brumbaugh, Ph.D.
Dr. Daniel R. Brumbaugh, a marine ecologist with over 20 years of experience, specializing in coral reef ecology, focusing on reef monitoring techniques, studies of coral recruitment, and the science and management of marine protected areas. For 12 years, Dan studied coral reef and other marine ecosystems in The Bahamas and applied this knowledge to Bahamian marine conservation and education. During this time, he led a number of interdisciplinary investigations, including the Bahamas Biocomplexity Project, to study how an expanding system of marine protected areas in the country could function. He also participates on the governing Council and Scientific Advisory Committee of the Bahamas National Trust, and has advised the Bahamas Department of Marine Resources (then Fisheries) on applications of marine science to reserve planning. In the U.S., Dan has served on the stakeholder Advisory Council of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and as a Visiting Scientist with the U.S. National Marine Protected Areas Center. He also is also an individual member of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA, part of the World Conservation Union, or IUCN) and is on the Advisory Board of the non-profit OneReef, which facilitates reef conservation agreements between funders and reef-owning communities in Micronesia.
Shane Cherry, M.S.
Shane Cherry has served as a principal investigator on geomorphology and hydraulic studies for watersheds, large rivers, and streams in diverse settings around the United States. He has worked as a professional geomorphologist and consultant since 1996 leading projects involving river process modeling and analysis, environmental permitting, mitigation strategy, and ecosystem restoration. Shane works on airport and transportation infrastructure projects, mining projects, and sediment remediation sites. Shane’s river and stream restoration experience includes over 80 projects. Shane engenders tremendous confidence in clients, and is a strong consensus builder through his calm articulation of ideas and concepts. Shane employs level-headed wisdom to solve problems directly and efficiently with a talent for building consensus among internal and external stakeholders. This style makes him especially effective in contentious situations around large capital project permitting and multi-party environmental remediation. He offers comprehensive skills in applied science, environmental permitting strategy, and project management that he applies to watershed studies, ecological restoration, habitat design, flood studies, and river process modeling.
Joseph Cherichello, PLA
Joseph is a CLARB Certified Licensed Landscape Architect in New Jersey and an ISA Certified Arborist. He has over twelve years of experience incorporating ecological and urban forestry design principles into park and trail projects, low-impact stormwater management designs, and municipal land development projects with sustainability in mind. He prepares restoration designs and construction drawings for wetland and upland habitats, riparian buffers, stream channels, and stormwater facilities along with tree surveys for projects throughout New Jersey and New York. He performs construction oversight, water quality monitoring, soil and water sampling, wetland monitoring, and calculates water budgets. Joseph also served as a Part-time Lecturer at Rutgers University teaching site engineering, construction, and graphics courses in the Landscape Architecture Department. He graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Planning and Design, and a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture. Currently, he is performing construction oversight on a wetland restoration project in New York City.
Blake Claypool is a biologist with more than 17 years of experience with environmental regulatory documentation, permitting, biological resource program management, and conducting biological surveys. His experience includes, preparation and review of technical reports and analysis for National Environmental Policy Act documentation. He has authored biological sections of environmental assessments and environmental impact statements, and monitored for a number of special-status species, including State and federal listed threatened and endangered plant and animal species. He holds a BS in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology from San Diego State University.
Dennis Corelli, PWS
Dennis Corelli has over 27 years of experience with environmental projects including: site quality assurance, biological and media sampling, wetland delineations, natural resource inventories, and subsequent preparation of environmental documents and permits. He has worked on projects in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Florida, Delaware, and Puerto Rico. Through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Region 2 Superfund Alternative Remedial Contracting Strategy (ARCS) program, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), he has gained extensive field experience, completed many permit applications, and developed remedial investigation reports. He graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Science.
Joseph Ehrenberger, M.S.
Joseph Ehrenberger’s career of 11 years as an ecologist includes a broad diversity of skills and experiences, with an emphasis on wildlife and habitat assessments. His portfolio includes assisting with husbandry and breeding of rare species in the U.S., Dominican Republic, and Grand Cayman. His field experiences concentrated on general wildlife and habitat assessments, as well as special-status species surveys (e.g. Greater sage grouse, Lesser prairie chicken, Mexican spotted owl, Indiana bat, Swift fox, raptor nest monitoring, Ricord’s iguana, and plants such as the Ute’s ladies tresses and Colorado butterfly plant). His habitat work includes restoration for Preble’s meadow jumping mouse and Kremmling milkvetch, as well as rangeland noxious weed management, mountain pine beetle control, and energy development mitigation. Most recently, he conducted focused surveys throughout Colorado for amphibians and reptiles, including rattlesnake management projects and safety training for governments and the private sector. He has authored numerous technical publications and agency documents. Furthermore, his coordination of volunteers has proven essential to non-profit and federal species and habitat monitoring programs. Joseph received his Bachelor’s degree in Teaching from Virginia Tech and his Master’s degree in Ecology from Indiana State University.
Amber Jackson, M.A.S.
Amber Jackson has extensive research experience as a Project Lead focusing on habitat restoration through the Rigs to Reefs program, re-purposing offshore oil and gas platforms as artificial reefs. She has also gained experience as a Marine Research Analyst for small to medium sized habitat restoration projects where she designed, implemented, and conducted site assessments and field work analysis for coral reef restoration in Palau. She has authored and managed multiple industry and private grants. Other areas of expertise include collecting, analyzing and editing multi beam bathymetry and acoustic backscatter data for the creation of the virtual seafloor in Google Earth. Amber holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science from UC Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.
Michelle M. Landis, RLA
Michelle Landis has a well-established design portfolio that includes weaving regionally appropriate habitat elements into complex landscape architectural projects. Her experience of 30 years in the development industry includes work in the habitat restoration, construction industry and landscape architecture sectors. She regularly works in a prime or sub-consultant role on large multi-disciplinary projects and also specializes in design-build team projects. Michelle’s portfolio of work includes leading the design for New Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton, San Marcos Boulevard Complete Streets, and ecologically sensitive upgrades to many local parks in the San Diego region. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and is adjunct faculty for the Landscape Architecture courses at Southwestern College, located in Southern California.
Kim Raby Lennberg, M.S.
Kim Raby Lennberg is a watershed scientist with 14 years of experience investigating the scientific, technical, and policy aspects of a broad range of environmental subjects, specializing in using an interdisciplinary approach to watershed science and characterization. Kim’s professional expertise includes monitoring and assessing watershed health by examining the chemical, physical, biological, and hydrological characteristics of aquatic ecosystems; designing, coordinating, managing, and conducting extensive ecological and aquatic field investigations; and authoring technical reports communicating the results of short- and long-term studies, as well as substantial portions of NEPA- and CERCLA-related documents. Her current areas of study and interest focus are on stream restoration and aquatic habitat evaluation and improvement. Kim’s most recent project work includes evaluation of river restoration projects through aquatic and riparian habitat quality assessment, monitoring and reporting assistance related to flood recovery, and management of fishery and aquatic resource monitoring and reporting projects in areas impacted by phosphate mining. Kim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Systems Technology from Cornell University, a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies (with a focus on alpine hydrology) from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Professional Certificate in River Restoration from Portland State University.
John C. Lovio, M.S.
John Lovio is a field and conservation planning ecologist with over 30 years of professional experience in biological assessments, species surveys, environmental regulatory compliance, and ecological research in the western states, particularly California. He specializes in the habitat relations, biogeographies, and landscape ecologies of wildlife, particularly birds, with special interest in establishing ecological baselines and perpetuating long-term ecological studies to measure effects of land use changes and climate change. He is experienced in assessing land condition and conservation value, as well as anticipating and evaluating habitat disturbance (including wildfire) effects and restoration efforts in a wide range of aquatic, estuarine, and terrestrial natural environments. John Lovio holds a Master’s degree in Biology-Ecology from San Diego State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of California at Davis.