National Invasive Species Council: Staff and Liaison Profiles

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National Invasive Species Council --> Staff and Liaison Profiles

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National Invasive Species Council (NISC)
Department of the Interior
Office of the Secretary (OS/SIO/NISC)
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20240

Phone: (202) 513-7243
FAX: (202) 371-1751

Lori Williams, Executive Director -
Lori provides overall direction on national and international invasive species policy development and serves as the principle Council contact at the national level with other Federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, States and local governments, and tribes. She supervises the Council staff, reviews and recommends legislative proposals, and briefs top Federal officials regarding invasive species issues. Lori is particularly interested in improving coordination and building partnerships with State and local governments.

Lori graduated from the University of Georgetown's Foreign Service and School of Law. She has been the legislative counsel to both House Senate committees, directed the congressional relations office and been Special Assistant to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within the Department of the Interior, and served as Vice President for ocean programs at the Center for Marine Conservation.

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Christopher Dionigi, Assistant Director for National Policy and Programs -
Chris's primary responsibility is for domestic policy development. He works with a wide variety of stakeholders and representatives of state governments in the U.S. to develop and coordinate invasive species policies, programs, and information networks. Chris is especially interested in ensuring that resource managers have the tools and support they need to effectively address invasive species issues.

Chris received a Ph.D. in Crop Science (emphasis in Weed Science) from Iowa State University, and B. A. and M. S. degrees in Biology from the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Louisiana, respectively. He conducted research from 1989 to 2000 and served as the Lead Scientist of Aquaculture Research Program at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Additionally, he was detailed to ARS's Weed Science National Program Staff in 1999, and he served a 10-month USDA Graduate School legislative fellowship on the U.S. Senate Committee for Agriculture in 2000. He has authored over 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

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Phil Andreozzi, Program Specialist -
Phil provides coordination and policy guidance for the Invasive Species crosscut budget and organizes information from Council members and stakeholders for use in reports and reviews, as called for by the Council, ISAC, and other requestors. He assists in outreach coordination and international and domestic Invasive Species initiatives. Phil is particularly interested in promoting collaboration on invasive species issues among various levels of government both domestically and abroad.

Phil grew up near Buffalo, New York (Go Bills!) on the shores of Lake Erie and has seen the negative impacts of invasive species his whole life. He received a BS in Environmental Studies from SUNY at Buffalo, and an MPA (concentration in International Environmental Policy) and MSES (concentration in Conservation Biology and Wetlands Ecology) from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. In between undergrad and grad school he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa, where he worked as a Forestry/ Natural Resources Management Skills Extension Agent.

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A. Gordon Brown, Department of Interior Invasive Species Coordinator -
Gordon provides overall departmental leadership and serves as a liaison among Interior Bureaus, other Agencies, and the Invasive Species Council. He works with international, State and private partners to build strong support and leverage resources for local action. Gordon is particularly interested in building bridges between agriculture and conservation - information sharing and enhancing on-the-ground cooperation with government, non-governmental organizations, and private landowners.

Gordon graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Biology (Ecology and Animal Behavior). He conducted field studies of terns, mountain gorillas, and Argentine desert plants before joining Interior to automate international wildlife trade analysis for CITES. He has also served as private lands coordinator for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

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Dean Wilkinson, Department of Commerce Liaison and Coordinator -
Dean is the Invasive Species Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the bridge between the Department of Commerce and the NISC staff.

Dean has worked in the Marine Mammal Division of the National Marine Fisheries Services' Office of Protected Resources as the National Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator. He has been the Legislative Director for a member of Congress, lobbyist for Greenpeace, Director of the Census Bureau's Survey of Public Employment, and a Peace Corps volunteer. For the last decade, Dean has been actively involved with the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. He represented the Department of Commerce on the first interagency working group to make recommendations on invasive species.

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Richard Orr, Assistant Director For International Policy and Prevention -
Richard's responsibilities are to coordinate, develop, and implement international policies that pertain to invasive species. He is also responsible for coordinating, developing, and implementing prevention strategies to protect the Nation's plant, animal, and environmental resources.

Richard received his bachelors in biology at Southern Oregon University in 1973 and his masters in entomology with a minor in biochemistry from Brigham Young University in 1976. Before starting his federal career, he conducted both international and domestic entomological research; including a two-year natural history study in West Africa on tropical timber pests for the Smithsonian Institute/Peace Corps.

Richard was employed with the USDA before coming to the NISC staff. He started his USDA career working as a Plant Protection and Quarantine Officer in Miami, Florida and later transferred to Houston, Texas to run the Plant Inspection Station as an Area Identifier. He completed his stay with the USDA, while working in the Risk Analysis Systems Staff of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as a Senior Entomologist. His main responsibility in this position was to develop and test risk processes and methodologies for use in evaluating invasive species.

Richard has been involved in numerous risk assessments and risk management projects covering a wide variety of different species including insects, mites, plant and animal pathogens, plants, vertebrate animals, and genetically modified organisms and their by-products. While under APHIS, Richard was also involved in a number of international projects dealing with risk analysis and invasive species; including the development of international standards and international invasive species strategies.

Richard is also actively involved with ecological, taxonomic, and distributional research involving dragonflies and damselflies. He has conducted studies on odonata for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, and many others over the past 20 years and is currently considered the leading expert on this group of insects in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

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Hilda Diaz-Soltero, USDA Invasive Species Liaison and Coordinator -
List of USDA Invasive Species Coordinators
Hilda has worked in conservation and management of natural resources for over 20 years. With experience at the local, regional, national and international levels, she has held senior executive leadership positions in three United States Federal agencies, at the State level as a Cabinet member, and at two private international conservation organizations. She has worked in the United States, 11 Latin American countries, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands on significant issues, such as forest conservation and sustainable management; habitat conservation and restoration; invasive species management, policy, and coordination; identification and protection of natural areas; biodiversity and recovery of endangered species; protected marine species and sustainable fisheries management; national and state environmental legislation and regulations; research and conservation education. The integration of science into natural resources management decisions has been a guiding principle. Hilda's most significant positions have been Associate Chief for Natural Resources in the U.S. Forest Service and Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources.

Hilda holds a Master's of Science in Biology (Wildlife Management) from the University of Puerto Rico, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1991. She has extensive graduate courses in tropical botany. She also holds a Bachelor's degree in Geology from Vassar College, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1969.

As the senior Invasive Species Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Hilda is responsible for the leadership, technical expertise, coordination and direction of the USDA nationwide invasive species program and policy development, execution and oversight as carried out under the authority of Executive Order 13112.

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Kelsey Brantley, Program Analyst -
Kelsey is the Logistics Coordinator for the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC); as well as the Assistant to the NISC Executive Director. She coordinates travel for all 32 ISAC members, organizes all ISAC meetings, maintains the ISAC listserve, and handles all other ISAC program-related issues. She assists in maintaining the NISC website, and provides graphics support to the NISC Staff, in addition to managing all procurement, communications and budget issues.

Before joining the NISC staff, Kelsey was the lead secretary for the Permits and Risk Assessments section of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; and a staff assistant in the Office of the Undersecretary of for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to working in the civil service, Kelsey served for 10 years as a member of the U.S. Air Force, specializing in both communications intelligence and administration; stationed in Iraklion, Crete, Greece and at the National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.

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Mary Josiah, Staff Assistant -
Mary Josiah serves as the primary administrative support for the Staff of the National Invasive Species Council. She provides administrative and logistical support in many areas, which include procurement, personnel issues, along with a wide variety of other administrative functions.

Mary previously worked at Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, DC, where she served as a Staff Assistant in the Office of Finance for three years. Mary has a B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University in International Studies, and a Master's in Sociology (International Training and Education) from American University.

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