Rear Admiral Mary E. Landry, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District,
Rear Admiral Landry serves as the Commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District and Commander of Task Force 189.8, headquartered in New Orleans. As District Commander, Rear Admiral Landry is responsible for U.S. Coast Guard operations covering 26 states, more than 1,200 miles of coastline and 10,300 miles of inland waterways from Florida to Mexico and including the entire navigable lengths of the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Tennessee River systems.
Joseph B. Morton
Dr. Morton was previously Superintendent of Education of Sylacauga City Schools
He was selected by the Alabama State Board of Education to be the State
As Deputy and State Superintendent of Education Dr. Morton has guided the
Larry Fillmer is the Executive Director of the Natural Resources Management and Development Institute at Auburn University. He has also worked as a development director and director of the I-85 Corridor Alliance, also at Auburn University.
Fillmer holds a degree in Business Administration from Auburn University and a master’s degree in Industrial Management from the University of Alabama. In addition to serving as a commissioned officer, attaining the rank of Captain in the U.S. Air Force, Fillmer has over 35 years of experience managing large, complex organizations.
Fillmer joined the Amdahl Corporation in 1985 as Director of Business and Strategic Planning for the Communications Systems Division. Fillmer was responsible for the transformation of Amdahl from a fully integrated provider of mainframe computers and services to the establishment of Fujitsu Technology Solutions, Inc. Throughout his tenure with Amdahl and Fujitsu, Fillmer held a variety of executive management and marketing positions, including Senior Vice President and later President and CEO of the Antares Alliance Group. He was later named President and CEO of Amdahl IT Services and Fujitsu Technology Solutions.
Ricky Mathews is president and publisher of the Press-Register in Mobile and the Mississippi Press in Pascagoula in 2009. Mathews is also president of Advance Alabama/Mississippi with oversight responsibility for the Birmingham News and the Huntsville Times, in addition to the Press-Register and Mississippi Press.
Mathews is a 27-year veteran of the newspaper industry. Among other roles, he served as vice-chairman of the Governors' Commission on Recovery Rebuilding and Renewal following Hurricane Katrina and was a founding member of the Gulf Coast Business Council.
After completing advanced emergency medical technician training at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, he continued his education, graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned an MBA.
Donald Ellis Williamson, M.D.
Dr. Donald E. Williamson was appointed State Health Officer and Director of the Alabama Department of Public Health in 1992 after serving as Director of the Bureau of Preventive Health Services from 1988 to 1992 and prior to that as Director of the Division of Disease Control from 1986 to 1988. Prior to joining the Alabama Department of Public Health, Dr. Williamson served as State Tuberculosis Control Officer at the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Dr. Williamson has been the recipient of a number of awards; the 2009 Wallace Alexander Clyde Award from Children’s Hospital; the 2000 Arthur T. McCormack Award from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials for dedication and excellence in public health, the 1999 Theodore R. Ervin Award from the Public Health Foundation, and the 1999 Child Health Advocate Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was also the recipient of the 1997 D. G. Gill Award from the Alabama Public Health Association for outstanding contribution to public health in Alabama and the 1998 Internist of the Year Award from the Alabama Society of Internal Medicine.
On a national level, Dr. Williamson serves on the Region IV Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Advisory Council. He served on the Executive Committee of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and was President of the Association from 1997 to 1998. Among others, he served as a member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the Public Health Foundation, and the Steering Committee on Access for the Uninsured of the National Academy for State Health Policy. He serves on numerous boards and commissions at the state level.
Dr. Williamson received his medical degree, cum laude, from the University of Mississippi
Dr. George Crozier is the Executive Director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab where he has worked since 1979.
Dr. Crozier received his Ph.D. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (University of California, San Diego). Although trained originally as a comparative biochemist, Dr. Crozier has spent most of his professional career in Coastal Zone Management, which might be considered as a specialization in applied marine ecology.
As the Director of the Coastal Policy Center at the Laboratory, he is active regionally in most management issues, Dr. Crozier received NOAA’s Walter B. Jones Coastal Steward Award for 1999/2000 and has been honored by the State of Alabama as a science educator. He is currently deeply engaged in the issues emerging from urban sprawl in coastal areas and mitigation thereof.
Dan Gropper is the David and Meredith Luck Professor in the Department of Finance and Associate Dean for MBA Programs in the College of Business at Auburn University. He earned his degrees from the University of Maryland and Florida State University. Prior to coming to Auburn in 1988, he worked for the Florida Public Service Commission and for the consulting firm of Economic Research Services, in Tallahassee, Florida.
While at Auburn, Dr. Gropper has taught courses in Money and Banking, Political Economy, Managerial Economics and Economic Strategy. He has taught in the undergraduate, MBA, Executive MBA, and doctoral programs. An award winning teacher, Dr. Gropper has served as a consultant to private firms and government agencies.
During Gropper’s administrative tenure as Director of the MBA Program, Auburn’s offerings have grown extensively, adding an Executive MBA, a Physician’s Executive MBA, a custom corporate MBA program for Jostens in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a custom MBA program for Pratt & Whitney.
Steven J. Picou
Dr. Steven Picou is Professor of Sociology at the University of South Alabama, having held previous academic and research appointments at The Ohio State University and Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University.
He is currently directing a five year study of community recovery from Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi and Louisiana. In 2008, Dr. Picou received the William Foote Whyte Distinguished Career Award from the American Sociological Association section on Sociological Practice.
Richard E. Powers
Dr. Richard Powers is the Medical Director for the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Powers is a geriatric psychiatrist and a neuropathologist, trained in pathology at the University of Kentucky as well as psychiatry and neuropathology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is board certified in general psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry and general pathology.
Additionally, Dr. Powers is a physician holding board certifications in Anatomical Pathology by the American Board of Pathology, Psychiatry and Neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, qualification in Geriatric Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and recertified in Geriatric Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Dr. Bill Walton is an assistant professor in Auburn University's Department of Fisheries & Allied Aquacultures and an extension specialist with Alabama Cooperative Extension System. His research emphasizes the use of controlled field experiments to solve applied problems and to answer questions posed by the public. In particular, his work focuses on issues related to marine invertebrate aquaculture, fisheries management and restoration. Within the Gulf of Mexico, species of interest include the eastern oyster, blue crabs and shrimp, which form the basis for important commercial and recreational fisheries.
Mr. Lance LeFleur was appointed director of The Alabama Environmental Management Commission in April of 2010.
LeFleur has been president of Materials Recovery Corporation in Mobile since 1990. The company implemented numerous recycling programs in eight states and developed new methods to recycle waste in the paper pulping and dairy packaging industries.
David LaDon Swann
Dr. LaDon Swann is the Director of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and the Auburn Marine Extension and Research Center. He is also an associate research professor in the Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures at Auburn University.
Frederick (Buck) Sutter
Buck Sutter is Deputy Regional Administrator, supervising the operation of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) Southeast Regional Office, which employs about 120 full-time federal and contractor employees located throughout the southeastern United States, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition to overseeing all personnel, budget, and administrative responsibilities at the Southeast Regional Office, Buck serves as one of four NMFS leads on a NOAA Regional Collaboration Team.
Ms. Roberta Swann is currently the director of the Mobile Bay Estuary Program (MBNEP), having previously served as the interim director.
Brock Long is currently director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.
Before being appointed as director of AEMA, Long worked as the Southeast Regional Director for Beck Disaster Recovery, a company that specializes in emergency planning, disaster training and post-event recovery. Long also previously served as FEMA's Hurricane Program Manager for six southeastern states. In that capacity, he oversaw FEMA's hurricane emergency planning, preparedness, response and assistance in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Long also designed hurricane evacuation plans for those states. For four consecutive years, he received awards from FEMA for outstanding achievement.
Dr. Don-Terry Veal is Director of Auburn University’s Center for Governmental Services having previously served at the Center’s Associate Director. He serves as chief administrator of several statewide governmentally mandated and professional credentialing associations.
Dr. Veal led applied research activities related to the rebuilding efforts of the New Orleans-area business communities following Hurricane Katrina. He speaks nationally and internationally to public and private organizations on issues dealing with excellence in government and on entrepreneurship. Dr. Veal recently made the keynote address on Transparency in Government and Community Development in the city of Gangwon-do, South Korea, for the International Local Government Symposium. Dr. Veal is Founder and Chairman of the Auburn University national conference: Governmental Excellence and Best Practices. Veal was Director of the African-American Entrepreneurship Summit, served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Entrepreneurship Policy Journal, and is author of Entrepreneurship in South Africa and the United States and co-author of Public Opinion in Alabama: Looking Beyond the Stereotypes. He is also the author of many publications in the areas of public finance.
Veal served on the Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative Advisory Board of the Kellogg Foundation. He has also been selected as a Global Fellow by the IC² Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, appointed as a Foreign Honorary Fellow of the Korea Research Institute for Local Administration, and is listed as a member of Who’s Who in America. He is past-president of SCUPSO, the Southern Consortium of University Public Service Organizations. Dr. Veal earned his Ph.D. in areas of Public Administration/Public Finance from Northern Illinois University.
Bob Higgins is Vice President of the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance. The Alliance represents 5 chambers of commerce, 8 industrial development boards, 14 cities, and over 100 businesses located in Baldwin County. Among his responsibilities are the management of the Baldwin County Business Incubator and the Alliance’s existing business and workforce development activities.
Mr. Higgins is also Chairman of the Coastal Resiliency Coalition, an organization focused on needs associated with the current oil crisis.
Higgins was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Alabama Workforce Investment Board, and currently serves on its County Budget Committee. Additionally, he chairs the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council, the Career Technical Education Advisory Council to the Alabama State Department of Education, the Alabama FBLA/DECA Foundation, and is the Economic Development Chair of Region 8 of the Governor’s Rural Council.
Christopher L. Nelson is the Vice President of Bon Secour Fisheries, Inc., located in Bon Secour Alabama. Mr. Nelson grew up in Bon Secour and worked at Bon Secour Fisheries on weekends and during the summer.
Nelson earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of the South in Sewanee Tennessee, completed the Undergraduate Marine Sciences Program at Duke University Marine Lab at Beaufort North Carolina, and earned a M.S. in Marine Environmental Sciences from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He also served as a Congressional Sea Grant Fellow in Washington, D.C. and as a legislative assistant.
Chris was employed as a project coordinator with the National Fisheries Institute in Washington before returning to Bon Secour. His primary area of responsibility at Bon Secour Fisheries, Inc. is as oyster product manager; he also works in government and regulatory affairs.
Mr. Nelson serves on the Board of the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference, as a Commissioner on the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Gulf and South Atlantic States Fisheries Foundation, and as a member of the Gulf Oyster Industry Council.
Since 1993, Herb Malone has served as the President/CEO of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. Prior to this, he was the President of the Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce. Preceding his career in destination marketing, Herb was a private business owner. During that time, he served two terms as a member of the Gulf Shores City Council.
Mr. Malone earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Livingston University and completed the program at the Institute of Organizational Management at Southern Methodist University.
Herb is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce, South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, Alabama Association of CVB’s, Friends of the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge, Gulf Shores Airport Authority and the Erie Meyer Charitable Trust as well as a member of the USS Alabama Battleship Commission. In 2000, he was inducted into the Alabama Hospitality Hall of Fame; and in 2001 named Alabama’s Tourism Promoter of the Year, and was named Alabama’s Tourism Executive of the Year in 2005.
A native of South Alabama, Herb and his family have lived in the Gulf Shores area since 1978.
Mayor Robert Craft and his family are long time residents of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Mayor Craft graduated from Foley High School and attended Auburn University, majoring in Agriculture Economics.
He served a four year term as a Gulf Shores Councilmember and was elected Mayor of the City of Gulf Shores in 2008.
Mayor Craft owns a turf farm and developed a Gulf Shores residential planned community.
The Mayor is also a member of the AIUA (Alabama Insurance Underwriting Association) and GUMBO (Gulf United Metro Business Organization) and actively works to prepare Gulf Shores for the future.
Linda Whitlock is the President and CEO of the Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce - the Chamber for Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan. She is currently a member of Gulf United Metro Business Organization (GUMBO), the Coastal Resiliency Coalition, and has been appointed to the Governor’s “Coastal Recovery Commission of Alabama”.
Ms. Whitlock is a graduate of San Diego State University and the Institute of Organizational Management.
She has served on the Boards of Directors of the South Baldwin United Way, South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce, Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance and the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. Additionally, Linda served as a trustee for the Alabama Gulf Coast Education Foundation.
Brent McMahan is Senior Area Manager in south Alabama for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). McMahan represents the SBA throughout the Alabama counties south of Montgomery. This area includes Baldwin & Mobile counties; his office is in Mobile.
Brent specializes in education and outreach – to the general public, including bankers, to small business owners and startups, and to local officials about SBA programs. A major aspect of his duties includes working with local bankers on using SBA loan guarantees and other lending products. He also works closely with small business organizations such as area chambers of commerce, utilities, economic development groups, planning districts, incubator centers, and other area agencies concerned with small business development and entrepreneurship.
McMahan is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned three degrees (including an MBA). He also graduated from Leadership Mississippi, and the Economic Development Institute (EDI) at Oklahoma University. He has completed post-graduate course work at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Michigan. He also holds the Economic Finance Professional designation from the National Development Council.
Brent spent 23 years with AT&T before taking early retirement. He is a certified economic developer; a series 7/66 broker, and a former vice president with a high-tech startup in Florida.
Donna Watts is president and CEO of the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce and the South Baldwin Chamber Foundation.
Ms. Watts serves as a member in a number of organizations, including the: Business Council of Alabama, Economic Development Association of Alabama, Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, American Chamber of Commerce Executives, Leadership Alabama, and the Baldwin County Public Transit Coalition.
Watts is has notable involvement as a leader in business and service organizations such as: being a Charter member of the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance Board, Chairman of the Board 2009 of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, Board of Directors of the Business Council of Alabama, GUMBO Board of Directors, Coastal Resiliency Collation Leadership Team, the Executive Board member for Baldwin County Partners in Education, Envision Coastal Alabama Baldwin County Chairman 2009 & 2010, and as a South Baldwin Chapter of the American Red Cross Advisory Board among others.
Ms. Watts earned an AA Degree from Faulkner State Community College in Business Administration, graduated from the Institute for Organizational Management from University of Georgia, completed the Intensive Economic Development Course at Auburn University, completed the Basic Economic Development Course at Georgia Institute of Technology, the Institute for Advanced Management at the University of Charleston, and is a graduate of the Baldwin County Leadership program and of Graduate of Leadership Alabama(class XV).
Dr. Jay Gogue serves as Auburn University’s 18th president. Dr. Gogue previously served as president of New Mexico State University and as president of the University of Houston and as chancellor of the University of Houston System.
Gogue is a two-time graduate of Auburn University receiving both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in horticulture. He earned his doctorate in horticulture from Michigan State University.
Gogue began work with the National Park Service, eventually serving as chief administrative scientist responsible for several regions of the U.S. Park system. He began his distinguished career in higher education administration as associate director of the Office of University Research at Clemson University where he also served as vice president for research and vice president/vice provost for agriculture and natural resources. He was then selected by Utah State University to serve as provost.
Dr. Cook is the Assistant Vice President for Auburn University Outreach. He provides university-wide leadership for Auburn’s outreach programs, which includes academic programs in all colleges and schools. Dr. Cook is also directly responsible for the following five outreach centers and institutes: Distance Learning and Outreach Technology, the Economic and Community Development Institute, the Outreach Program Office, the Center for Governmental Services and Outreach Information and Program Certification. Dr. Cook holds three degrees in Public Administration and Public Policy from Auburn University, culminating with a Ph.D. in 2000. He also occasionally lectures in the Department of Political Science and the Master of Public Administration Program. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Dr. Cook is also actively involved in connecting Auburn University to the international community. This involvement includes working on international education programs in Central America and Africa. Many of these programs promote faculty and student exchanges, international trade and development, and training for educators and governmental officials.
Mr. Joe Cloyd was named to serve as the Executive Director of the Alabama Coastal Recovery Commission. The Commission was formed by an Executive Order from Governor Bob Riley on September 27, 2010.
Cloyd works as a consultant in the areas of strategic planning and project management. Among Mr. Cloyd’s career highlights are serving as the South Mississippi Field Representative for the Barbour for Governor Campaign, serving as the Aide de Camp for the Mississippi governor, and serving as the deputy director of The Inaugural Committee for Governor Haley Barbour. Cloyd also served as the Gulf Coast Director for the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal. Additionally, he worked for 5 years as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Governors’ Association, Inc.
Joe Cloyd graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Political Theory. He has received additional training and education in politics, communications, logistics, management and community leadership.
Mr. W. Sandys Stimpson is the Executive Vice President of Scotch & Gulf Lumber. Mr. Stimpson was appointed to serve on the Alabama Coastal Recovery Commission and on the Health Committee for the Commission.
Stimpson has also served as director of the Alabama Policy Institute and of the Alabama Wildlife Federation, as well as director of the Alabama Alliance of Business and Industry. He is currently Chairman of the Business Council of Alabama, having previously served on the Board of Directors. Mr. Stimpson is active in a variety of civic organizations, serving in leadership capacities for many.
Mr. Stimpson graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. He is also a graduate of Leadership Alabama.
Dr. Russ Lea is Vice President for Research at the University of South Alabama. Dr. Lea earned a B.S. degree from the University of Washington and Ph.D.s from Syracuse University and from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Dr. Lea was appointed to serve on the Alabama Coastal Recovery Commission and on the Environmental Committee for the Commission.
Lea has over 20 years of extensive experience in academic research administration. Prior to working for the University of South Alabama he served as the Vice President for Research at the University of North Carolina System, and as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at North Carolina State University.
Dr. Lea has authored numerous publications, journal articles and paper on topics ranging from research funding to environmental issues, and currently serves on the editorial board of the Environmental Science and Policy Journal. Lea is also actively involved in technology development projects and collaborations in Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Ireland and South Africa.
Tony Kennon was elected Mayor of the City of Orange Beach Alabama on August 26, 2008. He previously served on the Orange Beach Planning Commission and on the Orange Beach City Council.
Mayor Kennon is a graduate of the University of South Alabama with a degree in Physical Therapy. Kennon was previously the owner of a rehabilitation service business.
Mayor Kennon, a native of Chickasaw, Alabama in Mobile County, has a long-term interest in and commitment to Orange Beach and Baldwin County; prior to his moving to Orange Beach, he had been a regular visitor to the area since the 1960’s.
Ben Fairey, a 37 year veteran of the fishing industry, is the Captain of a charter boat. Fairey is an accomplished and award-winning fisherman, specializing in bottom fishing, big game fishing and tournament fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fairey is a fishing authority, and his passion for the sport has afforded him the opportunity to hold many local and regional leadership positions advocating for the industry. He recently met with United States Vice President Joseph Biden to provide insight and advice regarding the effects of the Gulf oil spill on fisheries throughout the region. His leadership positions include:
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