I am currently a State On-Scene Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. In my role as SOSC, I supervise the state’s response to spills and releases of oil and other hazardous materials in 18 counties east of the Oregon Cascades.
My areas of expertise include the science and policy of oil spill response operations, the national security implications of climate change and natural disasters, and the integration of civilian disaster response operations with U.S. military capabilities. I have more than a decade of on-the-ground experience responding to oil spills and natural disasters throughout the Western Hemisphere at the state, federal, and international levels. My practical experience is complemented by a decade of formal scientific training as a marine geochemist, seagoing oceanographer and environmental data scientist.
I hold a Ph.D. in chemical oceanography from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program and a master’s degree in environmental science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. I served for five years on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard and I am currently an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, where I hold several Incident Command System certifications.
My research as an oceanographer and geochemist has taken me to Antarctica (three times; check out my blog, here) and throughout the world’s oceans on various research vessels. In my academic career, I have examined the various biological and abiotic processes that degrade and remineralize natural organic matter and extracted petroleum products in the surface ocean. I am interested in both anthropogenic and natural sources of stress to the microorganisms (algae and bacteria) that are the foundation of marine ecosystems. In testing hypotheses about how these ecosystems function, I have developed and applied novel, open-source computational approaches and software tools for data discovery.
From 2004 to 2009, I served on active duty in the United States Coast Guard. After graduating with a commission from Officer Candidate School in December 2004, I served ashore in Jacksonville, Florida, and in a variety of capacities at sea. These included deck watch officer, boarding officer, and First Lieutenant aboard USCGC FORWARD in Portsmouth, Virginia, and Executive Officer of USCGC PENOBSCOT BAY, a 140-foot icebreaker tug homeported in Bayonne, New Jersey. I am currently a lieutenant commander (O-4) in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.
In summer 2010, I was deployed for two months to Mobile, Alabama, as part of the Coast Guard’s response to the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster. During the disaster, I served as director of an interagency team whose mission was to find and identify residual oil that had accumulated beneath the ocean’s surface in the coastal waters of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. I was also deployed in 2017 for interagency hurricane relief operations in Texas and Florida, where I served as a Type 1 Planning Section Chief and Operations Section Chief within multiple incident commands.
I previously worked as a newspaper journalist at the Boston Globe, Albany Times Union, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I graduated from Yale College in 2004 with a degree in political science. I have completed additional academic training at the National Defense University.
I hold a 100-ton commercial Coast Guard master’s license (near coastal waters, with towing endorsement) and I am a certified Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) peer and team leader.