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Common Nighthawk

Houston Audubon Board Nominees

The Nominating Committee of the Houston Audubon Board of Directors recommends the following slate for election to the Board of Directors. Elections will be conducted at the membership meeting on May 11, 2017. Also, according to the By-Laws, nominations will be accepted from the floor.

Sam Smith, President-Elect. Sam is a professional engineer working at Wood Group Mustang. He became a birder because when he would go on hikes with his wife, Becky would stop to look at the birds, so why not join the party and is now frustrated with identification of little brown things like most everyone else. He has been a former city council member for the city of Spring Valley, and a Texas Native Plant society member. As a member of Houston Audubon Society, he has been seen working at High Island during post Hurricane clean ups as well as he and Becky working either the Kiosk at Boy Scout Woods or Smith Oaks during spring migration. He has served on several different community committees and supports the Texas Land Conservancy.

Andy Lopez, Treasurer. Andy is a Certified Public Accountant and is employed by the law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani. He currently serves on the Audubon Finance and Investment Committees and has previously served as Treasurer on the Houston Audubon Board. He has also served on the boards of other nonprofit organizations. Andy enjoys outdoor activities and fully supports the Houston Audubon mission.

Alice Anne O'Donell, Director. Alice Anne has been a resident of Galveston and a member of the UTMB faculty for over 40 years. She retired in Dec 2012, having enjoyed a long career of teaching and patient care. She began birding in the early 90's, after discovering the birding riches on Galveston Island. She has been politically active on issues that impact the Coastal environment, especially West End development. She has a special interest in Shorebirds and coastal habitat conservation and leads local field trips in the State Park and FeatherFest. Alice Anne was on the board of HAS in 2006-10, is Chair of the Galveston County Audubon Group, a founding board member of the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, and is active in FeatherFest.

Mary Carter, Director. Mary W. Carter was born and grew up in New York, but her interest in and devotion to birds really occurred after moving to Houston in 1977. Mary is fortunate to live within walking distance of Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary and has spent many afternoons in the sanctuary trying to learn and identify birds. She also met many other birders there who are friends now. Mary became involved with Houston Audubon as a member of the Board of Directors and particularly the Sanctuary Committee. She also served as president of the Board of Directors in 2011-2012. Mary’s professional career was as an environmental attorney with the law firm Blackburn & Carter where she worked for 30 years. Mary graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts, and the U of H Law School in Houston.

Rebecque Demark, Director. Rebecca is a 3rd generation Real Estate broker practicing in Houston since 1993. Having grown up practically across the street from the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary, she loved exploring there while growing up. Rebecque became an Audubon Docent in 2010 to help instill in the next generations, the wonders of the outdoors and the winged and other creatures that share our city. The birding bug bit gently after a trip to the South Pacific and much more strongly after having Peter Harrison as a bird guide on a recent trip to South America. Organic gardening is another of her passions. She is very excited to have the opportunity to serve Houston Audubon as a board member.

Doris Heard, Director. Doris has pursued her passion for habitat gardening and education by working with schools to create nature centers and outdoor classrooms. As a member of The Garden Club of Houston her research was instrumental in the publication of Great Small Trees for Houston and Texas Tough Trees for Houston. These two resources encourage Houstonians to plant a variety of native trees to benefit birds and other wildlife. She is a Texas Master Naturalist and Master Gardener, and she has served on the Park People board of directors and the Houston Bat Team. She has enjoyed these opportunities to be involved in restoration and conservation efforts. And she looks forward to getting her hands dirty while working alongside the many Houston Audubon volunteers.

Janeen Judah, Director. Janeen is the 2017 international President of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. She has spent 35 years in the oil and gas industry and the last 15 years managing global or international regional teams. At Chevron, she has managed global organizations for environmental decommissioning and remediation and petroleum engineering technology and regional teams for Latin America engineering and geoscience and Angola/Congo projects and subsurface. She started her career with ARCO in Midland. She serves Texas A&M on both the Petroleum Engineering and College of Engineering Advisory Councils and is a 2015 outstanding graduate. She has B.S. and M.S. degrees in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M, plus an MBA from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and a JD from the University of Houston Law Center.

Peter Morris, Director. Peter is a native Houstonian with a life-long interest in the outdoors through his activities in birding, hiking, and fly fishing. Graduating from the University of North Carolina, he has been in the commercial real estate business all his life, first as a broker and now as an investor. He has built or owned self- storage properties, retail centers, residential properties and owns land in several states. He has served on the boards of the Contemporary Arts Museum, Chinquapin Prep School, and St. Catherine’s Montessori, serving as President of the board at the two schools.

James Vavasour, Director. James is a husband and father first and an oil and gas professional second. He has two children, a 6 year old daughter and 3 year old son. Since his daughter's birth, Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary and the Houston Audubon Society have held a very special place in his heart. In July of 2010 his daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer. Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary truly became our sanctuary from both city life and his daughter's illness. Every day, James and his daughter would hike the preserve. Climbing down the banks of the bayou, bird watch, bunny watch, snake watch, and occasionally armadillo watch. A personal favorite was playing pooh sticks off the bridge without a thought about his daughter's remission. Today, his daughter is six years old and still cancer free.
Professionally, James joined MatthewsDaniel in 2003, and is now President of MatthewsDaniel Americas and Group Marine Director, responsible for all of MatthewsDaniel business units in the Americas, while managing Marine Warranty Surveying services world-wide. A graduate Naval Architect and a Texas licensed adjuster, James has presented papers at major international conferences and has been published in the technical press.

Robert Westendarp, Director. Prior to his retirement in 2014 upon the sale of the company, Robert served on The Board of Directors and as CEO Americas for the Griffin Global Group, a company he co-founded in 1996 that had grown to be the largest global provider of transportation services for crew in the offshore oil & gas and the shipping industries.. Other business experience before Griffin included practicing as a CPA in the State of Texas through his own regional CPA firm for 13 years, forming and managing an NSDA broker-dealer, co-founding a land development company, acting as managing general partner for numerous syndicated transactions including a parking garage in downtown Houston, a Hilton hotel in Florida and various other properties. In the not-for-profit arena, Robert has been a member of the Board of Children at Risk for 8 years and served as Chairman from 2012-2014. Robert graduated from Rice University in 1971 with a BA in Economics and Accounting.