Monday, August 21, 2017

Advisory Board Members


Dale Baker

Dale Baker (Chair)
Ithaca, NY

Dale Baker worked with Sea Grant for over 36 years and served as a Sea Grant Extension Program Leader for 34 years. His major programmatic responsibilities were in the areas of commercial fisheries, ports and harbors, aquaculture and coastal climate change. Mr. Baker retired from Cornell University in January of 2009, but continues to do work for Sea Grant and the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network.

Peter Betzer
St. Petersburg, Florida

Dr. Peter Betzer currently serves as the President of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership focused on expanding the cluster of technological businesses that are associated with St. Petersburg’s extensive marine and medical research complex. Prior to joining the partnership in 2008, Dr. Betzer served as Founding Dean and Professor of The University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science. Dr. Betzer is the author of over 60 scientific publications in journals and books and in 1985 was a co-recipient of a Distinguished Authorship Award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Dr. Betzer was appointed to the Ocean Sciences Advisory Panel for The National Science Foundation (NSF), was elected to The University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) Council for which he served as Vice-Chair. In 2005 Dr. Betzer was appointed to the Ocean Research and Resource Advisory Panel (ORRAP) a 15-member group that formulates recommendations about ocean research to federal agencies. Dr. Betzer received a B.A. in geology from Lawrence College (1964) and in 1971 was awarded a Ph.D. in chemical oceanography from the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography.  His research interests are in the realm of geochemistry, particularly the role of organisms in modifying the chemistry of seawater, pollutant transfer in the oceans, and chemical tracers.

Patricia Birkholz

Patricia Birkholz
Saugatuck, MI

Senator Patty Birkholz is director of the West Michigan Office of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.  Prior to taking this position  Senator Birkholz was the Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes and as a member of the Michigan State Senate from 2002 to 2010. In the Senate, she represented the 24th District comprising of Allegan, Barry and Eaton Counties. Prior to her terms in the Senate, she represented the 88th District in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1996 to 2002. She was the Allegan County Treasurer from 1992 to 1996. Birkholz began her career in politics as a trustee for Saugatuck Township.

Paulinus Chigbu

Paulinus Chigbu
Fruitland, MD

Dr. Paulinus Chigbu is the Director of the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center, Director of the National Science Foundation Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology: Center for the Study of Coastal Ecosystem Processes and Dynamics in the Mid-Atlantic Region and a professor of marine environmental science at the University of Maryland. Chigbu has been involved in many programs to bring diversity to marine science including projects and partnerships with NOAA, Jackson State, University of Mississippi, Office of Naval Research and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. Dr. Chigbu has been the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, an Excellence Fellowship from the University of Washington and served as Chair of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences.

Rosanne Fortner
Oak Island, NC

Dr. Rosanne Fortner is a retired professor of environmental science education from The Ohio State University and a former middle school science teacher. In her 27 years at OSU she taught environmental communications and education to undergraduates and graduate students on campus, and Great Lakes interdisciplinary sciences for educators at F.T. Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie. From a position as a project investigator, she coordinated the Ohio Sea Grant Education Program until 2005. Her research was directed at identifying needs for science education programs and training, comparing effectiveness of methods for Earth system science education, and assessing the impact of environmental education programs in field and classroom settings. Curriculum development and assessment were also an important part of her responsibilities as an educator, and her 12 books of curriculum activities were funded by Ohio Sea Grant, the National Science Foundation, Great Lakes Protection Fund and other sponsors. She works with current Ohio Sea Grant investigators to bring the curricula into modern technological forms, and to match Great Lakes with marine science learning through online teaching. Dr. Fortner was the Director of the Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence [COSEE] Great Lakes, a collaboration of the seven Sea Grant Education programs in the region, with NSF and Sea Grant support from 2006-2010. With her assistance the scientists and educators of that program developed the Great Lakes Literacy Principles. Fortner is the author of over 80 research and education-based publications, has advised 15 PhDs and 50 MS programs to completion, and served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Cyprus.  She is currently Co-Chair of the Oak Island Beach Preservation Society at her retirement home in North Carolina.

E. Gordon Grau, PhD
Kaneohe, HI

Dr. Grau is a Professor of Zoology at the Hawai’I Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii. Although a Maryland native, Professor E. Gordon Grau has lived in Hawai‘i for 33 years.  For 15 years, he served as the director of the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program (UH Sea Grant.)  He was also appointed the interim director of the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and Interim Director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Dr. Grau was also Commissioner on the Honolulu Charter Commission. He previously served as President of the Sea Grant Association as well as President of the Center for a Sustainable Future, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization.

 Professor Grau holds a bachelor of science from Loyola University in Maryland, a master of science from Morgan State University, and a PhD from the University of Delaware.  He also completed postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, he is a professor and a member of the faculty of the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology where he maintains a laboratory.  He is the author of nearly 200 papers in peer-refereed journals.  He has mentored, and supported through peer-refereed Federal grants, 16 Postdoctoral, 13 Ph.D. Students, and 22 M.S. students.  Professor Grau continues to conduct research, and to mentor graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral associates.


Judith Gray
Block Island, RI

Judith (Judy) Gray retired in 2011 after a 33-year career as a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Judy started her career as a commissioned officer with the NOAA Corps.  Her civilian career began at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, where she studied winds along the mountainous coastlines of Alaska on NOAA ships and aircraft in support of the Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations.  She moved to NOAA headquarters to be an advocate for oceanic and atmospheric research, served as the Acting Deputy Director of NOAA’s 12 Environmental Research Laboratories, and was the NOAA Program Manager for the Coastal Forecast System and, together with the National Science Foundation, GLOBEC (Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics).  For 15 years, she was the Deputy Director of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, in Miami, supporting deep sea and coastal oceanography, climate, hurricane, and ecosystems research, and served on the FL Sea Grant Senior Advisory Council.  Her last position with NOAA was Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Programs and Administration, one of two deputies to the head of NOAA Research.  She was responsible for the daily operations and administration of NOAA’s research enterprise, and the execution of programs including the National Sea Grant Program, NOAA’s Climate Program, and Ocean Exploration and Research.  In retirement, Judy continues her mentoring of NOAA scientists in developing leadership skills.  She is the Vice President of the Block Island Maritime Institute, whose mission is to provide educational programs and maritime activities including aquaculture, marine science, and maritime heritage for residents and visitors on Block Island.  Judy is a citizen scientist, conducting monthly profiles of Block Island beaches to monitor routine and storm-related changes.  In addition to the National Sea Grant Advisory Board, she is a member of the Senior Advisory Council for the Rhode Island Sea Grant Program.    

Brian Helmuth
Marblehead, MA

Dr. Brian Helmuth is a Professor at the Marine Science Center at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, with a joint appointment in the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.  Helmuth’s research and teaching focus on predicting the likely ecological impacts of climate change on coastal ecosystems, and on the development of products that are scientifically accurate, understandable, and useful by a diverse array of stakeholders.  He has authored or co-authored over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles in the areas of climate change and marine ecology.

Helmuth is a Fellow of the Aldo Leopold Leadership program, which trains select scientists to interact with policy makers, journalists and the public and in 2011 was named a Google Science Communication Fellow in the area of climate change.   He also served as a lead author on the Technical input document for the inaugural Oceans chapter of the US National Climate Assessment.

Amber Mace

Amber Mace (Vice Chair)
Sacramento, CA

Dr. Amber Mace is the Deputy Director of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST). In addition to providing strategic advice to the executive director and advancing CCST organizational goals, Mace leads the California Science, Technology and Policy Fellows program. Concurrently with her position at CCST, Mace maintains her affiliation with the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy as a Policy Fellow advancing a regional climate adaptation initiative. Prior to this position she served as the Executive Director of the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and Assistant Secretary for Coastal Matters at the California Natural Resources Agency from 2009 to 2012 and in dual roles as the Executive Director of the California Ocean Science Trust and the Science Advisor to the OPC from 2006 to 2009. Mace worked as a National Sea Grant John A. Knauss marine policy fellow for the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in 2006, and as a California Sea Grant state fellow at the Ocean Resources Management Program in the California Natural Resources Agency in 2005. Mace is dedicated to ensuring policy development and resource management decisions are outcome driven, cost-effective, and informed with sound science.


Jim Murray, PhD
Naples, Florida

Dr. James D. Murray retired in 2011 as Deputy Director of the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program.  He spent his entire 37-year career in various Sea Grant positions including Sea Grant Scholar at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Regional Extension Specialist at Minnesota Sea Grant, Extension Leader for both the New Jersey and North Carolina Sea Grant Programs, National Sea Grant Extension Leader and finally Deputy Director of the National Sea Grant College Program.  His professional interests are in marine resource and fisheries management where he was the Principal Investigator on over 40 grants which led to 58 professional publications.  Murray was the recipient of the President’s Award, Sea Grant Association in 2010, and the William Q. Wick Award for Visionary Career Leadership in Administration by the Assembly of Sea Grant Extension Leaders in 2011.  Currently he serves as a member of the Florida Sea Grant Extension Program’s Advisory Committee (Collier County) and volunteers as an Interpretive Ranger at Everglades National Park and as a research assistant at NOAA’s Rookery Bay Estuarine Research Reserve.

Mike Orbach

Michael Orbach
North Carolina

Dr. Michael Orbach is a Professor of the Practice Emeritus of Marine Affairs and Policy in the Division of Marine Science Conservation at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. He has performed research and has been involved in coastal and marine policy on all coasts of the U.S. and in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Alaska and the Pacific, and has published widely on social science and policy in coastal and marine environments. He has worked as a Cultural Anthropologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and has held several Governor's appointments to environmental Boards and Commissions as well as appointments to National Academy of Sciences Boards and Committees. He has been the President of The Coastal Society, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Surfrider Foundation.

Richard Vortmann

Dick Vortmann
La Jolla, California

Richard H. Vortmann retired after a 30-year career with National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) based in San Diego, California where he served as President for 22 years. He also retired after six years as Vice President of General Dynamics Corporation. He most recently completed an assignment as Interim President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Vortmann recently completed a 7-year term on the Board (including 2 years as Chairman) of Scripps Health; Vortmann is a Member of Council, American Bureau of Shipping. He is a Trustee on the San Diego County Employees Retirement System. Previously Vortmann served as Chairman of both the American Shipbuilders Association and the Shipbuilders Council of America, and Vice Chairman of the National Academies of Science Marine Board. For 14 years he was the Chairman of the American delegation to the Japanese, European, Chinese, Korean, and United States Annual Shipbuilding Conference. He also served as a Director of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and the San Diego Economic Development Corporation. He was a member of the San Diego Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Finance Committee, and Vice Chair of the San Diego Pension Reform Committee. Vortmann was born in San Francisco, California. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in finance in 1966 and an MBA in 1967 from the University of California, Berkeley, for whom he also played basketball. He taught on the Business School faculty of his alma mater from 1967 to 1969 while doing postgraduate work before entering private industry.

Ex-officio members:

Jonathan Pennock, Director, National Sea Grant College Program 
James Hurley, Sea Grant Association President and Wisconsin Sea Grant Program Director

Elizabeth Rohring, National Sea Grant Advisory Board Designated Federal Officer

Mary Ann Garlic, Executive Assistant


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