Council Members

2015 Advisory Council Members visiting E/V NAUTILUS in Galveston

Non-Government Members


Jake Emmert (Chair)
Moody Gardens
Galveston, TX

Term Began: August 1, 2023
Term Expires: August 1, 2026

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 Rotary, a diving instructor, and an avid outdoors man.

Joanie Steinhaus
Turtle Island Restoration Network
Galveston, TX

Term Began: July 12, 2021
Term Expires: July 12, 2024

Joanie Steinhaus is the Campaign Director for Turtle Island Restoration Network in their efforts to protect the Gulf of Mexico. She has been involved with formal and informal education programs for over seventeen years, as a public school teacher for three and half years and fourteen years working at informal education sites including the Houston Zoo, Keep Austin Beautiful and the Lower Colorado River Authority. She has extensive experience in the education of youth and adults about stewardship and conservation of our natural resources.

Joanie has worked with a variety of organizations, both locally and state-wide, to advance conservation and sustainability issues. Her diverse knowledge and passion about the environment in the Texas area has shown in her outreach work to local politicians, community groups, homeowner associations and the general public to help them understand the value of protecting the local flora and fauna.

Dive Operations

Andy Lewis
Houston, TX

Term Began: January 6, 2022
Term Expires: January 6, 2025

Andy is a practicing lawyer and municipal judge with Lewis & Lewis in the Clear Lake area. He is also a scuba instructor for a major dive shop in Houston and owner of Texas Caribbean Charters, which offers dive trips to the sanctuary aboard the dive boat M/V Fling. He also helped to install and maintain sanctuary mooring lines and mooring buoys during pandemic restrictions. 

Kristen Maples
Texas Scuba Adventures
Galveston, TX

Term Began: January 6, 2022
Term Expires: January 6, 2025

Kristin is co-owner of Texas Scuba Adventures, a dive shop in Galveston. She is also a local diver, working biologist, and dive instructor. Through the dive shop, Kristin oversees dive operations that facilitate community connection and bridge informal science communication to local and visiting divers.

Recreational Diving

Janavi Mahimtura Folmsbee
Houston, TX

Term Began: January 6, 2022
Term Expires: January 6, 2025

Janavi Mahimtura Folmsbee was born and raised in Mumbai, India, in a home overlooking the Indian Ocean. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she is a marine conservation artist. She currently lives and works in Houston, Texas, USA. Mahimtura Folmsbee collaborates and works with marine organizations and nonprofits such as Ocean Music Action, the Galveston Bay Foundation, Correa Lab, MAAR Alliance, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Coral Restoration Foundation to help preserve our oceans. Her artwork has been published in the National Science Foundation.

As an avid scuba diver Mahimtura Folmsbee uses her inspiration and experiences from dives to create monumental public art. Some can be seen on Google Earth. Her public works also include important commissions from the Red Cross Society in Mumbai, India, and Aquarius art tunnel, a 240-foot-long permanent installation in the Houston Airport Art Collection. Her art practice appeals to broad audiences and educates them about the marine world through her artwork and diving. She believes that with art, awareness, and beauty, we as humans are capable of doing so much for our oceans and world.

Chris Ledford
Texas A&M Galveston
Galveston, TX

Term Began: November 1, 2022
Term Expires: November 1, 2025

Chris Ledford is an Assistant Instructional Professor and the Scientific Diving Safety Officer (DSO) at Texas A&M University Galveston (TAMUG). In addition to providing program oversight for any research diving conducted at TAMUG, he is also a primary instructor for underwater photography, Divemaster, Scientific Diving, and open circuit technical dive courses. Chris was previously the DSO for the Artificial Reef Program for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, conducting biological sampling on offshore standing and reefed oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Prior to moving to Texas, Chris worked in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas, Hawaii, and California as a dive guide, underwater photographer, boat captain, and instructor.
Chris has a Master’s degree in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi where he conducted a comparison of Mexican Caribbean coral reef communities in the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve, Quintana Roo, Mexico, focusing on species diversity, abundance and dominance. His Bachelor’s degree is from Humboldt State University.  


Sandra Metoyer
Galveston College
Galveston, TX

Term Began: August 1, 2023
Term Expires: August 1, 2026

Sandra Metoyer earned her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and is the Galveston College Title V and National Science Foundation Hispanic Serving Institution Transformation Project Director. She has developed and initiated major STEM Education projects between the National Science Foundation and Galveston College and is a former Flower Garden banks National Marine Sanctuary Down Under Out Yonder (DUOY) trip participant. She has also organized sanctuary lionfish dissections for Galveston College STEM students.

Michelle Zapp Sluis
Texas A&M University
Galveston, TX

Term Began: August 1, 2023
Term Expires: August 1, 2026

Michelle is a Research Scientist for the Gulf Research Institute for Highly Migratory Species at Texas A&M University at Galveston. Her research has focused on utilizing both natural tags (otolith chemistry) and acoustic tags to examine the population connectivity and migration patterns of red snapper, groupers, tarpon, and tunas. Through positions at both Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and Texas A&M University at Galveston, Michelle has been a Guest Lecturer, Teaching Assistant, and Lecturer for Fisheries Ecology and Marine Ecology courses. She has participated in past FGBNMS Lionfish Invitationals and assisted with acoustic tagging of reef fish within the sanctuary.

Commercial Fishing

Harris Demitri (HD) Pappas
Pappas Restaurants
Houston, TX

Term Began: January 6, 2022
Term Expires: January 6, 2025

HD is the Director of Fisheries for Pappas Restaurants, as well as its Director of Real Estate. He is a Texas licensed commercial fisherman, and is active within the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. HD is a graduate of Texas A&M University in College Station, where he studied accounting.

Open Seat

Recreational Fishing

Shane Cantrell
Galveston Sea Ventures
Galveston, TX

Term Began: August 1, 2023
Term Expires: August 1, 2026

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.

Sepp Haukebo (Vice Chair)
Environmental Defense Fund
Galveston, TX

Term Began: November 1, 2022
Term Expires: November 1, 2025

Sepp is a program manager at the Environmental Defense Fund where he focuses on researching and implementing solutions that balance access and sustainability of our ocean’s most important resources. He earned his B.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University at Galveston, where he researched distribution of juvenile grouper abundance across FGBNMS. He also has an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M main campus, where he investigated underwater cave ecology and nutrient sources in the Yucatan Peninsula. Sepp's other research adventures range from tagging blue marlin in the Gulf of Mexico to identifying rare cave species in the deepest underwater cave in the United States. In addition to his scientific background, Sepp has been an informal educator of marine sciences since 2002, a lifelong passion that led him to a Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship with NOAA’s Office of Education in 2013. He is also a long-time angler, surfer, and diver, spending any free time getting his wife and two daughters on the water.   


Don Craig
Houston, TX

Term Began: November 1, 2022
Term Expires: November 1, 2025

Don has been employed at BP since 2012, and in 2019 assumed product owner roles for two technology themes--distributed fiber optic sensing and ocean energy systems. Prior to joining BP, Don was with Aker Solutions for 8 years, as vice president.   

Don earned his B.S. in Oceanographic Technology from Florida Institute of Technology with additional academic studies from the IMD, University of Manchester, and George Washington University. He enjoys scuba diving with his two sons and in 2022 dove in both Florida Keys and Flower Garden Banks national marine sanctuaries.

A highlight of Don's career occurred in 1998, when he and two of his colleagues at Oceaneering were awarded the Environmental Hero Award from NOAA, for authoring the “Emergency Response & Recovery Plan for the USS Monitor” within the United States’ first national marine sanctuary.

Open Seat


Diego Gil-Agudelo
Galveston, TX

Term Began: November 1, 2022
Term Expires: November 1, 2025

Diego is the Director of Conservation for LightHawk Conservation Flying where he shares his expertise in the conservation of natural resources, his passion for the environment, and his experience creating conservation programs.

Diego has worked in conservation biology for over two decades, starting as a coral reef ecologist, then expanding his focus to other ecosystems. In 2010, after the Deep-Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Diego developed a program to study and help minimize the impacts of offshore oil and gas exploration. He has worked extensively with government, academia, and local communities to develop conservation strategies for a variety of natural resources. Immediately prior to joining LightHawk, Diego worked as the Director of Research Operations at Texas A&M University at Galveston.

In his free time, Diego enjoys the outdoors, traveling with his wife to new destinations, and getting to know other cultures.

Michael Dance
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA

Term Began: August 1, 2023
Term Expires: August 1, 2026

Michael is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at Louisiana State University. His Fisheries and Movement Ecology Lab conducts research on movement ecology, fisheries science, population connectivity, stock assessment, seascape ecology, and habitat use.

Government Members

U.S. Department of Interior

Alicia Caporaso
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)
New Orleans, LA

Tarice Taylor
Bureau of Safety & Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)
New Orleans, LA

Tarice is a Marine Ecologist with BSEE’s Office of Environmental Compliance (OEC) Environmental Monitoring Unit (EMU) in New Orleans, LA. She ensures that oil and gas operations follow mitigation measures and federal regulations to protect sensitive benthic habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. She is also responsible for BSEE’s Marine Trash & Debris program. Prior to coming on board with BSEE in 2021, Tarice worked as a Regional GIS/Geospatial Coordinator for the Gulf of Mexico region at NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management. Before that, she served approximately 7 years as both a Staff Officer and Geospatial Analyst at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Tarice also served 5 years in the United States Navy as a Meteorology/Oceanography (METOC) Office.

Tarice earned a B.S. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina in 2005 and a Master of Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego in 2018.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Open Seat

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Rusty Swafford
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
Galveston, TX

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.

Open Seat
Office of Law Enforcement (OLE)

Texas Parks & Wildlife

Emma Clarkson
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Corpus Christi, TX

Emma Clarkson is the Director of the Ecosystem Resources Program (ERP) in the Coastal Fisheries Division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). As part of her role as Program Director, Emma is responsible for coordinating all habitat restoration projects completed by TPWD, as well as overseeing habitat mapping, conservation, and environmental project review and permitting.  Emma oversees the Texas Artificial Reef Program, which includes the Rigs to Reef efforts in federal waters as well as reefing in near shore state waters. Emma is dedicated to maintaining collaboration and coordination between the TPWD-Artificial Reef Program and Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary to monitor, manage, and conserve the ecological connectivity between natural and artificial reefs. She has worked with TPWD since 2013 and has been a diver for the Artificial Reef program since 2016.

U.S. Coast Guard

LT Carl Fuhs
New Orleans, LA

Carl Fuhs joined the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary advisory council in September 2023. He serves as the Coast Guard's representative for addressing living marine resources and safety of life at sea concerns for the sanctuary.

Advisory Council Coordinator

Taylor Galaviz

Council Officers

Jake Emmert, Chair

Sepp Haukebo, Vice Chair

Past Council Members

Dana Larson, Conservation 2005-2008

Page Williams, Conservation 2005-2013

Rafael Calderon, Conservation 2009

Ellis Pickett, Conservation 2011-2017

Jorge Brenner, Conservation 2013-2016

Art Melvin, Dive Operations 2005-2008

Frank Wasson, Dive Operations 2005-2013

Cher Walker, Dive Operations 2010-2013

Randy Widaman, Dive Operations 2015-2018

Frank Burek, Dive Operations 2018-2021

Natalie Davis, Dive Operations 2015-2021

Frank Burek, Recreational Diving 2005-2012

Dick Zingula, Recreational Diving 2005-2007

Lori Traweek, Recreational Diving 2007-2011

Jimi Mack, Recreational Diving 2012-2019

Jesse Cancelmo, Recreational Diving 2011-2021

Haidee Williams, Education 2005-2007

Kristina Hardwick, Education 2005-2008

Dale Loughmiller, Education 2007-2013

Karla Klay, Education 2013-2016

Jacqui Stanley, Education 2009-2019

Sharon Kamas, Education 2019-2022

Joe Hendrix, Commercial Fishing 2005-2012

Mike Jennings, Commercial Fishing 2008-2015

Patrick Riley, Commercial Fishing 2012-2013

Buddy Guindon, Commercial Fishing 2015-2021

John Stout, Recreational Fishing 2005-2008

Irby Basco, Recreational Fishing 2005-2013

Matt Bunn, Recreational Fishing 2009-2012

Keith Love, Recreational Fishing 2012-2015

John Blaha, Recreational Fishing 2015-2018

Robert Kirschner, Recreational Fishing 2019-2022

Scott Hickman, Recreational Fishing 2013-2023

Tim Gibson, Oil & Gas Production 2005-2007

Clint Moore, Oil & Gas Production 2005-2012, 2014-2019

Rebecca Nadel, Oil & Gas Production 2007-2011

John Hoffman, Oil & Gas Production 2011-2013

James Wiseman, Oil & Gas Production 2012-2019

Ruth Perry, Oil & Gas Production 2019-2022

Steve Hamm, Energy 2020-2023

John Embesi, Research 2005-2008

Ian MacDonald, Research 2005-2008

Will Heyman, Research 2009-2015

Larry McKinney, Research 2009-2020

Adrienne Correa, Research 2015-2018

James Sinclair, BOEM 2005-2013

James Sinclair, BSEE 2014-2023

Michelle Nannen, BOEM 2013-2014

Matt Johnson, BOEM 2014-2016

Ben Scaggs, EPA 2012-2016

Barbara Keeler, EPA 2016-2018

Dale Shively, TPWD 2020-2021

Brooke Shipley, TPWD 2021-2022

Elizabeth Keister, USCG 2005-2008

Carmen DeGeorge, USCG 2009-2012

Jason Brand, USCG 2013-2016

Leo Danaher, USCG 2016-2017

Stacy McNeer, USCG 2017-2019

Mark Zanowicz, USCG 2019-2021

Adam Peterson, USCG 2021-2023