Our People


Garry Brown

Garry Brown

Founder and President

Garry founded Inland Empire Waterkeeper in 2005 as an extention of Orange County Coastkeeper, a nonprofit organization he founded in 1999 to protect Southern California’s waters and watersheds. Through IE Waterkeeper, Garry has negotiated solutions to runoff and pollution issues that have threatened the Santa Ana River Watershed. He’s a relentless advocate for cooperative solutions but will litigate when boardroom discussions fail to bring results. Under Garry’s leadership, Waterkeeper has become a tried and trusted ward of our freshwater ecosystems through education, advocacy, restoration, research, and enforcement.

Garry comes from a long background of building public-private partnerships. He served for five years as an assistant city manager for the City of Redlands, ten years as an advocate and executive director for trade associations in the real estate and building industries, and served two terms as president of a chamber of commerce.

Garry holds positions of leadership on numerous Boards of Directors and governmental advisory committees, including the California Coastkeeper Alliance, the Nature Reserve of Orange County, OCTA’s Environmental Cleanup Allocation Committee, the Community Engagement Panel for the Decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Station, the Harbor Safety and Oil Spill Response Committee for the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach, American Green Power, the California Artificial Reef Enhancement Foundation, and Ocean Defenders Alliance. Garry holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Redlands.

IE Waterkeeper team

Ray Hiemstra

Associate Director of Policy and Projects

Ray Hiemstra has spent over two decades working to preserve, protect, and restore coastal and inland water quality and habitat. His work includes water quality advocacy, policy development, grant writing, Marine Protected Areas, species and habitat restoration, and water and sediment monitoring.

Ray is a member of numerous committees and workgroups, including the California Water Monitoring Council, UCI PFAS Health Study Community Advisory Panel, and Newport Bay Management Committee.

Ray is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys traveling. He is a lifelong resident of Orange County and spends his spare time working with the Sierra Club, community groups or relaxing with his family and friends.


Johanna Ramos

Program Director

Johanna graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2021 with degrees in Environmental Science and Policy and in Educational Sciences. During her senior year, she started an internship with the Orange County Coastkeeper, later leading her to join the Inland Empire Waterkeeper team.

Prior to joining the Coastkeeper team, Johanna worked for the City of Fontana and City of Irvine, facilitating summer camps and other educational activities.

Outside of the office, Johanna enjoys playing basketball and going hiking. She also loves traveling and trying new places to eat.

Raquel Zelaya

Program Assistant

Raquel has lived in San Bernardino County all her life and has always had a passion for her community and the outdoors. She received her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Educational Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara in June of 2021. While attending UC Santa Barbara, she volunteered in various programs, including one where she took a trip to San Antonio, Texas to help organizations dedicated to assisting the vulnerable immigrant community. As a Program Assistant at Inland Empire Waterkeeper, she will be coordinating and facilitating the Education and River Cleanup Programs.

In her free time, Raquel loves going on beach trips, hiking, and exploring nature with her dog, Rio.


Ellen Brown
Ellen Brown
Associate Director and CFO
Dyana Pena
Dyana Peña
Associate Director of Programs
Matt Sylvester
Matt Sylvester
Communications Director
Michaela Coats
Education Director
Genesee Ouyang
Education Programs Manager
Kaysha Kenney
Marine Restoration Director
Barry Lee
Barry Lee
Staff Attorney
Erin Barlow
Staff Attorney
Irene Cordero
Cleanups Coordinator
Ives Tejada
Program Coordinator
Laura Rodriguez
Outreach Specialist

Board of Directors

Garry Brown President

Vince Zimmerer Chair

Janice Sclafani Vice Chair

Kara Adams Treasurer

Robert King Pas Chair

Ellen Brown Assistant Secretary (non-voting)

Alan Freeman

Katherine Garcia

Mandana Massoumi

Jeff Snow

Robert Budd