Board Members

The Shorelines Hearings Board consists of the three members of the Pollution Control Hearings Board and one representative each from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, counties, and cities.

Shorelines Hearings Board Members

Michelle Gonzalez, Acting Chair

Michelle Gonzalez was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee in 2020 to serve on the Pollution Control and Shorelines Hearings Boards. She was reappointed by Governor Inslee in 2022. Before joining the boards, Ms. Gonzalez directed the Women’s Commission, an agency in the Governor’s Office. She also served as assistant dean at the University of Washington School of Law and as a senior lecturer in the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, where she has taught courses on administrative law and mediation and negotiation. Ms. Gonzalez has worked in the private and public sectors as an attorney and clerked for a federal magistrate judge in the Western District of Washington.

Ms. Gonzalez earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She is a volunteer board member of Heritage University in the Yakima Valley, which serves students from the local area. She enjoys mentoring students, and she started an externship program for law students with the agency. She speaks conversational Spanish and enjoys opportunities to practice.

 

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Carolina Sun-Widrow, Chair

Carolina Sun-Widrow was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee in 2019 to serve on the Pollution Control and Shorelines Hearings Boards. Before her appointment, she was administrative appeals judge for four years for the two boards at the Environmental and Land Use Hearings Office. Before joining the office, Ms. Sun-Widrow served for thirteen years as a staff attorney for the Washington State Supreme Court and as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Judge Ronald E. Cox at the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division One. She also worked as a special assistant attorney general for the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, representing the Department of Social and Health Services in appellate matters, and worked for a firm specializing in land-use law for the State Attorney General’s Office’s Natural Resources Division, and for the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Sun-Widrow graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and environmental studies and earned a law degree from the University of Washington School of Law, where she also trained as a mediator.

Ms. Sun-Widrow is a past board member of Community Youth Services and a founding member of the Washington Immigrant Network. She was born in Taiwan and grew up in Paraguay and St. John, Washington. She speaks conversational Spanish and Mandarin Chinese and enjoys rock climbing and bouldering.

Christopher Swanson

Christopher Swanson was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee in 2023 to serve on the Pollution Control and Shorelines Hearings Boards. Before his appointment, he served as assistant chief industrial appeals judge with the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (BIIA) and worked as a mediation and review judge and a hearings judge with the BIIA, a health law judge with the Washington state Department of Health, and an assistant attorney general serving in the Utilities and Transportation and Agriculture and Health divisions. In all, he has worked in administrative law for twenty-three years and served as an administrative adjudicator for fifteen years.

Mr. Swanson graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Chico, with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and received his law degree from Willamette University College of Law.

In his spare time, Mr. Swanson enjoys hiking and cycling especially in the Mount Rainier area as well as international travel.

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Association of Washington Cities

David Baker

David Baker has served on the Kenmore City Council since January 2004 and as mayor since 2008. Mr. Baker has worked on numerous shoreline and wetland restoration projects aimed at replacing invasive plants (blackberries, English Ivy, reed canary grass, etc.) with native plant species conducive to wildlife habitats. He has presided over major city shoreline accomplishments in recent years including the adoption of a State-approved Shoreline Master Program and completion of several new fish-friendly culverts and bridges over Swamp Creek and other streams. After earning a doctorate degree in anatomy and biomedical engineering from Iowa State University in 1989, Mr. Baker began his own company, Vision Systems Engineering, Ltd., specializing in high-speed product inspection on assembly lines. He has been very active and represents the City of Kenmore on many regional, state, and national committees. He is a two-term board member for Sound Cities

Association, as well as a board member of the National League of Cities, and a former board member of the Association of Washington Cities. Mr. Baker also serves on the King County Board of Health, King County Solid Waste Advisory Committee, finance committee for the National League of Cities, and the Federal Legislative Committee for the Association of Washington Cities.

Image of David Baker smiling in a black suit, white shirt and gold tie

Grant Beck

A third generation Thurston County resident, Grant Beck is the Planning and Development Services manager for the City of Lacey. A 1986 graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in urban and regional planning, Mr. Beck has worked as a planner in local government for more than thirty-five years. Previous positions as the Permit Center director for San Juan County and planning director for Clallam County have provided him with extensive experience in shoreline permitting and planning. Mr. Beck was appointed as an Association of Washington Cities alternate to the Shorelines Hearings Board in 2011 and is proud to be able to serve the community and balance the priorities for shorelines as articulated in the Shoreline Management Act.

Jason Sullivan

Jason Sullivan is the planning and building supervisor for the City of Bonney Lake, where he is responsible for managing the city’s long-range and current planning, building, and code enforcement activities. He has fifteen years of experience working with the Shoreline Management Act and local Shoreline Master Plans in both coastal and non-coastal jurisdictions. As a planner with the City of Des Moines, he assisted with the Shoreline Master Plan update. As the senior planner for the City of Bonney Lake, he wrote the Bonney Lake Shoreline Master Plan. Mr. Sullivan also has served on a number of regional and state committees: Vice-chair of Pierce County’s Growth Management Coordinating Committee, Washington State Department of Ecology’s Sounding Board for Shoreline Rulemaking, Washington State Department of Commerce’s Critical Areas Sounding Board, Puget Sound Regional Council’s Regional Staff Committee, and Puget Sound Partnership’s Stormwater Strategic Initiative Advisory Team. Mr. Sullivan graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in urban studies, a minor in environmental science, and a Certificate in Geographic Information System and spatial modeling.

Jeffrey S. Wilson

Jeff Wilson is the director of Development and Permitting Services for the City of Puyallup. Before joining the city, he served as the community development director for the City of DuPont, the senior managing director for the Growth Management Division of the Washington State Department of Commerce, the planning supervisor for Edmonds, and city planner for Lake Stevens and Kirkland. Mr. Wilson also served on the Edmonds City Council.

His professional career has encompassed work in both the public and private sectors. While in the public sector, Mr. Wilson's planning responsibilities included administering community development codes and comprehensive plans, serving as Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant administrator, shoreline administrator, and State Environmental Policy Act administrator for six different jurisdictions. He authored or co-authored several Shoreline Master Plans and code and comprehensive plan amendments.

Mr. Wilson's private sector experience includes eight years as a senior project manager for MulvannyG2 Architecture, with a focus on project feasibility, due diligence, and project entitlements in the southwest United States and Asia for Costco Wholesale. He also served as director of real estate development for Costco in California. He is a member of the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Certified Planners. Mr. Wilson earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in urban planning from the University of Washington.

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Mark Kulaas

Mark Kulaas was first elected to Wenatchee City Council in 2003 and is now in his fifth consecutive term on the council. He has served on a variety of local and statewide boards and commissions during his tenure on the council including two terms on the State Building Code Council, Department of Ecology’s State Environmental Policy Act and Climate Change Committee, and legislative committees of the Association of Washington Cities. 

Mark retired after more than 40 years of professional land-use and environmental planning experience in a variety of urban and rural settings in Washington and Idaho. He led staff teams that completed major updates to Shoreline Master Programs and critical area codes and has extensive experience in the review of permits required by the Shoreline Management Act.

Mark is a graduate of Eastern Washington University’s Urban and Regional Planning program and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, the professional institute of the American Planning Association. In 2012, he was inducted into the College of Fellows for American Institute of Certified Planners.

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Washington State Association of Counties

Gary Edwards

No bio at this time.

Heidi Eisenhour

Elected to the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners in 2020, Heidi Eisenhour is an experienced nonprofit executive having served locally as chief operating officer at the Northwest Maritime Center, most recently, and executive director at Jefferson Land Trust previously. She served on the Jefferson County Planning Commission when the first comprehensive plan was adopted in compliance with the Growth Management Act. Her family has lived in Jefferson County since 1981. Ms. Eisenhour graduated from The Evergreen State College with a degree in environmental science in 1994.

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Robert Gelder

No bio at this time.

 

John Bolender

No bio at this time

Dennis Weber

Dennis P. Weber represents the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) Board of Directors on the Shorelines Hearings Board. First elected to the Cowlitz County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) in 2012, he brings nearly fifty years of public service experience, beginning with his appointment to the county’s planning commission in 1977. He also represents WSAC on the Criminal Justice Treatment Act Panel and the State Interoperability Executive Committee. He has also represented the county on the Great Rivers Behavioral Health Organization, Cowlitz County Law and Justice Council, and Lower Columbia CAP.

Dennis also served on the Longview City Council from 1980 to 1992, including 6 years as mayor. He served on a local hospital and medical center board from 1990 to 2001, before returning to the city council from 2002 to 2012, including another three years as mayor. In addition, he has served on the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board since 2007, first representing southwest Washington cities and then as the county’s representative. He will be completing his 12th year on the BOCC this year.

Dennis belongs to many civic organizations including the Cowlitz County Historical Society, including as a frequent writer for its Quarterly. He also belongs to Longview Rotary Club and Longview Community Church. He has been a violinist with the Southwest Washington Symphony Orchestra since 1967. And his work with Friends of Longview helped secure a state historical capital grant for a permanent railroad history exhibit in there.

In 1974 Dennis graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Political Science and teaching minors in history and journalism. In 1995 he earned a master’s in education from the University of Portland. He taught high school social studies for Longview Public Schools from 1975 to 2010.

Dennis was born and raised in Longview, WA.  He continues to live there with his wife, retired biology teacher Kris McElroy. Together they raised three daughters: Kathyn who works in the US Foreign Service currently in Sri Lanka and the Maldives; Sarah who works in global health currently in Nairobi, Kenya; and Juliana who works for the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Dennis and Kris also enjoy time with their four grandchildren.

Image of Dennis Weber wearing a black suit and red tie, standing in front of a flag. Dennis is smiling and wearing glasses.

Jamie Stephens

Jamie Stephens served on the San Juan County Council for twelve years and as its chair four times. During his tenure he oversaw major updates and approval of their Shoreline Management Plan, Critical Areas Ordinances, and Comprehensive Plan. He worked to develop a policy of “managed retreat” to move infrastructure away from the shoreline to protect it from storms. As a Council Member he served on the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council, Governor Inslee’s Orcas Task Force, and Puget Sound Partnership Ecosystem Coordination Board. As chair of the Ecosystem Coordination Board, he established a land use subcommittee to develop policies that reconcile environmental protections with the policies of the Growth Management Act.

Jamie was appointed to the Shorelines Hearings Board in 2016 by the Washington State Association of Counties where he also served as its President. He was part of a volunteer group that lobbied for the establishment of the San Juan Islands National Monument established in 2013. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and executive business classes at the Wharton School. He lives on Lopez Island where he owns a property management business with his wife.

Picture of Jamie Stephens wearing a blue suit with a red tie, standing in front of green trees

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Allen Estep

Appointed by the Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands, Allen Estep has been a member of the Shorelines Hearings Board since 2017. He started his career at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, where he worked for three years before joining the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. His career with that state agency has spanned nearly thirty years and included positions as a forester and biologist and now an assistant division manager in the State Uplands program. He leads the Habitat Conservation Plan and Scientific Consultation Section. He works closely with the planning team on programmatic State Environmental Policy Act and the National Environmental Policy Act projects. Mr. Estep holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Lawrence University.

Image of Allen Estep smiling outside with green trees and bushes behind him while wearing black framed glasses and a green button up shirt.

Administrative Appeals Judges

Heather Coughlan

Heather Coughlan (formerly Francks) joined the Environmental and Land Use Hearings Office in 2015. Before joining the office, she was a health law judge for nearly three years at the Department of Health. Before her state service, Ms. Coughlan practiced commercial litigation in Seattle at Stokes Lawrence, Preston Gates and Ellis (now K&L Gates), and Shidler McBroom Gates and Lucas.

Ms. Coughlan received a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations from Stanford University and a law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles’ School of Law.

Andrew O'Connell

Before joining the office, Mr. O’Connell was an administrative law judge for the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, presiding over litigations involving rates, sales, and practices of investor-owned utilities in Washington such as Puget Sound Energy, Avista Corporation, and Waste Management of Washington. Before that, he was an assistant attorney general representing the staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission in similar litigations. Mr. O’Connell holds a Master of Law degree in climate change and energy law and policy from the Centre for Energy, Petroleum, and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee, as well as a juris doctorate from Gonzaga University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Gabe Verdugo

Before joining the office, Mr. Verdugo was in private practice litigating consumer class actions and insurance cases. He also previously served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Rosanna M. Peterson at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington and for Justice Steven C. González at the Washington Supreme Court. Mr. Verdugo graduated from the University of Washington with bachelor's degrees in plant biology and German language and literature. He earned his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law.

Gabe Verdugo photo

 

Apply to Serve on the Board

Visit the Governor’s website to find information about how to apply to serve on this board.