Shown on Success Stories Page
Close to 50% of the Lynker team are women. We proudly honor these women who lead, innovate, and inspire us. In the spirit of Women’s History Month, we are recognizing our exceptional female workforce for their valuable contributions, a few of whom are highlighted below.
Erica Towle, Ph.D.
National Coral Reef Monitoring Program Coordinator, Silver Spring, MD
Erica manages NOAA’s National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP), which is a nationally and internationally recognized coral reef monitoring program covering all U.S. coral reef areas in both the Pacific and Atlantic. The program is unique in that in addition to monitoring benthic, fisheries, and climate data on coral reefs, socioeconomic monitoring is also incorporated. Conservation cannot be achieved without an informed and engaged public, so having a social science component to her work is key. Erica’s job entails coordinating and budgeting field survey missions, liaising between the different NOAA labs and offices that execute different components of the monitoring, overseeing data stewardship, and leading the production of tools/products/reports using NCRMP data.
Erica grew up outside of New York City, but Cape Cod is her happy place. She has two degrees from the University of Miami, and she serves on the board of the University of Miami Alumni Association Board of Directors for the D.C. area. In her free time, she loves to do SoulCycle.
Research Specialist, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Maui, HI
Eden has worked in Hawaii for over ten years with private, state, and federal organizations. Her professional experience includes expertise in passive acoustic monitoring, marine mammal research, scientific diving, animal husbandry, logistics coordination, and protected species management. In her current role as Research Specialist at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, she leads the field operations and vessel transect efforts. Additionally, she spends the majority of her time analyzing regional acoustic data for the national SanctSound project which aims to better understand underwater sound within national marine sanctuaries. A highlight of her work was in 2019 when she was the Chief Scientist aboard the R/V Searcher to Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. She led an all female science team to deploy five acoustic recording packages throughout the monument. While her focus is now on humpback whales, her prior work focused on additional cetacean species, pinnipeds, fish, marine invertebrates, and effects of anthropogenic noise in the marine environment. In addition to her work, she loves all animals (especially her dog Jordan), coffee, travelling internationally, and experiencing different cultures.
Communications and Policy Specialist, NOAA National Ocean Service Office of Coast Survey, Silver Spring, MD
During a regular day, Alexis supports two programs within Coast Survey – the Communications Program and the International Program. She spends much of her time participating in and running virtual meetings and coordinating with a variety of stakeholders within Coast Survey, U.S. interagency partners, and with international partners all over the world. She regularly works on high level briefing documents, policy memos, and meeting agendas. Additionally, she supports communications activities like the Coast Survey staff newsletter, the Coast Survey blog, assisting on press releases, and running all of Coast Survey’s social media accounts (follow us on Twitter and Facebook @noaacharts)!
Alexis grew up on University of Delaware’s campus and loves traveling home from DC regularly to see family. She has two cats named Freya and Pacha, and in her free time she loves to hike and dance!
Coastal Resource Specialist, NOAA Office for Coastal Management Pacific Islands Region, Honolulu, HI
Tina has a multifaceted position that facilitates coastal management and resilience in the U.S. Pacific Island region. She coordinates the Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana, an initiative to build strong partnerships that help us plan and prepare for natural hazards and disasters brought in the Pacific Islands. She helps to host a yearly conference that brings together hundreds of people from Hawai’i, Guam, CNMI, American Samoa, and the greater international Pacific. Another facet of her position is to serve as a liaison to the He’eia National Estuarine Research Reserve on the island of O’ahu, where she supports indigenous resource management and knowledge to build community, social, economic, and environmental resilience. She is also a part of a team that guides the West Hawai’i Habitat Focus Area and the Hawaiian Islands Sentinel Sites Cooperative, two programs that connect local communities with the latest science and research on climate and environmental change to help communities better manage their coastal resources.
Librarian/Archivist, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC), Honolulu, HI
Jaci facilitates the use of the PIFSC Library by research scientists, providing scientific publications regarding the Pacific Islands and fisheries. She searches various databases pertinent to fisheries, marine mammal protection, oceanography, and socioeconomics, just to name a few! She collaborates with other librarians across NOAA’s network of libraries to share ideas and techniques in order to support the needs of their colleagues. She conducts the final steps to process all PIFSC publications by ensuring all documents are assigned a DOI (digital object identifier), meets section 508 accessibility requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and are submitted to the NOAA Institutional Repository (the organizations’ document archive) with the appropriate metadata.
Jaci grew up in Maine and later moved to coastal North Carolina. In Maine, she participated in ski racing, soccer, and many outdoor activities. In North Carolina, she received her undergraduate degree from East Carolina University and also obtained her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Living on the coast, she’s had the opportunity to participate in many marine debris removal projects, and observed several sea turtle nesting seasons. She also volunteered at a local elementary school library and public library, which is where she found her passion for library sciences. Jaci is an avid traveler and despite the odds and several delays due to COVID-19, married her husband last year in Edinburg, Scotland.
Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IOCM) Executive Secretariat, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD
Amber supports the execution of coordination for the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping team. She manages the website and helps with development for communication, hosts meetings, and runs monthly seminars through OneNOAA science seminars. She is also the Executive Secretariat for the Interagency Working Group – Ocean and Coastal Mapping. She manages documents that go to the White House and congress, she runs national meetings during the week with 13 partner agencies, she hosts symposiums and summits for NOAA and partner, and she coordinates communication for interagency mapping with the IOCM team. She works with the OCS front office and beyond.
Amber was Miss Earth Maryland and won the National interview award, Miss Congeniality, and was Top 15 at the national competition with her Ocean Sustainability platform!
Human Resources Manager, Leesburg, VA
Danielle is a Certified Professional in Human Resources with the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). She works on talent acquisition, organizational development, workforce planning, compliance, training, benefits administration, compensation management, and performance management to name a few. Her workday is different every day. Danielle chose to work in HR because she’s passionate about making a difference. She does this by serving Lynker and its employees. She helps shape the culture of the organization by keeping compliant with ever-changing laws, offering new benefits, hosting employee events, and developing career paths for employees. She recognizes it’s hard work, but she enjoys making Lynker one of the best places to work. HR is a strategic partner in an organization. She influences the future of the company based on employment decisions, whether that’s creating new policies, training & development programs, hiring & termination decisions, or guiding employees through their career. In her position, Danielle is changing lives. She’s helping the right person fill critical roles. She helps employees provide benefits and financial security to their families. She coaches and guides employees and managers through the performance management process. She helps employees through some of the most pivotal events in their lives, marriage, divorce, adoption, birth of a child, disability, retirement, and even death. It brings her satisfaction to help employees thrive in their careers and help Lynker fulfill its mission and vision, while creating long-lasting bonds through the process. She always says, you can’t work in Human Resources without a love for people and the company you work for. She loves what she does and she loves doing it for Lynker.
Graphics and Web Analytics Specialist, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, Charleston, SC
Hansje’s job focuses on web statistics, usability, and graphics. She helps process data from multiple sources for the many web pages that are hosted at the NOAA Office for Coastal Management and creates both visual and written reports to help content owners gauge performance and identify areas of improvement. The information is part of what is used to help determine project priorities. Web maintenance is another area of focus. In addition to the statistics, she checks pages for broken links and other issues that might impact the quality of the user experience and the overall search engine ranking. When products are due to be updated or new ideas need to be tested, Hansje helps coordinate both internal and external usability tests. This involves “testing” websites to determine if they are intuitive, and making modifications where needed. Making sure our content can be accessed by all is an important aspect of her job. She makes sure all PDFs and videos posted to the web meet or exceed the federal criteria for accessibility. In addition to the technical aspects of her work, there is also a creative side. Photography, video, drawing, graphic design, and video production are all skills that she uses in her job.
As the daughter of a diplomat, Hansje grew up all over the world before settling in South Carolina for grad school and her job. Prior to her position at Lynker, she taught languages and SCUBA diving. She has since become a kayak instructor and 4th degree black belt. She takes pictures to help foster children get adopted. Her family spends every Sunday at the beach with their two dogs. The ocean will always be her happy place!
Senior Communications Specialist, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, Charleston, SC
Every day Caitlyn’s specific task might change, but her goal is the same: to share the data, tools, training, and resources from NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management with local managers working to mitigate the impacts of climate change in their communities. Working with project teams, she uses social media, newsletters, and other forms of communication to spread the word about these helpful (and free!) resources. Caitlyn also works with the National Coastal Zone Management Program and within the regions to share the amazing work and impacts they’re contributing to their communities with leaders in Congress, NOAA, and the National Ocean Service.
While Cailyn grew up in the Great Lakes state of Ohio, she’s lived in Charleston since graduating from her masters program in 2012. In her free time, she enjoys running marathons and instilling a love for the coast and ocean in her almost 4 year old son.
Papahanaumokuakea Marine Debris Project’s (PMDP) Lynker staff, in partnership with USFWS, removed 82,000 pounds of hurricane debris from Lalo (the French Frigate Shoal), a remote atoll within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, that provides essential habitat for nesting seabirds, threatened green sea turtles, and endangered Hawaiian monk seals. For 16 days they collected derelict fishing nets, plastics and hurricane debris including lumber, roofing, steel cable, scrap metal, boat hulls, tires, and fiberglass.
“Papahanaumokuakea is the most amazing landscape on earth, both ecologically and culturally, and one that sustains our most vulnerable Hawaiian wildlife species,” said Lynker’s Kevin O’Brien. “Picture tiny sandy islands where nearly every square foot of land is used by seabirds, turtles and seals for critical nesting, burrowing, basking and pupping. So it’s a good feeling when we come away from one of these cleanups with a massive pile of rubbish, because each pound of debris removed from this landscape directly translates into square footage of new, safe, available space for wildlife to use. This type of tangible positive action is what our organization works to provide for the wildlife of Papahanaumokuakea.”
Lynker’s Water Resources Scientist, Ryan Spies, gave a presentation on “The cost of climate-inaction” at the TEDx 2020 Climate Countdown. TED Countdown is a worldwide movement to find ways to shift, more rapidly, to a world with net zero greenhouse emissions and tackle the climate crisis. Click here for the full presentation. The Cost of Climate Inaction
Climate change will continue to increase our risks to extreme weather events. Businesses and communities are looking to understand what to expect in terms of damages, added expenses, and lost revenues in the coming decades. What is the cost of doing nothing in the face of climate change? We have the resources to explore this question – check out the State of Colorado’s Future Avoided Cost Explorer (FACE:Hazards). By understanding the dollar value price tag of future extreme weather events, we can make the financial case for investing in our resilience. This information will help us make data-driven decisions that will ultimately save money and help prevent hardships for our communities and economies.
Lynker is pleased to announce that we have received an award from Hawaii County’s CARES Act funding to support families and children in need as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. Our Sustainable Pacific Program, working with and through three non-profits (as mentioned in the attached video) – Montessori Education Center of Hawaii (MECH), Kama‘aina Kids, and Friends of the Future – secured funding to support social distancing requirements for MECH students, emergency childcare for essential workers and other families, and community food assistance in the Waimea area. Funding will also be used for personal protective equipment, additional staffing, scholarships, and enhanced cleaning costs related to COVID19 at MECH and the Kama‘aina Kids facility. Funding for Friends of the Future will help them continue the Grab-n-Go meal program that has provided meals twice per week to the community since the pandemic began in March 2020, and allow them to provide daily lunches to children at Kama‘aina Kids. These worthy causes dovetail nicely with Lynker’s regional focus on Pacific Island communities and science education.
Said Ms. Sarah Pautzke, Lynker’s local project coordinator for this effort, “We could not be happier for these organizations. They have all, in their own way, stepped up to meet the challenges posed to Waimea area families by this pandemic – as have many others. We are so thankful to Hawaii County for supporting these efforts and we at Lynker are honored to provide project management and coordination support!”
Lynker is a proud partner of Malama Kai Foundation (MKF), providing human resource services for its executive director position, as well as grant development support. For those of you who have not heard of MKF they are a Hawaii based non-profit best-known for its support of Hawaii’s Day-Use Mooring Buoy Program, Reef Talks, and Ocean Warriors. Now, there’s another way that MKF is helping our community! MKF has received a grant from the County of Hawaii, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to fund youth scholarships in partnership with Jack’s Diving Locker and The Nakoa Foundation. Jack’s Diving Locker is providing an award winning line-up of snorkel and scuba camps for kids ages 6-18 and The Nakoa Foundation offers day-camps based on sailing, and Hawaiian culture and language focusing on social tolerance and environmental responsibility through the perpetuation of cultural traditions and practices aboard traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoes. To learn more about Malama Kai Foundation.
As this year’s bottomfish fishery-independent survey comes to a close, the fishermen participating in the survey have met the challenges of the pandemic to once again produce an incredibly robust data set. The bottomfish caught during the survey which are highly prized by local community are normally provided as bio-samples to the life history staff at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center for use in the fishery stock assessment, but only the otoliths (bones in the ears that can be used to determine age) and the gonads are all that is necessary for analysis while the fillets are discarded. In an effort to give back to the community in some small way, Lynker has piloted a program to donate the fillets from bottomfish bio-samples to help feed the local community, which has become a case study in ‘ohana’.
Our first bottomfish donation (about 20 lbs of mixed opakapaka, ehu, kalekale and hapu’upu’u fillets) was caught on Nathan Abe’s boat, Ride On, while surveying off of the Big Island. The fish were shipped to Oahu, and delivered to Ashley Watts, owner of the sustainable seafood distribution non-profit, Local I’a (Local I’a | Community Supported Fishery | Hawaii). Ashley’s fish cutter, Rodel, then filleted the fish at the commercial kitchen Ashley shares with Ed Kenny’s (Ed Kenney) Mud Hen Water restaurant and donated to Ka’iulani Odom, program manager for Kokua Kalihi Valley which provides meals and organic produce to local at-risk seniors (among many other groups).
This level of cooperation serves as a reminder of the connectedness of communities in the Islands, and that we really are “all in this together”. Many thanks to the cooperative research fishers, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center’s lead, Ben Richards, and the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group’s Clay Tam for supporting this pilot as well as Local I’a and Kokua Kalihi Valley for their inspirational commitment to the community.
Ashley Watts (Local I’a) and Ka’iulani Odom (KKV) with the donated bottomfish fillets (above), Ashley Watts holds a donated Opakapaka while Rodel processes the donated fish (right)
“Great job! Forest ties to the project in terms of benefits beyond the science is huge in putting this project at a whole different level from others. As benefits from the project go direct to helping /feeding our island community! ” – Clay Tam.
Lynker’s Port Coordinator, Forest O’Neill, with a nice Opakapaka!
In the past two decades, Colorado has experienced wildfires, sustained droughts, and intense flood events – natural hazards that have had significant impacts on the Colorado economy. The State of Colorado recognizes that these hazards can be exacerbated as climate change intensifies the severity of events, and a growing population puts more people into harm’s way. In response, the Colorado Department of Public Safety, in collaboration with the Colorado Water Conservation Board and FEMA, commissioned a statewide assessment of current and future risks from flood, drought, and wildfire.
The project expresses risk in terms of monetary impacts to select sectors of the Colorado economy, including private housing, public infrastructure, agriculture, and tourism. The information assembled can be used to stimulate the implementation of smart adaptation strategies and policy frameworks that strengthen vulnerable sectors in a rapidly changing environment. The analysis, led by Lynker Technologies, takes a probabilistic approach to quantify and monetize current risks in terms of expected annual damage (EAD). Models of each sector’s vulnerability to flood, drought, or wildfire were run with future climate and population conditions to estimate how those expected damages might change by the year 2050. For flooding and wildfire, the impacts to commercial buildings, residential buildings, and infrastructure are similar to the types of impacts that Hazus is designed to quantify and follow the Hazus methodologies closely. For drought, the monetary impacts focused on reduced economic output from agriculture and recreation.
As a semi-arid, headwater state with terrain ranging from the High Plains to Rocky Mountains, Colorado is exposed to major economic impacts from floods, droughts, and wildfires. Recent events such as the 2013 flood, the 2002 drought, and 2012 wildfire season are examples of the physical magnitude and economic damages such hazards can exact. These extreme events are becoming more severe and potentially more frequent as global climate dynamics change regional patterns.
Researchers expect floods to increase in severity, droughts to deepen and become more spatially expansive, and wildfire seasons to become longer with more acres burned in a warming climate. In addition, Colorado’s growing population is projected to reach between 7.7 and 9.3 million by 2050. With more residents comes greater natural hazard exposure if floodplain margins become developed, agricultural land shrinks, and the number of people in the wildland urban interface increases.
The first step to understanding and preparing for these events is to assess the possible risks—both now and in the future. This is done by quantifying the difference in economic costs between historic relationships and modeled future scenarios. Tasked by the Colorado Department of Public Safety to perform such an analysis, the objective of this project is to estimate the expected costs of floods, droughts, and wildfires to a selection of economic sectors under historic and future climate and population scenarios.
These sectors varied by the hazard being examined. For flooding, we evaluated impacts to buildings and bridges. For drought, we examined agricultural—crops and cattle—and outdoor recreation—skiing and rafting—impacts. For wildfire, we again analyzed buildings and also computed the cost of suppression, which is the amount the state spends to fight and extinguish ongoing fires. In total, we analyzed eight sectors, all of which have experienced observed economic damages in the tens of millions to billions of dollars due to natural hazards.
View and explore the FACE: Hazards dashboards to understand how changes in global climate patterns can lead to more frequent and intense hazards in Colorado.
The Eastern Snake Plain region of Idaho produces approximately 21 percent of the state’s goods and services, resulting in an estimated value of $10 billion annually, and water is the critical element in the region’s productivity. The development of both groundwater and surface-water water use across the Eastern Snake Plain has led to conjunctive management of the common water resource. In an on-going contract with the Idaho Ground Water Appropriators (IGWA), Lynker provides oversight on both development of a regional groundwater model of the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer (ESPAM) and its application in water resource management. ESPAM is a groundwater model developed by the State of Idaho as a tool to help quantify the impacts of current water use practices and/or proposed alternatives on the common water resource of the State across the Eastern Snake Plain.
Over the course of the multi-year, multi-task relationship, Lynker has provided the following services to the groundwater appropriators: water rights and expert witness support, groundwater modeling, conjunctive used analysis, consumptive use modeling, development and review of mitigation plans, and hydrologic baseline and historical water use analysis.