FIERCE Leadership Team

Dr. Tara Hudiburg

Project Director

Dr. Hudiburg is an Associate Professor in the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho. She is an internationally recognized expert in climate and carbon cycle science and the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers – the highest honor awarded to early career scientists from the White House. Dr. Hudiburg is the director of the University of Idaho Institute for Innovative Climate Solutions (ICS) and the principal investigator of over $4 million in competitive grant funding.

Dr. Eric Walsh

Eric Walsh is the Climate Smart Land Network (CSLN) Program Director at Manomet, Inc. and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Idaho. Before working for Manomet, he was a Climate Change Specialist with the Nez Perce Tribe addressing climate change vulnerabilities, specifically focusing on developing pathways towards climate-smart agriculture adoption. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Idaho, researching the interactive effects of climate change and forest management on carbon cycling and species niche responses in the Northern Rockies. In addition to research, he was a business coach for E-Myth and started, grew, and sold a business.  

Dr. Kristina Bartowitz

Kristina Bartowitz, PhD is a Senior Manager of Forest Carbon Analysis at American Forests. She has over a decade of experience working in western U.S. forests, with expertise in climate, wildfire, and management impacts on forest dynamics and carbon cycling. She currently helps lead forest modeling projects and assessments of management impacts on forest carbon in the Columbia River Basin.  

Richard French, CEO

Rich’s background is as an entrepreneur who specializes in organizational leadership, strategic planning, and project management, but his passion is bringing communities together.  Previously to this position at One Palouse, Rich was the President, CEO and Board Chair for an environmental remediation and nuclear construction company, responsible for $15 Million annual revenue and over 100 employees. He is a problem solver, communicator, and champion for organizational effectiveness. Rich has seen firsthand the challenges small businesses face, and how with community support, these hurdles can be reduced or eliminated. He graduated university in the Palouse, and is returning to the area after living in the Tri-Cities to bring his knowledge and expertise to the region 

Dr. Laura Laumatia

Laura is the Environmental Programs Manager for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, and oversees climate resilience and adaptation planning, air quality, environmental health, wetlands restoration, brownfields, and pesticide regulatory enforcement. She also teaches Tribal Sovereignty for the University of Idaho American Indian Studies Program. Laura’s Ph.D research focused on impacts of settler colonialism on water governance. She has a M.S. in Bioregional Planning, and a B.S. in Animal Science. Laura has worked on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation since 2004, after working eight years in Samoa and American Samoa in agriculture and community development. 

Dr. Winslow Hansen

Winslow is Director of the Western Fire and Forest Resilience Collaborative, a multi-year initiative funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. He is also a forest ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and affiliate faculty with E3B at Columbia University and IARC at University of Alaska Fairbanks. His research is focused on advancing knowledge of the changing Earth system by uncovering rules that govern interactions and feedbacks among forests, disturbances, and climate. He received his Ph.D. in integrative biology from the University of Wisconsin and holds a M.Sc. in Forest Science from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and bachelor’s degrees in ecology and economics from the University of Montana.  

Dr. Michaele Armstrong

Michaele Armstrong, PhD, MBA is the Associate Director of SP3NW, Washington State University’s business incubator. Her molecular oncology bench and clinical research background pivoted to technology transfer and startup support while performing MBA consulting projects for Fortune 500 companies. Currently, she cultivates growth in the bioscience industry across Northwest by working with life science startups and engaging ecosystem partners in developing novel programs and organizations for impact focused outcomes. These include SP3NW, Evergreen Bioscience Innovation Cluster and FIERCE – NSF Regional Innovation Engine.  

Stefanie Krantz

Stefanie Krantz is the Climate Change Coordinator for the Nez Perce Tribe. Her background includes working for public, private, and non-profit entities conducting scientific research and planning for climate-smart land management.

Parker Mullins

Parker is the Program Director for Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Clean Energy – Bright Futures program. He provides strategic direction to its dynamic managers. He works daily with national partners in industry and educational spaces to develop two-way relationships between these spaces that encourage equity-driven energy education that leverages local resources and challenges. Parker has over a decade of experience working in varying educational environments, from being a high school classroom teacher to working in dual-diagnosis residential treatment for adolescents. He has also worked and volunteered in watershed restoration, a focus in his own education. climate-smart management practices.

George Tanner

George Tanner is Senior Entrepreneurship faculty, Director of Entrepreneurship, and brings unmistakable energy to entrepreneurship in Idaho. He leads student and faculty teams, mentors startup programs at other universities, and helps develop startups across Idaho. Tanner has positioned UI as an entrepreneurial player, helping students win $1.25 million in seed capital and spinning out a number of Idaho startups.  Tanner serves on startup competitions boards, positioned the Idaho Pitch as a premium startup vehicle, and has deep ties into the angel and VC sectors. As Co-PI, he teaches and mentors in UI’s I-Corps, a significant resource for FIERCE.