Our Board of Directors

 
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Bryan Deans
President & Founder

Bryan is the founder of the Oglala Lakota Cultural & Economic Revitalization Initiative (OLCERI) and host of the Indigenous Wisdom & Permaculture Skills Convergence (IWPSC), on his permaculture demonstration site. He was born on Pine Ridge reservation and has to be an incredible community resource for over 20 years. Bryan is skilled in permaculture design, integrating these teachings with his understanding of the Lakota ways, and a great communicator and teacher. He has worked as a project manager, in local government, an aerospace mechanic and engineer, welding teacher, and permaculture designer.

He has envisioned, designed, and built all of the infrastructure and programs on the OLCERI homestead. Including wind and solar clean energy system, a farmer-rancher educational program for local people, wild horse rescue program, bio-diesel production, a sawmill for local lumber, and community garden that currently produces hundreds of pounds of food. OLCERI's latest projects are an Earthship-style rammed earth tire building that will house the Indigenous Wisdom Center, a Lakota language school and cultural preservation center. With his work with OLCERI Bryan has also designed the methodology for Food Distribution Network to supply fresh foods to people throughout Pine Ridge.

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Aaron Hockman
Vice President

Aaron is an anthropologist and permaculture teacher.  I am interested in regenerative design, social permaculture, soil building, water harvesting, and natural building. I worked as an archaeologist and project manager in the Cultural Resource Management (CRM) field for over 15 years and also received an MA in Cultural Anthropology in 2011, writing an ethnography regarding emotional labor among Mexican-American Border Patrol agents. 

I was trained in permaculture design in Tampa, FL and continued my education in Costa Rica where I now live with my wife and son. Since earning my PDC I have worked with Grow Permaculture (Tampa, FL), El Paso Permaculture (El Paso, TX / Las Cruces, NM), OLCERI (Pine Ridge, SD), and with the Monteverde Permaculture Collective (Monteverde, Costa Rica) on various permaculture, organic farming, social permaculture, and natural building projects. Some of the more notable projects include community-based endeavors such as the Roosevelt 2.0 in Ybor City, FL; the Oglala Lakota Cultural and Economic Revitalization Initiative (OLCERI) in Pine Ridge, SD; La Union Ecospirit Fest with El Paso Permaculture; the Indigenous Wisdom and Permaculture Skills Convergence, and projects ongoing social permaculture projects in Costa Rica. These experiences have allowed me to work with diverse groups of people in organizing workshops, community projects, Permaculture Design Courses, and festivals in the United States and abroad. 

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Tahera Hamdani
Secretary

My name is Tahera Hamdani. My vision is for us, as humanity, to evolve from the current industrial growth society, based on extraction and exploitation of natural resources, to a life-sustaining society based on regenerative agricultural and industrial processes, one which is more in harmony with the elements and of all our human brothers and sisters.  

 I am an Indian citizen, raised as an expat in the UAE. I completed my undergrad in Computing and Communication Systems Engineering at the University of Manchester, in the UK. Post University, I moved to NYC and spent the last 13 years of my professional life practicing management consultancy, strategic planning and large change management for Financial Services firms.  Following some deep inner work, I chose to opt out of the corporate world to pursue my aspirations of building regenerative communities and food systems. Having always lived in countries other than the one I was born in, my sense of home is largely driven by the land I live on and the communities I am a part of.

 My recent knowledge and experience have been in the space of permaculture, agroecology, and regenerative practices,  all of which offer very practical technologies for transformative innovation, based on the narrative of ‘oneness’ as opposed to ‘separation’.  I have worked on grassroots projects around food justice, food security and food access. I completed my Permaculture Design Certification in 2016, and have since studied and practiced permaculture in the bioregions of the Russian River Valley in Northern California, the Costa Rican jungle on the Pacific Coast, the prairie Badlands of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the agricultural fields in the foothills of the Himalaya in Northern India and the high Deccan plateau of central-southern India.

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Brett Burton
Treasurer

Brett Burton is a traveler, event organizer, lover of nature, business development consultant and “digital nomad”. He graduated from the Isenberg School of Management in 2011 with a BBA focused in Operations Management. 

Brett began his career working with a building materials supplier in inventory and logistics. Here he was able to directly apply his formal training to a multi-state operation. Yet, he could not help but observe the scale of the negative environmental impacts of the modern building industry. This led Brett to seek “greener” pastures and take up a new track in software & technology sales, where he worked as a sales rep directly reporting to executives in Healthcare, Higher Education, and Corporate Human Resources. These years of experience provided the foundation for Brett’s understanding of business development systems, but with reports of climate change and systemic injustices becoming more and more prevalent, he decided to shift his path again and to use these skills and experiences in a more purpose-driven way. 

In the years that followed, Brett co-founded a music collective that produced over 70 concerts and events, cultivated a community centered around art and music, and forged a successful partnership with Live Nation. During this time he also managed a team in field marketing for one of the then-largest solar and energy efficient housing companies in Massachusetts. 

After these years, Brett combined his skills and experiences to develop freelance consulting service which allowed him to lead a nomadic lifestyle while pursuing his interests in music, permaculture, and regenerative design. He has helped to serve entrepreneurs and small businesses working in childcare and after-school enrichment, cryptocurrency and blockchain, and nutrition and wellness. 

After attending the 2017 IWPS Convergence, Bryan invited Brett to join the board to help with finance and operations organization.