On December 31, 2020, Ray Rasker, Ph.D., stepped down as Executive Director after 15 years at the helm. Our Board of Directors has appointed Patricia Hernandez as Executive Director. She previously served as our Associate Director. Rasker will stay on to work on special projects. Kelly Pohl, our Communications and Policy Director, became the Associate Director.
Rasker and Hernandez cofounded Headwaters Economics with Ben Alexander in 2006 as an independent, nonprofit research group that works to improve community development and land management decisions. Since its inception, we have grown from a staff of 4 to a staff of 11 with offices in both Bozeman and Helena, Montana. Our organization has supported the designation of nearly 1.7 million acres into national monuments, helped provide data and resources for funding outdoor recreation and conservation programs and national and local levels, helped 70 communities in 14 states build wildfire and flood resilience strategies, and provided hundreds of thousands of customized socioeconomic profiles for communities.
In recent years Hernandez has led our work in climate adaptation and interactive data tool development, including the recent launch of the Neighborhoods at Risk and Wildfire Risk to Communities tools. Hernandez grew up near Miami, Florida and holds a Master’s degree in Ecology.
Pohl has been with Headwaters Economics for four years, leading program planning, communications, and policy. She previously served as Associate Director at the Gallatin Valley Land Trust.
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“Headwaters Economics has been my passion since we started in 2006, and in that time, I’ve had the privilege of working with many people to help develop solutions to some of the most urgent and important issues communities face. I am excited for the future of the organization and to support Patty during this transition.”Ray Rasker, Ph.D.
“I am honored and excited to follow in Ray’s footsteps and lead this incredible organization. The work we do has never been more important as communities wrestle with economic transitions in a rapidly changing world,”Patricia Hernandez