Staff Profiles


STEPHEN GORT taking on the responsibilities as Executive Director of the California Fire Safe Council, Mr. Gort leaves his position as President of The Napa Communities Firewise Foundation, currently in its 12th consecutive year of operation and begin his duties in the Sacramento office of CFSC. Napa Firewise operates under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors and highly skilled fire professionals. Mr. Gort created its strategic plan, many of its outreach programs and its financial system. He obtained 501c (3) status for Napa Firewise. In addition to his work with the Napa Communities Firewise Foundation, Mr. Gort served as general manager for Circle Oaks Community Homeowners’ Association in Napa, providing hands-on administration of a working fire safety program. He helped Circle Oaks achieve Firewise USA recognition as the first Firewise Community in Napa County. Prior to his work in fire safety Mr. Gort fulfilled a career at IBM as a Director and Principal in the Management Consulting and Services Organization in California, Ireland, and several European countries.


He holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University in New York and completed undergraduate studies at St. Bonaventure and Pace Universities

  AMBER GARDNER is the Clearinghouse Manager for California Fire Safe Council. She joined CFSC in 2003 as Grant Manager for the Coast Region after working for several years with local Fire Safe Councils in the Bay Area. Amber was promoted to Clearinghouse Administrator in 2009 and paved the way for significant upgrades to the Grants Clearinghouse in response to changing federal regulations and technology. Recently, Amber led a major upgrade of CFSC’s outdated grants system to new, improved grant management software. She manages the year-round Clearinghouse activities, from application to grant closeout and provides support to grantees and grant managers. A senior staff member, Amber has ten years of experience in helping to shape and improve CFSC’s efforts to meets its mission.


Amber holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Resource Management with an emphasis in fire ecology from the University of California at Davis. Her studies propelled her to travel after graduation throughout the U.S. with The Nature Conservancy promoting fire ecology on prescribed fire crews and as a fire management planner. Amber is a certified Master Gardener and enjoys hiking, camping, painting and of course, gardening

DIANE WELLS is the Business Manager for California Fire Safe Council. Since 2009, she has improved and performed in house accounting functions and human resource management services for the organization. She provides excellent customer service to grantees and Fire Safe Councils and assistance to the grants management team. Diane has completed courses in grants management and has vast knowledge about business and financial systems for federal grants administration. She produces detailed semi-annual reports of grantee data and accomplishments to share program success with CFSC’s funders. She also provides unparalleled support to the Executive Director in areas of fiscal management, audit and financial reporting.

Diane holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a minor in Music, and began her career as a credentialed elementary school teacher. She values the work of volunteer, grassroots organizations, and has served for over 25 years in various capacities with nonprofit organizations including Soroptimist International. She is a direct service provider to victims of domestic violence and a participant in the literacy program at the local library. Diane and her husband, Ron, have been married for 34 years, and have 3 children and 11 grandchildren, who fill their lives with many joys. When there is some free time, she enjoys logic puzzles and reading mysteries.

  LIRON GALLIANO has been a Grant Specialist for the California Fire Safe Council since 2009. She manages subgrants in the central portion of California, providing grant management training to current and potential grantees, monitoring grantee performance, and providing resources to support local organization goals of wildfire mitigation, education, and planning. Liron is motivated by the need for active forest management to protect California’s forests and people. Liron enjoys creating and maintaining positive relationships with CFSC’s stakeholders, including funding agencies, grant recipients, and local Fire Safe Councils. The most rewarding part of working with fire prevention grants for Liron has been becoming familiar with California and its communities.


Liron holds a Forestry degree from Humboldt State University and is certified in federal grants management. She grew up in Humboldt County, and previously worked for Redwood National Park in Orick, California. Liron enjoys kayaking and teaching her son about geography.

ANNE PANDEY is a Grant Specialist who provides technical assistance and program guidance to grantees throughout Southern California. She ensures compliance with policies and procedures, monitors grantee progress on accomplishing scope of work described in the grant application, and ensure grant funds are spent in accordance with grant regulations. Anne thrives in a collaborative environment and looks forward to continuing CFSC’s tradition of strong, positive partnerships with our stakeholders and a tireless dedication to fire prevention.


Anne has a BA in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Master of Science degree in Regenerative Studies from Cal Poly Pomona. Regenerative Studies is an interdisciplinary program that looks at our human systems and the use of regenerative practices as a pathway to environmental sustainability, placing an emphasis on developing resilient communities that are capable of being revitalized and regenerated through the integration of natural processes, community action and human behavior.

  THELMA CLARK is the current Grant Specialist for the northern region. She brings grant management experience in Community Service Block Grants (state level), Housing and Urban Development grant experience with Hope VI projects (State and Federal level).

Additionally, Thelma has worked with other nonprofits in the areas of supportive services and program development.

  DALONNA SCOTT is the Data Management Specialist for California Fire Safe Council. Since joining CFSC 2009, she has played a critical role in growing and adapting CFSC’s online Grants Clearinghouse and data collection systems to meet changing needs of federal grants management. Dalonna provides technical support to grantees and staff alike, utilizing her strong skills and knowledge of software systems. She played a major role in the recent transition of CFSC’s database and grant management systems. She has completed federal grant management certification courses to provide support to the grants management teams and grantees. With her background in graphic design, Dalonna led a major redesign of the CFSC website in 2014 and continues to serves as CFSC’s in house website manager.


Dalonna holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Communications with special focus on Graphic Design, Video Production and Web Design. She has experience in managing systems upgrades and has a knack for developing processes to improve efficiency through the use of technology. She recently completed a computer animation course and has plans to incorporate new skills into CFSC’s website and training materials. Dalonna is an avid moviegoer who enjoys dazzling CFSC staff with film trivia.