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2017 Economics and Human Dimensions Speaker Bios




Doug Lipton

Doug Lipton is the Senior Scientist for Economics at NOAA Fisheries. Lipton started his career at NMFS Headquarters in the Office of Science and Technology as a fisheries biologist and then industry economist while obtaining his Ph.D. in Agricultural & Resource Economics (AREC) at the University of Maryland. He spent 25 years as a faculty member (now emeritus) in AREC at the University of Maryland and also was Program Leader for the Maryland Sea Grant Extension Program. He currently serves on the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council Scientific and Statistical Committee, is on the Board of Directors for the International Institute for Fisheries Economics and Trade and the Marine Resource Economics Foundation.

Rita Curtis

Rita Curtis is the Chief of the Office of Science & Technology Economics & Social Analysis Division, which also houses ST’s Science Communications Program.  Her first foray into fisheries economics was working for Sam Pooley on a cost-earnings study of the Hawaii longline fleet in 1994. This research provided a springboard to return for a Ph.D, with the thesis focused on spatial modeling of the longline fishery. Rita joined the Office of Science & Technology in 1999 as a commercial fisheries economist and co-led efforts to expand commercial fisheries economic data collection and research. Notwithstanding a one-year detail to the White House Office of Science, Technology and Policy in 2010, which coincided with the issuance of the Executive Order establishing the National Ocean Policy Act and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, she has served as the Division Chief of her group since 2005. Rita is 100% Terp – receiving her B.S. in Economics in 1986 and her M.S.and Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics in 1992 and 1999, respectively, from the University of Maryland – College Park.

Andrew Kitts

Andrew (Drew) received a B.S. in Agricultural Business Management from the Pennsylvania State University in 1984 and an M.S. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Colorado State University in 1992. He joined the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in 1992 and in 2016 moved to the Office of Science and Technology, Economics and Social Analysis Division. However, he is stationed at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, MA. Drew's research includes the development of performance measures for catch share programs; analyses of New England groundfish sector management performance and quota leasing; modeling fishing costs; and measurement of fishing fleet diversity and concentration. As Program Lead for commercial fisheries economics, he coordinates fishing vessel cost data collection and fishery economic performance measure efforts across regions.

Alan Haynie

Alan Haynie has been an economist at NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle since 2004 after being a NMFS / Sea Grant Graduate Fellow in Marine Resource Economics at the University of Washington.  Alan’s research includes the spatial analysis of fisheries under changing climate, biological, market, and management conditions.  Since 2008, Alan has been a member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Groundfish Plan Team and oversees the spatial economics toolbox for fisheries (FishSET), a NOAA Fisheries initiative to improve the spatial modeling and management of fisheries. Alan’s climate-related work has included being a PI in the Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program and the Alaska Climate Integrated Modeling (ACLIM) Project, co-authoring the National Climate Assessment Oceans Chapter and the Alaska Regional Action Plan (RAP), and co-organizing workshops at several marine science meetings.  Alan’s work also explores the design and implementation of bycatch reduction incentives, the evaluation of spatial bycatch closures, and the identification of unintended consequences of marine reserves. Alan is the co-chair of the ICES Strategic Initiative on Human Dimensions (SI-HD) and is part of the NOAA Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) team.  Alan received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and is currently an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 

Sabrina Lovell

Sabrina Lovell is an economist with the Office of Science and Technology at the National Marine Fisheries Service in Silver Spring, MD.  Sabrina received her graduate degrees from the University of California, Davis (M.S.) and University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D., Agricultural and Resource Economics).  She has been with NOAA Fisheries since 2008, specializing in economic analysis of recreational marine fisheries.  She leads the National Marine Recreational Fishing Expenditure Survey which is conducted every 3 to 5 years in all coastal states.  Prior to working at NOAA Fisheries, she spent 10 years at the U.S. EPA where she conducted economic research and analysis on water quality, pesticides, and aquatic invasive species.

Min-Yang Lee

In addition to working on a recreational bioeconomic model for cod and haddock, Min-Yang Lee has been researching fish marketing and demand, examined the effects of the Sea Scallop IFQ program on prices, and the economic geography of the scallop fishery. He serves on the New England Fisheries Management Council's Herring Plan Development Team where he has working on a recent Management Strategy Evaluation to evaluate harvest control rules in light of herring's importance as forage. He had the recent privilege of serving as a mentor for two NMFS-Sea Grant Marine Resource Economics fellows. He is also probably the worst fisherman you have ever met and is chronically sleep deprived on account of his two small children. 

David W. Carter

David W. Carter is an economist at the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami. He has spent nearly 15 years conducting research on the marine recreational fisheries from North Carolina to Texas. His estimates of the economic value of sportfish are routinely used in the analysis of recreational fishing policy.  Dr. Carter has also developed models to forecast recreational fishing effort and harvest using novel indicators outside the fishery such as climate and internet search volume. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science where he regularly advises graduate students and conducts lectures. Dr. Carter completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in resource economics from the University of Florida and his undergraduate studies at Stetson University.

Russell Dunn

Russell Dunn is the National Policy Advisor for Recreational Fisheries at NMFS. As the national policy advisor, Russell works with the recreational fishing community to safeguard and enhance the significant benefits sustainable recreational fisheries afford coastal communities and the nation through improved dialogue, understanding, and partnership.   As a member of NMFS’ national leadership team, he focuses high-level institutional attention on key angling priorities and serves as the national point of contact for the saltwater recreational fishing community and other federal agencies.   In recent years, this included Agency adoption of a national saltwater recreational fisheries policy, as well as national, and regional implementation plans.  Russell has 21 years of public and private-sector experience in national and international marine fisheries policy.

Patricia M. (Trish) Clay

Trish Clay joined the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in 1993, the year she received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Indiana University. She previously received a B.A. in Anthropology and Modern Languages from the University of Notre Dame in 1981. Trish is co-chair of the ICES Working Group on Maritime Systems and co-chair of the Society for Applied Anthropology’s Topical Interest Group on Fisheries and Coastal Communities. She is also a member of the ICES Working Group for the North Atlantic Regional Seas and the NOAA Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) team, and was a member of the Oceans and Coasts Team for the 2013 National Climate Assessment and co-author of the Northeast Regional Action Plan (RAP) for the NMFS National Climate Science Strategy. Her primary research interests are social and cultural aspects of fisheries and fishing communities as they relate both to ecosystem-based management and social impact assessment, including the impacts of climate change on all of the above. Current and recent projects include using oral histories to investigate the rising average age of fishermen and the fishing fleet; exploring the relationship of fish as food to fish as a natural resource; and looking at the importance of social bonds in community recovery from natural disasters. She has published in Human Organization, Global Environmental Change, and the ICES Journal of Marine Sciences, among other journals.

Lisa Colburn

Lisa Colburn has been an anthropologist at NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center since 2002. She is a leader in the NOAA Fisheries national effort to develop quantitative indicators of fishing community vulnerability and resilience to changing fishery management and climate conditions. She recently co-designed a website and interactive mapping tool ( that models the indicators for nearly 3,800 communities in 24 states nationally. Her research interests include the development of indicators of climate change vulnerability for commercial and recreational fishing businesses and infrastructure, community dependence on climate vulnerable species vulnerability and a bi-coastal assessment of the rising age of fishermen. She was involved in a rapid assessment and a one year follow-up study of the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the commercial and recreational fishing industries in New York and New Jersey. She received a B.S. in business management from California Polytechnic University in 1982. After completing a masters degree in intercultural administration from the School for International Training in 1990, she attended the University of Connecticut and received a Ph.D. in medical anthropology in 2000. Lisa received a Fulbright Scholarship and a Social Science Research Council Fellowship for her doctoral research in fishing communities in Northwest Madagascar. Her work has appeared in Global Environmental Change, Marine Policy and Human Organization, among other journals.

David Tomberlin

David Tomberlin is an economist with the National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Science and Technology, in Silver Spring, MD.    Most of his work has dealt with natural resource management under uncertainty, including research on stochastic dynamic optimization methods and service on groups such as the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee and NOAA Fisheries’ National Standard 1 Guidelines working group.  He has also dabbled in other areas, such as technical efficiency and fleet dynamics.  David previously worked at Universitas Bung Hatta in Indonesia, at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and at the World Resources Institute.   He received an M.S. in Agricultural Economics from North Carolina State University and a Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of Wisconsin.

Kristy Wallmo

Kristy Wallmo is an economist at the National Marine Fisheries Service in Silver Spring, MD.  Her research focuses on valuing marine resources and ecosystem services using stated preference methods.  She co-chaired the Protected Species Valuation Working Group from 2005 to 2012 and currently co-chairs the Ecosystem Services Valuation Working Group. Her research has been published in the Journal of Environmental Management, Conservation Biology, Environmental and Resource Economics, and others.  She mentors graduate students through the Knauss Marine Policy and Marine Resource Economics Fellowships, and served for ten years as the chair of the Technical Advisory Board for the Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center, a center focused on training minority students in marine science.  She received an M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from University of Florida (1996) and a Ph.D. in Natural Resource Economics from Michigan State University (2003).

Avi Litwack

Avi has worked as Visual designer/Web Designer for over 15 years. He has worked for S&T since 2010 as a Web/Visual Designer.  His work includes info-graphics, websites, maps, presentations, and various interactive web components. Prior to NOAA, he worked with the IRS, Department of Education, USDA, and Lockheed Martin to modernize their websites and create various visual components for their programs. He also was an Assistant Art Director at Time for 5 years designing pages for the weekly magazine. Avi holds an degree in visual art from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

John Thibodeau

John Thibodeau has been a part of the NOAA Fisheries team since 2013. He has worked with the Office of Law Enforcement where he led all communications and public affairs efforts for the office including rolllouts, annual reports, print and multi-media products, and serving as the OLE spokesperson. He also worked in the Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection where he served as the communications lead supporting projects such as IUU Task Force initiatives, MMPA bycatch regulations, MSRA reauthorization, and capacity building efforts. Prior to his time at NOAA, John spent seven years at an environmental consulting firm where he served as a Senior Communications Specialist supporting EPA’s WaterSense program. In this capacity, he led strategic communications planning, program development, partner recruitment, and general partner support. John also has experience in communications and public affairs at the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. John has more than 15 years of experience in the environmental and communications fields. He holds a graduate degree from Johns Hopkins University in Environmental Science and Policy and an undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington in Environmental Studies.



José Montañez

José Montañez has worked at the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council for 20 years. He holds an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology and graduate degrees in Agricultural Economics.  He is the staff member responsible for the bluefish and golden tilefish management plans.  In addition, he also provides staff support for surfclam, ocean quahog, summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass.


Anne Hawkins

Anne Hawkins is an associate in the law firm of Kelley Drye in the Washington, D.C. office. Her practice focuses on fisheries, natural resources, environmental, and administrative law. Anne draws upon her scientific and administrative capabilities to counsel clients in regulatory and legislative strategies on a variety of technical issues related to science, commerce, and the environment. Prior to joining Kelley Drye, Anne served as Deputy Director of Large Marine Ecosystems Programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, providing scientific, management, and policy leadership to a global network of LME projects. She also served as an analyst at the New England Fishery Management Council where she worked with a wide range of agencies and interest groups to develop regulations for commercial and recreational fisheries. During law school Anne was a research assistant with the Alaska Regional Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service focusing on issues related to the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Freedom of Information Act, and collaborative approaches to marine resource management. She also served as Environmental Inspector on a major suspension bridge construction project and studied European Union law at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Vishwanie Maharaj

Vishwanie Maharaj, Ph.D., is the Lead Economist on the Oceans Team at the World Wildlife Fund (US), she manages WWF’s work on tenure rights to improve the conservation and socioeconomic performance of fisheries. Vishwanie’s work focuses on the design of incentive based tools such as tenure rights and related policy instruments. In association with reforms in specific geographies, her work entails analyses to understand the relationship between the health of fisheries resources and socio-economic impacts on fishing businesses and fishing communities. Vishwanie has an interdisciplinary background. She holds a doctoral degree in marine resource economics from the University of Rhode Island and an undergraduate degree in Oceanography from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. She has conducted research in the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States.

Kelly Denit

Kelly Denit serves as Chief of Domestic Fisheries Division in the Office of Sustainable fisheries. The Domestic Fisheries Division provides national policy direction and performance oversight to ensure the continued sustainable management of our nation’s fisheries, primarily in federal waters. The division coordinates with NOAA Fisheries Headquarters offices, regional offices, science centers, and the regional fishery management councils on national policies and regulations to:

  • Prevent overfishing and rebuild depleted stocks

  • Implement annual catch limits and accountability measures

  • Determine and track fish stock status

  • Reduce bycatch

  • Implement catch share programs

  • Provide fishery disaster assistance

  • Support recreational fishing

  • Coordinate ecosystem-based fisheries management implementation

The division also partners with states and Interstate Marine Fisheries Commissions on fisheries issues that cross federal and state boundaries. Prior to this position, Kelly's work covered a range of activities from State/Federal partnerships to recreational fisheries to strategic planning/budgeting to catch share programs. She also coordinated the implementation of NOAA's catch share policy among NMFS regional and science center staff, NMFS headquarters staff, NMFS leadership, NOAA leadership, Fishery Management Councils, other Federal agencies, and our external stakeholders. Earlier in her career, Kelly worked on fisheries issues as a senior policy advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere/NOAA Administrator. As a policy advisor in the Office of International Affairs, she focused on various international fisheries topics such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. Kelly earned a B.S. in Ecology from Yale University and an M.S. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Miami.



Jorge Holzer

Jorge Holzer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Maryland, College Park.  His research focuses on the management of natural resources, with an emphasis on the allocation of harvest rights in the absence of markets, the study of uncertainty, risk-aversion and the value of information, and the interaction between the commercial and recreational fishing sectors.  His work has appeared in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, and the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, among others.


Mike Leonard

Mike Leonard is the Conservation Director at the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), based in Alexandria, VA. ASA is the sportfishing industry’s trade association, providing the industry with a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. As ASA’s Conservation Director, Leonard is responsible for the association’s activities in a variety of natural resource issues at the national, regional and state levels. Leonard serves on a variety of advisory bodies to promote fisheries conservation and recreational fishing access, including the Government Relations Committee of the Center for Coastal Conservation, for which he is the vice chair; and the National Fish Habitat Partnership Board. He joined ASA in 2009 as the association’s Policy Fellow. He earned a master’s degree in fisheries management from Auburn University in 2008 and a bachelor’s degree in fisheries science from Virginia Tech in 2005.

Jason Didden

Jason has worked for the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council since 2007. His primary responsibilities include coordination of the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan and the Spiny Dogfish Plan.  Jason is also the staff point of contact for River Herring/Shad, the Omnibus Observer Amendment to improve observer coverage, and the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP - improvements to recreational data collection). Jason also provides support for Mid-Atlantic perspectives on Atlantic Herring, Whiting, Monkfish, Scallops, and Groundfish (all primarily managed by the NEFMC).  Prior to working in fisheries he spent a few years in teaching and worked as a consultant for hazardous material remediation projects. Jason has a BA with majors in Political Science and Biology from Tufts University and a Masters of Marine Policy from the University of Delaware.