Meet Our Team

Innovators in environmental, social, economic, and technology-based solutions.

Leaders and Founders

Spades leads a virtual, outsourced implementation model with its own globally experienced team.

Developing Economies: Our leadership, including the CEO, Chief People Officer (CPO), Lead Scientist, and VP of Strategic Partnerships/Legal have, in the aggregate, experience in more than 50 nations with value-chains, forestry, and agriculture, land-rights, finance, contracts, culture, smallholders, government relationships, and much more.

Afforestation: Our Lead Scientist is globally recognized and has worked in more than 30 countries.

Project Management: Spades’ CEO, CFO, and CPO have decades of experience managing international projects. The CEO was on a top-five team managing post-9/11 New York World Trade Center cleanup.

Finance: The Chair, CEO, Head of Development, CFO, and VP of Legal have significant institutional experience, including large global operations managing hundreds of $billions in top ten firms. International responsibilities and successful track records incorporate institutional and retail investment management and sales, fund launches, ESG leadership, investment solutions, environmental donor funds and initiatives, public finance securities, international board experience, smallholder agricultural microfinance, and financial operational management in more than 80 countries.

Raymond (Ray) Menard

Chief Executive Officer, Founder

Ray brings worldwide C-suite leadership experience across multiple industries, countries, and cultures, including direct engagement with smallholder farmers in Africa. He casts the climate change mitigation company’s mission and vision, leads the development of breakthrough solutions to plant trees at massive scale, and oversees all facets of the business.

He has led dozens of company and product launches, plus turnarounds, mergers, and acquisitions. His national leadership in monitoring and tracking solutions led to his selection to help lead the cleanup of the World Trade Center disaster in New York City. His work in Geographic Information Systems includes developing large enterprise-scale monitoring solutions for such services. He holds more than 20 patents in several different technology areas.

Ray explains his story: “I asked myself, ‘Since trees are the most direct and least expensive way to address climate change, why isn’t anyone planting them at scale?’ Big scale – tens of billions every year! That is needed, but unfortunately, only a handful of growers plant over one million per year. “I gathered a team to identify the obstacles. Solving them became our company roadmap. 

 

“In short, afforestation needs to be investable to scale. Reliable outcomes require reliable tree survival. From the outset, we knew survival was complex, involving environmental, economic, and social challenges. Now we are breaking through the challenges to get trees planted at scale, something we desperately need.”

Ray Menard

Chief Executive Officer, Founder

Ray, Spades’ founder and CEO, is developing the world’s largest afforestation projects. They are backed by the company’s:

  • Ecofit™: An innovative new biotechnology that improves tree species selection and survival rates.
  • Terrazone™: A landscape integration model that brings together habitats, plantations, agriculture, and waterscapes for mutual benefit.
  • Topodox™: Site monitoring software for forest development and maintenance.
  • Balanced Finance: A financial model that maximizes afforestation returns for both investors and landowners.

He is an international social entrepreneur, impact investor, inventor, and business model innovator. Based on his experience across diverse industries, cultures, and economies, he helps stakeholders see challenges as opportunities, then he inspirationally builds resolve by retelling the company’s mission and showing how it can be established and quickly scaled. He has led multiple startups, new divisions and products, turnarounds, M&As, and fundraising rounds. He holds more than 20 patents in multiple fields.

His broad experience, from high tech industries to agricultural development in Africa, has shown his comfort listening to villagers in remote parts of Africa, inspiring crowds, working with boards, working across cultures, and creating strong teams.

Ray spent eight years in hundreds of African villages across four countries launching agribusinesses. He successfully engaged dozens of tribes, adapting to cultures, working models, and business impediments. His blended finance model addressed rural value chains. In five years and three countries, Ray started a USA-based equity fund, a debt fund, a nonprofit, and a holding company.

New finance models developed by Ray have unleashed investment in developing nations. This includes blended capital and impact investments such as four rounds linking non-profits, for-profit operations, and funds, and setting performance measurements linking to impact. The current round is $150 million. Ray has also implemented several Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), completing engagements with a dozen different NGOs, both local and international, including USAID.

An expert in remote monitoring, tracking, and accounting, Ray addressed a key gap in regreening by designing the first monitoring solution. It integrates seven technologies in SaaS apps to track regreening across stages of tree growth from planting to 50 years.

A notable accomplishment of Ray’s was leading the logistics and security for all debris hauling at the NYC World Trade Center recovery effort. He satisfied 20 agencies to activate solutions in three weeks, remove 40 accountants, reduce cleanup cost and time by 75%, and save the city and nation billions of dollars.

Ray frequently reminds the team, “Businesses do not succeed because they have a good idea; they succeed because they solve problems.” Always eager to tackle challenges, Ray personally hand-built his family’s geodesic dome house. His Great Dane is always by his side.

 

Linkedin bio

In the news

Hastings Journal December 14, 2023

Jeffrey (Jeff) F. Peters

Chief Development Officer, Board Chair, Co-Founder

Jeff’s skills were honed in a global consulting firm as a partner serving global financial clients. For two top 25 asset management companies, he led global distribution, raising more than $100 billion for both. He serves on several environmental boards and led capital raises to acquire and conserve tropical rainforest habitat, to generate carbon, and for sustainable timber revenues. His other skills include capital raising, capital markets, ESG leadership, financial acumen, and long track record of successful business results and shareholder value creation.

“I am a firm believer that only through blending for-profit and non-profit approaches do we have a chance to solve environmental problems such as climate change. Spades has this belief at its core and has a deep, highly experienced team to make that vision a reality.”

Jeffrey (Jeff) F. Peters

Chief Development Officer, Board Chair, Co-Founder

Jeff works closely with Spades’ executive leadership team and Board to facilitate short and long-term strategic plans and ensure that fund development is executed in alignment with Spades’ values, vision, and mission. His 30-year career, focused in the investment industry, included senior-level global leadership positions at two top international asset management companies, Colombia Threadneedle Investments and Putnam Investments. Prior to these roles, Jeff was a partner at McKinsey & Company, co-leading their investment practice.

Building on this experience and his lifelong passion for conservation, Jeff co-founded Canande Capital in 2018. The start-up for-profit conservation business raises institutional and High Net Worth funds for sustainable forestry and agriculture projects in Latin America, combining conservation and generation of returns for investors. He completed an initial raise of $10M  for a 50,000-acre project in Ecuador.  One other project was completed in Guatemala. He is now consulting a property management company.

While a Managing Director and Head of Global Institutional Business at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Jeff managed global business with $230B in institutional assets under management for the investment arm of Ameriprise Financial, generating $250M in revenue and $110M in direct profit in the USA and overseas. He managed sales, consultant relations, client service and product, marketing, and support teams numbering nearly 200 people based on five continents.

At Putnam Investments, Jeff managed the non-USA business for a global $200B asset management firm.  As a member of the Executive Board, reporting to the Chief Executive, Jeff managed an organization of 75 in six countries with $160M in revenues and the highest profit margins at Putnam.

Throughout his career, Jeff has applied his professional experiences to roles at a variety of conservation NGOs, serving as Treasurer, Finance and Investment Committee member, and board member. He currently serves on the board of the American Bird Conservancy and Manomet Center for Sustainability and is an emeritus Board member of MassAudubon. Jeff is an avid international bird watcher and has birded in 50 countries. He also enjoys tennis, skiing, hiking, professional sports, and his two adult children.

Jeff received a BA in economics from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, both with high honors.

LinkedIn bio

Bill Keneally, CPA

Chief Financial Officer and Co-Founder

Bill leads Spades on financial, accounting, and cash/debt management matters. He has global experience working across numerous currencies, tax regimens, and regulatory requirements. He has participated in three SAFE rounds as a corporate investor, completed two secondary offerings, three dozen acquisitions, prepared a half dozen companies for initial public offerings, and managed three company exits totaling over $4 billion.

Bill’s fit with Spades: “Like my Spades colleagues, I have been blessed with a broad international business experience that has provided me an appreciation of the diversity of cultures, vocations, and talents. Together, these will be tremendous resources to driving the accomplishment of the Spades mission. Closer to home, when first sharing with my adult daughter my new role she responded, as she did at special times as a child, ‘Great, Dad!’ This confirmed to me that I was in the right organization both personally and professionally.”

Bill Keneally, CPA

Chief Financial Officer and Co-Founder

Bill is an accomplished finance executive with significant and diverse international management and operating experience across various industries, geographies, and business models.

Bill’s strengths include strategy, acquisitions, divestitures, valuations, analysis, restructuring, IPO, financial and operating systems, taxation, treasury, corporate finance, and accounting. He is also recognized for his organization, leadership, and communication skills. In addition, he is effective at building and leading highly motivated and results-oriented finance teams that partner with all parts of an organization to maximize its success. He likens his leadership style to that of a basketball point guard, which requires an agreement of and focus upon the overall general objective and link to the specific play/project to be run, advanced planning, a defined role, and the significant involvement of each team member and constant communication and commitment to the mission.

Bill graduated from Notre Dame University with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting concentration and spent a decade in public accounting with Anderson before moving to senior corporate finance roles within the travel, hospitality, technology, energy, and consumer products industries.

Outside the office, Bill supports a mission-based educational organization that coaches teachers on how to make the most of their classroom and other technology. He also serves in his community weekly through his Catholic parish by providing youth and family faith formation leadership and serving meals to homeless adults. Bill has been blessed to be married for over thirty years and is the father of five children. His first grandchild arrived in October 2021.

Linkedin bio

Joy Hazucha, Ph.D.

Chief People and Culture Officer, Co-Founder

Joy leads people and culture development to allow Spades people, partners, and communities to grow and thrive, leveraging her experience across cultures and geographies. This includes ensuring positive social impact by defining and monitoring people and community standards for all Spades projects. She is engaged in helping to design projects that are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. An entrepreneur in her own right, she has led the creation of consulting operations in Europe.

Joy’s story of what brought her to Spades: “I believe that Spades’ ambitious plans to rapidly scale the planting of trees, in conjunction with many partners, requires building a transformative and agile culture. This includes a strong grounding in values, and daily learning and development for every person in the organization, from the field worker to the board chair. I have always appreciated recreation among trees, as well as the food they produce, but, through my work with Spades, I have come to better understand the dangers of losing them and the multiple benefits, to the Earth, communities, and individuals, of propagating them.”

Joy Hazucha, Ph.D.

Chief People and Culture Officer, Co-Founder

Joy leads people and culture development to allow Spades people, partners, and communities to grow and thrive, across cultures and geographies. This includes ensuring positive social impact by defining and monitoring people and community standards for all our projects.

Joy has lived and led businesses in five countries across three continents, with teams of 100+ people from a dozen countries, including startups, and fast growth organically and through acquisition. While in Tanzania, she worked with small farmers and entrepreneurs, supporting their income generation and food security with appropriate technology, including solar food preservers/dehydrators.

To better align people with business strategy, Joy applies scientific principles and analytics and coaches individuals. In the course of her career, she helped a longtime employer grow into a premier global Human Resource firm by leading the expansion into other countries and integrating the diversity of cultures within global principles. Joy has supported the development and succession planning of C-suite executives at many of the world’s top global corporations.

As a prominent subject matter expert and author, Joy has led applied research on leadership across cultures, women in leadership, leadership development, and the impact of programs across countries including the Middle East. She has published research on global leadership, succession, women in leadership, and leadership development through experiences. Joy also serves on the board of an organization that develops social entrepreneurs in challenging areas of the world.

Joy’s formal education includes undergraduate majors in psychology and Biblical studies, and a doctorate in industrial and organizational psychology. More recently, she has attended workshops and taken courses in impact measurement and management for SDGs, underutilized crops, agroforestry, and how to integrate people with employability challenges back into the workforce.

She speaks fluent French, conversational Spanish, and some German. Her husband and four children enjoy the richness of cross-cultural interactions based on their life experiences. A little-known fact about Joy is that she went to school with Albert II, the Sovereign Prince of Monaco and head of the Princely House of Grimaldi. She enjoys most outdoor activities, along with discovering new foods. She plays the cello in her church orchestra, and she and her husband support marriage enrichment, and especially couples going through crises in their relationship.

Linkedin bio

Robin Chance

Robin Chance

Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Co-Founder

Highly awarded for her work, Robin is responsible for planning, developing, and implementing global marketing strategies, marketing communications, branding, and public relations that drive demand and growth. An expert in Business-to-Business marketing, she has headed the marketing efforts for global 1000 companies.

Robin’s reason for joining Spades: “Both Spades and I are here to make an impact. It follows that caring about people also means caring about nature. We all know that forests and trees matter, but they matter most to the nearly 1.6 billion people – more than 25% of the world’s population – who depend on them for life. How can anyone say they support healthy communities if they destroy their sources of fresh food, water, and air? When they destroy livelihoods and ways of life, how can they claim to care about diverse cultures?

Robin Chance

Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Co-Founder

Robin is the head of marketing and communications at Spades. She has significant experience leading global marketing, communications, and business development departments. One of her strengths is her ability to create high-performing teams and build productive departments from the ground up, which she previously accomplished at multiple large global firms and startups.

Before joining Spades, Robin steered end-to-end business development and marketing operations for the most extensive practice group at Fish & Richardson, an AmLaw-ranked law firm. Robin’s close collaboration with firm management, practice group leaders, and individual lawyers contributed to a record-setting strategic expansion of the firm’s client base. In addition, her skillful efforts transformed processes, upgraded and streamlined internal operations, and won a dozen industry awards.

Robin has managed dozens of FTEs across geographies and cultures, overseen budgets of over $30M, and driven change and innovation programs to improve efficiency, spur profitable revenue growth, and enhance brand equity.

She previously led the Global Marketing and Communications department for Korn Ferry’s leadership and talent management business unit and also served on Watson Watson’s (now WTW/Willis Towers Watson) global marketing leadership team. She drove field marketing across North America at both companies.

In addition to her professional experience, Robin served on the board of directors for an international adoption agency for 15 years. She helped design and promote programs and was active in humanitarian relief efforts for Ukraine, Russia, and Sierra Leone. Immediately following the Ebola crisis, Robin traveled to Sierra Leone to assess agency operations at their Care Centre in Freetown. While in-country, her team provided medical and humanitarian aid to remote villages and slums affected by the virus.

Robin founded and ran a nonprofit organization for nearly ten years and worked with NGOs, schools, orphanages, and homeless shelters in the USA, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, and Brazil. At the same time, Robin was an aid coordinator for a nonprofit that helps youth in Ukraine, organizing international support for an orphanage in Yalta and a children’s shelter in Sevastopol.

Robin keeps her enterprise skills fresh by consulting with global firms and small, entrepreneur-oriented companies. She is particularly interested in children’s issues and social and environmental concerns. In addition, she enjoys faith-based activities, spending time with her family, traveling, nature, and improving her house.

Linkedin bio

Steven (Steve) Mantle

Head of Distribution, Co-Founder

We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Steve Mantle. Steve was an inspiration to us all and an integral part of our company. He was more than a colleague; he was our friend. Click below to read more.

Steven (Steve) Mantle

Head of Distribution, Co-Founder

We are deeply saddened by the passing of  Steve in April 2023. Steve was an inspiration to us all and an integral part of our company. He was more than a colleague; he was our friend.

Steve served as Spades’ head of distribution following a highly successful career in senior roles within the financial services industry, where he also developed new and innovative investment products. He joined Spades to apply his deep knowledge of fundraising to the growing need for environmentally and socially responsible investments to make the planet more sustainable from a climate and economic perspective. He also dedicated time to giving back to the community through his service on several charitable boards benefitting health, literacy, children, and First Nations.

Steve approached business relationships committed to earning and maintaining trust and delivering on values—not just value—as he shared our mission with potential investors and contributed his calm insights to our leadership team.

Spades will honor Steve’s memory by creating a project that bears his name.

Ralph Mitloehner, Ph.D.

Scientific Leadership

Ralph helps Spades to design and manage projects, especially the selection of species/varieties best suited to build biodiversity and habitat in each local ecosystem. He has helped create national forestry plans around the world, led the development of regional area management plans, and is connected globally to national forestry departments. He is the company expert on the Ecofit biotech and is leading the research and development to expand technical capacities of the technology.

Which native tree species are available? Which species fit the planting site’s soil, climate, and ecosystem? These questions move Ralph since his forest science and ecology career began three decades ago. Why Spades? Ralph says that “early diagnoses of our out-of-balance world are evident, however the progress remained slow. I trust Spades to make the difference: work task in focus and connect craftsmanship with scientific progress to greatly increase the speed of restoring trees and ecosystems.

Ralph Mitloehner, Ph.D.

Scientific Leadership

Dr. Ralph Mitloehner is an international leader in environmental forestry and biotechnology that focuses on quantifying a narrow set of chemical indicators revealing a tree’s capacity to succeed under various abiotic conditions. As a scientist, Ralph helps to define standards about which species are best suited to build biodiversity and habitats in each local ecosystem.

Ralph studied Forestry Sciences of the Temperate Zones at the University of Goettingen. His research on complex natural forest ecosystems has been conducted in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and South America, with a focus on tree responses to sites both in dry and moist climates. His areas of research and expertise include strategies and planning tools for protected area and buffer zone management; post-mining reclamation; forest landscape restoration; site adaptation of local tree species; ecology and management of tropical dry and moist forests; silvicultural techniques; forest, landscape, and habitat restoration; and forest management planning.

Ralph received a commemorative medal for the “invaluable contributions to the Cause of Agriculture and Rural Development of the S.R. of Viet Nam.”

Frank Williams, J.D.

Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Legal

Frank has worked as a public finance attorney with a global law firm, with a background in accounting and law. Frank joined World Vision International (WVI) and served in DR Congo, South Africa, Kenya, and Haiti, and also in various parts of the United States. While serving as WVI’s U.N. Representative in New York, Frank engaged with the U.N. diplomatic community and participated in the shaping of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Frank Williams, J.D.

Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Legal

Frank is an international leadership and organizational innovation executive and attorney with more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership roles. He has led individuals, teams, and organizations, integrating legal, accounting, publishing, and global nonprofit expertise to deliver better outcomes. He drives and advises Spades on business, investment, and strategic partnerships for worldwide afforestation and climate resilience.

His specialties include designing and leading strategic initiatives for large and small enterprises at global, regional, and local levels.

Frank’s accomplishments include conceptualizing and designing a sustainable energy engagement platform adopted by the World Evangelical Alliance, a 600,000,000-member entity. He directed the New York office of World Vision International (WVI) and represented its interests to the U.N. and related multilateral entities, diplomatic missions, corporations, foundations, major donors, and peer organizations. He also furthered WVI’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goals with a particular focus on the most vulnerable.

He navigated through extraordinary and challenging circumstances as Haiti experienced a major earthquake in Jan. 2010 (the largest humanitarian disaster to affect one country in modern history). He was immersed in a disaster situation involving a national crisis, partially destroyed headquarters, loss of staff’s families/homes, and personal emergency searching for family members among ruins of a collapsed apartment complex. Frank acted as an advocate and leader to WVI’s national office staff and programs while receiving earthquake response teams and WVI’s leaders worldwide. He also championed a new vision for “Haiti 2.0” to emerge from humanitarian disaster and advocated for the people of Haiti in national and international meetings.

Frank earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a B.S. Business Administration and Accounting – Washington & Lee University. He is affiliated with Children of Character (board chair for nonprofit working in 20+ countries in Africa with 24,000+ volunteers); and Regent University School of Law (board of visitors 2015-18). He speaks English, French (basic), Haitian Creole (basic).

LinkedIn bio

Staff and Advisors

Katie Fernholz

Katie Fernholz

Forestry and Environment Advisor

Katie advises on an array of issues to increase the success of planting projects.

Katie’s story: “I have spent my career working to care for the land, build strong communities and economies. Spades is an opportunity for me to use my forestry expertise in partnership with my sincere desire to apply my knowledge and experience to support sustainability. I believe in the power of trees to deliver environmental, social, and economic benefits. I know that if we can embrace our relationship with the planet through the collective action of planting and caring for billions of trees, the possibilities for the future are endless.”

Katie Fernholz

Forestry and Environment Advisor

Katie is a dynamic and compelling expert in addressing environmental and sustainability issues. A forester by training, Katie has worked on development and forest management issues in a range of roles. She currently serves on the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, chairs the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Forest Management Task Group, and chairs the board of the American Forest Foundation.

She brings a unique combination of both a broad understanding of the complex interconnection between society and the environment and the experience of her own personal journey from a family organic farm to forestry school to being a leader and international expert on the responsible management of natural resources. Katie shares her knowledge and experience and engages others in developing a clear understanding of natural systems within a historical context and an exploration of their own land ethic – the relationship each of us has with our environment and the personal values that define it. Her passion for the complexity and beauty of natural ecosystems blends with a pragmatic recognition of the challenges and choices that we are faced with, as well as the tools – heart and mind – that must be united if we are to move forward.

Linkedin bio

Robert G. Jones, Ph.D.

Stakeholder Development Advisor

Robert (Bob) G. Jones, Ph.D., serves as Stakeholder Development Advisor at Spades. He is an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist with over thirty years of experience supporting ethical group decision-making in corporations (financial services, transportation, retail, and service sectors), government, small businesses, nonprofits, and academic institutions.

Why Spades? “My career and professional life are rooted in a rich family tradition. From my great grandparents, I learned that some important human problems may never be completely ‘solved’, but working together can build a better world — and create beautiful music too. This has led to many roles supporting groups that are pressing toward more sustainable, beautiful lives. It is my belief that the group organizing around Spades is more than innovative — it is revolutionary. Our success reinforces this. I am thrilled to be part of this new kind of enterprise!”

Robert G. Jones, Ph.D.

Stakeholder Development Advisor

Robert (Bob) G. Jones, Ph.D., serves as Group Development Advisor at Spades. Bob is an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist with over thirty years of experience supporting ethical group decision-making in corporations (financial services, transportation, retail, and service sectors), government, small businesses, nonprofits, and academic institutions.

As well as being a psychologist, teacher, consultant, author, academic administrator, and musician, he participates in numerous volunteer activities that include serving on the National League of Cities’ Steering Committee for Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources, managing large public budgets, negotiating innovative educational programs across cultures, and supporting community development organizations in underserved communities.

The American Psychological Association published his most recent book, Sustainable Solutions: The Climate Crisis and the Psychology of Social Action, in 2022.

He and his spouse are avid hikers in his home state of Montana. His busy schedule does not stop him from performing with semi-professional and professional ensembles.

LinkedIn bio | Facebook (Psychology of Sustainability)

Don Keysser, DBA, CM&AA

Investment Banking Advisor

Don, an investment banker, serves as a financial adviser to Spades and assists it in raising capital.

An avid outdoorsman since childhood, Don has a long history of involvement in environmental affairs, serving on the State Board for the Sierra Club and serving on the Sierra Club’s National Finance Committee. Previously, he worked with Ray Menard on an economic development project in Tanzania, which aimed to spur local entrepreneurship and financial independence.

Don Keysser, DBA, CM&AA

Investment Banking Advisor

As Managing Principal of Hannover Consulting, Don provides business financial consulting services, including M&A transactions, financial analysis, capital raising, and international expansion, focusing mostly on small-medium size businesses in technology. He previously worked as Managing Director at Dain Rauscher and as a Senior Vice President and Principal at Miller & Schroeder Financial.

Don is also a Professor of Finance at Saint Mary’s University and a Senior Lecturer at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He teaches graduate courses in Capital Markets, Global Finance, Financial Institutions, Corporate Finance, International Finance, Financial Modeling, and Government Finance. He holds a MAPA in Urban Economic Development and an MBA in Finance from the University of Minnesota, as well as a Doctorate in International Business. Don is a published author and frequently speaks at conferences.

He is on the Board of Directors of the German-American Chamber of Commerce, the Isthmus Foundation (stem cell research), Enova Illumination (medical devices), and Moto-I (the only sake brewery in North America). Don worked as an intelligence analyst during his military service. Don is the father of two stunningly handsome sons, one of whom is about to have his first grandchild.

LinkedIn bio

Tony Rinaudo

Tony Rinaudo

Natural Regeneration Advisor

Tony advises Spades on FMNR (Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration), landscape restoration, agroforestry, and climate change action. One of his publications, Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) Manual, published with World Vision International, is available at no cost on the United Nations’ website.

Tony’s story: Known as the “forest maker,” Tony is an award-winning Australian agronomist who has lived and worked in Africa for decades. Millions of lives and livelihoods have been improved through a technique Tony pioneered and then propagated, to work with small farmers to show them how to regrow trees from existing stumps and root systems. Farmers across at least 24 countries on multiple continents have successfully applied Tony’s straightforward management practices to regenerate and protect trees and existing local vegetation, which also helps agriculture productivity through improving drought resistance and replenishing the soil. Tony inspires regreening movements globally and is an advocate of Spades’ mission. The impact of his contributions to people and the environment have been recognized with awards from the governments of Niger and Australia, as well as the World Future Council.

Tony Rinaudo

Natural Regeneration Advisor

Tony revolutionized reforestation in Africa with Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR). He is widely recognized for his influential contribution to heightened international awareness on the impact, efficacy, and adoption of the simple, low cost, scalable method which is now successfully applied in at least 24 countries. Where the desert was still expanding 20 years ago, farmers reforest large areas with FMNR.

Early in his career, Tony served as an agriculturalist and missionary with ‘Serving in Mission’ in the Niger Republic, overseeing long-term rural development and periodic, large-scale relief programs. Through these, he contributed to a transformation in how Nigeriens farm, and the reforesting of over seven million hectares of land, which still inspires regreening movements globally. Since joining World Vision Australia, Tony has initiated and/or overseen important land regeneration projects worldwide. Serving now as Senior Climate Action Advisor, he promotes forestry and agroforestry initiatives globally within the World Vision partnership and beyond.

For Tony’s considerable service to humanity and the environment, the government of Niger awarded him its highest honor for an expatriate, “The Order of Agriculture with Merit” (Merite Agricole du Niger). In 2018, Tony and FMNR received the prestigious “Right Livelihood Award,“ also known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’, for “demonstrating on a large scale how drylands can be greened at minimal cost, improving the livelihoods of millions of people”, and the World Future Council Agroecology Award. In 2019, Tony was appointed as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia (General Division).

LinkedIn bio

Dummy Image

John E. Ryder, Jr. 

Advisor

John advises on the development of special projects and the implementation of strategic initiatives set by Spades’ CEO and Board.  

 As an expert in property valuations, tax strategies, litigation, reporting frameworks and trends, disclosure standards, permitting, and related legislation, John has worked with several government agencies. His background will prove invaluable as he works with environmental regulatory authorities, undertakes sustainability initiatives, oversees environmental market mechanisms, and leads the initial setup phase for establishing carbon trade execution capabilities. 

John believes nature-based solutions to climate change can make a significant difference for the environment, which will benefit Spades’ stakeholders. 

John E. Ryder, Jr. 

Advisor

John is a real estate market leader with over 30 years of experience. He specializes in real estate property valuations, tax strategies, litigation, permitting, reporting frameworks, disclosure standards, and related legislation. The dynamics of supply and demand, as well as market changes, are included. He excels at taking complex issues and leveraging them to achieve desired outcomes. 

He advises on government relations and strategic and analytical initiatives at Spades. Having worked with valuation and government agencies in the past, John is able to provide counsel about environmental regulatory agencies, environmental market mechanisms, and carbon trading capabilities. 

John has managed teams and projects throughout his career, coordinated cross-functional teams, and supported others. In addition to tax reduction expertise, he is an expert in modeling financial trends, budgeting, redevelopment trends, leasing and sales strategies, as well as environmental litigation. Lectures at high-profile events and testimony in the Vermont and Maine legislatures have also been part of his career. 

Previously, John was Vice President/Managing Consultant at Marvin F. Poer & Company, a tax real estate consulting firm. John’s job as a tax consultant meant valuing property rights inherent to a specific piece of real estate. Along with managing tax burdens on products worth $19B, he built and maintained customer relationships. He previously worked for Joseph C. Sansone Company as Director of Assessment Analysis. Additionally, John served on the Acton/Boxborough School Committee, the Acton Finance Committee, and the Acton/Boxborough Health Insurance Trust. The fact that John has been an elected and appointed official has contributed significantly to his ability to see both sides of issues. 

John and his wife love cycling and skiing along with fishing and sailing. Both are passionate supporters of the Pan-Mass Challenge, which supports the work of the Jimmy Fund/Dana Farber.  

 John holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Clark University. 

Share this page.

Privacy Preferences

When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in the form of cookies. Here you can change your Privacy preferences. It is worth noting that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website.

Click to enable/disable Google Analytics tracking code.
Click to enable/disable Google Fonts.
Click to enable/disable Google Maps.
Click to enable/disable video embeds.
Our website uses cookies, mainly from 3rd party services. Define your Privacy Preferences and/or agree to our use of cookies.