Team and Advisors

Climate Finance and Investments

Leslie L. Durschinger

Founder, CEO, CIO, Climate Finance  
Leveraging 20 years of experience and a proven track record in the financial services industry, Leslie Durschinger founded Terra Global Capital in 2006 to promote results-based approaches to sustainable landscape management through reducing deforestation, increasing tree cover, and adopting climate-smart agricultural practices. She brings technical expertise in sustainable landscape program design and deployment of investment capital in a collaborative and participatory manner to Terra Global's client base, which consists of governments, NGOs, and private companies. Leslie is recognized as a pioneer and innovator in aligning development values and financially viable approaches to sustainable landscape management. Terra Global is a global leader in nature-based solutions program development, greenhouse gas quantification, and community-based business model development that provides technical expertise and investment capital to its global client base. Under Durschinger's leadership, Terra has launched numerous commercially viable sustainable landscape management programs, designed new risk mitigation instruments, and developed trust funds and climate finance investment vehicles that drive investment capital to produce sustainable landscapes with climate and community benefits. Prior to Terra, Leslie held senior management positions in OTC derivatives trading, investment management, algorithmic trading, risk management, and securities lending. She is on the Board of ACDI-VOCA, Co-chair of the International Emission Trading Associations Natural Capital Solutions Working Group, and is a member of the Verra VCS Program Advisory Group, REDD+ Social & Environmental Standards Committee, and Verra - VCS JNR Expert Working Group. Her previous employers are JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Barclays Global Investors, and Charles Schwab.

Sandra Carolina Sarmiento Neira

Managing Director, Climate Finance  
Sandra Sarmiento is an economist with 11 years of experience in agri-business, securing purchases from smallholder producers, managing milling processes, and selling the final product to large agricultural buyers. For her agri-business company, she executed the largest transaction in one year of crops to SABMiller brewing company. Additionally, she sourced, structured, and secured an on-balance sheet funding of the sale, equating to USD $4 million, and deployed it into agricultural projects throughout Colombia. At Terra Global, Sandra has pioneered the application of Terra Global's Investment Readiness process, working with Afro-Colombian communities. She has provided extensive community-based training on the carbon development process and the mechanics of climate finance. Over the years, Sandra has built a robust investment pipeline for the Terra Bella NBS – Pool and supports the development of numerous community-based investments in Colombia. She successfully completed Terra Global's first private climate investment in Colombia with USD $3 million upfront investment and an estimated USD $100 million in long-term climate finance.

Rocio Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Principal, IPACE Program Manager  
Dr. Rocio Rodríguez Granados is a biologist and psychologist with over 15 years of experience in conservation, sustainable development, and climate change. For the past five years, she has worked with nature-based solutions for agriculture, coastal erosion, and climate change. Before Terra Global, Rocio coordinated the public-private partnerships for several companies and INGOs. One of her partnerships was responsible for expanding the world's largest tropical forest protected area. Rocio also has in-depth experience working with local communities and governments. She has received several awards such as the ICON Research Assistantship from UGA, NSF DDIG–National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, WWF Education for Nature Grant, and more. She has been frequently invited to work with numerous international teams. Rocio is managing the USAID-funded IPACE program, where Terra Global supports the development of community-based programs that improve landscape management and will attract private sector climate finance. For over 10 years, she has been a member of the board of directors for Fundación Natura, the most prominent Colombian NGO for conservation. In 2016, she earned her Master of Environmental Anthropology and her Ph.D. in Integrative Conservation at the University of Georgia, USA.

Gregory Ives, M.B.A.

Principal, Climate Finance  
Greg Ives is a natural resource management and conservation finance specialist. He brings eight years of experience in sustainable land management, place-based conservation program design, and impact investing. At Terra, Greg leverages his expertise in conservation-oriented forestry, regenerative agriculture, and environmental markets to support sustainable land use and rural development projects. Greg was an independent consultant before Terra Global, working with partners to channel investment and philanthropic capital to sustainable landscapes. He also served as the founding Director of Conservation for the Reserva Ecologica Panamaes in Panama. During his time as Director, Greg managed conservation, restoration, forestry, and agriculture programs and contributed to the reserve's organizational development and growth strategy. Greg supports the management of climate finance investment projects, carbon eligibility assessments, and investment readiness development. Greg holds a Bachelor's in environmental management from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Oxford.

Jasper Arnold

Associate, Climate Finance  
Jasper Arnold leverages his physics education to support complex financial modeling for nature-based solution projects. He brings two years of experience in carbon project development, focusing on unlocking capital for forestry and sustainable land-use development. Prior to Terra Global Capital, Jasper worked as an independent consultant to facilitate investment in carbon solutions. He has also served as a project manager for nature-based carbon in rural Kenya, working on the ground to assess carbon feasibility. Jasper supports activities evaluating the carbon eligibility and investment readiness of projects for the Terra Bella – NBS Carbon Pool. Jasper holds a bachelor's degree in Physics from Princeton University.

Carlos Molina, M.B.A.

Managing Director, Investee Fiscal Management  
Carlos Molina brings over 20 years of financial management experience to Terra Global Capital, with specific expertise in agriculture. Before working at Terra, Carlos worked in agro-industrial companies such as Bengala Agricola (pineapple producer in Colombia), Duwest, and Proficol. He has worked in multinational companies in Colombian sectors, including banks, services, and agro-industrial production. Carlos has extensive experience in agricultural credit, treasury, financial control, planning and budgets, business advisory, administrative management, purchasing, and logistics. After 4 years as Terra Global's Finance and HR Manager, Carlos has taken on the responsibility for investee fiscal management, where he supports the local project partners in managing their investment funds and new sources of revenue. His bank experience includes ABN AMRO Bank, Latin American Agribusiness Development Corporation (LAAD), and Rentandes service company. He has a Master of Business Administration from Arkansas State University.

Topoyame Mabophiwa, M.Eng.

Consultant, Climate Finance  
Topoyame Mabophiwa brings seven years of strong quantitative skills and extensive experience in Corporate and Investment Banking and Impact Investing to Terra Global Capital. Topo's previous experience includes work in Relationship Management, Corporate Credit, and Market Research and Intelligence. She also has experience in Economics and Treasury, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and Impact Analysis. Topo is a Sustainable Finance professional passionate about African Development, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, and Gender Inclusivity. A Chemical Engineer by training, Topo graduated with a Master's from The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.

Natural Resource Management and GHG Quantification

Erica Meta Smith, M.F., R.P.F.

Managing Director, Natural Resource Management and GHG Quantification  
Erica Meta Smith, M.F., RPF. Forest Carbon Field Development Specialist, joined Terra Global Capital in 2009. She provides technical forestry knowledge, on-ground carbon quantification expertise, and specialization in forest mensuration programs. Erica manages the NRM and GHG Quantification team. She has firsthand knowledge of forestry-based income and the experience of depending on natural resources as a livelihood. Before working with Terra Global Capital, Erica worked in forest policy and forestry technical operations. Erica has worked extensively in the REDD+ sector training communities and with in-country experts for excellence in MRV across Africa and Asia. She received her undergraduate degree in forestry and Master of Forestry from the University of California-Berkeley in 2005 and 2007. Her Master's work reviewed the California Climate Action Registry's Forestry Protocols and the implications of carbon markets in California. Erica is a Certified Ecologist through the Ecological Society of America and a Registered Professional Forester in the State of California.

Carolina Oleas, M.S.

Director, Natural Resource Management  
Carolina Oleas brings 15 years of agricultural knowledge and expertise to Terra Global, specializing in participatory project management in agriculture and community development. She uses her agronomist background and experience working directly with farmers in Latin America to build capacity with rural communities in sustainable development and climate-smart agricultural practices. At Terra Global, Carolina runs the NRM team, which supports the design of sustainable landscape programs and the community and biodiversity components of our projects. Before joining Terra Global, Carolina worked on designing, managing, monitoring, and evaluating projects and programs, promoting sustainable production, and applying agricultural adaptation and mitigation practices in the field. Carolina worked with smallholder farmers and organizations in Latin America. She received her undergraduate degree in agricultural engineering from EARTH University in Costa Rica and a Master's in International Agricultural Development from Texas A&M University.

David Montoya González, M.S.

Director, Remote Sensing/GIS  
David Montoya brings eight years of extensive experience in Remote Sensing and GIS. David has worked with multiple Colombian government entities, such as The National Department of Statistics (DANE), the 3rd National Agricultural Census, and the National University of Colombia (UNAL). His research at UNAL was based in the Andean Region of South America and focused on geomorphometry. Specifically, David worked in the Sibundoy Valley with the indigenous Inga and Kamentsá communities, analyzing the land cover changes and natural resource sustainability. David's role at Terra Global is leading the Remote Sensing and GIS team, where the team delivers pragmatic and innovative software and tools that meet carbon market and impact standards and support community-based geospatial community monitoring. Prior to Terra Global, David worked in the private sector, developing GHG assessments and quantification in Latin America, Australia, and the United States. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Forest Engineering from the National University of Colombia and a Master's degree in Remote Sensing from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in Brazil.

Angelica Garcia, Ph.D.

Principal, Biodiversity  
Angelica Garcia brings 15 years of extensive experience in conservation and socio-ecological projects. Before joining Terra, Angelica worked in academic and non-academic settings. She has worked in a range of positions such as resident manager and researcher at Cocha Cashu Biological Station (Peru), wildlife supervisor, and environmental consultant bringing her biodiversity expertise to Terra. She has also worked on various projects related to natural resources management and environmental governance. She holds a B.S. in Biology with a focus in Ecology and an M.S. in Forest Resources and Conservation. Angelica is a former Fulbright Scholar and received her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology in 2021 from the University of Florida. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the ecological and socioeconomic factors influencing palm management and its sustainability on indigenous people and local communities in the Peruvian Amazon. At Terra Global, Angelica manages projects and supports the development of biodiversity benefits and quantification, as well as monitoring of other co-benefits.

Carianne Chan, Ph.D.

Principal, Rural Community Development  
Dr. Carianne Chan brings over 10 years of experience in international development in climate change projects. Before joining Terra, she worked as a technical specialist for intergovernmental organizations implementing NBS projects at multiple landscape scales throughout the Caribbean. Her experience includes end-to-end management of grant projects in protected areas policy and land use, sustainable rural agriculture, eco-tourism, coastal planning, and integrated water resource management. Carianne received her Ph.D. in Disaster Risk Management from the University of Salford, Manchester, which examined the encroachment patterns in coastal protected areas, namely the relationship between the spatial organization and the socio-economic needs of the people that inhabit the landscape.

Holver Arango

Principal, GHG Quantification  
Holver Arango has more than 10 years experience as a forestry engineer and is skilled in project formulation and management. At Terra Global, Holver is focused on GHG quantification for conservation and sustainable forest management projects. He has experience working with rural communities and environmental and agrarian institutions. Holver also has experience in multiple Colombian government entities (research institutes, environmental institutes, municipalities), international cooperation projects, and private companies in Colombia. He is knowledgeable in forest community management, land use planning, environmental and agrarian law, and official institutions. His work has focused on projects that aim to improve rural people's life, especially those that focus on human rights and sustainability as the anchor of forest conservation and restoration initiatives. Holver has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the National University of Colombia.

Virginie Laroche, M.S.

Principal, Nature-based Solutions (NBS)  
Virginie Laroche brings over eight years of experience in climate and sustainability-related areas, international development, community-driven development, environmental protection, green infrastructure research, and urban planning. At Terra Global, she supports the carbon eligibility assessment of nature-based solutions projects, manages sustainable landscape programs, and monitors and evaluates their community and biodiversity impacts. Before joining Terra Global, Virginie worked for four years at the World Bank, where she advised operational teams on their corporate climate commitments to ensure the integration of climate considerations into the World Bank development planning and operational activities. She has experience working with various actors, including indigenous people and local communities, non-profits, research institutes, public institutions, international organizations, and private companies. Virginie holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences, policy, and management from Central European University, Lund University, and the University of the Aegean. Virginie holds an additional master’s degree in international relations and political science from the Catholic University of Louvain. She wrote her master’s thesis on using NBS for urban stormwater management and practical ways (such as geospatial techniques) to facilitate their inclusion into the urban landscape and planning decisions.

Rachael Ross, M.S.

Associate, Remote Sensing/GIS  
Rachael Ross is a remote sensing and GIS specialist leveraging her nine years of geospatial data science to support the monitoring and evaluation of sustainable landscape programs. Her experience extends to the public and private sectors, domestically and internationally, in environmental research, project management, and education. Before working for Terra Global Capital, Rachael developed a mapping tool in partnership with NASA DEVELOP and the California Air Resources Board to estimate annual changes in agricultural carbon stocks across California. Rachael brings her knowledge of the ever-increasing availability of remote sensing data and her software engineering skills to develop proprietary tools to assess carbon eligibility and quantify GHG reductions and removals under market standard. She holds a Bachelor's in Environmental Studies and Politics from New York University and a Master's in Environmental Science from the Yale School of the Environment. Her master's research used remote sensing and field data to analyze smallholder agriculture expansion and wildlife population dynamics in northern Tanzania to evaluate conservation and sustainable land management initiatives.

Marc Rosenfield, M.S.

Associate, GHG Quantification  
Marc Rosenfield brings over 10 years of experience to Terra Global as an ecologist, with an emphasis on global change biology. Prior to Terra Global, Marc worked at the University of California, Riverside, researching community ecology changes in the San Jacinto mountains of California. He also worked to restore eelgrass beds in Laguna Beach, CA after completing his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy at Chapman University. Marc received his Master’s degree from The George Washington University, where he studied wood decomposition and changes in CO2 emissions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. To complete his work, Marc engineered novel, low-cost CO2 sensors in collaboration with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland. Marc deployed these sensors across vulnerable Chesapeake Bay marshes, the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, and Alto Paraíso de Goiás, Brazil.

Nycole Echeverria, M.G.M.A.

Associate, GHG Quantification  
Nycole Echeverria brings eight years of experience in greenhouse gas quantification and modeling to Terra Global, specializing in modeling emissions from agriculture, forestry, and land use changes. She leverages her knowledge and experience as a part of the Greenhouse Gas Quantification team. Prior to joining Terra Global, Nycole worked with the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory designing multiple tools to model soil emissions from agriculture in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture, as well as creating life cycle assessments for both public and private entities. She has also worked on quantifying biomass carbon in agroforestry systems for use in national inventories. Nycole received her Bachelor of Science in Biological Science and her Master’s degree in Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting from Colorado State University.

Jadinson Ruiz, M.S.

Associate, Nature-based Solutions (NBS)  
Jadinson Ruiz Mosquera is an Agroforestry Engineer with more than 13 years of professional experience in project management, sustainable development, environmental management programs, and food security at the community level. Jadinson works as a Technical Associate in Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) at Terra Global, responsible for supporting biodiversity and community engagement issues. Prior to Terra, Jadinson worked in public and private sectors, NGOs, and public-private partnerships or PPPs. He coordinated projects that focused on recovering degraded areas and improving the quality of life in communities through conservation strategies, sustainable production, and strengthening of the governance of the territories. Jadinson received his master's degree in Agroforestry for Sustainable Development from the Autonomous University of Chapingo in Mexico.

Ramón Rocha

Associate, Forestry  
Ramón Rocha brings five years of experience to Terra Global, specializing in sustainable forest management. At Terra Global, Ramón supports the project coordination of Terra’s Amigos de Calakmul Community (ACAC) REDD+ Program in Mexico. Prior to Terra Global, he worked as a forest auditor in a verification agency, working with different rural communities and forestry companies throughout Mexico that aimed to participate in sustainable forest management. Ramón has completed over 50 audits of compliance with the Mexican standard NMX-AA-143-SCFI-2015 "for the certification of sustainable forest management" and is accredited by Climate Action Reserve (CAR) as the Lead Verifier of the Forest Protocol for Mexico. Through his PEEEMA (Pertenezco al Padrón de Expertos y Evaluadores de la Entidad Mexicana de Acreditación) accreditation, Ramón carried out technical audits of verification bodies, applying his knowledge in the verification of sustainable forest management, forest germplasm management, agroecology, and verification of greenhouse gas emissions. He received his bachelor's degree from la Universidad Autónoma Chapingo in Renewable Natural Resource Engineering, with a focus on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for rural and indigenous communities.

Jackie Maina, M.S.

Analyst, Nature-based Solutions (NBS)  
Jackie has four years of experience in research and extension in natural resources and agriculture. She supports the development of monitoring procedures to quantify Terra's projects' climate, social, and biodiversity impacts. Before joining Terra, she worked at Delaware State's University Cooperative Extension with shellfish aquaculture farmers evaluating methods to implement low-cost water quality monitoring techniques and engaging them in oyster reef restoration projects. Her master's thesis studied carbon and nitrogen dynamics in tidal wetlands and assessed the impacts of invasive marsh grass on estuarine food webs. Her undergraduate thesis project focused on formulating and characterizing alternative fuel pellets using agricultural waste. She also worked on soil restoration projects using biochar and humic acids. She has an undergraduate degree in Agronomic Engineering from EARTH University and a Master's degree in Natural Resources from Delaware State University.

Project Partner Sourcing

Michael Cullen, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor, Partner Sourcing  
Dr. Michael Cullen is an Agricultural Economist with over 35 years of experience in agriculture, environment, finance, economic development, and carbon markets, particularly in Africa. He was an early investor in the company and was part of the initial Terra Global team. Michael has a deep network with expertise in value chain analysis for tropical products, project evaluation, strategic planning, and project management. Since July 2021, Michael has rejoined the team as a senior advisor supporting project sourcing. His previous work for numerous private companies includes two SaaS firms and a healthcare product company. Michael has senior-level management experience in his non-profit work, including the World Cocoa Foundation and multilateral organizations such as the OECD and startup private sector companies. He also worked for six years at Merrill Lynch in the Private Client Group and has taught economics at the undergraduate and graduate level. He has extensive experience with USAID and World Bank-funded projects and has a track record as Chief of Party and Team Leader. He is fluent in French and holds a Doctorate in Agricultural Economics from the University of Oxford.

Adriana Henao, M.A.

Principal, Partner Sourcing  
For more than 20 years, Adriana Henao built her global experience in rural development and sustainability in more than 30 countries. Her work focused on developing strategies in international development, climate change, CSR, sustainability, and ESG. She has assisted international development organizations, governments, NGOs, and community-based organizations in designing and implementing broad-based socioeconomic sustainable development strategies and programs. She addressed climate change, poverty, and social exclusion issues in her work and helped community-based and producer organizations become viable partners in formulating and implementing programs and businesses. Adriana focused her experiences on climate resilience, regenerative agriculture, and sustainable agribusiness development, following a value chain approach. She, with her global network, is focused on identifying and sourcing local project partners for climate finance investments from the Terra Bella – NBS Carbon Pool. Adriana holds a M.A. Applied Economics from John’s Hopkins University.

Raquel Serôa, M.S., M.B.A.

Principal, Project Sourcing  
Raquel Serôa brings nearly 10 years of experience within the arena of nature-based solutions, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and Impact Entrepreneurship. Throughout her career, Raquel successfully sourced public-private partnerships in the Amazon, Ethiopia, and Kenya and shaped ESG strategies alongside major food retailers. At her last placement, Raquel was a senior sustainability manager responsible for sourcing project partners to offset the scope 3 emissions of one of the top 10 FMCG companies in the world. Now, at Terra Global Capital, Raquel is a Project Partner Sourcing Principal responsible for managing the company's pipeline of opportunities and sourcing new carbon-eligible projects for Terra's portfolio. In addition, Raquel is co-designing a renewed sourcing strategy for the company and expanding its sourcing potential by recruiting and training new associates for the team. From an academic perspective, Raquel holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences from the University of Brasilia, A Master's in Science, Management and Innovation from Radboud University, and an Executive M.B.A. in Sustainable Food and Agribusiness by Wageningen & TIAS University. She has published top-rated academic papers, was granted four university scholarships, and has been nominated by the 2022 Financial Times education awards as a runner-up Alumni Change-Maker in Responsible Business.

Local Project Coordinators

Alphius Lipiya

Local Project Coordinator, Malawi  
A qualified Wildlife Manager with an Advanced Diploma in Wildlife Management from CAWM-Mweka, Tanzania, Mr. Lipiya worked for almost 40 years at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) in Malawi. His positions included law enforcement officer and supervisor in protected areas for over ten years, wildlife research officer/ supervisor for three years, park manager for seven years, Divisional Wildlife Manager for five years and Wildlife Education and Extension Supervisor for three years. He supported the Kulera REDD+ Project for three years from the DNPW headquarters. Other experience includes working with human-animal conflict for five years and the counterpart to a Technical Advisor in an International Project funded by EU. Mr. Lipiya has two other diplomas in Wildlife Management and in Nature Conservation.

Frank Chimpango

Local Project Coordinator, Malawi  
Frank Chimpango brings environmental education and community livelihood expertise to Terra Global. He provides technical and program implementation support to local partners in Malawi to carry out program activities, monitor results, and strengthen coordination between the Terra Global international teams and local partners. Before joining Terra Global, Frank designed, managed, monitored, and evaluated environmental education and community livelihood programs for six years, specifically targeting rural communities living in peripheral protected areas. He holds a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Technology/Physics from the University of Malawi – The Polytechnic. In addition, he is studying for a Master's in Transformative Community development at Mzuzu University.

Tamrini Said

Local Project Coordinator, Zanzibar  
Tamrini brings over 30 years of experience in forestry and specialized wildlife management and conservation. He leverages this experience to engage in local consultancy work on climate change, social research, and project management for Terra Global. Tamrini has made outstanding contributions within his forestry roles, predominantly in afforestation, forest plantation management, and wildlife resource management. Additional experience of Tamrini includes District Forest Officer of Central and North B, Head of Unguja Ukuu Forest Plantation, Masingini Natura Forest Reserve, and Chaani Forest Plantation. He facilitated the project of the Kiwengwa-Pongwe Forest becoming a Forest Reserve and introduced ecotourism as its main livelihood. In 2019, Tamrini managed the preparation of detailed policies and regulations on Zanzibar for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Tamrini was appointed a member of the Tanzania National REDD+ Task Force and, during that time, created a Tanzania National REDD+ Strategy Document. Due to his commitment to REDD+ programs, Tamrini became a member of an International REDD+ Safeguards Steering Committee and served for three years. Tamrini was recommended to be an Interim Board Member of the Tanzania National Carbon Monitoring Centre (NCMC) hosted at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA).

José Perea

Local Project Coordinator, Colombia  
José Armando Perea Moreno brings over eight years of experience to Terra Global as an Agroforestry Engineer. José works on the COCOMACIA REDD + Chocó and Antioquia Community Project for Terra Global Capital. His prior experience includes working four years at CODECHOCO on sustainable development, two years at SENA (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje) as a natural resource instructor, and four months as a field technical assistant for the IIAP (Instituto de Investigaciones Ambientales del Pacifico). José also worked for eight months with the Environmental Technical Corporation, CATVERDE, six months at the Diego Luis Cordoba Technological University of Chocó, and eight months as a teacher of livestock and agriculture in the IEIAM. He has his degree in Agroforestry Engineering from the Technological University of Chocó, Colombia.

Maribel Moreno

Local Project Coordinator, Colombia  
Arneth Maribel Moreno Sánchez is a biologist with an emphasis on Natural Resources. At Terra Global, Maribel leverages her experience to support the COCOMACIA REDD + Chocó and Antioquia Community Project. She has four years of experience working as a Promoter for food security and healthy habits in households of rural communities affected by the Colombian conflict. For one year, Maribel worked for the Department of Chocó during the formulation of their General Plan of Forest Management. Here, she carried out fieldwork and managed the biotic component and preparation of forest inventories to protect and conserve natural resources. Maribel also participated as a co-investigator in interdisciplinary research groups in the Department of Chocó. During this research, she studied the morphological characterization, productivity, density, and structure of Açai (Euterpe oleracea). Based on her findings, she gave recommendations for sustainable use to communities of the post-conflict regions in the Chocó department. Maribel attended the Technological University of Chocó, Colombia.

Corporate Management and Marketing

Bart Kortum

CFO, COO  
Bart Kortum brings over 25 years’ experience in middle market organizations within the Engineering, Telecom, and SaaS software sectors. Before Terra Global Bart leveraged his early experience in public accounting to turnaround businesses. He has restructured loss-making organizations into profitable and cash rich. He also scaled organizations and tripled its revenues, both organically and by acquisitions. Working closely with CEOs and Board, he led all financial planning and data analysis, created business modeling, budgets, forecasts, and strategic plans. He built strong internal control processes, designed systems, and oversaw all tax planning and compliance. As Tera Global’s CFO/COO, Bart is responsible for all financial functions such as corporate finance, audit, tax and accounting. In addition, he oversees all administrative and HR activities. Bart is originally from Netherlands, studied Business Economics and Mathematics, is a certified teacher in both subjects, and is a Chartered Accountant. He has lived and worked in Netherlands, London (UK), Istanbul (Turkey) and has now settled in California.

Avery Ackelbein

Analyst, Marketing and Business Development  
Avery Ackelbein specializes in marketing and business development, with an educational background in environmental science. She brings three years of marketing experience directly out of school, previously working for the Student Leadership, Involvement, and Community Engagement (SLiCE) Office at Colorado State University (CSU) as their student marketing coordinator. In her role, she created new marketing collateral for CSU's President's Leadership Program (PLP) and collaborated closely with professors, high school counselors, and program managers to market her office's programs. Avery also developed extensive public speaking skills by giving regular, informative presentations and connecting current and prospective students to the programs and resources offered by SLiCE. These programs include a focus on social justice, combatting food insecurity on campus, and providing essential resources for the houseless population in Fort Collins. She graduated from Colorado State University in May of 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and a minor in Environmental Affairs. In her studies, Avery focused on ecology, climate change, environmental justice, natural resource communication, and political science.

Advisors

Kevin Brennan, M.A.

CFA, Investor Networks, Carbon Fund Management  
Kevin Brennan brings financial and global emissions-reduction project experience to Terra. Kevin worked on the launch and portfolio structuring of the Natsource Carbon Asset Pool (multi-sector) in London and the Terra Bella Forest and Land-Use Carbon Fund at Terra Global. As a result, the Terra Bella Forest and Land-Use Carbon Fund was selected for an anchor commitment from OPIC, the US development finance bank, in a competitive tender in 2011. Kevin's current role at Equilibrium Capital allowed him to work across diversified sectors in capital raising and structuring investor-operator partnerships across real asset classes. In 2022, Kevin moved to Antler as an Associate Partner, where Antler is a global early-stage venture capital firm that invests in the defining technology companies of tomorrow. He first trained as a portfolio management analyst at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers — now BlackRock — before moving into Institutional Sales and Product Specialist roles, including working on the initial capital raising for the BlackRock New Energy Technology Fund. Influenced also by the early development of emissions markets, Mr. Brennan was drawn to sustainability and pursued a Master's in Environmental Management, focusing on climate, environmental, and natural resource economics. Subsequent roles combined project finance at HSBC with further product specialist work at the London-based fund-of-hedge-funds International Asset Management. Mr. Brennan completed his BCom Bachelor's degree in Economics and Business at the University of Edinburgh, including an exchange year at one of France's leading business schools, Ecole Superieure des Affaires in Grenoble. He completed his Master's in Environmental Management at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Terry Vogt, M.B.A.

Finance Advisor, Latin American Investment Banking  
Terry Vogt brings extensive experience in international finance and private equity investments. In his experience, Terry has directed a conservation finance program at The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, founded a Latin American-focused boutique investment bank, and acted as the former Deputy Director General of IICA—a multi-lateral organization dealing with rural sustainable development and agriculture in Latin America. Terry was the Director of Global Funding and Head of International Investment Banking at Wells Fargo Bank and is a member of the foundation board of CATIE, the Central American graduate school and research institution in agriculture, sustainable development, and climate change. Terry is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and was awarded the Order of Rio Branco by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil in 1996. He has a degree in Latin American History from Harvard and an M.B.A. in Operations Research from the University of Colorado.

John Lewis, Ph.D.

Science Advisor, Rural Development, Agriculture and Food Security  
Dr. John Van D. Lewis brings over 40 years of experience, combining his discipline, ecological and economic anthropology, with international development management experience. He has acted as Managing Director at Terra Global since 2007. Prior to Terra, John had already completed a 22-year career with USAID by the year 2000, retiring after six years as the Agency Senior Agriculturalist and Director of its central Office of Agriculture and Food Security. With his vantage point in the Senior Foreign Service, John brought several international agribusiness corporations to collaborate with USAID field programs. He served in Senegal, Mali, Cameroon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Haiti and was able to design and implement path-breaking new approaches to community-driven sustainable development in rural settings. Immediately following his retirement from the Agency, John became Executive Director of the Near East Foundation and then Pro-Natura USA, both in New York City. He received his Ph.D. in Ecological and Economic Anthropology from Yale in 1979.

Steven De Gryze, Ph.D.

Science Advisor, Soil Science, GHG Quantification  
Dr. Steven De Gryze brings over a decade of experience as an ecosystem scientist and software engineer, focusing on regional carbon and nitrogen cycling and greenhouse gas emissions from terrestrial systems. Steven leads the carbon analytics team at Terra Global and is a Senior Scientific Software Engineer at The Climate Corporation. He has developed and used advanced ecosystem models to forecast carbon changes for the past ten years. Steven is a recognized leader in methodology and protocol development at the project and jurisdictional level for REDD+. He has developed protocols for numerous market standards for low-emission agriculture. In recent years, he has been a senior data scientist at Stitch Fix. He has a broad interest in science and technology and experience in process modeling, machine learning, deep learning, and geospatial analysis. Steven completed his B.Sc. majoring in Bio-engineering Sciences and his first M.Sc. in Environmental Technology in collaboration with the Natural Resource and Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. He received a second M.Sc. in Statistics and his Ph.D. in soil conservation from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.

Montague W. Demment, Ph.D.

Science Advisor, Director of the Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP)  
Dr. Montague W. Demment brings extensive experience to Terra as the Associate Vice President for International Development at APLU, professor emeritus of ecology at the University of California, Davis, and former Director of the Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program, a program funded by USAID and the US university community. In his position at APLU, he was instrumental in creating APLU's Africa U.S. Higher Education Initiative, which advocated for higher education support in Africa. He also organized the process by which the research community provided input to the FTF strategy. Montague researches the nutritional ecology of herbivores and the nutrition of children in developing countries. He is the past president of AIARD (Association for Agriculture and Rural Development) and chaired the NASULGC's International Agriculture Coordinating Committee, which advocates for international issues in agriculture. Montague served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia. A native of New York, he earned his B.A. from Harvard in Architecture.

Susan L. Ustin, Ph.D.

Science Advisor, Professor in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at the University of California Davis  
Dr. Susan L. Ustin acts as manager for the Center for Spatial Technologies and Remote Sensing (CSTARS) laboratory. She has served on a wide range of state and federal panels and committees, most recently an NRC review of 50 years of NASA Earth Science Research and NPOESS Science Advisory Board for Northrup-Grumman. Susan's interest in remote sensing stems from her research as a post-doctoral fellow when she had the opportunity to participate in the first stage of development for imaging spectroscopy at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Since then, her research has focused on developing and testing methods for retrieving ecological information from remote sensing data at spatial scales from microscopic to global and encompasses both theoretical and applied research. Susan received a Ph.D. in Botany, specifically plant physiological ecology, from the University of California Davis in 1983.

Emilio A. Laca, Ph.D.

Science Advisor, Rangeland Ecology  
Dr. Emilio A. Laca brings research and teaching experience to Terra, specifically in multivariate systems and modeling, the physiological basis for grazing management, and ecology and conservation of natural resources. His recent work has covered statistical protocols for measuring carbon flux, carbon sequestration in Central Asia's rangelands, and quantification of CO2 exchanges via tower measures, modeling, and remote sensing. Emilio serves as the chair of three Environmental Sciences and Ecology committees at the University of California Davis. He is also the Associate Editor of Rangeland Ecology and Management and reviews manuscripts and proposals from multiple international journals and funding agencies. Emilio manages a team of 17 Ph.D. and M.S. students engaged in practical applications of carbon measurement research and field science. Emilio received his Ph.D. in Ecology in 1992 from the University of California Davis and holds a M.S. in Range and Wildlands Science and B.Sc. Agricultural Engineering.