Ricardo Aguirre, PE
Director of Drylands Alliance for Addressing Water Needs

Ricardo Aguirre is descended from one of the pioneer ranching families in the state of Arizona. After growing up on a cattle ranch and cotton farm in the state, he studied civil engineering at the University of Arizona, going on to receive a master’s degree in civil engineering (water resources and hydro-systems) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a professional civil engineer, licensed to practice in Arizona and Utah.

Ricardo practiced traditional civil engineering for about 15 years, but when he started a family, he knew he wanted to instill the same agrarian values that he grew up with. Knowing he didn’t want to pursue the kind of chemically-supported industrial agriculture responsible for degrading the environment, he turned to various regenerative agricultural practices such as permaculture and Holistic Management. In the course of this journey, he became an Accredited Professional in Holistic Management from the Savory Institute, a certified floodplain manager from the Association of State Floodplain Managers, and a Certified Water Harvesting Design Practitioner from the Water Management Group.

Today, Ricardo is focused on combining his twenty-plus years of experience in engineering with his background in regenerative farming and ranching to integrate natural processes into large-scale engineering projects. The multiple perspectives with which he approaches his work enable Ricardo to quickly define the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with water resource and land management projects of all sizes. Get in touch with him today to see how he can help you improve the regenerative capacity of your land or come out to the next tour of the DAAWN farm and ranch.

Brian Wahlin, Ph.D., PE, CFM
Chairman of the Board

Brian Wahlin is a vice president with WEST Consultants, DAAWN’s parent company, and serves as DAAWN’s chairman of the board.

Michelle De Blasi
Board Member

Michelle De Blasi is the founder of Law Offices of Michelle De Blasi, where she specializes in environmental, natural resources, and energy law. Michelle also serves as the executive director of the Arizona Energy Consortium, another Arizona nonprofit.

Josef Pappas, PE
Board Member

Josef is a vice president with the real estate development company, Sunbelt Holdings.

Karen Riggs, PE
Board Member

Karen is the founder and sole proprietor of the engineering consulting company, WHL. Karen also serves on other nonprofit boards throughout Arizona, including the Arizona State Land and Water Trust. Karen also has over 30 years of experience as both an agriculturalist and as a professional engineer.

Pete Dunn
Board Member

Pete Dunn is the founder and CEO of Western Pacific Storage Solutions; a manufacturing company for industrial supply chain storage facilities.

Grant Tims
Ranch Manager

Grant Tims has studied regenerative agriculture for over five years and has practiced implementing regenerative agricultural practices – with great success – on his own vegetable farm in Tucson. Grant has over 10 years of experience managing livestock on a small scale and brings with him an understanding of and appreciation for the codependence and interconnectedness of animal health and welfare, environmental health, and human health. Grant is instrumental in the day-to-day functioning of the DAAWN demonstration site, as well as in the cultivation and expansion of DAAWN’s ecological monitoring systems.

Mariko Yoshinaga
Administrative/Technical Assistant

Mariko Yoshinaga has a master’s degree in Public Health with a focus on Epidemiology. Mariko also has a background in nutritional studies and how truly healthy food affects human health. Not all foods are created equal, and it is Mariko’s goal to help ensure sound ecosystem functioning to promote safe and healthy growing conditions for the various foods our society depends on. Mariko assists with the day-to-day tasks to keep DAAWN moving forward with its mission. Please feel free to contact her for more information or with any questions or comments.

New Team Member

Jaime Kitchell

Jaime is DAAWN’s lead volunteer and is responsible for assisting Grant, DAAWN’s ranch manager, with animal husbandry, developing and applying biological soil amendments, and general maintenance of the DAAWN Demonstration Site. Jaime has managed his family’s homestead for two years and is looking to start a career in regenerative agriculture.