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Advisory Council Membership Biographies

Member: Gabriella Biava
Seat: Youth Seat
Term: 4/15-4/17
Newport News, VA

Patricia Bennett

Member: LCDR Patricia Bennett
Seat: US Coast Guard
Term: N/A
Portsmouth, VA

Lieutenant Commander Patricia M. Bennett, a native of Harpswell, Maine, graduated with honors from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2003 with a degree in Marine and Environmental Sciences. 

Upon graduation, Lieutenant Commander Bennett served as a Deck Watch Officer and Boarding Officer onboard USCGC MIDGETT (WHEC 726) in Seattle, Washington. In 2003, she was assigned as Executive Officer on USCGC MUSTANG (WPB 1310) in Seward, Alaska. In 2005, she served as the Major Cutter Scheduler and Patrol Boat Manager for Coast Guard District Seven’s Enforcement Branch in Miami, Florida. In 2010, she commanded USCGC ADAK (WPB 1333) for Patrol Forces Southwest Asia in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom in Manama, Bahrain. Upon completion of that tour, Lieutenant Commander Bennett served as Commanding Officer of USCGC SANIBEL (WPB 1312) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Today, Lieutenant Commander Bennett serves as the Deputy Chief of Enforcement and Fisheries LE Officer for District Five, where she coordinates the Coast Guard's Fisheries Law Enforcement program for units from New Jersey to North Carolina. She is the Fifth District Commander's appointee to the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council.
Lieutenant Commander Bennett has a Master’s in Business Administration from American Military University and a Master’s in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island. She has been awarded the Coast Guard Commendation Medal (four awards), the Coast Guard Achievement Medal (one award), the Iraqi Campaign medal, and various other unit and service awards.

Member: Debby Boyce
Seat: Recreational Diving
Term: 2/13-2/15
Dive Operator
Beaufort, NC

Elizabeth Buendia

Member: LCDR Elizabeth Buendia
Seat: US Coast Guard--Alternate

Term: N/A
Portsmouth, VA

LCDR Elizabeth Buendia reported to Atlantic Area’s Maritime Security/ Law Enforcement Section in January 2012.  As LANTAREA's Living Marine Resources Officer she oversees the Living Marine Resources program and serves as the intermediary between CG Headquarters MLE-4 and Districts Dre staff.  LCDR Buendia provides guidance to the Districts on LMR priorities, policies, and program execution.  She also serves as the lead CG representative to the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Advisory Panel as well as the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.  

Prior to her current assignment, LCDR Buendia served as a marine affairs graduate student at the University of Rhode Island from 2010- December 2011 gaining knowledge on domestic and international fisheries policy, fisheries management and fisheries biology.  Prior to attending graduate school, LCDR Buendia served as Command Center Chief at Sector Guam from 2007-2010.  During this tour, she earned response qualifications including Boarding Officer, Command Duty Officer and Operations Unit Controller as well as prevention qualifications and is authorized to wear the temporary Marine Safety Pin.  Prior to Sector Guam, LCDR Buendia served in the Response Division at PACAREA from 2004-2007 serving as the Incident Management Assist Team manager.  While assigned to PACAREA, she received her ICS instructor certification and a pollution investigator, and commercial fishing vessel safety examination qualification.  Prior to PACAREA, LCDR Buendia’s first assignment was to USCGC ESCANABA, in Boston, Massachusetts from 2002-2004 performing the duties of Deck Watch Officer, Assistant Ops, First Lieutenant, Spanish Translator and Boarding Team Member.  LCDR Buendia is a native of Buffalo, New York and graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2002.

LCDR Buendia holds a Bachelors of Science in Government with honors from the United States Coast Guard Academy, and a Masters of Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island. She is the recipient of two Coast Guard Commendation Medals with the Operational Distinguishing Device. 

LCDR Buendia resides in Suffolk, Virginia with her husband Roberto Buendia and their two children.  LCDR Buendia is proficient in reading, writing and speaking Spanish and is a PADI Scuba instructor.    

Jim Bunch

Member: James (Jim) Bunch
Seat: Recreational Diving

Term: 5/14-5/16
Kill Devil Hills, NC

Jim Bunch, an accomplished teacher, speaker, writer and underwater photographer, started diving the shipwrecks of North Carolina's Outer Banks in the mid 1950's. During the mid-1970's he became interested in the U-85 saga and has since made more than 1000 dives to the site photographing and exploring the submarine, which was the first German U-boat sunk by a United States warship after America's entry into WWII. His two books, Diving the U-85 and U-85 A Shadow in the Sea, a Diver's Reflections have enticed and encouraged many divers to visit this famous shipwreck.

Specializing in oceanography, Jim earned degrees in Marine Biology (B.S.) and Oceanography (M. S.) and worked as an Oceanographer for the Federal Government for many years while still pursuing his diving interests. As a former dive business owner and an active NAUI scuba instructor for 18 years, he equipped and certified hundreds of divers interested in visiting North Carolina's beautiful shipwrecks. In 1994 he received the Scuba Schools International Pro5000 award for making 5000 or more logged dives. His photographs of North Carolina shipwrecks and marine life surround the fish tanks of the North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo, North Carolina. He currently is a speaker for the North Carolina Humanities Council and still dives the U-85 as often as possible.

Member: Alexis Catsambis
Seat: Alternate, US Navy

Term: N/A
Underwater Archaeology Branch
Washington, DC

Member: Steve Clagget
Seat: North Carolina Dept. of Cultural Resources

Term: N/A
State Archaeologist
Raleigh, NC
Jim Bunch

Member: David Conlin
Seat: The National Park Service

Term: N/A
Archeologist, NPS Submerged Resources Center
Santa Fe, NM

After undergraduate work at Reed College, Dave received a master’s degree from Oxford University in Aegean and underwater archeology and then followed this with a Ph.D. in anthropology and archeology from Brown University.  Following years of diving and research on the shipwrecks of the Aegean, Dave took a job as an underwater archeologist for the United States Navy.  While with the Navy he helped plan and execute the recovery of the world’s first successful combat submarine, the Confederate submersible H.L. Hunley-lost off Charleston South Carolina in 1864.  Following the Hunley project, Dave moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico to join the National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center and to continue diving shipwrecks around the country and around the world.  Recent projects include the search for John Paul Jones’ ship Bon Homme Richard, diving on the wreck of a B-29 Superfortress that crashed into Lake Mead while doing top-secret high altitude research for the U.S. Air Force, diving on the wreck of USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, working with Ellis Island to document and preserve portions of the historic ferry Ellis Island, and assisting the government of Mozambique in the creation of national parks to preserve historic shipwrecks and sensitive ecological areas off the African coast.

Ernal Foster Jr

Member: Ernal W. Foster, Jr.
Seat: Recreational/Commercial Fishing

Term 4/15-4/17
Hatteras, NC

Captain Ernie Foster is the Owner of the Albatross Fleet and Captain of the Albatross III. For over 50 years, Capt. Ernie has professionally fished the waters off Hatteras on The Albatross Fleet boats. He has successfully maintained and improved the historic fleet and built a loyal multi-generational customer base. In addition, he has cultivated and trained many of the people in the charter fishing fleet as quite a few have worked his boats.

Capt. Ernie also dedicates a large portion of his time to civic responsibilities, serving on the Outer Banks Tourism Board, the Dare County Oregon Inlet and Waterways Commission, as a Board Member of the North Carolina Coastal Federation, and as a Hatteras Village Tax Trustee. He is a co-founder, with his wife Lynne, of Day at the Docks and the annual Blessing of the Fleet.

Capt. Ernie is a founding board member of North Carolina Watermen United, a non-profit organization that represents the needs of our coastal communities by protecting the livelihood of the people who fish for a living and providing a voice for fair fisheries regulations.

Stuart Katz

Member: Stuart E. Katz
Seat: Economic Development

Term 9/14-9/16
Newport News, VA

Stuart Katz is an accomplished attorney who has dedicated his life to public service. After passing the Virginia State Bar, Stuart was an Associate Attorney with Henry M. Schwann. In 1976, Stuart was the Assistant City Attorney for Portsmouth, Va., where he served until 1989, when he became the City Attorney. He moved to Newport News, Va. in 1995, and served as the City Attorney until he retired in 2012. Through his experiences as a City Attorney, Stuart brings a wealth of experience in economic development to the council.

David Krop

David Krop
Seat: The Mariners’ Museum

Term: 2/14-2/16
Director, USS Monitor Center
Newport News, VA

David was born in Virginia Beach and never strayed far from the water.  After receiving his BA in history from James Madison University, he attended the graduate program in Maritime Studies at East Carolina University (ECU) where he received his MA in maritime history.  While at ECU, he worked at the Maritime Studies Conservation Laboratory, which specializes in non-toxic, minimal intervention artifact stabilization.  He also spent two years with the Queen Anne’s Revenge Shipwreck Project, conserving artifacts from what is believed to be the remains of Blackbeard’s flagship that sunk off North Carolina in 1718.

 David is the Conservation Project Manager for the USS Monitor at The Mariners’ Museum.  He manages the conservation of over 200 tons of metal and organic artifacts recovered by NOAA and the US Navy from the wreck site of the USS Monitor.  He also actively participated in the development of the USS Monitor Center’s award-winning exhibit, Ironclad Revolution.  David has examined numerous shipwrecks in Virginia, North Carolina, and the Caribbean.  He also enjoys using a rod and reel to study the pelagic species that frequent the Gulf Stream off Hatteras, North Carolina.

Susan Langley

Member: Susan Langley
Seat: Archaeological Research
Term: 2/14-2/16
Maryland Historical Trust
Crownsville, MD

Dr. Susan Langley earned her BA in anthropology at Trinity College, University of Toronto, with a minor in Fine Art History; her MA in archaeology and law and her doctorate in underwater archaeology, both at the University of Calgary.  She certified in Heritage Resource Management through the Faculty of Environmental Design at UofC and holds a Masters in spinning (as in spinning wheels and textile technology) from Olds College

She has taught in the Department of Behavioural Sciences at Mount Royal College and in the Archaeology and Continuing Education Departments at the University of Calgary and instructed a course in Native Plant Use for the Horticulture Department of Olds College, Alberta.  She has taught underwater archaeology at Salisbury University, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Washington College and currently at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and designed and teaches the pilot Maritime Archaeology online course for Goucher College.

She has worked in diverse locations such as the iceberg filled waters of Labrador on the San Juan, a Basque whaling galleon sunk in 1565, in Red Bay, and in the mountain lakes of western Canada where she relocated and studied the remains of Project Habbakuk, a secret World War II vessel prototype.  She spent a couple of years teaching underwater archaeology in Thailand for a consortium of Asian nations through UNESCO.

Thirteen years ago Dr. Langley accepted the position of State Underwater Archaeologist for Maryland.  The opening of the Historic Shipwreck Preserve focusing on the German Submarine, U-1105, was her first project. She works with both federal and State agencies on the submerged aspects of Maryland’s role in the War of 1812 and Revolutionary War. Currently, she is involved in surveying the Atlantic coast in partnership with other State and federal agencies.  She is also preparing to begin a series of lecture cruises in the Mediterranean.  Her recent passion is for beekeeping

Dr. Langley has written and contributed to numerous publications. Most recently she has contributed  “Shipbuilding in Maryland...Skipjacks and Bugeyes and Clippers, Oh My!”  an  entry for the online Maryland Online Encyclopedia, prepared by the Maryland Historical Society.  Posted at: (2005).  Managing Canada’s Heritage Resources, A Legal Guide, which she co-authored with Allan Ingelson, LLB, LLM, Associate Dean of Law at University of Calgary is currently in preparation and presently she is working on two volumes, one on fundraising and one on Operation Habbakuk, a WWII vessel prototype for an aircraft carrier made of ice.  She is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and recently learned to hardhat dive. 

Member: Jay Moore
Seat: The Mariners' Museum-Alternate

Term: 12/14-12/16
Librarian Archivist
Newport News, VA

John W. Morris III Member: John W. Morris, III (Billy Ray)
Seat: Alternate, NC Dept. of Cultural Resources

Term: N/A
NC State Underwater Archaeologist
Kure Beach, NC

Mr. Morris is a Nautical Archaeologist with over 28 years of field experience, with degrees from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and East Carolina University. He has directed numerous projects, both in the United States and abroad. These projects have included the recordation of the Confederate raider CSS Alabama off the coast of France, the complete documentation and recovery of a 16th century Spanish messenger vessel in Bermuda, and the decade long excavation of Betsey, an 18th century British transport lost at Yorktown, Va. during the final battle of the American Revolution. Mr. Morris also directed the first maritime archaeological research project to be conducted in St. Augustine, Fl. This project led directly to Mr. Morris creating and directing the first independent institutional archaeological research program to be established in Florida. Several of these projects have been made into television documentaries and have also been featured in such publications as National Geographic and American Archaeology.

Previously, Mr. Morris has conducted projects for state and federal civilian agencies, as well as the U.S. Navy. He has also worked for several museums and research institutions in this country and overseas. His specialty is the evolution of ship construction and the interpretation of vessel loss sites. He was the creator and Director of South Eastern Archaeological Services, Inc., a marine archaeological consulting firm. Currently, Mr. Morris serves as the Deputy State Archaeologist-Underwater for the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Office of State Archaeology.

Robert Neyland

Member: Robert Neyland
Seat: U. S. Navy
Term: N/A
Head, Naval Historical Center Underwater Archaeology Branch
Washington, DC

Robert obtained his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Anthropology from Texas A&M University's Nautical Archaeology Program and a Masters of Science in Public Planning and Administration from University of Texas, Tyler. Over the course of his archaeological career Robert has worked on a wide variety of shipwrecks, including a 1300 B.C. Bronze-age wreck off the coast of Turkey, medieval cog, the sunken city of 17th century Port Royal, Jamaica, searched for Columbus's caravels, and analyzed the earliest boat remains found in Maryland, as well as other eighteenth and nineteenth century shipwrecks in North America and the Caribbean. He has been the Principal Investigator and Director of excavations on late- and post-medieval wrecks in the Netherlands and terrestrial historic sites in Scotland.

Robert has been Head of the Underwater Archaeology Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command since 1996 and has researched and overseen archaeological surveys for warships dating from the Revolutionary War, American Civil War and World War II. He was instrumental in developing preservation and management strategies for the US Navy's ca. 3,000 shipwrecks and 15,000 aircraft wrecks, as well as the drafting and implementation of the Sunken Military Craft Act, legislation protecting US warships and war graves, signed into law in 2004.

Robert was Project Director for the recovery of the confederate submarine H.L. Hunley and oversaw all aspects of that project including the recovery and the creation of a state of the art archaeological conservation laboratory. Robert was also trained in archaeological conservation and has organized two conservation laboratories during his career and advised on numerous conservation projects. Robert is currently the Archaeological Principal Investigator in the search for Captain John Paul Jones warship Bonhomme Richard sunk in the North Sea.

Robert served as Chairman of the Advisory Council for Underwater Archaeology and a member of the Board of Directors for the Society for Historical Archaeology from 2002-2005. He served on the State of Maryland Governor's Council on Archaeology and the State of Virginia burial task force.

joe poeMember: Joe Poe
Seat: Citizen-at-Large

Term: 6/13-6/15
Durham, NC

Joe Poe has been exploring North Carolina shipwrecks for more than 30 years. He is Technical and Tri-mix certified and was a member of the first civilian team to dive on the USS Monitor in 1990 with dozens of expedition dives on the ship over the following two decades. His photographs were selected by NOAA to illustrate its report to Congress on the Monitor's condition prior to recovery projects and his photos and articles on the USS Monitor and other North Carolina shipwrecks have been featured in Wreck Diving Magazine, Immersed, Sport Diver, Coastwatch, Urban Hiker and Alert Diver, as well as books, training manuals and newspapers. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Still Photography School and has won several underwater photography competitions. His photos have been published as the covers of NC Aquarium Magazine and Wreck Diving Magazine.

Joe is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Divers Alert Network, Inc. (DAN, Inc.), a world-wide organization dedicated to the safety of recreational diving with over 150,000 members. He is a member of the board of directors of other diving organizations, an insurance company and local diving groups and has dived all around the world, from Alaska to PNG to South Africa to Brazil and beyond.

In his other life, Joe is a trial lawyer and member of the New York, North Carolina and Federal bar organizations. Formerly an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx, New York and a Special Deputy Attorney General of North Carolina, he is now in private practice in Durham, N.C., specializing in civil commercial and tort litigation. He has been trying lawsuits and engaged in all aspects of litigation for over 40 years, and his advocacy for his clients has resulted in numerous significant jury verdicts and appellate decisions. Joe is also a Mediator and member of the North Carolina Academy of Certified Mediators.

Wayne Smith

Member: Wayne Smith
Seat: Conservation
Term: 2/14-2/16
Professor of Conservation, Texas A&M University
College Station, TX

Wayne received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 1995. After completing postdoctoral research in conjunction with Dow Corning Corporation, Midland, Michigan, he returned to Texas A&M University as a research scientist, entering into a tenure-track teaching position. Through his research, he has developed a series of new research and conservation strategies for the preservation of organic artifacts from marine environments.

By invitation, Wayne has lectured in many countries around the world about advancements in archaeological conservation and the need to continue science-based research. His main research directive is to refine existing conservation technologies and develop better treatment strategies. Through the Archaeological Preservation Research Lab, he has hosted visiting scholars from museums and archaeological institutes around the world. Through these facilities, scholars conduct joint research to address specific conservation challenges.

Through the Wilder Three Dimensional Imaging Lab, he has developed high-definition photography and three dimensional laser scanning and rapid prototyping as conservation tools, both to record artifacts and where needed, create three-dimensional duplications for comparative studies, museum displays, and classroom analysis.

Accreditation and association: Ph.D., Anthropology, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology Texas A&M University, INA endowed chair and Director, Archaeological Preservation Research Lab and Wilder Three Dimensional Imaging Lab, Texas A&M University.

jim tobin

Member: James P. Tobin
Seat: Heritage Tourism

Term: 3/14-3/16
Business Owner
Manns Harbor, NC

Jim has been an entrepreneur most of his career. After studying at Diablo Valley College, he started his career working at Conam Nuclear inspecting nuclear power generating stations advancing to the position of Qualified Data Analyst. During his tenure at Conam he met his wife, Tammy, and moved to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Jim and Tammy began a commercial fishing business in 1989 fishing pound nets for flounder and fished for 15 years before selling the business. During this same timeframe, they started Caimen Gardens, a retail nursery in their backyard. The business quickly outgrew this location, and they moved the business to Manteo, N.C., in 1996 and operated it in this location for 8 years. In 2004, Jim and Tammy sold the Caimen Gardens location to CVS and embarked on a 2 ½ year sabbatical sailing the Caribbean aboard their 51’ sailboat, Class Act. Many beaches and countless dives later, they returned to the USA and moved to Asheville N.C., where Jim recertified his nuclear certification and began working in the nuclear field once again. Shortly after arriving in Ashville, Jim received a call from a friend who asked if he and Tammy would be interested in managing the 195-slip Pirates Cove Marina in Manteo N.C. Having the ocean and fishing in their blood, Jim and Tammy agreed to take the position and purchased the business in 2008. They are very proud to operate several charitable fishing tournaments out of this location, including the Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Billfish Tournament and the Pirates Cove Big Game Tournament. Jim is the Chairman of the Dare County Oregon Inlet Task Force and the Vice Chair of the Oregon Inlet and Waterways Commission. Jim has also served on the North Carolina Cooperative Extension State Advisory Council, the North Carolina Agriculture Foundation and is a Past President and Past Assistant Governor for Rotary District 7720. Jim has been a certified diver since he was 18 and has his USCG Captains license.

Member: Joanna Wilson
Seat: Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources Alternate
Term: N/A
Project Review Archaeologist
Richmond, VA

Member: TBD
Seat: Education

Member: TBD
Seat: North Carolina Local (Town/City/County) Government

Term: N/A

Member: TBD
Seat: North Carolina Local (Town/City/County) Government

Term: N/A

Member: TBD
Seat: The National Park Service - Alternate

Term: N/A

Member: TBD
Seat: NC Dept of Environment & Natural Resources

Term: N/A

Member: TBD
Seat: Recreational/Commercial Fishing

Member: TBD
Seat: Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources
Term: N/A

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