Board of Directors

The Board of Directors represents diverse points of view relating to the assessment, prevention, reduction, and removal of marine debris.

Ginny L. Eckert, Ph.D.

Chair of the Board | Alaska

Areas of Expertise: 
  • ocean and coastal resource conservation science or policy

Dr. Ginny L. Eckert is the Director of Alaska Sea Grant and serves as a leader in the marine science community within Alaska, the west coast, and the US. She has over two decades of experience as a professor of Fisheries at the University of Alaska. Dr. Eckert is broadly trained in coastal ecology, with a MS from the University of Florida and a PhD from the University of California Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on issues of importance to coastal communities in Alaska, including conservation and management of top predators and sustainability of subsistence, sport and commercial fisheries.

Scott Cassel, MCP

Massachusetts

Areas of Expertise: 
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris
  • post-consumer materials management or circular economy

Scott Cassel, CEO and founder of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), has 35+ years of experience tackling waste management issues in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Prior to PSI, he served as director of waste policy and planning for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. With PSI, Scott develops policies to advance the circular economy for more than 25 consumer product categories, including plastics and packaging. He holds a master’s degree in environmental policy and dispute resolution from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in geology and environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Katie Conlon, Ph.D.

Oregon

Areas of Expertise: 
  • post-consumer materials management or circular economy
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris outside the United States

Katie Conlon, Ph.D., researches waste streams from the perspective of reconnecting an awareness of waste with social and ecological systems, re-envisioning waste narratives, and closing the loop on waste externalities. Conlon has worked across Asia on waste and sustainability issues, is interested in bridging the social-ecological divide, and finding ways to reconnect with nature. Conlon first became interested in ‘waste as a global issue’ as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa. She is a National Geographic Explorer; a Fulbright Research Fellow; a National Science Foundation Fellow; with a Ph.D. from Portland State University; Masters in International Peace Studies from Notre Dame; and B.A. from the University of San Diego in International Communications and Peace & Justice Studies.

Julianne Curry

Alaska

Areas of Expertise: 
  • ocean and coastal resource conservation science or policy

Julianne Curry is a born and raised fourth generation Alaskan and fourth generation commercial fisherman who started in the seafood industry at age five on her family fishing boat. With over 15 years of policy and regulatory experience in Alaska’s commercial fisheries, Julianne is committed to Alaska’s seafood industry and protecting access for commercial harvesters and processors by advocating for sustainable fisheries management and healthy coastal communities. Prior to her current role as the Public Affairs Manager for Icicle Seafoods, Julianne was the Executive Director and lobbyist for United Fishermen of Alaska, the statewide commercial fishing trade association representing 36 member organizations and over 400 individual members.

John Foley

New York

Areas of Expertise: 
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris
  • post-consumer materials management or circular economy
  • international trade or foreign policy

John Foley is the Founder of Peloton and serves as the Executive Chair of the board of directors. As an avid cyclist and boutique fitness addict, Foley leveraged his tech and business experience to create Peloton, the largest interactive fitness platform in the world. Prior to founding Peloton in 2012, Foley served as a President at Barnes&Noble from 2010 to 2012, where he ran the Nook business. For the previous decade, John led various consumer technology brands, including as CEO and Co-founder of Pronto.com, CEO of Evite.com, and was an early leader of Citysearch.com. He began his career working in manufacturing at Mars Inc. John earned a Bachelors of Science degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Jenna Jambeck, Ph.D.

Georgia

Areas of Expertise: 
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris
  • post-consumer materials management or circular economy
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris outside the United States
  • international trade or foreign policy

Dr. Jenna Jambeck is a Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering at the University of Georgia, Founder of the Circularity Informatics Lab in the New Materials Institute and was a National Geographic Fellow from 2018-2021. She has been conducting research on solid waste issues for over 25 years and marine debris for 21 years. Her work has been recognized by the global community and translated into policy discussions by the High Level Panel for the Ocean, testimony to Congress, in G7 and G20 Declarations, and the United Nations Environment program. She has conducted public environmental diplomacy as an International Informational Speaker for the US Department of State since 2017. She lives in Athens, GA with her family where they love spending time outdoors and traveling with their camper.

Sherry Lippiatt, Ph.D.

California

Areas of Expertise: 
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris outside the United States
  • ocean and coastal resource conservation science or policy

Dr. Sherry Lippiatt is a Risk and Finance Communications Specialist with Scoot Science, an ocean analytics startup that helps businesses and blue economy investors navigate a changing ocean. Sherry is inspired and motivated by the challenge of balancing sustainable development with ocean conservation. Before joining Scoot, Sherry had an 11-year tenure supporting the NOAA Marine Debris Program, where she served as California Regional Coordinator and led the program’s flagship citizen science project. Sherry earned her Ph.D. in Ocean Science from the University of California Santa Cruz and B.S. in Environmental Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She lives in Oakland, California with her partner and their dog.

Nicholas Mallos

Oregon

Areas of Expertise: 
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris
  • post-consumer materials management or circular economy
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris outside the United States
  • ocean and coastal resource conservation science or policy

Nick Mallos has diverse and extensive global experience working on marine debris at the nexus of scientific research, corporate sustainability, and public policy. His marine debris work has taken him to more than 25 countries and into the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” and in front of the U.S. Senate, United Nations, and APEC. Nick conducted undergraduate work at Dickinson College and earned his graduate degree at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. He is a frequent media commentator on marine debris, and lives in Portland, Oregon where you’ll find him surfing, snowboarding, or hiking when not talking plastics.

Erica Nuñez

North Carolina

Areas of Expertise: 
  • post-consumer materials management or circular economy
  • ocean and coastal resource conservation science or policy
  • international trade or foreign policy

Erica Nuñez has nearly twenty years of experience working to protect and conserve the ocean and its resources. She served fourteen of those years with the US federal government and has since focused on global plastic pollution issues in the NGO sector. She has an extensive background in international governance and policy related to marine debris and pollution issues. Erica grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts but has also called Florida and Maryland home. She currently lives in North Carolina and enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, exploring the outdoors and listening to podcasts on various topics in her downtime.

Richard W. Spinrad, Ph.D

Virginia

Ex-officio Member as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere & NOAA Administrator

Dr. Spinrad is responsible for the strategic direction and oversight of NOAA and its over 12,000 employees.  Most recently, Dr. Spinrad served as a Professor of Oceanography and Senior Adviser to the Vice President of Research at Oregon State University (OSU). He was also Vice President for Research at OSU from 2010-2014. Previously, Dr. Spinrad served as NOAA’s Chief Scientist under President Barack Obama from 2014 until 2016. He also led NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and National Ocean Service from 2003-2010. Dr. Spinrad received his B.A. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from The Johns Hopkins University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Oceanography from Oregon State University.

Neil Tangri, Ph.D.

California

Areas of Expertise: 
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris
  • post-consumer materials management or circular economy
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris outside the United States
  • international trade or foreign policy

Neil Tangri is the Science and Policy Director at GAIA, a global network of more than 800 organizations in 90 countries working toward zero waste and environmental justice. A climate scientist and oceanographer by training, Neil has worked on a variety of issues including municipal water supply, lead poisoning, marine plastic pollution, climate finance, carbon markets, informal sector inclusion, PVC and mercury bans, waste incineration, chemical recycling, and zero waste systems. He has a Ph.D. from Stanford University and holds a captain’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Carrie A. Thompson

Virginia

Areas of Expertise: 
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris outside the United States
  • ocean and coastal resource conservation science or policy
  • international trade or foreign policy

Carrie Thompson has a background in international development gained during 30 years in the U.S. Foreign Service. She received a BA from Northwestern University, a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School (Tufts) focused on international business and trade and developmental economics, and a MS in National Security Strategy from the National War College. Carrie lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband and co-chairs the County’s Climate Change, Energy and Environment Commission, chairs the Commission’s Solid Waste Committee, and consults on climate change. Carrie enjoys traveling, hiking, biking and spending time with her husband and two adult sons.

Miki Tomita, Ph.D.

Hawai’i

Areas of Expertise: 
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris
  • assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris outside the United States
  • ocean and coastal resource conservation science or policy

Miki has spent the last 20 years in formal and informal education as a teacher, administrator, curriculum developer, and researcher. She works at the intersections of education, innovation, and indigenous knowledge systems, with a sharp focus on placing youth at the center of transforming society’s challenges into opportunities for learning and invention in service of thriving communities.  Born and raised on Maui, Miki earned a B.S.E. in Biosystems Engineering at the University of Hawaiʻi, and a Ph.D. in education at Stanford University.   Student to many renowned traditional and contemporary scholars, her greatest teacher is her daughter, Mayumi.