Advisory Council Membership Biographies

Community Members

Member: To be selected

Seat: Citizen at Large

Member: To be selected

Seat: Conservation

Tom Kies

Member: Tom Kies

Seat: Economic Development

Term: 3/21 to 3/23

Morehead City, North Carolina

Tom Kies worked in newspapers and magazines for thirty years, primarily in New York and New England. His last job in publishing was as the publisher and general manager for NCCOAST Communications based in Morehead City, North Carolina.

After leaving publishing, Tom was the Executive Director for the Downtown Morehead City Revitalization Association for the next five years. While there, he started the Alive at Five music series that brings thousands of people to the downtown area. Tom was also a key player in the development of a boutique hotel, the Big Rock Blue Marlin Fountain, and the six-thousand square foot deck on the Morehead City Waterfront.

Currently, Tom is the President of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce. He's on the boards of the Economic Development Foundation, the Carteret County Public School Foundation, the Carteret County Transportation Committee, and Downtown Morehead City, Inc.

Tom is also a co-founder and current President of the Business Alliance Protecting the Atlantic Coast representing 43,000 business and 500,000 commercial fishing families from Maine to Florida. 

In Tom's spare time, he's the critically acclaimed author of the Geneva Chase Mystery Series.

Salvatore Mercogliano

Member: Salvatore Mercogliano

Seat: Education

Term: 12/20 to 12/22

Dr. Sal Mercogliano is an associate professor of History at Campbell University and an adjunct professor at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He is graduate of the State University of New York Maritime College with a B.S. in Marine Transportation and holds an unlimited tonnage 2nd Mate license in the merchant marine. He sailed for three years with the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command and then worked as the operations officer for the Marine Corps and Army Afloat Prepositioning Program for four years.

Dr. Mercogliano went on to earn an M.A. in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology from East Carolina University and his master's thesis was the basis for his 2017 publication Fourth Arm of Defense: Sealift and Maritime Logistics in the Vietnam War. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama with his dissertation “Sealift: The Evolution of American Military Sea Transportation.”

In 2019, Dr. Mercogliano received Second Prize in the Chief of Naval Operations History Essay Contest with, "Suppose They Gave a War and the Merchant Marine Did Not Come." He is currently working on a history on the transportation of the American Expeditionary Force to Europe in the First World War. He is a frequent contributor to Sea History magazine, the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, and gCaptain. He is on the editorial board of Sea History magazine, a trustee of the National Maritime Historical Society, and a volunteer Captain on the Northwest Harnett Volunteer Fire Department.

Member: To be selected

Seat: Heritage Tourism

Member: To be selected

Seat: Maritime Archaeological Research

Member: To be selected

Seat: Ocean Sport

Member: To be selected

Seat: Recreational/Commercial Fishing

Member: To be selected

Seat: Recreational/Commercial Fishing

Member: To be selected

Seat: Recreational Diving

Member: To be selected

Seat: Recreational Diving

Member: To be selected (Non-Voting Member)

Seat: Student Seat

Will Hoffman

Member: Will Hoffman

Seat: The Mariners' Museum

Term: Member since 11/14

Senior Conservator and Conservation Project Manager

Newport News, Virginia

Will Hoffman received his bachelor's degrees in Anthropology (concentrating in North American and Historic Archaeology) and Fine Arts (concentrating in sculpture and metal casting) from The State University of New York College in Buffalo. In addition, he holds a Masters in Art Conservation, specializing in the conservation of objects, from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Since 2009, Will has worked at The Mariners' Museum focusing on the conservation of archaeological metals recovered from the wreck site of the USS Monitor. During his tenure at the museum, Will's research interests have encompassed the evaluation of cleaning and stabilization methods for archaeological iron materials, as well as the study of 19th century metal casting and steam engine technologies. Presently, Will manages and coordinates all conservation-related activities within the USS Monitor Center and the Batten Conservation Laboratory Complex.

Tina Gutshal

Member: Tina Gutshal

Seat: Alternate, The Mariners' Museum

Conservation Administrator

Term: Member since 12/20

Newport News, Virginia

Tina is a museum professional with twenty-seven years of experience. She has a BA in Anthropology and History from Salem College, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Tina began her journey in the field as an intern in the archaeology laboratory at Old Salem Museum & Gardens. She has thoroughly enjoyed her career at amazing museums: the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s Jamestown Settlement, the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Anthropology, and The Mariners’ Museum and Park. Since 2002, Tina has been a member of the team dedicated to the conservation and curatorial care of the artifacts from USS Monitor at The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

Government Members

Dave Hallac

Member: Dave Hallac

Seat: The National Park Service

Term: Member since 6/15

Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Dave Hallac is the superintendent of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Outer Banks Group in North Carolina. In this capacity, he oversees a number of park programs, including wildlife and aquatic sciences, vegetation ecology, wetlands, and forestry, climate change, hydrology, geology, historical preservation and Native American tribal relations. He oversees the park's planning, compliance, and science communications program. Dave leads a variety of high profile, complex conservation initiatives such as carnivore conservation, native fish restoration, trans-boundary bison conservation and management, and climate change research.

Hallac previously managed the Yellowstone Center for Resources, the resource management and science division at Yellowstone National Park. Prior to Yellowstone, Dave spent more than a decade in south Florida in a variety of positions, including managing natural resources programs for Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks, and implementation of Everglades restoration projects with the Fish and Wildlife Service. He has extensive experience working with other land management agencies and collaboratively with local community groups and friends associations. Dave understands the value of both preserving federal resources and enjoying the recreational opportunities they offer.

Dave Hallac has a master's degree in wildlife and fisheries biology from the University of Vermont. He is an avid fisherman who also enjoys running, scuba diving, and boating.

Member: To be appointed

Seat: Alternate, The National Park Service

Term: N/A

Chris Southerly

Member: Chris Southerly

Seat: N.C. Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources, Office of State Archaeology

Term: Member since 5/19

Raleigh, North Carolina

Member: To be appointed

Seat: Alternate, N.C. Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources, Office of State Archaeology

Term: N/A

Jason Peters

Member: Jason Peters

Seat: N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality

Term: Member since 3/18

Artificial Reef Coordinator, Division of Marine Fisheries

Morehead City, North Carolina

Jason Peters is the Artificial Reef Coordinator for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (within the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality). In this role, he is responsible for coordinating the design, construction, and monitoring of 68 artificial reef sites in North Carolina. These sites exist from Virginia to South Carolina, and from the river mouths to nearly 40 miles offshore. He oversees permitting, contracting, field logistics, purchasing, and reporting for several sub-programs, including oyster sanctuaries and ocean reefs. Jason also serves as chairman on the joint ASMFC/GSMFC Artificial Reef Committee, which is responsible for national guidelines on artificial reef development.

Jason is a Virginia native, but has spent the majority of his adult life in Eastern North Carolina studying marine ecology and enjoying the wonderful marine resources the state has to offer. He has a BS in Biology from Christopher Newport University (in Newport News!) and a MS in Biological Oceanography from North Carolina State University. Jason is a USCG Master Captain, avid diver, and recreational fisherman.

Member: Steve Poland

Seat: Alternate, N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality

Term: Member since 7/18

Morehead City, North Carolina

Rett Newton

Member: Everette Newton

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

Term: Member since 12/18

Mayor of Beaufort, North Carolina

Beaufort, North Carolina

Rett Newton retired as a Colonel from the US Air Force in 2011 following a 28-year career that included leading-edge engineering, F-15E Strike Eagle leadership, and assignments as an Arabic foreign area officer. He has continued his passion for engineering by designing, building, operating, and maintaining autonomous aircraft, terrestrial vehicle, and surface vessel systems with autopilot, datalink, and advanced payloads. Rett joined the Duke University Marine Laboratory team in June 2015, serving as initial cadre for the Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing (MaRRS) Lab. He is also a third-year Duke University PhD student studying Marine Science and Conservation and in 2017, Rett was elected as the Mayor of the Town of Beaufort, NC.

Member: To be appointed

Seat: Alternate, North Carolina Local (Town/City/County) Government

Beaufort, North Carolina

Will Hoffman

Member: Bobby Outten

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

Term: Member since 6/15

City Manager

Dare County, North Carolina

Robert "Bobby" Outten has served Dare County as Manager and Attorney since July 2009. From 2007 to 2009, Outten was Dare County's Attorney and Assistant County Manager. Prior to 2007, Outten was a private practice attorney where his work gravitated toward representing local governments and people or businesses dealing with local government on a variety of matters. He has extensive experience in coastal issues.

Outten earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina in 1979 and his Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest in 1982.

Outten has been an active volunteer and has served as Chairman of the Advisory Board for Parks and Recreation, assisted with the Babe Ruth World Series and CAA tournaments hosted by Dare County, chaired the local Babe Ruth League and coached for many years in the recreation program. He received the North Carolina Citizen Volunteer of the year for his work with Parks and Recreation. In addition, he was honored as recipient of the Outer Banks Community Foundation's Champion Award.

Outten has lived in Dare County for over 30 years and resides in Southern Shores with his wife Connie.

Drew Pearson

Member: Drew Pearson

Seat: Alternate, North Carolina Local (Town/City/County) Government

Term: Member since 6/15

Dare County, North Carolina

Drew Pearson joined the Dare County staff on August 4, 2014. Prior to joining Dare County, Drew was a United States Coast Guardsmen for thirty years retiring as a Captain on August 1, 2014. He began his Coast Guard career in 1984 and was designated a Coast Guard Aviator in 1986. While his service took him across the United States, he spent a good portion of his career at the Air Station in Elizabeth City. In addition to his aviation assignments, Drew was the Chief of Incident Management at the Coast Guard's Seventh District in Miami, Florida and prior to retirement, commanded Coast Guard forces in the Caribbean as Commander, Sector San Juan Puerto Rico. During these assignments, Drew oversaw search and rescue, marine environmental response, interagency law enforcement, and tropical storm mission efforts, building a wealth of experience in all-hazards emergency management.

Drew is a 1983 graduate of Wesley College where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science. In addition to his hands on emergency management experience, Drew holds Master of the Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management and Master of Public Administration degrees from the American Military University and a Master Certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Since 2006, Drew has maintained designation as a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) from the International Association of Emergency Managers.

LT DeVonte Weems

Member: LT DeVonte Weems

Seat: U.S. Coast Guard

Term: Member since 9/20

Portsmouth, Virginia

DeVonte Weems was born and raised in Calvert County, Maryland. After graduating high school, he attended the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Management. Upon graduating and receiving his commission, DeVonte was stationed in Cape May, New Jersey aboard USCGC Dependable, a 210 foot Medium Endurance Cutter, as a Deck Watch Officer. Following that tour, he was stationed in Puerto Rico aboard USCGC Winslow Griesser, a 154 foot Fast Response Cutter, as the Executive Officer.

After completing two afloat tours, DeVonte was sent to the Coast Guard Fifth District in Portsmouth, Virginia, to serve in the Enforcement Branch. He is scheduled to rotate in the summer of 2021, and expects to return to sea.

DeVonte is married to his wife, Sylvia, and has a one year old daughter. They are expecting their second child in December of 2020.


2010-2014                    Coast Guard Academy; New London, CT
2014-2016                    CGC Dependable; Cape May, NJ/Little Creek, VA
2016-2018                    CGC Winslow Griesser; San Juan, PR
2018-2021                    Fifth District Enforcement Branch; Portsmouth, VA

Kate Moore

Member: Kate Moore

Seat: Alternate, U.S. Coast Guard

Term: Member since 9/16


Portsmouth, Virginia

Katie grew up in North Carolina, vacationing on Carolina beaches. She studied environmental policy at Duke University and then received her Masters in Environmental Management with a Coastal Environmental Management focus from the same institution. Katie was previously the Bottlenose Dolphin Conservation Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries, and she has spent the last 13 years with the United States Coast Guard working on marine resource management. As the Living Marine Resources Program Manager for the Atlantic Area, Katie advises on fisheries, protected species, and marine protected areas. Located in Portsmouth, Va., Katie's civilian position provides continuity to the Coast Guard as the uniformed officers rotate to other tours after several years. As a civilian, Katie also provides continuity of knowledge and a consistent entry point for external partners if they require Coast Guard assistance.

Katie brings a zealous commitment to public service and marine conservation. Her personal interests include open water swimming, gardening, travelling, and art. Her favorite place is near water, anywhere!

Robert Neyland

Member: Robert Neyland

Seat: U.S. Navy

Term: Member since 3/11

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.

Member: Alexis Catsambis

Seat: Alternate, U.S. Navy

Term: Member since 3/11

Underwater Archaeology Branch

Washington, DC

Samantha Henderson

Member: Samantha Henderson

Seat: Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources

Term: Member since 6/15


Richmond, Virginia

Samantha is an archaeologist specializing in historical archaeology of Virginia. Over the past ten years, she has worked on numerous archaeological sites throughout Tidewater and Piedmont Virginia, including working for four years at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia. Samantha attended Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia, for her undergraduate degree and completed her Master's degree in Historical Archaeology from University of Massachusetts Boston. In her role as Project Review Archaeologist for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, she reviews effects of State and Federal projects on historic resources across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Samantha is a native of Virginia Beach and currently lives in Newport News, Virginia.

Member: To be appointed

Seat: Alternate, Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources

Term: N/A