Meet the Staff
Staff members may be contacted by writing:
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
10 Ocean Science Circle
Savannah GA 31411
calling (912) 598-2345 or faxing (912) 598-2367.
Staff direct phone numbers and e-mail addresses are included below:
Jody Patterson, Administrative Assistant
Joining Gray's Reef in February 2009 as an administrative volunteer, Jody's ambition is to encourage environmental conservation through increased community involvement in our conservation efforts. A native of SC and recent transplant from Atlanta, her background is in workers compensation insurance and accounting; however she decided a pursuit of one of her life's passions in environmental conservation was a more worthwhile calling. Jody is an organic gardener, naturalist and community volunteer for numerous local organizations. She began working for Gray's Reef in June 2009 as the Administrative Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator and has since begun development of multiple volunteer programs aimed at increasing community involvement and support for our conservation objectives. Jody also manages the administrative office, supports all aspects of programs, coordinates travel and public events, and smiles frequently because she loves her job.
Budget and Information Technology
Debbie Meeks, Financial & IT Coordinator / Webmaster
Debbie Meeks serves as Financial and IT Coordinator and Webmaster for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She joined the staff in June 2005. As Financial Coordinator, she is responsible for providing operations support for all financial operations of the organization, along with procurement, and monitoring of sub-awards. As IT Coordinator, Debbie is responsible for the maintenance and security of the work stations, server and network infrastructure in the Gray's Reef offices. As the Gray's Reef Webmaster, she is responsible for the design, development and maintenance of the organization's website. Debbie's prior information technology experience locally includes 15 years with Union Camp as a Systems Analyst and Project Manager and two years with H.O. Systems as a software developer for wireless communications. Debbie, who moved to Savannah in 1984, is a Georgia native. She holds a BBA in Finance and Banking/Accounting from Valdosta State University, a Microcomputer Specialist Degree from Savannah Technical College, and has completed work towards a MS in Computer Science. Debbie also has experience as an entrepreneur, having co-owned and managed The Monogram Place, a custom embroidery and monogram business/retail shop.
Sarah Fangman, Southeast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region, Program Coordinator
Sarah Fangman is the Program Coordinator for the Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region and works out of the Gray's Reef
National Marine Sanctuary headquarters. Originally from Minneapolis, Minn, Sarah moved to Vermont to complete her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies and Biology
at Middlebury College. She completed her Master of Science in Marine Affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. During the completion of her Masters, Sarah
had an internship with NOAA and then was awarded a place in NOAA's Presidential Management Fellowship Program. She has worked with NOAA ever since. She is also a NOAA
Advanced Working Diver and Divemaster, and has been a certified diver since college.
George Sedberry, Southeast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region, Sanctuary Science Coordinator &
Gray's Reef, Acting Superintendent
George Sedberry grew up on the Chesapeake Bay, where he completed a B.S. degree in Biology at Old Dominion University, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Science at the College of William and Mary. He is currently Sanctuary Science Coordinator for the Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. From 2007-2013, he was Superintendent of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary, and prior to joining NOAA's sanctuary program, he spent 27 years at the Marine Resources Research Institute in Charleston SC, as Assistant Director and Senior Marine Scientist. His interests and experience are in the biology, conservation and management of marine fishes, as well as deep-sea biology and coral-reef ecology. Most of his research has concentrated on reefs of subtropical and temperate waters off the southeastern U.S., including Gray's Reef, but he has conducted research on Marine Protected Areas in Belize and Madeira, and on population biology of fishes from the North and South Atlantic, Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, and the western South Pacific. He served on the Marine Protected Areas Advisory Panel and the Snapper/Grouper Assessment Panel of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC), the board of the Southeast Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence and is past president of the SC Marine Educators Association. He was a member of the US National Committee for the recently-completed International Census of Marine Life, and he currently serves on the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the SAFMC. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the College of Charleston, University of South Carolina, and Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and has authored over 100 publications on marine fishes and ecosystems.
Education and Outreach
Cathy Sakas, Education Coordinator
Cathy serves as Education Coordinator of NOAA Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary coming aboard in October 1998. In that capacity she creates educational programs and products for use in the classroom as well as conducts workshops to help educators better prepare to teach ocean science in their classrooms. Cathy also teaches programs via distance learning television about Gray's Reef, North Atlantic Right Whales, the National Marine Sanctuary Program, the Altamaha River Watershed, and Manatees to middle and high school students throughout the state of Georgia as well as to many other states across the country. She also facilitates the Education and Outreach Steering Committee of the Southeastern US Implementation Team of the North Atlantic Right Whale Recovery Plan. Additionally she manages a program wide effort to passively record underwater sounds at each of the 14 sites within the National Marine Sanctuary Program. So far her favorite jobs at Gray's Reef besides her regular education duties have involved being a NOAA scientific diver and a certified pilot of a one-person submersible called DeepWorker 2000. In September 2001 she became an Aquanaut spending nine days in the underwater habitat called Aquarius with three other scientists and two technical staff. Cathy holds a B.S. in Biology and an M.ED. in Science from Armstrong-Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia.
Amy Rath, Communications and Outreach Coordinator
Amy Rath is the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Originally from Savannah,
Georgia, her passion for the natural environment and sense of adventure led her to Alaska where she enjoyed a rewarding and adventurous life and
career for nearly a decade.
While in Alaska, she obtained a B.S. degree in Geography and Geology and she is now completing a M.S. degree in Natural Resource Management and
Geography with the University of Alaska. Amy joins the Sanctuary team with a diverse marine research and science communications background that
enables her to interpret science and disseminate information to the public for generating awareness of and stewardship for Gray's Reef.
Outside of work, she can often be found mucking around the intertidal or paddling through a salt marsh.
Chris is happy to be assigned to Gray's Reef for his 3 year shore tour. As Vessel Operations Coordinator he works with Chief Scientists to schedule the vessels for their operational needs. He also accounts for the marine operations budget and maintenance of the vessels. Chris is a NOAA Working Diver looking forward to some exciting diving at Gray's Reef. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, Chris joined the U.S. Air Force after high school and traveled to various bases around the world as an aircraft mechanic. After his Air Force tour he attended college at UMASS Boston and received a BS degree in Geography with a GIS Certificate. While attending college, Chris found his love for the water by working as a deck hand for a tug and oil response team in Boston harbor. After college Chris joined the Vermont Army National Guard and served as a crew chief on Blackhawk helicopters. He deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Medavacs and ironically found out about NOAA while operating in the desert. After his Iraq tour, Chris returned to Boston to work on the water again and acquired his 100GT USCG License. Chris joined the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps and has enjoyed his career learning new and exciting aspects of the marine environment.
Captain Todd Recicar, Marine Operations Coordinator
Todd Recicar is the Vessel Captain for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. He started full time with Gray's Reef in June of 2007. After receiving a BS in Biology at Florida State University, he completed two Marine Education Internships; one at Newfound Harbor Marine Institute in Big Pine Key, Florida and the second at the University of Georgia's Marine Education Center and Aquarium in Savannah. After the completion of these internships, he worked as a research technician at the University of Georgia's Shellfish Research Laboratory in 1999. Prior to becoming a Gray's Reef employee he worked for 5 1/2 years as second mate on the 92 foot Research Vessel Savannah which is operated by the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. Todd is a NOAA Working Diver and carries a 100GT USCG license.
Becky Shortland, Resource Protection Coordinator
Becky Shortland serves as the Resource Protection Coordinator for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary overseeing the Sanctuary Advisory Council, marine resource protection actions and other management plan related activities. Becky joined the sanctuary in 1998. Prior to Gray's Reef Becky was Vice President for Coastal Programs with The Georgia Conservancy. She grew up in Swarthmore, PA, but has lived in Savannah, Georgia for the past 32 years learning about and enjoying the coastal and marine environment.