President Eric Sklar
President Eric Sklar, of St. Helena, California, was appointed to the Commission in June 2015 and reappointed in January 2017. A Napa Valley vineyard owner, entrepreneur and former public official, Eric Sklar and his family have been growing grapes in Napa Valley for nearly 40 years.
Eric was co-founder and Managing Partner (2005-2013) of Alpha Omega Winery in Rutherford, California. He was Chairman and CEO of Burrito Brothers, Inc., a restaurant chain he founded in 1989 based in Washington, D.C., and sold in 1999.
From 2003-2010, he served on the St. Helena City Council – the last two years as Vice-Mayor. He is also a retired volunteer for the St. Helena Fire Department. In 2010, he was elected to the Board of the Napa Valley Vintners where he served as Treasurer and Vice-Chair, and, from 2009-2011, he served as chair of the Napa Valley Vintners’ Community and Industry Issues Committee.
Eric received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley in 1984, a Diploma in Business Studies at the London School of Economics in 1986, and a Master of Business Administration at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in 1997. Eric is a sailor and hunter and loves backpacking the trails of California.
He lives in St. Helena with his wife Erica; they have two adult daughters.
His term on the Commission expires January 15, 2023.
Vice President Jacque Hostler-Carmesin
Jacque Hostler-Carmesin, of McKinleyville, was appointed to the Commission on June 4, 2013. Hostler-Carmesin has been chief executive officer at Cher Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria since 2010 and was director of transportation and land-use planning from 2007 to 2009. She was roads director at the Hoopa Tribal Roads Department from 2003 to 2007. Hostler-Carmesin served in multiple positions at the Redwood Empire Aggregates Inc. from 1990 to 2002, including payroll administrator and contract administrator.
Jacque was appointed to the National Ocean Council Governance Coordinating Committee by President Barack Obama in 2011 as one of three tribal representatives for the United States. She has been the primary California representative to the National Tribal Transportation Program since 2005 and vice chair since 2010. She has been a member of the CalTrans Native American Advisory Committee since 2006.
Term expiration: Her term on the Commission expired January 15, 2019; she can serve until a new appointment is made by the Governor.
Commissioner Russell Burns
Russell Burns, of Napa, was appointed to the Commission in May 2016. As a third-generation heavy-equipment operator, Burns grew up in the construction industry and successfully operated cranes on bridges, refineries, high-rises and treatment plants in Northern California. He currently manages the largest construction trades local in the country, Operating Engineers Local 3, and has served five terms since 2006 as its elected leader. Burns has also held several positions within the Local 3 organization since joining its staff in 1994.
Burns has held several state and transportation positions, including an appointment by Assemblymember Karen Bass to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board in 2009, a commitment he fulfilled until 2012.
He currently serves as the second General Vice President of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), and is a member of the California Labor Federation Executive Council, the California Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth Board of Directors and the Transportation California Board of Directors.
Burns is an avid outdoorsman and looks forward to relying on that perspective in participating in the Commission’s balanced decision making.
Burns graduated from the Harvard Trade Union Program in 2000 and was appointed to the Cal- OSHA Standards Board Subcommittee for the Certification of Crane Operators in 2001.
His term on the Commission expires January 15, 2022.
Commissioner Peter S. Silva
Peter S. Silva, of Jamul, was appointed to the Commission in May 2016, and reappointed in February 2018. Silva currently is President and CEO of Silva-Silva International, an engineering consulting firm specializing in water resources management. He brings over 40 years of professional experience in the water and wastewater fields, including expertise in US-Mexico trans-border water issues. As a licensed Professional Engineer (CA), he has worked in the public sector at the city, local, regional, state, federal and international levels of government. He was appointed by California Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger to the Water Resources Control Board, where he served for two terms as Vice-Chair. He has also received appointments from Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the latter being a Senate-confirmed position as EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water.
His term on the Commission expires January 15, 2024.
Commissioner Samantha Murray
Samantha Murray, of Del Mar, was appointed to the Commission in March 2019. Samantha is the Executive Director of the Master of Advanced Studies Program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, where she also teaches graduate courses, including Ocean Law and Policy. Samantha has nearly two decades of professional experience and has directed ocean and water programs at Ocean Conservancy, the Audubon Society and Oregon Environmental Council, in addition to founding a marine policy consulting business. She was appointed to and served on the Marine Protected Area Federal Advisory Committee (2014-2018), the West Coast Governors Alliance Ocean Data Portal Action Coordination Team (2012-2013) and various Marine Life Protection Act Initiative bodies (2007-2012). Samantha is the Vice President of the Board at San Diego Coastkeeper and formerly held board positions at Upstream Public Health (Portland, OR) and Citizens for East Shore Parks (Albany, CA). Samantha holds a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School, where she was awarded a Certificate in Natural Resources and Environmental Law. She is committed to diversity, inclusion and equitable impacts of public policy.
Samantha grew up in a small town in Minnesota on the Mississippi River. In her youth she fished from a modest boathouse built by her father, who also hunted for ducks, pheasants and deer. She continues to enjoy fishing as an adult, as well as any time spent outdoors or on the water.
Her term expires January 15, 2021.