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Meet the Commissioners

The 16 members of the Commission on Ocean Policy have diverse experiences in areas ranging from ocean exploration, resource development, and marine transportation to marine science, policy and law. Commission members have expertise in Federal, State, and local government administration, including members with experience in marine issues from naval, resource management, academic research, and private sector perspectives.

Admiral James D. Watkins, USN (Ret.), Chairman
Robert Ballard, Ph.D.
Mr. Ted A. Beattie
Mrs. Lillian Borrone
Dr. James M. Coleman
Ms. Ann D'Amato
Mr. Lawrence Dickerson
Vice Admiral Paul G. Gaffney II, USN (Ret.)
Professor Marc J. Hershman
Mr. Paul L. Kelly
Mr. Christopher Koch
Dr. Frank Muller-Karger
Mr. Edward B. Rasmuson
Dr. Andrew A. Rosenberg
Mr. William D. Ruckelshaus
Dr. Paul A. Sandifer

Dr. Thomas R. Kitsos, Executive Director

Admiral James D. Watkins, USN (Ret.) (Maryland)
Commission on Ocean Policy Chairman

Photo of Admiral James D. Watkins, USN (Ret.)

Admiral James D. Watkins recently retired as the president of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE), an organization of more than 60 U.S. marine research institutions. Admiral Watkins’ naval career began at the United States Naval Academy and culminated in attaining the Navy’s highest uniformed office, chief of naval operations, capping a distinguished career that spanned nearly four decades. In 1989, President George Bush appointed him the sixth Secretary of Energy. Prior to this appointment, he chaired the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/AIDS) epidemic. In 1993, Admiral Watkins became president of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI), where he established CORE.


Robert Ballard, Ph.D. (Connecticut)

Photo of Robert Ballard, Ph.D.

Robert Ballard spent 30 years as an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he founded the Deep Submergence Laboratory. While at Woods Hole, he pioneered the use of manned submersibles, including the first manned exploration of the Mid-Ocean Ridge, which helped confirm the Theory of Plate Tectonics and led to the discovery of hydrothermal vents and their exotic life forms. He lead the team that developed the Argo/Jason remotely operated vehicle systems that resulted to the discovery of the Titanic and Bismarck. Later, he founded the JASON Foundation for Education, an Internet-based distance- learning program presently involving 1.3 million students and 30,000 science teachers worldwide. In 1997, he founded the Institute for Exploration in Mystic, CT, in an effort to create a new field of research in deep-water archaeology. This led to the discovery of the largest concentration of Roman ships and the oldest ancient ships ever found in the deep sea. In 1998, he became an Explorer-in-Residence for the National Geographic Society. In 2001, he created the Immersion Institute, which is providing "live" public access to the U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries. In 2002, Dr. Ballard was named a Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography in Narragansett, Rhode Island, and Director of the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography.


Mr. Ted A. Beattie (Illinois)

Photo of Mr. Ted A. Beattie

Ted A. Beattie is the president and chief executive officer of Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium, the world’s largest indoor aquarium/oceanarium, which attracts two million visitors each year. He is the immediate past president of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, which represents nearly 7,000 professional members nationwide and 196 accredited U.S. zoos and aquariums. During his 23-year zoo and aquarium career, Mr. Beattie directed zoos in Knoxville, TN, and Fort Worth, TX. He serves on the Board of Directors of The Ohio State University (OSU) Alumni Association, the OSU Chicago Major Gifts Committee, the Provost’s External Advisory Board on Teaching, and the Advisory Board for the School of Journalism and Communication. He also serves on the Boards of Directors of National-Louis University and The Arts Club of Chicago, and is a member of the Chicago Club, Economic Club of Chicago, Chicago Central Area Committee, and Onwentsia Club. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio State.


Mrs. Lillian Borrone (New Jersey)

Photo of Mrs. Lillian Borrone

Lillian Borrone retired from a 27-year career with The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2000, having last served as Assistant Executive Director and, immediately prior to that as the Port Commerce Director for over 12 years. During her career, she also served in senior administrative positions in the U.S. Department of Transportation and as a consultant to public and private transportation companies. She currently Chairs the Board of the Eno Transportation Foundation and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Public Administration; she has recently been appointed to the Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee by the Under Secretary for Science and Technology of the Department of Homeland Security. Mrs. Borrone has served on the Transportation Research Board which she Chaired in 1995-1996; and, on the Marine Board, both of which are components of the National Academy of Sciences. She also served on the Panama Canal Authority Advisory Board and has been active in industry associations, serving as Chair of the American Association of Port Authorities in 1998.


Dr. James M. Coleman (Louisiana)

Photo of Dr. James M. Coleman

Dr. James Coleman is the Boyd Professor for the Coastal Studies Institute of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College. Dr. Coleman is a former chairman of the Marine Board and presently a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. His research interests include coastal and marine processes and coastal management. He has received many awards in his nearly 40-year scientific career, including the Kapitsa Medal of Honor for his contributions to the field of petroleum sciences.


Ms. Ann D'Amato (California)

Photo of Ms. Ann D'Amato

Ann D’Amato is the chief of staff to Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. Prior to this appointment, Ms. D’Amato served as deputy mayor, responsible for community and government affairs, for former Mayor Richard J. Riordan, overseeing his legislative initiatives in the city, state, and in Washington, DC. She was also responsible for community affairs, constituent services, volunteer programs, protocol, and public affairs functions, including directing the mayor’s neighborhood programs. Prior to joining the Riordan Administration in 1993, she served as a City Council deputy. Ms. D'Amato's family represents three generations of commercial fishing in California. She is a graduate of the University of Redlands and holds a bachelor's of science in business and management.


Mr. Lawrence Dickerson (Texas)

Photo of Mr. Lawrence Dickerson

Lawrence R. Dickerson is the president, chief operating officer, and a director of Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc., a leading deep-water drilling contractor that owns and operates 45 offshore rigs consisting of 30 semi-submersibles, 14 jack-ups and one drill ship. The Houston-based company operates in the waters of six of the world's seven continents and includes extensive in-house engineering expertise. Mr. Dickerson is currently secretary/treasurer and a director of the International Association of Drilling Contractors, a director and member of the Executive Committee of the National Ocean Industries Association, and is on the Ocean Research Advisory Panel of the National Ocean Partnership Program.


Vice Admiral Paul G. Gaffney II, USN (Ret.) (Monmouth, NJ)

Photo of Vice Admiral Paul G. Gaffney II, USN

Vice Admiral Paul G. Gaffney II, USN (Ret.), is the president of Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey. He retired from the Navy and stepped down as the 10th president of the National Defense University in June 2003. From 1996 to 2000, Vice Admiral Gaffney was the chief of naval research. He also was the senior uniformed oceanography specialist in the Navy, having served as commander of the Navy Meteorology and Oceanography Command from 1994 to 1997. He has been the Naval Research Laboratory commander and worked in a number of other science and oceanography administration assignments. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968. He has a master's in mechanical engineering (ocean) from Catholic University and a master’s of business administration from Jacksonville University. He received honorary doctorates from the University of South Carolina, Catholic University and Jacksonville University.


Professor Marc J. Hershman (Washington)

Photo of Professor Marc J. Hershman

Marc J. Hershman is a professor in the School of Marine Affairs at the University of Washington, and adjunct Professor in the School of Law. He leads faculty and students engaged in teaching and research on integrated coastal zone management, ports and transportation, living marine resource management, marine protected areas, impacts of climate change, and other ocean issues. Professor Hershman has more than 30 years’ experience in the study of ocean and coastal law and policy. In 1972, he founded the Coastal Management Journal and continues to serve as its editor-in-chief. He has served as president of The Coastal Society, is a co-founder of the Marine Affairs and Policy Association, and is an active member of the Ocean Governance Study Group. He is the founder and a Board member of Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center on Seattle’s central waterfront.


Mr. Paul L. Kelly (Texas)

Photo of Mr. Paul L. Kelly

Paul L. Kelly is the senior vice president of Rowan Companies, a global provider of offshore contract drilling and helicopter services. He recently received a Public Service Commendation from the U.S. Coast Guard after seven years of service on the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee. The International Association of Drilling Contractors recently named him the 2000 Contractor of the Year. Mr. Kelly represents the oil service and supply industry on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Outer Continental Shelf Policy Committee, and served as chairman from 1994 to 1996. He has written widely on energy policy and is a member of the editorial board of World Oil.


Mr. Christopher Koch (Virginia)

Photo of Mr. Christopher Koch

Christopher L. Koch is the president and chief executive officer of the World Shipping Council, a trade association composed of international liner shipping companies serving the U.S. import and export trades, that is interested in government policies that affect ocean commerce and the marine environment. Mr. Koch is a member of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Marine Transportation System National Advisory Committee. Prior to his current position, Mr. Koch served as senior vice president and general counsel for Sea-Land Service, Inc, and was a senior executive at CSX. From 1990 to 1993 he served as chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) as an appointee of President George Bush. He came to the FMC after a decade of work in the U.S. Senate, where he held positions as counsel to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and the National Ocean Policy Study, and served as chief of staff to Senators Slade Gorton and John McCain.


Dr. Frank Muller-Karger (Florida)

Photo of Dr. Frank Muller-Karger

Dr. Frank Muller-Karger is a professor of Biological Oceanography in the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida, where he also is the director of the Institute for Marine Remote Sensing (IMaRS). His primary interests are science education and oceanographic research of coastal zones and continental margins. His research focuses on understanding factors that affect the distribution and abundance of living marine resources including plankton, coral reefs, and larger animals, and on the role of the marine environment in the global carbon cycle. He utilizes observational time series, satellite data, high-speed computing and other new technologies to measure large-scale oceanographic phenomena. Dr. Muller-Karger received the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Award for Outstanding Contributions and the NASA Administrator Award for Exceptional Contribution and Service for his work in supporting the development of satellite technologies for ocean observation. He has degrees in biological oceanography and in marine and estuarine science, and an advanced degree in management. He has authored and co-authored over 80 scientific publications. He is of Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, and German descent, and speaks fluent Spanish.


Mr. Edward B. Rasmuson (Alaska)

Photo of Mr. Edward B. Rasmuson

Edward Rasmuson is a businessman and philanthropist. His family has had an impact on the development of Alaska for three generations; his grandfather founded the institution that became the National Bank of Alaska. Mr. Rasmuson became president and chief executive of the bank in 1975, and chairman in 1985. He is also the president of the Rasmuson Foundation, which supports not-for-profit institutions in Alaska that provide a unique public service, thereby ensuring that basic human needs are met and that the quality of life for all Alaskans is enhanced. In addition to his business and philanthropic interests, Mr. Rasmuson is an ardent supporter of education and has served on many boards, foundations, and commissions, including serving for 14 years on the Board of Regents for the University of Alaska. In his capacity as a banker for more than 35 years, he has extensive knowledge and contacts within the fishing industry and in marine-related matters.


Dr. Andrew A. Rosenberg (New Hampshire)

Photo of Dr. Andrew A. Rosenberg

Dr. Andrew Rosenberg is a Professor in the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at the University of New Hampshire where, prior to April 2004, he was Dean of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. Prior to assuming the dean's position in June 2000, he was the Deputy Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He was also the Northeast Regional Administrator for NMFS for four years. He has served as the U.S. representative to international organizations including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization. With his expertise in marine biology and living marine resource conservation, he has earned recognition from such diverse organizations as the U.S. Coast Guard and the World Wildlife Fund.


Mr. William D. Ruckelshaus (Washington)

Photo of Mr. William D. Ruckelshaus

William D. Ruckelshaus is a strategic director of the Madrona Venture Group, chairman of the board of the World Resources Institute, and former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Browning-Ferris Industries, Inc. Mr. Ruckelshaus served as the first administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1970 to 1973. At the request of President Ronald Reagan, he returned to EPA and served as its administrator from 1983 until 1985. Mr. Ruckelshaus has held a variety of positions in the public and private sectors, including acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and deputy attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice. He has served on the boards of directors of several major corporations. He served as special envoy for the Pacific Salmon Treaty, was a member of the President's Council for Sustainable Development from 1993 until 1997, and currently serves as chairman of the State of Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board.


Dr. Paul A. Sandifer (South Carolina)

Photo of Dr. Paul A. Sandifer

Dr. Paul Sandifer is the Senior Scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS). He is located at the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina. As the NCCOS Senior Scientist, Dr. Sandifer is the principal researcher and scientific advisor on coastal issues to the NCCOS Director. In this role, he identifies national coastal environmental research needs, recommends scientific priorities for NCCOS, defines new approaches for NCCOS science and works with scientists to develop these new initiatives. Before coming to NOAA, Dr. Sandifer was the director of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) from July 1997 until April 2003. Following his start at SCDNR in 1972, Dr. Sandifer held various posts, including assistant, associate and senior marine scientist, and assistant director of the Marine Resources Research Institute. In 1984, he was named Director of the Marine Resources Division. While at the Marine Resources Division, he was responsible for developing the agency’s aquaculture research and development program, and establishing the James M. Waddell, Jr. Mariculture Research and Development Center. Dr. Sandifer is a past president and honorary life member of the World Aquaculture Society, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor. He has authored and co-authored more than 120 scientific and technical publications in the fields of marine biology, aquaculture and coastal ecology.

Dr. Thomas R. Kitsos, Executive Director

Photo of Dr. Thomas R. Kitsos

Prior to his selection as Executive Director of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, Dr. Thomas R. Kitsos served as the Acting Director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) where he was responsible for the administration of various programs that ensure the effective management of natural gas, oil, and other mineral resources located on the Nation's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and the collection and distribution of revenues for development of such resources from the OCS and onshore Federal and Indian lands. Dr. Kitsos' career with the Department of the Interior also included service as staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management and Program Director for the MMS Office of International Activities and Marine Minerals. Before joining MMS, Dr. Kitsos was a staff member on the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries in the U.S. House of Representatives for 20 years where he analyzed national ocean and coastal issues, offshore energy development policies, and environmental and marine resource management legislation. His last position on the Committee was Chief Counsel. Dr. Kitsos holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Political Science from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), and has written some 30 papers on ocean, coastal and other public policy issues.


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