As Executive Director, David serves as the chief executive officer and is responsible for overseeing all operations of the Council, including all associated fishery management, fiscal, and administrative responsibilities. David has worked for the Council since 1992; first as a Plan Coordinator, then as Deputy Director, and as Executive Director since June 2017. Prior to being hired by the Council, David was a marine biologist for the State of Massachusetts, working on resource surveys and stock assessments. David has a Master’s degree in fisheries biology from the University of Massachusetts. Little known facts: David built a dovetailed log cabin with a sawmill using trees from the property. He also holds the current IGFA all-tackle world sport fishing record for walleye pollock.
Diana Evans, Deputy Director
Diana oversees administrative and supervisory direction, and tasking responsibilities. She is also the Council lead on the groundfish and halibut fishery observer program, electronic monitoring, and the development of a Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan. Diana began her career at the Council as a NEPA specialist, after working as a contractor for National Marine Fisheries Service in Hawaii and Alaska on environmental impact statements. Her Master’s degree is in geography, from King’s College London. She joined the Council in 2002 to work on the Alaska Groundfish Programmatic SEIS, and has since worked on a wide variety of projects and fishery management actions, focusing especially on the Council’s ecosystem and habitat projects, and the development of Fishery Ecosystem Plans. Diana’s little known fact? She speaks three languages: English, French, and German. And a smattering of Spanish.
Jim is responsible for coordination of the Gulf of Alaska Groundfish FMP, Salmon FMP, and Scallop FMP. He is also staff lead on Council research priorities and programmatic groundfish management. Prior to being hired in 2014, Jim worked for twelve years as a fishery analyst for the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council in Dover, Delaware, and four years as a stock assessment scientist for the state of North Carolina. Jim has a MS in Fishery and Wildlife Science from NC State University, and a BS in Marine Biology from UNC Wilmington. Little known fact: Jim was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was bitten on the leg by a lion during a grade school field trip.
A New England native, Sara came to NPFMC in 2017 as an Alaska Sea Grant Fellow. Now a fishery analyst, Sara has been primarily working on the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan and IFQ issues. Sara holds a master’s degree in coastal environmental management from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, where she focused on fisheries management and highly migratory species. Before joining the Council, Sara worked seasonally as a fisheries technician for the U.S. Forest Service in Yakutat, Alaska. Little known fact: as a kid, when she couldn’t get to the ocean, Sara would go snorkeling in her family’s hot tub.
Sam is responsible for developing economic and social impact analyses of proposed Council actions. His recent projects have addressed Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries, the Observer Program, and the Halibut & Sablefish IFQ Program. He currently staffs the IFQ Committee and is a member of the Electronic Monitoring Committee. Prior to joining Council staff in 2012 he completed a Master’s degree in environmental management at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment where he focused on resource economics and policy. Little known fact: Sam has a trophy mount of the first fish he ever caught — a 5 inch bream.
Maria Davis, Communications/IT Specialist
If you want to hear a Council meeting that was broadcast in 2004, or want to view the current Council agenda on a mobile device, Maria is the person you’d contact. She’s slowly transitioned the Council to an almost paperless system for meetings and documents, and remains a big advocate for anything digital. Before the Council hired her in 1999 as an administrative assistant, Maria lived in King Salmon, AK, where she had been adventuring. While traipsing the world, Maria finally graduated with a BFA in English and Design from Utah State University. Little known fact: Maria was active in Anchorage’s slam poetry circuit in the early 90s.
Michael provides data and analytical support to Council staff through AKFIN (Alaska Fisheries Information Network). He joined the Council in 2009 and brought 7 years of analytical experience from TD Ameritrade where he was the Manager of Operation Analytics. In 2002 he completed a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of Nebraska. Little known fact: when Michael was young his family would vacation in Arkansas and his Dad would let him keep catfish in the bathtub.
Elizabeth Figus, Fishery Analyst
Elizabeth joined our team in January 2018. She works on the groundfish and halibut fishery observer program, electronic monitoring, development of a Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan, and is a member of the Social Science Planning Team. Elizabeth came to the Council from the Fisheries PhD program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is an interdisciplinary fisheries scientist with a BA in Sociology and International Relations from Mount Holyoke College, and an MA in European Studies from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Little known fact: Elizabeth likes the movie, Beastmaster (1982), so much that she kept 2 ferrets as pets during graduate school.
Shannon Gleason, Administrative Assistant
Shannon is responsible for providing Administrative support to the Council staff as well as acting as the primary support for the Council during its meetings. In addition, Shannon is our event coordinator and contact person for hotel and travel arrangements. Shannon holds a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistic Anthropology from Northern Arizona University. Little known fact: before traversing through New Zealand studying anthropology she majored in theatre – a skill she still uses to this day.
Since starting her career with the Council at age 19, Peggy has performed a variety of administrative duties. Currently she is responsible for publishing the live meeting agenda, keeping it updated and accessible. She helps keep the website current, maintains the Council’s various contact lists, and assists the Advisory Panel with their meeting and minutes. Little known fact: Peg and her 7 sisters won the Matanuska Maid Milk contest in 2005, with a prize trip to Katmai National Park.
Sarah La Belle, Administrative Specialist
Sarah La Belle is the newest member of our council staff. She is additional administrative support for website maintenance and document upkeep; making sure the public has the most current and accurate information as possible. Sarah has a Bachelor of Science in Applied Technologies Leadership with a focus on nonprofit organizations. Little known fact: Sarah has been to 49 of the 50 states- only Rhode Island is left!
Steve started at the NPFMC in 2011, after spending six years as the Polar Marine Program Director for The Nature Conservancy in Alaska where he worked closely with Bering Sea commercial fishing interests to reduce potential impacts to protected species and habitat. Steve has also worked for a private ecological consulting firm, State and University wildlife management departments, oil and gas environmental department, and a donut shop. Steve received his BA in Biology from Whitman College in Walla Walla WA, and a MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University. Steve has been swimming in every ocean, including north of the Arctic Circle, and south of the Antarctic Circle.
Sarah has been an analyst with the NPFMC since 2013. She is responsible for conducting social and economic analysis on proposed Council actions. Most recently, Sarah has lead analyses for issues around the Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands crab rationalization program, the CDQ program and issues related to the halibut/ sablefish commercial IFQ fisheries and halibut charter fishery. Sarah holds a Master’s degree in Resource Economics and Policy from the University of Maine. Prior to NPFMC, she was a research fellow at the National Center for Environmental Economics in Washington, D.C. Little known fact: Sarah cannot handle food spicier than ketchup, but she has been secretly building up her tolerance.
Since re-joining our staff in 2000, Jon has been focusing on allocative issues to include Amendment 80, AFA, BSAI Pacific cod. He is also staff for the Enforcement Committee. Prior to working with the Council, he worked as an economist with the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. Jon has a Master’s degree in resource economics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Little known fact: Jon is a descendent of Francis Billington, a passenger on the Mayflower.
Nicole Schmidt, Finance Officer
Nicole joined the Council in 2017, and performs a variety of accounting duties and a range of budget preparation and analysis in support of the Council’s fiscal responsibilities. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and Marketing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her background includes over 12 years in accounting for corporations, governmental agencies, and non-profits in Alaska. Little known fact: Nicole does not like peanut butter, even in cookies!
Diana is a fishery analyst and the Plan Coordinator for BSAI Groundfish and BSAI Crab. Her recent projects have focused upon salmon bycatch issues in the Bering Sea pollock fishery, overfishing and ACL requirements for groundfish and crab, rebuilding plans for overfished stocks and various conservation and biological issues as they arise in the GOA and BSAI. She holds a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island and is a Fulbright Scholar. Little known fact: She won the Seward Halibut Derby with the first fish she ever caught in Alaska.