Michael TortiExecutive Committee Chair
Mikaela BollingExecutive Committee Member
Abby CaschetaExecutive Committee Member
Bobbi-Jo DubushExecutive Committee Member
Ryan EspinozaExecutive Committee Member
Maria McGregorExecutive Committee Member
Suzie SetzlerExecutive Committee Member
Dr. Udo WahnExecutive Committee Member
Westley DangExecutive Committee Member
Laura WalshExecutive Committee Member
Michael was born and raised in San Diego where he developed an interest and compassion for the environment living along the Cleveland National Forest. After studying Political Science at SDSU he discovered Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics Committee and was immediately drawn to the mission. In two years Michael has had the support of Surfrider volunteers to work on and succeed in passing local plastic bag and Polystyrene ordinances in San Diego County cities, as well as worked with the RAP committee to develop the Ocean Friendly Restaurants program.
Mikaela was born in Alaska where she grew up loving the outdoors. However, it wasn’t until she moved to Hawaii that she truly fell in love with the ocean. Mikaela has a communications background in clean energy and environmental conservation and works for an environmental nonprofit, Center for Sustainable Energy, where she manages their local policy and research initiative, the Equinox Project. Mikaela’s excited to be on the Executive Committee and to be working with an influential organization that has a direct impact on the health of our oceans and the sustainability of our region.
Growing up on the East coast, Abby spent most of her days outdoors exploring the forests, mountains, estuaries and beaches of Maryland. She obtained a B.S. in Biology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an M.S. in Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology from Frostburg State University. Since then, Abby has worked in the nonprofit space for more than 15 years, which includes working with Surfrider for the past two years as well as volunteering at the Annual Art Gala. Abby is excited to expand her role and connect her passion for fundraising with her love of the environment.
Bobbi-Jo is ocean-obsessed, curious, strategic, Canadian, and a career nomad who has found a home by the sea in San Diego. She’s a lawyer, diver, and writer-painter-maker as well as a budding surfer and passionate marine conservationist. The world’s wild places bring her joy and she hopes to inspire ways for herself and others to share and protect what they love. She’s honored to help Surfrider share how healthy oceans matter to each of us and loves her work with the South Bay Clean Water/No Border Sewage team who dare to imagine and support a solution for a clean Tijuana River Valley.
Ryan is a designer, marketer, and aspiring Labrador retriever. By day he turns clicks into dollars creating marketing campaigns, consulting startups, and designing memorable experiences through art & pixels. As an avid surfer and music junkie he spends weekends chasing waves and DJ’ing parties in remote parts of Mexico. Ryan believes no amount of tacos are too many, curiosity is the spirit of youth, and as a society we are only as strong as our weakest link.
“Vaya con dios…”
Maria is a San Diego native, growing up in Leucadia and learning to surf at age 13. She has a passion for surfing, clean water and beaches, which aligns perfectly with Surfrider’ mission. She earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Hawaii Pacific University and has been working in the profession for 12 years. She has volunteered to help clean beaches through Surfrider Foundation for many years, and more recently she found a deeper passion to get involved with raising awareness of and advocating against local pollution issues. Maria supports the Rise Above Plastics program.
Suzie is a California native that recently moved back to the area after both her and her family spent a little over a decade in Honolulu, Hawaii. As a fellow ocean lover, she knew she wanted to contribute more to protecting it and joined Surfrider San Diego several years ago as an active volunteer with the STOP Coastal Climate Impact committee member. It was within this committee, that she and other Surfrider members, had the opportunity to train on Climate Change with the Climate Reality Leadership group and Al Gore. Understanding the political climate in which we are now facing threatening years of progressive forward movement, Suzie is more than eager to help join the good fight in protecting our oceans. In her free time, she enjoys road trips with her family, a good concert, maybe a little yoga and playing with her 3 dogs (Lily, Blue and Gucci Gus) and her 2 cats (Luna and Mochiko Chicken, aka Chicken)
Dr. Udo Wahn
Udo grew up in the small village of Sayville along the shores of the Great South Bay separating Long Island, NY from Fire Island and the Atlantic Ocean. His environmental activism dates to the time of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill. This horrific event sparked a great movement in environmentalism. He joined Surfrider Foundation in the 80’s. Udo is a retired physician. He penned the Cabo and Coral series of books with aloha for the ocean-minded child. These books are chock full of environmental messages. He is also a supporter of Reef Check Foundation, Heal the Bay, and the Helen Woodward Animal Center.
Westley grew up in the Pacific Northwest and moved down to San Diego after college to study neuroscience. As much as he loves biomedical research, he volunteers with Surfrider because he feels a profound sense of immediacy and fulfillment in protecting our wild places from being ravaged by the likes of oil, sound pollution, and the indelible stain of plastic. He joined the Rise Above Plastics committee in 2015, and continues to help with local policy efforts to reduce styrofoam consumption. When his hands aren’t glued to a keyboard, he can often be found in the wild wearing Chacos and a rangefinder camera.
Laura grew up in the Mojave Desert, but her first science project was inspired by a visit to the tidepools near Scripps pier. After studying political science and working in public relations in Los Angeles, she returned full circle to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to study how pollution affects coastal water quality. She now works for the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, where she helps public agencies advance climate-smart stormwater management strategies. Laura is stoked to be collecting data on ocean health by riding a Smartfin, and to be supporting the Blue Water Task Force in monitoring water quality and raising public awareness about coastal water pollution.