Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana Announces Board and Advisory Council

NEW ORLEANS — The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, a statewide nonprofit combating coastal land loss, has announced members of its board of directors and Coastal Advisory Council for 2024.

CRCL, a member of the Restore the Mississippi River Delta campaign, recently celebrated its 36th anniversary. The organization advocates for science-based coastal policies and engages in on-the-ground restoration initiatives through its Native Plants Program and Oyster Shell Recycling Program. 

In addition to these efforts, the nonprofit educates students through its Future Coastal Leaders program and orchestrates the biennial State of the Coast conference.

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“CRCL is in good hands at a pivotal time,” said Kim Reyher, the nonprofit’s executive director. “Our board and Coastal Advisory Council are poised to guide CRCL as we continue to push for action across our coast and turn the tables on land loss.”

The 2024 leaders of CRCL’s board of directors are:

  • Parker Kilgore, chairman. Parker is a partner in the Baton Rouge office of Jones Walker LLP. He is a commercial litigator who represents energy, construction and business clients in a wide variety of litigation matters and business transactions.
  • Ashley Liuzza, vice chairwoman. Ashley is the chief operating officer and attorney at Stag Liuzza LLC in New Orleans. Her practice centers on litigating complex environmental pollution claims, toxic exposure claims and mineral royalty disputes.
  • Nene Gianfala, treasurer. Nene, a new member of CRCL’s board, is a vice president in the valuations group and a shareholder of Chaffe & Associates Inc.
  • Will Norman, secretary. Will is a senior client services manager with SWCA Environmental Consultants with more than 20 years of experience in the planning, development and management of multidisciplinary water resource projects and programs.   

Besides Gianfala, the other new members of the board are:

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  • Sam Miles, vice president, corporate development at IMTT. Prior to joining IMTT, he held a variety of management roles in the energy investment banking, renewable energy and environmental services industries.
  • Beau Tate, an engineer at Royal Engineers and Consultants. He has 25 years of experience managing and delivering civil, coastal and environmental projects for private as well as governmental organizations.

Other continuing members of the board are:

  • Mindy Nunez Airhart, the president and CEO of SSE Steel Fabrication, an AISC-certified structural steel fabrication contractor in St. Bernard Parish.
  • Donald Brinkman, who leads the ports practice and southwest Louisiana region for CSRS Inc., an architecture and engineering firm headquartered in Baton Rouge.
  • Steve Chustz, who spent 20 years with the state working at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, then moved to the Department of Natural Resources, where he served as director of the Atchafalaya Basin Program, assistant secretary of the Office of Coastal Management and secretary of the Department of Natural Resources.
  • Robert Gardiner, who retired in 2002 from his position as president of Maine Public Broadcasting and went on to develop a large commercial wind power farm in western Maine.
  • Sarah Giles, an environmental consultant specializing in wetlands and as a wildland firefighter with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Brendan Hughes, an attorney with Galloway who practices in the areas of environmental, maritime, insurance and construction law. 
  • Devyani Kar, the principal resilience scientist at Jacobs. Previously, at the Environmental Defense Fund, she was the Restore the Mississippi River Delta campaign’s coastal projects and programs committee chair. Prior to that, she managed all stages of natural infrastructure projects at the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana.
  • Heather Layrisson, a project manager at Jacobs, where she manages large-scale coastal restoration projects and water/wastewater infrastructure projects around the state. She is also the business leader for Jacobs’ Louisiana infrastructure portfolio.
  • Terrence Lockett, president of Axis Strategies LLC, a public and governmental affairs firm that provides strategic planning and management to candidates seeking elected office along with governmental affairs representation for a variety of entities at the state and federal level.
  • Brock Piglia, the director of marketing at DonahueFavret Contractors, a regional general contractor with commercial projects throughout the Gulf South.
  • John Ross, general manager of growth and strategy at PosiGen Solar, a national residential solar company focused on serving underserved communities and headquartered in New Orleans.
  • Randy Smith, principal and director of first impressions at Wingate Engineers, a New Orleans-based civil engineering and design firm.
  • Kristian Sonnier, the vice president of communications and business development at Ryan Gootee General Contractors, a commercial construction company in New Orleans.

New members of CRCL’s Coastal Advisory Council are:

  • Sadie Becnel, government affairs director and general counsel at the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children.
  • Dr. Ehab Meselhe, the Nicholas Altiero distinguished professor in the Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering at Tulane University.
  • Lauren Owen, customer service manager at Entergy New Orleans.
  • Dr. Brian Roberts, executive director and chief scientist at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON)

Carryover CRCL’s Coastal Advisory Council members are:

  • Ellen Ball, a community leader in New Orleans and on Avery Island and a former member of the CRCL board of directors.
  • Robin Barnes, an economic recovery and resilience expert who also is a director of the Sewarage and Water Board of New Orleans.
  • Dr. Angela Chalk, the founder and executive director of Healthy Community Services in New Orleans.
  • Lanor Curole, director/administrator of United Houma Nation.
  • Jessica Dandridge-Smith, executive director of the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans.
  • Mark Davis, the director of the Tulane University Center of Environmental Law and the former executive director of CRCL.
  • Al DuVernay, a fisherman, retired paleontologist at Shell and former CRCL volunteer of the year.
  • Reggie Dupre, the former executive director of the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District in Houma, the president of Bourg Supermarket Inc. and a former state lawmaker.
  • Rene Escuriex, the environmental operations leader at C.H. Fenstermaker.
  • Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, a member of the Pointe-au-Chien Indian tribe who is clinical professor of law, the faculty director of the Indian Legal Program and the director of the Indian Legal Clinic at Arizona State University.
  • Jonathan Foret, executive director of the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center.
  • Tina Freeman, a photographer whose work is included in permanent collections of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (Paris), the National Media Museum (Bradford, UK), the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Luiciano Benetton Imago Mundi Collection in Italy. She is a former CRCL board member.
  • Troy Gilbert, a writer who is the founder and executive director of Chefs Brigade New Orleans and Chefs on Boats.
  • Robert Gorman, a founding member of CRCL who served as the organization’s first chairman and was a longtime board member, and who is the retired director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.
  • Marie Gould, founder of Lost Lands Tours.
  • Dr. Pamela Jenkins, a professor emeritus at the University of New Orleans who is a founding member of UNO’s Center for Hazard Assessment, Response and Technology.
  • Barbara Johnson, founder and proprietor of the Great Delta Tours.
  • Albertine Kimble, who is retired after working in Plaquemines Parish government for 30 years, including as local coastal programs manager. She is a member of the parish’s Coastal Zone Advisory Board.
  • Ryan Lambert, the founder and proprietor of Cajun Fishing Adventures in Buras and Venice.
  • Walter Leger III, a lawyer, senior vice president for strategic affairs and general counsel for New Orleans & Co. and former speaker pro tempore in the state House.
  • Brent McCrossen, an entrepreneur who is managing director of Revelry Startup Studio and founder of linen shirt maker RNKL.
  • Norma Jean Mattei, a UNO civil engineering professor, former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the Mississippi River Commission.
  • Steve Mathies, the coastal restoration and resilience practice leader for the Southeast region at Stantec and former director of CPRA.
  • Tim Matte, a CPA and the former mayor of Morgan City.
  • John Morello, vice president of product, container and serverless security at Palo Alto Networks, a board member for the Coastal Conservation Association and a former member and chair of the CRCL board.
  • David Muth, the retired Gulf program director at the National Wildlife Federation.
  • Sandy Nguyen, founder and executive director of Coastal Communities Consulting and a former consultant for the Louisiana Small Business Development Center.
  • Niki Pace, an attorney at Louisiana Sea Grant.
  • Dr. Denise Reed, a research professor at the University of New Orleans who helped develop Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan.
  • Jacqueline Richard, director of coastal studies at Nunez Community College.
  • Mark Schexnayder, senior biologist at Batture Consulting.
  • Peter Sclafani, a chef and cookbook author who is a partner in the Making Raving Fans Hospitality Group.
  • Jennifer Sherrod-Blackwell, founder and owner of Elysian Events catering in New Orleans and a partner in CRCL’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program.
  • Dr. Aimee Thomas, assistant professor in the department of biological sciences at Loyola University.
  • Dr. Robert Thomas, director of the Center for Environmental Communication at Loyola University, the founding director of the Louisiana Nature Center and a former member of the CRCL board.
  • Whitney Thompson, principal engineer at Southern Shores Engineering.
  • Jim Tripp, who is retired from the Environmental Defense Fund, where he served as general counsel. He was a founding member of CRCL and is a former CRCL board member.
  • Darilyn Turner, executive director of the Zion Travelers Cooperative Center and a member of the Plaquemines Parish School Board.
  • Peter Waggonner, public policy manager at Greater New Orleans Inc.

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