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!
Riley Hubbell,Project Manager
Riley Hubbell graduated from UCSB in 2014 with majors in Global Studies, Sociology and Professional Writing. She previously served as the Director of Education for environmental education non-profit Sprout Up.
Riley plans and oversees many of LoaTree’s varied projects to make sure that the scope and direction of each project is on schedule. She also manages our internship program.
Summers spent in the Sequoia’s cultivated Riley’s desire to care for the natural world. She’s passionate about backpacking, farmers markets, rock climbing and experiencing new places. Riley’s commitment to community engagement, youth outreach and a general love of life is a perfect compliment to our team!
Elizabeth Davidson, Communications Manager
Elizabeth Davidson is a recent graduate from UCSB in both communications and comparative literature. Previously the Director of Events for environmental education non profit Sprout Up, she has specialized in event production and community outreach for their annual gala & auction.
Elizabeth is excited to continue managing all of LoaTree’s social media outlets. She also is researching consumer engagement strategies and will be assisting in event production.
Her love of nature has inspired a continuous involvement in environmentally conscious organizations and her passion for people has kept her actively involved in our community. Her energetic persona combined with a nearly-unhealthy infatuation with creative foods, dancing, and exploring the outdoors keeps her #LoaLiving.
Graciela Cabello, Events and Communications
After several years of living in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, Graciela returns to her native Santa Barbara to join the Loa events and communications team.
Graciela’s background includes over eleven years of experience in communications, project management, community building, and organizational development in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining Loa Tree, she was the National Director of Latino Outdoors, where she was a key leader in building a non-profit organization from early project stages, to a nationally recognized brand and movement. Her background also includes an eight-year career in the Entertainment industry, where she was critical to the success of a start-up team at Comcast tasked with launching new interactive media platforms for advertisers. Graciela is a graduate of California State University, East Bay, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.
Her passion lies in spending time playing outdoors, developing meaningful relationships with people, building community, traveling, having a voice when addressing societal inequities, and finding the best tacos.
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 2014 with degrees in Environmental Studies and Multimedia Writing. Her passion for the outdoors blossomed at a young age through family camping trips, summers working in Yosemite, and growing up in eco-conscious Berkeley. When she isn’t working, she’s most often found at the beach, exploring the Santa Ynez mountains, or planning her next travel adventure. 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.
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.