The oyster is our world

Restoring the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population is essential to improving the health of the Bay, revitalizing the regional seafood industry, and stimulating the local economies of our State’s waterfront communities. Restoring the Bay means restoring our oysters and all the other species that depend on them.



Stephan Abel
Executive Director

Stephan has been the Executive Director of the Oyster Recovery Partnership since 2007. Prior to joining the Partnership, he was the Executive Director in the Office of Communications and Marketing at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

He enjoyed a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, has held management positions at Sallie Mae and Careerbuilder, and earned a B.S. from Villanova University, a M.B.A. from George Washington University and is a graduate of the Naval War College. A lifelong sailor on the Chesapeake Bay, he has two children and lives in Stevensville, Maryland.


Ward Slacum
Director of Program Operations

Ward is responsible for activities within ORP’s core programs in Oyster Restoration, Shell Reclamation, Oyster Aquaculture and Fisheries.  Ward has a broad background in marine and estuarine science and has been supporting Bay restoration for the past 20 years through research and cooperative programs with Bay watermen.  Prior to joining ORP he was the manager of Versar’s Coastal and Marine Assessment Program.  He earned a Master’s degree in Fisheries Science from the University of Maryland MEES Program and a bachelor degree in Environmental Science from the UMD Eastern Shore campus.  He was born on the Eastern Shore and lives in Stevensville.  In his free time, Ward enjoys being outdoors gardening, boating, fishing, and making furniture in the woodshop.

Eddie Walters
Director, Field Operations
Eddie is a graduate of the University of Baltimore, but spent much of his life as a commercial waterman on the Chesapeake Bay. Eddie joined ORP in 2000 and oversees the ORP’s UMCES Horn Point field program, staff and on-the-ground operations.Eddie’s father spent 20 years with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, finishing his career as Captain of the state vessel “Fifty-Fifty”. Eddie spends much of his free time playing golf with his wife Sam, Assistant Vice President of Farmers Bank in Annapolis,  and daughter, Nicole.

ORP Field Crew

ORP Field Crew Members (left to right): Joshua Wingfield, Andrew Brooks, Zachary White, Christopher Woodfin, Eddie Walters, Eric Conrad and Buddy Willey.


Kara Muzia 
Biologist and Scientific Diver

Kara joined ORP in 2013 and helps coordinate reef restoration and planting logistics during planting season. She also monitors oyster beds by diving, sampling, and conducting scientific analysis. Kara graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a BS in Biology with an emphasis in marine biology, GIS and diving. Kara was part of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources blue crab program before coming to ORP. When she’s not working to restore the Bay’s oyster population, she enjoys sailing, diving, surfing, paddle boarding, hiking and camping.

brian photoBryan Kent Gomes
Manager, Special Programs

Bryan brings more than a decade of environmental education and public outreach experience to ORP. He has a B.A. in Marketing/Psychology and a MEd. in Post Secondary Education from Salisbury University. Bryan is passionate about the outdoors. He has thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine, and as a lifeguard lived in a tent on the beach at Assateague State Park. Bryan has also served as a Park Ranger for Anne Arundel County and the Maryland Park Service, as well as a Director/Coordinator of various summer camps in the Annapolis area.

Bryan loves to travel and spent two months in New Zealand learning about aquaculture and sustainable resource management. Bryan lives on the water in Annapolis and enjoys swimming, biking, paddling, playing ice hockey and moonlighting as a DJ.

Tommy Price
Special Programs Specialist
Shell Recycling Alliance/Marylanders Grow Oysters

Tommy Price joined the ORP team as an intern with the Shell Recycling Alliance in the spring of 2011. A graduate of Washington College, Tommy focused much of his studies on the culture and lore of the Chesapeake oyster industry, earning a BA in History. He earned the Outstanding Community Service Graduation Award as a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, and was a four-year rower on the men’s crew team. Outside of work, Tommy enjoys all things nautical including working on boats and fly fishing his home waters of the Bay.

Partnerships, Marketing and Events

Paul SPaul Schurick
Director of Partnerships

Paul works with businesses, organizations and individuals to build partnerships to increase the environmental, economic and cultural importance of oysters. He has more than 30 years experience in policy, communications and partnerships. He has master’s and bachelor’s degrees in economics from the West Virginia University. He served as chief of staff for Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer and director of communications for Gov. Robert Ehrlich. In his free time, Paul enjoys kayaking and cooking. He lives in Annapolis.

Finance and Supportive Services

lisah_smallLisah Frankland
Lisah handles a variety of Human Resources and Finance tasks for ORP.  She has an associate’s degree in business administration and has 2 years’ experience in the human resources field. She is very interested in being part of ORP’s conservation mission. She is originally from northeast Ohio  and now lives in Odenton with her husband and son Lucas. She enjoys baking, scrapbooking and exploring Maryland.


Penny Jurick smallPenny Jurick
Director, Finance and Program Support Services
Penny oversees ORP’s finances, human resources and many of the day-to-day operational and support elements that keep the organization running smoothly. She has 22 years accounting and management experience. Before ORP, she worked as Executive Account Manager for a worldwide logistics company.Penny resides in Glen Burnie, Maryland, with her husband Bob and two children, Alina and Jeremiah, all Chesapeake Bay lovers. She and her family have spent many years on the Chesapeake Bay and are eager to stay involved in restoration activities.