Board of Directors

Richard Beene


Beene spent his career in the news business, first with United Press International (UPI) and later at the LA Times as one of their star editors. He joined The Bakersfield Californian in 1995 as Executive Editor and became President and CEO in 1998. Beene was an early internet adopter and led The Californian into the digital age. Following his retirement in 2017, Beene started his own radio talk show in Bakersfield on KERN 1180 AM/96.1 FM and he is an avid blogger with an active Facebook page. Beene’s experience of piloting a newspaper through rough seas help SJV Water keep a steady eye on the horizon.

Julie Johnson


Johnson’s career has largely been involved with nonprofits, including several years as the Senior Business Director at the Orange County YMCA and, currently, as Executive Director of the Bakersfield SPCA. Johnson’s knowledge of best practices for running a nonprofit and her innate ability to squeeze the most bang out of every buck are invaluable to SJV Water.

Jennifer Self


Self led The Bakersfield Californian’s award-winning features section for a decade during her 30-year career at the Californian. She has a keen nose for news and is wildly inventive in how to produce coverage that catches the reader’s eye. She left The Californian to work in advocacy for health care clinics and is now the Chief Information Officer for California State University, Bakersfield. Her insights provide SJV Water with a fresh perspective of how to approach the many facets of water in this valley.