Port Commissioners’ Bios
Commissioner & Chairman of the Board
Chris Stephens, Director of the Ventura County Resource Management Agency, was appointed to the Ventura Port District Board effective July 1, 2017.
“There are many exciting projects underway at Ventura Harbor and I look forward to working with the other commissioners to see that they are successfully completed,” Stephens said.
Stephens has served as the head of the Resource Management Agency since 2006. Previously within the county, he worked as Ventura County’s Planning Director and as the Deputy Executive Director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission. He has been involved with many community organizations and programs, and has served as a Hansen Agricultural Trust Advisory Board member, a member of the City of Ventura Visioning Committee and Charter Committee, and the Ventura County Planning Commission.
Brian Brennan is a former Ventura County Planning Commissioner and a 16-year veteran of locally elected offices in the city of San Buenaventura. He served as a city councilman from 1998-2013 and mayor from 2003-2005, representing the city on numerous boards and commissions including the California Coastal Commission for three years. A professional restaurateur for over 25 years, Brian has opened and operated restaurants in coastal California, Hawaii, Florida and the Virgin Islands. He is an alumnus of the Smart Growth Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland and was appointed by Gov. Christie Todd Whitman to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology for his work in Brownfield and Greyfield redevelopment along with advocacy for fuel cells and the Hydrogen Highway. While serving as chairman of the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau, Brian was one of the founding members of the Ventura County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. He has been on the forefront of coastal and wetland protection policy both locally, regionally and statewide for all of his adult life, which culminated in an appointment by Gov. Jerry Brown to the California Coastal Commission in 2011. He presently serves as Executive Director of BEACON, a California Joint Powers Authority that advocates for adaptive living shorelines and coastal resiliency in the face of rising sea levels. An avid sailor and surfer, Brian learned to sail on Galway Bay, increasing his sailing skills while in the Caribbean and upon moving to Ventura fell in love with the community on sailing trips out to our Channel Islands. Brian continues to crew on racing sailboats in Ventura Harbor whenever he is invited!
Commissioner & Secretary of the Board
Jean Getchell is an attorney whose current work focuses on California tax initiatives’ impacts on service charges, regulatory fees and related water issues; air quality, and coastal preservation. Before that, she worked as an environmental consultant, and for the Ventura County Chief Administrative Office, Health Care Agency and Public Works Agency.
She has lived in Ventura since 1964, except for a thirteen year period when she lived in Monterey County. There she managed development of contracts for land use environmental documents and the consultants who provided planning and building services to the County. She also served as the head of air quality planning for the regional air pollution control district and worked with the California APCO’s Association Air Quality Planning Managers to develop statewide strategies to address the impacts of emissions on toxics, ozone formation and greenhouse gases.
She has been an avid sailor (and live-aboard in Sausalito), kayaker, and SCUBA diver. Hiking and backpacking are favorite activities, as well as frequent walks to the pier with her English Springer Spaniel, Bennie. Also an avid gardener, she is waiting for her first crop of ornamental sunflowers to bloom.
Having been appointed a Commissioner in 1997 during the District’s bankruptcy, she looks forward to working on the developments that are currently underway.
Everard Ashworth is a principal with Ashworth Leininger Group, a consulting and engineering firm that provides expertise to business and government on air quality, environmental, and coastal zone permitting issues. Ev and his wife Brooke have lived in Ventura for over 25 years. Ev is an active member of the Ventura Sail and Power Squadron, where he has served in a number of capacities including Commander of the Squadron; he continues to teach advanced coastal piloting and safe boating classes. Ev and Brooke are also members of the Ventura Yacht Club. They have two college-age children: Henry, a graduate of Foothill Technology High School, and Emma, a graduate of Ventura High School. Ev is an avid boater, never happier than when he is out on the water.
Jackie Gardina is the Dean and Chief Academic Officer of the Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law (COL). Before joining COL in 2016, Jackie taught at Vermont Law School where she focused on, among other things, the intersection of environmental law and bankruptcy. She also practiced in the commercial litigation department at the Boston firm of Choate, Hall, and Stewart after she clerked for Chief Judge William Young of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the Honorable Levin Campbell of the First Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, Jackie has served on multiple professional and non-profit boards, including with the American Bar Association, the State Bar of California, and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Jackie enjoys the outdoors and since she moved to Ventura she has taken full advantage of the county’s recreational areas. Within two weeks of arriving, she had hiked Santa Cruz Island and she has kayaked in the harbor multiple times.