Board Spotlight | Mike Katz

Mike Katz has been a member of Save The Bay’s Board of Directors for the past 13 years.

Meet Mike Katz, an Energy Consultant originally from Rockville, Maryland.  Mike has been on Save The Bay’s Board of Directors for the past 13 years and served as the Board Chair from 2008 to 2012.

How long have you lived in the Bay Area? 
I moved here when I was 23, and I am 54, so that makes it 30 years ago.  I came here to go to grad school.

What is your favorite view of San Francisco Bay?
My most favorite view is from my windsurfing board, sailing off of Crissy Field with the Golden Gate Bridge ahead of me, the Marin coastline to the north and the city’s skyline behind me.

What is your fondest memory of San Francisco Bay? 
The memory I will always cherish is the first time I windsurfed under the Golden Gate Bridge: it was terrifying and fantastic all at the same time.  A close second: being on my board in the Bay, and a huge sea lion charged at me, and at the last moment dove under my board.  Getting that close to such a magnificent animal was thrilling and a bit scary too.

When and why did you decide to join Save The Bay? 
A friend of mine was stepping down from Save The Bay’s Board of Directors, and recommended me as a Board candidate.  He knew of my passion for Bay recreation and my interest in energy and the environment.  I’m very grateful he introduced me – and I’ve been on the Board for 13 years.

Why did you join the Legacy Society?
I created a Will and Living Trust about 10 years ago.  Everyone should have a living trust, to avoid probate and the legal/public scrutiny your estate faces when you only have a Will.  It made sense to me to create a modest bequest for Save The Bay to help its future, while I was planning for my family’s future.  It was very easy to do.

What do you most appreciate about Save The Bay’s mission?
My introduction to Save The Bay included learning about Canoes In Sloughs, a fantastic program that brought kids outside and into canoes to learn about the Bay and have fun.  It was a very difficult decision, as a Board member, to agree to end the program.  But this was the right thing to do: Save The Bay’s history is rooted in protection from infill and to provide greater public access.  We can make a difference by focusing on 2-3 major campaigns, and our expertise is best focused on protection of our shoreline, reduction of plastic pollution, and restoration science and education.

Last Thoughts: 
Without San Francisco Bay, the region would not be nearly as special as it is.  The Bay makes our environment great.  Even when I’m hiking in east Bay parks (some days it’s too cold to windsurf) I always look for that sliver of water, with the sun gleaming off its surface.  The Bay is the tie that binds us all together as neighbors.


Board Spotlight | Donnie Fowler

Donnie Fowler
Donnie Fowler has been a member of Save The Bay’s Board of Directors since 2011.

Meet Donnie Fowler, a Public Affairs and Technology professional originally from Columbia, South Carolina. Donnie joined Save The Bay’s Board of Directors in 2011.

Do you have a favorite Bay site or experience?

I love being outdoors, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since I moved here in 2001, I’ve continued to discover new places from Healdsburg and the Sonoma Coast to the Santa Cruz Mountains that back up Silicon Valley and down to Santa Cruz. One of my favorites has been participating in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, which includes a mile-and-a-half swim in the Bay. How lucky are Bay Area residents to be able to experience all this in our backyard?

How did you get involved with Save The Bay?

I was invited by Wade Crowfoot, who was a Save The Bay Board member at the time. He and I worked together in 2010 to successfully defeat California’s Prop 23 which was sponsored by a bunch of ideologues and Texas oil companies to overturn our State’s climate and clean energy laws. Our “No on 23” effort was an a broad coalition of Republicans and Democrats, environmentalists and clean energy entrepreneurs – a great way to build a coalition to solve problems.

What is the best thing about being a board member at Save The Bay?

The great legacy we follow and bring to every issue. The prestigious reputation of the organization and respect from the community is inspiring. I also feel honored working with dedicated board members and the really talented staff of Save The Bay.

If you could be one Bay plant or animal, what would it be and why?

The California Sea Lion. How could anyone not envy how happy they look in the water and lying in the sun. They feel as comfortable in water as on land (and never seem to be cold!).

Who is your environmental hero?

Al Gore. I have worked for him four times, including as his national field director during the 2000 presidential campaign. I also helped drive the marketing efforts for the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” that brought attention to the climate change issue to so many for the very first time. Al Gore walks the walk and talks the talk. Some Californians that I really admire include Tom Adams (California League of Conservation Voters), Mary Nichols (California Air Resources Board ), John Doerr (venture capitalist), and Nancy Pfund (venture capitalist).

What is your favorite thing about the San Francisco Bay Area?

The breathtaking beauty and diversity of the landscape and its waters.

What is one thing you do each day to protect the environment?

Serving on the board of Save The Bay and working closely with their policy and public advocacy teams. I also have spent a significant amount of my professional life supporting the growth of the clean energy economy in the United States, especially the solar and wind industries.


Board Spotlight | Maureen Reilly

Maureen Reilly
Maureen enjoys sailing on San Francisco Bay.

Maureen Reilly has been a member of Save The Bay’s Board of Directors since 2008.  Maureen lives in San Francisco and is Senior Vice President at Chase Business Credit/JP Morgan Chase. She enjoys hiking, photography, sailing and running along the Bay.

Why did you decide to get involved with Save The Bay?

I moved to San Francisco in 2005 from southern California where I had been an active volunteer with Heal the Bay.  Save The Bay has a similar mission to that organization (i.e., conservation and pollution prevention), together with a great staff and large group of members/advocates.  I was surprised to learn how much of SF Bay had been lost to in-fill before Save The Bay was formed and really wanted to work with an organization that is dedicated to preserving and protecting our area’s top natural treasure.

What is your favorite thing about the San Francisco Bay Area?

I pretty much love everything about San Francisco and the Bay Area – the amazing outdoors, the food and wine, the great cultural organizations, the unique people, the climate.  I was born in San Francisco but my family moved back east when I was a young child – it took me a long time to get back and I hope to never leave.

Do you have a favorite site along the Bay?

I love to hike to the top of Angel Island for the 360-degree view of the Bay – it is truly breathtaking.  (And beers at Sam’s afterwards are always a great treat.)  I also enjoy Wednesday Night Sails with the OCSC Sailing Club out of the Berkeley marina – the perfect way to break up the workweek.

If you could be one Bay plant or animal, what would it be and why?

Probably a sea lion – they seem to have fun lounging out by Pier 29.

Who is your environmental hero?

Kay Kerr, Sylvia McLaughlin and Esther Gulick , of course! 

What is your first/fondest memory of San Francisco Bay?

Learning to sail last summer – there were 24 knot winds on my very first day and I was white-knuckled, but hooked.

Anything else you want to tell us?

A day on the Bay is special – do try to get out sailing/kayaking/paddling as often as possible, your spirit will thank you.

Welcome to the Board of Directors, Ron Gonzales

Ron Gonzales joined Save The Bay’s Board of Directors in September. Ron comes to us with years of experience in public service and business. A former mayor of both San Jose and Sunnyvale, Ron is a champion of innovative public education, transportation, housing, and the environment. He currently serves as President and CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, an organization working to improve the quality of life for Latinos in the Silicon Valley region through education, elder services, and leadership programs. He founded and serves as Chairman and CEO of Presencia, LLC, a Hispanic-owned technology business. A Bay Area native, Ron lives in his hometown of San Jose.

What’s the most exciting thing about joining Save The Bay’s Board?
I’m honored to be serving with a group of incredible people who are dedicated to saving and preserving the Bay Area’s greatest natural icon, the actual Bay!

Why did you want to join Save The Bay’s Board?
As a Bay Area native and lifetime admirer of the beautiful Bay environment I wanted to take this opportunity to add a South Bay perspective to the Save The Bay board.

What is your first/fondest memory of San Francisco Bay?
I still remember touring the Bay, as a child, with relatives from Tucson, Arizona, who had never laid eyes on a body of water as large and beautiful as our Bay.

What is your favorite activity or location on the Bay?
Simply watching ships on the Bay and looking at its bridges. Also, as a golfer, I’ve enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Bay as viewed from various golf courses.

What is the one thing you do every day to protect the environment?
Support local measures to eliminate plastic bags and general litter that eventually makes it way to the Bay.

Click here to learn more about Ron Gonzales’ work with Save The Bay.

Board Spotlight | Michael Gallagher

Board Member Michael Gallagher
Board Member Michael Gallagher celebrating our 50th anniversary.    Photo: Drew Altizer Photography

Michael Gallagher has been a member of Save The Bay’s Board of Directors since 2009. This is his second term as a board member.  Michael lives in Marin and is Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo Bank.

Why did you decide to get involved with Save The Bay?

I wanted to get involved with an effective environmental organization doing work in the bay area.  A friend introduced me to (Executive Director) David Lewis in 2000.  I had written checks to some environmental groups but I wanted to do more than just write checks. I wanted to get closer to the work and issues and contribute towards a cause.

I was convinced to join by learning the exciting history of the organization – the long history of positive impacts to the bay and what a group of concerned citizens were able to do to change direction towards long term protection.  And by the impressive, articulate Executive Director.

What is your favorite thing about the San Francisco Bay Area?

The climate, the weather.  That Mediterranean feeling in the air every day.  I’m originally from New Jersey so I have the zeal of a convert.

Do you have a favorite site along the Bay?

Down the hill from my house – Richardson Bay in Marin, looking at it from Strawberry Point.  It has changed a little bit for the better – funding for marsh restoration led to protection and restoration of an area on Strawberry Point next to the school.  Aramburu island is nearby, a little spit off Strawberry Point, which has also seen some restoration.

If you could be one Bay plant or animal, what would it be and why?

Definitely a sea otter.  I would do my part as a male sea otter to lead to resurgence in the sea otter population in San Francisco Bay.

Who is your environmental hero?

Sylvia McLaughlin.  Because I’ve been able to meet her and see her and experience her authenticity.

What is one thing you do each day to protect the environment?


What is your first/fondest memory of San Francisco Bay?

My first memory: driving over the Bay Bridge in 1973 from the east Bay towards San Francisco and seeing the view of San Francisco, the Bay, and the Golden Gate Bridge.  I haven’t had my fondest memory yet.