Sam Irvine- Founder

Sam is one of the original co-founders of Upstream Ideas.  Based in San Francisco,  he works on sustainable management projects both for , the and the San Francisco Public Utility Commission. His work focuses on finding actionable solutions to climate change through environmental policy analysis, stakeholder engagement and coalition building both in the public and private sector. 

Jesse Van Mouwerik- Founder


Jesse co-founded Upstream Ideas with Sam Irvine in 2013 and designed the site’s logo. Currently working in Berlin as an , Jesse also writes for lifestyle and foreign policy publications, where he examines the effect of   on international issues. His  adorns the walls of private residences in Los Angeles, New York, Portland, and Berlin.

Kelsey Waters- Columnist and Chief Editor

Upstream Ideas Staff Photo

Kelsey joined the Upstream team in January 2015 and resides in Los Angeles. Kelsey is passionate about writing of all genres—everything from creative works to investigative reporting. She was employed at a local newspaper in the San Gorgonio Pass area for two years, and now works for an advertising media company. Kelsey is an avid reader and news binger. As a columnist and chief editor, she offers in-depth analysis of Southern California’s most pressing political, economic and cultural issues.

Ben Hill- Columnist


Ben enlisted in the ranks of Upstream Ideas as a columnist in the spring of 2015. He currently resides in Berlin, where he’s been cutting his teeth as a freelance writer, editor, and translator. His lofty aspirations, e.g. attaining enlightenment, transcendence, and inner harmony, are complemented by his desire to prove the utility of a philosophy major, compelling him (on occasion) to come out from his contemplative shell and write something down.