Director, Michigan Office of the Great Lakes

Jon W. Allan became Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes in 2012, contributing his considerable aquatic sciences experience to the office’s mission to protect, restore, and sustain the Great Lakes watershed. With nearly three decades of experience in environmental and energy policy, he has professionally applied his understanding of ecological management in a variety of academic, corporate, and public occupations. Jon’s research on wetlands, stream ecology, and water policy has been published in journals in Canada and the U.S. Organizations and individuals rely on his expertise to lead environmental planning and policy projects in Michigan and the Great Lakes region.

Prior to his service with the State of Michigan, Jon taught courses in biology, ecology, and environmental impact assessment at his alma mater, Michigan State University and with other institutions. He also has held a variety of executive management positions in the private and not-for-profit sectors.

Jon advised during the Great Lakes Compact negotiations and co-chaired the State’s Water Resources Advisory Council tasked with formulating the state’s implementation of the Great Lakes Compact. He’s contributed his expertise in a range of roles with the State of Michigan, including those with Michigan’s Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council, the Michigan Climate Action Council, and the Environmental Advisory Council for Michigan DEQ.

Jon serves as Chair of the Great Lakes Commission and is a board member or an advisor to numerous other regional organizations. He also serves on the Executive Committee for the Conference of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.

Jon has a keen interest in making a difference in the Great Lakes watershed and in natural resource governance. Outside of the office, Jon devotes time to his family and is an avid birder.


Extension Educator, Michigan Sea Grant; Symposium Chair

Mark Breederland loves to work with Great Lakes coastal communities and has done so for more than 30 years. Since 1995, he has been a field-based educator with Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension, first serving Detroit and the greater southeast Michigan area, and now living and working in northern Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay area.  His is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Working Waterfront Network and has presented or participated in committees for the prior National Working Waterfront Conferences (2007, 2010, 2013 and 2015). He also likes to welcome visitors to the Great Lakes and have them experience the Freshwater Seas and coastlines.


Director, Michigan Sea Grant

Dr. Jim Diana joined Michigan Sea Grant in 2009 as its director. Dr. Diana leads the statewide program in its research, education, and outreach on critical Great Lakes issues. He recently retired as Professor of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, where he conducted research and taught for 39 years. He has received numerous professional honors and is the author of more than 70 scientific publications and reports, as well as a textbook, and has been an editor of 2 other books.


Coastal Management Specialist, Washington Sea Grant; Chair, Executive Committee, National Working Waterfront Network

Nicole Faghin is a coastal management specialist with Washington Sea Grant based at the University of Washington in Seattle. Nicole’s education, outreach, and research focuses on social, economic, and environmental shoreline planning efforts, including working waterfronts. She is on the executive committee of the National Working Waterfronts Network and edits the quarterly newsletter for the organization. She is also involved in developing programs to encourage soft shoreline alternatives to bulkheads and coastal climate adaptation issues facing the planning community in Washington State. Nicole holds a Masters in City Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a law degree from Northeastern University.


1st District, Maine

Chellie Pingree (D-ME) has been a US representative from Maine’s 1st congressional district since 2009 and was a member of the Maine Senate from 1992 to 2000. She currently sits on the House Appropriations Committee, serving on the Subcommittee on Agriculture and the Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment. Pingree has long advocated for federal resources to help coastal communities preserve and expand shoreline access and infrastructure for water-dependent industries, such as fishing, boat building, and aquaculture. In 2017, she introduced HR 1176, the Keep America’s Waterfronts Working Act with Republican Congressman Rob Wittman of Virginia. The bill sought to establish a working waterfront grants program and create a working waterfronts task force to identify needs and convene various federal agencies to collaborate on working waterfronts issues.



Elected in 2014, Senator Gary Peters represents the State of Michigan in the U.S. Senate. Besides serving on multiple committees — including the Senate Armed Services Committee; Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; and the Joint Economic Committee — he is a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, a bipartisan working group made up of Senators representing the states bordering the Great Lakes.

Senator Peters works to help Michigan’s waterfront communities develop smart, forward-thinking strategies to revitalize their local economies and make the most of their water resources. He has been a leader on pushing for enhanced oversight of aging pipelines in the Great Lakes and continues to support robust funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. He also works to protect the Great Lakes from threats ranging from plastic microbeads and Asian carp, to proposed permanent nuclear waste storage.


Marine Extension Associate, Maine Sea Grant

Natalie Springuel is a marine extension associate at Maine Sea Grant and a research associate at College of the Atlantic. Springuel’s extension programs address working waterfronts and coastal access, fisheries heritage, and sustainable tourism planning through research, outreach, and education. She coordinated the second National Working Waterfronts Symposium (2010) in Portland, Maine, and is a co-founder of the National Working Waterfront Network. She has been active with Maine’s Working Waterfront coalition since its inception and is a lead author of several waterfront access resources.