The Dean’s Council forms a nexus of essential connections that enrich the Bren School: by building bridges to the broader community; providing guidance and support; and by helping the School retain its high standing and attract the brightest faculty, staff, and students through critical financial support.
Dennis Allen, Chair Emeritus
Dennis Allen is chairman of the board of Allen Construction, a general contracting firm specializing in environmentally friendly custom residential building. Dennis is active in community organizations, including serving the Community Environmental Council, the Environmental Defense Center, and the Museum of Natural History. For the past ten years, he has served as a consultant on the County of Santa Barbara’s Innovative Building Review Committee, which encourages energy efficiency and sustainable practices in building projects within the county.
Diane Boss, PhD
After completing a PhD in social psychology, Diane worked as an Organization Development Consultant for Corning Glass Works in Corning, New York and later for Scallop Corporation in New York City. While living in London, she made films on transfer of technology to developing countries. Diane and her late husband endowed the Vonk Chair in Environmental Politics in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara in affiliation with UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. Diane is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Brigitte Bren is an attorney who co-founded International Strategic Planning, Inc., a business consulting firm, in 1992. She has served as “of Counsel” to the law firm of Arter and Hadden, with an area of emphasis in international affairs and entertainment law, and she was Vice President of International Marketing for Mark Goodson Productions. A graduate of Loyola Law School and the College of Honors at UCLA, Ms. Bren is a trustee of the California Institute of Technology, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Think Together.
Tim Cohen is a former Vice President of AECOM, a fully integrated infrastructure firm that operates in 150 countries. Tim served both as a Senior Program Manager and Business Line Leader, and has been involved in a wide range of projects including power generation and transmission, oil & gas development, site assessment and remediation, CEQA and NEPA analyses, and the decommissioning of major industrial facilities in the coastal zone. Tim also serves as the chair of Bren’s Corporate Partners program.
James Brenton (Brent) Dehlsen
Brent Dehlsen is a co-founder and CEO of Ecomerit Technologies, which focuses on investments in clean technology industries. He co-founded Clipper Windpower in 2000, managing the growth of the company as COO until 2008, then remained on the Board of Directors until the sale of the company to United Technologies in 2010. Brent is founder and president of Avianda, LLC, which utilizes an efficient panelized building system to develop and construct sustainable residential properties in Mexico. Additionally, Brent is co-founder of the outdoor clothing company, Purnell.
John Jostes is a seasoned environmental entrepreneur and nationally recognized mediator of complex policy disputes. He specializes in resolving science-intensive and intractable disputes over water, land use, and endangered species. John recently spearheaded a new fund at Bren to facilitate students’ transition from campus to career through speaking opportunities at professional conferences. He has taught Negotiation at the Bren School since 2005.
Charles (Kim) Kimbell
Charles D. (Kim) Kimbell is a founding partner of the Santa Barbara law firm of Allen & Kimbell, LLP, a medium-size firm specializing in real estate matters, estate planning, general business, and litigation relating to those fields. He has been active in many civic organizations that are involved with improving the local environment. Mr. Kimbell received his bachelor of arts degree from Washington and Lee University in 1964 and his juris doctorate degree from Indiana University in 1967.
Alex Rodriguez, CEO of Conduit Government Relations, works with companies to meet their strategic communications needs, government relations objectives, and reach the Latino market. Involved in public affairs and government relations since the mid-1980s, Alex has earned a reputation as one of the industry’s top strategic minds and recognized for his work in water, renewable energy, and Environmental Justice. Alex is currently president of the La Cumbre Mutual Water Company’s board of directors and was appointed to the US EPA’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council in December 2021 by the Biden Administration.
Lynn Scarlett, Chair
Lynn is the former Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and former Chief External Affairs Officer at The Nature Conservancy. She chairs the Science Advisory Board of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and serves on the National Academy of Sciences Roundtable and Board of Advisors of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She received her MA in political science from UC Santa Barbara, where she also completed her PhD coursework and exams in political science.
After 20+ years in the financial advisory industry, Jonathan launched WANG FINANCIAL, LLC in 2022. He completed his B.A. in Business Economics (emphasis in Accounting) at UCSB, became one of the youngest CFP® certificants (age 22), and continued on to earn his Juris Doctorate (emphasis in Business Law) from Santa Barbara College of Law. Jonathan serves on the Foundation Board for CSU Channel Islands, Investment Committee for The Fund for Santa Barbara, and contributes to various other organizations. Social justice issues, outrigger paddling, gastronomy, and quality family time are just a few of Jonathan’s enjoyments.
In November 2016, Das Williams was elected to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. He has previously served in the California Assembly representing the 37th Assembly District, and was on the Santa Barbara City Council. A Bren School alumnus, Williams holds a Master of Environmental Science & Management degree (2005), with a focus on water pollution, planning processes, and land-use law.
Having entered the Bren School’s Master’s program as a mid-career professional, Mel Willis graduated in 1999, then entered the doctoral program and received his Ph.D. in Environmental Science & Management in 2003. Prior to beginning his graduate studies, Dr. Willis was Vice President for Environmental Sciences and Planning Services with Fugro West, an international engineering, environmental, and geotechnical consulting firm. Dr. Willis’s experience includes environmental projects throughout the U.S., Russia, South America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
Jim Boyden is a management consultant and investor in energy and other areas. Boyden received his BS and MS degrees in Physics from Carnegie-Mellon University and his PhD in Physics from Caltech. He has more than 25 patents to his name. As an extension to his career, Dr. Boyden has become a professional photographer.
During his 40 year career in land management, Charlie was deeply involved in environmental and climate-based activism with several of Santa Barbara’s renowned organizations: Community Environmental Council, Get Oil Out!, Sustainability Project, Gaviota Study Group, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and Earth Day. Since retiring to Northern California he has focused on policies and practices for achieving healthy forests and is currently active with Forests Forever and the Lost Coast League. Charlie and his wife live in Humboldt County and enjoy exploring the nearby beaches and forests.
John Onderdonk serves as Director of Sustainability Programs at the California Institute of Technology, where he is responsible for strategic planning to improve environmental performance in the areas of energy, climate, water, waste, supply chain, transportation, and building infrastructure. Mr. Onderdonk holds a Master of Environmental Science degree, with a specialization in Corporate Environmental Management, from the Bren School (2003) and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Economics from the University of Oregon.