Executive Board

Like a tiny acorn, ideas start small, but can grow into powerful initiatives that change its surroundings. must! charities was formed in the same way. What started as the idea of a group of friends and business leaders has developed into a vehicle to foster change and build a stronger community.

We desired to keep local donations just that—local. Here in our county, communities need revitalization, and we believe we all have a responsibility and stake in helping out our neighbors. By streamlining donations coming into our area, we can make a bigger impact.

Our Staff & Board

Andy Niner | President at Niner Wine Estates - President of the Board
After studying economics at Colby College in Maine, Andy started his career working in finance for Cambridge Associates in Boston. He then moved to California and worked as a product manager in a small sunglass company in San Luis Obispo, earned his MBA from U.C. Berkeley and spent several years working in strategic planning for Levi Strauss & Company in San Francisco. The importance of the family business ended up being the catalyst for joining the team in 2013, and he feels extraordinarily lucky to work and live on the central coast.

Don Witmer | Vice President of the Board
After graduating from the University of Montana with an M.B.A in Finance, Don worked for the Montana state legislature as a fiscal analyst. In 1987 Don moved to Silicon Valley where he earned his CPA while working for Price-Waterhouse in their emerging business division. He then spent his career in executive positions helping a number of companies grow from their startup phase to their initial public offering. In San Jose, Don also worked on a number of private and non-profit boards including Life Steps and the Support Network for Battered Women. In 2007, Don and his wife moved to Paso Robles where they live and work on their pistachio orchard.

Michael Bickel | Chief Executive Officer - Treasurer of the Board
Mike started his career at Rantec Power Systems in Los Osos, CA, in 1982 as an intern. After rising to the position of general manager, Mike led a management leverage buyout of the company in 2003. Now, Mike is the president and CEO of RPS Holdings, the holding company for Rantec and other subsidiaries across the United States. Mike enjoys participating in Philanthropic activities throughout the central coast. He is also an avid cyclist and swimmer. Mike lives with his wife, Lori, in Atascadero where they raised their two, now young adult, children.

Heather Smith | Co-Founder of Saxum Vineyards - Secretary of the Board
Heather and her husband Justin own Saxum Vineyards. She and her family live in the North County region of San Luis Obispo County. Heather has been involved with numerous charities and has a great reputation for giving back to others.

Doug Kruse | Co-Owner of Jack Creek Cellars
Doug grew up in Ontario, CA and graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in Grain Science in 1988. After a six month Central America trip, he returned to Ontario, California to work for his family animal feed business, O. H. Kruse Grain & Milling. Doug served as Vice President until they sold the company to Tate & Lyle of the United Kingdom in 1995. Doug then partnered in the construction of a flour mill in Colton, California in 1996 and sold the company to ConAgra of Omaha, Nebraska in 1998. He then went on and partnered in the construction of a dairy in Blairstown, Iowa in 1996 where they milk 3,500 cows under the name Cedar Valley Farms. In 1997 he and his wife purchased 75 acres of land in Templeton, California and planted 40 acres of wine grapes and farm as Kruse Vineyards, and after a long run they recently sold to enjoy some retirement time. They started producing wine in 2002 under the label Jack Creek Cellars. In 2004 they started a family foundation called the Carolyn S. Kruse Foundation in honor of his mother and brother who were killed in a airplane crash in July of 2004. Doug was a founding board member of must! charities because he saw the need to identify and create solutions to the issues that affect the quality of life in the community. His goal in serving on the board is to make sure that every donation made to must! charities is used in a productive manner that changes lives of the people and organizations that are in need!

Kelli Law | Brand Ambassador at Law Estate Wines and Business Analytics Lead at Northrop Grumman Corporation
In 2005, after studying Mathematics and Computer Science, Kelli began her career with Northrop Grumman Corporation in Denver, Colorado, where she was born and raised. In 2007 her parents, Don and Susie Law, purchased the property that is now Law Family Vineyards, and she began traveling to Paso Robles. In 2013 she permanently relocated to Paso Robles, with the opportunity to support the family business, Law Estate Wines, in addition to continuing work for Northrop Grumman Corporation remotely. Kelli loves raising her daughter on the Central Coast and continually searches for opportunities to give back to this wonderful community. Kelli enjoys spending free time volunteering, learning, skiing, and traveling.

Bill Grant | Partner, KrushWerks
Bill Grant considers himself a “Serial Entrepreneur”. He founded San Francisco based company Paymap, Inc in 1991 and ran the company for just over 12 years. In June 2004 he landed himself in Paso Robles as Managing Partner for Four Vines Winery. After a successful sale of Four Vines in 2011 he started a consulting firm, WRG Consulting, LLC and also became President and Co-Founder of Aequalis, based in Norwalk Connecticut. He came full circle back to the wine industry in 2013 as a partner in KrushWerks, LLC with a focus on Sales & Marketing and General Wine Industry Consulting.

Lisa Jensen | Owner at Booker Wines
Lisa Jensen was raised in Boulder, Colorado and moved to Southern California in 1988 to attend college. Several years later she met husband, Eric, while living in Newport Beach and eventually made the central coast their permanent home. After relocating to Paso Robles in 2001, with their young family, the Jensen's created Booker Vineyard and Winery. In addition to her responsibilities at Booker, Lisa has spent the last 15 years volunteering for her kid's schools and athletic teams. She is excited to continue giving back to our amazing community through MUST Charities.

Becky Gray | Executive Director, must! charities
Becky Gray helped launch must! charities in February 2012. Prior to starting must! charities, Becky served as the Executive Director for the San Luis Obispo Vintners Association. She brings over 16 years of experience in wine industry hospitality and public relations. Becky has been an active volunteer and supporter of various community organizations from serving on various local non-profit boards, to coaching youth sports, and working with youth at Atascadero Bible Church. Becky attended Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo from 1990-1995, where she studied Soil Science. She and her husband Randy (a local school teacher) reside in Templeton and have two daughters. Becky has a passion for people and believes wholeheartedly in investing in this community. She loves being a part of this community-wide grass roots effort and making a positive impact in the lives of others.

Our Partner Advisory Board is a dedicated group donating their time, talents, and treasures to bring our mission to life. They are the hands and feet of our organization. To learn about this dedicated group of people, click here.