Founder of EarthBalance®
As Chairman of EarthBalance®, Don Ross provides leadership and vision to the firm’s senior management team. Don founded EarthBalance® (originally Florida Environmental, Inc.), and has served as Chairman of the Board since 2009. Don is a professional wetland scientist with a master’s degree in Ecology from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and has been a leader in environmental issues and ecosystem services in the state of Florida for three decades, serving on the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners, the Florida Environmental Regulation Commission, as Chairman of the Florida Environmental Regulation Commission, and as President of the Florida Association of Mitigation Bankers in 2012-2013. Don currently serves as President of The National Mitigation Banking Association.
President/Chief Executive Officer
Director since 2015
Sarah Laroque is President and CEO of EarthBalance® and has 30+ years of experience working in Florida’s natural areas. She has been with EarthBalance® since 1993, and is a member of the Board. Sarah’s strength is her service-oriented leadership style and her enthusiasm in leading the Company’s senior management team to meet future company goals. Sarah has the insight to understand the importance of supporting our company’s culture, she encourages business development and opportunities for growth, and guides operational priorities. As the public face of the company, Sarah articulates its values, culture, and social benefit. Sarah holds a BA in Environmental Science from State University of New York at Plattsburgh, has an Executive Business Certificate through the University of Florida, and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Vice President of Finance
Director since 2013
Wade Waltimyer provides financial oversight for operations and investments. As Senior Scientist with over 20 years of experience in wetland jurisdiction, permitting, monitoring, and compliance; mitigation design and implementation; and wildlife surveying, permitting, and relocation, Wade oversees the Mitigation Bank Division including identification of potential bank properties, performing initial evaluations to develop a prospectus, negotiating UMAM scores and credit generation. Wade holds a BS degree in Biology from Florida State University and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Vice President of Business Development and Secretary
Co-Founder of EarthBalance®
Chuck Kocur is a certified Professional Wetland Scientist with 35+ years experience as an estuarine ecologist. As Vice President and Senior Principal, he provides oversight on many large-scale restoration and enhancement projects throughout Florida and the southeast. Chuck also maintains operational supervision of the nursery and manages business development by driving sales efforts and marketing strategies. Chuck holds a BS degree in Biology from Gannon College and a MS degree in Biological Oceanography from Florida State University.
Vice President and Treasurer
Officer since 2007
Karen Burnett oversees all administrative systems and provides technical review of all EarthBalance® work products. Karen has served as the Company Safety Officer for over 10 years and directs and maintains all workplace and project site safety programs. She has primary responsibility for safety, administration, and risk management. Building on her professional experience in the public sector at both the state and local level, Karen is an excellent source of technical expertise, providing project management, technical review, and technical writing skills to staff and clients. She is a licensed Professional Geologist with a MS degree in Geology from University of Alabama, and a BS in Geology from LaSalle College.
Assistant Vice President
Cris has worked in the environmental field for over 17 years. As Assistant Vice President, she is responsible for the company’s technology, which includes quality control of the Deltek Vision ERP system and data analysis. Cris provides training to new administrative and operations staff in use of Deltek Vision and monitors quality control of data entry. She is a resource for all staff regarding standard operating procedures for operations and creating financial reports with information related to project profitability. She provides company-wide leadership through Open Book Management Training and manages financial reporting of the mitigation banking service line.
As Operations Manager, Jim Everett is responsible for providing leadership and control over company Regional Mangers, APMs, PMs, Mechanics, Crew Managers, and the company’s labor force. Leadership responsibilities include job training, developing the next level of project managers for the Company, and acquisition and maintenance of all equipment. Jim has worked in the construction industry for more than 35 years and has a diverse background in infrastructure improvement and industrial construction. He holds a BS degree in Building Construction and Engineering Management from the University of West Florida.
Independent Board Member
Gray Stevens is the Managing Partner of Sandy Creek Partners, LLC, an investment company focused on developing mitigation banks and similar conservation offset projects. He is a former Board Member of the Florida Association of Mitigation Bankers and is a Florida licensed real estate broker. Gray is a guest instructor at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV and speaks frequently on the business of mitigation banking. He graduated with a BA in Philosophy from Rhodes College and received his MBA in finance from Northwestern University (Kellogg). After graduating from Kellogg, Gray spent 15 years as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch & Co. in Chicago, where he led the firm’s Midwest Private Equity effort. His favorite pastimes are being outside doing just about anything and traveling with his three (almost) adult children.