MRC Board of Directors Biographies

Dr. Richard Baker
Lady Shirley Beirne
David Botto
Stephen E. Chalmers
Mary Chapman
Robert Day
Nancy Higgs
Dr. Kenneth L. Kasweck
Dr. Ken Lindeman
Jim Moir
Mary Murphy
Joanie Regan
Maureen Rupe
Kenneth F. Tworoger
Corry Westbrook

 

Dr. Richard Baker: Dr. Baker is president of the Pelican Island Audubon Society and Professor Emeritus at University of Florida. Currently serves on the Indian River County Environmental Control Hearing Board. Formally Director of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, a member of the Indian River County Planning and Zoning Commission, the Committee for a Sustainable Treasure Coast, and chair of the Indian River County Land Acquisition Advisory Committee.

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Lady Shirley Beirne: A Brevard County resident and longtime supporter of our marine waters and wildlife. Together with her husband, Dr. Daniel Beirne M.D., she worked with the local police department and municipality to establish and fund a marine division used to enforce the netting and fishing regulations and manatee no wake zones where the Banana and Indian Rivers meet. As President of BGH Farm, she works with the local community, federal government, and natural gas companies to protect and preserve 900 acres in northeastern Pennsylvania, emphasizing soil conservation, water purity, sustainable forestation, and preservation of wildlife. She is a member of Sutherland Fishery Council, which is responsible for protection and preservation of wild Scottish Salmon, the rivers they travel, and their spawning grounds. She is also a member of the EGYC Advisory Council. She is a “maternal recruiter” of the US Coast Guard as she encouraged one of her daughters, and her grandson, to join this branch to further her families long standing military tradition, and their dedication to preserving and protecting our waters, fisheries, and wildlife.

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David Botto: Dave is a native Floridian and has lived in Brevard County since 1968. Dave holds a BS/MS in Engineering and is a USAF retired veteran of Korea and Vietnam, and a retired Harris Corp Dept. Director. He is concerned with control of stormwater runoff and has coordinated cooperative actions of organizations & agencies concerned with the health of the lagoon. He believes it is important to establish an independent source of funds/funding for MRC. He was the MRC Board of Directors Chairman for 9 years and is also involved in The Retired Officers Association, Space Coast World Trade Organization, Disabled American Veterans, American Association of Airport Executives (Technical Committee), Airports Council International (Telecom Committee).

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Stephen E. Chalmers: Steve is a 30-year watershed resident, MRC board member (since early 1990s) and past water quality monitor, chair, secretary, treasurer, and CY12 Vice-chair. With a BA in English he is retired from the telecommunications and aerospace industries. He currently serves (2015) as MRC’s Secretary and Nominations Committee chair. “My interest is that our community makes informed decisions today for cost and spiritual benefits in the future.”

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Mary Chapman: Mary Chapman is a retired attorney currently working pro bono on a number of Lagoon issues, primarily water quality and related problems. She is on the Harbor Advisory Committee (St. Lucie County) and on the board of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association; she has been on the MRC Board since 2004 as well as on the board of the Conservation Alliance. She has participated in a number of marine studies such as dolphin census, sea turtle protection worldwide and whale behavior.

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Robert Day: Bob Day has been a resident of the Indian River Lagoon basin since 1971. A graduate of Florida Technological University (now University of Central Florida), Bob worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, Brevard County Office of Natural Resources Management, and St Johns River Water Management District as Project Scientist for the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program until his recent retirement. He participated in the FIRST Conference and series of American Assemblies sponsored by MRC, the Governor’s Indian River Lagoon Field Committee, participated in the development of the SWIM Plan for the IRL as well as the IRL Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan developed by IRLNEP and managed the Citizens Water Quality Monitoring Program and Shoreline Restoration Program contracts for IRLNEP.

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Nancy Higgs: Nancy Higgs is a native of Florida and has lived in Brevard County for almost 37 years. Most of that has been in her home on the lagoon about 4 miles north of Sebastian Inlet. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Florida State University and has done doctoral studies in Science Education and Management at FIT. Nancy is currently the President of Education Solutions (ESI). Previously, she was a university administrator and instructor, as well as Chief Operations Officer for her training company.

Nancy served for twelve years on the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners, where she was a consistent advocate for protection of the quality of life, environment, Endangered Lands Program, and the Lagoon. She served on NEP Board of Directors, MRC's Board and Water Supply Study Group. She was recognized by 1000 Friends of Florida with the Community Steward Award for Florida for “her dedicated leadership on natural resources protection and smart growth in Brevard County.”

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Dr. Kenneth L. Kasweck: Dr. Kasweck has been involved with the MRC since its beginning and has served on its board of directors for many years. He lives on the Indian River Lagoon in Grant. As a consultant, he has worked on environmental, marine and seafood related projects around the world. In the USA, his work places have included The Oak Ridge National Laboratory, The Savannah River Laboratory and Kennedy Space Center. He was the owner and Laboratory Director of Shellfish Testing Services Inc. which supported the State of Florida in assuring the public health and safety of seafood products harvested from the Indian River Lagoon. He currently teaches biology for the Florida Institute of Technology and microbiology for Eastern Florida State College.

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Dr. Ken Lindeman: Dr. Lindeman is a professor at F.I.T. who has applied emerging science to advance coastal policy decisions for over 35 years in the southeast U.S., Mexico, Cuba, and Brazil. He has published approximately 70 peer-review research articles in 20 differing science and policy journals, and co-authored books on fisheries, coastal management, and sustainability by the Smithsonian Institution Press, Duke University Press, and K.I.T. Scientific Publishers. Highly focused on applied policy, he started his first coastal non-profit in 1989 with offices in Jupiter and Miami, Florida, and served >30 advisory boards/panels on land use, habitat conservation, fisheries, and climate change. He launched F.I.T.’s Academic Sustainability Program in 2010 with over 100 major and minor graduates as of spring 2017. He has lived in seven East Florida cities and three counties on the IRL.

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Jim Moir: Jim is a husband and father, Florida native and resident of Stuart FL for 24 years. Jim is civically engaged and passionate about protecting the Indian River Lagoon and it's coastal margins. He currently is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Marine Resources Council. He has been an Appointee to the Martin County Local Planning Agency since 2002. He is on the Board of Directors for Indian RiverKeeper. He is a member of the Leadership Team of the Rivers Coalition. He is a member and supporter of many local civic and environmental groups. Jim facilitates ocean science projects specializing in bioacoustics, marine animal surveys, and the deployment of autonomous vehicles and data collection devises. He is currently involved with several citizen science projects, and often volunteers with coastal restoration efforts and exotic invasive species control programs.

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Mary Murphy: Mary moved to Brevard County in 1987. She has a B.A. from Concordia University in Montreal, a B.S. and Fifth year in Accounting from Rollins College and received her FL CPA license in 1997. She worked at Northrup Grumman for 3 years and 16 years at Harris Corp. in the field of Accounting and Finance. Mary enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking and canoeing. She recognizes that it's time for her to do what she can to be a good steward of the environment. Mary offers her skills and services to the MRC to help protect the Indian River Lagoon.

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Joanie Regan: Living along the lagoon for over three decades, Joanie has served as the stormwater manager for the City of Cocoa Beach for over two of those decades — overseeing watershed improvement projects, executing the City’s federal stormwater permit and helping coordinate watershed education efforts with local governments along the Indian River Lagoon. Joanie has been actively involved in the IRL-BMAP development and has served on various lagoon advisory boards. Natural communities and low-impact design — as a way of reducing watershed pollution — is a priority in Cocoa Beach’s stormwater methods. A graduate of Florida Institute of Technology, Joanie is a past president of the Florida Stormwater Association (FSA) and an active member of the Cocoa Beach Surfrider Foundation. She is also a member of the Florida Native Plant Society and board member/former chair of the FSA Educational Foundation.

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Maureen Rupe: Maureen served on MRC's board since 2005 and is extremely interested in preserving the Indian River Lagoon. She has an extensive background in public service including president of Partnership for a Sustainable Future (2002–Present), a coalition of 15 progressive and environmental groups in Brevard County, many directly involved with the Indian River Lagoon. Ms. Rupe is the Natural Resource Consultant for the League of Women Voters of the Space Coast and a member of the Board of Directors for Parrish Medical Center. Ms. Rupe was on the Brevard County Charter Review Commission in 1998 and 2002, on the Brevard County Redistricting Commission in 2000 and 2010, and on the Port St. John Library Board of Directors since 1988. She is on the Executive Committee of the Turtle Coast Sierra Club and is a member of many environmental groups. Ms. Rupe has been selected for the 2015 Brevard County Charter Review Commission.

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Kenneth F. Tworoger: As the Tworoger Professional Association Principal Shareholder and Managing Attorney, Ken served clients that included the Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes during the 1980s and 90s. He participated in the creation and negotiation of the Water Compact between the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida and was involved with various environmental issues. Related activities included service on the Board and Executive Committee of Goodwill Industries of Broward County (1980–81) and presentations to seminars and workshops. Presently Ken is only available for pro-bono and public interest matters. Ken has been a recipient of the Brevard County Bar Association’s Professionalism Award, Brevard County Legal Aid’s Attorney of the Year Award, the Florida Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Award for the 18th Judicial Circuit, a Florida Today’s Volunteer of the Year finalist, and MRC’s Albert Tuttle Volunteer Service to the Indian River Lagoon Award. Ken is a long-time MRC board member and currently serves as MRC’s Treasurer, Attorney, and Chairman of its Nominating Committee.

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Corry Westbrook: Corry holds a BA in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biology (FL Int’l University) and an MA in Environmental and Natural Resource Policy (George Washington University) which provided good preparation for a career in environmental strategy and action. She is Former Policy Director at Oceana (largest non-profit world oceans advocate), Legislative Director at the National Wildlife Federation and Regional Grassroots Coordinator at National Audubon Society and, earlier, a program analyst with the Environmental Protection Agency. She was also Business Manager of the Substance Abuse Council of Indian River County. Corry wants to use her fifteen years of working to protect the environment to “further the goals of MRC to restore the IRL to a healthy ecosystem.”

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