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Rhode Island Flood Mitigation Association 2024 Conference

Thursday, May 23, 2024 | 8:00 am-4:30 pm

University of Rhode Island




Kate Michaud, AICP, CC-P is the District Director for Representative Gabe Amo in RI’s First Congressional District. She was previously the Town Manager for Warren, RI. Kate has over two decades of experience serving communities in the First District and understands the importance of robust constituent services, delivering federal resources, and coordinating efforts between local, state, and federal agencies. Kate has served on the Board of Directors for the RI League of Cities and Towns, the Steering Committee of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, the Risk Management Committee of the Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust. In May of 2022 Kate was recognized as the Local Leader of the Year by RI Clean Water Action.


Congressman Gabe Amo represents Rhode Island’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the Biden White House, he served as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, where he worked as the principal liaison to mayors and local elected officials. Previously, Congressman Amo was the Director of Public Engagement and Community Affairs for former Governor Gina Raimondo. Congressman Amo is a native of Pawtucket, Rhode Island with a story familiar to many in Rhode Island: one of hard work, resilience, grit, and determination. He is focused on representing all of the diverse communities in our district and taking on priorities including: strengthening retirement security for our seniors, ending gun violence, ensuring resilience to climate change, securing reproductive freedom, and protecting our democracy.

David Vallee is the Director of the Service Innovation and Partnership Division at NOAA/ NWS Office of Water Prediction/ National Water Center. David has worked for the National Weather Service for over 30 years, serving in a variety of positions including Senior Service Hydrologist at the Taunton Weather Forecast Office from 1993-2000 and as Science and Operations Officer from 2001-2006. David has extensive experience leading hydrometeorological forecast and warning operations and directing weather research and training programs. David’s research activities span a variety of topics including flooding, severe weather forecasting and orographically enhanced heavy rainfall in southern New England. David has received numerous regional and national awards including the prestigious National Isaac Cline Award for Leadership. David is a graduate of Lyndon State College. He is a lifelong resident of Rhode Island and considers it a tremendous privilege to be serving the people of the very region he calls home. 


Erin Ware is a Secretary of the Interior qualified Architectural Historian with Kleinfelder. She has completed historic evaluations for a variety of property types throughout New England and has written multiple National Register of Historic Places nominations. She has extensive experience with Section 106 compliance. 


Kyle Johnson leads Kleinfelder’s climate resiliency practice group in New England and is a technical expert in climate vulnerability and adaptation planning, resilient infrastructure design, and specialized retrofits. He and his team frequently assess and develop flood solutions that account for unique sensitivities when adapting cultural resources and historic assets.


Ariel Patterson is a Resiliency Planner at Kleinfelder who leads climate resiliency and transportation infrastructure projects on the East Coast. Her work is centered on planning, developing, and implementing solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate hazards and help communities adapt to changing climate conditions. Ms. Patterson has developed several risk and vulnerability assessments, community hazard profiles, GIS-based processes, engagement materials, and solution-focused project portfolios for municipal clients.


Carissa Mills, CFM, ENV SP is a Hazard Mitigation/Resiliency Planner with VHB in Providence. In her role, she has helped many communities in the region develop hazard mitigation plans and complete climate vulnerability assessments. Carissa has lived in Rhode Island for over 20 years and holds a Master's degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island.


Rex Gamble is a water resources engineer with GZA GeoEnvironmental. He holds a BS in civil engineering from Tennessee Tech and a MS in biological system engineering from Virginia Tech. The majority of his work at GZA includes hydrologic and hydraulic analyses for flood hazard characterization, river/stream restoration, and dam removal. He is passionate about assessing climate change and sediment transport in water resources to provide resilient solutions to emerging flood problems.


John Buckley is a water resources engineer with GZA GeoEnvironmental. He holds a BS in environmental engineering from the University of Vermont. John worked at a Civil Engineering firm out of Winooski, VT after graduating college where the majority of his work was focused around construction inspection on a variety of civil and environmental projects. His work at GZA mainly consists of dam and culvert design, construction management and oversight, and hydrologic and hydraulic analyses.


Emily Vogler is a RISD landscape architect whose research, design and teaching investigate social-ecological systems surrounding water infrastructure, sense of place and climate uncertainty. She has ongoing research projects looking at the irrigation ditches in New Mexico, aging dam infrastructure in New England and coastal adaptation strategies in Narragansett Bay. In her research and design practice, Vogler investigates methods to address regional environmental and cultural issues at the site and material scale; novel approaches to engaging the public in the design and decision-making process; and strategies for strengthening the collaboration and communication between designers, artists and scientists. Emily is an associate professor at RISD where she teaches seminars and design studios on hydrological systems, urban ecology, landscape commons, community engagement strategies, and material and site-based strategies to restoration.


Nathan Vinhateiro, Ph. D. is the Science Director at the University of Rhode Island Coastal Institute (CI). In this role, he works to promote and support interdisciplinary coastal research at the University and among regional collaboratives convened through the CI. Nathan serves as chair of the RI Environmental Monitoring Collaborative and sits on the coordination team for Rhode Island’s Scientific Support for Environmental Emergency Response (SSEER) network. He is a science advisor for the CI’s Climate Response Demonstration Sites, which examine risks to different types of coastal environments – natural, mixed-use, urban from sea level rise, storm surge, and coastal erosion.


Mehrshad Amini, Ph. D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Rhode Island. He completed his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Pennsylvania State University in 2021. Dr. Amini’s research experience and interests lie in structural engineering, fluid-structure interaction modeling, multi-hazard analysis, risk assessment, and resilience modeling. He has developed a probabilistic framework leveraging computational fluid dynamic analysis combined with the Monte Carlo simulation to evaluate the performance of elevated residential buildings against wind and wave effects. He has been engaged in different research projects, including developing computational frameworks to better understand the impact of multi-hazard events on life safety risks as well as economic resilience metrics in terms of direct and indirect economic losses for coastal communities vulnerable to earthquakes and near-field tsunamis. 


Chris Baxter, Ph. D. is Professor in the Department of Ocean Engineering at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Baxter received his BS degree from Tufts University, his MS degree from Purdue University, and his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. His research expertise is in the areas of marine geotechnics, fundamental soil behavior, and coastal resilience. He is primarily an experimentalist, and has focused much of his research on characterizing unique or difficult soils such as sensitive marine clays in Maine, gassy clays from the North Sea (at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute), weakly cemented sands in oil-bearing formations in the Caspian Sea, non-plastic silts in Rhode Island, and calcareous sands in Puerto Rico.


Greg Bonynge, GISP is the Rhode Island Geospatial Extension Specialist at the University of Rhode Island’s Environmental Data Center. His work uses geospatial technologies to enhance coastal scientific research initiatives, particularly habitat change analyses. Greg has a special interest in geospatial data management and archiving, and server-based technologies for supporting emergency management applications. 


Isaac Ginis, Ph. D. is a Professor at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, where he studies the coupled ocean-atmosphere system, ranging from small to large space and time scales combining observations, theory and numerical modeling. His primary research areas include tropical cyclone-ocean interactions, surface waves in high wind conditions and their effects on air-sea fluxes and the hurricane boundary layer dynamics. His research efforts have resulted in pioneering advances in modeling of the tropical cyclone-ocean interactions that have led to significant improvements in the hurricane intensity forecast skills.


Arash Rafiee is a PhD student in the Department of Ocean Engineering at the University of Rhode Island. Arash was a 2023 Awardee of an Enhancement of Graduate Research Award for their Numerical and Field Study of Nearshore Hydrodynamics and Coastal Erosion in Little Beach, Rhode Island. Arash earned his BS in civil engineering from the University of Tabriz and MS in Water and Hydraulic Structural Engineering from University of Tehran. 


Pam Rubinoff is a Coastal Management Specialist with the Coastal Resources Center and Rhode Island Sea Grant. For over 30 years, she has linked engineering, natural hazards and coastal management together to support Federal, state and local technical assistance. Through her leadership within CRC’s Coastal Resilience Portfolio, she has brought the best available science to incorporate sound, science-based risk exposure and reduction practice into tangible guidance and outreach tools. Rubinoff has championed efforts to mainstream natural hazards and coastal community resilience into both US-based Rhode Island coastal management initiatives and international development programs through decision-support tools, policy creation, extension and training. 


Andrew DelSanto, Ph. D is an Assistant Professor in the Sleith School of Engineering at Western New England University. He received his Master's and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as a research fellow for the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, where his research applied both physical (e.g., watershed modeling) and statistical (e.g., machine learning) methods for incorporating climate change into extreme flow calculation/estimation. Before attending graduate school, he was an engineer for Clark Construction LLC in Washington, D.C. where he worked in pre-construction planning and budgeting. He received a B.S. in both Engineering (specializing in civil) and Applied Mathematics from Roger Williams University in 2018. A native of RI, he grew up on Aquidneck Island in Portsmouth, RI.


James LeNoir a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey New England Water Science Center. His primary focus is performing geospatial data analysis and mapping tasks on flood risk and assessment studies using Python and ArcGIS.


Alexander M. Roper, WEDG is a WEDG Associate and water resource engineer with GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. He holds a BS in civil engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and an MS in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Massachusetts. Alex’s professional career has covered the technical aspects of flood vulnerability including hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, as well as preparation aspects including hazard mitigation and coastal resiliency planning. He is passionate about assessing the impacts of climate change on water resources and providing resilient solutions to emerging flood problems.

Curt Spalding is a GZA Senior Consultant, Spalding Environment & Climate Strategies, Professor of the Practice for the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society. Facilitated the creation of the Providence Resilience Partnership (PRP) and authored with Siddhi Nadkarni, Claire Bekker, and Devyn Collado-Nicol, "New England Coastal Cities: The Struggle for a Resilient Future", From Hurricanes to Epidemics, The Ocean’s Evolving Impact on Human Health - Perspectives from the U.S. Accomplished record in environmental protection as an advocate, policy analyst, and administrator: served the Obama Administration as USEPA New England Region 1 Administrator, and was Save The Bay’s Executive Director from 1990 to 2008. 


Michele Jalbert is the Executive Director of the Providence Resilience Partnership, leading a multi-stakeholder initiative to address the climate challenges facing Providence, Rhode Island. With a JD and an Executive MBA, Michele brings a unique combination of legal, business, and strategic skills to this role, as well as a passion for environmental justice and community engagement.


Kate Edwards, P.E. is a Principal Engineer at Arcadis, where her expertise in environmental engineering, stormwater management, permit programs and compliance, and resilience planning serves her municipal clients in strengthening their climate resilience strategies. Kate exemplifies Arcadis’ priority of applying a holistic approach with real solutions to create prosperous communities that can continue to thrive in the face of climate uncertainty.   


Leah Hill is the Coastal Resilience Coordinator for the Natural Resources Department of Nantucket, MA. Leah faces the challenge of preparing the island for the inevitable onslaught of sea-level rise; charged with implementing the Coastal Resilience Plan adopted by the Select Board. Leah spent nine years serving as assistant biologist for Nantucket’s Natural Resources Department. With a degree in marine biology from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, and a master’s in fisheries and aquatic sciences from the University of Florida, she uses her background in ecological restoration to integrate nature-based or hybrid solutions into the town’s Coastal Resilience Plan. 


Kimberly Korioth was appointed Chief Resilience Officer by Executive Order at RI Department of Environmental Management, where she leads RI's climate resilience planning and implementation initiatives. Her position works to leverage funding opportunities and explore policy solutions to advance resilience statewide in collaboration with government leadership, state agencies, partner organizations, and municipalities. Kim works in partnership with RI Infrastructure Bank (RIIB) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to collaboratively manage RI's Municipal Resilience Program (MRP) 2.0. Previously, Kim worked at RIIB managing the first iteration of the MRP and advancing resilience & stormwater funding opportunities. She has also worked with the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (RI CRMC) on their Shoreline, Adaptation, Inventory, and Design initiative. Kim holds a Master of Landscape Architecture, specializing in Ecological Design, from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a B.A. from Boston University.


Nicole Lineberry is a Senior Environmental Scientist in the Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s (RIDOT) Natural Resources Unit. She has nearly 12 years of experience in the environmental field. Her current role at RIDOT is focused on federal and state environmental resource planning as well as environmental permitting and compliance. Nicole holds a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and a Masters in Environmental Science and Management from the University of Rhode Island.


John Grace, CFM is a Certified Floodplain Specialist for FEMA Region 1 located in Boston, MA. He works in the Mitigation Division for the Floodplain Management and Insurance Branch and as a program lead for the Community Rating System (CRS). John assists constituents and professionals with Letters of Map Changes, floodplain regulations, compliance issues, mitigation, and engineering questions. John has performed countless inspections post-disaster to determine the cause and amount of damage, and future mitigation for buildings and structures. John graduated from the University of Rhode with a bachelor’s degree in Ocean Engineering and has been with FEMA for 14 years.


Darrell Moore, PE is the State Conservation Engineer and the Watershed Program Manager for Rhode Island with Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) -USDA. Among many other duties, he manages the Watershed Protection and Flood Reduction program and Emergency Watershed Protection programs. Prior to joining NRCS, Darrell was a Project Manager with the US Army Corps of Engineers, New England District for over twenty years where he made positive impacts in the environmental investigation and remediation, most notably for PCBs in the Housatonic River and trichloroethene at the USACE Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. He represented the USACE through technical innovation and became a nationally and internationally recognized expert on Risk Communications and Vapor Intrusion. Darrell served with the US Navy Seabees and received his BS in Engineering from Rutgers University. Darrell is a licensed Professional Engineer in Rhode Island and New York. Darrell is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Rhode Island Black Business Association.


Alicia Lehrer joined the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC) as Executive Director in March 2008. She holds a BA in Environmental Science from Columbia University and an MS in Natural Resources Science from the University of Rhode Island. Alicia’s work at the WRWC has included spearheading migratory fish passage restoration at the first five dams on the river, working with partners to determine cleanup efforts of the Centredale Manor Superfund site, and leading Woonasquatucket River Greenway expansion, improvement and maintenance. Alicia joined Clean Water Action’s efforts to establish the RI Green Infrastructure Coalition in 2014 and has remained an active member. This partnership has helped inspire her to create green infrastructure demonstration projects in Olneyville and Elmhurst, and begin to develop larger plans to help make the Woonasquatucket corridor more resilient in the face of climate change.

Darrin Punchard, FAICP, CFM is an urban planning and resilience strategy consultant who has spent his career working to prevent natural hazards from becoming disasters. He has over 25 years of experience in hazard mitigation planning with specialized expertise in risk assessment, risk communication, and actionable strategies for risk reduction. Darrin prepared some of the nation’s first federally approved hazard mitigation plans and has assisted more than 700 communities in similar efforts, with emphasis on integrated and participatory planning processes. He co-founded the American Planning Association’s Hazard Mitigation & Disaster Recovery Division and served six years on the board of directors for the National Hazard Mitigation Association. In recognition of his contributions to the field of hazards planning, Darrin was inducted into the AICP College of Fellows in 2022, the highest honor awarded in the urban planning profession.


Bethany Murphy, EIT is a member of the Hydrologic and Hydraulic (H&H) practice area within Pare’s Geotechnical Division. She has worked on a variety of H&H analyses supporting Watershed Resiliency Action Planning (WRAP), dam related engineering services (evaluations, rehabilitation, removal), and roadway crossing assessments and replacements. She holds Master’s degrees in Water and Environmental Management from the University of Bristol, England, and in Environment and Development from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.


Julie Wormser is the Mystic River Watershed Association’s Senior Policy Advisor and co-founder of the Resilient Mystic Collaborative (RMC). Since its launch in September 2018, the RMC has grown to include 20 municipalities and has secured nearly $120 million in funding to pursue regional climate preparedness projects. As Executive Director of The Boston Harbor Association, Wormser was instrumental in drawing attention to Boston's need to prepare for coastal flooding from extreme storms and sea level rise. She co-authored Preparing for the Rising Tide and Designing With Water and co-led the Boston Living with Water international design competition with the City of Boston and Boston Society of Architects. She has a BA in biology from Swarthmore College and an MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

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