The Northern California Chapter of the Explorers Club is led by a group of volunteer Officers and Committee Members that have varied backgrounds.
Chair: Jimmy Friedman MN' 19, Martial Arts Professor, Real Estate Developer. Jimmy has taken groups to Japan, India, Myanmar, Nepal and many other Asian countries for over thirty years. Also organizes many international Martial arts seminars in the Bay Area. He started 11th Street Dojo (Aikido) in 1986. Currently visits India every year to teach martial arts and participates with the Mumbai Aikido dojo in their goal of teaching one million women self-defense.
Vice Chair: Satya Gontcho a Gontcho MI' 21.
Treasurer: Anna Freitas, MN' 17 has a background that includes a 35-year career in Finance including CFO of Wells Fargo Credit Card. Educational credentials include an MBA in Finance from University of Minnesota. As practical experience in non-profits, she has served as Treasurer for the Past President's Club of the Stanford Women's Club of the East Bay and also for Parent-Teacher-Student Association for Indian Valley Elementary School.
Secretary: Joyce Chang, MN' 17 is a corporate lawyer and has prior experience serving as Secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of a local nonprofit (Partnerships for Change), so she is quite familiar with the duties and responsibilities listed for Chapter Secretary in our bylaws and officer position descriptions.
Webmaster: Len Bruffett, MN' 21 This native Californian began his career based on the foundation of his childhood. His early interest in photography (8 years old) and his path to Eagle Scout introduced him to the many facets and responsibilities of life. At 17 he enlisted in the military during the 1970's "Cold War". He was trained in Military Intelligence specializing in Imagery Analysis and served his 3 year enlistment with a small intelligence detachment in downtown Frankfurt Germany. Upon his return home he attended college at San Jose State while working as an engineer full time for a local aerospace company. He later worked as a contractor for both DoD and Non DoD National Intelligence Agencies. He returned to aerospace engineering to help develop and test our Nations first digital Image Display & Exploitation System for reconnaissance satellite imagery. Later his interests moved to the medical field working for Acuson Medical Ultrasound, then onto Varian Medical. Throughout his entire engineering career he maintained a secondary career working as a freelance commercial photographer specializing in black and white film based photography and also generated websites for small commercial companies and personal projects.
Newsletter Editor: Lesley Ewing, Ph.D., FN' 93 (who also served as Chapter Chair starting in 2001). She is a coastal engineer and has traveled through much of the US examining coastal dynamics and the major components that stabilize or modify shorelines. Her interest in the Explorers Club developed out of her work with Sylvia Earle and Graham Hawkes building Deep Flight -- two one-person submersibles that give researchers and scientists access to vast areas of the ocean. In 2003, she pursued watery fame as she trained to qualify as a pilot of Deep Flight..
Field Trips: Tom Dietz, FN' 20. Tom's overlapping careers in science, business, and flying have allowed for a life filled with adventure. From global travel and exploration, scuba and submersible diving, cargo, mountain, and backcountry flying, and multiple outdoorsman and conservationist pursuits, to the science of biochemical and molecular adaptation of organisms in unusual and extreme environments, Tom brings a unique set of skills and experiences to his endeavors.
Social Media: Margeigh Novotny, Sirdar. Margeigh is a product designer whose work has mainly focused on the design of large-scale systems and new technologies. She is Vice President of Product Design at Wikipedia, where she has recently been exploring methods for quantifying and visualizing the "knowledge gaps" between different language versions of Wikipedia; and ways of quantifying and communicating "trustworthiness" of content on Wikipedia. In prior work, Margeigh led multi-year program at Microsoft to understand and codify etiquette in different cultural contexts in order to create algorithms that behave in accordance with acceptable social norms (with regard to what kind and how much private information they ask for in order to perform some task for the user). An Architect by training, Margeigh is drawn to complex, first-of-category design problems that have required immersive research in social behavior and human perception.