2019 Chihuahuan Desert Conference Speaker Bios

November 6, 2019 – Following the River and the Wall Documentary

Hillary Pierce

Hillary Pierce is an Emmy Award-winning documentary producer based in Austin, Texas. She is a part of the producing team behind Keith Maitland’s dual 2016 documentaries TOWER and A SONG FOR YOU: THE AUSTIN CITY LIMITS STORY. Hillary began her documentary career at Maysles Films under the tutelage of Direct Cinema pioneer Albert Maysles and earned an MFA in Documentary Film at Wake Forest University. Her film THE ONE WHO BUILDS tells the story of the Muslim director of a refugee resettlement agency in the American South. TOWER won the Grand Jury Documentary Prize and Audience Award at SXSW in 2016, broadcast nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens in February 2017, was shortlisted for an Academy Award and won the 2018 Emmy for Outstanding Historical Documentary.


November 7, 2019 – 9 am – Keynote Speaker

John Kiseda

The El Paso Zoo Animal Curator, John Kiseda, will be the keynote speaker at the Chihuahuan Desert Conference November 6-8, 2019.  John has been the Animal Curator at the Zoo since 1990 and is responsible for the daily oversight of the Zoo’s diverse animal collection including the new Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit.   He is deeply involved in the intermediate and long-range planning and development of zoo renovation and expansion projects, serving on the Zoo’s conservation committee, master planning and strategic planning.  John also serves as Vice-Coordinator of the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan and is involved in numerous conservation initiatives in the northern Chihuahuan Desert.


November 7, 2019 – 12:30 pm – Luncheon Speaker

Dr. Louis A. Harveson

Dr. Louis A. Harveson is the founder and director of the Borderlands Research Institute and holds the Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Endowed Directorship.  Since 1998, Dr. Harveson has served as a faculty member at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas where his research program has focused on the ecology and management of large mammals, upland gamebirds, and predators.  Harveson has completed 55 MS/PhD students with 10 in progress; has secured >$15M in grants and gifts, and published >70 manuscripts and >50 published popular articles.  Harveson’s research efforts have focused on the borderlands of Texas-Mexico including Gulf Coast Prairies, South Texas Brush Country, and the Trans-Pecos Mountains and Basins.  An underlying theme to Harveson’s research has been on conservation of natural resources on private lands.

Harveson received a B.S. in Wildlife Management from Texas Tech University, his M.S. in Range and Wildlife Management from Texas A&M University-Kingsville where he worked with northern bobwhites, and received his Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from the Joint Ph. D. program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Texas A&M University where he studied mountain lions in south Texas.

Harveson serves on numerous regional and statewide conservation committees and presently serves as Second Vice-President of Programs for Texas Wildlife Association.  Harveson is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and an active member of The Wildlife Society at the national, state, and university level.


November 7, 2019 – 6 pm – Dinner Speaker

Dan Reicher

Dan Reicher is an entrepreneur, investor, policymaker and lawyer focused on clean energy and climate change. Reicher has served three U.S. presidents, testified before the U.S. Congress more than 50 times, helped launch Google’s pathbreaking energy work, oversaw a $1.2 billion annual R&D budget and set new energy efficiency standards as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy, and co-founded one of the nation’s earliest clean energy project investment firms.

Reicher served from 2011 to 2018 as founding executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, a joint center of the Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is currently a Stanford Law School lecturer and consultant. Reicher came to Stanford from Google, where he served since 2007 as Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives.

Reicher’s federal roles include: Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Department of Energy Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff; Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy; a member of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board; a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Energy and Environmental Systems; a member of two presidential transition teams; a staff member of the President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island; a law clerk to a federal district court judge; and a legal assistant in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Before his position at Google, Reicher was President and Co-founder of New Energy Capital, one of the nation’s earliest clean energy project investment firms, and Executive Vice President of Northern Power Systems, one of the nation’s oldest renewable energy companies. Earlier in his career Reicher was as an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts and an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. He was also an adjunct professor at Yale University, Vermont Law School and the University of Maryland.

In 2012 Reicher received an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and was also named one of the five most influential figures in U.S. clean energy by Oilprice.Com.

Reicher holds a BA in biology from Dartmouth College and a JD from Stanford Law School. He also studied at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and MIT.

An avid kayaker, Reicher was a member of the first expedition on record to navigate the entire 1888-mile Rio Grande (with support from the National Geographic Society) and to kayak the Yangtze River in China. Reicher’s college friend, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), was a member of both expeditions. Reicher is married to Carole Parker, has three children, and lives in Piedmont California.