I took the helm of OR&R in November of 2019, and spent the first months connecting with staff and partners that spanned the breadth of our mission. In the new year, I’m looking forward to deepening those connections, continuing our strong mission accomplishments, and conducting more joint work across OR&R’s operating divisions as a step in ensuring we are nimble in how we leverage our expertise and resources across our mission set.
Before becoming director I spent almost five years leading OR&R’s Emergency Response Division, which provides emergency scientific support for coastal oil and chemical spills. Before joining NOAA, I was a U.S. Coast Guard civilian and worked alongside OR&R for 23 years in a range of incident management and environmental response roles.
OR&R began 44 years ago as a small group of oil spill specialists. Since then we’ve grown and evolved to perform a wide range of critical roles related to ocean and coastal resource protection and restoration from oil, chemical, and marine debris pollution, as well as disaster preparedness and response.
I’m tremendously proud of OR&R’s accomplishments. In Fiscal Year 2019 alone, we responded to 133 oil and chemical incidents; researched, prevented and reduced the impacts of marine debris on the economy and marine environment including removing over 4,357 metric tons of debris from U.S. waters; trained 2,314 partners as part of preparing for coastal disasters and emergencies; and secured $28 million to restore natural resources across seven states and territories.
I support OR&R’s 2020 New Year’s Resolutions, including our commitment to use sound science to keep America’s coasts clean from the threats of oil, chemicals, and marine debris, and enhance emergency preparedness and response for NOAA and our partners. We will continue to advance our methods and underlying science to deliver the greatest value we can as we carry out this important public service.