chapter staff and executive committee

IMG_0489Mandy Sackett, Chapter Manager, has a BA in Spanish and Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston and an MA in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. She has experience working with several ocean related organizations throughout California including Ocean Champions, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Ocean Protection Council and California Coastal Commission. She also volunteered at the Surfrider Foundation’s Monterey Chapter. Mandy is passionate about protecting our oceans, waves and beaches and is excited to be working with Surfrider to do so! She is an avid surfer, competitive sailboat racer and all around ocean adventurer. She is also fluent in the Spanish language.

Julia Chunn-Heer, Policy Manager, a graduate of UCLA, joins the Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter after being heavily involved with the chapter and the organization for the past nine years. She started volunteering for the chapter at beach cleanups and later the Art Gala. In 2006 she was elected to the Executive Committee, and in 2007 she was nominated to be the first female Chair of the San Diego Chapter. In 2008 due to her work at Coast Law Group she took a more policy oriented volunteer role as Policy Coordinator. Later in 2008, Julia became the General Manager of Surfrider Australia where she lived and worked for over a year. Julia uses her experience to help empower other activists and to aid the chapter in influencing the change it desires in San Diego.

Mark West, Chair, after spending twenty-four years as a US Naval Officer, Mark officially “came” out of the environmental closet. His Naval career afforded him the opportunity to travel to every continent witnessing firsthand the devastating impacts that humans are having on our oceans, waves and beaches. Being a witness to these atrocities fueled his fire to become a steward for the environment. 
Mark has been an active member of Surfrider for the past nine years and an activist for the past six years he has focused his efforts on the No Border Sewage campaign. Mark is currently a Citizen Forum Board Member for the United States International Boundary and Water Commission working to reduce transboundary pollution in Tijuana Mexico and Imperial Beach. Furthermore, he completed a Capstone research project for Surfrider San Diego focusing on ocean water quality testing. He possess an Executive Masters in Public Administration from the University of Colorado – Denver. Mark resides in Imperial Beach with my wife Megan and our two four-legged children Dublin and Zoe.

ArloArlo Hitzemann, Executive Committee Member, grew up in Germany and moved to California in 2007 where he developed his love for the ocean, waves, and beaches and the lifestyle surrounding them. After 6 years in Monterey, he moved to San Diego with his wife Nikki and their dogs, Dali and Sal. They fell in love with this area that offers everything you can imagine; surfing, hiking, climbing, sunshine, and most importantly like-minded people. After transferring from the Monterey Chapter, he became a core volunteer in the San Diego County Chapter and dedicated all his focus to create many, many designs for various programs and events including the Art Gala, Paddle for Clean Water, and Hard Rock Cafe Pin, just to name a few. Simultaneously, he was part of the successful Beach Monitoring Study in 2013. After being elected the male volunteer of the year in 2013 he moved on to become the South County Beach Cleanup Site Captain in an effort to help keep our beaches in San Diego clean. It only took one cleanup at Goat Canyon to get hooked on the No Border Sewage (NoBS) program where he serves as a liaison for the Executive Committee. Outside of Surfrider, Arlo is a Graphic and Web Designer and likes to explore new surf spots along San Diego’s beautiful 70-mile coastline.

EmilyEmily Little, Secretary, grew up in Northern California, attended college in Colorado, then took two years off from school to teach English in Thailand, work on the mountain at Mammoth ski resort, and become a divemaster in Honduras. She moved down to San Diego two years ago to start a PhD program at UCSD, where she researches cultural learning in infancy and early childhood. Emily has been volunteering for most of her life, working on projects ranging from wild animal conservation in South Africa to building schools in the Dominican Republic. She is an avid adventurer and ocean enthusiast, and she is extremely excited to be dedicating her time to Surfrider’s environmental efforts here in San Diego. 

DukesWootersDukes Wooters, Executive Committee Member, from starting out volunteering at Saturday beach cleanups to monitoring Imperial Beach waves to ultimately chairing the Hold on to your Butt program, Dukes Wooters has assisted the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation wherever he can. Born and raised in the Northeast corridor, Dukes grew up enjoying the freshwater lakes of the Adirondacks and the shorelines of south Jersey. Community outreach was instilled in him at a young age and continued when he moved to San Diego over two and half years ago. When he’s not picking up cigarette litter on beach strands, he currently is a candidate in the UCSD Green Sustainability certificate program, works at UCSD, and serves on the board of the Mission Beach Town Council.

Matt O’Malley, Executive Committee Member, comes to Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter with a background in public interest environmental law, and holds the position of Waterkeeper at San Diego Coastkeeper.  He first got involved at Surfrider with the No Border Sewage campaign and has since assisted with stormwater, wastewater, and potable water issues in the Know Your H2O campaign.  Originally from New Jersey, Matt finally – and gratefully – arrived in San Diego in 2010 by way of Colorado, Seattle, and Florida.  He’s a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law and of Rutgers University.

Sarah Diaz Roth, Executive Committee Member, is passionate about oceans and animals. As a child she would stand on the street corners with signs for world peace, the environment, and animals. She got involved with Surfrider in 2010, first with beach cleanups and later fell in love with Rise Above Plastics. She joined the Executive Committee in 2012 and serves as a liaison for Ocean Friendly Gardens and continues to co-lead Rise Above Plastics. SDR loves running with her dogs, Mowgli and Peggy on the beach.


SunshineSunshine Johnson, Executive Committee Member, a second generation San Diego Native, Sunshine Johnson was raised to respect and protect the ocean. Discovering and learning from her local beaches and mountains, she quickly realized the importance of protecting our precious environment. With the knowledge that her parents ingrained in her and using the skills she gained from her time as a Girl Scout, Sunshine found her passions easily aligned with Surfrider’s mission. Protecting and enjoying our oceans, waves, and beaches through a powerful activist network, she joined the powerful San Diego Chapter in 2006 on Earth Day. Her fun started with weekend beach cleanups. It then blossomed into overseeing booth events, serving as the South SD Beach Cleanup Site Captain (for three years), then moving on to help at major fundraising events like the Art Gala and Paddle for Clean Water. All this fun and dedication led to Sunshine being named the 2014 Surfrider San Diego Volunteer of the Year! In addition to all this, Sunshine is also an active member of the Hold On To Your Butt campaign and the Events and Fundraising Committee. She has also already served on the Executive Committee for three years (’11-’13) and is now returning for another two years of fun! Whether working with students as a professional during the day, or just meeting someone for the first time, Sunshine shares her passion of the importance to protect our oceans, waves, and beaches with everyone she meets. Come along and join in on the fun in 2015!


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