Presenter Biographies

Presenter Biographies


Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito was sworn in for a second term as the 72nd
Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on January 3, 2019, after a first term, focused on moving Massachusetts forward through bipartisan, results-driven leadership.

Since taking office with Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito has visited and partnered with leadership in all 351 of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns, signing Community Compact agreements with every municipality on more than 800 smarter ways to deliver services. Additionally, under her leadership, the Seaport Economic Council has directed more focus and support to helping coastal communities address their unique challenges and economic opportunities.Lt. Governor Polito has worked closely with local officials to encourage housing production through the Housing Choice Initiative, improve roadways, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, pathways, and intersections through the Complete Streets program, and invest in on-the-ground, proactive projects to address climate change impacts through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program.

As co-chair of the STEM Advisory Council, Lt. Governor Polito has encouraged further opportunities in STEM education to inspire more students to get involved in these important fields and better connect them to good careers.As chair of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, Lt. Governor Polito and a diverse team of professionals have brought innovative approaches to combating domestic violence.

Lt. Governor Polito is a lifelong resident of Shrewsbury where she owns and operates a commercial real estate development firm and lives with her husband, Stephan M. Rodolakis, and their two children.

U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree, 1st District Maine

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree represents Maine’s 1st District and is a national leader in climate policy. Living on the offshore island of North Haven, Chellie has been recognized for her leadership in helping coastal communities address threats to their future. In Congress, Chellie is an advocate for advancing federal policy to better support the blue economy and sustainable fisheries and protect our oceans. In the 117th Congress, Chellie was named Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. In this role, she continues her focus on addressing the climate crisis, creating good-paying jobs, and fostering equity. Chellie also serves on the House Agriculture Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies.


Robert Brown III, Project Manager of Youth Maritime Collaborative

Robert Brown III is the Project Manager of the Youth Maritime Collaborative. He was born and raised in Seattle, WA and studied at the University of Washington where he earned his B.A in Psychology. Robert began his maritime journey with SSA Marine as a Strategy & Operations intern. As the Youth Maritime Collaborative Program Manager, Robert acts as a liaison between maritime employers and the striving youthful workforce. He works closely with the youth organizations and employers to create a more equitable and accessible pathway for underserved populations to land a career in the maritime industry. His shared lived experiences with youth he serves enables him to tighten the opportunity gap for students furthest away from maritime access. In his free time, Robert coaches middle school basketball and loves to travel with his family and dog.

Ben Conniff, Co-Founder + Chief Innovation Officer of Luke’s Lobster

Ben Conniff co-founded Luke’s Lobster, a Maine sustainable seafood company buying directly from fishermen to supply their restaurant group, branded grocery business, and direct-to-consumer online market. Luke’s is a Certified B Corp and has the highest B Corp score of any restaurant group or seafood company in the US. Ben has worn almost every hat through Luke’s Lobster’s evolution, but currently focuses on the brand’s innovation, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility. He’s the author of Real Maine Food: 100 Plates from Fishermen, Farmers, Pie Champs, and Clam Shacks, and has also written for Saveur, Food 52, GQ, Smithsonian, Yankee, and Tasting Table. Ben sits on the board of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative and the Maine Business Immigration Coalition, and is an advisor to many startup food and beverage companies. He lives in Portland, Maine, with his wife and dog.

Seth Lattrell, Port Authority Deputy & Harbor Planner, City of Salem

As Port Authority Deputy and harbor planner for the City of Salem, Seth Lattrell manages Salem’s waterfront planning efforts and is the City’s lead for coordinating the redevelopment of Salem Harbor as the State’s second major offshore wind port through a public-private partnership with Crowley and Avangrid Renewables. Seth represents the city in all things related to offshore wind, including workforce development, community engagement, and supply chain development efforts. Seth has nearly a decade of experience in coastal development, having previously worked as a consultant managing environmental permitting efforts for a wide array of complex urban and coastal projects throughout the Commonwealth on behalf of private developers, municipalities, and state agencies, as well as infrastructure and energy projects. Seth resides in Ipswich and holds a B.A. in Maritime Studies from the University of Connecticut.

Dominique Seibert, Marine Extension Agent, Louisiana Sea Grant

Dominique Seibert works for Louisiana Sea Grant, specializing in fisheries and coastal issues. A Louisiana native, Dominique began her career working as a species specialist for the U.S. Coast Guard during the BP Oil Spill and for the ​Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as a marine biologist. She now works in St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes (the toe of the Louisiana boot) and focuses on sustainable fishing, direct to consumer markets, youth development, resiliency, and coastal restoration projects. In this position, she ​frequently leads programing for young adult education in workforce development. She provides training and materials to those looking to advance their fishery business practices, improve seafood handling, and develop ecotourism. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Ecology, Environment, and Evolution from Southeastern Louisiana University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Louisiana State University.

MODERATOR: Natalie Springuel, Marine Extension Program Leaders at University of Maine Sea Grant

Natalie Springuel is Marine Extension Program Leader at the University of Maine Sea Grant program, with an extension office based at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. Sea Grant is a partnership between U.Maine and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), supporting marine science for Maine people. Springuel’s program areas address working waterfronts and coastal access, fisheries heritage, aquaculture, and sustainable tourism planning. She is a core collaborator with the Mapping Ocean Stories project, coordinator of the Downeast Fisheries Trail, co-founder of the National Working Waterfront Network, and host of the award-winning public affairs show on WERU Community Radio called Coastal Conversations. She often serves as a neutral facilitator in coastal community discussions and supports open dialogue around challenging coastal issues.

Concurrent Session Speakers

Rachel Bratton, University of Massachusetts Boston

Rachel Bratton is a graduate research assistant at the University of Massachusetts Boston pursuing a Masters in Environmental Science. Through her research, Rachel strives to tell stories at the intersection of fisheries policy, conservation, and marine technology. Rachel holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Sam Belknap, Island Institute

Sam Belknap is a Senior Community Development Officer at the Island Institute and an impact-driven advocate for Maine’s blue economy and working waterfronts. As a third-generation lobstermen, Sam has an intimate knowledge of Maine’s marine sectors. He has operated his own boat and run his family’s lobster wharf where they bought and sold lobsters and processed lobster and crab meat. Trained as both an anthropologist and a climate scientist, his academic and professional pursuits have focused on the intersection of Maine’s blue economy and the impacts of climate change.

Natalie Beard, SWA Houston Studio

Natalia Beard is a Principal at the SWA Houston Studio. She leads design on large visionary planning projects and highly detailed installations in the US and internationally. Much of Natalia’s work focuses on the issues of urban resiliency and infrastructure. She leads teams that interface with multiple agencies and engage communities for well-thought-out authentic project outcomes. Her work negotiates the dynamic confluence of industry, transportation networks, ecological systems, and cultural places for diverse communities. Natalia is passionate about elevating cultural significance of places through the interpretive power of art and authentic community expression. Be it an urban, industrial, or post-industrial context, she prioritizes maximizing the effects of design by grounding it in research of cultural and historical heritage of sites and people that inhabit them.

Katy Blend, NERACOOS and New Hampshire Sea Grant

Katy Bland is the Engagement and Research Associate at the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) and New Hampshire Sea Grant, focusing on the needs of both organizations in light of Offshore Renewable Energy developments.

Joshua Brown, NOAA National Sea Grant Office

Joshua joined the National Sea Grant Office as a Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in 2009, working on sustainable coastal development and community resilience. He stayed with Sea Grant after his fellowship, continuing to focus developing programs to support community resilience. Building on this background, Joshua transitioned to focus on Sea Grant’s activities in environmental literacy and workforce development, as these are the foundation upon which strong communities are built. In this role, he is privileged to work with the Sea Grant Educators’ Network, extension staff, fellowship programs, and the broader NOAA education community.

 Richard Burroughs, University of Rhode Island 

Professor Burroughs teaches in the Department of Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island. His work focuses on how people organize and manage their activities on the coast and ocean as represented in his recent book Coastal Governance (Island Press). His articles on coasts and oceans have appeared in Marine Policy, Coastal Management Journal, Journal of Urban Technology, Maritime Policy and Management, Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, Local Environment, Society and Natural Resources, Environmental Management, Marine Geology, and Science. He looks forward to visiting many working waterfronts in New England with his 42 year old motorboat.

Rex Caffey, Louisiana State University AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant

Dr. Rex Caffey is a Professor of Natural Resource Economics in the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. He is the founding director of the LSU Center for Natural Resource Economics & Policy. He also serves as Director of the Marine Extension Advisory Program for the AgCenter and the Louisiana Sea Grant Program. Dr. Caffey’s research and extension programs focus on the economics and policy of coastal wetlands and fisheries in Louisiana and the northern Gulf region.

Aaron Clausen, AICP, City of Lynn

Aaron has been a practicing planner for over 14 years with a broad range of experience among the various planning disciplines; land use, housing, transportation, and economic development among others. Throughout his career he has worked in the municipal setting from small to mid-sized cities. Aaron has served as the Principal Planner for the City of Lynn since early 2020, where the City Planner position has been vacant for over two decades. His role is to assist the City in enhancing capacity, understanding, and execution of City Planning processes. He seeks to ensure meaningful engagement with the residents, businesses and other stakeholders throughout the City in formulating planning documents and carrying out policy implementation.  Aaron approaches planning processes from a comprehensive perspective, seeking to integrate actions that meet a wide-ranging set of goals.

Monique Coombs, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association

The Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association is an industry-driven non-profit working to restore the fisheries in the Gulf of Maine and sustain Maine’s fishing communities for future generations. As the Director of Community Programs, Monique runs projects focused on the Working Waterfront and Fishermen Wellness. She has been with the organization for seven years. Prior to MCFA, Monique did consulting work with fishing industry organizations. She is married to a fisherman and has two kids with their student lobster licenses. They live in Harpswell, Maine.

Hugh Cowperthwaite, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI)

Hugh is responsible for CEI’s Sustainable Fisheries & Aquaculture Program which involves coordinating lending, business counseling and technical assistance with commercial fishermen, shellfish growers and waterfront businesses that maintain commercial fishing access. In 2005 he helped launch and administer the Maine Working Waterfront Access Protection Program (WWAPP) a state bond funded program to preserve important commercial fishing and aquaculture access properties along the Maine coast whereby the properties future development rights are extinguished through the sale of a working waterfront covenant. After a period of dormancy, the WWAPP effort has recently been recapitalized and in search of new properties to protect. Hugh is engaged in state, regional, and national networks to help foster investment into the sector. Hugh is a member of the Maine Technology Institute’s Aquaculture and Marine Technology Board, the Maine Fishermen’s Forum Board, the Maine Sea Grant Policy Advisory Committee, and the Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy.

Linda D’Anna, Coastal Studies Institute

Dr. Linda D’Anna is the Research Associate for Coastal Human Dimensions at the Coastal Studies Institute and Associate Director of the Outer Banks Field Site, an undergraduate program-in-residence of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Linda is an ecologist with training and experience in both the natural and social sciences. Her research centers on how social and cultural considerations can contribute to our understanding of coastal and marine systems, with a focus on values, well-being, and resilience. Utilizing a mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches, her work relies on stakeholder engagement techniques to address a range of topics affecting coastal communities including ecological restoration, aquaculture, coastal hazards, and marine renewable energy. 

Michael DiMeo, Town of Marshfield,

Michael A. DiMeo, CDR USCGR (RET) -Police Officer for the Town of Marshfield since 1995 -Appointed as Harbormaster & Shellfish constable in 2007 -Duties include managing day-to-day marine operations, waterways planning, budgeting, grant writing, Commercial pier operations, maintenance dredging, and supporting of Town’s Emergency Operations Center -USCG Active duty 1989-1993, USCG Reserve 1993-2021. Retired as a Commander -USCG Licensed Merchant Mariner since 1992 100-ton License -BS in Law Enforcement, University of Western New England -MS in Criminal Justice Administration, University of Western New England -Completed multiple tours of USCG Small Boat Stations and Medium Endurance Cutters, Intelligence, Naval Engineering, and Response & Prevention Departments. Completed tour as FEMA Region 1 Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer, with numerous Incident Command System Certifications -Appointed to the State of Massachusetts Port Professionals Committee in 2016. The Port Professionals Committee is part of the State Seaport Economic Council (SEC)

Ceasar Duarte, New Bedford Port Authority

Ceasar joined the New Bedford Port Authority at the beginning of 2019 as the Director of Operations and Engineering.  For past few years, Ceasar has been instrumental in the Port of New Bedford’s revitalization.  Having a strong engineering, project and construction management educational and employment background, Ceasar’s responsibilities at the Port include coordinating, organizing and managing all maintenance, construction, inspection, dredging and engineering activities of the Authority.  He is also a vital part of the Port’s team supervising all city-owned waterfront properties (21 commercial properties, ferry and cruise docks, municipal fishing piers and offloading docks, 198 slip marina, parking areas and boat ramps.)

Ceasar holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth and has acquired several certifications including, but not limited to, Maritime Port Executive (MPE)from the International Association of Maritime and Port Executives (IAMPE).

The Port of New Bedford is the highest grossing commercial fishing port in the U.S., with more than $11B in economic output and 7,000 direct jobs and almost 40,000 total jobs supported. This contributes to approximately 2 to 3% of Massachusetts’ existing GDP. The port is anticipating significant growth in vessel traffic over the coming years with expansion in several different sectors including becoming a hub for offshore wind (OSW).

John Duff, University of Massachusetts Boston

John Duff is a professor of environmental law and policy in the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  He received his J.D. from Suffolk University and his LL.M. from the University of Washington.  He also holds degrees in Business and Journalism.  He has worked as a newspaper reporter and radio production associate; an attorney in private practice; general counsel to a marine conservation organization; and, served as president of The Coastal Society. He teaches, researches and writes on issues of ocean and coastal management, planning and land use law, environmental policy, and natural resource management.  His research has been employed by legislative committees; cited by state supreme courts; and, integrated into executive branch analyses and reports. 

Jynessa Dutka-Gianelli, Gloucester Marine Station University of Massachusetts Amherst

Jynessa is a research scientist in the Department of Environmental Conservation, based full-time at the Gloucester Marine Station. She works with integrative fisheries sciences and human dimension of fisheries, engaging local communities and fishing industry partners using participatory research tools; evaluation of management strategies and impacts on fisheries and livelihoods, and initiatives to enhance resources conservation, sustainability, and resilience. Her previous work includes coastal fisheries research in Florida and small-scale fisheries in the Brazilian Amazon.

 James Fawcett, University of Southern California (USC) Environmental Studies Program and USC Sea Grant 

James Fawcett is the Director of Marine Science and Policy for the USC Sea Grant Program and is Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies with the USC Environmental Studies Program. He has a long history of research and outreach in the fields of coastal management and marine environmental policy and for the past two decades has devoted much of his work to public policy research in the realm of marine transportation and seaports. With an academic background as an urbanist and a history as a naval officer and a former planning director, he views his neighboring seaports at Los Angeles and Long Beach from the dual perspectives of mariner and planner.

Bryan Fluech, University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant

Bryan Fluech has served as the Associate Marine Extension Director for the University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant Program since December 2015. Based out of Brunswick, Bryan is responsible for providing leadership and coordinating Marine Extension activities across the state with academic, management, industry, and community partners. His extension programs specifically focus on marine fisheries, and coastal tourism with the goal of promoting the economic, cultural, and environmental health of Georgia’s coast. Bryan has over 16 years of experience as a Sea Grant Extension Agent in Georgia and Florida, where he has engaged diverse stakeholders to conduct applied research, outreach, and extension programming.

Gwendolyn Gallagher, New York Sea Grant

Gwendolyn Gallagher is the Coastal Climate Specialist at New York Sea Grant, whose portfolio includes offshore renewable energy development and marine climate change topics such as ocean acidification and carbon cycling. Jennifer McCann, representing URI/CRC and Rhode Island Sea Grant, provides technical support locally and internationally on blue economy and integrated coastal resources management to government decision makers, the private sector, and the public. Claire Hodson is Rhode Island Sea Grant’s first Offshore Wind Energy Extension Agent. She combines her communication and outreach expertise with her Block Island Wind Farm experience implementing social science and serving as a mate for a charter fishing boat to respond to the needs of Rhode Island communities. Katy Bland is the Engagement and Research Associate at New Hampshire Sea Grant and the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS), focusing on the needs of both organizations regarding Offshore Renewable Energy developments.

Gerald Gast, University of Oregon and Gast Hillmer Urban Design

Gerald Gast is an architect, urban designer and Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Oregon in Portland. He taught in the Urban Studies Program at Stanford University from 1982-2012, authoring the two core courses in urban design.Gast has been responsible for waterfront urban projects for the City and County of San Diego, City of Redwood City, Califoirnia. During the past ten years he has completed studies of the Willamette River waterfront in Portland and led waterfront research efforts of graduate students at the University of Oregon, including the publication “Healthy Working Waterfronts” sponsored by the City of Portland Office of Healthy Working Rivers. Gast is currently working on education projects in Ukraine and Colombia.

Vito Giacalone, Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund

Vito is the executive director of the Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund, a nonprofit Fund founded in 2007 with a mission to preserve and promote awareness of Gloucester’s fisheries. The Fund assists the local fishing sectors by providing affordable access to fishing quotas. The Fund purchased groundfish permits to be held for the Gloucester fishing-community. The privileges associated with those permits are distributed to the fleet  that has historically supported the port infrastructure. The goal of the permit bank is to produce substantial and recurring economic benefits to the port of Gloucester for years to come.

Vito is a founding board member of the Northeast Seafood Coalition and has served as the organization’s policy advisor since its inception. Vito is a third generation Gloucester fisherman and owner of the Fisherman’s Wharf property within Gloucester’s Designated Port Area. Three of his sons own and operate Fisherman’s Wharf Gloucester LLC seafood offloading, display auction and distribution business on the property.

Kathryn Glenn, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management

Kathryn Glenn is the North Shore Regional Coordinator for the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, where she has been providing technical assistance on a wide variety of coastal management issues to coastal communities from Revere to Salisbury for over twenty years. She works with North Shore communities on waterfront and resiliency planning, coordinates local and regional initiatives, serves as a liaison between federal and state programs and municipalities, reviews coastal projects through MEPA, and performs Federal Consistency review for coastal North Shore projects. Kathryn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from UMass Amherst and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies/Environmental Biology from Antioch University New England.

Peter Halmay, San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group

Education Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) ’63 McGill University, Montreal, Quebec Experience 1963-1970 Consulting Engineer (Dames and Moore and others) 1970-1975 Commercial fisherman (abalone, lobster, finfish) 1975-present sea urchin diver Sea Urchin Harvesters Association CA Sea Urchin Fishery Advisory Committee California Sea Urchin Commission Sea Urchin Defense Trust Fund California Fisheries Coalition SD Harbor Safety Committee (OSPR) Sea Otter Recovery Implementation Team At-sea Sampling Program Coordinator San Diego Provider Pals San Diego Watermen’s Association Of So Ca Fisheries/Cable Liaison Committee San Diego Kelp Bed Products San Diego Fishermen’s working Group San Diego Seafood Harvesters LLC Partner Fishermen’s Marketing Association of San Diego Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

Kevin Hively, Ninigret Partners LLC

Kevin Hively is President and founder of Ninigret Partners. His firm has served as lead consultant and team member for a range of working waterfront planning projects across the Northeast and Midwest. He has also been the lead for a number of Blue Economy economic development projects. Prior to forming Ninigret Partners, he was a member of the Global Leadership Team at Telesis, the strategy consulting arm of Towers Perrin. While at Telesis, he worked on a range of projects including looking at revenue diversification options for the Panama Canal Commission. Before Telesis he was Director of Policy for the Governor of RI where he led an internal team evaluating port development at Quonset.

Elisabeth Hamin Infield, University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Northeast Center for Coastal Resilience

Dr. Hamin Infield is the Professor of Regional Planning. She teaches and researches land use planning, with a focus on climate change adaptation planning. Through studios and projects, she works with regional planning agencies and communities on master plans, special projects, and climate change planning. She served as Department Chair (4 yrs) and Planning (PhD) program director (10 yrs). Her most recent book is Planning for Climate Change: A Reader in Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Design for Resilient Cities (2019, Routledge Press). Dr. Hamin’s core research falls into two areas: research on local governments and land use planning for climate change and growth management policy and regionalism. Before UMass, Dr. Hamin Infield taught at Iowa State University. She worked in land use and energy consulting during her PhD, and previously she worked in real estate consulting and development, providing financial and marketing analysis to major US developers.

Courtney Humphries, University of Massachusetts Boston

Courtney Humphries recently earned her PhD in environmental sciences at UMass Boston, where she was a fellow in the school’s NSF-sponsored Coasts and Communities Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT). Her dissertation research focused on waterfront infrastructure history and climate adaptation. She will be a Visiting Assistant Professor/Core Fellow at Boston College, beginning Fall 2022. Courtney is also an award-winning journalist and author who writes about ideas and developments in science, nature, and the built environment. She is a former Knight Science Journalism Fellow and has a masters degree in science writing from MIT.

Keri Kaczor, Maine Sea Grant

Keri Kaczor- Environmental Literacy/Workforce Development Program Manager. Since 2003, Keri has worked on ecosystem health monitoring and restoration, science literacy, and economic and community development projects in Maine. Keri supports current programs/projects and helps to build new opportunities that enable a scientifically literate public and a skilled and ready workforce. The position also brings cross-sector partners together in peer- to- peer learning communities, and serves as an honest-broker, providing science-based information to support healthy coastal communities and economies. She also serves as the Maine Sea Grant education liaison in state, regional and national education initiatives. Keri holds a B.S. in Zoology and Biological Aspects of Conservation, as well an Environmental Studies Certificate from UW-Madison, and holds an M.S. in Marine Policy from the University of Maine.

Paul Kirshen, University of Massachusetts Boston and Stone Living Lab

Paul Kirshen is Professor in the School for the Environment at University of Massachusetts Boston, the Founding Director of the Stone Living Lab, which conducts research on the biophysical and socio-economic performance of nature-based systems for coastal flood risk reduction and ecosystem restoration in Boston Harbor and other areas, and is on the Executive Committee of the Northeast Center for Coastal Resilience. He has more than 40 years of experience serving as Principal Investigator of complex, interdisciplinary, participatory research related to water resources, coastal zone, and infrastructure management, and climate variability and change. He received his ScB in Engineering from Brown University and his MS and PhD in Civil Engineering from MIT.

 Joe Lucente, Ohio State University and Ohio Sea Grant College Program

Lucente is a faculty member in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences with primary assignment responsibility to the Ohio Sea Grant College Program in the Ohio Lake Erie watershed composed of thirty-four counties in Ohio. The Ohio Sea Grant College Program is a statewide program that supports greater knowledge and stewardship of Lake Erie and the Great Lakes. Lucente’s educational programming and delivery is designed to provide education and research in community and economic development in collaboration with Lake Erie watershed clientele (local government organizations, non-profit organizations, private sector corporations and general citizens), state and federal agencies through a combination of research, outreach, and education in partnership with academia, government and the private sector focusing on the economy, society and environment.

Randall Lyons, Massachusetts Marine Trades Association

Randall Lyons has had the pleasure of working in the Massachusetts recreational boating industry for the last 25 years starting in a seasonal position during college. Randall is currently the Executive Director for the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association (MMTA). He has been in this position for the last 5 years. Randall is also a Trustee with the Mass Marine Trades Educational Trust (MMTET), a Board member of the MassHire State Workforce Board, the New England Marine Trades Association (NEMTA), a member of the Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary Advisory Council and A board member for IMTRA. Randall started a Kid’s in Boating initiative with the MMTA & the MMTET to focus on introducing more young people to boating and fishing, which he continues to remain passionate about. Randall was the Co-Chair of the state recreational boating Covid-19 reopening task force.

Jennifer McCann, University of Rhode Island (URI) Coastal Resources Center and RI Sea Grant

Jennifer McCann is the director of U.S. Coastal Programs at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, Coastal Resources Center and Rhode Island Sea Grant. In part because of her leadership in siting the Block Island Wind Farm through the Ocean SAMP process, McCann has recently been invited to serve as the National Sea Grant Offshore Wind Energy Liaison to build Sea Grant’s capacity on this topic.  Jennifer also provides technical support locally and internationally on blue economy and integrated coastal resources management (including marine spatial planning and multi-use) to government decision makers, the private sector, and the public.

Zoë Mueller, Utile Design

Zoë is an urban planner and associate at Utile. Her prior experience spans multiple regions and sectors—spatial data analysis for energy and telecom companies, non-profit community development work, academic consulting for public sector transportation planning and economic development initiatives in Israel and Mexico, and public sector urban design review in Boston. This diversity of experience has given her a deep understanding of how social movements and governance structures initiate, activate and animate designs. Zoë completed her Master’s degree in City Planning with a certificate in Urban Design at MIT and holds an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree in Urban Design and Cultural Geography with certificates in Environmental Studies and Social, Cultural and Critical Theory. Her award-winning academic research focused on the creation and contestation of the US Interstate Highway System and subsequently on the transportation, land use and design challenges facing urban ports.

Betsy Nicholson, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Betsy Nicholson is the North Regional Director for NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management where she works with a team extending from the Great Lakes through the North Atlantic to provide municipal, state and regional partners with technology, information, and management strategies to address complex issues, such as resilience to coastal hazards and changing ocean demands. Nicholson offers specific expertise in ocean planning, policy and management. She has also served as the NOAA representative to the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) since its inception in 2005. Nicholson started with NOAA in 2000 and during her tenure in Washington, served as the National Ocean Service liaison to the NOAA Administrator, and as the NOAA Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce. Nicholson received a Masters in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College.

 Leslie Nguyen, University of Washington 

Leslie Nguyen is a graduate student at the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. Her research explores the use of voluntary property buyouts as a policy tool for strategic managed retreat. Leslie previously worked as an air quality consultant, assisting port authorities and state agencies in developing maritime emission inventories and conducting health impact assessments from vessel activity along US coasts.

Julia Noordyk, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant

Julia Noordyk works with coastal communities on a variety of topics including green infrastructure, clean marinas, flood resilience and First Nations Traditional Ecological Knowledge. A former NOAA Coastal Management Fellow, Julia came to Sea Grant from the Maine Coastal Program where she was a senior planner working on outreach programs in offshore wind energy, water quality and coastal public access. Julia has a M.S. degree in conservation biology and sustainable development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.S. in zoology from Colorado State University.

Stephanie Otts, National Sea Grant Law Center

Stephanie Otts is the Director of the National Sea Grant Law Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Stephanie received a B.A. in History from Penn State University and a joint J.D./Masters of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. She is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and Mississippi. As Director, Stephanie oversees a variety of legal education, research, and outreach activities, including providing legal research services to Sea Grant constituents on ocean and coastal law issues. Her research on natural resources, marine, and environmental law issues has been published in a variety of publications. She’s conducted extensive research on legal issues related to invasive species management and led an collaborative effort to develop a model legal framework for state watercraft inspection and decontamination programs.

Niki Pace, Louisiana Sea Grant

 Niki Pace is a research attorney with Louisiana Sea Grant Law & Policy Program at Louisiana State University where she provides neutral environmental law research and outreach to coastal constituents on a range of issues impacting the coastal zone. In addition, she teaches courses on  environmental hazards, ocean policy, and disaster law at LSU’s College of the Coast. 

Shaelyn Patzer, Department of Energy

Shaelyn Patzer is an Interagency Partnership & Outreach Specialist at the DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies and Water Power Technologies offices where she performs liaison work with NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office. She is currently a science communication Ph.D. candidate at George Mason University.

Erin Perry, Cape Cod Commission

Erin Perry joined the Cape Cod Commission staff in 2011 and has served as Deputy Director since 2019. Erin manages regional planning efforts at the program level and engages communities during the planning process to build consensus. She has contributed to the development of plans and decision-support platforms on the topics of water quality, coastal resilience and hazard mitigation, climate change, economic development, and the Cape Cod Regional Policy Plan. Erin received a Bachelor of Science in Biological Oceanography from Rutgers University and a Master of Arts in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island. 

Margaret Pilaro, Port of San Diego

Ms. Pilaro joined the Port of San Diego in February, 2022 and has spent nearly her entire career supporting working waterfronts. Pilaro brings planning experience within both municipal and state government positions as well as over a decade as the Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association. She has a Masters of Arts in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island and has extensive experience in engaging the public on natural resources issues.

Rhonda Price, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and Gulf of Mexico Alliance

Rhonda Price, director of Coastal Restoration and Resilience and Director of the MS Gulf Coast National Heritage Area for the MS Department of Marine Resources, she also serves as Coastal Resilience Team chair for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. In this role, Rhonda is working to coordinate and enhance the efforts of local, state, federal, business and nonprofit partners to assist coastal communities and ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico region in becoming more resilient in structure and function. As director of the MS Coast NHA she developed an operational management plan for the National Park Service, ensuring compliance with policies, procedures, and government regulations which serve as a guide for implementing the mission and marketing strategy of the MS Coast Management Plan. She implemented a heritage community grant program along with formalizing a Nature Based Task Force that developed the Nature Based Tourism Plan for Coastal MS. 

Story Reed, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

Story Reed has worked for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries for the past seventeen years focusing on fisheries dependent data collection and permitting. He is currently the Permitting & Statistics Program Manager, overseeing commercial and recreational permitting, fisheries statistics, and seafood marketing. Story is a lifelong resident of Rockport, Massachusetts.

Heather Weitzner, ECOncrete Inc.

Heather Weitzner is a coastal engineer with ECOncrete, focusing on shoreline protection and offshore applications. She has experience with hydrodynamic and sediment transport modeling, shoreline protection and restoration, and stakeholder and community engagement in coastal, riverine, urban, and rural environments. Heather earned her MCE with a concentration in coastal engineering from the University of Delaware.

Colleen Roche, NOAA Office of Coast Survey, 

Colleen is NOAA’s Northeast Navigation Manager. She works directly with pilots, mariners, port authorities, and recreational boaters to solve navigational challenges facing the marine transportation system. She also works to ensure decision makers have the resources need to promote safe and resilient coastal communities. She spent 7 years prior to becoming a nav manager as a lead engineer responsible for designing hurricane resistant oceanographic sensors to monitor tides and currents around the US. Later leading a team of scientists who developed decision support tools for coastal hazards, like hurricanes, flooding, sea level rise and harmful algal blooms.

Seth Rolbein, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance

Seth Rolbein has been working at the Fishermen’s Alliance for six years in public policy, program implementation, and as head of the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust. Beginning as a local journalist in the 1970s, he joined WGBH-TV, Boston as a writer, reporter and documentary filmmaker, also writing for regional and national publications. His magazine and book-length fiction and non-fiction has spanned many topics (and continents), and his documentaries on National Public Television have won multiple national awards. Throughout, the Cape has been his home, our relationship to the oceans and the survival of our fishing community a recurring theme. He became editor-in-chief of the region’s weekly newspaper chain before starting The Cape Cod Voice. He then served for six years as chief of staff and senior adviser for the Cape and Islands State Senator. Long-time focus on public policy initiatives translates directly into his work in support of community fisheries.

Gabe Sataloff, Lynker/CSS at NOAA Office for Coastal Management

 Gabe Sataloff is a Senior Geospatial Analyst with CSS, on contract at the NOAA Office for Coastal Management in Charleston, SC. Gabe has spent the last 13 years working with and communicating economic information.

Chloe Schaefer, Cape Cod Commission

As Chief Planner, Chloe Schaefer oversees the planning and community design department of the Cape Cod Commission. She helped develop, and supports implementation of, the Cape Cod Climate Action Plan, the Regional Policy Plan, and the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. She also supports other regional initiatives and plans, and provides technical planning assistance to the Cape’s communities, including with local planning efforts, data analysis, and graphics and visualizations. She joined the Cape Cod Commission in 2016 as a Community Design Planner. She has a Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Titus Seilheimer, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Titus Seilheimer has been a fisheries specialist with Wisconsin Sea Grant since 2012 where he leads research, outreach, and education activities focused on Great Lakes fisheries and ecosystems. He has a B.A. in Biology from Lawrence University and a Ph.D. in Biology from McMaster University. His past fish research took him to all five Great Lakes as well as the southern Great Plains. Seilheimer has spent more than 100 days on Great Lakes commercial fishing boats since 2015. He lives in Manitowoc, WI on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Thomas Shyka, NERACOOS

Tom Shyka is the Product and Engagement Manager at NERACOOS where he works with a variety of NEARCOOS end users to understand their information needs and translate them into products and services. He also coordinates the data management activities of the NERACOOS data providers and data assembly center to ensure that NERACOOS data is accessible.

Tyler Soleau, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management

Tyler is the Assistant Director at the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. Working with teams to advance environmental policy, partnerships, and resources has been at the heart of Tyler’s career. Prior to joining CZM, Tyler managed teams at Sungage Financial, a solar financing startup, built networks as Outreach Director for Acadia Center, and served as the Staff Director and Counsel for the Committee on Climate Change in the Massachusetts Legislature. He has a JD from Vermont Law School and a BA from Hamilton College.

Ana Sosa ,NOAA National Sea Grant Office           

Ana Sosa completed her doctoral degree in the Marine Estuarine Environmental Science program in the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. She did her research at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in the marine microbial ecology laboratory of Dr. Feng Chen. She graduated with a biotechnology engineering degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Mexico. Ana works in a joint position with the Office of Education at NOAA and the National Sea Grant as an Education Policy Integration Fellow.

Natalie Springuel, Maine Sea Grant

Natalie is Maine Sea Grant’s Marine Extension Program Leader. She has worked in marine extension at the University of Maine Sea Grant since 2000. Based at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, her programs address working waterfronts and coastal access, fisheries heritage, and sustainable tourism planning. She is a core collaborator with the Mapping Ocean Stories project, coordinator of the Downeast Fisheries Trail, co-founder of the National Working Waterfront Network, and host of the award-winning public affairs show on WERU Community Radio called Coastal Conversations.

Kimberly Starbuck, Urban Harbors Institute University of Massachusetts Boston

Kim is Senior Research Associate at the Urban Harbors Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Kim has more than fifteen years of experience in the marine biology field including ocean-related research, environmental education/outreach, project management, GIS analyses, stakeholder engagement, communication, and ocean planning. Kim holds a master’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Science from Tufts University.

Chad Strater, Sea Meadow Marine Foundation

I have been working on the waterfront for 20 years in many capacities. My experience as a small business owner ranges from building docks, piers, and seawalls, to planting trees, laying walkways, and designing patios. Building my business and working hard has led me to work with a diverse array of people. I moved to the Midcoast in 1999 from Greenville, Maine and lived in various harbors within the small communities at the ends of Maine’s many peninsulas over the years.

Jody Thompson, Auburn University/Alabama Cooperative Extension

A native of Mobile, Alabama, Jody Thompson has worked in natural resources planning and extension in coastal Alabama since 1999.  She has coordinated projects and authored management plans for several coastal Alabama watersheds and has provided facilitation through the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium for the Alabama Working Waterfronts Coalition.  She provides extension and outreach on coastal resiliency and water quality issues to the communities along the Gulf Coast to a wide range of stakeholders, from the seafood industry to tourism businesses to municipalities. Mrs. Thompson holds her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama, and her Master of Science from the University of South Alabama.

April Turner, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium

As Coastal Communities Specialist with the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, April Turner is responsible for developing programs and projects to educate citizens, public officials, and municipal staff about sustainable land- and water-resource planning. She works in collaboration with other Extension program specialists and Consortium member institution partners to provide programs, tools, and resources on a variety of topics to enhance community efforts to address the pressures of coastal growth. Two significant programmatic areas include working waterfronts and nature-based recreation and tourism. She also serves on the National Working Waterfront Network Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Consortium, April worked as a planner for the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. She earned a B.A. in geography from the University of Colorado and a M.A. in parks, recreation, and tourism management from Clemson University.

Kristin Uiterwyk, Urban Harbors Institute University of Massachusetts Boston

With more than 15 years of experience at the Urban Harbors Institute (UHI), Kristin’s work includes policy and regulatory analysis; management planning, survey research, stakeholder engagement, GIS analysis, and outreach and education. Kristin’s research areas include fisheries, marine debris, economic development, harbor uses and impacts, public access, and climate resilience. As part of her work at UHI, Kristin also serves as Associate Director of the Stone Living Lab and serves on the Management Committee for the MassBays Partnership as well as on the Executive Committee for the National Working Waterfront Network.

Brett Veerhusen, Ocean Strategies

Ocean Strategies founder Brett Veerhusen is lifelong Alaskan commercial fisherman, policy expert, strategist, and communicator. He founded Ocean Strategies in 2017 and built the nation’s go-to public affairs firm focused on seafood, fisheries, and marine resources. Brett’s pioneered some of the most influential seafood and fisheries initiatives of the past decade. He helped obtain unprecedented action to protect Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine in both the Obama and Trump Administrations. Previously, he served as the founding Executive Director of the Seafood Harvesters of America in Washington, D.C. He holds a Masters of Marine Affairs from the University of Washington and Bachelor Degrees in Business and Spanish from the University of Puget Sound.

Afton Vigue, Maine Aquaculture Association

Afton Vigue grew up in Tenants Harbor, Maine and is currently working as the Outreach & Development Specialist for the Maine Aquaculture Association. She is passionate about preserving our state’s natural resources, delicious seafood, and creating opportunities for young people to stay in Maine and work on the water. Raised by a family of fishermen, she knows firsthand how fragile Maine’s coastal economy is, and how we must actively work to sustain it in new ways that honor our traditions and way of life. She hopes that her work on the Maine Oyster Trail will help locals and visitors alike appreciate all that makes Maine’s working waterfront special, and worth sustaining for generations.

Robert Vincent, MIT Sea Grant

Robert Vincent is the Assistant Director for Advisory Services at MIT Sea Grant.  Robert works closely with industry, regulators, and local and indigenous communities on issues pertaining to commercial fishing, aquaculture, the seafood industry, technology development, marine spatial planning, ocean renewable energy, and marine science. Before joining MIT Sea Grant in 2014, Robert spent 22 years affiliated with the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Robert received a Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Science from the University of New Hampshire.

Tim Wagner, SmithGroup

Tim Wagner is a Senior Coastal Engineer with SmithGroup with over 15 years’ experience leading and managing complex, multidisciplinary waterfront projects. While his range of work is broad, his specialized expertise in dredging, hydrodynamic and sediment transport modeling, and the design and construction of coastal structures is unique. Tim’s resume spans across the U.S., encompassing projects on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, the Great Lakes, and inland waterways. His recent work has emphasized preservation and enhancement of historical working waterfronts through the integration of resilience measures, ecological benefits, and public recreation and access. He served as the co-chair for Sediment Transport Modeling at the 2019 Battelle Contaminated Sediments Conference in New Orleans and speaks on a diverse range of topics at conferences throughout the nation. Tim has a degree in Ocean Engineering from Texas A&M University and is a licensed Professional Engineer in multiple states.

Brad Washburn, Massachusetts Port Authority

Brad Washburn is the Manager of Environmental Planning and Permitting in the Strategic and Business Planning Department at Massport.  At Massport, he manages the environmental permitting of aviation, maritime, and real estate development projects with a focus on NEPA and MEPA compliance and associated local, state, and federal environmental approvals. Prior to joining Massport, he held positions at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Boston Planning and Development Agency, and Town of Scituate working on a variety of environmental policy initiatives and planning projects.

Chuck Weirich, NOAA National Sea Grant Office

Chuck Weirich serves as Aquaculture Manager at the National Sea Grant Office. Before joining the National Sea Grant Aquaculture Team Chuck was North Carolina Sea Grant’s Marine Aquaculture Specialist and in 2018 was a founding partner of the North Carolina Shellfish Initiative. That year Weirich also played a key role in helping the state’s shellfish aquaculture industry identify losses and receive assistance after the passage of hurricanes Florence and Michael. His North Carolina Sea Grant roles also included applied and collaborative research regarding growing practices for oysters, sunray venus clams, scallops and blue crabs.  Weirich is experienced in the culture of over 20 aquatic species, including freshwater and marine finfish and crustaceans, and marine bivalves. A native of the Texas Hill Country, Weirich holds degrees from Texas A&M (B.S., Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences), Texas State (M.S., Biology), and Clemson University (Ph.D., Animal Physiology).

Julie Wormser, Mystic River Watershed Association

Julie Wormser is the Mystic River Watershed Association’s Senior Policy Advisor and founder of the Resilient Mystic Collaborative. Since its launch in September 2018, the RMC has grown to include 20 municipalities and has secured over $5 million in funding to pursue regional climate preparedness projects. As Executive Director of The Boston Harbor Association, Wormser was instrumental in drawing attention to Boston’s need to prepare for coastal flooding from extreme storms and sea level rise. She co authored Preparing for the Rising Tide and Designing With Water and co-led the Boston Living with Water international design competition with the City of Boston and Boston Society of Architects. She has a BA in biology from Swarthmore College and an MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.