chapter staff and executive committee
Mandy 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.
Arlo 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.
Emily 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.
Cynthia Replogle, Executive Committee Member, is a patent agent and writer who fell in love with surfing the moment she stood up on a 10-foot foam board in 2003 and rode a knee-high wave. Ensuring that the ocean would stay clean despite a nearby cruise ship port led her to work with two friends to start what became the Cocoa Beach chapter of Surfrider. A few years later, after relocating to northern California, she served as Secretary and then Vice-Chair of the San Mateo County chapter. Most recently, Cynthia was co-chair of the Rise Above Plastics Committee of San Diego Surfrider and part of the team that launched the Ocean Friendly Restaurants campaign that is now spreading across the world.
Jake Sneeden, Executive Committee Member, is a native New Englander who moved to San Diego in 2014 after being drawn to the region by its 70 miles of beaches and rich surfing history. He was elected to Surfrider San Diego’s Executive Committee after two years working with the Beach Preservation Committee on public engagement and media outreach campaigns. An experienced communications professional, Jake brings a dynamic range of experiences working with federal agencies, building coalitions and executing national outreach plans to his role at Surfrider. Jake is currently a senior account executive at Southwest Strategies, a top public affairs firm in San Diego, and sits on the Equinox Center’s Leaders 2020 Steering Committee. Prior to joining Southwest Strategies, he was a public sector consultant working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy to develop public-private partnerships to promote clean energy markets and national energy efficiency programs. He lives in Ocean Beach with his fiancée Jenny and chocolate lab Bagheera. When he is not surfing, he enjoys backpacking, fly fishing and exploring California. Jake graduated cum laude from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, majoring in International Politics with a concentration in Security Studies.
Brian Slattery, Executive Committee Member, says that after 30 years of surfing and enjoying all the ocean has to offer he still get as excited as a 10 year old child catching their first wave whenever he gets to the beach. It is this gift and magic of the ocean that he is passionate in helping preserve so that all walks of life can enjoy it as much as he has. He has six years experience as a Project Manager in commercial construction managing the budget, schedule, subcontractors, consultants and negotiations with clients. He then changed careers to become a Firefighter / Paramedic and have promoted up the ranks to Fire Captain where he has been with the department for 13 years.
Sunshine 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!