David Fortson, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Arriving at UC Santa Barbara in 1993, David immediately dove head first into environmental activism on campus and the surrounding community.
Upon graduation, David worked for, or served on the board of a handful of community environmental policy organizations and government agencies.
After 10 years as a full time activist, David moved into business working for a then start-up company called Sonos. While at Sonos, he invented and nationally launched a dog product, “The Brush Buddy.”
In 2008, David and a few friends seeded the idea of a ‘lifestyle company’ and in 2009 David took the helm of “LoaTree,” a company that combined his experiences as an eco-advocate and businessman. Believing business is one of the most powerful and dynamic agents for making a better planet, LoaTree focuses on connecting and inspiring people to live for a better world.
A lover of art, music and being surrounded by all-star humans, he founded LoaTree as a means of living the dream, living intentionally and living inspired.
When not burning the midnight oil, David chases his daughters, plays music, surfs and hangs with his lovely lady.
Eric Cardenas, Chief Operating Officer
Eric Cardenas graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1998 with degrees in Political Science and Environmental Studies. Eric joined the LoaTree team in 2011.
Eric has worked as director of the Central Coast Environmental Health Project, a project of the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), aimed at protecting human and environmental health from the risks associated with pesticide use through education, policy development and advocacy.
After nine years at EDC, Eric went on to work for the Orfalea Foundations, serving as the s’Cool Food Initiative’s Agriculture and Infrastructure Manager responsible for developing farm-to-cafeteria programs for local school districts. There, he helped oversee and manage grants while establishing relationships between school personnel and the agricultural community.
Eric was founder of the Santa Barbara Ag Futures Alliance (AFA) and has served as a consultant to the Ag Innovations Network. He is a former Planning Fellow for the Roots of Change, served on the state of California’s Ag Vision Process under California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary AG Kawamura, and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Johnson-Ohana Charitable Foundation. He served on the grant making committee for the Fund for Santa Barbara for six years.
Eric enjoys listening to and playing music, the outdoors, frisbee on the beach, game nights with good friends, locally grown food, sipping good tequila and drinking great beer. Guests always welcomed!
Elizabeth Davidson, Marketing & Communications Manager
Elizabeth Davidson is a graduate from UCSB in both communications and comparative literature and was the Director of Events for an environmental education nonprofit before getting hired at LoaTree. Since working for Loa, she has specialized in digital marketing and advertising, social media management, event production, community outreach, volunteer management, graphic design, and more.
She is excited to now be the Marketing & Communications Manager for both LoaTree and LoaCom and is looking forward to developing, refining, and implementing marketing and communication strategies for our clients.
Elizabeth has a strong passion for people, a nearly-unhealthy infatuation with Sia, and when she’s not working you’ll find her dancing. Anytime. Anywhere.
Aaron Roessler, Webmaster & Graphic Design
After exploring careers and lifestyles from San Jose to Hawaii, Illinois and Austin Texas, Aaron is now married and settling his roots in Santa Barbara. His constant love for graphic and web design lead him to pursue what he loves best. He combines his creativity with helping people and companies turn their ideas and visions into reality.
Now a new member of the Loa team, Aaron is responsible for web development and graphic design. He will continue to do what he loves so much – building friendships, enjoying laughter and life to its fullest while establishing a solid career in anything design oriented.
Alyssa Pace, Communications Assistant
Alyssa graduated from UCSB in 2017 with degrees in Environmental Studies and Multimedia Writing. Her passion for the outdoors blossomed at a young age through family camping trips and summers spent working in Yosemite, and took full force during her year abroad doing field research throughout Asia and New Zealand.
After interning for LoaCom during her senior year of college, she has joined the team as a full-time member. Through writing and digital work, she aspires to present creative and compelling media to excite people about the wonders of our planet and their personal connection with it.
When she isn’t working, you can find Alyssa concert-hopping, exploring the Santa Ynez mountains, or planning her next travel adventure.
Ana Smith, Account Manager + Business Development Associate
Inspiration comes in many forms and for Ana it’s spending time with her husband and daughter, cooking and sharing meals with loved ones, dancing, and exploring new hot spots of fashion and food culture.
Kaylie Luedke, Content Development Intern
Kaylie Luedke is a fourth-year UCSB Communications major, with a minor in Professional Writing and a focus on Media Studies, who never strays far from the beach. Her favorite UCSB experience was studying abroad in the Netherlands, which allowed her to travel through eight countries in Europe. Kaylie’s passions are singing, writing and recording music, camping, backpacking, and volunteering with children.
Liam Hession, Content Development Intern
Splitting time between the suburbs and beaches of Northern California, Liam developed a passion for the environment at a young age. Now in his fourth and final year at UC Santa Barbara, Liam is majoring in Environmental Studies and pursuing minors in Multimedia Communication and Technology Management.
As a Content Development Intern for the Loa team, Liam hopes to garner experience in graphic design and digital marketing as well as develop lasting connections and friendships. When not in the office, you can find Liam surfing, strolling the beach, or locked away on 6th floor Davidson Library.
Alice Chein, Graphic Designer
Alice Chein is a skilled graphic designer whose work includes website design, logo and brand packages, event posters, packaging design, email newsletters, and more. She is a Santa Barbara native and self-taught graphic designer.
Jesse Colorado Swanhuyser, General Counsel
Originally from the Bay Area, Jesse graduated from UCSB in 1999 and UCLA Law in 2011 focused on environment and global trade issues. He enjoys surfing, photography and woodwork when he isn’t doing his part to make a better world.