Chief Executive Officer
Rodney Ahart is a third-generation native Austinite with deep ties in the city. Rodney served as Chief of Staff in the Texas House of Representatives for over six years. While working at the Capitol, Rodney gained valuable experience on diverse issues such as education, health, business & industry, appropriations, and the environment. Most recently serving as the Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society, Rodney spearheaded the volunteer-driven ballot initiative making all public places in Austin smoke-free.
He was appointed as the Vice-Chair of the City of Austin Environmental Board. In this role, Rodney led the charge to protect the critical environmental features in Eastern Travis County. His other volunteer work includes the City of Austin Bond Election Advisory Task Force, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Austin, Literacy Austin, Windsor Park Neighborhood Association, and Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Ahart, a graduate of Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs, has been bestowed several honors including an Austin Under 40 Award and Austin Toastmaster of the Year.
Rodney loves spending time with his extended family, studying history, architecture, and politics, and traveling to other countries.
As a native Texan, Sarita is very passionate about the work Keep Austin Beautiful does every day to help inspire Austinites to engage in our amazing city. Since graduating from Stanford University with a degree in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Sarita has lived in Chicago, Boston and the Bay Area. While each of these places offered a unique experience, coming back home to Texas and settling down in a city with a great balance of urban and green spaces has been the perfect fit for her and her family. In the past 10 years, Sarita has worked in the non-profit sector in a variety of roles including, direct service case management, education administration, and operations management. Sarita is excited to support the work of the Keep Austin Beautiful team by ensuring operational excellence across the organization. Outside of work, Sarita enjoys spending time with her husband and their fur-baby, LeeLoo, while exploring new parks and trails around the city.
Lauren is a native Texan, born and raised in Austin. She called San Marcos, Texas home for a few years while completing a Bachelor of Science in Resource and Environmental Studies at Texas State University. Lauren started her college career studying chemistry but after spending a week at Big Bend National Park for a class quickly discovered that she had to change her focus. Lauren’s love for the beauty and fun of Austin brought her back after graduation. She has always loved being outdoors, studying science, and teaching. After working for an environmental lab and being in the classroom for a few years, Lauren is excited to be part of the Keep Austin Beautiful team and combine all her passions into one. She believes taking care of our environment is extremely important and hopes to inspire everyone she meets to believe the same.
Lauren loves spending time with her friends, twosweet dogs, and family. She enjoys painting, creating pottery, going to sporting events, visiting new cities, hiking, and exploring different parks around the Austin area.
Karen has a BS in Communications from Stephen F. Austin State University. During her first job at the Austin Fine Arts Festival, she developed a true love of the non-profit world and discovered the power of what a group of passionate, dedicated volunteers can do. Next, Karen would become the Chapter Manager for the Association of Fundraising Professionals. This opportunity introduced her to many amazing organizations and fundraising professionals, including Keep Austin Beautiful. Karen’s passion for recycling and environmental awareness is what ultimately led her to Keep Austin Beautiful. She is extremely excited to assist with garnering more support for the programs and services the organization provides that help to make Austin the best place to live!
Karen has been married for 25 years to her husband Brian and they have three college-age kids. Karen loves spending time outdoors with her family hiking, kayaking, and exploring. Karen is a native Texan and has lived in the Austin area for 25 years.
Project Success Assistant
As a native Austinite, Hannah has always been interested in finding ways to contribute to the community in her hometown. In 2019, she received a BA in Graphic Design from St. Edward’s University. For the past 8 years, Hannah served as a Lifeguard, Manager, Lifeguard Instructor and most recently, an Aquatics Auditor with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. Her experience in the preservation of water and natural environments brought her to the front steps of Keep Austin Beautiful. Hannah loves spending time outdoors in her free time. Swimming at Barton Springs and Deep Eddy, paddle boarding, hiking the Barton Creek Greenbelt are a few of the many things she likes to do outside. She is eager to dedicate her time with the Keep Austin Beautiful team to strengthen the community by providing resources and information to help all Austin residents connect with the spaces they live in.
Education Programs Manager
Born and raised in Texas, Laurren has been lucky to call Austin home since 2012. She has been working in the environmental education field ever since receiving her B.S. in Geology from Texas A&M University. Her work with local municipalities and state government entities has spurred her passion for serving her communities. She is excited to contribute her knowledge and experiences to further grow the Keep Austin Beautiful organization.
As a lifetime learner, she has become a Certified Interpretive Guide, received her TEFL certification, and is working towards her Master’s in Environmental Science which she will use to contribute to the environmental sustainability of our world. In her free time, you can find her running around town, conducting various outdoor adventures, traveling to new places, and giving back to the Austin community by teaching English to displaced individuals. Family is the most important part of her life, and she enjoys making memories with her husband and two dogs whenever she gets the chance.
Senior Education Programs Coordinator
Carinne Maravilla is a native Texan who threw down her roots in Austin in 2015. In 2019, she graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in International Relations and Global Studies. Her areas of specialization included Environmental Studies, Spanish, and Latin American Studies. While at UT, she had the opportunity to study Tropical Ecology in Panama during the Spring of 2018. Her background in environmental education has given her a deep appreciation for nature and a passion for connecting others to the environment. With a heart for travel, community, and a green thumb, Carinne has travelled abroad, worked on farms, and served two years with AmeriCorps. She also has a variety of experience working with youth. She is passionate about sustainability, education, accessibility to nature and community outreach. For local adventures, she enjoys taking dips in the springs, rock climbing, roller skating and enjoying the outdoors. Carinne is excited to work with Keep Austin Beautiful and make a difference in her community. She believes nurturing the environment nurtures the community.
Community Cleanup Coordinator
Gustavo Martinez is a native Texan from the Rio Grande Valley who has lived in Austin since 2008. A longtime environmental activist and adventurer, they have traveled across the United States and into South America exploring natural wonders and meeting the people who live there. They have worked with tigers at the Center for Animal Research and Education in Texas, as a Counselor for the formerly homeless in Seattle, and given horseback tours of the Andes mountains. After their time abroad and in the Pacific Northwest, they returned to Austin, the city that felt most like home.
Serving as Associate Site Coordinator for Creative Action, their projects led them to work in educating youth about being kind and thinking creatively; as a performer and puppeteer, Gustavo improvised, devised, and wrote programs aimed at enriching the lives of the youth of Austin. Pivoting into nature enrichment with El Ranchito summer camp and conservation with the Texas Civilian Conservation Corps, their passion for nature and wild spaces reasserted itself, and it is with great pleasure that Gustavo returns to their roots focusing on equity and the environment.
On their off time, Gustavo enjoys storytelling and board games, swimming, and farmer’s markets. They are fond of animals and making smoothies.
Education Programs Coordinator
Kiana has lived in the Austin area since 2017 and has developed a deep love and appreciation for the city’s culture, greenery, and unique landscape. She received her BA in Environmental Studies at Southwestern University in 2020, and during her time there, volunteered at the local animal shelter and interned with Austin Youth River Watch where she did water quality testing, research, education, restoration projects, and more. After graduation, Kiana took time off from working to live and travel in Germany, and after returning, had grown an even deeper appreciation for the city she now considers home – Austin, Texas. Outside of work, Kiana loves traveling, roller skating, hanging out with her cat, having picnics, and swimming at Barton Creek. Kiana is excited to grow with Keep Austin Beautiful in their Education department and give back to the beautiful community that has given her so much already!
Marketing and Communications Manager
A recent Austin transplant, Alexa is thrilled to have joined the Keep Austin Beautiful team. After earning her BA in English from Whittier College, she moved back home to New Orleans, a city where one cannot help but feel the local and immediate impact of climate change. Alexa got her start in the environmental field through zero waste blogging, and is nostalgic for a time when she thought fitting all of her trash in a mason jar would save the planet. Most recently, Alexa was the Director of Marketing and Communications for central Tennessee’s primary compost collection service, and is happy to talk compost with you all day.
When not crafting green communications, Alexa writes for fun and spends time with her partner and two excellent cats in their “garden” (a singular aloe plant amidst some rocks) and at her neighborhood park, which provides significantly more greenery.
Edward moved to Austin and began their career with Keep Austin Beautiful in 2021, working to engage the community in the protection and restoration of local waterways. In 2020, Edward graduated from Palm Beach State College where they studied chemistry and mathematics. Though passionate about community service and environmental activism from a young age, Edward truly fell in love with the sustainability field during their service as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. They have also served as Sustainability Coordinator for the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre in Pelham, Alabama, and currently co-owns their own tutoring business.
In their free time, Edward enjoys cooking, painting, playing chess, and exploring the many trails and green spaces Austin has to offer. Edward is thrilled to join the Keep Austin Beautiful team and looks forward to working to ensure everyone has access to the natural beauty of Austin and all of central Texas for years to come.
Senior Volunteer Coordinator
A native Austinite, Dray’s journey with Keep Austin Beautiful began during his freshman year of high school when he participated in the Green Teens program at LBJ High School. Throughout his time as a Green Teen, Dray was awarded for his dedication and hard work; his relationship with Keep Austin Beautiful continued to blossom as he interned for three consecutive summers. Dray’s vibrant personality and long-standing experience with many facets of the organization provide a unique perspective for assisting the public and spreading the organization’s mission. From student ambassador to intern to new member of the Keep Austin Beautiful family, Dray is excited to help community groups enhance our public spaces.