Working Lands Investment Partners
With rules that are often complex and evolving, it is critical that investment managers be familiar with market architects, local and national agencies, and conservation organizations in order to close transactions in a timely and prudent manner. It is also important that investment managers can effectively model both the financial and the ecological performance of various project activities across different sites and land management options.
Working Lands' partners have been active in these markets for more than a decade, and have a keen understanding of the investment, land manager, and policy perspectives. Our collective experience allows us to effectively assess opportunities and challenges in market participation, and to be proactive and discerning in our investment decisions.
Deborah Spalding, CFA, Managing Partner
Portfolio and Risk Management, Project Valuation, Financial Modeling
Deborah has more than 17 years' experience in investment and portfolio management. She was most recently a Partner at Chaplin Global, LLC, an alternative asset management organization based in New York. Previously, she was Executive Director and Head of International Investments for Schroder Investment Management NA where she was lead portfolio manager of $6 billion in institutional client assets. Prior to this, she worked at Scudder Kemper Investments as Managing Director/Head of International Institutional Investments and lead portfolio manager for $10 billion in client assets. She began her career as a financial analyst at SKB & Associates responsible for the electric utilities, food, and building materials industries.
She holds a Master of Forestry from Yale University, a MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, a MTS from Harvard University, and a BA from Tufts University. She has served on several boards, including the National Wildlife Federation and the Guilford Land Conservation Trust, and is a trustee of the NWF Endowment and the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation, where she chairs the investment committee.
Dan Spethmann, PhD, Managing Partner
Deal Sourcing, Acquisition and Structure, Biophysical Modeling, Project Management Oversight
Dan has more than 30 years' experience in natural resource management. Most recently, he was Manager of Investment Programs for New Forests, Inc. where he helped to raise and place institutional and private capital into ecosystem markets. Prior to this, he led the Non Timber Resources Development effort at Temple-Inland, Inc. where he developed stream and wetlands mitigation instruments, working forest conservation easements, and endangered species credit programs. He was Founder and President of Strategic Controls Corporation which provided supervisory control and data acquisition systems for the natural gas industry. Prior to this, he served as Project Manager at Moncon, Inc. where he provided controls systems for hydroelectric facilities as well as the municipal water and wastewater industries.
He holds a PhD in Forest Economics from Stephen F. Austin State University, a MS in Forestry from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and a BS in Biology from the University of Wisconsin. He is an adjunct faculty member at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Strategy, Research and Business Development
Bradford S. Gentry, JD, Partner
Strategic Advisor, Policy, Conservation, and Market Development
Brad has more than 25 years' experience in private investment and the environment. His professional roles connect capital markets, academia, and conservation organizations. At Yale University, he is Director of the Center for Business and the Environment, as well as the Yale Program on Strategies for the Future of Conservation. He teaches graduate and executive courses on the law of markets, conservation finance and the emerging markets for ecosystem services. He is an advisor to GE’s office of corporate environmental programs, Baker & McKenzie’s international climate change and environmental practice group, the Secretariat to the UN Climate Change Convention, the UNDP, the World Bank, the OECD and other public and private organizations.
He chairs the board of the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies and is on the board of the Adirondack League Club. Prior to moving to Connecticut, he was an environmental deal lawyer in Boston, MA and London, UK. He holds a BA with distinction from Swarthmore College and a JD, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.
Brian Harris, Managing Director
Business Development and Client Relations
Brian has more than 25 years' experience in the investment management industry. He was most recently a Founding Partner of Sanderson Asset Management, a London based investment management firm where he was a Managing Director, Member of the Management Committee, and the sole marketing officer responsible for business development and client relations. The firm’s assets under management were $4.6 billion at the time of his departure. Prior to this, he worked at Scudder Kemper Investments as a Managing Director/Senior Institutional Marketer where he raised $10 billion in institutional mandates. Before this, he was the National Sales Director at Axe Core Investors.
He began his career at Pensions & Investments Magazine as Regional Sales Manager. He holds an MBA from Fordham University and a BA from the State University of New York.
Cliff Sunda, Resident Forester
Mr. Sunda joined Working Lands in 2008 after working as a consulting forester and wildland firefighter across the United States. He specializes in many aspects of natural resource management including resource assessment and planning, remote sensing, growth and yield modeling, and carbon accounting. He is a member of the Society of American Foresters and holds a BSF in Forest Management from Stephen F. Austin State University. He is currently a Master of Forestry candidate at SFA where he is specializing in land use economics and spatial science.
Dominick Grant, Investment Associate
Dominick joined Working Lands in 2012 to strengthen our capability in financial modeling, due diligence, and investment and market analysis. Dominick has broad experience across environmental credit markets through his work in research, modeling, and due diligence at the Sustainable Resource Fund, Environmental Banc and Exchange, and as a Fellow at the USDA Office of Environmental Markets. He holds an MBA, a Masters of Environmental Management, and a BA from Yale University.
Larry Dixon, Partner and Investor
Larry founded Dixon Services, Inc. (DSI), which specializes in professional land services and pipeline engineering and management for the oil, gas and utility industries across Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma, in 1985. He has a staff of over 150 land professionals, pipeline project managers, engineers, and surveyors.
DSI provides the following services: mineral and surface title examination, title curative, due diligence for buyers and sellers of oil and gas properties, right-of-way acquisition, oil and gas leasing, pipeline design, pipeline construction management, and surveying. He has worked in the wetland mitigation market since 1990 through the procurement of mitigation acres to offset wetlands used in the oil, gas and utility development.
He holds a BBA from The University of Texas at Austin, and is a Certified Professional Landman.
Scott O. Shaver, Partner and Investor
Scott is the Managing Partner and Exploration Manager of Barrow-Shaver Resources Co., and serves as the primary decision-maker and manager of operations. He also has ownership in other companies within the oil, gas, and real estate industries.
Barrow-Shaver was founded in 1989 as an independent oil and gas company focused on the exploration, drilling, producing and marketing of assets in East Texas. Prior to this, he was a Director, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer of Locklin Oil Company where he was responsible for prospect origination, acquisition, marketing, drilling and completion, and oversaw several dozen exploration projects to completion, including several field extensions and development wells.
He began his career at Locklin in 1981 as an Exploration Geologist. Before this, he was a Field and Operations Geologist with Jones Company in Albany, TX. Scott has a BS in Geology from Texas Tech University, with minors in Geophysics, Physics and Mathematics.
Preston Smith, Partner and Investor
Preston is founder of PSI Production, Inc., which specializes in the generation and development of high potential oil and gas opportunities in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The company’s principal activities include properties acquisition, non-operated working interest purchases, and wildcat exploration. Prior to this, he was President of Smith & Matthews Drilling, Inc., which he sold in 1985 to found PSI Production, Inc.
Preston began his career as a field engineer with Welex, where he was instrumental in developing Halliburton’s first “DLS” (Digital Logging System) and implementing it throughout Mexico and the Texas Gulf Coast. Preston is currently Chairman of the Board at Trinity Mother Frances Health System, a Board Member of the Southside Bank of Tyler (NASDAQ:SBSI), and is currently President of the East Texas State Fair Association. He is also a past President of the Board of Trustees for All Saints Episcopal School of Tyler, TX. He is a graduate of the McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN and received a Bachelor of Engineering from Vanderbilt University.