For Immediate Release: August 21, 2009
Contact: Chris Macaluso
CPRA Announces Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration Executive Director Hire
BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) announced today the selection of an executive director to lead the authority's execution arm, the Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration (OCPR).
Steve Mathies, Ph.D., (pronounced mat-isse) was selected to serve as the Executive Director of the OCPR following an extensive search generating interest from around the globe. Dr. Mathies has more than 25 years of professional experience in efforts to support the development of public and private efforts to preserve and restore Louisiana's coast.
The Executive Director position and the Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration were created by Act 545 of the 2008 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature (Sen. Reggie Dupre) and Act 523 of the 2009 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature (Rep. Gordon Dove). The executive director is responsible for carrying out hurricane protection and coastal restoration projects approved and funded by the CPRA and for managing the execution office.
"Throughout the search and interview process, we thought that we would have to choose a candidate that brought Corps of Engineers experience, private sector efficiency, an understanding of coastal science or extensive knowledge of Louisiana's hurricane protection and coastal restoration initiatives. Dr. Mathies checks all four boxes -- it's a great fit for the program", CPRA Chairman Garret Graves said.
"Steve Mathies comes highly recommended and with a list of impressive credentials and extensive experience," Rep. Gordon Dove, Chairman of the House of Representatives' Natural Resources and Environment Committee said. "I am looking forward to working with Dr. Mathies and the entire staff of the Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration to build the projects that will restore our wetlands and protect the communities across Louisiana's coast."
A native of St. Tammany Parish, Mathies holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and a doctorate from Mississippi State University in the field of Botany. He comes to the OCPR after most recently serving as the Louisiana Senior Manager for CH2M HILL, an international engineering and design firm.
"I've had the pleasure of working with Steve Mathies since 1986 and he is one of the most personable and proactive people I know," said Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation Director Carlton Dufrechou. "He has demonstrated an ability to unite people and build teams to accomplish a common goal in the past and I have tremendous confidence that he will continue to do so in his vital role as executive director of the Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration."
Mathies' past experience includes serving as the senior manager for several large, complex, multi-agency initiatives such as the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP), headquartered at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, and the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA). His experience also includes serving as Deputy Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources under the first administration of Governor Mike Foster. He has worked extensively in collaborative partnerships between the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and private-sector contractors on efforts to protect and restore the Louisiana coastline.
"The man has a wealth of experience, a very extensive and impressive portfolio, is well represented and respected in the academic community and he appreciates the task he has ahead of him," said R. King Milling, who is the Chairman of both the Louisiana Governor's Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection, Restoration and Conservation and the America's WETLAND Foundation. "Steve (Mathies) has the energy and enthusiasm to come in immediately and move the vitally important effort of restoring our wetlands and protecting our cities and towns forward."
Mathies' accomplishments in building and fostering trusting relationships with agency representatives, area stakeholders, and the general public within these and other similar projects led to public recognition by Governor Foster, the CWPPRA Task Force and the American Planning Association. In 1995, he was selected the "Professional Conservationist of the Year" by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation.
"To be selected to serve my home state as the first Executive Director of this new office is truly an honor and a privilege. I am eager to begin working with the CPRA and OCPR staff to quickly address our most pressing needs and advance the accomplishment of the mission and goals of this important and historic program," Mathies said. "Recent developments and federal appropriations to coastal projects in the State of Louisiana involve $17 billion in projects that are fully-financed and underway with billions more in additional projects authorized for construction by Congress. I look forward to leading the OCPR in the management and construction of these critical coastal projects and look forward to working with Garret Graves and the professionals of the CPRA and OCPR to ensure the success of this program."
The CPRA developed the state's coastal Master Plan which provides a comprehensive, integrated approach and a conceptual vision of a sustainable coast based on the best available science and engineering. The OCPR is responsible for carrying out projects designed to advance the goals of the Master Plan.
For more information about Louisiana's coastal protection and restoration efforts, please contact Chris Macaluso at (225) 342-3972 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's mandate is to develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration master plan. For the first time in Louisiana's history, this single state authority will integrate coastal restoration and hurricane protection by marshalling the expertise and resources of the Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration, and other state agencies, to speak with one clear voice for the future of Louisiana's coast. Working with federal, state and local political subdivisions, including levee districts, the CPRA will work to establish a safe and sustainable coast that will protect our communities, the nation's critical energy infrastructure, and our bountiful natural resources for generations to come. The CPRA of Louisiana was established by Act 8 of the 1st Extraordinary Session of 2005.