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About Us

The Southeast & Caribbean Disaster Resilience Partnership (SCDRP) is a diverse and multi-disciplinary affiliation of public, private, and non-profit organizations that strengthens the ability of the region's communities, economies, and environment to recover from the next storm.


The Partnership connects disaster recovery practitioners from public, private, and non-profit backgrounds and provides a platform for training, resources, and relationships that communities need to bounce back. The SCDRP is led by an Advisory Board and staffed by an Executive Director and a Program Coordinator. 

Join Our Monthly Partnership Meetings

Participating in our monthly meetings is free of charge and held virtually. We want to be sure to remain open to everyone who's interested in resilience and climate adaptation. Become a member or email to receive the Monthly Partnership Meeting virtual link.

Become a member to receive our newsletter, information about upcoming meetings, and other resources! 

In line with our mission, SCDRP participation is freely available to anyone with an interest in learning and sharing about resilience and climate adaptation. It is critical that all voices, regardless of ability to pay, can join this dialogue.

Our listserv is now over 575 participants from all resilience sectors and interests. We share information such as:

• webinars and online events;

• important policy or legislation updates;

• regional updates, newsletters, important  announcements;

• calls for serving on committees;

• job opportunities in resilience-related fields;

• calls for proposals and funding announcements;

• calls for input on tools and products from members

Build regional capacity for resilience and recovery planning 

SCDRP increases coordination and collaboration across sectors and geographies, engaging stakeholders through workshops and information-sharing events.

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What We Do

SCDRP assesses the challenges businesses face in recovery planning and provides strategies to improve economic recovery.

Build business resilience and advance collaboration across public and private sectors


Help states, territories, and local organizations advance disaster recovery capacities

SCDRP has invested in state and local projects that advance disaster recovery planning, implementation, learning, and training. 


We hold regular calls and use a listserv to share resources. We also get together once a year to discuss critical topics and generate networking opportunities.  

Maintain relationships and share resources


Heather McCarthy

SCDRP Executive Director

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Heather P. McCarthy has been the Executive Director of SCDRP since August 2022 and brings to the Partnership more than two decades of experience in coastal zone management, environmental writing and education, and marine and estuarine research. Heather earned her Bachelor of Science degree (summa cum laude) from the University of Central Florida (1995), and her Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment (1998). Heather specializes in environmental communication – including scientific writing, facilitating meetings, public speaking, and building consensus among diverse stakeholders. Heather’s professional background includes work within the private, governmental, non-profit, and academic sectors. Within the private sector, Heather developed habitat conservation plans for endangered species as Senior Scientist with Ecological Associates, Inc. (Jensen Beach, FL). With ties to the governmental and non-profit sectors, Heather has enjoyed teaching and conducting research within the field of coastal ecology through programs at the Environmental Learning Center (Vero Beach, FL), Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (Fort Pierce, FL), the former Caribbean Marine Research Center (Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas), the Smithsonian Marine Station (Fort Pierce, FL), and the NOAA-NMFS Laboratory (Beaufort, NC). As the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Heather taught workshops for teachers, developed curricula for students, pursued funding sources, and presented environmental education programs at public outreach events. Within the academic sector, Heather has served Jacksonville University in several capacities since 2007, including Research Associate, Biology Lab Manager, and Adjunct Professor of Biology. Heather published the book Sandhills, Swamps & Sea Islands: Environmental Guidebook to Northeast Florida (276 pp). Heather lives fulltime onboard her sailboat with her family in Jacksonville, FL, and sails seasonally throughout the eastern U.S. and Caribbean.

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Claire McGrath

SCDRP Program Coordinator

Claire McGrath earned a B.S. in Biology from Mount St. Mary’s University and brings 9 years of nonprofit experience to the SCDRP team. Claire’s passion for environmental justice stems from her experience working with vulnerable populations and her personal commitment to climate resilience. Claire has served as Outreach Coordinator, Community Life Director, and Project Manager with L’Arche Jacksonville, a nonprofit that empowers and supports people with disabilities. Claire oversaw L’Arche Jacksonville’s Emergency and Disaster Response Plan, which underscored to her the importance of building resiliency plans that protect the most vulnerable members of our communities. Claire has also worked with the Student Conservation Association to provide high school students in urban areas with opportunities to gain conservation work experience, and as an adaptive kayak guide with Environmental Traveling Companions to provide people with disabilities and youth from under-resourced backgrounds with environmental education and outdoor experience.

Claire lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida with her husband and pets. She enjoys anything that gets her outdoors, especially surfing, kayaking, and backpacking. 

Advisory Board Members

State of North Carolina

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Brian Byfield

North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resilience (NCORR)

Brian Byfield is currently the Resilient Communities Program Manager for the North Carolina Office of Recovery & Resiliency (NCORR). He is an Urban and Regional Planner with more than 28 years of experience across sustainability and resiliency planning, transportation infrastructure development, and land use optimization. Brian has worked for national government bodies, stage agencies, nonprofit organizations and consulting firms. His clients have included municipalities, regional development organizations and State Departments of Transportation across nine States but primarily in North Carolina. Brian is an avid football fan (yes, the one where only feet are used) who ardently supports Arsenal FC. He completed his Masters in City and Regional Planning at UNC-Chapel Hill. His Bachelors in Environmental Resource Development & Regional Planning is from the University of Technology in Jamaica. He and his wife are now empty nesters residing in Durham NC. He strongly advocates that the typically underrepresented get an effective seat at the table before discussions begin.

State of South Carolina

Amanda Guthrie

South Carolina SeaGrant

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Amanda Guthrie is the Coastal Climate and Resilience Specialist at the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium. She provides science-based guidance to help communities address current and future resilience priorities while taking into consideration community interests and values. Amanda engages with municipalities and community leaders about their vulnerability and resilience concerns.


Amanda earned a B.S. in marine science and biology from the University of Miami, a M.S. in fisheries management from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in coastal resources ecology and management from the William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Prior to joining South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, Amanda had fellowships with the National Academy of Sciences’ Gulf Research Program, where she researched the intersection of community health and green infrastructure, and with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, where she led a team of researchers evaluating the social and ecological feasibility of offshore aquaculture for the Gulf coast of Florida.

State of Georgia


Kait Morano

Georgia Tech


Kait Morano is a Research Scientist II at the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) at Georgia Tech. Her interests include urban planning, climate change, and spatial analysis, and her work focuses on designing innovative, equitable strategies to build community resilience. At IPaT, she serves as the Resilience Planning Director of the Coastal Equity and Resilience (CEAR) Hub. Kait holds a bachelor’s in Geography from Virginia Tech and a master’s of City and Regional Planning from Georgia Tech, where she specialized in Geographic Information Systems. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Kait worked as a senior urban planner for a local government on the Georgia coast, as a research assistant at the Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization at Georgia Tech, and as an ORISE Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

State of Florida


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Duane De Freese

Indian River Lagoon Council

Duane De Freese earned his MS and PhD in marine biology from Florida Institute of Technology and completed his post-doctoral research with University of Florida working on the Indian River Lagoon. During his career, he has held leadership positions in academia, non-profit organizations, and industry. Since 2015, Duane has served as Executive Director of the IRL Council, an independent special district of the State of Florida, and host agency for the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program. Duane is an active volunteer at local, state and national levels. Over his career Duane has been appointed by three Florida Governors to serve on statewide advisory boards: Florida Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force (appointment by Governor Ron DeSantis, 2019 – present); CareerSource Florida Inc. (appointment by Governor Rick Scott, 2013-2022); and the Nature and Heritage Tourism Committee of Florida Tourism Commission (appointed by Governor Jeb Bush, 2001-2005). Duane has published numerous scientific articles. He is an avid public speaker, surfer, and waterman.

Puerto Rico

Lillian Ramirez Durand

Sea Grant Puerto Rico

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Lillian Ramírez-Durand have been a research associate for Sea Grant Puerto Rico since 2003. She works as the Coastal Communities Development and Climate Extension Specialist in Sea Grant PR she provides extension services related to climate extension and resiliency to coastal communities in the archipelago of Puerto Rico. In 2016 the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center and Sea Grant Puerto Rico signed a MOU joined by a common mission to improve preparedness, relief and recovery of communities affected by disasters. Since that she is in charge to work together in the spirit of cooperation and open communication, consistent with law, with the primary goal of improving education and training to reduce the impacts of disasters. She is responsible for the coordination of professional development and capacity building training activities related to climate change, resilience, adaptation, and mitigation. 

U.S. Virgin Islands

Hilary Lohmann

USVI Division of Coastal Zone Management

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Hilary Lohmann has worked in small island resilience around the Caribbean for almost ten years, including work in the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Belize and the US Virgin Islands. She studied Animal Behavior and Spanish at Bucknell University, received a Masters in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island, and completed a Fulbright scholarship with the University of the West Indies. Hilary has been working in the USVI since 2016 and has been the Coastal Resilience Coordinator since 2019. With a background in natural and social sciences and a unique position in the territory, Hilary works on a diverse set of projects that improve the planning, mitigation, and adaptation to changes that face the natural and built environment, communities and systems of the US Virgin Islands.

Non-profit Organization

Ashley Ward

Duke University Nicholas Institute for

Energy, Environment & Sustainability



Dr. Ashley Ward is a climate-health and resilience expert with over a decade of experience in federal policy. She is a lifelong resident of NC04, a community college graduate, a PhD, and a three-time UNC alumni. At 30 years old and with two small children, Ashley enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill where she completed her Bachelor’s, Master’s, then PhD. After completing her PhD, Ashley taught at UNC for several years before accepting a position at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). With NOAA, Ashley worked in communities throughout the Carolinas helping them navigate federal policy, use science to improve decision-making, and build resilience against climate extremes. Ashley’s research focused on heat exposure; however, in her position with NOAA, she and her colleagues worked with communities to address a wide range of impacts from climate extremes and to build resilience against these extremes. Ashley was later recruited to the Duke University Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, where she currently works in the Water Policy and Climate-Health programs. In her position at Duke, Ashley works with legislators and federal and state policy makers, providing recommendations and guidance on needed policy improvements or in the development of new policy. 

Patrick Howell

Institute for Building Technology & Safety (IBTS)

Patrick Howell has over fifteen years domestic experience spanning the public, private, non-profit and civilian-military sectors, and seven years of experience in international development in Latin America and the Caribbean. He works closely with IBTS’s Board of Directors to strengthen institutional partnerships and develop areas of mutual cooperation, and leads efforts to develop and implement state and local strategies for resilience to natural and man-made disasters.

Patrick is co-founder and president of Hispañola Health Partners, Inc., an international, non-profit, health services organization designed to improve health care services to low resource communities on the island of Hispañola in partnership with local community groups and existing healthcare structures. Patrick holds a BA in international affairs from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an MA in international relations from American University.


Academic Institution

Jeremy Stalker

Jacksonville University

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Dr. Stalker earned a B.S. in Geological Science at Michigan State University, a M.S. in Geophysics at the University of Montana, and Ph.D. at Florida International University in Geochemistry.  He has taken a path of academics and professional work in his career; besides his academic degrees he has worked as a hydrologist for the United States Geological Survey, as a geophysical consultant in Southeastern Alaska, and as a private hydrologic consultant. Dr. Stalker’s primary research interests are in hydrologic processes at terrestrial ocean margins, including issues of water scarcity, forensics, sea level rise, and climate impacts. Dr. Stalker’s focus in geochemistry is the application of stable isotopes (O,H,S,N,C,Sr) and ionic constituents (Ca,Fe,Mg,Ba,Si) as tracers in hydrologic systems. These tracers occur in unique concentrations and ratios in water from different sources, when applied they can answer numerous questions about the timing and spatial importance of each source. Dr. Stalker also applies geophysical instruments and physical data to build water models to study the impacts of both natural climate change, but also anthropogenic project impacts.

Rick Devoe

College of Charleston

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Rick DeVoe spent his formal 40-year professional life working for the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, having had the pleasure and honor of serving as its Executive Director from 1997 to 2020.  Now officially retired, he is a faculty affiliate with the College of Charleston’s Department of Geosciences and Environmental Geosciences.  DeVoe currently serves on the advisory board of the Southeast and Caribbean Disaster Resilience Partnership (SCDRP), where he chairs the Governance Committee, and serves as Vice-chair of the WeGOJA Foundation (formerly the S.C. African American Heritage Foundation).  In 2016, Rick was inducted into The Citadel Academy of Science and Mathematics.  Rick’s professional interests include coastal and marine resource policy; state and regional coastal ocean planning and policy; coastal resilience; ocean observing, marine aquaculture policy, science-to-application linkages, and science management, communication and education.  He earned his undergraduate degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University and graduate degrees from CUNY/City College of New York and the University of Rhode Island.

Local Government

James Murley

Miami-Dade County

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James F. Murley is the Chief Resilience Officer for Miami-Dade County.  Miami-Dade County, together with the Cities of Miami and Miami Beach, launched their Resilient 305 Strategy in May 2019.  Jim previously served as Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs under Governor Lawton Chiles and was appointed Chair of the Florida Energy and Climate Commission by Governor Charlie Crist.  Additionally, he served as Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Florida, spent over 10 years with Florida Atlantic University overseeing research on urban and environmental issues, and served as Executive Director of the South Florida Regional Planning Council.  Jim is a founding member of the American Society for Adaptation Professionals and Resiliency Florida, a Board member of The Florida Ocean Alliance and the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association. He serves as Mayor Levine Cava’s designee on the Miami River Commission. He is also a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Randall Mathews

Chatham Emergency Management Agency

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Randall Mathews, Assistant Director, has more than 15 years of combined experience in emergency management and military operations. During his tenure at Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), Randall has assumed multiple responsibilities to include overseeing all planning, hazard mitigation and operational functions for CEMA as well as the Chatham County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). During EOC activations, Randall acts as the EOC Manager and ensures that all EOC coordination and operational functions are carried out timely and competently. Prior to joining CEMA in 2014, Randall served in the Marine Corps Infantry from 2006-2010. Randall went on to earn his Bachelor's Degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management at Savannah State University a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of West Georgia.

Federal Government

Katharine Egan 
NOAA Southeast and Caribbean Regional Team (SECART)


Katharine Egan is the NOAA Southeast and Caribbean Regional Coordinator, focused on fostering collaborations, developing and maintaining partnerships, and achieving regional objectives to enhance NOAA’s services to the communities and partners in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She leads a team of NOAA personnel and partners forming the Southeast and Caribbean Regional Team (SECART). Katharine has been with NOAA since 2014, starting off as Hollings Scholar with the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) where she analyzed data from NOAA’s National Coral Reef Monitoring Program. After graduating with a B.S. from the University of Rhode Island, she started contracting with NCCOS as a GIS Analyst, working on various projects related to coral reefs in the U.S. Caribbean. Katharine pursued a Master's degree from the University of the Virgin Islands with a focus on creating habitat maps of endangered coral species. She joined NOAA again as a Sea Grant Knauss Fellow in 2019 with NOAA Ocean Exploration where she remained for five years. During her time there, Katharine worked with partners to enhance the office's data collection, management, and analysis processes. She also served as a Program Coordinator focused on coordinating activities and fostering collaborations across NOAA to enhance the agency’s ‘omics portfolio.

Private Sector

Hollie Janson Schmidt



Hollie Janson Schmidt is a Principal and the Global Solutions Director of Sustainability, Resilience & Climate Response for the Americas Region at Jacobs. She provides consulting and advisory services to a wide range of public, private, and federal clientele. She is also the Director of the Sustainability, Resilience & Climate Response Business Advisory as a trusted business partner for internal project delivery and growth as well as external client services. In her 28 years of practice, Hollie has honed an integrated planning and delivery approach, with a particular focus on large-scale, complex projects. She is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Strategic and Master Plans, Feasibility Studies, Business Case Analysis and Site Selection. Serving all market and client types at Jacobs, she is a consultant and advisor who leads large, diverse teams of planners, designers and the full spectrum of engineers and technical experts to collaborate with decision-making leaders, scenario evaluations, implementation plans and highly resilient and sustainable solutions. Hollie is known for utilizing an inter-disciplinary approach by assembling a diverse team of SME’s that are customized to specific client needs. Hollie provides resilient solutions either as a preventative or recovery service for large-scale clients who are experiencing vulnerabilities to natural and man-made shocks and stressors. She addresses ESG and climate response while holistically considering the physical, human, and business aspects of the challenge.

​Jeff Morris

Moffatt & Nichol


Jeff Morris currently serves as a Senior Planning and Economics Consultant for Moffatt & Nichol. He currently advises Miami-Dade County in partnership with the USACE on the MDC Back Bay Coastal Storm Risk Management Study. Prior to working with M&N, he worked for the USACE. His roles included project and program management, planning, economics, public involvement, and policy development for water resources projects. He has experience leading multi-disciplinary teams in flood risk management and mitigation, ecosystem restoration, coastal storm risk management and resilience, shoreline and riverbank protection and restoration, watershed management, recreation, and hurricane evacuation preparedness and response. He participated in recovery efforts of Hurricane Andrew and the 1993 Storm of the Century. He has led three Georgia Hurricane Evacuation studies in coordination with FEMA, NOAA, GEMA, and County EMAs since 2000, participated as the USACE hurricane liaison at the Georgia State Operation Center, and in collaboration with the emergency management community of practice, funded, prepared, and distributed to 105 counties 208,000 copies of The Official Georgia Hurricane Guide. 

Ex-officio (Fiscal Agent)

Debra Hernandez


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Debra Hernandez currently serves as Executive Director of the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA).  SECOORA, a nonprofit operating in the states of NC, SC, GA and FL, is one of eleven regional partners in the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System.  SECOORA’s mission is to catalyze and integrate the efforts of multiple ocean and coastal monitoring interests to deliver user defined products that save lives, conserve the marine environment and support the economy of our coastal regions.  Debra is a civil engineer with extensive experience in coastal and ocean engineering, management and policy.  She served on the National Academies’ Ocean Studies Board and the Ocean Research and Resources Advisory Panel, currently serves on the SC Sea Grant Consortium Program Advisory Board, The Citadel’s Near Center for Climate Studies and is past-Chair of the IOOS Association.  She graduated from Clemson University and is a native of Charleston, SC.

2024 SCDRP Members Include:

  • AHAM Education Inc.

  • Nassau County, Florida

  • Miami-Dade County, Florida

  • SC Office of Resilience

  • NC Office of Recovery & Resiliency 

  • SWCA Environmental Consultants

  • Georgia Tech

  • IRL Council/Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program

  • Southeast Sustainability Directors Network

  • Seahorse Coastal Consulting, LLC

  • Jacobs

  • AtkinsRealis

  • Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

  • Center For Sustainable Communities

  • Hamilton Advisors LLC

  • University of Florida Historic Preservation Program


  • SC Sea Grant Consortium

  • Moffatt and Nichol

  • Ogeechee Riverkeeper

  • PuroClean of San Juan

  • Atlanta Regional Commission

  • North Carolina Sea Grant

  • UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant

  • AshBritt, Inc.

  • SC Dept of Health & Environmental Control

  • South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium

  • TetraTech

  • Mount Pleasant Waterworks

  • AWR Strategic Consulting

  • Jacobs

  • Black and Veatch

  • NC Council of Churches Eco-Justice Connection

  • University of the Virgin Islands

  • Duke University, Nicholas Institute

  • Atlanta Regional Commission

  • Augusta University

  • North Carolina State University

  • Rollins School of Public Health

  • U.S. EPA

  • GA DNR Coastal Resources Division

  • University of Georgia

  • Michael Baker International

  • Georgia State University

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