Steve Burns was born in Germany and as is typical for an “army brat” he lived all over the world (Japan, Philippines and Washington DC) before his family settled in Half Moon Bay California. He attended California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo because of the schools legendary “Learn by doing” philosophy. With degrees in Agricultural Business Management and Animal Science he entered the world of agriculture as the Northwest Regional Manager for the American Angus Association, coordinating all association activities in 11 western states. From 1984 to 1998, Burns was special assistant to Governor George Deukmejian, participating in California’s expansion in opening trade and investment offices around the world.
Since then Burns has become well known in the American wine industry for his contributions as the Washington State Wine Commission Executive Director, serving from 1996-2004. He was concurrently the Executive Director of the Washington Wine Institute, the lobbying association of the state’s wine industry. During his tenure in the Pacific Northwest, Burns started America’s first Wine Tourism Taskforce which resulted in unprecedented cooperation between the Evergreen states two largest industries, which continues today.
In 2004, Burns left the Pacific Northwest and returned home to California to create O’Donnell Lane L.L.C., a marketing, public relations and strategic planning firm that specializes in association and non-profit re-alignment as well as board development and management. Past clients include the Sonoma County Vintners, Growers and Tourism Agencies, The Mendocino Wine and Tourism Boards as well as the California Wine Institute and their work with the California Travel and Tourism Commission on the recently launched Land of Food and Wine Campaign. O’donnell lane L.L.C. is based in Sonoma County, California USA.
Josh Heiser was born in Los Angeles, California but raised in rural Washington State (Walla Walla). From a construction industry family, Josh has been designing projects and installations for most of his life. Versed at stagecraft, visual merchandising, interior design, event creation/design/coordination, landscaping and construction; Josh has a can do approach and attitude. He has lived and worked in the 4 corners of the United States (Seattle, Los Angeles, New York and Miami) as well as Milan Italy.
Josh is the co-founder and partner in O’donnell lane, llC formed 2004. O’donnell lane, llC Specializes in strategic planning, event design/management, marketing and communications for the wine industry.
Rebecca Johnson joined the team at O’Donnell-Lane, LLC in 2012 as an event producer. After a career as an elementary school teacher in northern California, she began planning events for private wineries in 2003.
Her work with O’Donnell-Lane, LLC has offered her the opportunity to work with clients such as Sunset Magazine, Washington State Wine and Wine Business Monthly. Whether it is an event for 25 wine writers of 250 sommeliers, Rebecca is confident, easy going and fun-loving and creates spectacular events by combining attention to detail with great communication. She is highly respected by both vendors and clients, and has a true passion for planning.
Originally from Hawaii, Rebecca now calls Sonoma home. Her hobbies include hiking, playing tennis, taking Zumba classes. She unwinds by sharing a great bottle of wine or trying new restaurants with friends, and spending time with her husband and two daughters.
Born in northern California, the youngest of nine children, Katie developed a strong curiosity for other cultures of the world. She received her B.A. in Spanish and Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, spending one year abroad in Santiago, Chile. There, her desire to pursue a professional future in the wine industry became clear. After graduation, she moved to Spain where she taught English for three years in the city of Logroño, teaching by day and tasting Rioja wines by night. She then moved to Dijon, France to earn her M.Sc. degree in Wine Business, since when she has also been awarded the WSET Level 4 Diploma.
Following her studies, she moved to the UK where she focused on wine retail and writing, contributing to leading UK wine trade publication Harpers Wine & Spirit. She then moved back to California to work in marketing and communications for Wilson Daniels – representing wineries including Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine Leflaive, Kumeu River, and Schramsberg Vineyards – before moving on to Paul Hobbs Wines. Beyond her commercial experience, Katie worked a year in the cellar in Napa Valley as well as harvests in Burgundy and Chile. In 2018, Katie joined the team at O’donnell Lane LLC, driving communications and strategic planning for an elite portfolio of clients.