Ernie Foster

Hatteras

Ernie grew up in Hatteras. His father brought the first charter fishing boat, the Albatross, to Cape Hatteras in 1937. After high school, Ernie left the island to attend North Carolina State University and then teach in Raleigh and Manteo. He retired as guidance counselor at Manteo High School in the late 1990s and returned…

Donald E. Ensley

Greenville

Donald E. Ensley, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a public health educator with a specialty in health care administration. Don is a professor emeritus, College of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Health Services & Information Management, East Carolina University. He was one of the federation’s founding board members and served as our first president in 1982. Don…

Kyle Elliott

Raleigh

Kyle is a Principal with Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management, LLC managing wealth and investments for individuals and institutions. Originally from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, he grew up in Wilson, North Carolina and frequented the coast where he fished and crabbed in and around Atlantic Beach. Kyle has been a member of the Coastal Federation for…

Tom Earnhardt

Raleigh

Over the last 15 years Tom has written and produced more than 80 episodes of the statewide UNC-TV natural resource series, Exploring North Carolina. His conservation roots run deep with service on numerous conservation boards, including Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy in North Carolina and Audubon North Carolina. Tom has also served as president of…

David Cignotti

Wrightsville Beach

A retired public school teacher and administrator, David is an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and has been a resident of Wrightsville Beach for 40 years. He served in Wrightsville Beach’s town government as chairman of the planning board, as an alderman and also as the town’s mayor. He actively supports…

Kenneth S. Chestnut Sr.

Wilmington

Kenneth retired as president and CEO of IBG Construction Services LLC. in Atlanta, a company he founded in 1998. Kenneth was also a principal with The Integral Group, the affiliated vertically integrated real estate development firm based in Atlanta. A graduate of Williston Senior High School in Wilmington, Kenneth attended Duke University and majored in…

Sandie Cecelski

Carolina Beach

A retired New Hanover County School marine science teacher, Sandie is an alumna of both the University of Tennessee and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Sandie has been a resident of Carolina Beach for over 30 years. She and her husband Richard own Carolina Ocean Studies, a hands-on marine environmental education company dedicated to…

Veronica Carter

Leland

Veronica Carter is a former Civil Servant (International and US) and retired Army officer with over 39 years’ experience in managing complex logistics operations, often under austere conditions. Veronica has served on the Board of Directors for Cape Fear and Brunswick County’s Habitat for Humanity affiliates and Town of Leland’s Parks and Recreation Board. In…

Peggy Birkemeier

Raleigh

Peggy recently retired as senior associate with the North Carolina Community Foundation. She brings experiences from her nearly 32 years as a coastal North Carolina resident in Dare County. As the founder of the Friends of Jockey’s Ridge State Park, she is committed to environmental education and responsible stewardship for all state parks and public lands.…

Ryan Bethea

Harkers Island

Ryan is owner of Oysters Carolina mariculture operation in Harkers Island. He is known for his famous salty oysters called Native Sons. Before opening his shellfish farm, Ryan was a middle school teacher. Ryan grew up in Durham and vacationed at the coast but his love for oysters didn’t develop until he was in his…