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 is now the lead facilitator for both the Santa Barbara and Ventura AFA’s, serving as consultant via LoaCom 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!
Cristina Cook, Programs and Production 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, she will continue to develop and manage new food education programs as well as be active in helping organize Green Drinks and other Loa events.
Matthew Scott, Video Production
Following his graduation from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Aquatic Biology, Matt sought to work with those UCSB laboratories whose field research took them to the exotic and remote. Through the lens of science, video and film production, Matthew found himself below the ice sheets of Antarctica and the deepest jungles of the Amazon rainforest. Matt soon discovered his love for the unfolding drama of the human experience within a changing environmental landscape through the use of multimedia. He has worked on surf films that found him in South Africa for two months as well a spending four weeks with the Cousteau team and the Ocean Futures Society, traveling 1400 miles down the Amazon River.
Matt works with LoaTree through video and event production, engaging himself in projects that make an impact and catalyze the imagination, while focusing strongly on collaborative partnerships.
Sarah Clark, Contributing Writer
Sarah Clark graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies from Brown University in 2008 and received her Master of Environmental Science and Management degree from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara in 2012. Her areas of work have included community research for state brownfield rehabilitation programs, climate change adaptation strategies for small island nations, and more. She currently works at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS).
An avid nature-lover since her childhood in Maine, Sarah shares an equal passion for the great outdoors and writing. As a contributing writer, blogging for LoaTree is her opportunity to exchange ideas about current environmental issues with the community and to spend time writing about what she cares for most.