ACRCD Board of Directors

Laura Mercier
Laura MercierPresident, Board of Directors

Laura became the Executive Director for Tri-Valley Conservancy (TVC) in 2011, after having held several roles at TVC since 2002. Prior to joining TVC, she worked 15 years as a Project Manager / Engineer for Boeing in Long Beach, CA. She also consulted as a Project Manager for a wide range of companies including Environmental Education for Kids, Culldez Product Development, and Thermal Press International. In 1998, Laura moved back to Livermore to be closer to family. As Executive Director for TVC, Laura understands what it takes to run all aspects of an organization preserving open space and agriculture land. Laura is excited to assist and support ACRCD to be a strong organization that maintains viable partnerships with the NRCS as well as other public agencies, private landowners and other organizations.

Darrel Sweet
Darrel SweetVice President, Board of Directors

Darrel is a fifth generation California landowner and rancher, who is involved with numerous conservation and rangeland management organizations. In addition to serving as a Resource Conservation District Director for 19 years, Darrel is also the past President of the Alameda County Agricultural Advisory Committee, The California Rangeland Trust, the California Cattlemen’s Association, and the Contra Costa—Alameda County Cattlemen’s Association. Currently serving as Vice President, Darrel has been an active member of the ACRCD board since 2011. He also served on the board from 1980-2001.

Dan Sachau
Dan SachauTreasurer, Board of Directors

A lifelong resident of the Livermore valley, Dan has spent many years managing land in Alameda County. After receiving his B.S. from Cal Poly, San Louis Obispo in 1976, Dan returned to Livermore to work as a Construction Manager for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). In addition to his 30-year career at LLNL, Dan has been an avid cattle rancher and vineyard owner in the region for many years. Dan has served as the Treasurer since 2012, and in addition to these duties, serves as a member of both the Executive Committee and Finance Committee.

Marilyn Russell
Marilyn RussellMember, Board of Directors

Marilyn is a third generation rancher, now managing her family’s 5,000 acre ranch in Mendocino County. A retired biology teacher, Marilyn taught Livermore HS students about native flora and fauna for over 30 years. Marilyn is an avid equestrian, competing in long distance endurance rides, participating in Historic Trails rides, and currently active as the Vice President of the Tri-Valley Trailblazers. Currently, Marilyn is very involved with the Friends of Tesla Park. A member of the CA Rangeland Trust, Mendocino County Farm Bureau, and CA Rangeland Conservation Coalition, Marilyn is extremely active in ranching and conservation organizations in Alameda County, and throughout California.

Mark Connolly
Mark ConnollyMember, Board of Directors

Mark Connolly is President of Connolly Ranch Inc., a cow/calf operation located in San Joaquin and Alameda Counties. The Connolly Ranch is a member of the CA Cattlemen’s Association, the American Grass-Fed Association, the CA Farm Bureau and the San Joaquin Farm Bureau. Mark served three terms (13 years) on Tracy Joint Union School District Board of Trustees and is a Director of the CALFAUNA Foundation. Mark also has a civil litigation practice in Tracy and is a graduate of the University of Santa Clara, School of Law, 1982. Mark is a member of the CA Bar Association.

Niki Wente
Niki WenteMember, Board of Directors

Niki Wente manages the vineyards for Wente Family Estates in both the Livermore Valley and Arroyo Seco, Monterey. As the Viticulture Supervisor, Niki works to promote healthy soils and happy vines while running a sustainable operation. Niki studied Viticulture and Enology at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After graduation in 2014, she worked in San Francisco and then in the North Coast wine region before joining the family business in 2017.

Bill Hoppes
Bill HoppesMember, Board of Directors

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Bill’s education and career have taken him across the United States and back again. Upon completing his M.S. in Environmental Biology at CSU Hayward, he worked as an Environmental Scientist (ES) for the El Paso Natural Gas Company. After earning his PhD from U.I. Urbana-Champaign, he served on the faculty at SUNY, Plattsburgh, was executive director of a non-profit in the D.C. area, and served as an Environmental Scientist with the EPA. Bill joined LLNL in 1991, first as an Environmental Scientist and later as a Water Guidance and Monitoring Group Leader. Since retiring, he has transitioned to supporting conservation through volunteer roles with the Tri-Valley Conservancy, Ohlone Audubon and the ACRCD.