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Staff Bios

Wade Fasano, Designer

When people ask “where are you from?” Wade has a difficult time of answering that question. The longest he’s lived somewhere was Las Vegas, so he’ll call that  the starting point which often raises eyebrows and intrigue. Seattle is (hopefully, wishfully) the last train stop. He does the photo fiddling, some button mashing, and definitely some coffee guzzling. When he’s not manipulating photos, you can find him messing with other photography, games, and basketball.

Chip Giller, President and Founder

Chip founded Grist in 1999 to lighten up a movement known for taking itself too seriously. He’s been honored with a Heinz Award for his media innovations and for making environmental issues relevant to new and broad audiences; and he’s been named a TIME magazine “Hero of the Environment.” Chip has been featured in such outlets as Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and Outside, and has appeared on broadcast programs including the Today show and PBS’s NOW. Before launching Grist, Chip was editor of Greenwire, the first environmental news daily.

A native of Massachusetts, Chip graduated from Brown University with an honors degree in environmental studies. (Yes, he is an obsessive Red Sox fan.) When Chip’s not pondering the future of online environmental journalism, he likes to spend his time with his wonderful wife, Jenny, their daughter, Ellis, and their son, Sebastian, at their home on Vashon Island, near Seattle.

Greg Hanscom, Senior Editor

Greg came to Seattle from his home state of Utah by way of Vermont, Montana, Colorado, and Maryland — which is a pretty good indication of how he travels through life: Not a whole lot of planning involved, but it’s always an interesting ride. After getting his start in journalism at High Country News, a nonprofit environmental publication based in po-dunk Colorado, Greg bounced to Baltimore, where he edited a city mag called Urbanite and learned that The Wire was more fact than fiction. Grist is the perfect mash-up of these experiences: He gets to look at cities through green-tinted glasses. Greg and his wife, Tara, have two young daughters who are learning to climb mountains and ski down them — and navigate the city by bike and bus.

Wentina Hurtado, Director of Finance

Wentina is on a train that left Seattle at 3 p.m., traveling 50 miles per hour, heading toward San Francisco, 800 miles away. Your train leaves S.F. at 9:12 p.m., heading toward Seattle at 90 mph. A fly is hovering just above the nose of Wentina’s train. It buzzes from her train to your train, turns around immediately, flies back to the first train, and turns around again. It goes on flying back and forth between the two trains until they meet. If the fly’s speed is 187 mph, how far will it travel? And at what time will our trains meet? To find out more about Wentina, meet her at the Amtrak Station, Saturday at noon. Wear a blue rose in your lapel and walk with a slight limp.

Lisa Hymas, Senior Editor

Lisa cofounded Grist in 1999 and now serves as senior editor. She’s also worked at Greenwire, an online environmental news service; Island Press, an environmental book publisher; Tomorrow, a sustainable business magazine; and ONE/Northwest, a nonprofit capacity builder for environmental groups in the Pacific Northwest. When not obsessing over news and politics, she’s likely to be found running, hiking, reading edifying books or trashy magazines, whipping up vegetarian delights in the kitchen, or planning her next international escapade.

Nathan Letsinger, Product Lead & Senior Developer

Nathan was born as a small script in the Programming Republic of Perl. Now an expatriate of the Republic, he is firmly a PHP convert, a Seattle transplant, and is a Web developer for Grist and the leader of the Web product team . His pursuits include philosophy, food, and of course, coding for a better life. He suspects Google can provide more than you ever would want to know about him.

Ben Brooks, Web Developer & Actionable Metrics Engineer

After two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, Ben was lured to Seattle with promises of cool evenings and plenty of shade. Seeing as how his two favorite things to do are writing code and saving the world, he naturally ended up on Grist’s doorstep shortly thereafter. You can see his handiwork on Grist’s donation form, mobile site, and pretty much anything else that you see or interact with on the site. More recently, Ben has been using his data skills to help figure out who Grist’s readers are, what they’re up to, and whether or not they’re free on Friday night.

Jennifer Mac Donald, Membership and Annual Support Manager

Being of fan of both humor and the planet, Jennifer found Grist to be a natural fit. After a six-year stint in Southern California, Jen turned in her sunglasses for a raincoat and returned to her native Seattle. And boy, is it good to be home. When she’s not busy making Friends with Benefits, she enjoys running, hiking, officiating weddings, civic service, and cultivating her love of fine food and cheap wine. Between the months of October and April you can usually find Jen calming her precious fiancé when the Utah Jazz don’t perform to their potential … for yet another season.

David Roberts, Staff Writer

David was born and raised in the South. A revelatory summer working in Yellowstone National Park convinced him that it was not the world but just the part where he lived that sucked, so he moved out West. After several wayward years spent snowboarding and getting an MA in philosophy (go griz), he woke up with nothing but a dissertation between him and an arid, cloistered life spent debating minutiae with the world’s other 12 Dewey scholars. So he bailed. A period was spent trudging through the swamp of Seattle tech work, wading past Amazon.com, IMDb.com, and Microsoft, before the fine folks at Grist fell for his devastating good looks in December 2003.

He now spends his free time playing in his new house with his newish sons and his not-so-new but still-wonderful wife. He loves them, loves Seattle, loves Grist, and still, despite himself, loves the internet.

Darby Minow Smith, Assistant Managing Editor

Darby is a fifth-generation Montana rancher and a first-generation vegetarian. (Although she still holds a place in her heart and diet for grass-fed steak.) She graduated from Gonzaga in 2009 and has spent most of her post-college time drinking copious amounts of coffee and talking about her cat.

Hanna Welch, Social Media Producer

Hanna grew up smack-dab in the center of Seattle and was lucky enough to spend her formative years stomping around the city while also spending summers at her family’s cabin on a small island in the San Juans. To date, she still thinks it’s the most beautiful place in the world. Like any respectable daughter of hippie parents, Hanna learned how to use native plants to dye wool for weaving and dreamed of being a naturalist. Instead she ran away to study law in Washington, D.C., and eventually followed her bleeding heart to New Orleans to help create an interactive science workshop for low-income kids. Unable to stay away from her hometown, she moved back to the Emerald City and dabbled in corporate life, then found her rightful place in the land of nonprofits. Lured by Grist’s mission to green the world one pun at a time, she now does her best to help it keep on growing.

If you’re lucky, you’ll run into Hanna while she’s sailing around Lake Washington, volunteering for SIFF, supporting local hip-hop, cooking lavish meals with friends, or eating out at restaurants she probably can’t afford, all with camera in hand. Question is, do you feel lucky? Well … do ya?

Katharine Wroth, Senior Foundation Relations Manager

Katharine spent nearly five years as an editor at Grist before migrating to the wild world of fundraising. Pre-Grist, she spent eight years as an editor at environmental publications in the Northeast, sneaking humor into their pages whenever possible. A native New Englander, Katharine escaped to Seattle for a couple of years before being lured back to the land of lobsters and lighthouses, and now works from a sparsely decorated bunker in the Boston area. In her spare time, she defends the merits of bowling to anyone who will listen. Which isn’t really anyone at all.

Board of Directors

Rachel Morello-Frosch, Chair (San Francisco, Calif.)
Rachel Morello-Frosch is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. Rachel’s research examines race and class determinants of environmental health among diverse communities in the United States. Previously, she held a joint appointment between the Department of Community Health at Brown Medical School and the Center for Environmental Studies. Rachel completed her bachelor’s degree in development studies, a master of public health degree in epidemiology and biostatistics, and her Ph.D. in environmental health sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. Rachel is a co-founder and former board chair of the Environmental Leadership Program and sits on the scientific advisory board of Breast Cancer Action.

Susan L. Kaufman, Treasurer (Brookline, Mass.)
Susan L. Kaufman is a health care consultant working on health care system transformation in Massachusetts. She has held senior and executive level positions in government, health care delivery organizations and business. Kaufman founded and was a principal of Benova, Inc., a company that provided business process outsourcing services to health and human services agencies. She is also on the Board of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. She has a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a master’s degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Benjamin Strauss, Clerk (New York, N.Y.)
Dr. Ben Strauss serves as Vice President for Climate Impacts at Climate Central. He has published multiple scientific papers on sea level rise, testified before the U.S. Senate, and led development of the SurgingSeas.org suite of coastal flood risk tools. His research and tools have been featured in hundreds of stories including in The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and national news programming on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and NPR.

John Alderman, Member (Washington, D.C.)
John Alderman is the COO of SocialCode, a subsidiary of the Washington Post Company that provides social-media marketing solutions for leading consumer brands. Previously, he was publisher of Slate Magazine and head of business development for Washingtonpost. Newsweek Interactive, the digital arm of The Washington Post Company. John has also run business development for Away.com, a travel website that was sold to Orbitz in 2005, and served in a variety of editorial and business roles at Outside magazine. He has a bachelor’s degree in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College and an MBA from Columbia University.

Gino Borland, Member (Seattle, Wash.)
Gino Borland was the founder of Gino Borland, Inc., an internet company that makes personalized e-marketing software. Since selling his company, he has focused his time on environmental interests, including the climate crisis and potential clean-energy solutions. Apart from Grist, he is also involved in Social Venture Partners in Seattle, Wash.

Chip Giller, Founder and President
See staff bio above.

Kristen Grimm, Member (Washington, D.C.)
Kristen Grimm is the founder and president of Spitfire Strategies, one of the country’s leading public relations firms dedicated to working exclusively with nonprofits and foundations to create positive social change. She has developed numerous resources for the field including Smart Chart 3.0Discovering the Activation Point, Just Enough Planning Guide, and Big Ideas to Big Change. Prior to launching Spitfire, Kristen worked as a fellow at the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. And she was the president and chief operating officer of Fenton Communications, where she wrote NOW HEAR THIS: The Nine Laws of Successful Advocacy Communications. Kristen has a B.A. from Smith College. She serves on the boards of the National Academy for State Health Policy and Alaska Wilderness League.

Bill McKibben, Member (Middlebury, Vt.)
Bill McKibben writes regularly for The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Harper’s, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The Atlantic Monthly, Outside, and many other publications. His first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 after being excerpted in The New Yorker; it was a national bestseller and appeared in 20 foreign editions. His other books include Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, Enough, The Age of Missing Information, and The Bill McKibben Reader. Bill is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College and led the organizing for StepItUp, which coordinated 2,000 climate change demonstrations in all 50 states. He’s now at work on 350.org, the first attempt at a global grassroots climate change movement.

Eugene Mirman, Member (Brooklyn, N.Y.). 
Eugene Mirman is a comedian who voices “Gene” on Fox’s hit animated series Bob’s Burgers. He has been a regular on Flight of the Conchords and Adult Swim’s Delocated, has two Comedy Central Specials to his name, and is a frequent comedic co-host of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s science radio show and podcast, Star Talk Radio. Eugene was named Best New York City Comedian by the Village Voice, and one of the 10 best comedians of the last decade by Paste Magazine. He’s released three comedy albums and an incredibly funny parody-ish self-help book, The Will to Whatevs. Named by Rolling Stone as a “Hot Twitterer,” Eugene keeps his 270k+ followers entertained daily. He attended Hampshire College and designed his own major of Comedy, doing a one-hour standup act as his thesis — for which he was made fun of, don’t worry.

Matt Mullenweg, Member (San Francisco, Calif.)
Matt Mullenweg is the founding developer of WordPress, the blogging software he guided from a handful of users to the most widely used open source blog tool. WordPress is now used by more than 200 million websites worldwide. After moving from his native Houston to San Francisco to work at CNET Networks, Matt left in late 2005 to found Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, as well as Akismet.com, Gravatar, and other enterprises. He has been named one of PC World’s Top 50 People on the Web, Inc.com’s 30 under 30, and Business Week’s 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

Wendy Schmidt, Member (Palo Alto, Calif.)
Wendy Schmidt is president of The Schmidt Family Foundation, working to advance the wiser use of energy and natural resources. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley, and graduated magna cum laude from Smith College. She is a founder of The 11th Hour Project, and of Climate Central; and also serves on the boards of the Natural Resources Defense Council, California Academy of Sciences, and Green Products Innovation Institute. Wendy is president of The Nantucket Dreamland Foundation, and supports a vital downtown to serve island residents through her work at ReMain Nantucket.

John Vechey, Member (Seattle, Wash.)
John Vechey is the co-founder of PopCap, a pioneer in the world’s gaming industry, with popular titles like Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies. Since PopCap’s beginnings in 2000, John has served in several roles, including interim CEO and VP of Corporate Strategy and Development, and has led the company’s forays into social and mobile product lines. In 2011, Electronic Arts, the leading publisher of video games, bought PopCap in the largest acquisition it has ever made. John now runs PopCap’s core franchise division, focusing on new product development.