January 14, 2016

Board of Directors

Tree San Diego's active board members:


President and Executive Director. Laurie Broedling, Ph.D., 

Dr. Broedling, has had widespread professional experience helping improve organizational effectiveness. She has led the creation of Tree San Diego as a new non-profit organization and nurtured its growth as a collaborative, partnership-oriented enterprise. She has also been involved with environmental sustainability issues through activities in Balboa Park. She has held executive positions in the aerospace industry (McDonnell Douglas and Boeing), and the federal government (Department of Defense and NASA). She also developed and implemented new approaches that enhanced organizational and individual performance in the U.S. Navy. At San Diego State University and George Washington University she has taught human resource management, continuous process improvement, leadership, organizational behavior, and strategic planning, and she is extensively published. Her Bachelor’s degree is from Brown University, and her Master’s and Ph.D. degrees are in industrial-organizational psychology from George Washington University.


Secretary. Anton Endress, Ph.D.

Dr. Endress, is an experienced teacher, researcher, and academic administrator for whom serving Tree San Diego offers opportunity to engage his passion for plants, ecosystems-orientation, and inclusive perspective to affect positive environmental and social change. He has had diverse academic appointments with progressive leadership, management, and development responsibilities at various universities and governmental agencies, but most prominently at the University of Illinois (Head, Department of Horticulture, Founding Director of the University of Illinois Arboretum) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (Head, Section of Botany and Plant Pathology, Assistant Chief for Planning, both Illinois Natural History Survey). His research and teaching strengths involve invasion biology, restoration ecology, resource conservation, and environmental stewardship. Research outcomes include co-authorship of four books and book chapters; more than 120 research articles, reports, and technical presentations. His Bachelor’s degree is from Duquesne University and graduate degrees from the University of Iowa. Throughout his career, he has also served on numerous non-profit Boards including Grand Prairie Friends (tallgrass prairie restoration), CCDC Foundation (improving quality of life via conservation), Champaign County Forest Preserve District Foundation (habitat conservation), and University of Illinois YMCA (principled leadership development).


Assistant Secretary. Cynthia Irmer, JD, Ph.D.

Dr. Irmer, is a conflict resolution specialist and attorney with more than 30 years’ experience in consensus building, negotiation and mediation and other forms of conflict resolution and community building. She currently serves as Adjunct Professor at the Kroc School for Peace Studies at the University of San Diego and the Center for Civil Military Relations at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey. She has led peace-building and conflict resolution teams for the UN, the UK’s Department for International Development, the US Agency for International Development, the US Department of State as well as private sector organizations in North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, North and Central America and Europe. Prior to this, she was an Environmental Trial Lawyer for 20 years at the US Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, private law firms and multinational corporations. She serves on the Board of Directors for Tree San Diego and for many years served on the Board of Directors for Earth Sangha, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to native plant propagation in Northern Virginia. She also serves on the Law Advisory Board for Creighton University School of Law and is a past member of the Board of Directors for Partners for Peace.


Jaron Boman, Treasurer

  • 4 years of management experience in the U.S. Marine Corps 2001 – 2005
  • Multilingual – English, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Gujarati, and Punjabi
  • Past Treasurer on the board of directors for an $11 million non-profit association
  • Knowledge, training and practical experience with accounting and financial systems, financial reports, budgets, auditing procedures, and marketing plans
  • Adept at financial analysis, risk management, and internal control over financial reporting
  • Developed public leadership skills and insight of government operations/political process
  • Experience as defense contract auditor, as a financial consultant/accountant, and a legislative staff member.


Melanie Conomikes

Melanie Conomikes is a horticulturalist and landscape designer with a Masters in Applied Science (Horticulture) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. She is a Certified Arborist with over 15 years of experience in tree health assessment and drought response master planning in Australia and Southern California.

In her role as Senior Project Manager at the Melbourne office of the national non-profit, Greening Australia she developed, managed and maintained numerous projects for government, water board and state and national park clients during severe drought. She worked as part of an industry and government committee on the National Biodiversity Corridor plan which links public and privately owned green spaces of high environmental value.

Melanie taught Horticulture, Landscape Design and Natural Resource Management at the University of Melbourne’s School of Land and Environment from 2001 to 2014. Her research in Australian native plant genetics and propagation has been included in peer-review journals and her landscape design projects have been featured in Australian television, newspapers, books and magazines. She is a founding board member of Tree San Diego, a non-profit dedicated to increasing the quantity of quality trees planted in San Diego and providing education to the public in the selection and care of trees. She is the Tree San Diego liaison to the City of San Diego’s Community Forest Advisory Board (CFAB).

Michael Bostwick 

Landscape Designer and Consultant. Michael Bostwick has worked in the landscape, Horticulture, and Conservation field, (was given the Lifetime Achievement Award in Conservation, from the Assoc of Zoological Horticulture), for over  50 years starting with graduation from Arizona State University with a degree in Environmental Design. I have been involved in over 300 projects around the world, from residential, commercial, Zoo’s and Parks, Schools, and  am a licensed C-27 contractor since 1977, and worked for the San Diego Zoological Society for 40 years, retiring as the Curator of the Horticulture Dept in 2014. I am a reviewer for the NAPCC, (N. American Plant Collections Consortium), and consulted with them and the USFW on endangered trees in the United States.  I was a founder of the “World Wide Conservation Alliance”, a past Director of the Board of “Therapy for a Damaged Planet”, a past  Board of Directors of the “Association of Zoological Horticulture”, on the Board of “Olaf Weighorst, Western Heritage Museum”, a current member of the “Conservancy 100” of Balboa Park, and on the Board of “Tree San Diego”. I am still a sitting Chair of Committees and on many Sections of various organizations, as well as being published in mainly Horticulture journals and magazines.   

Michael Palat 

Michael Palat currently works as an Area Manager for West Coast Arborists Inc., overseeing public agency contracts in San Diego County in California. He is also an Associate Faculty instructor of Arboriculture at Mira Costa College. Michael is also the current Chairman of the San Diego Regional Urban Forests Council and is active in the Professional Tree Care Association of San Diego as well as the Western Chapter ISA. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation Management with a minor in Environmental Science from California University of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate from the Municipal Foresters Institute and the American Society of Consulting Arborists Academy and is a Board Certified Master Arborist with utility and municipal specialties. He is also a Certified Tree Care Safety Professional, Tree Risk Assessment Qualified and a Certified Wildlife Protector. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids.


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