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, Production Administrator
Riley Hubbell, current UCSB student and coordinator with environmental education nonprofit SproutUp, has joined LoaTree to lend a hand with event planning and production. She’ll focus her time and energy on Santa Barbara Earth Day 2014, Santa Barbara Green Drinks and a managing new writing internship program hosted by LoaTree. Riley is currently finishing up her majors in Global Studies, Sociology and Professional Writing at UCSB.
Summers spent in the Sequoia’s cultivated Riley’s desire to care for the natural world. She’s passionate about farmers markets, surfing, beach volleyball and travel. Riley’s commitment to community engagement, youth outreach and a general love of life is a perfect compliment to our team!
Cristina Cook, Programs Associate
Cristina Cook attended UCSB and accomplished her degree with a BA in Environmental Studies, graduating in 2012 with the department’s Environmental Service Award. While at UCSB, Cristina was actively involved in the campus community’s environmental groups. She was on the officer team for the Environmental Affairs Board (EAB) as the Publicity Coordinator in 2010-2011 and the club’s Co-Chair in 2011-2012. She loves to travel and be inspired by other cultures and other people’s passions for the planet, people, and their communities. She also is deeply passionate about the ocean, a passion that originally drove her to move to Santa Barbara. She is an avid swimmer, loves surfing, hiking, cooking, and biking.
Cris also loves food and is inspired to communicate to others the impacts that food has on the body. As a member of the Loa tribe, Cris oversees the Santa Barbara Farmers Market Farm Friendly Dining Program, managed by LoaTree’s sister consulting agency, LoaCom.
Bethany Stevens, Writing and Social Media Intern
Rounding out her last year as UCSB, Bethany Stevens is studying Music and French Horn Performance, German and Professional Writing. As a writing intern, Bethany will contribute as a featured author on the LoaTree Blog. Using her expertise acquired while interning at Oniracom where she monitored the social media pages of artists such as Jack Johnson and G-love, Bethany will be instrumental in LoaTree’s online presence, specifically Twitter and Instagram.
In her spare time, Bethany loves photography, hiking, rock climbing, drawing, traveling, camping, and dogs!
Meagan Hanna, Writing and Social Media Intern
Meagan Hanna is currently finishing her studies in Environmental Studies and Professional Writing at UCSB. Meagan has joined the team as a featured author on LoaTree’s blog as well as a content creator for Loa’s social media platforms, with a focus on Facebook.
Meagan’s experience working for the EPA in Washington DC and at a solar energy company have cultivated her passions to spread principles of energy efficiency and sustainability. She is committed to raising awareness of the social issues our young generation faces and engaging community in active lifestyles. Meagan loves spending time pursuing her passions of volleyball, running and enjoying the beautiful Santa Barbara ocean!
Max Bayuk, an undergrad student at UCSB, joined the Loa tribe in spring of his senior year as a writing intern. Max is majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations, while also completing the Civic Engagement track of the Professional Writing minor and UCSB’s Technology Entrepreneurship Certificate. He’ll be a contributing author to LoaTree’s blog.
Max has contributed his writing, project management, and marketing skills to several non-profits, including the Next Generation Summit, NeeDeed (a Bangkok-based NGO), and UCSB Recreational Sports. Max is an aspiring yoga teacher and has worked at multiple yoga studios in the Santa Barbara area. He is passionate about health, wellness, and the environment, and seeks to apply his education, as well as his work and life experiences, to bring wellness to both the planet its people.
Kirsten Frank, senior at UCSB, is majoring in Global Studies and minoring in Professional Writing program. Kirsten has interned with WIN Management as a writer on women’s health and wellness. She also collaborated with UCSB’s development office as a research assistant. A frequent traveler, Kirsten spent a majority of her early summers in Malaysia, sparking her passion for culture, community, and delicious food!
Eager to explore her artistic and creative interests, Kirsten will assist with graphic design for LoaTree events, social media platforms and more, using her unique style for a variety of LoaTree projects.