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!
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 and Santa Barbara Green Drinks. 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! Can’t wait to have you on board, Riley!
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.