Exterior shot of OHS Portland Campus building

Leadership Staff

Sharon Harmon

President & CEO

Sharon has been a professional in the field of animal care and welfare for 39 years. She has helped lead Oregon Humane Society, the state’s largest and oldest animal protection organization, for 31 years and has served as its President and CEO since 1998. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Zoology (Pre-Vet Med) from Oregon State University, a Certificate in Nonprofit Business and Management from Johns Hopkins University, and is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA).

She has served on the Banfield Shelter Advisory Committee and chaired the National Federation of Humane Societies Board of Directors. Recipient of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Humane Award for 2008, she is currently serving on the Board of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and is on the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine Advisory Council.

Brian August

Chief Operating Officer

Brian August is the Chief Operating Officer for Oregon Humane Society.  Before joining OHS, Brian spent nearly two decades as a strategy and operations leader in industries ranging from aerospace to wine and consumer products. 

At OHS, Brian leads the teams responsible for shelter and medical operations, finance, marketing, development, people and culture and IT. His focus on growth and development at all levels in the organization has helped build a team that is highly sought after for operational and strategic advice as well as disaster response capabilities.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University, a Masters of Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) and serves on the Board of Directors as Treasurer for Shelter Animals Count.

Stephen Kochis, DVM

Chief Medical Officer

Photo of Steve Kochis with dog

Dr. Kochis has served for nearly 25 years in various positions in veterinary medicine, including Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital and VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists. His veterinary specialties include infectious diseases, immunology and emergency medicine.

As Chief Medical Officer at OHS, Dr. Kochis oversees a team of more than 100 veterinary professionals who serve pets and people at the Community Veterinary Hospital, and care for shelter pets in the medical centers at the Portland and Salem Campus.

Dr. Kochis received his Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences and DVM from Cornell University. He served on the OHS Board of Directors for three years until he joined the staff. He has served as President of the Portland Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) and currently serves on its Executive Board.

Chase Patterson

Vice President,
Shelter Operations

In his role at Oregon Humane Society, Chase oversees a staff of close to 150 animal welfare professionals in four departments at the Portland and Salem campuses – Admissions, Animal Care, Customer Care, and Training & Behavior. Collectively, these programs serve close to 25,000 pets each year. Operations focuses on lifesaving efforts locally and nationally, via collaboration, education and compassion for the animals and people in need.

Prior to OHS, Chase served in a senior management role with Wells Fargo Bank managing cross functional initiatives in a financial and sales environment.

Jennifer Baumann

Vice President,
Development

Following 20 years of working with donors in the areas of education and health care, Jennifer joined Oregon Humane Society in July, 2016 and is responsible for the annual fund, special projects and major gift fundraising.

She is a highly motivated and donor-centric development professional who thrives on sharing a vision, building relationships, and connecting donors with their philanthropic interests. Working closely with Sharon Harmon and the Campaign Cabinet, Jennifer has led OHS’s New Road Ahead capital campaign.

Jennifer earned a BA in English Literature and a MPA with a concentration in non-profit management from Portland State University.

Gary Kish

Vice President,
Legacy Gifts

Gary Kish

At OHS, Gary leads a team whose members are committed to ensuring financial stability and providing exceptional donor stewardship. Gary has implemented a broad and diverse array of programs including planned giving, direct mail, monthly giving, a retail store, vehicle donation program and other strategies that have created a very stable, private donation funding base. During his tenure at OHS the donor base has grown from 2,500 contributors to more than 88,000.

In response to the needs of pet owners, Gary founded the OHS Friends Forever care-of-surviving-pets program in 1995. The program has evolved as OHS championed the passage of two Oregon laws which facilitate including pets in estate plans. Gary has assisted hundreds of people in creating plans for their pets.

James Jacobus

Vice President,
Marketing & External Affairs

Photo of James Jacobus holding a shelter kitten

James has extensive experience in marketing, organization leadership, fundraising and technology. Throughout his career he has developed marketing programs designed to reach multiple communities, with a focus on historically underserved groups. Prior to joining OHS, James held leadership positions at YMCA in California and worked for many years in graphic design.

In his role as Vice President of Marketing and External Affairs, James oversees several departments including volunteer engagement, humane education, corporate relations, community outreach and events, communications, and marketing. He also plays a key role in OHS’ legislative strategy and advocacy work.

Debbie Rilling

Vice President,
Finance

Photo of Debbie Rilling holding a cat

Debbie is a CPA with an extensive career in Finance and Operations leadership across multiple industries, including public accounting, optometric services, veterinary services, manufacturing and retail. Most of Debbie’s 30+ year career has been in start-up and entrepreneurial organizations, helping those organizations reach their full potential. Debbie brings 10+ years of veterinary services experience with Banfield, The Pet Hospital, holding a variety of executive leadership positions; VP Operations, VP Finance, VP Veterinary Selection/Development, and VP Planning.  She loves animals and is very committed to the OHS mission.

Debbie earned her Bachelor of Science degree from University of Illinois and is originally from the Chicago area, but has been in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years.

Jessica Carl

Vice President,
People & Culture

Jessica has considerable experience as an human resources executive within the non-profit sector.  These experiences include guiding organizations through crises, cultivating authentic and inclusive environments, and building cross functional partnerships to promote the well-being of the  organization’s people.  In addition, Jessica believes in the power of using qualitative and quantitative data and people demographics to spur deep conversations and organizational examination, as well as strengthen the organization’s ability to realize its objectives, including greater

diversity, equity, and inclusion across all functions.

Prior to joining OHS, Jessica held key-leadership roles with Mercy Corps, an international, non-governmental organization.

Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, reading, farmer’s markets and spoiling her two Dachshunds, Yogi & Boo-Boo and OHS Second-Chance kitty, Hank.