2013 Wolf Bay Watershed Watch Board
It takes many dedicated individuals to do the good work that is done by Wolf Bay Watershed Watch. WBWW has a strong, dedicated board that works together to ensure that all tasks are completed.
This article presents the bios of the board members along with each member's role on the WBWW board.
Leslie Lassiter Gahagan, President (2011-2013)
Leslie grew up along Hammock Creek enjoying fishing, floundering, and exploring the wetlands and woods. Her paternal great grandparents moved to Wolf Bay in the thirties. Her maternal great grandparents moved to the Elberta area in 1909. She is a 1992 graduate of Foley High School and received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Alabama in 1999 with a major in marine biology and a minor in chemistry. In 2007, Leslie obtained designation as a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control.
Leslie is a divorced mother of four children, Colin, Drew, Morgan, and Emmy. They reside on the same property in which her great grandparents settled off of Wolf Bay.
Leslie joined Wolf Bay Watershed Watch in 1998 as a water quality monitor. In 2000 she gained employment with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management as a construction stormwater inspector. Leslie became the stormwater coordinator for the Mobile Region working mainly in Baldwin County. She currently works for the City of Foley as the Environmental Manager. Her career centers on environmental issues including stormwater management, erosion and sediment control and development of environmental ordinances and regulations.
In her spare time she serves on the Elberta Planning Commission, Coastal Clean Water Partnership, Baldwin County Environmental Advisory Board, and attends St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church. She also enjoys visiting the beach and watching football.
Tommy Patterson, Vice-President (2012-2014)
Tommy was born and raised in Gainesville, Georgia around Lake Lanier. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Forest Management in 1972.
He began his forestry career with the Alabama Forestry Commission (state agency) in 1974 as a field forester in NW Alabama. In 1980 he was promoted to the AFC State Headquarters Office in Montgomery to manage several statewide forestry programs. Later, those programs included computer management and Best Management Practices for forestry (water quality as it relates to forest management). He finished his state career (after 28 years) as an assistant regional forester trying to manage wildfire control and forest landowner assistance in 17 counties.
After retiring in 2003, Tommy and his wife Lillie, bought their home on Wolf Bay and began their new lives on the coast. They have three daughters and three grandchildren. They have been WBWW members for several years and have helped out in several of the organizations projects. Tommy is also a member of the community singing group, Coastal Chorale.
Tommy loves to fish and sail and do most anything else that can be done on the water. He got certified as a SCUBA diver in 2001 just so he could see what was down below. He has a strong desire to enhance our waters and waterways for present and future generations.
For most of his life, Tommy has had a passion for flying radio controlled airplanes and helicopters. In 2005 he decided to try his hand at being an entrepreneur and created Gulf Coast Aerials. This unique business performs aerial photography from a radio controlled helicopter, a fifty foot robotic mast or from a full size aircraft. You can check out his portfolio at www.gulfcoastaerials.com He has provided many aerial photos of the Wolf Bay Watershed to WBWW.
Simone Lipscomb, Recording Secretary (2012-2014)
Simone Lipscomb is a nature writer, photographer and graphic designer who extensively documented the Gulf Oil Spill. She wrote an illustrated children's book about the spill and has published a photography book related to the personal and spiritual connection nature affords us. She visits school groups, scout groups, churches and community groups to share audio/visual presentations on environmental stewardship. She is currently planning workshops for individuals and groups interested in healing their disconnection from our water planet. These are modeled after Joanna Macy's Work That Reconnects.
Simone graduated from Foley High School and has a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University in Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management. She has a master's degree from Auburn University in Montgomery in Counselor Education. She worked at Gulf State Park as Naturalist before pursuing her graduate degree. She is an avid scuba diver ("retired" scuba instructor), cave diver, and SUP boarder. She has a 27 year old daughter who has a degree from Auburn in Microbiology and lives in Michigan.
Sandi Caudill, Coresponding Secretary (2011-2013)
I have been a resident of the area since October, 2004, having become involved with WBWW within a short time after moving here. The previous 13 years were spent in the Montgomery area, where my husband, Doug, and I were both employees of the State Department of Industrial Relations, Unemployment Compensation. I was a state employee for a total of 37 1/2 years prior to retirement in July, 2004. We retired the same day to begin this adventure together.
I was raised in Birmingham, graduated from Montevallo University, and lived in Gadsden and Selma, but when Doug and I moved to Mobile, I knew I was home. We were there for about 18 years prior to Montgomery and it was during that time that we grew to love the Alabama Gulf Coast and planned to be here when we retired. When we discovered the WBWW, it was a perfect fit for us, as we are firm believers in doing what we can to save the wonders that God gave us. We have been water monitors since April, 2006, and assist with the plant, trash & treasures sales. I have worked at the WBWW greenhouse for the past couple of years.
In addition to WBWW, we are members of the First Baptist Church of Foley and are involved with the Share the Beach program. That involves a nice walk on the beach at least once a week from May thru August and monitoring sea turtle nests, then being there when they hatch to do whatever we can to ensure that the babies get to the water. We see quicker results from this than from our efforts with WBWW!
Doug enjoys hunting and fishing, but my pursuits are a bit lazier. Although I do enjoy a nice boat ride, lazing in the pool, reading, cross stitching, and other projects are more my speed. Together, we will tackle just about any project that presents itself.
Leo Ramos, Comptroller (2013-2015)
Leo, his wife Wanda and their three children moved from Pensacola to Miflin Creek in June of 1979 because they enjoyed Wolf Bay. They moved into an historic ferry house on Co. Rd. 20. at Miflin Creek. Leo is a retired metrology engineer for the US Navy in a measuring standards laboratory. Leo has much to keep him occupied including his rental units, his CPA business, his vessel mooring business, Wolf Bay WW, hunting and fishing, and other endeavors. Leo loves to hunt and fish. He fishes for mullet, redfish, trout, bream, and shrimp in Wolf Bay. Before so many people showed up he hunted deer.
Leo has been a water monitor since 1998 and was Monitor of the Year in 1999. He currently monitors two sites: Gum Branch @ Miflin Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway @ the Orange Beach Sewer Outfall. At one time he monitored from his dock, too.
Leo and Wanda have hosted several Christmas parties and always help with the Trash & Treasures Sales. Leo is the Chairman of the Youth Education Committee and he and Wanda were involved with the Baldwin Co. Water Festival last year. They have also been very involved with developing the Wolf Bay Watershed Management Plan. Leo has been on the Wolf Bay Board of Directors as the Treasurer for several years and has recently changed positions to Comptroller.
Sylvia Womack, Disbursing Officer (2011-2013)
Sylvia is an Alabama native, born in Repton, Al.
She has two children, a son, Dr. William A. Womack, Dr. of Anesthesiology at Thomas Hospital; a daughter, Tanya Fratto-Blair, President of Diamond Innovations with Sandvik Corporation and two granddaughters, Lauren and Rebecca Womack.
Sylvia was a Manager/Lender with Baldwin Co. Savings Bank in Bay Minette, moved to Florida and accepted the position of Vice President, Human Resources/Payroll for SouthTrust Bank, NW Florida. She retired in 2004 and moved back to Baldwin County.
Hobbies include reading, water sports, gardening, exercise, concerts/plays and volunteering. She is presently a volunteer with WolfBay Watershed, Board member of Foley Library, Clothes Closet, Officer in Foley Women's Club member of NewComers Club and a member of the Elks Lodge. She is a member of First Baptist Church of Foley.
Background; Weaver Airline School, Faulkner State University, Chipola College and Institute of Financial Education.
Strengths - Organizational skills and communication skills
Sylvia's goal is to help preserve this beautiful area for our families and future generations to come.
Jo Hellmich, Education Chairperson (2013-2015)
University of South Alabama, 1992
Early Childhood Education Endorsement
Troy University, 1979
B.S. Elementary Education
- 1993-Present: Baldwin County Board of Education
Silverhill Elementary School
5th and 6th grade Science ’07-Present
6th grade Science and Language Arts ‘06-‘07
2nd grade self-contained classroom ’96-‘06
3rd grade self-contained classroom ’94-‘95
4th grade self-contained classroom ’93-’94 and ‘95-‘96
- 1992-1993: Baldwin County Board of Education
Gulf Shores Elementary School (Self-contained classroom, grade 4)
- 1980-1981: Tuscaloosa County Board of Education
Walker Elementary School (Self-contained classroom, grade 6)
- 1979-1980: Baldwin County Board of Education
Perdido Junior High School (Self-contained classroom, grade 6)
2004-2006 President: Alabama Aerospace Teachers Association
2004-2006 District X Representative: Alabama Science Teachers Association
2005 Camp Liftoff (Lead teacher for week long elementary science camp)
2005 NASA Science Mission Directorate: Earth Science Education Product Review Panel
2004-2005 Alabama State Department of Education,
Alabama Course of Study: Science Committee Member (publication of state science standards)
2004 NASA Science Mission Directorate: Earth Science Education Product Review Panel
2004-Present: Science/Technology Mentor: Silverhill Elementary School
2003 National Science Teachers Association: LYSOL/NSTA Science and Your Health Challenge Award
2003-Present: Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center Ambassador
2002-Present: Science Fair Chairperson, Silverhill Elementary School
2002-Present: Building a Presence for Science Point of Contact
2002 NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory Instructional Lessons Standards Alignment Review Panel
Science Conference Presentations
2005 Dec. 15: Baldwin County Board of Education, Alabama Science Standards
2005 June 27-July 1: Baldwin County Board of Education, Aerospace Week Activities
2004 Oct. 28-29: Alabama Science Teachers Association, Mysterious Meteorites
2003 Oct. 24: Alabama Science Teachers Association, A Few of My Favorite Science Things
Science Conference Presentations (continued)
2003 July 21-23: Alabama Aerospace Teachers Association, From Earth to Space
2003 March 26-30: National Science Teachers Association Aerospace Share-a-Thon, Aerospace Week
2002 Oct. 10-12: Alabama Science Teachers Association (2 presentations)
From Earth to Space
Science Funding for Your Classroom
2002 March 26-30: National Science Teachers Association, Smile if You Like Science
2004 Alabama Wing, Civil Air Patrol: Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year
2003 Silverhill Elementary School: Teacher of the Year
2003 Air Force Education Foundation: Alabama State Teacher of the Year
2003 Air Force Association, Montgomery Chapter 102: Chapter Teacher of the Year
2002 Alabama Science Teachers Association: Elementary Science Teacher of the Year
2002 National Science Teachers Association: LYSOL/NSTA Science and Your Health Challenge Award
2002 Air Force Association, Montgomery Chapter 102: Scholarship to attend National Congress on Aviation
and Space Education
2002 National Science Teachers Association: NASA Educatotional Workshop Participant,
Marshall Space Flight Center
Baldwin County Commission Proclamation by Commissioner Mary Frances Stewart
Proclaiming April 23, 2003 as “Jo McGill Hellmich Day” in Baldwin County
“For earning academic distinction and continued public service in the field of education enlightenment…”
Baldwin County Commission Resolution by Commissioner Mary Frances Stewart, October 7, 2003
“Recognizing and commending Jo McGill Hellmich’s continued commitment toward educational excellence in the field of science and aerospace education.”
Membership in Professional Organizations
Alabama Aerospace Teachers Association
Alabama Science Teachers Association
National Science Teachers Association
Civil Air Patrol/Aerospace Education Member
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Council of Elementary Science International
2005-Present: Music Director for Zion Lutheran Church After-school Program
1999-Present: Music Director for Morgan’s Chapel United Methodist Church
Homer Singleton, Water Quality Chair (2011-2013)
Homer Singleton Jr, born Foley, Alabama. Grew up on the Bon Secour River and Highway 59 south of Foley. Foley High School, 1956. University of Alabama, B.A. 1960. U. S. Army 1961-63, 82nd Airborne Division, medical corpsman. The Duke Divinity School, B.D. 1967, L.S.U. Law School, J.D. 1975. Law practice Lake Charles, Louisiana until 1995. Inordinately fond of birds, bayous, bays and kayaks. Water monitor, Phytoplankton monitor and bird survey's.
Richard Peterson, Junior Fishing Tournament (2011-2013)
Richard Peterson, P.E.
Graduated Foley High School, 1976
University of South Alabama, BS Civil Engineering, 1982
Married Molly Moseley Peterson
Three Children, Alex, Audrey and Clark
Employed with Riviera Utilities, 17 years
Current Position - Superintendent, Gas, Water and Wastewater
Hobbies, fishing, sailing, canoeing
Grew up on Wolf Bay and want to use my education and experience to help protect our natural resources.
Christine O'Connor, Website (2013-2015)
Christine O’Connor recently retired after more than 25 years in academic medicine. The past three years were spent regrouping and rebuilding the Department of Medicine at Tulane Medical School, post-Katrina New Orleans, where she had been Senior Department Administrator for 17 years.
Christine's undergrad major was Pre-Med with a minor in Ethology (animal behaviorism) with her senior thesis done on manatees in Crystal River, Florida. Her grad work was in Health Administration from the University of South Carolina.
Christine was born in Saranac, New York and raised in Marlton, New Jersey where she worked with horses at many racetracks and spent her summers as a lifeguard on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Prior to retirement she lived in New Orleans with her husband Sean Hickey, an avid sailor.
Christine and Sean have owned property in the Perdido Beach Community since 1994. Her passions outside of work are: animals (horses, dogs, cats ), swimming and boating, gardening (a recent graduate of the Baldwin County Master Gardner’s Program) and reading.
Anne Crawford, Board Member At-Large (2013-2015)
Austin Duffie, Board Member At-Large (2013-2015)
Eugene Durham, Board Member At-Large (2012-2014)
Rick Odess, Board Member At-Large (2012-2014)
Ricky Odess was elected to the board in January, 2009. It's remarkable that Wolf Bay is so pristine, given it's proximity to population centers. Ricky's goal is to try and keep it that way. Besides involvement in Wolf Bay, Ricky is also involved in the protection of the Magnolia River. He performs water quality testing and sits on the Town of Magnolia Springs' River Protection Committee.
Ricky earned a BS degree in Corporate Finance from the University of Alabama. He worked in Birmingham and Mobile in the investment business and has owned and operated several businesses. Ricky and his wife Debbie have a son, Patrick who is currently in school at Auburn. They live in Magnolia Springs with Lady the hound dog, Maggie the smart cat, and Weedles the dumb cat.
Polly Simpson, Board Member At-Large (2012-2014)