Staff & Board

Staff

Ward Slacum

Executive Director

Allison Albert Guercio

Director of Marketing & Fundraising

Andrew Brooks

Field Staff & Equipment Operator

Olivia Caretti

Coastal Restoration Program Manager

Kaylee Fleury

Events & Marketing Coordinator

Beth Franks

Senior Manager

Sarah Greenberg

Coastal Resource Scientist II 

Charlene Harrison

Accounts Receivable Specialist

Elana Hutner

Coastal Resource Scientist I

Jeremiah Jurick

Shell Recycling Alliance Technician

David King

Director of Field Operations

Lady Jane (L.J.) Machoian

Finance & Program Support Manager

Kevin Miller

Payroll & Finance Specialist

Matthew Miller

SRA Technician/Field Support Assistant

Jennica Moffat

Monitoring Coordinator

Rebecca Morlock

Controller

Thomas C. Price

Operations Manager, Shell Recycling Alliance/Marylanders Grow Oysters Program

Jordan Salafie

Coastal Resource Scientist I

Paul Schurick

Director of Partnerships

Kinsey Tedford

Fisheries Program Manager

Jennifer Walters

Oyster Industry Program Manager

Zachary White

Field Staff Manager

Ward Slacum

Position: Executive Director
Phone: 410.990.1016 x 1015
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff
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. Ward was born on the Eastern Shore and lives in Stevensville. In his free time, he enjoys being outdoors gardening, boating, fishing, and making furniture in the woodshop.

Allison Albert Guercio

Position: Director of Marketing & Fundraising
Phone: 410.990.4970 x1016
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

As Director of Marketing and Fundraising, Allison works collaboratively with ORP’s staff to raise awareness and funds for oyster restoration programs in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. She develops annual fundraising and marketing plans, oversees ORP’s branding and messaging, manages relationships with donors and partners, and more.

Allison joined ORP’s staff in 2019. She spent the decade prior at the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations working in membership, marketing, and operations. She also worked in marketing and communications with the Severn Riverkeeper Program. Allison has a Master of Science in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, where she concentrated in Environmental Policy, and a B.A. in Geography from the University of South Carolina.

A Tennessee native, Allison has adopted Maryland as her second home. She loves bluegrass music and all outdoor activities, especially camping and hiking with her husband and two dogs (she also has two very spoiled cats).

Andrew Brooks

Position: Field Staff & Equipment Operator
Categories: Staff

Andrew started at ORP in August of 2011. He is a Dorchester native and attended North Dorchester High School. Andrew occasionally does tree work as a side job. In his free time, he loves to fish and spend time on the water.

Olivia Caretti

Position: Coastal Restoration Program Manager
Phone: 410.990.4970 x 1013
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

Olivia oversees ORP’s scientific programs and staff. She coordinates with staff and partners to implement ORP’s oyster restoration, monitoring, and sustainable fisheries goals. Olivia also develops new projects, initiatives, and tools to expand ORP’s scientific capabilities and contributes to creative solutions to address our coastal challenges.

Olivia is an expert in coastal ecology and restoration. She has contributed to research on oyster restoration and monitoring, underwater soundscapes, habitat mapping, invasive marine species, seagrass restoration, climate change impacts, coral reef management, and fish habitat use. Olivia is currently finishing her PhD in Marine Sciences at North Carolina State University. She received her BA in Biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she caught the fieldwork “bug”. She joined ORP in 2021.

Kaylee Fleury

Position: Events & Marketing Coordinator
Phone: 443.616.4678
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

As ORP’s Events & Marketing Coordinator, Kaylee creates exciting events, assists with fundraising, spreads awareness about ORP by managing its social media, and helps with communications and graphic design that showcase ORP’s mission and programs. She joined ORP in June 2021 and it has been a career high to work with the leading nonprofit in oyster restoration.

Kaylee has lived in Maryland her entire life but would love one day to move to Portugal and help facilitate a Shell Recycling Program in Southern Europe. She graduated from UMBC and has since contributed to meaningful nonprofit missions like animal welfare and parks and recreation. When she isn’t working, she loves to be outside (hiking, biking, kayaking – especially anything near the water!), traveling and exploring new towns or cities with a passion for culinary arts, live music (Phish is her church), and sports (Go O’s! Go Ravens!).  Kaylee currently lives in Towson with her husband Zach, Australian Shepherd named Finn, and all-white cat, Nershi.

Beth Franks

Position: Senior Manager
Phone: 410.990.4970 x1010
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

Beth joined ORP’s staff as a Senior Manager in 2021. She leads project and grant management activities for the organization and supports other office functions including coordinating quarterly meetings of the Board of Directors.

Beth brings more than a decade of experience in project management for environmental organizations.  In previous roles, she has worked as an environmental consultant and held positions in state government and academia. She previously served as a data analyst for a trauma analytics company. She has been an officer of her neighborhood’s homeowner’s association and her son’s school’s PTA.

Beth grew up in Maryland, spending summers on her family’s boat in a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay.  She received a Master of Science in Fisheries Science from Virginia Tech, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Maryland, where she was a member of the Women’s Gymnastics team.  She is a Certified Associate Project Manager with the Project Management Institute.  She enjoys a good book, a few moments of quiet yoga, the sound of the ocean, and cheering for her son’s athletic pursuits.  Beth resides in western Howard County with her husband and son.

Smiling white woman with brown, curly hair holding up cage of oysters. Water in background.

Sarah Greenberg

Position: Coastal Resource Scientist II 
Phone: 410-990-4970, ext 1032 
Email: [email protected] 
Categories: Staff

As a Coastal Resource Scientist, Sarah coordinates and implements the large- and small-scale restoration efforts within Chesapeake Bay oyster sanctuaries. Sarah also supports the development and maintenance of commercial harvest e-reporting and aquaculture management tools. 

Sarah previously managed a local oyster aquaculture nursery where she fell head-over-heals for the oyster industry. Sarah received a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy with a concentration in Aquatic Ecology from George Mason University and contributed to various research projects on coastal ecology, invasive marine species, parasitology and disease ecology, and water quality.  

Sarah hails from Leonardtown, MD and grew up spending time on the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers which sparked her passion in conservation of the Chesapeake Bay and supporting its fisheries. Now, she enjoys spending her time reading a good book, playing with her two cats, trying new recipes, playing board games, and spending time in the fresh air (ideally on the water). 

Charlene Harrison

Position: Accounts Receivable Specialist
Phone: 410.990.4970 x1024
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

In her current, part-time role as Accounts Receivable Specialist for the Finance Department, Charlene primarily manages incoming funds for the organization pertaining to fundraising, events, grants, seed sales, merchandise and assists with special projects. She joined ORP in 2012 and previously handled other responsibilities, including accounts payable, expense reports, credit card expenses, and payroll.

Originally from Colorado, Charlene has come to enjoy the beauty and mystery of the Chesapeake Bay over the years. She received a B.A. in Business Administration from Rockmont College in Colorado, and a Certificate of Financial Accounting from Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland. She managed a bank’s Investor Accounting department for 11 years until it was sold to a competitor. Since then, she has supported many different small businesses with her accounting, administrative, and QuickBooks expertise.

Now in the “empty nest” season of life, she and her husband enjoy hiking, bike riding, traveling, experiencing new cuisine, watching air shows, attending hot air balloon festivals, and visiting their two sons, who live in Georgia and North Carolina.

Elana Hutner

Position: Coastal Resource Scientist I
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

Elana is a Coastal Resource Scientist I at ORP. Her duties include documenting pre and post oyster restoration activities, managing ORP’s restoration and monitoring databases, and completing analysis of ecological datasets.

Elana went to the University of Tampa and received a bachelor’s degree in marine science-biology. She has always had a passion for marine life and conservation. She currently has her rescue diver certification and has traveled to Fiji to take part in a shark studies course. After graduation, she moved to the Florida Panhandle, where she did oyster restoration work in Apalachicola Bay. She conducted lab and field work to help determine the health of the bay and the surrounding oyster populations.

Elana spends as much of her free time as possible outside, especially at the beach or any other waterbody. She enjoys hiking and likes to find trails with incredible views. She loves to travel, especially to locations where she can scuba dive.

Jeremiah Jurick

Position: Shell Recycling Alliance Technician
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

Jeremiah is a Shell Recycling Alliance Technician responsible for collecting recycled shell from restaurants in the Maryland/Virginia area. His primary routes include Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, Montgomery/Columbia, and Westminster. He is also responsible for much of the supply preparation for the Marylanders Grow Oysters program.

Hired in the summer of 2022, this is Jeremiah’s first full-time position within ORP; however, he has been involved with ORP in some capacity – primarily as a volunteer – for over a decade.

Jeremiah received a B.S. of Exercise Science in 2019 and served as physiology lab supervisor in his senior year. When possible, he enjoys hiking, and was fortunate enough to be able to visit Acadia National Park in Maine a few years ago and took a trip to Mt. Rogers in 2022. He also enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, video editing, and writing.

David King

Position: Director of Field Operations
Phone: 410.990.4970 x1020
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

As the Director of Field Operations since 2017, Dave oversees staff and operations at ORP’s shell processing, setting, and loading facility in Cambridge, MD.

A Kent Island native, Dave grew up on the Chesapeake Bay. His love of the water led him to the Navy, where he became an awarded sailor. After the Navy he served aboard the State of Maryland’s buoy tender/icebreaker. During that time, he discovered diving, eventually graduating from the Diver’s Academy of the Eastern Seaboard. He then went on to work in the Gulf of Mexico before serving in the Army Active Reserve as a watercraft operator. Prior to ORP, Dave managed a successful diving business based out of Annapolis.

Dave feels very fortunate to be involved in ORP’s mission to improve the health of his beloved Chesapeake Bay. His free time is spent boating, camping, and traveling with his wife Brooke, and daughters Taylor, Piper, and Sophie.

Lady Jane (L.J.) Machoian

Position: Finance & Program Support Manager
Phone: 410.990.4970 X1021
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

As Program & Finance Support Manager, L.J. supports ORP’s financial operations, human resources, and administrative functions in the interest of the organization’s long-term sustainability. She proudly joined ORP’s team in 2022.

An Annapolis & Crownsville resident for the better part of her life, L.J. has extensive experience in customer service, financial, administrative, and human resources management. She has previously worked in the food service industry as owner and operator of Annapolis-based restaurants, Machoian Poultry, for Annapolis Athletic Club, Edgewater Fitness and Coastal Fitness, as Director of Administration & Human Resources and for Anne Arundel Police Department as a 911 operator. L.J. attended Anne Arundel Community College where she earned A.A.S. Degrees in Psychology, Paralegal Studies & a Certificate of Paralegal Studies and University of Baltimore where she earned a B.S. in Criminal Law.

L.J. grew up on the Chesapeake Bay and in Key Largo, Florida. She has an avid interest in the preservation and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and many other waterbodies and ecosystems. In her off time, you can find L.J. working in her garden, spending time with her eight nieces and nephews or hanging out with her rescue pets; a very sweet dog, Kreiger, and a very chubby, opinionated cat, Curby.

Kevin Miller

Position: Payroll & Finance Specialist
Phone: 410.990.4970 x1018
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

Kevin is the Payroll and Finance Specialist within ORP’s finance department. His duties include managing the timekeeping system, running payroll, reconciling company credit cards, and processing monthly expense reimbursements. He supports important financial controls by opening all office mail.

Kevin began as a part-time employee in January of 2018 and was promoted to full-time later that year. ORP is his first full-time job, and he has learned much in the past five years. He has also worked in the Records & Registration Office at AACC and had a brief gig as a contractor repairing telephones in the Baltimore County Jail.

Kevin is the only ORP staff member who doesn’t spend all his free time outside; instead, he enjoys playing video games and listening to music, including metal, hip-hop, punk, and jazz. He also likes reading. He does leave the house to play Dungeons & Dragons with his friends and to go for bike rides on the BWI and B&A trails.

Matthew Miller

Position: SRA Technician/Field Support Assistant
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

An Eastern Shore native, Matt first worked with ORP as a volunteer, later joining the Shell Recycling Alliance full-time in the Summer of 2019. Matt has lived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for most of his life and has always appreciated being close to the water. He feels a sense of satisfaction in knowing that what he does every day gives back to the area that he has appreciated as his home. Outside of work, Matt enjoys the outdoors, sunlight, going places and seeing things, snowboarding, motorcycles, the beach, and a nice juicy steak.

Jennica Moffat

Position: Monitoring Coordinator
Phone: 410.990.4970 x1029
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

As Monitoring Coordinator, Jennica oversees ORP’s monitoring and evaluation efforts to ensure that restoration projects successfully meet the goals of the 10 Tributaries Agreement. Her role involves planning and implementing monitoring programs and coordinating with staff, watermen, and state and federal partners to collect data on oyster population dynamics. She conducts data analysis to further explore trends and better understand how oyster populations are responding to external pressures.

Jennica moved here from California, where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from UC Davis and a Master’s degree in Biology from CSU Northridge. She has a diverse background in aquatic ecology, working in both marine and estuarine systems. She previously helped run a long-term monitoring program in the San Francisco Estuary and was a California Sea Grant Fellow with the Delta Stewardship Council. She has enjoyed taking her extensive experience in the San Francisco Bay to her new home bay in the Chesapeake.

Outside of work, you can find Jennica exploring the great outdoors with her small, senior dog tagging along in her backpack. She loves hiking, backpacking, canoeing, and SCUBA diving. When the weather isn’t nice enough to be outside, she likes to try out new baking recipes.

Rebecca Morlock

Position: Controller
Phone: 410.990.4970 x1026
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

As Controller, Rebecca provides oversight on ORP’s budget and financial operations and helps to guide the organization to achieve success in all endeavors.

Rebecca joined ORP in 2019 as a Finance and Program Support Manager. She has 20+ years of experience working in multiple for-profit organizations.  Rebecca’s areas of focus and expertise include financial reporting and analysis, cash flow management, budget preparation, payroll processes, accounts payable and receivable, and project management.

As the daughter of a U.S. naval officer, Rebecca spent her childhood moving all over the country but truly fell in love with Annapolis and made it her home. Outside of work, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her family, especially supporting her daughters at their numerous sporting events, and pursuing her own fitness goals, which tend to culminate in family challenges with the winner earning bragging rights for the year.  You can also find her enjoying a tailgate in the fall with her fellow alumni from Penn State University (from where she graduated with a bachelor of science).

Thomas C. Price

Position: Operations Manager, Shell Recycling Alliance/Marylanders Grow Oysters Program
Phone: 443.433.3440
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

Tommy joined ORP in Spring of 2011 as an intern with the newly established Shell Recycling Alliance program. Since then, he has helped the program collect more than 300,000 bushels from approximately 300 collections sites across Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC.

He received his B.A. in History from Washington College in 2010, writing his thesis on the political and cultural influences of Maryland’s oyster industry over the last two centuries. Tommy was a member of the men’s rowing team and previously worked in the boat maintenance and marine equipment sales industry. Outside of work, Tommy enjoys fishing of all types, being with his dog, and generally messing about with boats.

Jordan Salafie

Position: Coastal Resource Scientist I
Phone: 443.988.8675
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

Jordan assists the Coastal Resource Team with various monitoring and restoration activities for ORP’s fisheries and oyster restoration programs. Spending most of her time in the field, Jordan assists with oyster plantings, reef monitoring surveys, and commercial fisheries harvest verification. She also helps with data management, analysis and report writing, and education and community outreach events.

Jordan was a first mate for two years on a Chesapeake Bay fishing charter before beginning with ORP in 2023. Her passion for wildlife and the Bay community led her to attend Coastal Carolina University where she received a B.A. in Communications, concentration in Journalism and minor in Marine Science. Jordan has performed studies along the South Carolina coast to observe coastal processes and environmental effects on marine life. After graduation, she lived in Oahu and spent most of her time diving with sea turtles and sharks. Her love for all marine life continues to grow with new experiences and adventures.

A Kent Island local, Jordan grew up on the Chesapeake Bay. She still spends most of her time out on the water, at the beach with her two dogs, or enjoying traveling.

Paul Schurick

Position: Director of Partnerships
Phone: 410.990.4970 x1017
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

Paul works with businesses, organizations and individuals to build partnerships to increase the environmental, economic and cultural importance of oysters. He especially enjoys working with organizations whose interests align with the ORP mission, including private companies, public institutions, and fellow NGOs.

He has more than 30 years of experience in policy, communications, and partnerships in local and state governments and the private sector. Paul holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in economics from West Virginia University. He served as chief of staff for Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer and director of communications for Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

Paul lives in Annapolis and enjoys kayaking and cooking in his free time.

Woman with hat on smiling and holding a piece of scientific equipment. Field of oysters in the background.

Kinsey Tedford

Position: Fisheries Program Manager
Phone: 410-990-4970 ext. 1031
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

Kinsey oversees ORP’s Sustainable Fisheries Program. She develops, implements, and manages projects to boost Maryland’s oyster aquaculture industry and improve sustainable fishing practices in the Chesapeake Bay. 

She earned her BS and MS degrees in Biology from the University of Central Oklahoma and obtained her PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia. Motivated to bridge the gap between science and practice, Kinsey pursued applied research questions, aiming to enhance the management, restoration, and sustainability of coastal resources. Her dissertation research focused on the population dynamics of oysters, collaborating with conservation practitioners to optimize reef restoration success. Kinsey also co-developed the first community-based science initiative on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, using photo stations to capture community images and build time-lapses illustrating coastal change, supporting research, outreach, and classroom goals.  

Now, she is excited to apply her skills in project management, data analysis, partnership development, and science communication to contribute to the ORP team. Kinsey’s passion for science and sustainable fisheries grew from experiences on (and under!) the water and her connection with the local communities she serves. Outside of work, she loves sailing, gardening, cooking, and spending time outdoors with her partner and dog, Hank. 

Jennifer Walters

Position: Oyster Industry Program Manager
Phone: 410.990.4970 x1019
Email: [email protected]
Categories: Staff

As the Oyster Industry Program Manager, Jen is in charge of coordinating stakeholders to implement large scale oyster restoration and replenishment activities within Chesapeake Bay sanctuaries and public harvest reefs.

Jen first joined ORP in 2014 after obtaining a bachelor of science in Environmental Science from the University of Delaware. After working for a year at ORP, Jen continued to graduate school where she earned a Master of Professional Science from the University of Miami in Fisheries Management and Conservation. Jen has held various roles including being a Fisheries Observer for NOAA, a GIS Specialist, and conducting extensive fisheries population and habitat mapping surveys. Returning to ORP in 2019, Jen has been involved with projects ranging from electronic harvest reporting to pre and post restoration monitoring surveys but particularly enjoys and thrives in industry engagement and support.

Jen is 6th generation Kent Islander, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, with a family background within the commercial fishing industry. This sparked her interest in all things on and around the water. Outside of work, Jen enjoys boating, being outdoors and spending time with her crazy, German Shorthaired Pointer fur child, Paisley.

Zachary White

Position: Field Staff Manager
Categories: Staff

Zach began working at ORP as a part-time field crew member in the summer of 2000. Currently, as field crew manager, he is ORP’s longest serving employee and brings a wealth of experience to the job.

Zach is a Dorchester County native and a graduate of Cambridge-South Dorchester High School. He works in two local fire departments where he has served as both Chief and Vice President. In his free time, Zachary enjoys camping and helping to run his family business.

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Bill Sieling

Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association

Tighe Merkert, Chairman

President and CEO, Marriner Marketing Communications

Karen Oertel

Owner, W.H. Harris Seafood

Bill Coney

Co-Founder – Legacy Reef Foundation, Kona, Hawaii

Shannon Lyons

East Coast Regional Director, Surfrider Foundation

William Gibbons-Fly

Executive Director of the American Tunaboat Association (ATA)

Harold Graul

President, Graul’s Markets

The Honorable James J. King

CEO/Owner, Titan Hospitality Group

Thomas Kountz

Research and Development Chemist, McCormick & Company Inc.

Katie Matthews

Chief Scientist, Oceana

Jim Perdue

Chairman, Perdue Farms Inc.

Maxine Phillips

VP International Business Development, Phillips Seafood

Ed Rich

Senior Consulting Engineer, Northrop Grumman Corporation

Jason Ruth

Owner/Operator, Harris Seafood Company, LLC

Ben Savage

Chief Marketing Officer, Flying Dog Brewery

Bill Sieling

Position: Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association
Categories: Board of Directors

Bill began his career in the Army, serving from 1965 to 1967. He then joined the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a Fisheries Extension Agent, spanning 20 years, working with watermen and processors to better the industry. Bill later switched to the Department of Agriculture as Chief of Seafood Marketing for 12 years. Now in retirement, Bill works as Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association. He is a graduate of Washington College. Bill is an original ORP Board member. Bill and his wife, Anne, make their home in Bay Ridge, Maryland.

Russell F. Smith III

Categories: Board of Directors

Russell F. Smith III has worked on international environmental issues for more than 20 years. He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In that position he led U.S. international engagement in support of the sustainable management of fisheries, including promoting science-based decision-making and improving efforts to combat illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing. In addition, he represented the United States as the U.S. Commissioner in several regional fisheries management organizations.

Russell has also worked for the Office of the United States Trade Representative on efforts to ensure that U.S trade policy and its implementation are supportive of U.S. environmental policy, including through the promotion of the sustainable management of natural resources and ensuring that opportunities for trade and investment liberalization resulting in access to the U.S. market are used as incentives for the enhancement, and not degradation, of environmental protection.

Russell B. Stevenson, Jr.

Categories: Board of Directors

Russell B. Stevenson, Jr. has practiced law in Washington, D.C., taught law as a Professor of Law at The George Washington University, and served as Deputy General Counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He was General Counsel and Secretary of Ciena Corporation from 2001 to 2008, when he retired. He is currently Professor from Practice at Georgetown University Law School.He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, cum laude. He is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and the United States Supreme Court and is current Chairman of the Chesapeake Legal Alliance.

Tighe Merkert, Chairman

Position: President and CEO, Marriner Marketing Communications
Categories: Board of Directors

Tighe owns and manages Marriner Marketing Communications, a successful marketing communications firm that specializes in the food and hospitality industries. He is intimately involved with and oversees strategic planning and direction of all client work. Prior to Marriner, he served a 16-year tenure as a Senior Vice President of Service America Corporation, where he managed a $350 million business unit. He built a foundation of knowledge and experience, developing strategic, long-term business solutions that worked. Throughout his 16 years at Marriner (MMC), he amplified that experience, building high-level, corporate positioning and communications programs for some of America’s most prestigious companies.

Karen Oertel

Position: Owner, W.H. Harris Seafood
Categories: Board of Directors

For more than 40 years, Karen and her family have been involved in the seafood industry. As a member of the Harris Family Partnership, Karen has served on many business and nonprofit boards, including county and state boards and commissions. She has served on ORP’s board since its founding, helping to launch it as part of the Oyster Round Table and Tidal Fish Commission. She lives on the Eastern Shore with her husband and enjoys spending time with her three children and five grandchildren.

Bill Coney

Position: Co-Founder – Legacy Reef Foundation, Kona, Hawaii
Categories: Board of Directors

After retiring from the tech industry in 2015, Bill co-founded Legacy Reef Foundation in Kailua-Kona Hawaii, a coral preservation and restoration non-profit foundation. Bill’s love of the ocean and desire to improve the quality of near shore marine habitats has driven him to seek opportunities in Hawaii, South Pacific, Caribbean, and the East Coast to open restoration projects. Bill lives in Hawaii and Maryland.

Shannon Lyons

Position: East Coast Regional Director, Surfrider Foundation
Categories: Board of Directors

Shannon’s career has focused on bridging science and people to solve marine conservation issues spanning such topics as mitigating North Atlantic right whale ship strikes to implementing ecosystem-based fisheries management. Most recently, Shannon was the Director of the Making History Campaign at Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where she worked to restore clean water to the Bay by amplifying natural infrastructure and advocacy. Shannon has a Master of Coastal Environmental Management degree from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Marine Studies from University of Delaware. She grew up spending summers on the Jersey shore and winters diving and fishing in the Bahamas. Shannon now resides in Annapolis, Maryland with her three children and SUP pup, Mahi. She teaches SUP and barre fitness and spends as much time on the water as possible sailing, paddle boarding, diving, and fishing – always in search of a tight line.

William Gibbons-Fly

Position: Executive Director of the American Tunaboat Association (ATA)
Categories: Board of Directors

William (Bill) Gibbons-Fly is Executive Director of the American Tunaboat Association (ATA), representing the owners and operators of the U.S. Pacific tuna purse seine fleet, the last true distant-water fishing fleet operating under U.S. flag. Previously, Bill spent 15 years as the Director of the Office of Marine Conservation at the U.S. Department of State. In this capacity, he led the development and implementation of U.S. policy for the international conservation and management of living marine resources, including as lead negotiator for the United States on a wide range of international treaties, agreements, and arrangements. He also currently serves on the Board of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, and the Federal Advisory Panels for both Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. 

Mike Eckhart

Categories: Board of Directors

Mike participated in the original Oyster Policy Roundtable and has been on the ORP Board since 1994. In 1992, he proposed the Clear Bay Project — the combination of a large-scale, hatchery-based oyster restoration program for the Chesapeake Bay, powered by a gas-fired power generation plant — that was one of the factors that led to the formation of the Roundtable and ultimately to the ORP. Mike grew up in Annapolis in the early 1960s, when the Skipjack fleet still sailed from the area and graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1966. He served in the U.S. Navy Submarine Service and went on to receive an Electrical Engineering degree from Purdue University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Having worked in power generation and renewable energy for more than 30 years, Mike has continued to strive to connect the dots between this cutting-edge, sustainable practice and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. Mike joined Citi, a leading global financial services company, after spending a decade as the founding President of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), where he became a world leader on issues of renewable energy and often contributes this “business environmentalism” to the ORP. Mike enjoys sailing out of Annapolis with his wife and two grown daughters and has enjoyed membership with both the Maryland Watermen’s Association and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for several decades.

Harold Graul

Position: President, Graul’s Markets
Categories: Board of Directors

Harold Graul has worked in his family’s business, Graul’s Markets, for over 60 years. He has experience in all phases of running supermarkets. Seafood has always been a part of these stores, and they try to buy as much local product as possible. Graul’s Markets have six stores in Maryland and are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year, 2020.

Captain Herman “Jeffery” Harrison

Position: Waterman
Categories: Board of Directors

Fifth generation Chesapeake Bay Waterman received Captain’s License in 1983. Member of various Fishery Groups (MD Waterman’s Assoc since 1981, Talbot County Oyster Shell Committee since 1986, Talbot Waterman’s Assoc Secretary 2010-2015 and President 2015 to present, Oyster Futures Group 2016 to present, and Oyster Advisory Commission 2016 to present). Member of various Environmental Groups (Choptank Tributary Team since 2006 and Phillips Wharf Environmental Center since 2010). Member of Local Community Groups (Tilghman Volunteer Fire Department Volunteer 1985 to present, Tilghman Elem School PTA Vice President 1994-2000, Coach for SLOT and Homerun Baker youth leagues 1994-2007, Talbot County Parks and Rec Advisory Board 2000 to present, and Tilghman Watermen Museum Board Member 2022).

The Honorable James J. King

Position: CEO/Owner, Titan Hospitality Group
Categories: Board of Directors

James King is the CEO of an Anne Arundel County-based restaurant holding company that owns and manages seven restaurants in the Virginia/Maryland/Delaware region.  The restaurants include The Blackwall Barn & Lodge (Gambrills, MD & Columbia, MD) and Blackwall Hitch (Annapolis, MD & Alexandria, VA), Smashing Grapes Columbia, The Farmhouse Gambrills, and The Lodge Annapolis.  James is a native of the Washington-DC area and has spent most of his professional career in the food services industry.  He spent one term as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates (2007-2011).

Thomas Kountz

Position: Research and Development Chemist, McCormick & Company Inc.
Categories: Board of Directors

A Baltimore native, Thomas has combined a passion for flavor in the culinary world with the science of chemistry, getting his start in Maryland based seafood restaurants. Thomas developed a strong passion for the culinarily rich waters of the Chesapeake Bay while developing an understanding of sustainable restaurant practices. Driven by his curiosity for flavor, sustainability and the sciences, Thomas obtained his BS in Chemistry from Towson University. Thomas joined McCormick and Company in 2015, developing a career as a Research and Development Chemist with a focus on clean and sustainable industrial flavor solutions. Thomas is a member of McCormick’s R&D Sustainability Committee, Corporate Multi-Management Board, and an active member in the scientific community.

Katie Matthews

Position: Chief Scientist, Oceana
Categories: Board of Directors

Katie currently works as Chief Scientist at Oceana, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting world oceans. Her varied work environments have included Arctic ice caps, Capitol Hill, international treaty negotiations, and the waters of the eastern tropical Pacific. After 10 years in research, she returned to Washington DC, her hometown, to work as a legislative fellow in the U.S. Congress and then for the Office of Marine Conservation in the U.S. State Department. Katie continued her science-based policy work with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation and then with The Pew Charitable Trusts, where she ran a marine conservation and sustainable fisheries grantmaking program. She also served on the Society for Conservation Biology’s Board of Governors and led its Marine Section’s board of directors as president (2017-2019). She has an M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Earth and Environmental Science.

Jim Perdue

Position: Chairman, Perdue Farms Inc.
Categories: Board of Directors

As Chairman and CEO of Perdue Farms, Jim heads the company’s executive team and is responsible for developing the company’s vision and growth strategies. Jim grew up in the family poultry business, but left after high school to attend college to pursue his interests in biology. He received his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and his master’s degree in marine biology from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, doing growth rate research on the Malaysian prawn. In 1983, Jim earned a doctorate in fisheries from the University of Washington in Seattle, where he studied survival of the Japanese oyster to summer mortality through genetic selection. He then returned to the family business and in 1989. Jim earned his MBA from Salisbury State University and became Chairman and CEO at Perdue Farms, Inc. in 1991.

Maxine Phillips

Position: VP International Business Development, Phillips Seafood
Categories: Board of Directors

Ms. Phillips has served as Vice President for International Business Development for Phillips Seafood since 2000.  She manages a variety of strategic planning and marketing strategies for the company and has been a part of Phillips’ sustainability in seafood practices and environmental health efforts.  In addition to supporting ORP, Maxine is a member of the Boards of the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, the Living Classrooms Foundation, and the World Presidents Organization. 

Ed Rich

Position: Senior Consulting Engineer, Northrop Grumman Corporation
Categories: Board of Directors

As a judge in the Baltimore Science Fair for more than 15 years, Ed has encouraged the talented youth of our area to pursue science as a career. When Ed first joined the ORP Board, he represented the Windjammers, the founders of Chesapeake Appreciation Inc., which became the Oyster Recovery Partnership. Over the years, Ed has played an active role in supporting outreach events to teach children about the role that oysters play in restoring our Bay. He lives in the Annapolis area with his wife and daughter, and is an active member of the sailing community.

Jason Ruth

Position: Owner/Operator, Harris Seafood Company, LLC
Categories: Board of Directors

Jason comes from a family of Chesapeake Bay waterman and is the Owner and Operator of Harris Seafood Company.  His firm’s knowledge of the Bay’s seafood industry and aquaculture dates back to 1947.  His seafood products are caught and processed locally and then distributed to over 30 states across the nation.

Ben Savage

Position: Chief Marketing Officer, Flying Dog Brewery
Categories: Board of Directors

Mr. Savage is the Chief Marketing Officer for Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland, responsible for brand marketing, sales, business strategy, and industry trade partnerships.  Prior to Flying Dog, Ben served as the Director of Marketing for Erickson Living.  He has served as president of the Maryland Brewers Association, a member of the Board of Directors for the Brewers Association of Maryland, and member of the Rotary of Carroll Creek in Frederick.