Mark was asked to serve as the Alabama Coastal Foundation Executive Director in October, 2011. He was drawn to the ACF because of its vital mission of protecting our coast through cooperation, education, and participation. He has experience in each of those areas through his past work as a leader in Alabama’s state constitution reform movement and as the Director of Community Engagement for the Mobile Area Education Foundation. Mark earned his B.A. in English with a double minor in Political Science and Philosophy at Birmingham Southern College. He earned his M.P.A. at the University of Texas at Austin. A 2006 graduate of the Leadership Mobile program and 2007 graduate of Leadership Alabama, Mark has a broad network of local and statewide contacts who care about Alabama’s coastal resources. In his free time, Mark enjoys playing tennis and pool, camping and spending time with his wife and two daughters.
Elizabeth joined the ACF staff in February 2019 after earning her Ph.D. and M.S. at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she studied the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle in the Gulf of Mexico. Throughout her thirteen years working with multiple species of sea turtle on the coasts of Florida, Alabama, Mexico, the Bahamas, and Australia, she has been the recipient of several prestigious awards further diversifying her experience in sea turtle conservation, including the John A. Knauss Fellowship in Marine Policy, and a National Science Foundation East Asia Pacific Summer Institutes program. Elizabeth has engaged a variety of audiences on topics of marine research and conservation through numerous speaking events at both national and international venues, culminating in a TEDxBirmingham talk in 2017. Her goal is to help raise awareness and engage communities in taking an active role in protecting their vital marine and coastal ecosystems.
While Pamela is a native of Hattiesburg, her family spent many summer vacations in Gulf Shores and along the Gulf . She earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. After graduation, she moved to Atlanta where she began volunteering with Friends of Animals which launched her journey into animal rescue and the nonprofit sector. Pamela moved to Mobile in 2007 to work at GulfQuest. On weekends, you can find her volunteering with the Animal Rescue Foundation, or spending time with her family and her three rescued mutts. Loving the great outdoors has always given Pamela an awareness that we need to preserve and protect our environment so she is thrilled to be a part of the ACF team and its mission.
Sara Johnson, who hails from Pennsylvania, grew up on the east coast and dreamed of a career in marine science. She earned a Bachelor’s in Animal Bioscience from the Pennsylvania State University and has worked in science and conservation ever since--first in veterinary medicine before finding an ocean conservation home at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Sara enjoyed over 11 years helping to run the education programs in Discovery Hall at the Sea Lab, coordinating professional development for teachers, camps for students and outreach around the state. In addition, she was a Share the Beach (STB) Team Leader for Dauphin Island for over a decade. Sara is very excited to take on the role of leading Share the Beach’s sea turtle nest monitoring program and further pursue her passion for these animals and the beaches they call home. Outside of sea turtle work, Sara spends time with her husband and two children swimming, helping with soccer practices, biking, camping, and of course, visiting the beach.
Joe McEnerney is a native of Montgomery, AL, and has spent the last twelve years in Baldwin County. During those years he has developed a love for the county's coastal resources and its rural culture. Joe became a Board member of the Alabama Coastal Foundation in 2005 and served as ACF's President in 2010-2012, and most recently was the Vice-President for 2013. A community banker for most of his professional career, Joe originally volunteered with ACF because of its vital mission of protecting the place he had come to love. Also, as a business person, he embraced the organization's goal of cooperation and education as tools to protect the environment. Joe earned his MS in Environmental Sciences from Auburn University and MBA with an emphasis in finance and operations from Indiana University. Joe and his wife of thirty years (Jane) have two daughters. In his free time, Joe is a passionate fan of college football, an avid gardener and a jogger.
Toni Thomason is originally from Athens, Alabama and has progressively moved further south in the state to live closer to the Gulf of Mexico. After graduating from Auburn in 2018 with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Biology, she moved to Dauphin Island to get her Master’s degree in Marine Conservation and Resource Management at the University of South Alabama. Toni loves the coastal way of living and all the wonderful people she has met while living here. In her spare time, Toni enjoys all types of outdoor activities and spending time with her friends and family. Through her work at the Alabama Coastal Foundation, Toni hopes to advocate for the conservation and protection of all of Alabama’s amazing coastal resources.
Susan West, Public Engagement Coordinator
Susan West is a West Tennessee girl with a South Alabama heart! Spending summers on the Alabama coast since a little girl, Susan fulfilled a lifelong dream of moving here. She’s been involved with Share The Beach for eight years and loves working with the sea turtle program. Susan has served as the STB Outreach and Education Coordinator for the past two years and also serves on the Alabama Sea Turtle Stranding & Salvage Network. Susan retired from a career with BellSouth. She and her husband Mike own a real estate investment company and Susan serves as the President of her condo association. She is an avid Memphis Tiger fan but has adopted the Crimson Tide as her second love. Susan and Mike love coastal living and enjoy spending time with family and friends, especially their two daughters and seven grandchildren.