Texas Campaign for the Environment: Staff Spotlight

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, Statewide 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.

Andrew Dobbs, Central Texas 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.

Nicholas Borjas, Staff Director (Houston) started with TCE in 2012 after graduating from Texas State University in San Marcos with a bachelors degree in business administration. Nicholas grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas and spent part of his childhood in El Paso, where he learned the importance of hard work and respect for your fellow human beings. Inspired by Tecumseh and a long history of organizers on this continent, Nick is driven by a passion to empower the dis-empowered and bring common sense back to Texas.

Melanie Scruggs, Program Director (Houston), graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012 with a degree in Plan II Honors and Business Foundations. She grew interested in political organizing while studying alternative journalism for her thesis on “The Rag,” Austin’s first underground press newspaper. Melanie has worked with TCE since 2012 as a community organizer, field manager, and program staff member. Originally from Houston, Melanie can think of no better place to build relationships and organize with others for a clean and healthy environment.

Katy Rowe, Office Manager (Houston), got her start in political activism at Southern Methodist University, where she graduated with degrees in English and Anthropology in 2007. After searching for a career that would fulfill her desire to change the world, Katy started working in the TCE Dallas office in 2009, eventually moving to the Houston office in 2013. She was a community organizer and senior field manager before becoming the Houston office manager. As a sixth-generation Texan, Katy believes that we must protect our beautiful home state and preserve it for generations to come.