Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council (Council) consists of sixteen voting members, representing key constituent groups, and five non-voting members, representing key government agencies with responsibilities that require coordination with sanctuary staff.
Charter members of the Council were selected through a competitive application process in the fall of 2005. A committee of three non-sanctuary employees reviewed all applications and recommended the top three candidates for each seat. The sanctuary manager selected one representative and one alternate for each seat. Standard background checks were then conducted on each of the selected individuals.
For any future vacancies, a committee of Council members will conduct the initial review process and recommend candidates to the sanctuary manager.
Effective February 25, 2009, a revision to the Council charter was approved, which converted all alternate seats to full member seats. The result is two voting representatives for each constituent group.
Conservation: Jake Emmert and Ellis Pickett
Diving - Recreational: Jesse Cancelmo and Jimmie Mack
Diving - Operations: Natalie Hall and Randy Widaman
Education: Brian Shmaefsky and Jacqui Stanley
Fishing - Commercial: Shane Cantrell and Buddy Guindon
Fishing - Recreational: John Blaha and Scott Hickman
Oil & Gas Production: Clint Moore and James Wiseman
Research: Dr. Adrienne Simoes Correa and Dr. Larry McKinney
Environmental Protection Agency: Barbara Keeler
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM): Mark Belter
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE): James Sinclair
NOAA Fisheries Service: Rusty Swafford
NOAA Office of Law Enforcement: Charles Tyer
United States Coast Guard: LCDR Leo Danaher
MEMBER BIOGRAPHIES AND CONTACT INFORMATION
Representative: Mark Belter
Agency: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)
New Orleans, LA
Member: John Blaha
Seat: Recreational Fishing
Coastal Conservation Association Texas
John Blaha is a long-time fisherman and volunteer for the conservation of Texas' marine resources. John sees participation in the sanctuary advisory council as another opportunity to make a positive contribution in marine conservation. He believes a balanced approach to the protection and management of marine resources is important for protecting sanctuary ecosystems while still allowing reasonable recreational use of the sanctuary. John currently provides leadership to the CCA Texas habitat initiative, Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow, to ensure healthy ecosystems along the coast and in Gulf of Mexico waters.
Member: Jesse Cancelmo
Seat: Recreational Diving
Jesse Cancelmo is an accomplished underwater photographer, author, and photojournalist. His articles and photographs have appeared in numerous diving and wildlife publications. He has authored three books, Diving Cayman Islands (1998), and Diving Bermuda (1990 and 2005) and Texas Coral Reefs, published by Texas A&M Press in April 2008. Jesse is a contributing editor-photographer for Dive Training Magazine, and also contributes regularly to Texas Parks & Wildlife and other dive and wildlife magazines. He leads groups on Gulf of Mexico and Indo-Pacific dive adventures. Additionally, Jesse is a degreed Mechanical Engineer with a P.E. license in three states. He retired in 2010 after 36 years in the Heavy Industrial Engineering/Construction business working for global Fortune 500 companies. His expertise is in Project Management.
Member: Shane Cantrell
Seat: Commercial Fishing
Galveston Sea Ventures
Capt. Shane Cantrell has over 20 years of fishing experience. He is owner and operator of Galveston Sea Ventures, a deep sea and offshore fishing charter business, located in Galveston, Texas. He received his B.S. in Marine Fisheries from TAMU-Galveston and then worked as a fishery observer on commercial fishing vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. Capt. Cantrell is actively involved in the fishery management process with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council serving on the steering committee of the Marine Resource Education Program and on the Data Collection Advisory Panel. Additionally, he is the treasurer of the Charter Fisherman’s Association.
Member: Adrienne Simoes Correa
Adrienne is a coral reef ecologist and educator in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program in BioSciences at Rice University. Her research focuses on reef symbioses, particularly the various roles of microbes in coral health and survival. Adrienne received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan, and an M.A. in Conservation Biology and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Columbia University. In addition to her current research projects in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, Adrienne has studied reefs in the Caribbean, Eastern Pacific, and Indo-Pacific. Adrienne teaches various courses related to aquatic ecology, coral reefs, and diving, and she is the faculty sponsor of the Rice Oceans Club. Adrienne loves to engage others in the importance, complexity and beauty of coral reefs, particularly in the field or using giant 2-D reef replicas!
Representative: LCDR Leo Danaher
Agency: United States Coast Guard
New Orleans, LA
Lieutenant Commander Leo T. Danaher assumed his current duties as the Deputy Law Enforcement Chief for Coast Guard District Eight in July 2016. At District Eight, he is responsible for Coast Guard law enforcement operations and policy oversight throughout the region, including counter-drug operations, alien-migrant interdiction, international border engagements, and living marine resources/marine protected species enforcement missions. He represents Coast Guard District Eight at the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Lieutenant Commander Danaher, originally from Norfolk, VA, graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT in 2004 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Management. He has a diverse background from several unique assignments, including U.S. Northern Command in Colorado, Executive Officer of Coast Guard Station New York and the Coast Guard Deployable Specialized Forces. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Homeland Security and conducting professional studies through the U.S. Naval War College.
Member: Jake Emmert
Jake Emmert is the Dive Safety Officer at Moody Gardens. He oversees more than 2,000 dives annually for both in-house animal husbandry operations and scientific field expeditions. A number of these dives support the management, research and conservation goals of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Artificial Reef Program, NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Florida Atlantic University - Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and Texas A&M University at Galveston. He is also involved in wildlife rehabilitation, field conservation, conservation education and habitat restoration efforts of Moody Gardens.
Jake earned his bachelor’s in Marine Biology and a master’s in Marine Resources Management from Texas A&M University at Galveston, where he supported research projects in Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Jake is the president of Galveston Rotaract, a diving instructor, and an avid outdoorsman.
Member: Buddy Guindon
Seat: Commercial Fishing
Katies Seafood Market
Keith "Buddy" Guindon has been a commercial fisherman since 1979 and is currently the Owner/President of Katie's Seafood Market. He is also a founding member and Excecutive Director of the Gulf of Mexico Fish Shareholder's Alliance and President of the Mosquito Fleet, a non-profit shrimping organization. Buddy feels that it is important to protect our natural resources from exploitation while taking into consideration all stakeholders' needs.
Member: Natalie Hall
Seat: Diving Operations
Berg-Oliver Associates, Inc.
Natalie Hall is currently a Project Manager with Berg-Oliver Associates, Inc. She has a BS in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University and an MS in Coastal Management from NOVA Southeastern University. As part of her studies, Natalie conducted coral reef research in the sanctuary, as well as in Florida and the Seychelles (Africa). She also has a diverse background in scuba diving, from Divemaster to Cavern Diver, and previously managed a dive shop in southeast Florida. Educating the public and building conservation awareness has been an important aspect of her career.
Member: Scott Hickman
Seat: Recreational Fishing
Circle H Outfitters
Scott Hickman is the owner/operator of Circle H Outfitters and Charters. He is a full time hunting and fishing guide with 27 years experience specializing in Cobia, Snapper, Amberjack and King Mackerel trips. Scott is actively involved on Gulf Fisheries Management Council Migratory Pelagic Advisory Panel and Reef fish Advisory Panel with an interest in finding solutions for a better charter business plan in the Gulf his top priority. He attended both Texas Tech University and Sam Houston State University studying Wildlife Management and Criminal Justice. Capt. Hickman also served in the United States Marine Corps and Texas National Guard.
Representative: Barbara Keeler
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Barbara is an Environmental Scientist with the Marine, Coastal and Analysis Section for the EPA Regional office in Dallas. With over 35 years of experience working for EPA, she has specialized on large-scale coastal resource planning and restoration, water quality technical analyses, water and coastal policy development, ecosystem vulnerability assessments, and coastal storm damage risk reduction project implementation for the Texas and Louisiana coasts, as well as for the wider Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. She is also a member of the EPA Regional Incident Management Team for emergency responses. Barbara earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Biology from Trinity University, where she later worked as a Visiting Instructor, and an M.S. in Environmental Science from Washington State University.
Member: Jimmie Mack
Seat: Recreational Diving
Black Coral Divers
Jimmie has been a recreational scuba diver since 1995 as well as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor since 2006. She is a member and Southern Regional Representative of National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS) with experience organizing the NABS Youth Educational Summit (NABS YES) and as an advocate instructor for NABS Diving With a Purpose. Ms. Mack is also President of Black Coral Divers and has been an involved volunteer with FGBNMS.
Member: Larry McKinney
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Harte Research Institute
Corpus Christi, TX
Larry is the new executive director Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, as of July 2008. Previously, he was the Senior Director of Aquatic Resources and the Director of Coastal Fisheries, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He retired from TPWD after 23 years service. Programmatic responsibilities while at TPWD included a broad range of natural resource and environmental issues: management of coastal fisheries resources, assessing and securing freshwater inflows to estuaries and instream flows for rivers and reservoirs; wetland conservation and restoration; endangered species conservation; and, other issues related to the ecological health of Texas' aquatic ecosystems. Larry has been widely recognized for his expertise in conservation and his efforts to translate science into sound and effective public policy that balances the ecological and economic health of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.
Top of List
Member: Clint Moore
Seat: Oil and Gas Production
Clint is a Texas-licensed Professional Geoscientist, having worked for over 35 years as first a staff geoscientist, supervisor, and then manager, vice-president and president in petroleum exploration and business development in the offshore Gulf of Mexico. He started his offshore career with Diamond Shamrock, followed by Anadarko, Murphy Oil, DiamondStar, and ION Geophysical. In May 2013, he co-founded GulfSlope Energy, a new oil and gas company focused on petroleum exploration and development on the Gulf of Mexico shelf and upper slope. Clint has extensive experience in the geosciences of the offshore Gulf of Mexico, with a comprehensive understanding of salt tectonics, complex depositional systems, sedimentary and stratigraphic processes, and global subsalt petroleum exploration and development. Clint previously served on the sanctuary advisory council from 2005 to 2012, and was chairman of the Boundary Expansion committe and the Charter Amendment committe during that time. He was also awarded the sanctuary Volunteer of the Year award in 2012. In 2014, he was appointed to a new three year term as an oil and gas production representative on the council, and in 2015 he was elected as the council Chair for a two-year term. Clint is an avid scuba diver and an accomplished underwater videographer and photographer. He has made over 100 dives across the offshore banks of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, as well as petroleum production platforms, both active and reefed. He holds two Bachelor degrees in Geology and Business Finance-Economics from Southern Methodist University.
Member: Ellis Pickett
Ellis has worked in the oil and medical industries, and is an avid surfer. Through his surfing hobby, he grew concerned about the condition of the Texas coast, and by 1999 became involved in starting and managing the Texas chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. He has focused on maintaining safe public access to the Texas coast and also worked on beach cleanups, water quality tests, erosion monitoring and dune protection.
Member: Brian Shmaefsky
Lone Star College
Brian is a professor of biology and environmental sciences at Lone Star College–Kingwood. His research emphasis is in environmental physiology. Dr. Shmaefsky attended Brooklyn College of CUNY, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and University of Illinois. He has been active in K-College science education internationally through his work with the National Association of Biology Teachers, National Science Teachers Association and the Society for College Science Teaching. He also volunteers as a science advisor with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and serves on advisory groups with the Houston-Galveston Area Council. His formal introduction to marine biology was through the New York Aquarium where he worked as an animal pathology research assistant before heading off to graduate school.
Representative: James Sinclair
Agency:Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)
New Orleans, LA
James has a B.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University at Galveston and an M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of New Orleans. His past work includes the culture of cephalopods, aerobic and anaerobic filtration, analysis of benthic community structure, propagation and restoration of submersed aquatic vegetation, and artificial reef development. His current work focuses on protection of sensitive habitats in the Gulf of Mexico including coral reefs, topographic features, the pinnacle trend, and live bottoms.
Member: Jacqui Stanley
Jacqui is an educator who is also an author, illustrator, speaker and supporter of several marine societies. She specializes in fostering ecological literacy by making the marine environment relevant to all age groups through frequent presentations, workshops, and seminars at schools, libraries and conferences both nationally and internationally. She has a BA from the University of Western Australia, and a MA from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. She completed educator certification at Western Washington University. A passionate diver for over thirty-seven years, Jacqui has dived in almost all the oceans of our world, and is amazed at the pristine quality of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. She currently works with Young Audiences of Houston. Jacqui was also recognized as the sanctuary Volunteer of the Year in 2010.
Representative: Rusty Swafford
Agency: NOAA Fisheries
Rusty is currently the Gulf of Mexico Branch Supervisor for NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Habitat Conservation Division. He has over 20 years experience working for NOAA Fisheries and a well-rounded experience in coastal habitat conservation, restoration and enhancement issues.
Representative: Charles Tyer
Agency: NOAA Office for Law Enforcement
Charles Tyer is a Special Agent with the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement (NOAA OLE) Southeast Division. The Southeast Division has a broad range of enforcement responsibilities in recreational and commercial marine fisheries, from finfish, such as snapper and grouper, and commercial catch share programs to Highly Migratory Species such as shark, tuna and swordfish. In addition, the Southeast Division monitors protected resources such as dolphins and marine turtles and three National Marine Sanctuaries (Florida Keys, Gray's Reef and Flower Garden Banks).
Member: Capt. Randy Widaman
Seat: Diving Operations
League City, TX
Captain Randy Widaman is a retired U.S. Coastguard Merchant Marine and former boat captain for recreational dive operator Rinn Boats, on board M/V FLING, and M/V SPREE. He is a certified Scuba Instructor and former dive shop employee with over 1200 dives in the sanctuary and at nearby banks. He also assisted with the original buoy installations at East and West Flower Garden Banks in 1990. Randy has been an active member of the diving community in the Fort Worth and Houston areas, and would like to foster a sense of ownership and pride in the sanctuary within the Gulf Coast diving community.
Member: James Wiseman
Seat: Oil and Gas Production
James is a subsea engineer, managing projects in the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa. He is a subject matter expert in offshore commissioning and decommissioning. Mr. Wiseman serves on the API 17A (Subsea–General) Committee, the Subsea Tie-Back Forum Steering Committee, and is a Marine Well Containment System First Responder. He is also an advanced open water diver and small boat captain. Mr. Wiseman is a lifetime member of the Houston Underwater Photo Society, founder of the Marine Aquarium and Reef Society of Houston, and the administrator for Wetpixel.com. He has volunteered with FGBNMS since 2000.
Former Sanctuary Advisory Council Members