Meet your 2024 Board Members
Click a name to see a photo and brief biography.
Grant Elliot, President
Jim Weatherford, Treasurer
Leslie Grimm, Webmaster
Phil Hawkins, SPECS Repeater Association
Stiv Ostenberg, Community Outreach Officer, Mountain View
Neil Katin, Secretary, Los Altos Hills
Lea Roberts, Director, Stanford
Jerry Thalls, Director, Sunnyvale
Rick Van Mell, Director, Mountain View
Grant Elliot, KK6FMQ
Grant is a Materials Scientist, obtaining his PhD at Stanford. He spent the bulk of his working life at HP where he published numerous scientific articles and became well known for his studies on the crystal growth of GaAs, the base material used for the manufacture of LEDs. He served for many years as President of the Western Section of the American Association for Crystal Growth and served a term as Vice President of the national society. In January of 1995 he took early retirement from HP and immersed himself in the study and practice of Fine Art Black and White Photography, doing some color work on the side. In early 2002 he began working part-time with his son’s company, CRC Inc. in Santa Clara, looking into ceramic materials for use in semiconductor processing equipment. He is still involved in that capacity. He has been an active CERT in Palo Alto since the sixth class of PANDA training in 2001. He got his ham license in July of 2013 and became involved with the AERES/RACES activity in Palo Alto. You can usually find him on the air Monday nights checking into or acting as net control of the Palo Alto and North Section of the SPECSNET. Grant and his wife Sharon are avid cyclists and actively involved with emergency preparedness/resource conservation in their neighborhood. Both their children live nearby, their son in Cupertino and their daughter in Ben Lomond. Their seven grandchildren range in age from 11 to 27.
Jim Weatherford, WU6K
Jim is a retired EE who worked on many hardware development programs as a Design Consultant for various companies. As an engineer, he understands the need to double-check the accuracy of inputs and calculations.
Shortly after Jim was licensed in 2014, he became involved with Mountain View ARES, and is now an Assistant Emergency Coordinator. He is a member of the Silicon Valley Volunteer Examiners team and helps administer ham license exams.
Jim also enjoys volunteering with food sorting and distribution for Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, and ushering for the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts and Theatreworks productions at Lucy Stern Theatre. He is a new member of SPECS and looks forward to learning more about the organization while serving as Treasurer.
Leslie Grimm, KK6EKN
Leslie is retired from a career of creating children’s educational software, though her original education was in biological science. She got hooked on emergency radio communications when she was training for CERT and observed that the radio position was the coolest one! She is the Emergency Coordinator for Mountain View ARES. She enjoys participating as a radio operator at public events in the area. She currently is webmaster for two of the art clubs she belongs to as well as the SPECS web site. She’s a student of watercolor, and also enjoys hiking, swimming, and biking.
Stiv Ostenberg K9STV
Director, Mountain View
Community Outreach Officer
Stiv worked in the Tech Industry as a Field/Sales/Operations Engineer. He picked up a ham license when it turned out some radio gear for a quadcopter he built had not been FCC approved but could be operated with a ham license. After getting his license, he found out about RACES/ARES and has been drifting into it ever since. He retired in 2018 and lived 6 months in South Korea and two years in a van travelling the U.S. The van has now been turned into a ham van, as he dreamed of having the first time he participated in a CERT drill.
Lea Roberts, WA6ITV
Lea is the Emergency Coordinator for Stanford.
Jerry Thalls, KG6HI
After retiring from a career in the semiconductor industry, Jerry became active in SARES. He served as the SARES Emergency Coordinator from 2013 to 2021. In addition to serving on the SPECS board he is a past president of the SARES-Repeater Group which owns the K6SNY Crystal Peak repeater located in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Loma Prieta. When not engaged in ham radio activities, Jerry and his wife enjoy traveling, hiking, TheaterWorks plays, watching movies and attending adult education classes at Santa Clara University.
Neil Katin, K2LL
Director, Los Altos Hills
Neil is a relatively recent ham, having gotten his license in 2014, as encouraged by his local CERT group. He is active in Los Altos Hills CERT and Emergency Communications committee, and is in the county ARES/RACES MAC program. Neil graduated many years ago with a EE degree and has been a software engineer in the valley ever since. He has three kids and lives in unincorporated land between Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.
Rick Van Mell, KI6PUR
Director, Mountain View
Rick is a retired Partner from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Management Consulting Practice with primary responsibility for providing operations improvement. He has particular skills in project management, organization staffing, budgeting, information technology, strategic planning, and acquisitions. Rick took Mountain View’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course in 2006, and became a Ham in 2008 (KI6PUR) and holds a GMRS license (WQGB729). As a volunteer for about 10 years from 2009 through 2019 he helped the MTV Office of Emergency Services Coordinator develop and teach the CERT class, design city-wide CERT exercises, teach earthquake preparedness for the Mountain View Whisman School District and the MTV Los Altos High School District, develop Neighborhood CERTs, and developed, using packet radio, the direct transmission of Neighborhood CERT damage assessment summary information to a projector in the MTV Emergency Operations Center. He has received many Volunteer Awards and Commendations for his service.
Rick has over 50 years of sailing experience in the U.S and abroad, and is a member of several sailing groups. He is the webmaster for www.Islander36.org. Rick has also been the Technical Director for Peninsula Youth Theater building sets for productions of Peter Pan, Seussical, Aladdin and Peter and the Starcatcher, plus technical assistant on Lion King and a Christmas Story.
Phil Hawkins KA6MZE
SPECS Repeater Association
First Licensed as a novice in 1980, I still retain my original call sign of KA6MZE. I have lived in the immediate area my entire life both initially in Cupertino, then Mountain View then back to Cupertino where I currently reside. Graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Sciences in Zoology from San Jose State University, then after that worked in the pharmaceutical field in Palo Alto at Incyte Genomics where I did the initial work on automated DNA sequencing and the human Genome project. I received my Master of Science degree in Molecular and Microbiology at San Jose State University and am currently employed as a lecturer at SJSU in the department of biological Science where I teach Microbiology and Evolutionary Biology. One of my lifelong interest of mine is aviation and have been a private pilot since 1992 and currently an owner/operator a Cessna 182 based at Palo Alto Airport.
With my interests in amateur radio, I have been the Radio Officer and Board member for Foothills Amateur Radio Society (FARS) since 2005, and every year I am responsible for setting up field day operations for FARS up at Maryknoll. My experience in radio is from operating 160 meters, HF, VHF and UHF using sideband and CW modes on all those bands. My current radio interests are in UHF (70 cm) weak signal DXing using tropospheric ducting. Also, some of my other radio interests are: satellite communications (AMSAT) working sideband VHF/UHF satellites, radio propagation and space-weather. With emergency preparedness and communications, in the early 2000’s, I was CERT trained in Mountain View and have been a member of SPECS since around 2006 or so.