Green Our Planet Funding green projects around the world macaw
Our Team

Our Team

Our Team

  • Ciara Byrne

    Founder, Co-Executive Director

    Ciara Byrne is a documentary filmmaker and entrepreneur who set up and ran a film production company, Lion Television, with offices in LA and New York. During that time, she managed over 60 employees and produced hundreds of films a year for PBS, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, PBS, BBC, Fox, and E! A native of Dublin, Ireland, Ciara has traveled the world and decided it's her mission to leave a positive impact on the planet.

  • Kim MacQuarrie

    Founder, Co-Executive Director

    Kim MacQuarrie is a writer and a four-time Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker. He has an undergraduate degree in biology, a master's in anthropology, and lived in Peru for five years. During part of that time he lived with a recently-contacted Amazonian tribe, the Yora. A native of Las Vegas who has lived, studied-abroad, and worked around the world, Kim's most recent book is "Life and Death in the Andes: On the Trail of Bandits, Heroes, and Revolutionaries."

  • Beverly Patton

    Program Manager

    Originally from Hawaii, Beverly has been a resident of Las Vegas for over two decades. She is a Cum Laude graduate of Hope College in Holland, MI with a double major in Psychology & French. Her fascination to experience life & appreciate people in other countries has taken her to Europe, Asia and Africa. She is known most notably, by her achievements in developing & managing the Las Vegas Youth Orchestras program for 14 years. Joining the team at Green Our Planet fulfills one of her life-long goals, which is to help make the world a better place for the generations of tomorrow. She is eager to embrace this challenge through empowering young people to realize the importance of keeping our planet green.

  • Taylor Quiram

    Landscape Designer--School Garden Coordinator

    Taylor Quiram graduated from UNLV in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. Originally from Central California, he grew up surrounded by agriculture, but it wasn't until studying landscape in the desert that the importance of food production became a priority to him. After graduating, he spent 4 months as an intern at an aquaponic's farm in Honokaa, Hawaii (Friendly Aquaponics). There he learned as much as possible about how the systems operate and how to scale systems for personal or commercial food production. Working as a School Garden Coordinator is an exciting step in his personal mission of better connecting communities to nature and increasing food sovereignty.

  • Shilpa Daulat

    Health Scientist--School Garden Coordinator

    A proud Las Vegas native, Shilpa spent her first 18 years living in Las Vegas before attending the University of California, Berkeley for college. There, she was inspired by the environmentalism and energy of the Bay Area and hopes to bring that enthusiasm back to her hometown. Shilpa has always been passionate about nutrition, but after taking a "Food and the Environment" class her senior year of college, she became especially interested in the impact of the food system on our planet's health. With a degree in public health, Shilpa is excited to help foster a love of gardening, health and wellness in young students. In her free time, Shilpa enjoys gardening, hiking with her dogs and cheering on the Runnin' Rebels.

  • Emily Beamguard

    Horticulturalist--School Garden Coordinator

    Emily has extensive horticulture experience and knowledgeable about hydroponics. She planted her first seed in her childhood vegetable plot. Emily's enjoyment of plants and outdoors led her to Oregon State University for a degree in Natural Resources. She started her career at USGS, researching plant and soil relationships, often using hydroponic systems for experiments. After almost a decade, she moved to a more commercial setting at the College of S. Nevada greenhouses helping with contract grow outs for USFWS and greenhouse/irrigation maintenance. Meanwhile, she's turned her house into a ¼ acre urban farm, which she uses as an educational demonstration of what can be grown in her local community. Emily believes that it is important for people to reconnect with nature and their food system and that putting gardens in schools is one of the best things we can do to help the future of the planet and our society.

  • Nicole Hansen

    Horticulturalist--School Garden Coordinator

    Nicole is a proud native of the Las Vegas Valley. She graduated from the College of Southern Nevada in 2015 with a degree in Horticulture and has held Master Gardner certification from 2011-2016. Prior to getting her degree, Nicole worked in construction management. In 2008, she took a couple of years to build and care for her family. During that process, she discovered her passion for plants and the environment. She then enrolled in the Horticulture program at CSN. Nicole looks forward to turning her passion for plants into enriching the lives of the Valley's children through outdoor education.

  • Steve Black

    Landscape Designer--Special Projects Director

    Originally from the Chicago area, Steve Black attended Georgia Institute of Technology. He has an Associates Degree in engineering and has designed and installed landscapes and gardens in Illinois, Georgia, Florida and Nevada. He has also supervised the construction of bridges, tunnels, highways, high-rises and the site development of retail and housing projects. One of his more interesting projects was the construction of the tiger and kangaroo exhibits at the West Palm Beach Zoo. Steve fully believes in the ability of all types of landscaping and gardening to improve the quality of life in our schools, homes, and communities.

  • Sarah Russell

    Special Projects Coordinator

    Originally from the D.C. area, Sarah attended Indiana University for her undergrad and received her MS in Environmental Policy and Management from University of Denver. She has always had a love for the outdoors, and is fascinated by the dynamics between the environment, people, and communities. Fueled by an interest in industry environmentalism, Sarah wrote her Master’s thesis on water and energy sustainability in the beer brewing industry. She has lived in five states and the Czech Republic. Sarah loves hiking, traveling, hockey, and trying new food. She lives in Las Vegas with her fiancée Max and their two guinea pigs, Floyd and Crackers.

Our Board of Directors

  • Kim MacQuarrie, Chair

    Founder / Co-Executive Director, Green Our Planet Inc.

    Kim MacQuarrie is a writer, a four-time Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, and an anthropologist. He has an undergraduate degree in biology, a master's in anthropology, and lived in Peru for five years. During part of that time he lived with a recently-contacted Amazonian tribe, the Yora. A native of Las Vegas who has lived and worked around the world, Kim's most recent book is "Life and Death in the Andes." You can find out more about him by visiting

  • Ciara Byrne, Secretary/Treasurer

    Founder / Co-Executive Director, Green Our Planet Inc.

    Ciara Byrne is a documentary filmmaker and entrepreneur who set up and ran a film production company, Lion Television, with offices in LA and New York. During that time, she managed over 60 employees and produced hundreds of films a year for PBS, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, PBS, BBC, Fox, and E! A native of Dublin, Ireland, Ciara has traveled the world and decided it's her mission to leave a positive impact on the planet.

  • Patrick Hughes

    President and CEO of the Fremont Street Experience

    Born in Ireland, Patrick Hughes began his career in Dublin, then worked in London, South Africa, and the Czech Republic before moving to Las Vegas in 1996. In 2014, Hughes and the Cannery were one of 10 Nevada employers to win the “Best Workplaces for Commuters” award a program designed to improve air quality, reduce road congestion, and encourage people to commute greenly. In 2013, Club Ride reduced almost 50 tons of carbon monoxide, helped save 5,000 gallons of gas and reduced 5 million miles of driving from southern Nevadan roads. “The success and development of the community is what drives us,” Patrick says. “We want to make sure the community succeeds.” In February, 2016, Hughes became President and CEO of the Fremont Street Experience.

  • Kristi Overgaard

    Partner and Executive Vice President of Awesomeness at Switch

    K. Overgaard is a partner in Switch and is Executive Vice President of Awesomeness with primary responsibility over brand and culture development. She directs all branding, communications and philanthropic endeavors for the company.

    A design and branding entrepreneur, Ms. Overgaard brings a rich background in environment design, culture mindfulness, creative direction and community development to all of Switch’s companies including SUPERNAP and The Innevation Center. Along with company Founder and CEO Rob Roy, Overgaard is passionately responsible for the company’s leadership commitment to STEAM education in Nevada.

  • John Travis

    CEO of Control Power Concepts

    John Travis is the founder and CEO of CPC, Inc., a power engineering and service firm based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Providing power engineering services around the world, including China, John and his firm are also very much supporters of the local Las Vegas community, especially in terms of improving STEM education. A sponsor of an Outdoor Garden Classroom at Laura Dearing Elementary, CPC also sponsored a robotics lab at that school. John firmly believes that having access to a good education is key the development of any community. Before creating CPC, John was formerly in the Navy and was a specialist in nuclear reactors on submarines.

  • Joe Ganley

    Senior Litigation Partner with the Firm of Hutchison & Steffen.

    Joseph R. Ganley practices in virtually every aspect of business and commercial litigation, including real estate, construction employment, intellectual property, insurance, corporate and transactional, and contract litigation. A firm believer in building strong local communities, Ganley implemented an annual Blood Drive at his firm, which welcomes donors not only from the firm’s employees but the entire legal community and that benefits the Las Vegas chapter of the American Red Cross. He also spearheaded the firm’s perpetual clothing drive that provides needed donations for the Safe Nest domestic abuse shelter, and he volunteers at a local charter school that is in its second year of existence in the Las Vegas Valley. Originally from Weymouth, Massachusetts, Ganley is a graduate of the Boston School of Law and still holds season tickets to the Boston Red Socks and the New England Patriots.

  • Mark Rowland

    CEO of Roceteers

    “My passion in life is to be happy and strive for self actualisation for both myself and the people I come into contact with. I believe that "work" is a fantastic platform by which to change the world and have always tried to bring passion and purpose to the roles that I have had in my career. I have defined the ultimate KPI of my life as the total number of happy minutes in my life + the total of happy minutes I help others to have I believe that my own personal happiness and self-actualisation is achieved when I:
    :) can identify with my life's purpose and bring meaning to my life, i.e. live life on purpose
    :) feel connected to people, build positive relationships and sense of community
    :) believe I am in control of my own destiny and see that what I am doing is in line with my purpose
    :) believe that I am making progress toward achieving my goals, i.e. I can measure my progress

    I realized that these steps to happiness and self-actualization can also be applied to any business, team family and community. Sadly, this is the ingredient missing from many companies. I am passionate about changing that.

  • Wendy Cashin

    Corporate Controller, JBA Engineering

    Wendy Cashin is the Corporate Controller/Director of Finance and Accounting. She is responsible for the accounting operations of JBA, which includes the production of monthly financial reports, maintenance of accounting and project records, and a comprehensive set of controls and budgets designed to mitigate risk. She has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Arizona and has over twenty years of accounting and auditing experience in the construction and gaming industry.

  • Chris Gaynor

    Vice President & Relationship Manager, Bank of Nevada

    Chris Gaynor is a local graduate of Valley High School (along with fellow board members Kristi Overgaard and Kim MacQuarrie), a graduate of UNLV, and is currently the Vice President and Relationship Manager at Bank of Nevada.

  • Clifford Atkinson

    Senior Vice President, Hotel Strategy MGM Resorts International

    Cliff Atkinson is a veteran hotelier with more than 23 years of hospitality industry experience. Prior to his most recent appointment as Senior Vice President of Hotel Strategy at MGM Resorts International, he was with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group for over 15 years. Mr. Atkinson served as the General Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas from October 2012 until July 2016, and led the team to consistent Forbes Five Star awards for the Hotel, Spa and Twist by Pierre Gagnaire restaurant. He also brought the hotel to the #1 position on Trip Advisor, which was maintained throughout his tenure. Mr. Atkinson currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Nevada Hotel Lodging Association and the University of San Francisco and is a former board member of The Public Education Foundation. He graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in Business Administration.

  • Brian Kunec

    Division President, KB Home

    Brian Kunec is the Division President for KB Home in Nevada. In his role, Brian oversees all aspects of operations for KB Home in the state of Nevada. He has over 14 years of experience in new home construction. Brian is a graduate of Lafayette College and holds a CPA license. In addition, he is a member of the Southern Nevada Homebuilder Association.

  • Emily Ellis

    Associate at Brownstein Hyatt Farger Schreck

    Emily Ellis is an Associate in Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Las Vegas office and a member of the Litigation Department. Emily focuses on complex commercial litigation and has litigated before the United States Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Nevada Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, and the Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County Nevada – Civil and Family Division. She has appeared before and argued in front of the Nevada Supreme Court. She is the Las Vegas chairperson of the firm's Karma Committee, a firm-wide committee focused on community relations and involvement, including the firm’s partnership with Bank of Nevada and Green Our Planet. In addition to facilitating charitable giving events, Emily is passionate about offering pro bono legal work to Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

Our Advisory Board

  • Dr. Richard Leakey

    Paleoanthropologist, Stony Brook University, Chair of Turkana Basin Institute

    Dr. Richard Leakey is a politician, paleoanthropologist, and conservationist. He is the former director of the Kenya Wildlife Service and is credited with helping to save Africa's elephants from extinction. A feature film on his life, called Africa, is due out in theaters in 2017, directed by Angelina Jolie.

    To read a message from Dr. Leaky, click here.

  • Jeff Newburn

    Backend Instructor, The IronYard

    Jeff is an instructor with The IronYard in Las Vegas teaching Java and Spring to adult students. Formerly, he was the head engineer for a multimodal rideshare company called Shift which was dedicated to helping people move around the city in an all electric fleet. Jeff was the lead software engineer involved in building Green Our Planet's website.

  • Dr. Gard Jameson

    Author and Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

    Dr. Jameson received his PhD from Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2005. He teaches Chinese and Indian philosophy in the Philosophy Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Prior to his tenure at UNLV, Mr. Jameson spent 25 years practicing as a Certified Public Accountant and Director of Financial Planning at Piercy, Bowler, Taylor & Kern and Touche Ross. He is the author of three books, Footprints on the Sands of Time, the story of his mentor, Dr. Raymond M. Alf, Phaethon, Our Mythic Moment, an ancient Greek tale that illuminates our current predicament, and Monkey, Our Mythic Moment, the grand epic of China. Mr. Jameson helped found and chairs the boards of the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada and the Nevada Institute for Spirituality in Healthcare. He is the Treasurer and Cofounder of VMSN (Volunteers in Medicine in Southern Nevada). Mr. Jameson also helped found the Nevada Community Foundation.

  • John Ritter

    CEO, Focus Property Group

    Focus Property Group Chairman and CEO John A. Ritter has been actively involved in the real estate industry for more than 30 years, principally in Southern Nevada. Mr. Ritter brings to all Focus ventures extensive knowledge in investment, finance, government relations, development trends, planning, zoning and development. Mr. Ritter has served on a number of local planning boards, including the Southern Nevada Water Authority Integrated Water Planning Advisory Committee and Financial Subcommittee, Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Water Conservation Coalition, Northwest General Plan Update Steering Committee, Spring Valley Land Use Guide Focus Group, Enterprise Land Use Plan Advisory Group, and the Beltway Taskforce. Mr. Ritter has also served on numerous boards and lends his time to many community, political and philanthropic causes, issues and organizations. He is currently chairman of the board for Council for a Better Nevada. He is the co-founder of the Ritter Charitable Trust which supports many local charitable causes primary focused on issues affecting women and children in Southern Nevada.

  • Jenna Morton

    Restauranteur, Conservationist and Philanthropist

    Born and raised in Michigan, Jenna graduated with a degree in political science from Northwestern University and has lived in Las Vegas since 2003. Together with her husband, she is a co-owner of the Morton Group, a restaurant development company with venues in Las Vegas, including La Cave Wine and Food Hideaway inside Wynn Resort, La Comida, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Las Vegas and CRUSH in the MGM Grand Resort. A committed conservationist, Jenna is on the Board of Trustees of the Springs Preserve, is co-chair of After School All Stars Las Vegas, and is a member of the Board of Directors for Community Cloud Forest Conservation. She also frequently travels to Jordan to aid in archaeological digs with her father, a professor of archaeology, and her mother, an expert in Middle Eastern textiles.

  • Owen Carver

    Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

    Owen Carver Owen Carver is a social business & tech entrepreneur who has founded 2 businesses. He is also a community organizer whois passionate about using for-profit and social business models to create powerful social impact. In 2010 he founded a web & graphic design company, and in 2013 launched Cafe do Paraiso, a coffee roasting company that donates $1 to education charities for every pound of coffee sold. Owen is also the grandson of Roy J Carver, an Iowan entrepreneur & philanthropist who donated over $90 million to the University of Iowa Hospitals. Continuing the family tradition, Owen has been an active philanthropist & community leader in Las Vegas, and oversees the contributions of his family's charitable foundation.

  • Stephanie Rosol

    President, Skye Coaching

    Stephanie Rosol works with leaders and teams to improve performance, enhance communication, and increase satisfaction in both professional and personal domains. As an executive coach and leadership consultant, she brings 25 years as a Senior Executive and Non-Profit Leader - perspectives from the front line to the board room, inside and outside of business - to listen and support organizational leaders as they navigate the choices in their lives. As Vice President of Human Resources for Wynn Las Vegas and as Corporate Director for Talent Development with Caesars Entertainment, she was responsible for organizational culture and engagement initiatives impacting more than 100,000 employees. As a graduate of The University of San Diego’s Masters of Science in Executive Leadership program she serves as a coach on the SupporTED Coaching Team for TED Fellows, for the Sundance Institute, the Unreasonable Institute, and for the Institute for Generative Leadership.

  • John Grady

    CEO and Entrepreneur

    John Grady is the former CEO of Grady & Associates, an insurance firm that was sold to Wells Fargo Insurance Services in 2009. Grady has since opened G & L Insurance Agency and handles a select number of Employers and their benefit programs. As a resident of Southern Nevada for over 30 years, the desire to give back to the community has as always been a strong driving force. As a Past Chairman of Crime Stoppers, member of the United Healthcare Children’s advisory board, as well as serving on the board of Goodwill of Southern Nevada for over 10 years, currently as Vice Chair, is a small way to pay back for all the good things the community has given Grady and his family. When he is not working or donating his time, Grady can be found playing golf, exercising, or performing/singing with his duo at local spots around town.

  • Justin Anderson

    Owner, Galt Development LLC

    A second-generation Las Vegas native, Justin Anderson is truly a reflection of what Las Vegas has to offer; a roll up your sleeves work-ethic; a loyalty to community; a passion for growth; a work-hard/play-hard attitude; and a commitment to family. Today Justin owns and operates multiple businesses in multiple industries from construction & development to event photography. He is also a board member for Los Vaqueros Las Vegas and an active participant in many industry associations.