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Houston Audubon Board Nominees 2020

The Nominating Committee of the Houston Audubon Board of Directors recommends the following slate for election to the Board of Directors. The election will be conducted online in May 2020. Write-in candidates will be allowed.

New Board Members

Bill Matthews, Director. Bill Matthews has over 25 years of experience in oil and gas from technology adoption and consulting to hands-on expertise in the search for new reserves. He has held senior leadership positions at both Schlumberger and Landmark/Halliburton resulting in unique perspectives and in-depth knowledge of leading E&P technologies that reduce risk. Currently, he consults for technology providers including Gartner and data management startups.

Most recently he was Vice President, Technical Services at Drillinginfo - a leading SaaS and data analytics company for the energy industry. Previously, he was the global marketing director for Schlumberger’s software division for all geoscience and reservoir engineering applications including Petrel. Bill moved from this position to lead Schlumberger/WesternGeco’s exploration consulting services for North America. In this and similar earlier global roles at Halliburton, he managed consulting projects that ranged from technology reconciliation to E&P advisory for prospective basins for both conventional and unconventional reservoirs.

Bill began his career as an interpreter and joint ventures for renowned wildcatter Moncrief Oil for ultra-deep prospects and drilling wells from the Rockies to the Gulf Coast. He has a Master’s in Geology from Rice University, Houston, Texas and an undergraduate degree in the same from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Glenn Olsen, Director. Glenn has been passionate about everything that crawled crept, swam or flew since a child. All of nature, but especially birds and plants inspire and enthuse him. He delights in sharing his passion for birds, plants, and the many other fascinating creatures of nature with others. Glenn leads natural history and birding tours with GOBirding Ecotours to the hottest birding locations in the U.S., exotic locales such as the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Honduras. His tours include aspects of the culture, ecology and natural history of the region.

His classes at Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies encompass the identification of birds, gardening for birds, butterflies and pollinators, sustainable land-scaping, native plants and other nature related subjects. At Houston Audubon his classes focus on the identification of the many birds found in Texas and the U.S. Classes at the Women’s Institute of Houston focus on a broader range of the amazing aspects of nature. Glenn has completed the Master Naturalist course and gives classes for the program. Through his classes Glenn strives to help others connect or re-connect with nature and to inspire them to become active in birding, the outdoors, and conservation.

He has served on the board of Houston Audubon as Vice President of Education and as President of both the Houston Chapter and the statewide organization of the Native Plant Society of Texas. He co-founded Wildscapes Workshops, an event that for twenty years has celebrated the importance of native plants, pollinators, and birds.

Glenn has led field trips and/or given presentations for the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, Galveston FeatherFest, Rockport HummerBird Festival, Texas Ornithological Society, Houston Audubon, the Native Plant Society of Texas, WildScapes Workshops, the Katy Prairie Conservancy, Houston Arboretum, Fort Worth Audubon, and others.

Glenn grew up on a farm and was fascinated by birds, snakes, plants, and insects he found while roaming the fields and forest. While studying zoology in college he fell in love with Philosophy which suited his passion for learning and took his degree in that. Additionally, Glenn enjoys food, chocolate, photography, gardening, and reading on a diversity of subjects.

Letha Slagle, Director. Letha’s lifelong interests throughout her career and volunteer work have focused on the natural world and sciences.  She studied Environmental Science at University of Virginia and conducted a National Sciences Foundation grant study on the effects of local stream channelization with a small team of classmates. There in Virginia, she began her lifelong hobby of studying and documenting birds. For her master’s degree, she moved to Stanford University, to pursue her interest in the interaction of plate tectonics and sedimentary basin formation. She completed her field-based thesis specializing in Stratigraphy and Sedimentology.

During her geologic career at Shell Oil Company, she explored the Americas from Alaska through South America. Highlights include early record-breaking horizontal Bakken wells and exploration in Brazil. She was part of the teams which discovered the Parque de Conchas Campos Basin field complexes as well as Santos Basin fields, in record breaking water depths. Letha then served as Discipline Chief of Exploration Geology for Shell International E&P, managing skill pool health, staff mentoring and development for over 100 geologists, resourcing and technical assurance. She also served as Manager of the Fluids and Basins Center of Expertise, a global team of over 50 subsurface specialists, with staff in Europe and the U.S. These specialists in Applied Stratigraphy and Petrology, Integrated Charge Evaluation and Asset Geochemistry, Well Testing and Structural Geology were deployed on E&P projects worldwide.

Since retirement, she has volunteered in organizations focused on educational outreach in natural sciences. In 2011, she became a Texas Master Naturalist, and served on the training committee. She teaches the geology section of the training curriculum for Gulf Coast and Liberty County chapters. 

She is happily married to Grant Gist and has a son Miles, who has completed a Mechanical Engineering Degree and is working here in Houston. As her son graduated from High School, in an engineering and geosciences magnet program, she noticed an opportunity to give back by creating geologic and professional training for a diverse group of students of the four HISD Petroleum Academy Magnet programs. She brought this effort under the umbrella of the Houston Geological Society and became Chairperson of the Educational Outreach Committee, in order to draw in larger group of volunteers and financial support. She formed strategic partnerships with other organizations and began training students in geologic skills and in professional development, such as interview skills. Programs she developed include rock labs, museum days, geologic map labs, High Island Beach Learning and outcrop field trips. These events include technical content, such as exercises and videos, which she produced to introduce students to opportunities in the field of geology. Several graduates of the Petroleum Academies have now gone on to graduate programs in geology, and credit these exposures to their career choices.  

Around 2015, her efforts grew to include Middle and Elementary schools, when she resurrected an HGS program called Bones in Schools. This program consists of 100s of locally dug Pleistocene fossils, such as Mammoth vertebrae, which had lain in the frequently flooded basement garage below the HGS office. These are presented to schools along with beautiful framed posters showing the flora and fauna of the paleo Texas coastal prairie. She has received awards including the Houston Geological Society President’s Award for this work. She recently has focused on supporting teachers through grants and awards and on training others to conduct some of these programs, which reach over 600 highly diverse public school students per year.

Letha is active in her neighborhood and has worked as a landscape committee chair, focusing on a water efficient landscape to reduce groundwater withdrawal and subsidence. She also serves as an elected Director of Municipal Utility District 355, addressing local drainage and infrastructure issues.

Her lifelong hobby is “birding” and she is a frequently contributor to the Cornell University database, “ebird.” She has volunteered to lead bird walks and Christmas Bird Count sections. She has been a lifelong member of Nature Conservancy and many other environmental and birding organizations. Her greatest interest in Houston Audubon is to promote habitat conservation.

Pam Smolen, Director. Pam Smolen was raised as an army brat living in Alaska, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and finally settling in Texas. She grew up enjoying the outdoors, hiking and camping. She graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Chemical Engineering. She discovered the wonderful world of birds about 20 years ago and has been hooked ever since.

Pam is a former Vice-Chair and Chair of the Houston Ornithology Group. She is an active volunteer for Houston Audubon. She has been Chair of the Birdathon committee and continues to participate on the committee. Pam contributes to Houston Audubon’s Citizen Science Program as the leader of the Houston Chimney Swift Count. Pam is a long time Featherfest Field Trip Leader.

Renewing Board Members

Brad Moore, Director. Brad is a native Houstonian and has a lifelong love for the American outdoors. Between his financial controllership positions with Mellon Bank, Accenture, and Hewlett-Packard, he embarked on summer-long cross-country camping trips to Alaska and Maine. For the past ten years, Brad has been a co-owner of Morgan Moore Custom Builders, which serves the residential custom home and renovation needs of west Houston’s Memorial/Energy Corridor communities. His academic studies include degrees with the University of Texas (BA Economics) and the University of Reading, United Kingdom (MA International Business History). Birding is a natural extension of his appreciation of nature and wildlife. He values time outdoors with his wife and 2 daughters and looks forward to his family’s annual Birdathon team, the Edith Moore Eagles. Brad is enthusiastic about supporting the Houston Audubon Society’s many ongoing and future efforts to fulfill its mission and vision.

Janeen Judah, Secretary. Janeen is an independent corporate director for 3 energy firms: Patterson-UTI, Crestwood and Aethon Energy. She retired from Chevron in 2018 after spending the last 15 years managing global or international regional teams. At Chevron, she 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. Janeen was also the 2017 international President of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, chairing the board of a large global professional association and is on the boards of other national nonprofits and foundations.

Janeen serves on both Texas A&M and University of Houston College of Engineering Advisory Councils. 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. She is also a Board Governance Fellow with the National Association of Corporate Directors and a member of the Houston chapter of Women Corporate Directors. She divides her time between Houston and Bryan-College Station, but started birding on Galveston Island.

Greg Whittaker, President-Elect and Galveston Group Representative. Greg Whittaker grew up on the family farm in upstate New York, inheriting a stewardship for nature and a lifelong appreciation for biodiversity and the wonders of water. Texas A&M University brought him to Galveston in 1985, which immediately became home. His professional animal care career began in 1988 at Sea Arama-Marineworld and progressed through his current role as Animal Husbandry Manager at Moody Gardens with stops along the way in Japan, China and the Philippines. Since 2002, he has overseen animal care operations for a diverse collection of more than 600 species ranging from invertebrates through mammals in the tropical Rainforest and marine Aquarium biomes. He worked with Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council to establish a series of beginning birding classes hosted by Moody Gardens in 2003 and has led countless classes and trips since then. He served as a liaison and Moody Gardens host for the Galveston County Audubon Group’s meetings after Hurricane Ike damaged the Rosenberg Library facilities in 2008. He assumed the position of chair for GCAG in 2012. He has participated as a trip leader in FeatherFest since 2014 and serves on the GINTC board since 2016. Greg is a current member of the Houston Audubon Board of Directors where he serves on the Advocacy Committee and Land Conservation Committee.

Loy Sneary, Director. Loy is currently President and CEO of both Sneary and Associates and Gulf Coast Green Energy, a provider of fuel and emission free generators to the O&G industry and others in the U.S and Caribbean.

Loy also raises cattle in Matagorda County and his kids are 4th generation Matagorda County ranchers. Loy first became involved with Houston Audubon on a water quality research project in his rice fields. He later coordinated the formation of an organization where Texas landowners and conservationists are developing sound stewardship practices for enhanced bird and wildlife habitat and more profit. He has also redesigned his cattle grazing practices to build soil health and increase plant diversity which creates better bird and other wildlife habitat while sequestering more carbon and reducing rain runoff and flooding of streams and estuaries. Loy is an Eagle Scout and graduated from Texas A&M University and former County Judge. He served his county as an officer in the United States Navy for six years. He lives in Bay City, Texas, and he and his wife, Helen, have two children and four grandsons.