Todd Miller is the founder and executive director of the North Carolina Coastal Federation, a nonprofit with over 16,000 supporters working for a healthier North Carolina coast.
A coastal North Carolina native from Carteret County, it was here in 1982 that Miller found his passion—working to keep the coast a great place to live, work and play. Forming partnerships and rallying volunteers, Miller grew the organization from a one-man (and a dog) venture in a back room of his house to three offices covering the North Carolina coast. With 30+ staffers and a multi-million dollar budget targeted for educating the public, advocating for a clean coast and restoring water quality and shorelines, the federation takes on projects, and partners with others in hundreds of endeavors that influence these priorities.
A graduate of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which he holds undergraduate and master’s degrees, Miller was selected as a distinguished alumnus by the university in 2013 and honored with a 2015 “Hero of the Seas” award by the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards. Along with numerous other awards and recognitions, Miller is a founding board member of Restore America’s Estuaries and currently serves on the Board of Visitors for the UNC Institute for the Environment and as a board member on the Policy Committee for the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary Partnership.
Since the launch of the federation, Miller has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the threats to the coast and advocate for access to clean coastal waters. In bringing together like-minded folks from all walks of life, from fishers to paddlers to boaters and beachcombers, the federation under Miller’s leadership has succeeded in protecting and restoring tens of thousands of acres of North Carolina coast.
Lauren heads up the federation’s low-impact development stakeholder outreach efforts. In addition she coordinates many of the federation’s conferences and coastal issue meetings. Lauren also serves as liaison to the federation board of directors. Working with the executive director, Lauren’s primary responsibility is to ensure implementation of federation program goals and objectives. She holds a Bachelor of Science in environmental conservation from N.C. State University. She has worked for the federation since 1992.
Director of Administrative Services
Laura, a native of Delaware, joined the federation in 2014. She is a lifelong participant in the promotion of coastal ecology, education and restoration. Laura is likely the voice on the other end of the phone when you call our offices and provides valuable assistance to everyone. Volunteering for the past several years on federation’s projects she has helped with rain garden construction and living shoreline plantings. She holds a Bachelor of Science in plant science pathology from the University of Delaware and has worked with a number of organizations including the Point Sur Lightstation and State Historic Park in Big Sur, California and the Fort Sill Children’s Museum in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Assistant Editor, Coastal Review Online
Based at headquarters, Jenn creates content for Coastal Review Online and assists with managing the website and social media. She comes to CRO after having served as public information officer for the Town of Beaufort and almost 10 years at the Carteret County News-Times as the society editor. She has also written for Our State Magazine and other regional and statewide publications. Jenn has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religion from Appalachian State University and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She earned her master’s degree in liberal studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Originally from Swansboro, she now lives in Morehead City.
Kerri joined the federation in July 2018. As a Coastal Advocate, she works to represent the public’s voice at local, state and federal levels to ensure that actions are taken to safeguard North Carolina’s water quality, coastal environment and economy. She represents the federation’s stance on key advocacy issues through increasing public participation in coastal management activities and empowering and motivating informed people to become advocates for coastal stewardship. Kerri’s previous work has focused on estuarine sediments, oyster restoration and marine education. She holds a master’s degree in coastal geology and a bachelor’s in geosciences with minors in environmental studies and geospatial technologies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Coastal Education Coordinator
Rachel, from Pine Level, North Carolina, joined the federation in 2013 after volunteering for several years. She holds a Master of Science in coastal marine and wetland studies from Coastal Carolina University and a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Previously, Rachel worked as an educator in multiple coastal education centers, as a marine research technician and as a state park naturalist. Her background lies in linking coastal environments with education and outreach.
Kelly joined the federation in early 2015. Previously, Kelly served as the communications and technology manager for Kappa Delta Sorority National Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. Her primary responsibilities at the federation include membership development, engagement and communications. Originally from the coast of Virginia, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in fine art from the College of William and Mary.
Sarah joined the federation in early 2019. She works on coastal restoration projects, conservation monitoring and educational programs in the central region. She holds a Master of Science in biological science from Gacheon University in Seoul, South Korea and a Bachelor of Science in environmental science and ecology from Averett University in Virginia. Sarah‘s background includes shorebird and sea turtle population management, rare, endangered and invasive plant species population management and plant molecular biology.
Finance and Operations Director
Rachael joined the federation in March 2004 as the volunteer coordinator. She holds a Master of Arts in marine affairs and policy from the University of Miami and a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from Gettysburg College. She holds two certificates in federal grant management and currently manages the federation’s state and federal grant contracts, oversees facilities and administrative operations and runs the volunteer program.
Bree, originally from Manteo, North Carolina, moved down the coast to join the central office in 2016. Her work with the federation began in 2013 during a summer internship with the northeast office. She holds a Master of Science in biological and agricultural engineering and a Bachelor of Science in environmental science and wetland assessment from North Carolina State University. Bree specializes in stormwater engineering, and she assists with low-impact development projects in the central region as well as ongoing restoration and education projects.
Part-Time Oyster Lease Operator and Facilities Maintenance Coordinator
Rahdiaz joined the staff in 2019 as a part-time oyster lease operator and facilities maintenance coordinator for the northeast office. In this role, he spends his time cultivating oysters and educating others about their importance along with a variety of other tasks. Prior to joining the federation, he was a husbandry intern for the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. As a husbandry intern he found administering medicine and taking care of fish and sharks in the quarantine lab to be the most fulfilling. He is currently working towards his associates degree in science with a great interest in aquaculture. In addition to his schooling and role as the oyster lease operator for the federation, he is an AmeriCorps member. He will complete a second part-time service term through a partnership with River City YouthBuild by August 2020.
Low-Impact Development Research and Communications Specialist
Kelly Dobroski joined the federation in October 2019 to assist with low-Impact development research and communications. She holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment with certificates in geospatial analysis and environmental communications and received her Bachelor of Science in environmental science with a concentration in Chesapeake regional studies from Washington College. Her interdisciplinary background has allowed her to study the natural and social science of our coasts, with projects ranging from using drones to study coastal habitats to preparing policy memos on water quality. When she is not working to protect our coast, she is exploring it by running or paddling.
Brittany, a native of Swansboro, joined the federation in 2016 as finance manager. She handles the day-to-day business operations for the federation, financial reporting, personnel and the management of the membership database. Brittany holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, as well as a Master of Science degree in accounting. She previously worked as an accountant with Williams Scarborough Smith Gray, LLP in Jacksonville and as an auditor with KPMG, LLP in Raleigh.
Coastal Scientist; Manager, Northeast Regional Office
Erin joined the federation in February 2008 and manages our regional office in Wanchese. She holds a Master of Science in marine biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Bachelor of Science in marine and freshwater biology from University of New Hampshire. She leads a variety of initiatives to restore wetlands, create oyster sanctuaries and living shoreline and build rain gardens.
Michael joined the staff in 2017. He works to increase public awareness of and engagement in coastal issues that relate to the federation’s mission from the northeast regional office in Wanchese. Other duties include advancing oyster restoration, living shoreline implementation and watershed management plans. Michael is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in coastal resources management from East Carolina University, and he obtained a master’s degree in environmental science and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stockton University in New Jersey.
Coastal Education Coordinator
Before joining the federation in 2008, Sara worked as a special activities instructor at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology along with a minor in dance from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Sara leads outreach programs from the northeast office and has organized a network of local environmental educators. She’s a certified Environmental Educator in North Carolina and was recently awarded a Conservation Communicator Award. When she’s not working to protect the coast, Sara stays active in the community teaching dance and physical fitness.
Editor, Coastal Review Online
Mark Hibbs is the editor for Coastal Review Online. Working out of our main office in Ocean, Mark manages the CRO website and coordinates news coverage. A native of coastal North Carolina, Mark joined the federation June 1, 2015, after more than 20 years with the Carteret County News-Times, where he served as a staff writer and photographer, business editor and assistant to the editor. Mark has won numerous awards for his reporting, including various North Carolina Press Association awards and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2009 Small Business Journalist of the Year Award for the Southeast Region. Mark is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
A native of Wilmington, Sarah first joined the federation in 2004 as a restoration scientist before relocating to Raleigh to work for the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Sarah re-joined the federation in 2012 as part of the development team, with responsibilities including grant writing, foundation gifts and fundraising programs including major gifts, honorariums and planned giving. Sarah has bachelor’s degrees from Vanderbilt University in environmental science and psychology and a master’s degree in marine science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Amanda is a Carteret County native who returned to the area in 2015 in order to be near the water. Amanda joined the federation staff in May 2019. As part of the development team she will be working to further the federation’s mission through grant writing and donor engagement. Most recently, Amanda served as Development Coordinator and Grants Coordinator at Carteret Community College. She holds bachelor’s degrees in political studies and business administration from Meredith College.
Christine joined the staff in 2006. She’s responsible for government fundraising and staff and program planning for the federation’s three offices. She also manages special policy initiatives and programs from the main office and helps plan our communications strategies. She has worked on coastal policy and protection issues at the state, federal and nonprofit level for more than two decades. Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in marine policy and coastal management from the University of Delaware. She also likes to spend as much time in, on or under the water as possible.
Coastal Education Coordinator
Bonnie, once a volunteer for the federation, joined the staff in 2019 and coordinates the education and outreach programs in the southeast region while managing the region’s volunteers, interns, events, coastal ambassador program, and administrative tasks. Bonnie, originally from Richmond, VA, graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in marine biology. Interning with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as an environmental educator, working as the Swamp Boat Captain for Shallotte River Swamp Park providing educational tours on local flora and fauna, and coordinating volunteers for Plastic Ocean Project inspired and influenced her passion for environmental education and outreach.
Rose joined the staff in 2003 as a part-time administrative assistant, a position which she held for 11 years. Originally from Ohio, she moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 1978. In keeping with her love for the coast, she moved to Carteret County in 1996. Environmental issues have always been among her interests and concerns, which brought her to the federation. In her role as business administrator, she’ll be assisting the business manager with membership database updating and reporting.
Coastal Scientist; Manager, Southeast Regional Office
Tracy joined the federation in 1996 and leads our regional office in Wilmington. She holds a master’s degree in marine science and a Bachelor of Science in geology from the College of William and Mary. Having held positions with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and as a private consultant, she has accumulated more than two decades of experience in coastal policy and planning and in implementing conservation projects.
North River Wetlands Preserve Manager
Mark joined the federation in October 2014 to manage the North River Wetlands Preserve and prepare the property for future public use. Mark is a native of Atlantic, North Carolina, born and raised around commercial fishing and net making. He is a graduate of Calhoon Engineering School in Maryland with a degree in marine engineering and a U.S. Coast Guard engineering license. Mark sailed in the U.S. Merchant Marine for eight years, and he recently retired after 22 years working as the chief engineer of the Duke University Marine Lab’s R/V Cape Hatteras. He also has previous farming and game-land management experience. He is an avid fisherman and hunter and still resides in Atlantic.
Director of Business Engagement
Catherine joined the federation in August 2014. She is a native of Wilmington but has lived the last 28 years in New Bern. Growing up on the coast, Catherine has come to enjoy boating, paddling and fishing. She is pleased to have the opportunity to help preserve the coast. Catherine has spent her career in sales and event planning, traveling the North Carolina coast, getting to know the towns and making contacts in various communities. She is based out of our headquarters in Ocean but will travel the region helping to promote the federation and increase our visibility through major fundraisers. Catherine holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Queens College in Charlotte.
Leslie, a West Virginia native, joined the federation’s northeast office in August 2018. As a coastal specialist, she works on expanding oyster restoration and living shoreline efforts along the Outer Banks, where she hopes to reach new audiences with the federation’s mission while maintaining relationships with longtime supporters. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in marine and coastal science and policy. Before joining the federation, she worked at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island for four years in animal husbandry, sea turtle rehabilitation and education. She also manages a small independent marine debris initiative, working with local businesses and visitors to minimize the usage of single-use plastics on the Outer Banks.
Coastal Scientist; Manager, Central Regional Office
Originally from Hialeah, Florida, Lexia joined the federation in April 2007 after living in coastal North Carolina since 2002. Her background is in estuarine water quality and plant ecology and she has conducted over 12 years of research in estuarine environments in Florida, Delaware and North Carolina. Lexia holds a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in Marine Studies from the University of Delaware and a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a specialization in Marine Biology from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. Lexia manages coastal restoration projects within the central region of North Carolina and supervises the central regional office.
Senior Coastal Specialist
Ted joined the federation in 1997, coming from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where he managed and developed education programs around the Bay and a watershed planning initiative for the Nanticoke River. He leads the education program in the federation’s southeast office, and he designs and implements oyster habitat restoration, living shoreline and stormwater reduction projects. Previously, he served as the Cape Fear Coastkeeper® for five years and as the federation’s education director. Ted holds a Bachelor of Arts in zoology from Connecticut College and a Coast Guard captain’s license, and he is currently enrolled in the marine biology graduate program at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Assistant Director of Policy
Ana joined the federation in 2011. She helps the executive director evaluate and devise policies, programs and guidance to achieve the federation’s goals and benchmarks. She also works on short and long-term strategic research and analysis projects. Ana develops, manages and supervises the graduate-level internship program. Ana has a Master of Business Administration in sustainable business from the University of Maine. She received her undergraduate degree from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain. Ana also attended the University of Belgrade majoring in Hispanic philology before completing her undergraduate work in Spain.
Communications Specialist Fellow
Lily Huffman joined the North Carolina Coastal Federation in 2020 as the Communications Specialist Fellow. She graduated in 2019 from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment with a Master of Environmental Management degree, with a concentration in Coastal Environmental Management, and a certificate in Community-Based Environmental Management. Before that, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology, and a certificate in Folklore. Lily believes in a multi-disciplinary, inclusive approach to solving environmental problems, supported by clear, engaging communication. She is passionate about digital communications, especially when it’s in the form of photos and video. When she isn’t working to protect the coast, Lily can either be found reading a book in a sunny spot in her apartment, at the gym, or out and about photographing the many beautiful landscapes North Carolina has to offer.