Board of Directors
In his role as President of the Pisces Foundation, David Beckman is responsible for the Foundation’s strategic direction, grantmaking, and overall management. Previously, David was director of the national water program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, one the nation’s largest environmental advocacy organizations, where he was also a senior attorney. David co-founded and managed the launch of the water program in 2008. Under his leadership the water program became one of NRDC’s six national strategic priorities; substantially expanded its staff; and tripled its financial support. Over seventeen years at NRDC David litigated a number of precedent-setting water quality cases; drafted legislation that led to implementation of groundwater monitoring and water quality programs in California; and researched and wrote reports on a variety of environmental policy matters. For five years he served also as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at California State University, teaching environmental policy and law. David is a 1988 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and a 1991 graduate of Harvard Law School.
Lauren Dachs is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. In addition to her leadership of the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and Stephen Bechtel Fund, Lauren serves on the advisory council to the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center and on the Board of Directors of the Water Foundation. In the recent past, she served on the Board of Directors of the Land Trust Alliance and on the advisory council of Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment.
Lauren has been an advisor or board member for many environment, education, and health organizations, including Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy of California, Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, Head Royce School, The Thacher School, Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Center for Underrepresented Students in the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also a founder of The Lake School, a nonprofit preschool located in Oakland. Lauren graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, and she is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Susan Bell is Principal of Susan Bell & Associates. She provides strategic counsel to private philanthropies and nonprofit organizations addressing environmental and social issues. She is also Managing Director of the Water Funder Initiative, a collaborative effort to activate promising water solutions through strategic philanthropic investments in the U.S., starting in the West. Susan served as Vice President of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for over twelve years. At Hewlett she also served as Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate, helping to launch the ClimateWorks network—in the United States, Europe, China, India, and Latin America—designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enable economic growth. Susan’s career includes work in strategic planning, development, and communications at Stanford University, the Sierra Club, and Northwestern University. Susan is vice chair of the National Audubon Society, board member of the McCall MacBain Foundation, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Water Foundation, and on the Advisory Board of MenloSpark. She is a graduate of Duke University. Susan lives in Menlo Park, California with her husband, Steve.
Celeste Cantú is the Vice Chair of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. Previously, Celeste led the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) and has been working on the crest-to-coast, corner-to-corner Integrated Regional Watershed Management Plan called One Water One Watershed that addresses all water-related issues and joins entities and hundreds of stakeholders seeking to create a new vision of sustainability for the Santa Ana River Watershed. Celeste also served as the Executive Director for the California State Water Resources Control Board, which is responsible for water rights and water quality for the state. During the Clinton Administration, Celeste served as the USDA Rural Development State Director for California. Celeste was born and raised in the Imperial Valley to a pioneer family. There she served first as Planning Director for her hometown, Calexico, and later as Executive Director for the Imperial Valley Housing Authority. Celeste has a BA from Yale in Urban Planning and Policy and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She lives in Temecula with her husband, Dr. Barry Stampfl, an English Professor at SDSU, Imperial Valley Campus. They have two sons.
Mike Connor is a partner in the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP where he practices in the areas of energy, environmental, natural resources, and Native American law. Before joining the firm, he was working with the Walton Family Foundation as an Environment Program Fellow. Prior to that time, Mike served in the Obama Administration as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior from 2014 to 2017 and the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation from 2009 to 2014.
As Deputy Secretary, Mike was the second highest ranking official at the Interior Department with responsibilities as the Chief Operating Officer of an agency with more than 70,000 employees and an annual budget of approximately $13 billion. Connor was a key leader in implementing the Administration’s priorities for Interior, including water policy and drought response actions, science-based strategies for landscape-level management of public lands, and actions to strengthen and improve the federal government’s fulfillment of its trust responsibility to Native Americans. During his time at the Bureau of Reclamation, he led efforts to promote the sustainable use of water to effectively address current and future challenges associated with water supply and power generation in the American West.
Mike has more than two decades of experience in the public sector. Before his time with the Obama Administration, he served as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 2001 to 2009. Prior to that time, he served at the Interior Department from 1993 to 2001 in the Solicitor’s Office, and then as Director of the Secretary’s Indian Water Rights Office.
Mike received his J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School and is admitted to the bars of Colorado and New Mexico. A native of New Mexico, he previously received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from New Mexico State University and worked for GE.
Jim Lochhead was appointed Denver Water’s CEO/Manager in 2010. He leads nearly 1,100 employees at Denver Water overseeing work to provide a reliable water supply to the City of Denver and surrounding suburbs where Denver Water has service contracts. Jim also oversees the stewardship of a resilient collection, treatment and distribution system that includes 4,000 miles of watershed land, 20 reservoirs, four treatment plants and 3,000 miles of pipe.
Jim currently serves on the boards of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the Water Research Foundation, the Water Utility Climate Alliance, the Water Foundation, and the Denver Botanic Gardens.
Prior to Denver Water, Jim was in private law practice, dealing with natural resource issues throughout the United States and internationally. He was also executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Jim was the Colorado governor’s representative on interstate Colorado River operations, and served on the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Great Outdoors Colorado, The Nature Conservancy and Colorado Conservation Trust.
In 2014, Jim received the Wayne N. Aspinall “Water Leader of the Year” award from the Colorado Water Congress, presented annually to a Coloradan demonstrating courage, dedication, knowledge and leadership in the development, protection and preservation of Colorado water.
In 2015, Jim received the President’s Award from the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, given to a person with a history of doing meaningful work in the field of water.
Jim has a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from the University of Colorado and a law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law.