2017 Annual Meeting Speakers



Charting the Waters

Josie Quintrell – Ms. Quintrell is the Executive Director of the Integrated Ocean Observing System Association. The Association is a non-profit that supports the US Integrated Ocean Observing System (US IOOS) to provide to quality and timely information about our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes.  The Association works with the 11 IOOS Regional Associations and the Federal partners to create a national network that meets the diverse needs of user across the nation.

Lake by Lake

Tom Johengen (moderator) – Dr. Johengen is an Associate Research Scientist and Associate Director of the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR), which is a NOAA Joint Institute program at the University of Michigan with the NOAA-Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory serving as the host lab. CIGLR’s research activities are focused around five themes including: Climate and Large-Lake Dynamics, Coastal and Nearshore Processes, Lare-Lake Ecosystem Structure and Function, Remote Sensing, and Marine Environmental Engineering. Dr. Johengen’s individual research interests focus on nutrient cycling and lower food-web dynamics in the Great Lakes, controlling the introduction of invasive species, and development of in situ water quality sensors and observing systems.

Greg Boyer (Ontario) – Dr. Boyer is current acting director for the Great Lakes Research Consortium, a network of eighteen New York Universities and nine Canadian affiliates looking at all aspects of Great Lakes science, policy and ecology. In addition, my own research interests are in biologically active natural products produced by algae. This includes toxins produced by dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) as well as allelopathic compounds and siderophores.

Ed Verhamme (Erie) – Mr. Verhamme is a Project Engineer with LimnoTech and has been involved on a variety of water quality projects including hydrodynamic modeling (EFDC, HEC-RAS, and FEQ) and application of existing water quality models (RCA, LOTOX2, Bathtub, and WASP) since joining the firm in June 2005. He has had a significant role in numerous LimnoTech projects involving literature reviews, data analysis, data collection, development of various models, database development, and a variety of field engineering tasks.

Steve Ruberg (Huron) – Mr. Ruberg is Group Leader, Marine Instrumentation Laboratory at NOAA-Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. He focuses on developing advanced environmental measurement technology using innovations in the fields of electronics, mechanics, and software engineering. Providing high quality instrumentation packages for oceanographic, biological, chemical, and water resources data collection.

Harvey Bootsma (Michigan) – Dr. Bootsma does most of his research on large lakes, including the Laurentian Great Lakes, the African Great Lakes, and lakes in South America.  Some of his specific interests include benthic carbon and nutrient dynamics, structure and function of aquatic food webs, and tropical limnology.  However, he is generally interested in the interactions among physical, chemical and biological processes at the whole ecosystem scale, and so his research tends to be collaborative and multidisciplinary, with an emphasis on how land use, climate, and species composition affect ecosystem structure and function.

Guy Meadows (Superior) – Dr. Meadows joined Michigan Tech in June of 2012 to help establish the new Great Lakes Research Center. His primary goal, to blend scientific understanding and technological advancements into environmentally sound engineering solutions for the marine environment, through teaching, research and service.

His teaching reaches beyond the University setting to less formal environments, and includes five nationally televised documentaries for the History and Discovery Channels. His primary research interests are in geophysical fluid dynamics with emphasis on environmental forecasting and full-scale, Great Lakes and coastal ocean experimental hydrodynamics. In this arena, he has influenced policy and explored societal impacts of environmental forecasting for coastal management, recreational health and safety, and regional climate change.

Jay Austin (Superior) – Dr. Austin’s research fits into a fairly broad definition of coastal physical oceanography and limnology, as his interests extend beyond the coastal zone to estuaries and lakes. His recent work has focused on the long-term effects of climate change on large lakes, especially how ice fits into the picture. On shorter scales, he is interested in how wind moves water around in these sorts of systems. He focuses on two primary techniques for exploring these systems: Direct observations of the properties by a variety of means, and numerical simulation, particularly process-oriented idealized models of systems. He also has interests in instrument development and education.

The Canadian Perspective

Jessica Snowdon (moderator) – Ms. Snowdon is a physical scientist in the US Integrated Ocean Observing System  (US IOOS) Regions, Budget, and Policy Division. She runs a federal advisory committee, leads the out-year budget planning, and interact with counterparts in other federal agencies that are IOOS partners. Right now she is part of the NOAA Leadership Competencies Development Program. The LCDP is an 18 – month NOAA leadership development program. The competitive program provides employees with a series of cross-line, multidisciplinary training and learning experiences that will broaden participants’ understanding of NOAA’s strategic vision, mission, and goals, as well asbusiness processes. The LCDP, a key component of NOAA’s Strategic Human Capital Management Plan, is NOAA’s premier succession planning initiative.

Warren Currie – Mr. Currie is Aquatic Biologist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

George Sousa –  is Manager of Information Systems and Technology at Grand River Conservation Authority.


User Panel

Tom Rayburn (moderator) – Mr. Rayburn is the Director of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs for the Lake Carriers’ Association.  Rayburn has over 25 years’ experience working for national environmental and engineering consulting firms, regional partnerships including the Great Lakes Commission, and the U.S. Coast Guard.  His project work has supported U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense, other federal agency initiatives, private industry, and international cooperative efforts on the environment.

Carol Miller – Dr. Miller is Chair of the Wayne State University Standing Committee on Environmental Initiatives.

Brenda Snyder – Ms. Snyder is is an instructor at University of Toledo’s Department of Environmental Services. She also sits on the school’s Water Task Force.

Matthew Zika – Mr. Zika is Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service station in Marquette.

GLOS Investments in Data Powered Projects and Programs

Tad Slawecki (moderator) – Mr. Slawecki is a senior engineer at LimnoTech, with background in computer engineering and environmental health sciences, both contributing to his expertise in the use of appropriate information technology in environmental resource management. Tad’s project experience focuses on the application of database tools, GIS, models, and visualization to move from data analysis and evaluation to decision-making in a rigorous and defensible manner. Current work includes the development and application of a watershed-focused water quality risk model for optimization of wet weather management strategies, and design and implementation of a GIS-based viewer of detailed habitat and fisheries data to support use attainability analyses. Tad is a past Chair of the Water Environment Federation’s Watershed Management Committee.

George Sousa –  is Manager of Information Systems and Technology at Grand River Conservation Authority.

Nancy Nate – Ms. Nate is Data Steward for the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System.

David Hart – Dr. Hart joined the Wisconsin Sea Grant Advisory Services team as a scientist in 2002, after working with Sea Grant for eight years on coastal GIS applications through the UW-Madison Land Information and Graphics Facility. As one of the few Sea Grant GIS specialists in the country, David provides assistance to local governments and other coastal constituents in the areas of mapping, community planning, coastal hazards, land use and climate adaptation.


Mark Torregrossa – Mr. Torregrossa is staff meteorologist for MLIVE Media group.