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21st Century Technology for the Water and Climate Challenges of Today

We Bring Data to Life

Virga Labs is a mission-driven natural water and natural resource consulting firm, based in Tucson, Arizona. We focus on delivering integrated modeling, analysis, and data visualization tools to drive solutions to wicked problems at the intersection of water, climate, and society. 

 

We develop data-focused products at local and regional scales, ranging from public-facing dashboards with high traffic to smaller bespoke customer-specific analyses and tools. Our products are designed to support decision-making, understanding water-related climate risks, detailing economic impacts associated with climate risk, and visualization of potential solutions.

Meet The Team

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Lydia Bleifuss

Research Analyst

Lydia strives to bridge gaps between climate risk and climate action at scale. Shaped by her passion for moving water and watershed systems, Lydia is dedicated to grounding western conservation in modern data analyses and adaptive management tools. Lydia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lewis & Clark College targeted toward river development policy and corresponding social inequities, and a Masters of Environmental Science and Management from University of California Santa Barbara as a Sustainable Water Markets fellow specialized in water resources management and analysis. Before joining Virga Labs, Lydia worked with Trout Unlimited to support watershed restoration and climate resilience through engagement with agricultural communities and agency partners. When not mind-melding with the Virga Labs team, Lydia makes time for morale boosting activities such as scrambling around creek beds and tide pools or sewing accidentally asymmetric clothing.

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Wylie Hampson

Data Fellow

Wylie possesses an innate passion for environmental science and conservation, which fuels him to help combat the problems we are facing from climate change. While studying Biology at the University of Washington, Wylie worked with numerous organizations that emphasize the importance of protecting our planet, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, and the Washington Conservation Corps. Each of these experiences served as meaningful stepping stones in his conservation journey, and they ultimately inspired him to continue learning at the University of California Santa Barbara. Here at UCSB he was a member of the inaugural Environmental Data Science Masters program. Wylie is ecstatic to begin his new career at Virga Labs as a Data Fellow to help solve the conservation problems centered around the Colorado River. As a Washington State native, Wylie can be found skiing and backpacking in the mountains or cooking new recipes from all over the world.

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Maria Sevillano

Data Fellow

Maria recently completed a PhD in Civil Engineering at Northeastern University. In her latest research initiatives, she assessed microbial populations in drinking water systems through genome-centric metagenomic data analyses. She is passionate about data analytics and visualization,  particularly using R to translate results from statistical analyses into clear visuals. Through her role as a data fellow, she aims to increase her business acumen and acquire more analytical skills. She is based in Boston, MA and enjoys traveling, reading, and going on walks with her puppy.

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Audrey Butler

Director of Operations

Audrey has over a decade of experience working in water resource management throughout the west for private, public, and non-profit entities. Her experience and leadership have been focused on program development, strategic partnerships, driving growth, and building processes and tools for improved management and resilience.  Prior to joining Virga Labs, Audrey worked for Boulder County where she led the administration and management of the County’s water rights portfolio.  She earned her bachelor's degree in environmental science from Creighton University and will be pursuing her MBA at the University of Colorado in the fall. A native of western Colorado and a lover of all things west, in her spare time you can find her running the wild rivers of the western US and Alaska or maxing out in the sun with her beloved pup, Rossi.

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Stephen Holsenbeck

R and Shiny Developer

Stephen was compelled to join the team at Virga Labs because it presents an opportunity to serve a cause benefiting humans, animals, ecosystems, and life itself. Inspired by the urgency borne of the fragility and brevity of life, and gratitude for life lived in harmony with nature, Stephen brings his full being into the causes he cares about. He hopes to make waves with data that fosters clear, precise, and effective decision-making for the preservation of the Colorado River Basin. Whether it’s developing Shiny apps to stabilize water demand & supply, growing fruits & veggies, trail running, or cultivating intention and thoughtfulness through meditation and yoga, you can rest assured Stephen will dedicate himself to this work with compassion and vitality.

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Thomas Whitney

Associate Developer

Tommy is a recent graduate from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona with a Bachelors in Computer Science. He has focused recently on projects in the scope of climate change research and brings his programming experience and data analysis skills to help water conservation in the Western United States. He is passionate about climate justice and working on resources and tools that assist in restoration efforts. Born in Arizona, he grew up visiting the Grand Canyon and more recently hiking the many beautiful trails that lead to the Colorado river. After living in Vermont through his childhood, he is back living in Northern Arizona. When he is not searching Stack Overflow, he can be found disc golfing, climbing, biking, or camping in the back of his car.

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Natalie Coston

Data Scientist

Natalie aims to use her background in mathematics to better understand the challenging questions at the intersection of data and climate. After completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics with a focus in Environmental Science at Northern Arizona University, she received her Masters in Applied Mathematics and PhD in Theoretical Probability from the University of Colorado Boulder. Natalie spent three years building skills as a Data Scientist at Lumen Technologies before joining the team at Virga Labs where she can now put her knowledge to work by leveraging data to drive understanding of complex systems and enable actionable insights. Born and raised in Tucson, AZ and currently living in Broomfield, CO, Natalie has always called the southwest her home and is excited to work in the field she is passionate about. When she's not thinking about data, she enjoys spending time in the mountains and getting completely engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle.

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Season Martin

CEO

Season brings over ten years of experience to solving problems. She is driven by a deep sense of justice, a passion for wild places, and an aspiration to bridge design, data science and conservation to create game-changing solutions. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in geology and environmental studies from Whitman College; and a Masters of Environmental Science and Management with a specialization in Economics and Policy of the Environment from University of California Santa Barbara where she was a member of the first cohort of Sustainable Water Markets fellows. Prior to Virga Labs she served as the Water Projects and Sustainable Finance Director for The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado River Program, was a Restoration Coordinator at the Tamarisk Coalition. She resides in Tucson, AZ where she cultivates her cactus garden and enjoys gatherings to celebrate the desert.

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Keaton Wilson

Senior Data Scientist

Keaton has spent the last decade honing a data science toolkit that focuses on rigorous inference, aesthetic design, and programming fluency. Keaton earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Puget Sound and a PhD in Organismal Biology, Ecology and Evolution from the University of Montana. Prior to Virga Labs and Martin & McCoy, Keaton worked at the University of Arizona as both a research scientist and a National Institute of Health Postdoctoral Excellence in Research and Teaching (NIH PERT) fellow, where he worked on the spatial mapping of pollinators using open community science data and taught environmental science, data literacy and programming to students of all levels. He lives in Tucson, AZ and when he’s not embroiled in R code, he’s mixing up a batch of kimchi, playing some jazz, or mountain biking out on one of the Sonoran Desert’s beautiful trails. 

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