MARCO is very pleased to welcome Elizabeth (Liz) Semple of the New Jersey Coastal Program within the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) as the new MARCO Chair, as of July 2017. The MARCO Chair is a two-year position that rotates among the five-member states and is responsible for convening MARCO business meetings, building consensus and providing leadership on vision and programmatic direction. The Chair also frequently represents MARCO to the public and serves as supervisor of the MARCO Executive Director who in turn guides the day-to-day implementation of MARCO programmatic efforts.
Liz Semple has been with NJDEP for over 28 years in various leadership positions. Liz is currently the Manager of the New Jersey Office of Coastal and Land Use Planning (OCLUP). OCLUP administers the New Jersey Coastal Management Program which addresses some of today’s most pressing coastal issues, including sustainable and resilient coastal community planning, ocean planning, encouraging the use of ecologically based hazard mitigation strategies, and public access planning. Liz serves as one of two of New Jersey’s representatives on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body and Co-Leads the Non-Consumptive Recreation Work Group.
Laura McKay of the Virginia Coastal Management Program served as MARCO Chair for the past two years. Under Laura’s leadership MARCO has brought in significant programmatic funding to support regional ocean planning and resilience work and as State Co-Lead for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body’s (Mid-A RPB), Laura played a lead role in the finalization of the Regional Ocean Action Plan. She has been a tireless leader and will continue to play an active role as the Virginia representative to MARCO. Laura will also continue in her role as State Co-lead on the Mid-A RPB and as co-lead of several RPB Work Groups including Ecologically Rich Areas, Marine Debris, Ocean Acidification, and the Ocean Mapping Data Team to support the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal.