Cape Charles, VA & Lihue, HI
To separate my professional life from my passion for the communities and ecosystems I work in and all they have to offer would be nearly impossible. As a kayak guide I spend my days sharing the wonders of the Chesapeake Bay and the magic of Kauai with kids of all ages. As the Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper and ACA International Paddlesports Ambassador I worked as a vocal advocate for protecting our coastal water quality and improving the state of paddlesports around the world. As a public servant I fought hard to encourage sustainable economic development and smart community growth. As an entrepreneur and local business leader I am constantly seeking innovative ways to make my business and others grow and thrive in a challenging environment. I chose to live and work in these places because I love them. I continue to seek new opportunities to lead because I believe in my community and I enjoy a challenge.
Owner / Kayak Guide, SouthEast Expeditions
Cape Charles, Virginia 2000 - Present
As the founder and owner of SouthEast Expeditions I manage the Eastern Shore’s best trained and most experienced team of professional ecotourism guides in order to deliver the highest level of service and an amazing kayaking experience to each of our customers. With three retail stores, dozens of trip locations, and a full service kiteboarding school under my supervision I still insist on getting out on the water with our customers in order to maintain a connection to the purpose of our business - helping others discover the incredible nature of the Eastern Shore and understand its value. I am responsible for all aspects of operating the business from marketing and merchandising to bookkeeping and scheduling.
International Paddlesports Ambassador, American Canoe Association (ACA)
Fredericksburg, Virginia 2010-2020
As an experienced international expedition leader I have represented the ACA in over two dozen countries at numerous paddling and adventure conferences, meetings, symposiums, and expeditions. By building relationships with our paddling partners and members around the world I have helped spread the ACA mission of making the world a better place to paddle, and helped numerous instructors start and grow programs to introduce new paddlers to kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, and rafting. Highlight experiences include opening the first ACA Certified Kayak School in China and leading the first whitewater kayak descent of the Rwanduz River in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Director of Activities, Timbers Kauai
Lihue, Hawaii 2019-Present
Taking over the Activities Department at Timbers Kauai was an opportunity that I did not anticipate but that I am extremely excited about. Working with a great team of guides and exceptional leadership throughout the Timbers property I have been able to build a solid foundation for what will be the most robust and exceptional resort outdoor recreation programs in the state of Hawaii and beyond.
Shorekeeper, Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper
Eastville, Virginia 2007 - 2016
The Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper is a local water quality advocacy 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance. As the Shorekeeper, I was essentially the Executive Director of the organization. Responsible for fundraising, advocacy, outreach, education programs, and strategic planning, the Shorekeeper more than just the “eyes and ears of the community on the water”. The Shorekeeper is a voice for the water in public hearings, an educator, and foremost a loud and clear voice to preserve, protect, and improve the quality of the coastal waters of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
I launched Coastal Kayaks to bring the sport of kayaking back to its “Seagrass Roots”. The full line of Coastal Kayaks represents a dedication to function with an appreciation for form. Elegantly simple accessories focus on comfort and performance as well as reliability. We launched Coastal Paddlesurf as a complimentary brand in 2014 as we saw an opportunity for the same outfitter and paddler focused product line in the market. Our goal at Coastal Kayaks and Coastal Paddlesurf is to make the sports we love accessible to as many people as possible in a way that is environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable, and to build great gear to help get you outside and on the water.
District 2 County Supervisor, Northampton County
Eastville, Virginia 2007-2009
One of the most rewarding experiences in my life was the opportunity to serve my community as a member of the Northampton County Board of Supervisors. I ran and was elected on a platform of smart growth, sustainable economic development, and environmental stewardship. The intensive hands-on education that is an inevitable component of doing this job well was overwhelming, frustrating, and enlightening in more ways than I can explain. The skills I developed include working with the public, working within the complex systems of local government, and making tough decisions based on multiple priorities with the only guarantee being that someone was going to be upset.
Commissioner, Eastern Shore Tourism Commission
Tasley, Virginia 2007 - 2012
The Eastern Shore Tourism Commission is a hands-on working Board leading the way in Tourism Development on the Eastern Shore. While our Tourism Director deserves the lion’s share of the credit for the accomplishments of the Commission, she relies heavily on the support and hard work of her Commissioners. In addition to helping drive the direction of the Commission, I have been most involved in marketing efforts, creating new programs, government relations, and business relations.
President, Cape Charles Business Association
Cape Charles, VA 2011 - 2014
For years the Cape Charles Business Association and Cape Charles Renewal Program have been making an effort to assist in the revitalization of Cape Charles. By combining these two organizations in to a single entity, re-energizing the Board with active business owners and well respected community members, and reaching out to the community for input I led a team that created an atmosphere of enthusiasm and success that reflects the exceptional quality of life and potential of our town. By taking lessons I learned as President of the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce, and as a local business owner, my driving goal was to make the Cape Charles Business Association the most respected and effective small town business and community alliance in the region.
President, Northampton County Chamber of Commerce
Eastville, Virginia 2007 - 2010
During my time at the helm of the most forward thinking, proactive business development group on the Eastern Shore, the Chamber hired two new Executive Directors, expanded our reach to be a true county-wide organization, negotiated and executed an economic development consulting contract with the County, relocated to a beautiful new centrally located office, expanded our membership, and achieved the highest level of fiscal integrity in the history of the organization.
Course Instructor, Eastern Shore Community College
Melfa Virginia 2009 - 2012
Building on a program that began at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, I developed the first EcoTourism Certification Course for the Virginia Community College system. While the specifics of the course focused on the Eastern Shore, the curriculum was developed to be adaptable to all regions of Virginia with a focus on interpretation skills and sustainable business practices rather than specific ecological issues. The course was implemented and when I taught it for the first time in the Fall of 2009 we exceeded our projected class size and had exceptional feedback from students ranging from experienced guides to newcomers to the industry.
Other Boards, Commissions, and Certifications
Future of Hampton Roads - Board Member 2010-12
American Canoe Association Level 4 Open Water Coastal Kayaking Instructor
American Canoe Association Level 3 Surf SUP Instructor
Eastern Shore Resource Conservation and Development Commission Member 2007-09
Eastern Shore Groundwater Committee Member 2007-09
Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory Board Member 2002-12
Hazardous Waste Operations & Emergency Response Certified
Sea Turtle Stranding First Responder Certified
University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia
Environmental Science Bachelor of Arts Program with a focus on Wetland Ecology and Coastal Ecosystems