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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 scdrp@secoora.org 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 500 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

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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. 

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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

SCDRP Staff

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.

Emily Noakes

SCDRP Program Coordinator

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Emily Noakes started as SCDRP’s Program Coordinator in August 2023 after working with us for the summer as a Communications Specialist. She is also the Communications Specialist with the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA). She started working as the Communications Intern for SECOORA in July 2022 while she completed her Master of Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. Emily brings a strong technical background in coastal ecology, marine biology, and natural resource management, in addition to her experience in scientific writing and communications. During her time with SECOORA, she has increased social media engagement, streamlined the congressional outreach process, and written over 6 news stories for the SECOORA website. Emily enjoys combining her love of science with her passion for writing, and believes that science should be accessible and fun for all audiences. In her spare time she enjoys spending time in nature, reading novels, and cooking with her partner, Michael.

Advisory Board Members

State of North Carolina

Amanda Martin

North Carolina Department of Public Safety

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Amanda Martin is the state’s chief resilience officer, a role within the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency. Known as NCORR, the office was established by Governor Roy Cooper in the wake of Hurricane Florence. She leads climate resilience efforts through policy and planning and had been the state’s deputy chief resilience officer for two years prior. Prior to joining NCORR, Martin served as the director of the Southeast & Caribbean Disaster Recovery Partnership and principal planner for the state of Rhode Island. Martin holds a doctorate in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She has a master’s in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s from Harvard University.

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

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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

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.

Puerto Rico

Lilian Ramirez Durand

UPR SeaGrant

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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

Duane DeFreese

Indian River Lagoon Council

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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.

Ashley Ward

Duke University Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability

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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. 

Academic Institution

Gavin Smith

NC State University

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Gavin Smith is a Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at North Carolina State University. His teaching and research focus on hazard mitigation, disaster recovery, and climate change adaptation and the integration of research and practice through deep community engagement. Current research includes assessing the capacity and commitment of university faculty and engagement experts to assist under-represented groups develop and implement hazard mitigation grants, and based on that information, developing a national cadre of university officials capable of providing this type of assistance.  Smith has also served as a policy advisor to several nations, states, and local governments addressing planning for post-disaster recovery, flood-hazard risk reduction, and climate change adaptation and has testified before congress, state legislatures, and international committees. Smith currently serves on a National Academy of Science committee focused on assessing managed retreat strategies in Gulf Coast states and serves as an author of the 5th U.S. National Climate Assessment, focused on the southeastern United States.

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

Jim 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

Kyla Breland

NOAA

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Kyla Breland is an experienced professional working across the spectrum of emergency
management. Her work is rooted within understanding the consequences of disasters and
building health equity in vulnerable communities. She is currently the Southeast Regional Preparedness Coordinator supporting the NOAA Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP). The DPP is charged with ensuring that the National Ocean Service and other federal, state, and local partners are prepared to respond to and recover from significant environmental events and disasters. In her capacity, Kyla is responsible for supporting DPP missions within North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and the Caribbean. Prior to this role, Kyla has over seven years of experience working in emergency management at the local level. She earned a Master of Public Health from The George Washington University and has a passion for preparedness. Kyla is an advocate for more culturally diverse and inclusive preparedness planning that represents the diverse communities served.

Private Sector

Lindy Betzhold

Lynker/NOAA, Advisory Board Chair

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Lindy currently serves as a Senior Coastal Management Specialist at Lynker on contract to NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management (OCM). She’s supported OCM for over 17 years in roles that encompass managing national and regional grant programs, serving as the NOAA liaison to coastal management programs, leading development of geospatial tools, designing and facilitating meetings, developing strategic plans, and supporting national and regional resilience efforts. She currently serves as the Chair of the SCDRP Advisory Board and has had a leadership role in the effort since its inception in 2016.

​Jon Philipsborn

SLR, Advisory Board Vice Chair

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Mr. Philipsborn currently serves as SLR’s Climate Resilience Manager. He advises clients on the strategic and holistic integration of climate change into planning, project development, and management decisions. This includes supporting public and private sector clients with disaster preparedness and climate resilience planning, understanding potential climate change impacts and associated vulnerability, and identifying and implementing adaptation strategies. Throughout his career, Mr. Philipsborn has communicated technical information to decision makers, and worked on innovative projects that produce climate, conservation, and community benefits. He has gained valuable experience working across geographies for government, non-profits, and the private sector. Mr. Philipsborn has collaborated with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) on the Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities, and co-authored the Scorecard’s Public Health Addendum. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Southeast and Caribbean Disaster Resilience Partnership (SCDRP), and on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Audubon.

Ex-officio (Fiscal Agent)

Debra Hernandez

SECOORA

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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.

Participants & Members Include:

  • Atlantic Business Continuity Services

  • AECOM

  • Broward County Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division

  • Coastal States Stewardship Foundation

  • Flood Mitigation Industry Association

  • FEMA

  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Management

  • Hagerty Consulting

  • Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program
     

  • Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety

  • ICF

  • Jacksonville University

  • Lloyd's Register

  • Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management 

  • Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce

  • North Carolina State University

  • North Carolina Emergency Management

  • North Carolina Sea Grant

  • NOAA Office for Coastal Managment

  • NOAA Southeast and Caribbean Regional Team (SEACART)

  • The Nature Conservancy

  • Northeast Florida Regional Council

  • Puerto Rico Sea Grant

  • SAI Global

  • Smart Home America

  • South Carolina Emergency Management

  • South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium

  • Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

  • SECOORA

  • Strategic BCP

  • US Army Corps of Engineers

  • US Virgin Islands Division of Coastal Zone Management

  • National Academies of Sciences, Gulf Research Program

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