Karen Evangelista, President
Karen Evangelista has been a member of the Dunes Center’s Board of Directors since 2015 and was appointed to Board President in 2017. Karen was born in Guadalupe to Joe and Margie Talaugon and has worked closely with the community for many years as the Executive Director of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts and Education Center. She is proud to be a part of the Dunes Center and its exciting projects aimed at promoting the conservation of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex. Aside from volunteering to make a difference in the community, Karen enjoys spending time with her family here on the Central Coast.
Brian Tetley, Vice President
Brian Tetley joined the Board in 2015. Brian is a senior land use planner with Urban Planning Concepts in Santa Maria. Brian has over 20 years of local agency experience addressing the unique land use issues of the Central Coast. Brian has substantial experience managing and/or preparing environmental review documents including Environmental Impact Reports. Brian holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Studies/Policy and Planning from Cal State Fullerton.
Robert Cooks became involved with the Dunes Center in 2019 and shortly after he became a member of the board. He was born in San Luis Obispo and soon after that he relocated to the Santa Maria Valley. He has always been active in giving back to his community and helping those that are in need. Since he briefly lived in Guadalupe when he was younger, the community is near and dear to his heart and that is really why he’s excited to be a part of the Dunes Center and being a part of the growth and expansion! I love being on the board because we get to see directly how we’re affecting the community of Guadalupe and the students with the awesome Dunes Center programming. I also learn new things about the area that I can share with other natives who might’ve never known these facts before.
Brian Billones joined the Dunes Center Board of Directors in 2020 with a strong desire to serve the local community. A native Californian, he was born and raised in the Central Coast, where his family has called home for nearly a century. He graduated from the University of California, San Diego and has a career in the healthcare industry. He is excited to be a part of the next chapter for the Dunes Center.
Christina moved to Nipomo in 1999 from Atlanta where she retired from a 30 year career in the Trust and Investment business with Sun Trust Banks. She was quite active in the Boards of several arts and native plant organizations in North Carolina and Atlanta and has pursued a lesser role in the same type of activities here in the Central Coast.
Frances is a Director with Forma Design, a planning and landscape architecture firm based in Costa Mesa. Frances is the Team Leader for their Central Coast operations and provides planning and project management for a wide variety of projects throughout Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. Frances is on the SBCAG Board. A graduate of the University of Redlands, Frances has lived in Guadalupe since 1997 and has been involved in the community as a Recreation Commissioner (1997), Interim City Clerk (1998), Fifth District Park Commissioner for Santa Barbara County (1999-2005), Dunes Center Steering Committee (2002-2004), Chair of the Guadalupe Planning Commission (2007-2009), and the Dunes Center Board of Directors since January 2010.
Vince Tortolano rejoined the Dunes Center as a Board Advisor in January 2019. He previously served on the Board from 2015 to 2017, first as a Board Advisor, then as a Board Member. Vince retired in 2012 from a 29-year career as a corporate attorney in California’s Silicon Valley. During this time, Vince was involved with legal issues arising in many areas of corporate law, including the acquisition, licensing, and litigation of Intellectual Property assets, acquisition and divestiture of corporate technology and product lines, environmental law compliance, human resources, and personal injury. He also advised companies on corporate governance matters and served as corporate secretary for the boards of a number of multi-million dollar companies.
Vince received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Santa Clara University, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis.