Our Management Team

Our team consists of experienced professionals who enjoy the challenges of finding solutions for complex issues. We value the unique experiences, strengths, and perspective each individual brings to the team.


Founding Principal

Chris Blandford

In 2008, Chris, along with two other original founders, launched Ironwood. At the time, they saw a need for a biological consultant group that was strong on science and integrity, that understood the needs of clients to move forward with projects, but required a company with a deep understanding of their businesses to guide them through tough regulatory processes. For him, Ironwood was there to provide solutions to the inevitable roadblocks along the way. In doing so, he created a company that was nimble enough to navigate the vast landscape of biological resource management, impact assessments, regulatory permitting, and compliance monitoring.

In the 12 years since the founding of Ironwood, Chris has built a talented core staff of dedicated specialist to shepherd projects to their completion. In his free time, he enjoys surfing.



Lehong Chow

In 2008, one year after a two-year Peace Corps commitment in Togo, Lehong began working as a field biologist for a small biological consulting firm – Ironwood. Today, she is a Principal of the company. In the years between, she consulted for environmental firms large and small, working with multiple special status species. She has a good understanding of field needs because it was an important part of her professional experience and uses that experience to identify potential problems before they occur.

Lehong leads a focused and committed staff dedicated to striking the right balance between client needs, regulator expectations, and protecting natural resources. Communication is as important to her as finding creative solutions that will meet those criteria. During her downtime, she enjoys sampling and attempting to cook world cuisines.


Emily Thorn

In 2008, Emily was finishing her M.S. in Environmental Science and about to start a Ph.D. program in Environmental Sociology, while working as a rangeland ecologist on tribal lands in Montana and New Mexico. One year later, Emily met Chris at a Desert Tortoise Council Symposium. Ten years after that, she started working for Ironwood. Today, she is a Principal of Ironwood. Her education and hands-on experience have taught her that successful natural resource management requires understanding ecological, social, and economic interdependence. For common good and common purpose, Emily facilitates civil and productive conversations about the importance of project impact mitigation and habitat restoration. She sees thoughtful project planning and resource conservation as two sides of the same coin.

Using her multi-disciplinary background in rangeland and wetland ecology, regulatory permitting, and social science/public participation, Emily forges socioeconomic and environmental justice ideals into a workable plan through the planning and permitting processes. During her downtime, she can be found in the mountains skiing, running, or paddle boarding with her dog Iris.