Board of Directors – Bios



Tricia Hooper (she/her) is a coastal policy expert who is passionate about using science to inform policy-making and improve outcomes for people and the planet. An experienced facilitator and leader, she thrives in convening diverse teams to solve today’s coastal management problems.

Tricia first joined The Coastal Society in 2014 and has served in numerous leadership roles over the years, including on the Board of Directors and as Founding Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group. As President of The Coastal Society, she is excited to lead the organization in expanding access to programming, deepening partnerships, and empowering members to grow their coastal careers. Her top priority as President in 2023 is to ensure TCS makes further strides in integrating diversity, equity and inclusion as core values and principles in everything we do as coastal practitioners.

Outside of her volunteer work at TCS, Tricia is a Regional Coastal Management Specialist at NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management. In this capacity, she serves as a policy and technical expert on the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), advancing the effectiveness and efficiency of coastal management programs and research reserves across the North Atlantic. She previously worked as an advisor to the NOAA Administrator, at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Duke University, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The recipient of numerous awards, she holds a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University and a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Born and raised in Boston, Tricia loves traveling and spending time outdoors, especially scuba diving, biking, and hiking. She currently lives in Maryland with her husband and rescue dog.

STEVEN MACLEOD (Past President)

Steven MacLeod has been an Environmental Scientist with WSP USA, Inc. (WSP) in Buffalo, New York, since 2019, following WSP’s acquisition of Ecology & Environment, Inc. (E & E). Since 2011, he has primarily assisted clients along the U.S. Gulf and East Coasts with environmental assessments, coastal consistency analyses and permit applications for onshore and offshore natural gas and electric transmission lines, as well as renewable energy projects (wind, solar, marine hydrokinetic).

Before joining E & E, Steve was employed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in Tallahassee, Florida. As part of FDEP’s Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems, Steve coordinated the evaluation for local and federal shoreline protection projects such as beach nourishment and sand bypass operations primarily along the Atlantic Coast. He was also responsible for reviewing dredge/fill projects in intracoastal waterways and deepwater ports throughout the state, including analyses of potential impacts on water quality and biological resources.

Steve holds a B.S. in Physics from the University of Puget Sound and a M.S. in Oceanography (Coastal Zone Management) from the Florida Institute of Technology. He has been a member of The Coastal Society since 2004. As President-Elect, Steve will support the current efforts of the TCS board and officers to establish the Margaret A. Davidson Career Development Program as a mainstay of the Society. He will also encourage further committee initiatives to modernize and streamline TCS, e.g., through social media outreach and student chapter communications, to better serve our members and ultimately grow our TCS community in the years to come.

PAUL TICCO (President-Elect)

A former President of The Coastal Society (2005-2006) Paul recognizes the unique and prominent value of TCS to coastal and ocean professionals, students, and an interested public; and the extraordinary history of TCS as a leader in analyzing important issues, offering opportunities for dialogue, and informing the coastal community on critical matters.

Currently, he serves as the Senior Marine Scientist and Planner at Scout Environmental Consulting Inc., and as a Great Lakes and Ocean Policy Analyst in New York’s Department of State. Previous positions include the Northeast Regional Coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries; Assistant Director of the Virginia Graduate Marine Science Consortium; Chief of the Comprehensive Planning Assistance Division of the Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays; coastal policy analyst with both NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; and a tenured university professor with teaching and research focused on coastal and ocean resource management, marine policy, and environmental law. Paul is also a member of the editorial board of Coastal Management Journal at the University of Washington, the author of several published works, and has been a frequent speaker at many conferences, seminars and workshops.

Internationally, he represented the Center for International Environmental Law at the UN Informal Consultative Process on Ocean Affairs, and served as an instructor to the Turkish government on local coastal sustainable tourism.

Dr. Ticco holds a B.S. in Aquatic Ecology/Natural Resources Management from the University of Michigan; an M.A. in Marine Affairs/Coastal Management from the University of Virginia; and a PhD in Marine Policy/Ocean Law from the University of Delaware’s Graduate College of Marine Studies.

EMILY VUXTON (Secretary)

Emily Vuxton is the Director of External Affairs for the Louisiana chapter of the Nature Conservancy. In this role she serves as the liaison for the Louisiana Chapter with federal, state and local government agencies, elected officials, and stakeholder organizations. She has extensive experience in natural resources, infrastructure and water resources policy. Previously she served as the Policy Director at the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. She has also held policy and project management positions at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources and the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center where she worked on navigation, flood risk management, recreation and environmental policy initiatives. She was the Assistant Project Manager for PIANC USA, an international coastal and inland navigation organization, and the Assistant Project Manager on the USACE Resilience Initiative. She also has held policy positions at the National Park Service at Great Falls Park, and at U.S. Forest Service Headquarters. She received a Master of Environment Management in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University where she was a member of the Coastal Society’s student chapter. She also received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from the University of Florida. In her spare time she is a member of the Audubon Commission in New Orleans and is also a volunteer EMT.

JEFF BENOIT (Treasurer)

Jeff Benoit has over 45 years of experience and leadership in coastal management and marine conservation. He is a coastal geomorphologist by training, starting his career with the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Program as a coastal geologist and later served as a Director. From 1993 to 2001, Jeff was Director of NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM, now OCM) where he had oversight of the National Coastal Management Program, National Marine Sanctuary Program, and National Estuarine Research Reserve Program. Jeff served as President and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries from 2007 to when he retired in 2020. Jeff has served on several National Academy of Sciences select Committees on coastal management and was President of The Coastal Society from 2009 through 2010. Following his retirement, Jeff established Beaufort Biscuits LLC, a North Carolina home-based artisan bakery business. He currently serves on the Rachel Carson Estuarine Research Reserve Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and the Olde Beaufort Farmers Market Board of Directors.

Jeff earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Geology from Southampton College and a Master’s Degree in Geophysical Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology/Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

Jeff is familiar with organizational budgets and financial reports. He currently uses QuickBooks to track the finances of his small business. He looks forward to assisting TCS with a commitment for a full year term and then reassess at the end of the term.



Adrian Laufer is a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow with the Oregon Coastal Management Program. She primarily focuses the stewardship and management of publicly-owned coastal lands through inter-agency coordination, education & outreach, GIS solutions, and strategic planning. She is currently gathering data about every publicly owned coastal site within Oregon’s coastal zone, which amounts to 1,245 locations over 362 miles and a whole lot of driving!

Adrian holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy & management from the University of Redlands and a master’s degree in marine public policy from Oregon State University. At Oregon State University, Adrian concentrated her education and research on policy and management inputs (i.e. funding, strategic planning) that support effective marine conservation initiatives, particularly the Oregon Marine Reserves. She was also awarded a competitive graduate fellowship through the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship Program, which supported year-long participation on a transdisciplinary research team investigating social and ecological changes associated with implementation of Oregon’s 5 Marine Reserves. Adrian is new to The Coastal Society and is looking forward to contributing to the development of this field and community of interest.


Alexis is currently a Communications and International Policy Specialist supporting NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey via Lynker. In this capacity she supports policy and planning processes related to international governance in bilateral and multilateral settings, supports leadership in decision-making processes on program and policy issues, and supports a range of communication and outreach materials.

Prior to supporting Coast Survey’s communication and international programs, Alexis served as a policy analyst with the Global Ocean Forum, where she facilitated the preparation and presentation of policy recommendations from the NGO perspective to the United Nations, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and other international processes.

Alexis holds a master’s degree in marine policy from the University of Delaware where her research focused on state level management of the summer flounder resource under climate driven stock movement. She also had several internships while completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies at American University, including interning in the Office of Senator Patrick Leahy where she experienced congressional processes and government relations first hand. Alexis hopes to bring her passion for coastal issues and stakeholder outreach to The Coastal Society.


Andrew Wilson is an attorney and partner at Milling Benson Woodward LLP in its offices in Mandeville and New Orleans, La. He originally hails from Bristol, RI, an old seaport dating to the 1680’s, but travelled south to the Port of New Orleans in 1979 to study maritime and environmental law and never left. His maritime practice has involved ship collisions, vessel seizures and arrests, personal injury and death claims, sinkings and groundings, cargo damage and pollution claims. His environmental practice has evolved around fisheries, particularly the oyster industry, including off-bottom oyster culture permitting, drafting of oyster lease forms as well as legislation, regulatory rulemaking and litigation involving ownership of water bottoms in Louisiana territorial waters.

Relatedly, he has also successfully defended the State of Louisiana in the two largest inverse condemnation or “takings” cases in Louisiana history involving multi-billion dollar claims by oyster fishermen who alleged their oyster leases were destroyed by the freshwater outfall from the Caernarvon coastal restoration river diversion project. That litigation resulted in an opinion from the Louisiana Supreme Court which redefined the public trust doctrine, now a critical consideration in Louisiana’s massive, ongoing coastal restoration efforts. He has also conducted successful natural resource damage recovery actions for damage to the State’s Public Oyster Seed Grounds.

Outside of litigation, he has served as a consultant to the State and private clients on coastal restoration issues, and is an External Advisory Board Member for the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio, which addresses vulnerability to coastal hazards, habitat degradation, and global environmental change. He is also a frequent speaker on coastal restoration and fisheries issues; a Board member and Conservation Chair of the Orleans Audubon Society; and, a former Board member and Marine Insurance Committee Chair of the Maritime Law Association of the United States. He received his BA in History from St. Lawrence University and his JD and LLM in Environmental Law from Tulane Law School.


Ashley Gordon is a resilience planner with Dewberry in Virginia Beach, VA. In this role, she supports the resilience solutions group with natural hazard and community resilience planning. Before joining Dewberry, Ashley was a coastal analyst with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) in southeastern Virginia, where she supported the Hampton Roads regional Coastal Resiliency Program through research and analysis, policy development, and coordination with local governments, focusing on flooding and sea level rise. Prior to beginning her career, she conducted ecological research and geospatial analysis in support of projects for NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, and the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust.

Ashley holds a Master of Environmental Management with a coastal focus from Duke University and a Bachelor of Science in zoology and environmental science from Miami University (OH). She began her involvement with The Coastal Society as a graduate student at Duke University. She now serves on the Communications Committee and supports the TCS Coastal Connections web conferencing series, which connects coastal practitioners/students and supports dialogue around coastal management topics.


Jeff Flood is a Coastal Planner with the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program in Richmond, Virginia. In this capacity, he works with several state agencies as well as regional and local governments to administer enforceable policies that protect coastal resources and foster sustainable development in the coastal areas of the Commonwealth. His principle duties include program review, policy formulation, grant proposal writing and administration, and providing technical assistance to local governments. Jeff also provides subject matter expertise on shellfish aquaculture and coastal habitat restoration, acquired from undergraduate internships, graduate research, and his previous position with Wetland Studies and Solutions, an environmental consulting firm in Virginia Beach.

Jeff holds a master’s degree in marine policy from the University of Delaware and a Bachelor’s of Science in marine biology from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Collectively, Jeff uses his interdisciplinary educational and professional background on a daily basis to work with both Federal and local government partners, bringing a unique perspective to TCS on how policy success stories at the local level can help inform state-wide and national initiatives.

Jeff began his involvement in TCS as a senior in high school when he attended the 2006 conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida – the first of many TCS conferences he would go on to participate in. At that conference, Jeff administered a career survey which he had developed with the help of current Board member Tom Bigford, then working for NOAA. The survey results and advice from numerous mentors over the years have been instrumental in directing Jeff’s coastal career path and he hopes to guide the development of the next generation of coastal professionals by helping to organize and participate in Margaret A. Davidson (MAD) career development workshops.


Dr. Cahoon is Professor of Biology & Marine Biology at UNC Wilmington, where he has served on the faculty since 1982. He earned a B.S. in Biology (summa cum laude) at Washington and Lee University in 1975 and a Ph.D. in Zoology at Duke University in 1981. His current teaching portfolio includes an undergraduate Limnology course and graduate courses in Biological Oceanography, Oceans and the Environment, and Coastal Ocean Science and Policy. His research interests include benthic-water column interactions in continental shelf waters, nearshore production and grazing processes, and a wide variety of water quality problems. His policy experiences include service on the North Carolina Marine Science Council, the NC Ocean Affairs Council, a Legislative Study Subcommittee on offshore energy exploration, an Ocean Policy Steering Committee for the NC Division of Coastal Management, as a member of the Board of Directors for Cape Fear River Watch, as Chair of CFRW’s Advocacy Committee, and as Chair of the NC Ocean Resources Task Force.


Lisa Schiavinato is a lawyer and ocean and coastal policy expert based in Southern California. Throughout her career, Lisa has gained broad experience in legal and policy research and analysis, program and project management, and organizational leadership. She has worked and published on a variety of environmental topics, from coastal resilience planning to the intersection of public beach access and private property rights, marine aquaculture, environmental restoration, and offshore energy. Lisa worked with Sea Grant programs from coast to coast and held adjunct positions teaching ocean and coastal law to graduate students and law students before joining the environmental nonprofit sector, where she currently serves as Managing Director for the Coastal States Stewardship Foundation. Lisa also has a long history with – and love for – The Coastal Society. She previously served on the Board of Directors and is also a past president. In addition, she held program chair and conference co-chair positions for past TCS biennial conferences.


Sabrina Pereira is a Marine Habitat Resource Specialist with NOAA Fisheries’ Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO). In this role, Sabrina is primarily responsible for conducting Essential Fish Habitat and Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act consultations for coastal development and habitat restoration projects in southern New England. She also works with the New England Fisheries Management Council to ensure sustainable fishing while protecting EFH, and participates in regional stewardship activities to promote environmental education, coastal resilience planning, and marine debris removal.

Prior to joining NOAA Fisheries, Sabrina was a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, where she developed tools and resources to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) principles into community resilience planning efforts. Sabrina joined TCS in 2018 while in graduate school, during which time she was Co-President of the URI Chapter, and since 2020 she has volunteered on the TCS DEI working group. Sabrina holds a Master’s degree in Marine Affairs, and Bachelor’s degrees in Applied Mathematics and Secondary Education from the University of Rhode Island.