Local Climate Leader, Ron Zee, Joins Friends’ Board

Ron’s expertise is vast, including work on climate resiliency, advocacy, cross-cultural environmental projects, and agricultural issues. He’s incredibly thoughtful and smart, and I look forward to learning from him.

— R. Brent Lyles, Executive Director, Friends of the San Juans

Ron Zee, President & CEO of The Madrona Institute, has worked in the public and nonprofit sectors for many years. He served as an aide to former Vice President and U.S. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey in Washington, DC; served as a special assistant for energy policy for the Governor of New Mexico; and headed the Santa Fe Office of the U.S. Department of Energy during the Carter Administration. He was Deputy Managing Director of the Council of Energy Resource Tribes in Denver, CO; Executive Director of the New Mexico Solar Energy Association; Vice President of the Keystone Policy Center in Keystone, CO; and Vice President (Development & Operations) of the Santa Fe Institute.

He has been a program advisor to the American Indian Ambassadors Program, the national Native American leadership development program of Americans for Indian Opportunity in Albuquerque, NM, and to the First Ascent Youth Leadership Academy in Glenwood Springs, CO.

Ron has provided development counsel to various organizations including the National Tribal Environmental Council, the North American Institute, and the Aspen Institute for Global Change.

He has been a national board member of the American Leadership Forum and the National Association for Community Leadership. He was the co-founder of Leadership New Mexico, and was a charter member of the International Leadership Association which he helped establish.

Since moving to the San Juan Islands from New Mexico twenty-five years ago, he has served six years on the San Juan County Agricultural Resources Committee, half of that time as chair; six years on the San Juan Islands Conservation District Board, the entire time as chair; twice as chair of the San Juan County Democrats; and on the first San Juan County Charter Review Commission. He is the co-founder of Leadership San Juan Islands, he established the San Juan Islands Youth Conservation Corps, and incorporated the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild. As a solar energy advocate, he has served on the Energy Roundtable and the Transition San Juan Island Energy Guild, while continuing as a long-term member of the American Solar Energy Society. Ron lives with his wife, Elaine, on a twenty-acre organic farm on San Juan Island, with their two daughters and two granddaughters.

Along with Friends' staff, Lovel Pratt, Katie Fleming, and many others, Ron Zee was a contributor to the report, Working Toward Climate Resilience in the San Juan Islands, an excellent resource for understanding local climate issues.

Each year I make a generous gift to the Friends of the San Juans because it’s the one organization where I can actually follow the money from my checkbook to observable measurable outcomes. Will you join me in making a gift to support one of the most beautiful, precious, fragile monuments to nature on earth?

George Lawson

members, Lopez Island