Skip to content

Our Team

The New England Environmental Finance Center sits within the Catherine Cutler Institute at the Muskie School of Public Service, the research arm of the University of Southern Maine. Our staff is based in Portland, Maine and serve the New England region.


Martha square

Martha Sheils, Director

Martha leads the NEEFC team and the programmatic expansion of the EFC’s services. She has over 25 years of experience in community capacity building to move environmental projects forward to the funding, financing, and implementation phase.

Key Competencies: Adaptive program management, advancing projects to implementation, education, community engagement and outreach, amplifying lessons learned and outcomes, transferring successful models to other states, funding and financing, and promoting inclusivity of all communities in need of climate resilience funding and financing.


Laura Collins, Program Manager, Water & Climate

Laura manages the New England Water Infrastructure Network (NEWIN) and provides direct technical, financial, and project management support for the region’s municipalities, utilities, and tribes. She has a background in water resource management, with expertise in community-driven program management, strategic planning, and impact evaluation.

Key Competencies: Project management, natural infrastructure planning, community engagement, relationship development, impact evaluation & reporting, communications.

Jack D. Kartez, PhD, Senior Advisor & Emeritus Director

Dr. Kartez is an environmental planner, mediator, and consensus-building specialist supporting municipal, non-profit, state, and multi-state clients across New England. He co-founded the NEEFC in 2001 and currently serves as a senior advisor, delivering services on cost-effective stormwater management, climate adaptation and resilience planning, local infrastructure finance, and risk communication. He also co-founded the Texas A&M University Hazard Center and has long worked on natural and environmental hazards research and training.

Key Competencies: Community engagement and outreach, effective training methods, culturally sensitive consensus building processes, fiscal analysis, emergency management, knowledge transfer.

Chloe Shields

Chloe Shields, Deputy Director

Chloe supports the strategic direction of the NEEFC and delivers technical assistance and capacity building with an emphasis on climate adaptation and resilience planning and financing. She has more than 10 years of experience working at the intersection of environment, climate, and public health research and program implementation, both in the U.S. and internationally, with a focus on underserved groups.

Key Competencies: Climate adaptation & resilience, climate action planning, vulnerability & risk assessment, inclusive community engagement, funding & financing, project management, partnership development.

Phaeng square

Phaeng Southisombath, Project Manager, SNEP Network

Phaeng manages the Southeast New England Program (SNEP) Network and coordinates 16 technical assistance partners to provide capacity building and access to funding and financing. Phaeng has a background in project management and planning, with expertise in tracking output/outcome metrics, data management and visualizations, and developing processes for collaborative structures.

Key Competencies: Database management, defining, tracking, and reporting metrics, strategic planning for communications and outreach, and consensus building among partners.

Temp Leah square

Leah Soloway, Policy Analyst, SNEP Network

Leah supports the programmatic direction and administration of the Southeast New England Program (SNEP) Network, including planning, tracking, and reporting deliverables and managing communications, outreach, website, and promotional materials. She has a background in environmental science and business administration and expertise engaging communities on sustainability initiatives.

Key Competencies: Community engagement, program reporting and administration, communications and outreach, website management.

Temp Leah square

Luke Truman, Sustainability Coordinator, Craft Beverage Sector

Luke provides technical assistance to the craft beverage sector with a focus on environmentally responsible operations. He has over 10 years of brewery experience realizing years of double digit growth, major and minor expansions, equipment upgrades, and process improvements. Luke has worked in every facet of the brewing process from farming to manufacturing to distributing to serving, most recently in Facilities Management.

Key Competencies: Strategic problem solving, recognizing opportunities for operational improvement, community engagement, industry awareness, project planning and execution.


Curtis Bohlen, PhD

Director, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership

Dr. Bohlen is an aquatic and wetland ecologist and conservation leader with an interdisciplinary background in ecology, economics, and public policy. He leads the work of CBEP and works with partners both inside and outside of the University to seek creative solutions to environmental challenges, support local communities, and improve the management of Casco Bay. |

Rachel Bouvier, PhD

Associate Professor & Chair of Economics, University of Southern Maine

Dr. Bouvier is founder and principal consultant at rbouvier consulting, an economic and sustainability consulting firm, and is on the Board of Directors at GrowSmart Maine. Her research interests include economic resilience, sustainability, and community economic development. Dr. Bouvier was Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Southern Maine from 2005-2014 and has returned after a brief hiatus. |


Charles Colgan, PhD

Research Director, Center for the Blue Economy, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Dr. Colgan is a former NEEFC Director and Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern Maine. Dr. Colgan has more than 40 years of experience in economic and environmental policy in Maine and New England covering land, air, and water issues. He is a former Director of the Maine Coastal Program and currently focuses on climate change-related issues on coasts and oceans in the U.S. and globally.

Cooke (2)

Peter Cooke

Topic Expert & Lecturer, Sustainable Operating Practices, University of Southern Maine

Peter Cooke has over twenty years of experience in developing sustainability tools and programs for businesses, government, academia, and non-profits. He co-founded Ratio Institute to develop tools and resources for food retailers. He has performed sustainability audits at over 600 grocery stores. Peter is ISO 14001 Lead Auditor certified, Commercial Energy Auditor trained, Building Operator Certified, and Hazardous Waste Operations certified. |


Vanessa Levesque, PhD

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science & Policy, University of Southern Maine

Dr. Levesque is an interdisciplinary social scientist; she combines research experiences in ecology, planning and policy analysis within a sustainability science framework to better understand how communities make decisions to improve the environmental and social worlds in which they live. Further, Dr. Levesque has over 10 years of environmental planning work experience in municipal and state governments in Maine, and currently partners with nonacademic collaborators to develop applied research projects to address pressing issues that advance rural community resilience. |