This month, we hosted our 15th All Hands meeting, and it’s hard to capture how it feels to watch so many people working together for the good of the Gulf the way GOMA people do.  To prove it, here are some of the unique things about our meeting in Gulf Shores on June 10-13:

  • 6 Priority Issue Team Meetings
  • 3 Cross-Team Initiative Meetings
  • 19 tools at the Tools Café
  • 20 different workshops or meetings
  • 30 sponsors
  • 425 attendees
  • Countless waves crashing along the beautiful Gulf Shores beaches

Among countless other things, we celebrated new Gulf Star partners; we explored how ecotourism is a large part of coastal Alabama’s tourism portfolio; we showed off GOMA projects to our Business Advisory Council; we connected with our partners in the National Association of Counties; and we conducted six priority issue team meetings and three cross-team meetings.

We did it with an army of people that volunteer their time to plan, organize, and facilitate all the details that have to happen for such a successful meeting.  All of these people have other jobs that they are paid to do, so their time spent on GOMA activities is invaluable.  Specifically, I’d like to publicly acknowledge the following Team Chairs, Coordinators, Facilitators, and Ambassadors for their extra effort in making the 2019 meeting a success:

Coastal Resilience – Rhonda Price and Kristen Kapiotis
Data & Monitoring – Dave Reed, Stephanie Erikson, Katie Wallace, and Julie Bosch
Education & Engagement – Angela Underwood, Lee Yokel, Amy Clark, Jeanne Allen, and Ilka Porter
Habitat Resources – Jim Pahl, Lauren Durr, Ray Newby, Rene Baumstark, and George Ramseur
Water Resources – Kim Caviness-Reardon, Ann Porter, Jill Csekitz
Wildlife & Fisheries – Robin Riechers and Mike Smith
Marine Debris – Caitlin Wessel
Ecosystem Services Assessment – Becky Allee
Conservation, Restoration, & Resilience Planning – Jim Pahl, Rhonda Price, and Robin Riechers
GOMA Ambassadors – Todd Davison, Phillip Hinesley, Lael Butler, Larry Handley, and Chris Pease

GOMA only works because there are people out there that believe working together brings exponential results.  So, thank you – you are what makes GOMA work!

A special thanks to our 2019 All Hands sponsors – it’s because of you we can have a cost-effective meeting!

By Laura Bowie, Executive Director, Gulf of Mexico Alliance