Danny Wright – Executive Director, Founder
In 2011, while traveling through Central America, Danny Wright came up with an idea on how to create an affordable, sustainable, long-lasting, and energy-free way to provide clean and safe access to drinking water; it combined rainwater catchment, storage, and gravity-powered filtration, which could be used in any country that received significant rainfall and had basic access to standard materials. After completing his studies in 2014, he decided to embark on a path less taken and began traveling to gain a better understanding of the Global Water Crisis and people’s relationship with water throughout different cultures. This led him to Nepal, where he turned his concept into reality, creating the Nation’s first energy-independent water filtration and storage system. In turn, Gravity Water was formed, creating the space for passionate individuals to get involved in creating a long-term solution to the Global Water Crisis for thousands of communities in need.
Danny Wright has been developing his skill-set and experience in working with developing communities, water health, and non-profit management throughout the last ten years. He initially received his Environmental Studies, B.A., from the University of Santa Barbara, California, where he concentrated on climate change, ecology, and community-based conservation. Following his studies in Santa Barbara, Danny completed his Coastal and Watershed Science and Policy M.Sc. at the California State University, Monterey Bay, where he focused on watershed science, water quality, and international water management, attending supplemental courses at Monterey Institute of International Studies. Danny gained his experience outside the education sector through extensive travel in developing nations, helping develop an environmental education non-profit (SproutUp) in Santa Cruz, and creating and managing the largest and most extensive community-based coastal water quality monitoring program within the U.S., through his work with the non-profit organization, Surfrider Foundation.
Duyen (Jane) Nguyen – National Director, Vietnam
Jane was born in the countryside, south of Hanoi, Vietnam. Growing up, Jane worked with her mom on their family farm, growing rice, vegetables, and livestock. As Jane got older, she believed the best way to create a better life for her and her family was to study, where she attended the University of Hanoi and studied Business, English, and Chinese.
After her studies, Jane began her work in ecotourism, allowing her to travel around Vietnam, which showed Jane that many places and communities in her country were in great need of help. This inspired Jane to join the Gravity Water team in 2018, serving as the National Director for the country, helping organize projects and maintain communication with all the schools that Gravity Water works with. Jane believes as a Vietnamese woman, she can work hard, support her family, teach children, and inspire all Vietnamese women to know they can make a difference in their country.
Samundra Giri – National Director, Nepal
Samundra was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal. When the earthquakes of 2015 hit Nepal, Samundra immediately started dedicating his time to building temporary houses and providing food to the earthquake victims in Shindhupalchok, Nepal. Additionally, he worked with local NGO’s helping build schools in the impacted areas of Nuwakot and Shindhupalchok. He’s inspired by work that helps communities and their environment. After meeting Danny in Nepal in 2017, Samundra enthusiastically partnered up with him to help him build the Gravity Water project in multiple locations and proved to be a dedicated, passionate, and very reliable aid. Sharing the vision of Gravity Water, Samundra is inspired to help the Organization develop within his Country, with the goal of providing clean water to thousands of people in need over the coming years
Tyler Hubbell – Assistant Director
Tyler is an outdoor enthusiast and avid waterman. He developed his love for fresh water at a young age while backpacking in the alpine Sierras, drinking from high mountain springs and snowmelt. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a double major in marine biology and environmental studies among several extra curriculars. While living in Santa Cruz he founded and directed the regional chapter of Sprout Up, a non-profit dedicated to teaching environmental science and sustainability to elementary school students and also helped found Oceanseed Project, an organization that brings experiential marine based curriculum to incarcerated youth in Santa Cruz County. More recently, he worked as a marine naturalist for Pacific Whale Foundation in Maui. Tyler is excited to focus his time, energy and expertise to Gravity Water’s mission of enhancing access to clean water infrastructure in communities throughout the world.
Mark Harrington – Director of Operations, Asia
Mark developed an appreciation for water at an early age, having been raised in and around the ocean surfing in Southern California. Later, travel throughout Central America and Asia gave him first hand exposure to the importance of fresh water resources and sanitation infrastructure. Further, the opportunity to interface directly with local communities inspired his sense of environmental and humanitarian stewardship. He combined this with an interest in technical problem solving to pursue a career building solutions to solve global water challenges. After earning his BS in Chemical Engineering from UCLA, he managed the field operations of a water technology startup based in California. This experience enhanced his appreciation for elegant and simple engineered projects. Mark believes that Gravity Water’s robust and community owned solutions will play an important role in solving global water issues. He is excited to work with Gravity Water and apply his experiences to grow operations and maximize impact in Asia.
Genevie Ramirez – Director of Media and Global Outreach
Originally from the Bay Area, Genevie is an adventure seeking individual with an optimistic view on life. Genevie pursued her interests in society and global issues by attending the University of California, Santa Barbara where she graduated with a B.A. in Sociology and gained experience in Brand, Marketing, and Management positions. Following her studies in Santa Barbara, Genevie set off to teach English as a foreign language to unprivileged youth in Hanoi, Vietnam, which resulted in her helping establish a start-up English school serving over 100 students. During her year-long trip teaching and backpacking, Genevie experienced and witnessed the lack of resources to sustain healthy living conditions, which motivated her to become more involved with global crises and to do more for the less fortunate. Genevie’s role at Gravity Water gives her the opportunity to use her voice, one that people in developing countries may not have, to communicate to the public that safe drinking water should not be an inaccessible privilege, but rather a fundamental human right that needs to be brought to light.
Anders Cochran – Special Events Director
Anders Cochran is a highly energetic and motivated entrepreneur from Santa Cruz, California. Anders works closely with Swanton Berry Farm, a leading social enterprise that set the standard for ethical farming. He coordinates community events for the farm as well as a market vendor at local farmers markets. Anders’ entrepreneurial spirit exudes from his development and management of his own surf school, “Academy Surf Lessons Santa Cruz”. Starting from scratch, Anders grew his surf school into a successful business venture and remains consistent with his passion for local business and community. In between all of this work, Anders is passionate about the outdoors and enjoys activities like surfing and hiking, and at night he plays drums for a rock n roll band! Anders is excited to utilize his many skills to help Gravity Water provide clean drinking water to people around the World, while creating lasting relationships with the communities that need it most.
Kai Johnson – Design and Marketing Director
As the marketing and design director for Gravity Water, Kai loves pushing creative boundaries and occasionally right justifying. In her role, she works with the team to develop Gravity Water’s multimedia and brand image, while also assisting in directing marketing approaches. Kai earned her B.S. from Cal Poly, SLO, in Urban Design, with a minor in Sustainable Development. Traveling throughout Nepal and Vietnam, she has witnessed first-hand the impacts of clean water scarcity. Having a young child run up to the team in Nepal to ask for water was a pivotal moment in Kai’s career, leading her to this role where she blends her passion for sustainable development and human rights with her love for design. Based in San Luis Obispo, Ca, when she’s not working in Adobe suite, you’ll find her surfing, traveling, shooting film, and occasionally coding. Kai is excited to utilize her passion and skills in marketing and graphic design to grow Gravity Water’s impact, or in her words, she’s stoked.
Scott Webb – Director of Youth Empowerment
Scott grew up in Sonoma County where he developed a love for wilderness, particularly anything to do with water. Pursuing his interests, Scott graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Hydrological Sciences with a Policy emphasis. At his time in Isla Vista, Scott was the Vice President and Head of External Affairs for the Isla Vista Surfrider Chapter where he helped initiate the revitalization of their Blue Water Task Force Campaign, a program responsible for collecting water quality data at the more frequent surf spots in Isla Vista. He also worked for the Goleta Water District where he focused on setting up the lead in school water testing program. Recently, Scott has worked as a Naturalist for the Point Reyes National Seashore Association where he taught environmental education and wilderness connection to youths from a variety of back rounds. Scott’s passion for increasing access to clean water came from backpacking through Indonesia. He made very close friends with some local people his age and learned many of their systematic environmental and human health-related problems stemmed from the fact that many did not have access to clean water outside of plastic water bottles. Scott is an incredibly passionate and tenacious individual who is dedicated to accomplishing Gravity Water’s mission of ending the global water crisis.
Emily Bruni – Director of Communications
Emily seeks human connection, adventure, and insight everywhere she goes. She is originally from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and spent several years in Vermont earning her B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish. Emily has worn many hats, from canvassing environmental issues door to door in Vermont to studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina to volunteering as a hostel ambassador in Barcelona, Spain. Her diverse experiences revealed a unifying language that cuts across societal constructs—compassion. Emily had the opportunity to volunteer with a nonprofit installing biowater filters in Trojes, Honduras. This experience reinforced her ideas that kindness and empathy can transcend cultural barriers. It also renewed her sense of how vital it is to know about the quality of local resources and to find sustainable solutions for public health. Emily has now landed in Santa Cruz, CA, where she is thrilled to fit her unique puzzle piece into Gravity Water’s mission, digging down to the roots of human rights and engaging communities in the value of their natural resources.
Ryland King – Board Chair
Ryland is a Forbes top 12 do-good entrepreneur under 25. His work, founding the nonprofit Sprout Up, has been recognized by the Clinton Global
Initiative, VH1’s Do Something Awards and Chase American Giving Awards. Since Gravity Water’s inception in 2016, Ryland has assisted in the professional growth, strategic planning, and long-term vision of Gravity Water, helping the Organization provide over 10,000 children with safe drinking water around the world within the first three years of operations.
Joanne Hale has more than 50 years of experience in international development assistance programs, including more than 30 years of full-time residency in Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific. This has included work for the Peace Corps, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Context Network, and Chemonics. The focus of her work included agriculture, water resource management, health, literacy, business development, education, conflict mitigation, and natural resource management. Currently, Joanne Hale is teaching at Santa Clara University in the Leavey School of Business and serving on the Board of Directors for Context Global Development.
Khunapong Khunaraksa is a Water Leader, Asia Pacific Expert, and International Storyteller. Khunapong is currently leading consultant helping global water startups expand across Southeast Asia. His water journey started over a decade ago when he completed his Master’s Degree in Water Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Previously, Khunapong was a Southeast Asia Portfolio Manager for Water.org leading the development of Water.org’s first-ever water utility program. Over 150k Cambodians, Indonesians, and Filipinos have been empowered with access to clean water through this program in just two years. Prior to Water.org, Khunapong worked for TEAM GROUP, a Thai engineering and management consulting outfit. He helped to spearhead the company’s successful expansion into Myanmar. His passion for the Asia Pacific region stems from his childhood upbringing in Sydney and Bangkok. Khunapong loves sharing his professional and personal stories on stages around the world.
Pallavi has over 15 years of experience in research, capacity building, organizational development, prospects’ and grants’ research and management, project and program advancement, relationship building, and policy advocacy for mainstreaming environmental, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and sustainability initiatives in urban, peri-urban and rural areas in India, Indian subcontinent and Global South. She has worked with reputed national and international universities, governments, multi and bi-lateral agencies, nonprofit organizations, grant-makers and consultancies worldwide. She is a regular contributor to Engineering for Change’s blog, USAID GlobalWater’s Water Current blog, and actively manages UNICEF HQ’s envirogrants blog (pro-bono) that she create and launched in 2011.
David T. Ives
David is a 2016 Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Emmy Award winner, who has spent the majority of his professional career working in the field of leadership, health, and humanitarian aid, including involvement in the Peace Corps, Rotary International, and multiple organizations that focus on the betterment of life for individuals around the world. Currently Mr. Ives serves as the Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, Quinnipiac University, which is dedicated to the promotion of the values and ideas of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer on an international basis. After seeing the impact that lack of access to clean water has first hand through his work in Latin America, David is passionate and inspired to help Gravity Water grow its unique approach and impact to clean drinking water around the world.
Ulrike is an Impact Advisor with a mission to drive more sustainable investments and a passion to support entrepreneurs with their impact projects and businesses. She has spent 7 years in India as Director of a Market Entry Consultancy for European SMEs, served several years as Management Consultant in Europe with Accenture and is now fully dedicating her professional life to projects in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She is the Founder of the Global Impact Alliance and advocates for a more conscious economic system at the annual World Economic Forum. As a former competitive swimmer, Ulrike loves water and is excited to support Gravity Water on its global expansion and impact path.