Texas Campaign for the Environment: Staff Spotlight

Angie Briles, Office Manager (D/FW), grew up in West Texas and graduated from the Art Institute of Dallas in 2002 with a degree in graphic design. With a strong desire to serve and help the underdog, Angie joined TCE as a community organizer in the spring of 2012. Her commitment to environmental and social justice is rooted in the belief that a healthy ecosystem creates a healthy humanity.

Virginia Fugman, Staff Director (D/FW), began working with TCE in Central Texas after graduating from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 2006. She helped found the TCE Houston office as its Staff Director in 2008, and became the Staff Director for our D/FW office in 2012. Virginia believes that while there are many important issues well worth building public support for, none are as pressing as the air we breathe, water we drink and food we eat. On the weekends you will find Virginia riding her bike, going to the dog park and cooking brunch.

Zac Trahan, Program Director (D/FW), was home schooled as a child in the hill country outside Austin. His deep connection with and respect for the natural world has only strengthened since joining TCE in the fall of 2002. Zac has worked in all three TCE offices and was the Houston Program Director from 2008-2011. He believes our common problems call for collaborative solutions and that protecting our future means protecting our shared surroundings.

Lani Ogle, Administrative Director (Austin), began working for TCE while on summer break from the University of Texas in 2003, and quickly developed an ardor for grassroots organizing. After leaving activism to complete a sociology degree, Lani serendipitously returned to TCE in May of 2007. A lifelong resident of the Austin area, she is passionate about preserving Central Texas’ unique character and quality of life, and to that end believes organizing one’s neighbors about issues that matter is indispensable.

Alex Christiansen, Office Manager (Austin), is originally a native of Portland, OR though he now calls Texas his second home. After graduating from the University of North Texas with a degree in English Literature and Sociology, Alex came to work for TCE Austin as our Office Manager in February 2011. Growing up in the rich greenery of the Beaver State triggered a deep connection to our natural surroundings and the importance for its survival. He will continue to promote education and awareness to fellow Texans in order to keep our area clean and beautiful for many generations to come.

Andrew Dobbs, Program Director (Austin), has been involved in Texas politics since reaching the University of Texas in 2002. He was with TCE briefly in 2006 and continuously since 2010. Known as "Dobbs" to his friends, he is a passionate advocate for the people’s voice in the public policy process and has helped with electoral campaigns ranging from student government to Presidential candidates. He is now committed to non-partisan efforts to organize grassroots pressure on all elected officials. Dobbs lives in Southeast Austin where he spends his free time reading and listening to the radio.

Jeffrey Jacoby, Staff Director (Austin), began his career with TCE in 2004 and directed our D/FW office from 2005-2011 before taking on the Central Texas office in 2012. After obtaining a Master of Arts from the University of Maryland and living in Washington, D.C. for three years, Jeff found TCE when he returned to his native Texas. Jeff believes that change begins at home, one person at a time. His commitment to grassroots democracy and environmental advocacy stems from a strong desire to transform the mindset of a culture bent on harming the very source of its sustenance.

renee vaughnRenee Vaughan, Associate Staff Director (Austin), spent many weeks of her childhood in the Gila National Forest with her family, and so has a deep appreciation for the world’s places of natural beauty. Her hobby is urban and landscape photography. A graduate of the University of North Texas, she began organizing with TCE in August of 2004. Renee is passionate about empowering people to lead their leaders toward more just social and environmental policies, and views the grassroots canvass as a crucial political tool in making real change.

Suzan Zaghmouth, Office Manager (Houston), is a lifelong resident of Houston and a first generation Lebanese-American. She currently attends the University of Houston with a focus in photography and digital media. Suzan began her career in activism with TCE in 2009 as a community organizer and is now our office manager. She is passionate about environmental and social justice because it is our responsibility to protect and preserve our planet in order to ensure our right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy way of life.

Tyson Sowell, Program Director (Houston), grew up in the Austin area before completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Texas Tech University and his Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois in Environmental Studies. Tyson joined TCE in 2010 as a community organizer and policy intern. He believes in the power of individuals to affect change and that democracy only works when we work at it. He is passionate about social and environmental justice and working to ensure humanity a future.

Brian Kane, Staff Director (Houston), began his career in environmental activism in New York in 2006, working on point-source mercury contamination in the Adirondacks’ waterways. He joined TCE in July of 2011 as a grassroots community organizer. Brian is passionate about teaching people how to leverage their collective power. He believes that the intersection of feminism and deep ecology is the point from which activists can most effectively address systemic environmental health problems.