MRC Prospective 2023 Board of Directors Biographies
Lady Shirley Beirne: Lady Shirley is a Brevard County resident and longtime supporter of our marine waters and wildlife. Together with her husband, Dr. Daniel Beirne M.D., she worked with the local police department and municipality to establish and fund a marine division used to enforce the netting and fishing regulations and manatee no-wake zones where the Banana and Indian Rivers meet. As President of BGH Farm, she works with the local community, federal government, and natural gas companies to protect and preserve 900 acres in northeastern Pennsylvania, emphasizing soil conservation, water purity, sustainable forestation, and preservation of wildlife. She is a member of Sutherland Fishery Council, which is responsible for protection and preservation of wild Scottish Salmon, the rivers they travel, and their spawning grounds. She is also a member of the EGYC Advisory Council. She is a “maternal recruiter” of the US Coast Guard, as she encouraged one of her daughters and her grandson to join this branch to further her family’s long-standing military tradition and their dedication to preserving and protecting our waters, fisheries, and wildlife.
Dave Botto: Dave is a Florida native residing in Brevard since 1968. He served on the MRC board from 1996 to 2014, nine years as chairman. He was chair of the successful MRC led effort to restrict fertilizer run-off pollution in the lagoon. He retired from USAF and is a veteran of Korea and Viet Nam. He was Chief of Ops Plans for air assets during Apollo and was awarded the Silver Snoopy by the Apollo astronauts. Mr. Botto retired from Harris Corp having served as an engineering and a program management and marketing director. He holds BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. He is dedicated to restore and preserve the natural wonder that is the Indian River Lagoon and he believes that Low Impact Development is essential to the future health of the Lagoon.
Steven Casanova: Steve Casanova is an avid waterman, who cherishes the natural resources that exist not only in the Indian River Lagoon system, but worldwide. He has travelled extensively from the Sudan, to the Caribbean, Central America, and the islands of Hawaii, to mention just a few of the places he has enjoyed. As a lifelong surfer, sailor, photographer, and diver, he has a deep appreciation of life in general. He has a wide variety of training in various fields, as a graduate of Brevard Community College, Florida Institute of Technology, The University of Central Florida, and The Washburn School of Law. Mr. Casanova currently is a Member of the Florida Bar, the Brevard County Bar Association, a Director of the Brevard County Bar Foundation, and a Director of the Florida Surf Museum. In addition, his family has resided in Florida since the 1930’s, and Mr. Casanova has resided in Brevard since 1972. He currently now resides directly on the Banana River, and has first-hand knowledge of the marine resources that exist in the estuary.
Terry Casto: Terry has been a resident of Brevard County since 1969. He retired from Harris Corporation in 2008, having served as a director in Engineering, Program Management, and Business Development. He was then the principal of Strategic Growth Consulting LLC, providing guidance and training to companies doing business with the US Government. He retired for good in 2017. He holds a BSEE from the University of Akron and post-graduate courses from University of Florida, Duke, and Kellogg. He has been a volunteer with the Marine Resources Council since 2013. Activities include oyster reef restoration, shoreline restoration (pepper tree removal and mangrove transplanting), and muck and water quality sample collection. He is an NEP-certified Lagoon Lifesaver presenter and was featured as an IRL volunteer in Brevard Business News (April 2016). He is a member of Brevard County’s Save Our Lagoon Plan Citizen Oversight Committee. He serves on the board of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren of Brevard and the Florida Today Citizen Advisory board.
Stephen E. Chalmers: Steve is a 39-year watershed resident. He has been an MRC board member since the early 1990s and served as chair, secretary, treasurer, and vice-chair. In addition, he also served as an MRC water quality monitor. He holds a BA in English and is retired from the telecommunications and aerospace industries. “My interest is that our community makes informed decisions today for cost and spiritual benefits in the future.”
Bill Cox: Bill is a Brevard County resident and an active member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Bill has a Masters in Geography (Remote Sensing) from the University of Texas at Austin. He is passionate about how the Auxiliary and local environmental groups can partner to improve the ecosystems around us. With a background in both the public and private sector, Bill brings many insights to the table at MRC. Bill joined the MRC board in 2017 and has already brought together a great partnership between the Coast Guard Auxiliary and MRC.
Robert Day: Bob has been a resident of the Indian River Lagoon basin since 1971. A graduate of Florida Technological University (now University of Central Florida), Bob worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, Brevard County Office of Natural Resources Management, and St. Johns River Water Management District as Project Scientist for the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program until his recent retirement. He participated in the FIRST Conference and series of American Assemblies sponsored by MRC; the Governor’s Indian River Lagoon Field Committee; the development of the SWIM Plan for the IRL as well as the IRL Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan developed by IRLNEP; and managed the Citizens Water Quality Monitoring Program and Shoreline Restoration Program contracts for IRLNEP.
Roger Hickman: Roger is retired from the United States Navy and a former Director of Education and Outreach for two non-profits: Cura Oceanus and Operation 11 Charlie, respectively. With a BS and advanced courses in HR, he brings experience in recruiting for higher education and assisting service persons in transition from military to civilian life. His skills and interests beyond fishing, reading and the outdoors include event coordination, public relations, social research and robotics as a learning tool (SEA PERCH). Roger’s board membership goal is, “To connect to my community with an organization that cares about our community and the environment.”
Paul Laura: A resident of Jensen Beach, Paul actively participates as a volunteer scientist doing R&D with Florida Oceanographic Society, which is located on Hutchinson Island. He is very involved as a member of Florida’s River Coalition in Stuart, a board member of the Indian Riverkeeper (part of Riverkeeper Alliance), and a board member of Hutchinson Island Preservation Initiative. Before retiring, he lived in Europe for eight years as Global Manager for Lubrizol Corp, a Warren Buffet Company of Berkshire Hathaway. He holds a BS degree from St. John’s University and an MS degree from the University of Florida.
David A. Marley, Jr.: Mr. Marley is President of Creative Financial Concepts, Inc. and a Corporate Registered Investment Advisor with MML Investors Services, LLC specializing in full service financial planning. Originally from New England, Mr. Marley moved to Miami in 1976. He and his wife, Beth, now reside in Palm City, Florida and have two adult children, Ashley and Nicholas. Mr. Marley is a past Trustee of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, a Founder and an Ambassador of the Mercy Hospital Foundation, as well as past Secretary of the Board of the Mercy Medical Group. Mr. Marley is currently a Trustee of the Deering Estate Foundation Board of Directors and a board member of the Martin County Historical Society, Elliott Museum and House of Refuge. Mr. Marley is an active member of St. Louis Catholic Church, a Eucharistic Minister, Emmaus brother and a guest speaker of finance at the Archdiocese of Miami Engagement Encounter Weekends.
Jim Moir: Jim is a Florida native and has been a resident of Stuart, FL since 1992. Jim is civically engaged and passionate about protecting the Indian River Lagoon and its coastal margins. He has been an Appointee to the Martin County Local Planning Agency since 2002 and is on the Board of Directors for Indian Riverkeeper. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Rivers Coalition. He is a member and supporter of many local civic and environmental groups. Jim facilitates ocean science projects specializing in bioacoustics, marine animal surveys, and the deployment of autonomous vehicles and data collection devices. He is currently involved with several citizen science projects, and often volunteers with coastal restoration efforts and exotic invasive species control programs.
Joanie Regan: Living along the lagoon for over three decades, Joanie served as the City of Cocoa Beach’s stormwater manager for more than two of those decades, overseeing watershed improvement projects, executing the City’s federal stormwater permit, and helping coordinate watershed education efforts with local governments along the Indian River Lagoon. Joanie was actively involved in the IRL BMAP development and has served on various government lagoon advisory boards. Protecting natural communities and using low impact design as a way of reducing watershed pollution is Joanie’s approach to lagoon restoration. A graduate of Florida Institute of Technology, Joanie is a past president of the Florida Stormwater Association (FSA) and active in community environmental organizations along the Indian River Lagoon.
Maureen Rupe: Maureen has served on MRC’s board since 2005 and is extremely interested in preserving the Indian River Lagoon. She has an extensive background in public service including president of Partnership for a Sustainable Future (2002–present), a coalition of 15 progressive and environmental groups in Brevard County, many directly involved with the Indian River Lagoon. Ms. Rupe is the Natural Resource Consultant for the League of Women Voters of the Space Coast and a member of the Board of Directors for Parrish Medical Center. Ms. Rupe was on the Brevard County Charter Review Commission in 1998 and 2002, on the Brevard County Redistricting Commission in 2000 and 2010, and on the Port St. John Library Board of Directors since 1988. She is on the Executive Committee of the Turtle Coast Sierra Club and is a member of many environmental groups. Ms. Rupe was selected for the 2015 Brevard County Charter Review Commission.
Jeff Smith: Jeff is an Environmental Specialist for Florida Power & Light where he manages the planning and implementation of its solar stewardship program. The program is a voluntary partnership with Audubon Florida aimed to preserve, enhance, and restore native habitats and ground cover on solar sites. In this role, Jeff develops site-specific stewardship plans to increase biodiversity and maximize habitat opportunities for a wide variety of pollinators and wildlife. Before joining FPL, Jeff was an environmental consultant for 13 years, where he specialized in pollutant loading characterization of tributaries to the IRL and SJR, environmental resource permitting, wetland jurisdictional determinations, habitat functional assessments, and wildlife studies. Jeff earned his Master of Science degree from the University of Florida Soil and Water Science Department Wetland Biogeochemistry Laboratory. Jeff and his family live in Titusville.
Kevin Smith: Kevin is a financial advisor and Vice Chair of the Brevard Symphony Board. He formerly sat on the Space Coast Early Intervention Center board and was chair of the City of Melbourne Fireman’s Pension Trust Fund. Roger holds single and multi engine commercial (flight) pilot licenses and an instructor certificate. His skills and interests include diving, underwater photography, fishing and playing the fiddle. Kevin states, “I grew up on the Indian River Lagoon. I would like to contribute (to) the restoration of the ecosystem. It was Magic then…”