Renewable Natural 

Resources Foundation

Congress on Coastal Resilience and risk

Speaker Biographies

Jim Blackburn

Jim Blackburn was born in Alexandria, Louisiana. He was admitted to the bar in 1972, after graduating with his J.D. from the University of Texas Law School in Austin. Prior to this, he obtained a B.A. in history also from the University of Texas, and a M.Sc. in environmental science from Rice University. In 1998, he was the recipient of the Bob Eckhardt Lifetime Achievement Award for Coastal Preservation Efforts from the General Land Office of the State of Texas, and in 2001 he received a National Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation. He was granted Honorary Membership in the American Institute of Architects in 2003, in recognition of his legal work associated with urban quality of life issues.

In 2004, his book The Book of Texas Bays was published by Texas A&M Press, featuring photos by renowned Houston photographer Jim Olive.

He is a professor of the practice and director of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Energy and Water Sustainability in the Environmental Sciences and Engineering Department of Rice University. He serves as a faculty associate for the SSPEED Center studying lessons learned from Hurricane Ike.

In 2004, he was named "Best Environmental Attorney" by the Houston Press. In 2007, Texas Southern University awarded the Barbara C. Jordan Community Advocate Award for his "unwavering commitment to protecting our environment and the health of Texans throughout the Gulf Coast region."

Margaret Davidson

Margaret Davidson is currently serving as the acting director of the NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. Before joining NOAA, Davidson was executive director of the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium from 1983 to 1995. She also served as special counsel and assistant attorney general for the Louisiana Department of Justice.

An active participant in coastal resource management issues since 1978, Davidson earned her J.D. in natural resources law from Louisiana State University. She later earned a master's degree in marine policy and resource economics from the University of Rhode Island.

Davidson holds a faculty appointment at the University of Charleston and serves on the adjunct faculties of Clemson University and the University of South Carolina. She has served on numerous local, state, and federal committees and has provided leadership for national professional societies. She has focused her professional work on environmentally sustainable aquaculture, mitigation of coastal hazards, and impacts of climate variability on coastal resources. Davidson served as the acting assistant administrator for NOAA's National Ocean Service from 2000 to 2002.

Gerald Galloway

Gerald Galloway is a Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an affiliate professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park, where his focus is on water resources policy and management. He is currently serving as a consultant on flood risk management for Army Corps of Engineers, the governor of Louisiana, and The Nature Conservancy’s Yangtze River Program and the WWF’s China Flood Management Program. In April 2010, he was named by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) Fellow.

Prior to joining the University of Maryland, he served as secretary of the United States Section of the International Joint Commission (IJC), Washington, DC, an independent binational organization charged with preventing and resolving transboundary air and water quality issues disputes between the US and Canada under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. He has served as a consultant to the Executive Office of the President, and has assisted the US Water Resources Council, the World Bank, the Organization of American States, TVA, several states, and various other organizations in water resources related activities.

He has been a member of nine National Academies committees studying complex water resources and geospatial management issues. He is a member of the National Research Council’s Water Science and Technology Board and its Disaster Roundtable. He served in the US Army for 38 years retiring as a brigadier general and chief academic officer of the US Military Academy. He holds a master’s degree in engineering from Princeton; a master’s in public administration from Penn State (Capitol Campus), a master’s in military art and science from the US Army Command and General Staff College, and a Ph.D. in geography (water resources) from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Zoe Johnson

Zoë Johnson is the program manager for Climate Change Policy with the Office for a Sustainable Future at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. She has been actively involved in climate change planning and policy initiatives in the state of Maryland since 1998 and is the author of various reports and publications on climate change and sea level rise adaptation. She serves as key staff to Maryland’s Commission on Climate Change Adaptation and Response Working Group. The working group released Phase I of Maryland’s Strategy for Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change: Sea Level Rise and Coastal Storms, in 2008; and its Phase II Strategy: Building Societal, Economic and Ecologic Resilience, in January 2011. Using the Phase I and II Strategies as a guide, she is currently pursuing the development of state-level policy, as well as the execution of on-the-ground projects to implement a suite of natural resource adaptation priorities.   

Johnson holds a B.A. in urban and regional planning from Western Washington University (1992) and a M.M.A. in coastal and marine policy from the School of Marine Affairs at the University of Washington (1998).

Howard Kunreuther

Howard Kunreuther is the Cecilia Yen Koo Professor of Decision Sciences and Public Policy at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania as well as serving as co-director of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center. He has a long-standing interest in ways that society can better manage low probability-high consequence events as it relates to technological and natural hazards, and has published extensively on the topic. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and distinguished fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis, receiving the Society’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2001. Kunreuther has written or co-edited a number of books and papers including Catastrophe Modeling: A New Approach to Managing Risk (with Patricia Grossi) and Wharton on Making Decisions (with Stephen Hoch). He is a recipient of the Elizur Wright Award for the publication that makes the most significant contribution to the literature of insurance.

Howard Marlowe

Howard Marlowe is president of Marlowe & Company, a Washington, D.C. government affairs consulting firm established in 1984. He has over 30 years of experience as a lobbyist working with Congress and the executive branch.

Marlowe spent four years working on Capitol Hill as the legislative director for a United States senator and a counsel to a subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee. That was followed by five years as an energy and transportation economist, after which he served another four years as deputy director of legislation for a major trade association.

At Marlowe & Company, he has taken the lead in the firm's representation of local governments, ports and airports, as well as small businesses.  In addition to his work with the firm, Mr. Marlowe is currently president of the American League of Lobbyists and has served in the past as president the League's Educational Fund. He is also a member of the Alumni Board of Directors of the University of Pennsylvania's Penn in Washington Program.

Marlowe received a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce of the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from New York University Law School. He has also served as a member of the adjunct faculty of The American University in Washington, DC.

Marion McFadden

Marion McFadden is HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan’s lead for Hurricane Sandy recovery.  She served as the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force’s Acting Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer until its sunset in September 2013.  She is a career attorney in HUD’s Office of General Counsel, where she serves as Senior Attorney for Disaster Recovery.  Since 2000, Ms. McFadden has advised HUD’s affordable housing and community development grant programs, including Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery assistance after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), and Indian housing assistance.
McFadden graduated magna cum laude from Howard University School of Law and received a BA from Northwestern University.

Dale Morris

Dale Morris is senior economist at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC, providing economic and political analyses of US macro-economic, fiscal and monetary policy, as well as US federal budget, tax and appropriations developments. Morris directs the Dutch Government's water management network in Louisiana, Florida and California, where the focus is on a broad array of "sustainability" topics: flood protection, flood risk mitigation, coastal restoration, water supply/conveyance, ecosystem resiliency, climate change adaptation, and landscape design for risk reduction. Morris is a co-director of Dutch Dialogues. Morris previously served as legislative director and press secretary to two members of the U.S. Congress and was responsible for budget, tax, trade, appropriations, entitlements and energy/environment issues.

Morris is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Virginia.

Mary Munson

Mary Munson is executive director of the Coastal States Organization where she is responsible for advancing CSO's mission by advocating for shared state interests. Munson represents the interests of the governors of coastal states and territories before Congress, federal agencies, boards and commissions to support federal policy goals and objectives of CSO.

Previously, she was executive director at The Florida Conservation Alliance. She resided in Florida for 12 years where she set up the LL.M. degree program in environmental sustainability at St. Thomas University School of Law, and taught environmental law, natural resources law, and international environmental law. Prior to this, she served as the deputy general counsel at the National Parks Conservation Association. Munson served as national chair of the Everglades Coalition for three terms and as a member of government advisory bodies on fisheries, water management, climate change, and international trade.

Munson received a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and holds graduate degrees in law, environmental science, and planning from the University of London, College of William and Mary and University of Virginia.

Lindene Patton

Lindene Patton is chief climate product officer for Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich). She is responsible for product development and risk management related to climate change.

She is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on Measuring Sustainability. Patton serves as the vice-chair of the Climate Change and Tort Liability Sub-Committee of the Geneva Association. She is a member of the advisory council to Resources for the Future's Center for the Management of Ecological Wealth (RFF’s CMEW). Patton serves on numerous government and non-governmental advisory boards, including the executive secretariat of the U.S. National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Financial Advisory Board. She is an advisory board member for the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. She is a member of the ICLEI* for Sustainable Governments Adaptation Experts Advisory Committee. Patton servers as an advisory board member to the Bloomberg monthly publication, the Environmental Due Diligence Guide, and the US EPA Environmental Technology Verification Program.

Patton is an attorney licensed in California and the District of Columbia, and an American Board of Industrial Hygiene Certified Industrial Hygienist. She holds a bachelor of science in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, a master of public health from the University of California, Berkeley, and a juris doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law.

*ICLEI  – International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives

Kathleen White

Kathleen White is a registered professional engineer with over 20 years experience in the US Army Corps of Engineers. Kate holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is the Senior Lead for Systems and Global Change at the USACE Institute for Water Resources, where she is involved with a national initiative on water management adaptation to climate change. This includes a national assessment of how climate change will affect water resources planning and the management of the existing Corps water resources infrastructure in the future. Kate also leads USACE Campaign Plan Systems Approach. This multi-disciplinary program involving all mission areas of the USACE Civil Works and Military Programs is charged with effecting fundamental change in the USACE by developing and implementing an integrated, comprehensive and systems based approach in the execution of all its mission areas. This change incorporates anticipatory and adaptive management in the face of dynamic changes so the USACE will remain adaptable and sustainable over time. The comprehensive systems approach shifts the decision-making focus from individual, isolated projects to an interdependent system, and from local or immediate solutions to regional or long-term solutions.