SBALT BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The San Benito Agricultural Land Trust is governed by an all-volunteer board of directors. The board is composed of community leaders who have extensive experience with agriculture, public and private lands management, and related industries. The board meets monthly and a general membership meeting is held once per year.
Emily Renzel, President
Paul Hain, Vice President
Cathy Summa-Wolfe, Secretary
Michael Reeves, Treasurer
Emily Renzel has resided in the Casa de Anza Adobe in San Juan Bautista for 11 years and operates Old Adobe Antiques. A fourth generation Californian, Emily has a passion for protecting the State’s farms, ranches, open space and natural heritage. Emily served 12 years on the Palo Alto City Council and worked hard to protect the Palo Alto Baylands. The City named a 155-acre wetland park after her in 1992. Emily currently serves on the Board of the San Juan Bautista Historical Society.
Paul F. Hain, past president and 5th generation California farmer/Rancher in the Tres Pinos area of California is the owner/operator of John Hain & Sons and Hain Ranch Organics. He received his B.S. in Pomology from Cal Poly, SLO before returning to the ranch to work with his father and uncle. He is active in the Central Coast Ag Water Quality Coalition, and a past director the Community Alliance With Family Farmers. Paul is a fellow of the California Ag Leadership Program. This Land Trust founding father is a recent honoree of the Community Foundation for San Benito County Philanthropy Night.
Michael Reeves was born in Stockton and spent his later youth in Los Altos, spending summers at the family ranch on Fremont Peak. He holds an Associate’s degree in diesel mechanics and a B. S. in Plant and Soil Sciences from Chico State University. Since 1990 Michael has divided his time working as a mechanic and sharing management of the family’s cattle with his cousin. The 11,000-acre Gabilan Ranch has been owned and operated by Michael’s family since 1929 and was placed in a conservation easement with the Nature Conservancy in 2006. Michael and his wife Cindy live in San Juan Bautista, and have two grown children, Anna and Patrick.
Jessica French Brem was born and raised in San Benito County where she is a fifth-generation cattle rancher along with her parents and brother. She is a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where she majored in Agriculture Science and minored in Agriculture Business. Shortly after graduation she worked for the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce as their President/CEO. Since then she has worked full-time in the hunting and cattle operations of her family’s ranch, M&J French Ranch, LLC, as well as San Benito Cattle Company and Henrietta East Range, LLC. Jessica loves spending time with her husband Eric and two daughters, Millie and Gwen.
Laura Naccarato has been a resident of San Benito County since 1987. She holds a Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Accounting. Laura owned her own business, Laura’s Dance Academy from 1995-2005. In 2007 she began working at the San Benito County Assessor’s Office where she is now the Assistant Assessor. Laura, along with her husband Alex of 23 years, and son Wyatt, continues her father-in-law’s legacy of raising bucking bulls. They have a small beef herd as well. She is also a member of San Benito County Cattlewomen. Laura and Alex have lived in Tres Pinos since 1996.
Rick Carpenedo was born and raised in San Jose when it still had many orchards and farms. When he moved to Tres Pinos in 2015, he was concerned with the increasing development in the county. He was excited to discover the San Benito Agricultural Land Trust and began supporting its efforts to preserve our disappearing agricultural land. Rick earned his Bachelor’s degree and has been in the pipeline industry for over twenty years. He enjoys spending time with family and is learning to train horses. He and his wife, Julie, own Shetland ponies and throw pony parties for friends on their 10-acre property. They have one son, Nicholas, who is a senior at San Benito High School.
SBALT ADVISORS IN THE FIELD
The Land Trust is fortunate to have the support, expertise and guidance of community leaders who are dedicated to preserving our rural heritage.
Our advisory support includes:
Christine Breen, Breen Law Firm
Dave Brigantino, San Benito Realty
Michael Brigantino, San Benito Realty
Sallie Calhoun, The Paicines Ranch
Mark Gibson, Gibson Farms
Julie Morris, Morris Grassfed
Kerry Tobias, C.P.A.
To insure a vibrant organization that can grow to keep pace with the increasing pressures of urban development, we are pleased to have these valued team members:
Lynn Overtree, Executive Director, has more than 30 years of experience working for land trusts in California. She brings to SBALT her breadth of knowledge about managing land - including grazing, timber, recreation, and wildlands – as well as skills in planning, acquisitions, fundraising, and administration. She recently worked on the successful national accreditation of the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. Lynn is a resident of San Juan Bautista.
Karminder Aulakh Brown has worked at the intersection of agriculture and conservation in California and southern Nevada for more than 25 years. Since 2012 she has coordinated the San Benito Working Landscapes Group, a voluntary network of landowners, agencies and conservation organizations, which aims to preserve San Benito County rangelands. She provides consulting support to SBALT in the areas of communications and landowner relations. An avid gardener, Karminder has lived in Hollister with her husband and two sons since 2005.
Meghan Miller Knowles, Administrative Assistant, brings to SBALT a diverse background which includes work in restoration ecology, computer graphics, research, and administration. She received her master’s degree in landscape architecture from Cal Poly Pomona and her bachelor’s degree in ecology from U.C. Santa Barbara. Meghan is a resident of Seaside and lives with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.