Portola and Castle Rock Foundation Board of Directors
From left to right: Mile Standish, Doug Brown, Steve Moore, Mujtaba Ghouse, Andy Vought, Brian Smartt, Tracy Schwartz, James Rauen, Mike Kahn, Bob Spears, Becky Rivera
(missing Julie Zack, Craig Vent, Michele van Zuiden and Eric Schmidt)
President of the Board
James became a Director in 2013 and was elected to President in 2014. He is a Bay Area native with a longstanding passion for the outdoors. He has hiked, camped and climbed in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He is a graduate of MIT, holds an MBA from Wharton, and manages operations at Google. James has a longstanding passion for the outdoors. James lives with his wife and three sons in Menlo Park.
Vice President of the Board
Doug Brown grew up in Palo Alto and was introduced to the hiking and climbing at Castle Rock State Park as a teenager by his father. He has been a Volunteer with the Mid-Pen Open Spaces District for 5 yrs., with Tahoe Rim Trail Association for 3 yrs. and the Castle Rock Trail Volunteers for 2 years. His many volunteer hours hiking the Castle Rock trails, meeting visitors and talking to Rangers has given him an understanding of the many needs of the park. He first became a member and then joined the Board PCRF to help address these needs. . Doug attended UC Berkeley, the University of Freiburg, Germany and the University of Washington where he earned a PhD. D in Nuclear Physics. Doug returned to the Bay Area in 1978 and enjoyed a successful carrier in R&D and Management. He retired in 1995 and splits his time between homes in Sunnyvale and Lake Tahoe.
Director and Treasurer
Becky Rivera joined the Portola and Castle Rock State Foundation Board in 2012, following her first hike at Portola Redwoods State Park. Owner of BRFinance, a small consulting firm, Becky brings over 20 years of finance and administration to the role of Treasurer. A native Californian, Becky earned a B.S. in Business and a M.S. in Finance from Golden Gate University.
Andrew M. Vought
Secretary and and Past President
Andy Vought joined the Board of the Portola and Castle Rock Foundation in 2012. He has been CEO, CFO, or Director of many start-up companies in Silicon Valley and Europe. His industrial focus has been on semiconductors for communications. Andy has B.A. Environmental Studies and B.S. Economics degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Andy developed his passion for hiking in the Adirondacks and lives with his wife Andrea in Venice, California . Andy is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Save the Redwoods League and Clockshop.
Mujtaba grew up in Britain, where he loved walking through the picturesque English countryside. He moved to the East Coast to earn a PhD in Computer Science from the Johns Hopkins University, then relocated to California in 1993, and rapidly gained a passion for hiking and camping. He works in Silicon Valley, and lives in San Jose. His children were in scouting, which led to a volunteer role as a Scoutmaster, and then as an assistant commissioner (coordinating a number of scouting units), as well as monthly backpacking trips. Mujtaba took the PCRF volunteer training in 2016, to spread awareness and appreciation for these parks, as well as help preserve them, and has been roaming (looking for trail problems) and leading guided hikes for the Foundation since that summer.
Mike was born and raised in Palo Alto. His parents’ love of the outdoors rubbed off on him over the years with many hiking and camping trips in the region. Mike has spent his career at the crossroads of environmental sustainability and marketing communications, including a stint at KQED as Social Media Producer for QUEST’s science of sustainability program. From 2014 to 2016, he was the Communications and Outreach Manager for Sempervirens Fund, where he learned more about PCRF and the network of organizations that help the Santa Cruz Mountains thrive for the benefit of nature and recreation.Mike now works for Save the Redwoods Leagues as their Centennial Communications Manager. He holds a B.A. in Sociology from U.C. Berkeley and an A.S. in Interactive Media Design from the Art Institute of California-San Francisco. Mike, his girlfriend, and two “tiny mountain lion” cats reside in San Bruno.
Eric has a passion for hiking, camping and environmental conservation. He’s done trail maintenance at Yellowstone and is happy to apply his energy locally. He has hiked and camped the Rockies, Sierras and Andes. He is Assistant Scoutmaster at Boy Scout Troop 37 in Los Altos and an avid scuba diver. Eric holds an engineering degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree from MIT. He has worked in sales, marketing and engineering roles at start-ups and major companies both in the Bay Area and Northeast. Eric lives in Mountain View with his wife and is the father of three sons.
As a fourth-generation Californian, Tracy grew up enjoying the state’s bounty of natural wonders and Native American cultures. She has lived in the Bay Area for over 40 years and currently resides in Mountain View with her husband. They have been hiking and camping in the area parks since their children were young in the 1980s, and joined the PCRF park volunteers in 2013. Tracy holds a BA in mathematics from UC Davis and a master’s in computer science from Stanford. She has worked as a software engineer and a scientific and technical writer. She now serves on the PCRF Board of Directors because she treasures the California State Parks and would like to contribute to keeping them great.
Bob Spears is a graduate of the University of Denver and a self-proclaimed marketing guy & body surfer. He splits his time between; Palo Alto, Butano Canyon and Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia where he teaches a class to help students understand “The West”. He is a member of the Board of “CCIS” (Community Committee for International Students) at The Bechtel International Center at Stanford and on the Board of a workshop committee at the Stanford Medical School Preventive Medicine.
Bob became a Castle Rock & Portola Redwoods State Park Volunteer in 2015 because of his interest in helping to preserve the life he enjoyed in the Santa Cruz Mountains as a boy. In 20 16 he joined the Board of the Portola and Castle Rock Foundation and is currently active on the Capital Projects Committee.
First joining State Parks in 1967 as an interpreter, Miles Standish was assigned to Castle Rock State Park in May 1980. He retired from State Park service in 2009 after 42 years. He grew up in Oakland and started his career as an interpreter at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Since then he has served as a ranger at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Portola Redwoods State Park, San Francisco Maritime State Historic Park, Samuel Taylor State Park, Mt. Diablo State Park, Carnegie State Vehicle Recreation Area and finally ended up at Castle Rock State Park. Miles has degrees in field biology, ecology, natural resource management and has recently become a member of the California Bar specializing in the field of environmental law.
Michele van Zuiden
Michele brings a rich skill set to the PCRF Board. She graduated from the MBA program at UCLA’s Anderson school and had a 35- year career as a health care executive in the Bay Area. She lives and raised a family in Los Gatos, where she was elected to the Los Gatos/Saratoga High School Board and served for 8 years. In addition, she has served on the boards of a variety of community and non-profit organizations, including Hospice of the Valley, United Way and Pursuit of Excellence Scholarship Foundation. Michele also served as a Court Appointed Child Advocate for 10 years with 2 foster teens and is now a county park volunteer at Martial Cottle Park in San Jose. As part of transitioning into a second career, she is following her life-long interest in the outdoors. As a Board member, she will help support programs which enhance visitor experience to our parks.
Julie moved to the Bay Area in 1996, and is a member of the inaugural 2013 class of Castle Rock and Portola Redwoods Park Watch Volunteers. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston, the University of South Carolina School of Law, and is a licensed attorney. Growing up on the warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean, her love of the outdoors migrated westward to enjoy the close combination of both sea and mountains, hiking throughout California and wherever else an opportunity presents itself.