Our Team

The Water LA team is made up of dedicated, passionate individuals hard at work to foster a grassroots movement by engaging and supporting homeowners to implement Urban Acupuncture strategies and shift governmental policy in Los Angeles to realize climate resiliency. Interested in joining our team? Contact Us and we’ll be in touch.

  • Melanie Winter

    Melanie WinterDirector - melanie@waterla.org

    Melanie Winter is the founder and director of The River Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing comprehensive watershed-based planning in Los Angeles.  She has been involved in water and land-use policy efforts for almost 20 years, serving on numerous local and statewide boards and advisory committees. Her role in WaterLA is to coordinate staff, relationships, and programs, push for policy change, write grants, provide technical review, and shape the program by leveraging her relationships to bring together NGOs, agencies and businesses to encourage communities and homeowners to retrofit their homes for resilience.

  • Johnathan Perisho

    Johnathan PerishoEnvironmental Designer - john@waterla.org

    Johnathan develops watershed-friendly plans and strategies for The River Project. His experience has focused on natural systems through a variety of projects including landscape design and installations, experimental strategy development, regional planning, research, and landscape management practices. He received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Ball State University, and his Masters of Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona. He loves being outside and experiencing the world, and has studied extensively abroad and across the United States. He also moonlights as a dog whisperer.

  • Shawn Scudder

    Shawn ScudderExecutive Assistant - shawn@waterla.org

    Shawn has been an integral member of The River Project since 2011. She brings with her a passion for water conservation and education. Before embarking on the road to environmental activism, Shawn worked in the entertainment industry where she honed her people skills as a commercial casting assistant, talent agent, production assistant and child wrangler. Her experience working with children has made her a natural and valued educator for The River Project's school program. In her free time, Shawn cultivates a beautiful organic vegetable and herb garden at her home in Lake Balboa while keeping up with her 2 rescue dogs "River" and "Lola".

  • Stephen Sper

    Stephen SperTechnical Guru - stephen@waterla.org

    Stephen is the technical guru for WaterLA, handling website development and technology operations in the office. His background in consulting for startups, NGOs, non-profits, as well as Fortune 500 companies has given him experience in all levels of development, from custom application development, marketing strategy and implementation, and online best-practices. Stephen spends most of the year in Guatemala, where he runs an NGO working with malnourished children, single-pregnant mothers, and the elderly, focusing on nutrition, education, and job creation through micro-businesses. Stephen is the biggest adventurer you'll ever meet -- a hiking and camping guide, motorcycle adventurer, and, if you have the time, the perfect guy to ask "what's the craziest thing that you've ever done?"

  • Victoria Gutierrez

    Victoria GutierrezProgram Staff - victoria@waterla.org

    Victoria grew up in southeast LA and Las Vegas. She has 15 years experience teaching, facilitating, caregiving, and community organizing, working with people ranging in age from kindergarten students to senior citizens. After completing her BA, Victoria moved to the Bay Area to work for a collectively owned and operated book publisher and distributor. During her time there she uncovered a passion for landwork, completing courses with the Indigenous Permaculture Project, the Traditional Native American Farmer’s Association, and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UCSC. She has taught in sustainable systems in Guatemala and interned with the Centre for Environmental Technology and Rural Development in Uganda.

  • Alison Pugash

    Alison PugashIntern

    Alison is a San Francisco native, currently completing her final semester at USC. In December she will graduate with a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Policy. She has worked for several environmental non-profits where she specialized in communications, outreach, and research. Along the way, she has developed a passion for sustainable urban design and green infrastructure. Last summer, she conducted research on water policy in the Netherlands. Alison loves all outdoor activities. She is an avid trail runner, mountain climber, and camper.

  • Kelly Ryan

    Kelly RyanCivic Spark Intern

    Born and raised in Redondo Beach, CA, Kelly recently graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in communications. She has interned with non-profits working on conservation, ocean protection and native plants, and is looking to expand on this experience through working with The River Project. Kelly hopes to one day work in local government and help make the City of LA a more sustainable place to live. In her time off, you can usually find her at the beach or running on the local trails and bike paths.

    KRyan@civicspark.lgc.org

  • Sayd Randle

    Sayd RandleResearcher - sayd@waterla.org

    Sayd Randle is an environmental anthropologist conducting fieldwork with the Water LA team. She holds a BA in English, an MPhil in geography, and an installer's certification from our partner non-profit Greywater Action. She likes trail running, environmental science fiction, swales, and listening to people talk about nature in Los Angeles.